Collecting Someone Else’s Memories…

From the 1910 Lexington College for Young Women Yearbook


One of my many incredibly nerdy hobbies is collecting old school yearbooks from my hometown of Lexington, Missouri. It’s a sleepy small town now, but at one time around the turn of the 20th century, Lexington was booming and was the home of several colleges as well as several public school buildings. The oldest yearbook I own is from the  Lexington College for Young Women from 1910. Most of my other yearbooks are Lexington High School yearbooks from the 1920s that used to be named “The Final Hatch.” 

I love looking through them and dreaming about what my hometown was like then. And I try to imagine what life was like for the students. Did they go through some of the same drama and problems that my students experience? Was there bullying? What were the expectations? As a teacher, it is also very cool to see course descriptions and curriculum printed for several of the departments. That fascinates me. History! It’s also neat to see the advertisement pages in the back. Some of the businesses had 2-digit phone numbers, if they had a phone at all.


From the 1910 Lexington College for Young Women Yearbook


And, of course, I wonder what it was like to be a teacher in those days. Several of my yearbooks were originally owned by Verna Owen (pictured below). The only thing I know about Verna is that she taught in Lexington for many years. The inside cover of one of them is even signed. And, from the writing on this page, we see that someone knew her as Aunt Verna. This tells me that I’m probably at least the third owner of this particular yearbook. Sometimes when going through them I thank Ms. Owen out loud for taking good care of her yearbooks so that I could enjoy them now. 


My 1928 yearbook belonged to and was signed by Verna M. Owen… She was a member of the faculty.


Many of the photos below are from one of the old high school buildings that no longer stands. I never got to see it in my lifetime. I sure wish I could go back in time and take a tour!


Part of the Freshman Class from 1921-1922.


From 1921-1922.


Teacher Training (for students) at Lexington High School 1922.


From 1926-1927.


Part of the Senior Class of 1925-1926.


From the 1922 yearbook. This building is no longer standing and was located where the Lexington Post Office is today.


The next building to serve as Lexington High School would later be where I attended middle school from the fourth through the eighth grade. It was a pretty large building that opened its doors to students in 1927. I have a lot of memories from this old building. I still dream about it often. Unfortunately, it no longer stands. A sad and strangely small-looking empty lot sits in its place.


Artist Conception of the “new” Jr./Sr. High School that opens the next year. This is from the 1926-1927 yearbook.


One of the very first pictures of the main corridor of the “new” building. From the 1927-1928 yearbook.


From the 1928-1929 yearbook. This was the second year in the “new” building. This would have been what I knew as the choir room when I was in middle school.


From 1924-1925.


From 1924-1925.


I was very sad when the building was torn down. I was away at college at the time, but my best friend took the picture below and sent it to me. Thanks to a group of high school students, I was able to purchase a brick from this building. It sits here on my desk. 




About Patrick Keller

Patrick Keller is an educator, blogger, and the host of the Big Séance Podcast, which is a place for paranerds to have an open discussion on all things paranormal, but specifically topics like ghosts and hauntings, paranormal research, spirit communication, psychics and mediums, and life after death. He’s the founder of the now inactive Missouri Spirit Seekers and has spent a lot of time experimenting with spirit communication tools and techniques, such as EVP. Patrick also has a passion for spending hours at a time in cemeteries and loves cemetery photography. Visit! View all posts by Patrick Keller

16 responses to “Collecting Someone Else’s Memories…

  • Diana

    This is a kind of seance isn’t it Patrick? Something comes through of lives lived on other times!

  • samanthacangelosi

    I love this post! What great photos. I minored in HIstory in college and absolutely love vintage photographs and things that represent the early part of last century. It’s amazing to look at these photos and see the way the women and men posed and how they dressed and fixed their hair! What an amazing time period! Thanks for sharing

    • Patrick

      I’m glad you liked it, Samantha! I’ve got many more scans and so I’m thinking about doing a follow up post soon with even more pictures. Maybe a page that discusses curriculum or something. The rules for the girls in the college are quite humorous. 🙂

  • Ash

    High school kids looked so much older back then. Of course, I felt the kids in my class looked much older when I was there… today they look so young. 🙂 I wonder if that’s just a telling sign of how people are looking younger, longer these days? Meaning, the people in these photos are only 18, but they look like what we would at 30 or so… bodes well for us, I think! 😉

    • Patrick

      I would have to concur with you. What was life expectancy in 1910? Plus, for many of these folks I’m sure life wasn’t simple and easy. Many probably lived and worked on farms. I’m a bit older than you, and so I would have to disagree with people my age looking young. It is actually something I’ve been noticing quite a bit all of a sudden lately. I’ll see a celebrity and try to guess their age and then when I look them up on wiki or imdb I almost cry. Last night an actress my age was playing the role of the mother of a college student. AHHHHHHHHH! 🙂

      • Ash

        Hahaha well people still tell me I look like I’m 20 or 22, which I find annoying because I’ve always felt much older than I am. It irks me when people I work with call me “kiddo” and “sweetie” – I’m like, Goddammit! I’m almost 30!

      • Patrick

        I’m almost jealous. Kids rush to help me now with simple things like picking something up off the floor now… of course it’s also because I’m fat. 🙂

  • CreatingWithin

    I enjoyed this post and the pictures. How times have changed, so interesting…I agree with Ash that the kids seem to appear much older then today and they seem to have much more serious expressions and spirits in the one picture with all the boys in white tshirts. Thanks for the post !

    • Patrick

      The picture with the boys in white is actually one of my favorites. So cute! 🙂 If I remember correctly it is the track team? But you’re very right about the serious expressions.

  • Randall Krandallkellereller

    Yes, I liked the post too. I used to collect old tintypes and deguerratypes (sp?) , but it’s been awhile since I’ve pursued it. Every once in awhile I run across them and just each one forever. It’s kinda like there really is a piece of the soul captured in old images.

  • Brent Argo

    The old high school where the current post office stands burned down in the early 1960’s. My family had just moved to Lexington, but I was very little (2 years old) so I don’t remember it. I do remember, however, when the new post office opened on that site, in 1965 I believe. Enjoyed the pictures of the Middle School too. I always wished I could have walked through it before they tore it down. Lots of memories there.

  • Gary Worth

    Hi Patrick
    My wife ad I own the River Reader bookstore in Lexington. I am wondering if it would be ok for me to post several of the old building photos from your blog to Facebook, on behalf of the local Chamber? I think there are many in town that would enjoy them. thanks!

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