One of our more recent yearbooks, the 1903 Sword and Rifle of the Bingham School in Asheville, caught my attention because the students added a lot of additional cartoons and illustrations. With photography not as convenient as it is today, the pages are instead filled with hand-drawn snapshots describing private jokes and school life. Here’s one of the Rats – a term the Old Boys used as they hazed the newest students (see page 21):
Their school clubs and activities also have accompanying illustrations, like these two for the football team and the Nick Carter Club. (The Nick Carter they’re talking about was a dime novel detective from the late 19th, early 20th century.)
And, as might be expected in an all-boys school, many of their illustrations are of women – like this Gibson Girl penned by Robert Rodney Dale.
There were a number of Bingham Schools in Asheville. This is the only yearbook we currently have for this school so I can’t be sure if the illustrative tradition continued. But the illustrations have given the school a very playful character in my mind, revealing more about the students than most of our other yearbooks from that time period.
These volumes are shared online by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.