“History of Yearbooks” lecture presented by historical society and library

The lecture was a part of the Tazewell County Historical Society summer lecture series
Published: May. 21, 2023 at 7:46 PM EDT
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TAZEWELL, Va. (WVVA) -In Tazewell County, Sunday visitors to the Tazewell Train Depot got to learn the history of educational institutions both in our area and around the world through looking at yearbooks. The “History of Yearbooks” was presented by the Tazewell County Historical Society as part of their summer lecture series. The lecture started with some of the earliest known examples of yearbooks in history as far back as ancient Greece. They’ve come a long way since then thanks to the invention of photography.

“I think... it’s very important because, as a teacher myself, I know how kids enjoy their yearbooks... and also as someone who’s studies cultural anthropology, the way that we document, the way we live our lives and the local cultures is really important,” says Jameson Jones, President of the Tazewell County Historical Society.

The lecture moved a little closer to home with history of yearbooks in Tazewell County Schools. The Tazewell County Public Library is building a collection of these books and is hoping to digitize them to preserve them for public use. Chris Wilkes, the assistant director of the library, led the lecture and says yearbooks are more than just fun ways to reminisce: they can provide valuable insight into the past.

“Well, I think yearbooks are... important social part of any school but also there’s some historical and genealogical facts behind that, such as, you want to know the personalities of your family members, or you want to know the architecture that’s happening in a town when a parade is going on,” says Wilkes.

Wilkes says, the Tazewell County Public Library is looking for more Tazewell County yearbooks to fill gaps in their collections and are encouraging donations. They are especially looking for yearbooks from Tazewell County High School – the African American high school that ended operation in the sixties.

This lecture is just one of multiple in Tazewell County Historical Society’s summer lecture series. The next one will be on Sunday, June 11th at 2:30 pm and will also be held at the Tazewell Train Station.