Doris Graham, High School Senior – 1940

Eastern High School

In 1940 my mother, Doris Graham, was a senior at Eastern High School in Detroit.  At that time it stood on East Grand Blvd and Mack Ave, a mile from her home at 6638 Theodore.  Eastern was torn down in the late 1960s.  She was copy editor of the school newspaper “The Indian”, a member of the school Honor Society “The Chiefs” and regularly achieved all “A” report cards, “A” being the highest grade. My mother was in a variety of school activities , but the only photo of her in the Year book is the one below.  She is on the lower right, writing.

My mother graduated in January  of 1940 and entered Wayne University the next month.  I wrote about the cost of attending Wayne in 1940 here.  You can read an article my mother wrote for the school paper and see a report card here.  You will notice I used the above photo in that post. It fit so well with this week’s prompt that I had to feature.  You can read about my mother and her family in the 1940 census here.

My mother is the one on the far right. It says about her “Doris Graham – Victory; memorial committee, house secretary, homeroom secretary, hall guard, Mixed Chorus, Indian Staff, Chiefs; Intelligence high; she’ll succeed by and by.”  “Victory House” was her homeroom.
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31 thoughts on “Doris Graham, High School Senior – 1940

  1. Oh, what a great picture! How lovely to have something like this with your mother featured. It’s obvious that you inherited a good deal of her skill with words, Kristin.

    1. It is and sometimes I have to say their writing got better as they got older. Maybe they wrote about more interesting things later on too.

  2. Oh, my goodness – your post made me sit up because my father went to Eastern High School in Detroit as well. He graduated in 1941. I have his yearbook from 1941 but I have never seen a photo of the high school before. Would you mind if I copied the photo of the high school from your post? I bet in your mother’s 1940 yearbook my father would have been in as well but in his junior year. I only have his senior yearbook. What a coincidence.

    1. I should have given credit. I got it from here and found it by googling Eastern High School Detroit and looking in images. There are several other ones. I remember when we used to ride from my grandparents house on Theodore down the Blvd to Belle Isle, we would pass it in the 1950s. There are no photos of the Junior class, unless he would be in one of the activity photos. Was he in sports or chorus or anything where he might show up? That is a coincidence. The only photo of the school in the yearbook is a close up of the front door with the name on it. Does your yearbook have that too?

      1. No this yearbook is in a cream color with Arrow 1941 on the cover and then the inside photo does show a photo of the school but it doesn’t show much and the trees and lamp post in the front are obscuring the photo of the school. It looks like it was taken in Winter because the trees are rather bare looking and there is no indication of the name of the school on the photo. On my father’s senior caption it says “Mylen Schulte”, Roosevelt; Excursion Committee, Intramural Bowling, ABC Bowler; A prospective bowling champ”. Very interesting coincidence. As an aside, they sure had some really old teachers that year!!! The photos of the teachers look like they are ready for retirement.

        1. There is a photo of six of the boys who entered in the A.B.C. tournament and one of them is M. Schulte. They also mention Milton Schulte being on the Bowling Team. I can send you a scan of the page if you send me your email address.

    1. Awww, postcardy. I don’t have my father’s but I’m sure it got tossed out by mistake because they saved everything. Or their mothers did.

  3. That is a great picture! I was a little surprised at the desks in the high school. I don’t know why – I just always thought of those desks for younger students, but I guess they just made bigger ones for high school. I bet your grandparents were so proud of your mother!

    1. We had those same kinds of desks when I was in high school from 1960 – 1964. They were big enough for high school students. Yes, my grandparents were very proud of her.

  4. I have a couple of my parents’ yearbooks too, Kristin — my mother was noted for her ability to use her fork to fling “peas into her water glass” at lunch! It’s amazing, isn’t it, to see them at that age — nice post!

    1. Your mother must have been quite the card. It is something to see them at that age. So much ahead of them and now it’s all over and lived.

  5. Year Books seem to be an American idea; I don’t know of British schools that do the same thing – school magazines, yes – year books, no. I can see the memories that they can bring back and put faces to people you used to know, It must special to see members of your own family though.

    1. I especially like seeing my mother in the group photo. Even though it’s obviously posed, it’s more natural than the little face portrait. After I wrote this post I looked through my own year book from 1964 and I it did make me think back to see all those people I mostly haven’t seen since.

  6. No yearbooks here either. It is a pity that buildings such as Eastern High School had to be torn down. I think it is a monumental building! My (and also my mothers’) high school, built in the early 30s, is still there.
    The boy next to your mother is rated as the “most popular boy”. How was that determined? By asking all the girls? I’m sure that if they had asked the boys, your mother would have been awarded that title for the girls!

    1. I think it’s a pity they tear down the old buildings too. The high school my father and later I attended is also torn down. My elementary school is torn down. And, like Eastern, they were well built buildings that had been allowed to deteriorate. I don’t understand how keeping them up all along would have been more expensive than tearing them down and building complete new schools. Sometimes they build them somewhere else and in the case of Eastern, they even changed the name! Erasing history as we go.

      They chose the most popular, the most well dressed, and more by having the 12th grade vote. I don’t remember how the nominations were made because I didn’t participate in any of my senior year activities. I almost avoided the actual graduation exercise but I ended up going.

  7. Wonderful post. I do have my high school yearbooks. 1952 to 1956. I had saved a scrapbook that started with my 1st grade and went all the way to my HS grad in 1956. It had things I had written, every report card, dried flowers from corsages from dances, pieces of fabric of things I had made. Well it fell apart and was so full of dust I had to throw it away. Wow I wish I had saved it anyway.

    1. You could probably saved some of it at least the report cards and documents. I know that feeling of wishing I’d saved things, even though it appears I’ve kept everything.

  8. That was a grand old school like so many in the East they are all gone now. Your mother was really a lovely girl. This is a good flow from the prompt. I donated the 40’s yearbook that my aunt had to the local community library there in PA when she died because they have resources like that and I felt it would serve more folks. Looking at this, I kind of wish I had it but then I have too much stuff. As ususal, an interesting read you shared.

  9. The Year Book photograph is wonderful and in many ways mimics the theme photograph in the collection of people doing different things, looking different ways (and probably carefully posed).

  10. Loved this. I have such fond memories of your Mom. Those cold weekends when I would go to Idlewild with my Dad. No lake action because it was off season. I remember your Mom always crocheting/knitting doll clothes for Jilo and Ife. Makes perfect sense that she too was such a writer and intellect.

    1. Yes she was. I remember a pink dress she crocheted for Jilo when she was maybe 4. It was pretty wild. And she made a blanket for each of the kids when they were babies. And mittens with a matching hat one year. I never did knit or crochet anything but one scarf.

  11. As Alan said, a perfect mimic of the theme photo. Yearbooks are a great resource for family history, but they seem only for high schools now. I don’t think my son has one for his university as 25,000+ students would make a pretty big (and expensive) yearbook.

  12. She looked very sassy in that last pic.
    Aside from her academics,
    she certainly kept busy!!!
    But it paid off and made her the woman she became.

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