What to do with a family member's old yearbooks. A creative idea.

My mother passed away 2 years ago and I am still going through her things.  Through her many photographs and memorabilia from her youth, I feel I am getting to 'know' my mother through different eyes.  She was a very private person, and none of us even knew these photographs existed until shortly before her death.  I so wish she'd gone through her things with me before then.  One of her items that has perplexed me was her Sapulpa High School yearbooks from the years 1947, 1948, 1949 and 1950.  She was a real go-getter, even back then, and those yearbooks were full of her beautiful face in so many different clubs, band and as valedictorian of her 1950 senior class.  I wanted her to be remembered, in some way.  I wanted these books to be used.  I did not want these books to be squirreled away to rot on a shelf.
Sapulpa High School is in the small Oklahoma town of Sapulpa, of which I've spoken a lot of recently in this blog.
Though my mother moved away from that area when she married my father, she..... we...... visited out there often all through my growing up years and one of my nicest memories is of visiting the Sapulpa Public Library and checking out books on my grandmother's card.  Somehow, in the recesses of my memory, I remembered they had a genealogical department.  Aha!  Might they be interested in my mother's yearbooks to add to their collection?!  A short phone call later, after speaking to the nice lady in charge of their genealogical department, it turns out that Yes! they wanted..... needed.... these yearbooks!  Their genealogical department is frequented by patrons researching family histories, and these particular years are most requested for research.  Their policy is to put the copy in the best condition in their collection, and if they have duplicates, those are shipped to another near-by local library system's genealogical department who needs that particular year.  In this case, they did not even have a 1950 year - the year my mother was valedictorian. 

So before I shipped the yearbooks to the Library, I scanned all the pages that had to do with my mother.  There was a lot.  I also digitally circled photos and information about her.

I so want my mother to be remembered - I even put a yellow sticky note on her valedictorian page so, hopefully, the genealogy dept. would leave it there and folks who would be using it for research would see her photo first thing.  These were shipped to the Sapulpa Public Library a few months ago.

Now fast forward to our recent trip to Oklahoma..... Sapulpa, Oklahoma.  It was so important to me to see my mother's yearbooks in use, so we made sure to visit the Sapulpa Public Library Genealogy Dept. to find.....  hard to see in the photo below..... but there is a yellow sticky note sticking up from the green yearbook in the middle.....
..... the 1950 Sapulpa High School yearbook where my mother was the senior class valedictorian.  I am cradling her yearbook in my arms and the nice genealogy lady took my photo.... of me with my mother.... trying so hard to make sure she might be remembered in some way.  You can see the yellow sticky note they left in place.
So, if your family member kept their old high school, or college yearbooks, whether they were a go-getter like my mother, or not..... think about calling the library's genealogy department or even the local historical museum..... and let their memories live on for generations to come.


  1. A lovely story, Lisa. Family historians have every reason to thank you for your generosity in donating your Mother's yearbooks. I donated a lot of family papers to our State Library many years ago after keeping photo copies for myself and my sister. Much better than leaving them to rot on a shelf or in an attic.

    1. Hadn't thought of the State Library. That's a great idea too! I have so many photographs, scrapbook she kept of her high school years, newspaper clippings written about her, her college yearbooks and so much more I am still figuring out where to send all that to. Thanks for letting us know what you did Kathy.


Thank you for taking the time to leave a note.~Lisa