Amongst our collection of early 20th century theater scrapbooks, there is a commencement book put together by Allegheny High School student Kathleen Kelly in 1917. In addition to listing her “aliases” in the front of the book, she also wrote a list of all of her teachers’ favorite sayings, which include many notable quotables such as “Where are you supposed to be?” and “Get off the stage if you’re eating.”
are several pressed flowers with little inscriptions about their
significance, and scraps of dresses with a short memory written beside
them as well. Kathleen added a few of her own sketches and small
paintings, like a sketch of a neighboring student in her math class and a
pair of eyes drawn above a clipping of a poem written by her father.
There are a couple of sketches from another student, Rody
Patterson, which depict some interesting murder scenarios which were
(hopefully) an inside joke between friends. While these sorts of things
feel very modern, we’re reminded of the period by the appearance of Rody’s name on another page, this time a list of boys that had gone overseas to fight in World War I.
the end of the book there are pages of personal photos, signatures,
notes, and poems written by her fellow classmates. While most of the
poetry is a little forced, a few of these Victorian teenagers truly had a way with words, such as this unnamed young man who wrote, “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, if Latin don’t kill us, civics must.”
-Emily Morris, student employee