Homepage | David K Petersen

Mason County Memories


"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus" ~ Mark Twain


History Columns are arranged by year of publication in the Ludington Daily News



david k petersen

Over the years I have had several "accidental" collections. Those of you who collect or are as I consider myself most days an "accumulator" know what I'm talking about.

One is a conversation piece, Two are interesting and Three are a collection, and then it takes on a life of it's own and you're scrambling for display space and storage space and your disposable income is no longer something that you have to think about.

One of my accidental collections involves school yearbooks, and then the announcements, class pictures, student newsletters and little souvenir booklets that teachers used to give out to students. I have found all but 6 of the Ludington yearbooks from 1913 to 1982, class pictures as far back as 1887, announcements, Oriole Life's, and other school yearbooks as well.

Ludington started to put out an annual yearbook in 1913 and while touted as the first year of the publication, an earlier edition from 1909 was supposedly published and there may have been one or two more scattered attempts before a consecutive run was established. Yearbook publication was suspended from about 1933 to 1936 due to the fact that the students did not have the funds to print one but there are class photographs from those years. From 1937 to 1942 The Oriole yearbook consisted of a mimeographed pamphlet that was stapled together. From 1943 forward a more standard Yearbook was published.

Scottville began production of their yearbook in 1919 calling it Taps. Of the 23 seniors pictured in the 1920 edition there are some familiar names, Conrad, Resseguie, Pappe, Reinhard. The class history tells us that 1920 was the first class who ordered rings and pins in their junior year. The class history also tells us, "Some of our reckless members whose ideas of high school life were not all studying were sent home one evening by a lenient Sheriff while others wore off their surplus energy scaling the water tanks".

I have found but a few scattered editions of the MCE yearbooks and none from Freesoil. St. Simons yearbooks are seldom seen, although there were a few editions of yearbooks printed from the Normal school in the 1920's.

I got my start with yearbooks quite by accident having run into a handful that were being thrown away and being the packrat that I am had to take them home. Next, I came across a 1927 yearbook with my grand mothers senior picture in it and that was it. I began to search them out and put together a collection that rapidly expanded. They turned up at yard sales, flea markets, auctions, and in the garbage piles on clean up day.

Yearbooks provide a great insight into our parents, and grand parents youth and often can provide a photograph that the family has never seen or if you have them yet in your family some interesting insight from the inscriptions made by their friends. The school yearbook as we have come to know it, is for the most part a Twentieth century phenomenon that has become a tradition.

They are valuable research tools and they are quite simply fun to read. Although they do not have a great monetary value unless you have a yearbook that featured a famous person they do have a great sentimental value for some. Some of my duplicate copies have gone to people who have lost theirs from fires to moving to careless cleaning of estates.

The Mason County District Library has a partial collection as well and has been attempting to also put together as complete a collection of school yearbooks as possible. They have a fair amount of demand and interest in the yearbooks and could use some help from the community to add more issues to their collection.

I would like to say that if you are cleaning out your closet, a storage unit or garage and you come across some old school annuals, please consider donating them to the Library so that they may add them to their collection and make them available to the public.

p>Mason Oceana Railroad



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