It has been said that the years we spend in high school are the most important and memorable years of our lives.
The friends we make last forever, whether we see them every week or once every ten years. High school yearbooks preserve those halcyon days…we will always be 17 years old when we are with our classmates from high school. Our yearbooks capture thousands of pictures that are worth thousands of words, words that only these precious photos can convey. Our yearbooks are a record of the popular culture of the era…its fashion, language and trends. Our yearbooks are also a genealogical treasure helping families to understand the hopes, dreams, aspirations and activities of their ancestors and see photographs of them.
The Jewish Historical Society of Michigan maintains the Jewish Yearbook Collection, a treasure trove of more than 1,500 yearbooks from throughout the state of Michigan. Dating back to the early 20th century, the collection contains rare books from schools long gone and recent books from last year’s graduating class. This community resource is an on-going project. We will continue to expand the database and grow our collection thanks to the efforts of volunteers and donors.
The Collection and Database
The collection includes books from both public, private and religious schools. Most of the yearbooks represent schools which Jewish students attended or schools with Jewish faculty. While most are high school yearbooks, a number of elementary, junior high/middle and class reunion books are included. The books are carefully preserved and tended to by a crew of volunteers. Books are NOT lent out but our volunteers are happy to make copies of books or pages (a fee is charged for this service).
Most exciting is the database. Names from these books are being entered into an on-line, electronic database which provides a virtual census of Jewish teenagers throughout the region, allowing family members and researchers to gather information on the cultural activities of the teen population of many decades. You can search for names on the Search Names page.
Help Us Preserve and Grow Our Collection
We encourage you to save your yearbooks, take care of them and treasure them. However, if you would like to share them for future generations to enjoy, consider making a donation of these books to the Jewish Historical Society of Michigan. To donate a book, please contact our office, 248-432-5517 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also download this form and contact us to make arrangements for a drop off or pick up: JHSM Yearbook donation form