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BFS Yearbooks – know all words are faint

These days BFS yearbooks are hard-bound volumes, about 200 pages in length, often have color photos, and provide an overview of the year for the entire school. The earliest known BFS Yearbooks, from 1927 to 1932, differ in many aspects from today’s norm.

The 1927 BFS Yearbook was the Commencement Edition of The Life, which then was a quarterly magazine (an earlier blog post delved a bit into the history of The Life). The yearbook’s focus in 1927 was on the senior class, with portraits of each graduate on individual pages, with their high school activities and a poetic quote for each. Other features of this yearbook also celebrated the graduating class and were yearbook traditions for several years: the valedictory, a class history, the class’s last will and testament, and the class prophecy. Also included were an overview of the year in sports, the latest news at BFS, and, finally, charming advertisements from businesses of the day which were much needed as our students not only wrote all publications, but were charged also with raising funds to cover the costs of their publications through advertising, magazine sales and subscriptions.

Commencement editions of The Life continued as BFS yearbooks until 1933, when the first known hard-bound edition was published. Hard-bound yearbooks continue to the present day, with one exception: the 1935 Yearbook was published as a Commencement edition of The Life, but The Life then was only published as a classic newspaper, so the 1935 Yearbook is only 4 pages long and is in tabloid format. We hope one day to share the 1935 and later yearbooks in the Publications Collection at the BFS Digital Archives.

The 1927 Yearbook’s cover is long gone, so it begins on page 1. Nice to see that the high school established two clubs during that school year, the dramatic club and the discussion club. In 1927, our high school was only almost 20 years old and, as we still do today, student activities were added as a result of student interest.

Also of note in the 1927 Yearbook is an advertisement for the Hotel Margaret. Located at 91-99 Columbia Heights at the corner of Orange Street, the Hotel Margaret was managed by Mr. E.D. DePuy, whose children Edward ’32 and Ruth ’33 graduated from BFS. BFS often held sports dinners and other events at the Hotel Margaret when it was under Mr. DePuy’s management. In 1927, the Hotel Margaret was advertised as “fireproof,” but, sadly, it was not fireproof enough while it was being renovated for condominiums over 50 years later. Once one of the tallest buildings in Brooklyn Heights, the Hotel Margaret was destroyed by a winter’s night 5-alarm fire in 1980.