Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Owl - June, 1908 – Owl Staff and Dramatics

I took a detour for a bit but am now back to documenting The Owl, Fresno High School’s yearbook.  I last wrote about The Commencement Number from June, 1908 here.  There are so many photos from this edition that I’ll break it down into small pieces. 

Next up – The Owl Staff.

Owl Staff Photos

I just love the way they are dressed and the hairstyles – such class.  I think they’d laugh to see high schoolers today – “why are these kids wearing pajama pants to school?  And for that matter, what are pajama pants?”

Owl Staff

And then a section about Dramatics.


The art work is beautiful – I wonder if Nelson Daniel or Lucy Walker (Art Staff) drew that?

“The first and one of the most enjoyable of these dramatic affairs of the winter, and one in which a number of the students displayed considerable histronic ability, was ‘BI BI,” which was given at the Barton Opera House on April the 9th, under the auspices of the Young Women’s Christian Association.”

I don’t know who is who in this picture but here is A Chorus from “BI BI”.

Chorus from BI BI

Some of the cast included Mrs. Jefferson Graves, Ivan McIndoo (former student), Willard Bates (former student), Grace Osborn (former student), Edwin Einstein, Hazel Beall, Mona Robertson, Edith Niblock, Sadie Burleigh, Dolly Vogel, Leora Schaeffer, Gwendolyn Barton, Ena De Yo, Louis McWhirter, James, Spratt, Howard Fisher, Louis Williams, Bertrand Gearhart, Will Tupper and John Morgan.

Another production was described as “the most ambitious affair in the line of dramatics the school has ever attempted was the Operetta ‘The National Flower’ in which some two hundred and thirty-six students took part”.  Where did they find 236 students?

Dolly Vogel

Who are these lovely ladies?  How I wish they were identified!

Jury in National Flower

At least John Morgan and Leora Schaeffer are identified.

John Morgan_Leora Schaeffer

Last up was “Mice and Men”.  The Owl states that this was a romantic comedy so not the John Steinbeck novel that we read growing up.  But since that wasn’t published until 1937, I guess that makes sense. 

Mice and Men

This production was the Senior Farce and was under the direction of Mrs. Ina Millward.  The entire Senior Class was included in the farce with the principal actors being Louis McWhirter, Robert Collins, Floyd Cowan, Henry Hopkins, Victor Gaines, Rainey La Rue, Ena L. De Yo, Belle Millward, Pearl Duncan, Victoria Cutten, Olive McFarland. 

What a grand time it must have been to attend high school in 1908!


  1. When I look at the photos of the graduates I am impressed with how mature they look. I think 18-year-olds in 1908 were ready to take their places as adults in the community. The girls' hair styles are beautiful -- definitely Gibson Girl era.

    1. They do look ready to take on the world, don't they?

  2. I wonder if the Mice in Mice and Men were the women...

    Lovely photos, and it gives me a sense of the styles during the time my grandmother was growing up, though I don't know that a poor child of immigrants living in the Lower East Side of NYC would have been dressed quite so well!

    1. Maybe the young adults of Fresno High School had just one "Sunday best" outfit.

    2. The students who attended Fresno High in that era were of the top echelon of Fresno society. They were indeed the well-to-do.

  3. This high school is nothing like any school I've seen pictures of in my pile of mess. It seems more like a college. And 236 students? Who was left to attend the show? My graduating class had 250 students and that was considered pretty big. I pity ol' Edwin Einstein - that's too much name to live up to.

    1. Someone from one of the Fresno facebook groups I'm a member of said that Edwin changed his name to Edward Eaton.

    2. Fresno High was very much like a university at that time. The teachers were graduates of Stanford an University of California, Berkeley, the only UC at the time. The students were all well-to-do with well educated families to spur them on. All of the students took Latin.