These Historic Hawai‘i Yearbook Photos Will Transport You Back in Time
We take a look inside your high school yearbooks to find what’s changed about the local high school experience over the years, and what’s stayed exactly the same.
This story originally appeared online in November 2012.
Oh, high school. Is there any other time in our lives for which we’re so nostalgic, and yet so glad is over? Luckily (or embarrassingly), yearbooks are there to record the experience—the homecoming dances, the awkward fashions, the jocks, nerds and babes. Your yearbook is probably safely stashed in a closet somewhere, but someone else has a copy, too: the Hawai‘i State Library. Its collection includes just about every high school throughout the Islands, and dates back as far as 1914. We combed through the stacks to find what’s changed about the local high school experience over the years, and what’s stayed exactly the same.
Special thanks to the Hawai‘i State Library staff, who were a great help in collecting all these images. If you’re interested in exploring more old yearbooks, the entire collection is available to the public in the Hawai‘i and Pacific Section of the Hawai‘i State Library (478 S. King Street, 586-3535, librarieshawaii.org.)
The entire 1914 graduating senior class, from left: Irene Kalai, En Kong Wung, Rita Canario, Matsuyo Sakuma.
Early 20th Century yearbooks often read like literary journals, with sections for poetry, essays and jokes. Sample quip from 1921: Kanichi F: “There’s something so dove-like about her.” Bud Y.: “Yes, she’s pigeon-toed.”
The 1951 Castle High School yearbook asked seniors to name the career they were planning to pursue. Among the answers: telephone operator, stenographer, undertaker, deep sea fisherman, deep sea fisherman’s wife, society playboy, professional hobo.
McKinley Driver’s Ed
Six decades before Title IX, girls were excited to play sports. The 1914 Hilo high school girls’ basketball program fielded 19 members, almost triple the size of the boys’ team that year.
Hilo Girls’ Basketball Team
Every generation has its own style innovations. Radford ’97’s yearbook devoted a spread to a new craze sweeping the campus—piercings and tattoos—with multiple photos of students sticking out their tongues to show off the barbells running through them.