Vintage Yearbook Photos from 1940s and 1950s

Last time I was home I was looking thru my yearbooks and laughing at how hilarious I looked in every single photo (which I will not share for the world-wide web to poke fun at lol). I was 100% definitely not awkward at all during my High School years (insert sarcasm here).

I then got to thinking about yearbooks of yesteryear (40s and 50s) and what did their photos and yearbooks look like? Did those students also feel as awkward or unsure of themselves as I felt? I’m sure they did as that seems to be what happens when you’re a teenager but I had to see for myself so I poked around the internet and discovered loads of wonderful photos of all areas of High School life (awkward and not) that I thought would be fantastic to share with you.

P.S. Because I found so many great photos from colleges, I will be sharing some of those too.

Time to open the pages of that Vintage Yearbook…..

1940s Yearbook Vintage
Source: Etsy-CrimsonHollow

First up an incredible smart-looking group of students from the early 1950s. I love how they are all wearing Letterman Sweaters in this photo, really great Letterman Sweaters. And the boy’s hair are immaculate.

1950s students
Source: Flickr-Josh Nativio

I wonder if the above group was in the “Monogram Club”?

1946 Yearbook Monogram Club
Source: Flickr-Yvonne Thompson

1949-“Girls Sports”, “Traffic Officer”, Bill the “All American” and the “Card Club”. This yearbook photo is filled with so many goodies to look at (names, hairstyles, groups they were in).

1949 Vintage yearbook photos
Source: Flickr-Dana Orlosky

The Superlatives (of the highest quality or degree) of Friendship Tennessee.

Now my question..did Brock and Emma Succeed in life? And did Laura and Jackie remain Friendly? We will never know….

1951 Vintage Yearbook
Source: Etsy-BrentwoodBazaar

Though this is not High School but an All Girls College from 1942. I love the name “Bells and Pomegranates”. Not sure what it means but it’s pretty cool all the same.

1942 Vintage Year book College
Source: Etsy-GoodVintageHunting

Here is a yearbook from 1950 Stephenson High School in Michigan. I’m sharing this photo because I’m having a hard time believing these teenagers are actually teenagers? Don’t they look much older?

Side Note..Alice in the bottom right wins for best hair in my book. And can you read her note to Dug (sp?):

I will always remember the swell times we had together & Fights as well…..

1950s Vintage Yearbook
Source: Etsy-wicksthings

Centenary College, Shreveport, La. – 1948 yearbook.

Here Shreveport is your Football Sweetheart and your Homecoming Queen. Ahhhhhh aren’t they beautiful?

1940s vintage yearbook photo
Source: Ebay-otisisdog

Quad Standford University in 1946 brings us not only colour in their yearbook but a really cool advertisement for pinup “play clothes”.

I bring you colour! And probably your homecoming queen and..I’m not sure about the other beauty in the fantastic swimsuit.

1940s vintage yearbook
Source: Ebay-urlybird_1

The above mentioned ad. Isn’t it great? I have personally never seen an ad in the 1940s advertise “Pinup clothes”. I’m sure they exist but this is a first for me.

1940s vintage advertising in a yearbook
Source: Ebay-urlybird_1

In this 1940s photo, why was the friendliest boy called “Stinkey?”. So odd, very odd. But the most popular girl had great hair and clothes. Actually, so does “Stinkey” now that I Iook at the photo again.

1940s high school students in a yearbook.
Source: Flickr-Dani

Lastly I want to leave you with the funniest page entry that I read during my research. It’s from the 1949 Friendsville Tennesse Yearbook…..

1949 Friendsville Tennesse Yearbook
Source: Etsy-BrentwoodBazaar


Now that I have done this post I have decided that I need to start collecting vintage yearbooks from these eras because well quite frankly they are a great eye into the past of a teenager.

Question: IF you have one, what is your favorite high-school memory?

Liz 🙂

16 comments on “Cool Vintage Images from Yearbooks of the 1940s and 1950s”

  1. Well, you know I can’t get enough of old yearbooks. I’ve been collecting them for years and never tire of the wonderful images inside. I scour used bookstores and estate sales and antique shops. Sometimes the covers are equally great, like the one you showed. Although, Bells and Pomegranates is so curious. I wonder why only some of the kids got their names printed? Yearbooks are the best!

    • The whole time I was working on this post, I was thinking about all your cool yearbook posts. I’m going to start the hunt, lets see what I find.

    • ohh I want a letterman sweater. I had one in my hand a few years ago and I had to put it down due to cost. Sigh…some day!

  2. These are just as great as great can be! I love vintage yearbooks, too. It took me ages to finally track my first two down in person (I had been searching since I was a kid and they were the first two pre-60s yearbooks I found for sale in person), which I did in 2013, and have since added a much smaller (and older) third to my modest sized collection. I hope that more will be forthcoming in the future – they’re some of the coolest vintage sources of history and fashion inspiration around.

    ♥ Jessica

    • I so agree with you Jessica on the history and fashion inspiration side and a true glimpse into life of the “first teenager”. I might need to buy one of the ones I found on Etsy.

  3. Stinky and Marion really do have the best hair. As I am from England my only ideas about yearbooks come from Grease and other films so it is great to see some real ones. I bet they are absolutely fascinating.

    • Right?! I love Stinky and Marion 🙂 Really no Yearbooks?..fascinating. Yes they are a pretty cool glimpse into a life of the “first” teenager.

      • Yep, no yearbooks. I would love to have had one. I do have my school shirt that everyone signed and drew on, on the last day, whilst you were wearing it. That was the main school leaving custom.

  4. I was “most likely to succeed”! I don’t think my life now would be what they expected from me, but I feel pretty successful 🙂 My high school days were pretty awkward but I still loved them. The best thing was definitely all the silly times with my friends, and the fact I’m still friends with some of them.

    I love the idea of willing things to each other. Such a cute and different way of leaving a memory.

    • As long as YOU Have succeeded that is all that matters 🙂 Highschool was not bad for me and I keep in touch with a couple of friends but I’m not sure if I would do it over again if I had the chance.

      And lastly..yes! The will idea was my favorite, such a fun idea!

  5. I write vintage fiction and am VERY inspired by these photos! I feel some short stories coming on!

    It’s interesting to me how they look simultaneously young, yet older than teens today. Do you think so, or is it just me?

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