When I started this web page it was just going to be a bit of fun with the multi-class reunion taking place in 1998.  It seems to have turned into quite a project for me.  I've enjoyed immensely the yearbooks and the changes in our society that they represent.

It is quite exciting to go through the 1956... and the other early yearbooks after the first.  The beginnings of Van Horn are depicted and the many organizations, student activities, and other Van Horn memorabilia are exciting to investigate.  Personnel were already changing in those early years.  Many teachers were at Van Horn from the start well into the 80's and 90's in some cases.  These are folks that dedicated their lives to teaching us.

The students depicted changed markedly through the years.  There were years when the boys looked liked girls and unless there was a name by them you couldn't tell gender.  The early years didn't have that problem... but oh what hair dos and such.  I admit to liking a simpler world and one more basic.  The social trend is obviously going toward casual.

Participation seemed to pervade the Van Horn High School.  It seemed like 'everyone' was doing something... participating in some activity.  I'm sure that was not the case but there was sure a lot more participation than there is today in the school.  Some activities have even ceased in today's world due to lack of interest.

And on the yearbooks themselves...

The quality of the yearbooks from year to year becomes more obvious when you are comparing them such as I have had occasion to do.  Some of them are quite good and some of them sure left a lot to be desired.

Picture resolution... I scanned each page of the seniors and used an HP scanner at 2400 dpi in true color.  I have tried to reduce the size of the pictures so that they would be quicker to download.  Some of the yearbooks were of such a quality that I could effectively do that and the writing was still readable and the pictures themselves were viewable.  Others had such poor quality that the writing became unreadable and I could not reduce them.  I have modified the pictures to a .jpg format for faster downloading as they are smaller in most cases.  Some years I did not do that.

I have now started setting up some of the years so that when you click on a senior you will have a popup window with the senior in it.  The window will come to the top each time you click on a senior and show that classmate's picture and other info if available.  There are classmates that had some special information that I have made a separate page for.  That will popup when you select their name.

The yearbooks definitely progressed into different areas as far as quality and presentation.  Early yearbooks had a cloth cover and later issues had a leather cover.  The names were at times listed first name first, last name last... and in other yearbooks they were last name first format.  Some yearbooks had multiple pictures side-by-side with the names all together.  They were a pain to scan, crop and associate the names with the pictures.  Other yearbooks had individual pictures with the name associated with the picture right beside it.  Those made it a lot easier to scan, crop and place.  1978 chose a script format for the name fonts.  It is virtually unreadable in some cases.

Some years the names included accomplishments and participation information while others just had the name only.  The accomplishments were in a 'history' page at the rear of the yearbook.  Apparently several yearbook researchers were either lazy or the class really didn't do much.  There were only four or five pages of 'history' in those years.  Other years had 10 or more pages.

A few yearbooks that I've found had color pictures involved with them and there were not a lot of them.  Black and white seems to pervade the industry.  Cost?  This changed in 1979 when the yearbook went to all color pictures for the seniors.  1980 was all color and they decided to do ovals around the seniors, along with black paper.  1981 is back to black and white.  1960 is a step back into the past.  Crew cuts and conservative hair-dos.  1960 editing didn't impress me since they put folks out of alphabetical order on several pages... or did they really intend to have some pages with the alphabetizing backwards?  1960 also had the full name of students where later editions didn't have even the middle initial in most cases, let alone the middle name.  1988 seems to have finally acknowledged that there are students that couldn't make it in to get their pictures in the summer and they have added them at the end of the seniors dressed in an obvious casual manner.

Faculty was presented in a basic light in most cases.  There were a couple of years that went into the faculty presentation in depth.  More information about the faculty member with likes, dislikes, educational history and other information presented.  Particularly 1974 and 1978 were good in this area.

The yearbooks were done cheaply in many cases.  Some of them presented information that was unreadable, incorrect or out of alignment.  Cite the history pages from the 1980 yearbook.  Super small fonts on black paper that were virtually unreadable.  Other yearbooks were excellent in their presentation and content.  I liked 1961 in particular for the individual pictures and the description immediately under the picture.  The 1981 yearbook is a new walk into the world of unbelievable.  The history, which was put down the center of each page, doesn't say which classmate the history is for.  There are some that are obvious that it is a girl's history vs. a boy's history so you can determine ownership.  Others have girls on both sides and only one history.  There is no way to tell which girl the history is for.  I left the history off for now in those cases since it was indeterminate.

Misspellings were rampant and it appears that in the later years particularly the names were incorrectly alphabetically sorted also.  The yearbook many times reflects the name used by the classmate but not the actual birth name.  Locating someone thus becomes a bit more difficult.  There are also some seniors pictured that simply did not show up in the commencement flyer.  One must assume that these people did not graduate or graduated at a later date for some reason.  There are also some classmates that graduated mid-year so they are either not pictured or not listed in the commencement flyer.

I have some goals in producing the future web pages here.  I will ultimately eliminate the not pictured pages and integrate them into the general class listing.  I have a new program ASP program being written to handle the classmates in real time so that I can update one database and not have to do several when a classmate leaves and email update, etc.  I'd also like to present more reunion highlights if they are submitted, among other things.  I would also like to solicit commencement flyers from all years.  The presentation can be a more accurate one then.

Check out the errors listing also and update us if you know of a yearbook error. <ERRORS>

What do I look for in a yearbook?  As I've gone through these Van Horn yearbooks it becomes painfully obvious that all are not equal.  There are certain things that I expect to see in a yearbook and I'm not seeing these things in many of the yearbooks.

Roy's Yearbook Basics
Yearbook colors - choose colors that can be read easily and that compliment each other.  Some of the yearbooks I've seen have black paper and small white lettering that is very hard to see.  Others have light gray backgrounds with white script writing that is virtually impossible to read.  The good ol' white page with black writing really gets the point across and always will.  The cover colors can be virtually anything you would think.  Choose something that doesn't rub off or discolor with the normal skin secretions from folks that will handle the book.

Identify the yearbook on the yearbook spine.  Make sure that the manufacturer is doing a good job of producing a book that the gutter is not glued together so that you can't see all of the pictures easily.  Oft' times the gutter is run full of glue.  Don't run the pictures to the 'edge' of the pages.  Keep a 1/2" margin at least on each page.  Often the picture is run into the gutter and is damaged or hard to see.

Table of Contents should include what's in the book in detail.  Descriptions can even be included here for each section.

Introduction - should include a brief history of the school, it's location, identification, etc.

Faculty - Should include all levels of faculty and have not just a picture and a name.  It is nice to have a brief 'history' or 'credits' for each faculty member.  Perhaps the years that the faculty member has worked at Van Horn, their job, or the classes they teach listed out.

Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior classes as appropriate with information about class officers.  Pictures of the seniors should be of their face... not their body and should be clear, centered and distinct.  The font chosen to describe the classmate should be at least 10 point and a clear distinct font such as Arial.  Fancy 'script' is hard to read and some of the wild fonts being used today make it very hard to read when actually in print.  One of the best was '61 since it was plain, straight forward, and the names were immediately below the graduate.  Listing three or four graduates after a series of three of four pictures is not the way I like to see things done.

Unpictured students - LIST THEM.  It is often that a student doesn't get a senior picture taken for reasons of time or money.  Don't ignore them as most books do.  Put a list of the seniors that are not pictured in the book.

Student history - It is nice to have the student accomplishments and memberships listed next to the student picture.  It is also acceptable to have a separate history page area which has this information.  It should be somewhat complete and not just a sham such as some of the books that I've seen.

Alphabetized students.  Actually have someone check the alphabetization of the students.  It appears that simply is not a skill that the yearbook producers seem to have in many cases.  Spelling errors are a nice thing to eliminate also.

Accuracy - Is it really that hard to check the accuracy of the names that are put into the book?  Many times the student name spelling is incorrect or inaccurate.  Get it right.

Clubs and activities area.  Club group pictures, sponsers and club activities are all parts of this.  A brief club history is nice which includes date club started and the club's goals.

Sports area.  Including team pictures and scores, accomplishments.  This is not my strong suit but is a valid area of interest for others.  Team pictures, game photos, and sponsors are all inportant items here.

Index - put an index into the back of the book that lists the pages that each student is pictured on.

Ideas - print out the yearbook after the year end and distribute it to the graduates.  Have a supplement that is for class signatures that can then be inserted into the yearbook when they get it.  Alternately the yearbook could be printed and then have a supplement that completes the yearbook information with scores, prom pictures, and other things that could not make the printing cut.

PICTURES - Are worth a thousand words... but it's really nice to document them.  Particularly the person being pictured should be listed by name.  For instance 'A Team' doesn't tell you a thing if you don't know who the 'A Team' members were.  List the members pictured and if appropriate... list the non-pictured members.

There are numerous suggestions and helps that the yearbook printing company can give you.  Don't ignore them.  They can save you time and effort.

Roy Timberman
Class of '67


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