Saturday, September 26, 2020

Sepia Saturday: Group Activities

 Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.

This week’s Sepia Saturday photo focusing on GROUPS prompted me to think about the various groups that I have been a part of – Girl Scouts, clubs in high school, service organizations as an adult. In looking for photos of my relatives and ancestors who enjoyed similar memberships, I remembered a picture of my father-in-law Ervin with his high school graduation class.

Senior Class Mathias High School, Mathias West Virginia
Ervin Mathias is 3rd from left 

Having graduated in a class of about 250, I have to wonder what it was like to attend such a small school. Was there any glory in being valedictorian when there wasn’t much competition? Was there any shame in being last? Did they have a football team? A band? Cheerleaders? 

Ervin’s yearbook informed me that indeed Mathias High School in Mathias, West Virginia offered several extra-curricular activities. He was on the basketball team. Likely the team was much like the one in the movie “Hoosiers” in which the school was so small that all the boys were on the team.

10 names but 11 students 
I wonder which boy was not on the staff.

Ervin was also on the yearbook staff. As typist, he had a very important job. I might be wrong, but it appears each book was created per person. While duplicating machines were available in 1937, were they available to students in Hardy County, West Virginia? I do not know. The yearbook is clearly not professionally produced. In fact, the senior photos look like they were cut out and glued in place.

A page from the yearbook

The yearbook is a crude little production, but its very existence is a testimony to those qualities that cannot be measured with test scores.

Please join the group over at Sepia Saturday for more old photos, stories, and group fun.


© 2020, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.


  1. I went to a private high school, with around 100 in graduating class. Your story, especially having those year book pages to share, is really fascinating. Thanks.

  2. I like the yearbook! A labor in love; know what I mean? I would imagine the class was probably very close knit being so small?


  3. I graduated in a senior class just shy of 300 and yet we were fairly close. I knew most of us in the class - either personally, or recognized their pictures. It probably helped that I was on the yearbook staff and had constant access throughout the year to all the information everyone was gathering for publication. Our book was rather special in that we contacted Charles Schulz & asked if we could use his "Peanuts" characters in our book? We had a very talented student artist who could recreate the characters extremely well and Mr. Schulz was agreeable to our not only using his characters, but drawing them ourselves. This was in 1958 when "Peanuts" was in its early stages. I have a hunch we wouldn't have been so lucky had the strip been as popular, then, as it eventually became.

  4. I would have liked a small high school like that. Having gone from a small country school into a large high school (graduating class - 200), I was rather lost.

  5. I bet you'd know your classmates really well in such a small school. It's a lot like a family.

  6. That generation really seemed to value high school friendships. And biblical
    vocabulary too. And I bet after all that typing Ervin had everyone's school record memorized!

  7. What an incredible yearbook! Especially since it was hand made. My dad also graduated in a small class in upstate New York. He was valedictorian, but there were only seven students in the class (all female except him!). He played basketball as well. My Baby Boom class, by contrast, had 300 students -- much like yours.

  8. Each individually made? That's a real commitment from the typist. And each individual's signature along side the personal information about them. I love old yearbooks!

  9. Have you been able to connect with any of the classmates' ancestors? I have a photo of my great grandmother's graduating class (of about 10) and since there was only one boy, he was easy to identify once I had a list of graduates. I then was able to connect with his great grandson and share the photo with him.