Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Senior Class Trip

Recently I discovered a group of photographs that document class trips to Washington, D. C. From 1937 to 1941 in the Peterson collection. Graduating classes from the First Congressional District visited Hugh Peterson at the U.S. Capitol and, while there, had their picture taken with him.

Right: Ludowici High School group with Congressman Hugh Peterson at U. S. Capitol, May 26, 1938

There are so many things about these class pictures that appeal to me. It’s exciting to think about these students and how most of them had probably never been to our nation’s capitol before. Having grown up in the First District myself, I know firsthand that the towns are small and that, for the most part,you have to make your own fun. The clothes and hairstyles are also fun to look through. Since this was a big day for the group, they always looked their best - pretty hats on the ladies and the young men in their suits. The chaperones and teachers look nice, too, but appear a little annoyed or tired in each photograph, possibly the consequence of having to watch a group of teenagers for an extended amount of time!

The photos from 1941 seem most poignant. It’s always a little strange to see a photograph of people before a significant event happens that will affect their lives. The groups came in April, May, and June of that year and within nine months each one would know the tragedy of Pearl Harbor. In particular, it’s difficult to look at the young men in those shots and wonder who went to fight and where, and if he ever made it back. Hopefully those young men had fond memories of their trip to our nation’s capitol that they took with them overseas.

Above: Brewton-Parker Institute, Mt. Vernon-Ailey, Georgia school group with Congressman Hugh Peterson at U. S. Capitol, June 3, 1938.

Post by Renna Tuten, Project Archivist, Russell Library

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