Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Owl–Commencement Number, June 1908

Finally, I’ve made it to a Commencement Number!  As I understand it, the others were more like a school newspaper while the Commencement Numbers are like a yearbook – photos and all!  The June, 1908 edition has lots of photos so in the hopes of a descendant finding this blog, I’ll include most of the photos.

Front Cover

I love that they included a photo of the school – it’s nice to see how it has changed over the last 100+ years.  I don’t remember that any of my high school yearbooks have photos of the school back from my day.


Not a very large faculty in those days.

Left, top to bottom: Maude Schaeffer, E.B. Williams, J.W. Warner
2nd from left, top to bottom:  Helen Louise Sprague, Jeanette Minard, Edna Rowell, Joseph Christensen
Center, top to bottom: Hester Pardee Tefft, C.L. McLane, A.C. Olney
2nd from right, top to bottom:  Julia Warren, J.A. Nowell, W.B. Gladfelter, P. Nilsson
Right, top to bottom:  Edna Ecker, F.M. Fulstone, A. Clarence Smith
The gentleman in the center, C. L. McLane, was the Superintendent of City Schools.  I found it interesting that every one of the women was listed as “Miss” – I’m guessing that it wasn’t very popular to have married women in the work place.

And then the list of the Class of 1908 students.

Class of 1908

About 45 students.  While it would be a record-breaking small class in today’s standards, it seems like that was a fair amount of students in 1908.

Rainey LaRue was quite active in school but I have to wonder what “Senior Farce” meant?

Rainey LaRue

And here are the individual photos of the class.  I’d love to hear from you if you are a descendant of one of these students.

Seniors Page 1 Seniors Page 2
Top to bottom
Lucy Walker, Arthur Douglas, Marguerite Vogel, Edwin Einstein
Top to bottom
Belle B. Millward, Victor C. Gaines, Pearl Duncan, Lucie Davis
Seniors Page 3 Seniors Page 4
Top to bottom
Mary E. Hanner, Ena Lenore De Yo, Jennie S. Macdonald, Henry L. Hopkins
Top to bottomg
Victoria Cutten, Lynette Morgan, Maude Cassell, L. Bransford McWhirter
Seniors Page 5 Seniors Page 6
Top to bottom
Fred L. Prather, Olive H. McFarland, Elmer Chapman, Georgia Capps
Top to bottom
Blance Cummings, Joseph A. Reiss, Mabel Alberts McKnight, Roy Crissman
Seniors Page 7 Seniors Page 8
Top to bottom
Alta E. Wiseman, Robert F. Collins, Florence Sharer, Theodore A. Ruschhaupt
Top to bottom
Mabel A. Welch, Lottie Elizabeth Downing, Floyd Wellesley Cowan, Harriet W. Tuft

Seniors Page 9 Seniors Page 10
Top to bottom
Ora M. Traves, Bunnie L. Wyllie, Bertha Douglas, Lester G. Brownell
Top to bottom
Merle Mitchell, Ruby B. Shipp, Edith Keyes, Alfred Carl Becker

Seniors Page 11  
Top to bottom
Lottie Grounds, Thomas B. Wheaton, Jr., Daisy Wheeler, Ethel Irene Stutzman
Darn, not an ancestor of mine in the bunch.  But maybe a friend of someone!

Lots more to share – be sure to come back!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

What does this say?

I’m always amazed when I look and look and look at something and then one day, something new pops up out of the blue.  This picture is the newest example. 

Rebecca_Louis_Joseph_Bertha Schwartz

The adorable young girl is my great grandmother, Bertha “Birdie” Schwartz, with her parents, Louis and Rebecca (Steen) Schwartz, and older brother, Joseph Schwartz.  Birdie looks to be about 5 years old here so I would guess this photo to be from about 1877 or so.

I found the photo after cleaning out my parents’ storage unit four years ago and surprising even myself, immediately scanned it.  I’m normally not that organized but for some reason, I felt compelled to get it done right away.  Phew.

My husband has been dabbling in matting and framing and is always happy to frame whatever gem I find and want framed.  So I put this photo, along with some other things, into a pile on the dining room table for framing at a later time.  My guess is that in a moment of cleaning the house and needing to clean off the dining room table for guests, the pile of things to be framed was stashed away and try as we might, we couldn’t remember where we’d put them.  Come on, you know you’ve done this, too.

Finally, last week my husband was cleaning out a closet and there it was!  Not somewhere we would have ever guessed (getting old sure sucks) but it didn’t matter, the missing items were no longer missing!  So he brought them back out so I could tell him how I wanted things matted and framed.

And then I turned over the picture and saw this.  How did I not remember that it was there?

Rebecca_Louis_Joseph_Bertha Schwartz back

So what does it say?  Is it an address?  Name?  Both?  I really, really think this could be a clue to Louis’ family that he left behind in Shildberg, Prussia when he left home in about 1851.  And since I know virtually nothing about that family, I hope my hunch is right.


Monday, February 15, 2016

The Owl–1908 (Part 2)

A new cover design by Nelson Daniel for March, 1908.

We finally get some history as to the early days of The Owl – the March, 1908 edition was the 10th anniversary of the publication.  I wonder if any of these very early ‘numbers’ are still in existence.


By October, 1905, my grandfather, Sig Levy, was the editor (see second column, 4th paragraph) and he made a few changes.  While I have many copies of the publication, unfortunately I don’t have that one.  I’ve also wondered exactly when Sig graduated – good to see in print that he graduated in January, 1906.


It must have been sad to realize that after just 10 years, there were already 21 missing numbers of The Owl.  Of course I scoured my ‘collection’ thinking it would be fun to come up with one of these missing copies more than 100 years later but, sadly, they are missing from my collection, as well.  I have the October and December, 1903 edition – wonder if they ever located November?

I always like to read about Athletics. 

The ads didn’t seem too exciting this time – maybe because I found the history piece so interesting.  However, I did pick one that was cute.  Egg drinks????


These copies have really taken a beating.  The staples in the center have rusted and all but deterioriated so handling them is getting tough.

A new cover design by Nelson Daniel.


One of the first pages showed a picture of the S.J.V.A.A.L. Trophy.  It must have been coveted since they stated Now Ours.

The editorial talked about the trophy by saying:

At last Fresno Hi has permanently won an important athletic cup.  This has been accomplished by winning the track meet of the S.J.V.A.A.L. for three successive years, a feat which has been attempted almost ever since Fresno Hi has had any athletic aspirations whatever.  The winning of the cup, however, has aroused scarcely any enthusiasm, probably because this particular cup has been in our hands ever since it was put up, three years ago, and no fear has been felt for its safety.

Had the recent victory occurred four years ago, the school board probably would have had to declare vacation until the enthusiasm had sufficiently subsided to allow thoughts to return to studies.  Previous to the last few years, almost every student has felt personally interested in the cup.  The old files of “The Owl” are full of editorials urging the enthusiasm and support of everyone toward winning the cup.  The members of the track team are exhorted to strive as they never had before.  Then each time a track meet had been won, and the cup was temporarily Fresno’s, an editorial appeared, joyously proclaiming the happy event, and bubbling over the enthusiastic expectancy of a repetition of the victory at the next meet to come.

But all the editorial hopes and prophesies proved vain.  Try as we would, we were unable to win more than twice in succession, until finally Modesto had the required three successive victories and took permanent possession of the highly prized cup.

The second cup, however, is now ours, and yet there seems to be a lack of enthusiasm.  No one says more than “I’m glad we won it,” and few even say that.  Why is it that the importance of the victory has decreased so considerably in three years?

Interesting.  We’ve already read in previous editions about a lack of participation and enthusiasm at Fresno High School and this seems to carry on with that theme.  I can only guess at the meaning of S.J.V.A.A.L. – San Joaquin Valley Athletic _____ League.

I enjoy reading about the weddings back then but you sure wouldn’t see any publication ‘call out’ that certain girls were the most popular. 


And a few interesting advertisements – suddenly we’re seeing new items being highlighted.  Sure would love to see a photo of one of the talking machines.


And more outdoor gear.


I can just visualize a Sunday afternoon on the lawn playing croquet……

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Owl–1908 (Part 1)

And now we’re on to 1908 at Fresno High School and another new logo.

Front Cover

Looks like Nelson Daniel was busy creating the new cover.

Table of Contents

From the looks of it, The Owl (later The Owlet) was anxiously awaited for each month.  And once it arrived, the world stopped while everyone read the latest edition.

Owl Out Today

Looking at this Editorial, it seems that getting people involved in High School life was beginning to take a toll.  Too bad the article had to start out with a negative tone – “this number of The Owl will be a disappoitnment”.  But we’ve all been involved in organizations, be it school or otherwise, where it seems that the same people do most of the work and others just sit around and complain.


As usual, the advertisements provide us with quite a peek into life over 100 years ago.  And here we all thought this “coffee craze” just hit us with the influx of Starbucks.  Or maybe it’s just that I don’t drink coffee and live in a region known for it’s coffee.  But nevertheless, I do know that $1.00 for 3 pounds of coffee is a steal! 

H Graff and Co

Once again, the major emphasis seems to be on men’s clothing.  Where did the women shop for clothes?  And what in the heck does “rubber at our string of windows” mean?

SB Goodman

I think I know what The Toggery was trying to say but reading “wait for the new spring line” makes me think they really don’t want my business right now.


On to February.  Same logo.

Front Cover

Maybe “Woozy” Becker took the challenge and decided to get involved with The Owl.  Either that or one of the young ladies had quite the crush on him.  I love the color that the artist added.

Woozy Becker

Still trying to get kids involved.  I know this Editorial is long but it is an interesting view of high school life in 1908.

Editorial pg 2

And while I’ve seen advertisements for establishments that carried school pins, here we learn that a standard pin had not been adopted.  While Fresno High School seemed to have some trouble adopting a school pin, looks like the Class of 1908 took matters into their own hands and adopted a pin for their class.

Senior Class Pin

Here we are with coffee again.  Too bad whomever placed the ad didn’t know how to spell specialty.  (And now I sound exactly like my father – the guy who had to point out every typo!)

Fresno Coffee Store

Now S.B. Goodman is stalling – “not yet, but soon”?  And once again I ask – where do the women buy their clothing?

SB Goodman

So where would the high school boys and friends go if they didn’t want an up-to-date hair cut?

Brunswick Shaving Parlor

Come back soon for more from 1908!