When I worked for newspapers, we called the group photo a "stand 'em up and shoot 'em down." Die-hard newsmen hated to see a newspaper loaded with posed photos instead of action shots that depicted real news events. If a football team wins a conference championship, a news editor prefers to run an image of a player scoring the winning touchdown over a group shot showing the entire team.
Readers, on the other hand, would probably pick the portrait. It shows everyone who contributed not just the guy who ran across the goal line. It shows their kid, kids from the neighborhood and helps people put faces to the names in the community.
I have proof that people like portraits. Every time I run a group photo, web traffic spikes. Whether we run faculty photos, American Legion team photos or class photos, people visit -- and tell their friends, who tell their friends... and so on and so on and so on.
(Quick, name that commercial. Sorry, couldn't resist. Back to the main topic...)
So, from time to time, I will publish group photos as I get around to scanning them. Today, we're back to the 1940s and 1950s, brought to you by the Class of 1951, Edina's first high school graduating class.
This photo shows some of them as second graders in May 1941. Children who see this photo are surprised that all the girls are wearing dresses. Some think everyone is dressed up only because it was a special occasion. When I tell them girls were required to wear dresses, they think I'm joking. They're horrified when I point out that kids back then didn't wear tennis shoes to school either.
The photo below shows the Class of 1951 on the front steps of Edina School (known as Wooddale in later years) when they graduated from eighth grade in 1947. At the time, Edina schools ended in 8th grade. Then Edina kids went to St. Louis Park High School or one of the Minneapolis schools. Some went to a private school like Blake (then all boys) or Northrup (Blake's all girls school counterpart).
These young men and women are now 79 or 80 years old. But when they were middle school age, they could be as silly as kids today. Look at that front row posing like Napoleon Bonaparte.
By the way, those distinctive arched doorways were saved when Wooddale School was demolished in the 1980s and they are now the entrances to our exhibit rooms at the Edina History Museum.
This is Miss Ardus Towler's homeroom class.
In 1949, Edina's first high school opened without a senior class because, understandably, most people wanted to finish out their high school career where they started. The Class of 1951, as juniors, were the leaders at the combined junior and senior high school. (The building now houses Edina Community Education.)
This is Edina's first high school football team. Even without a senior class, the school managed to have enough players to field a full team. For many, this was the first time they competed in an organized sport (in contrast to today, when kids compete on sports teams even before they start kindergarten.)
These photos are courtesy of Frank Cardarelle (#43 in the middle row). The fourth-generation Edina resident, who grew up on a farm west of Valley View Road and today's Highway 62, is one of the children featured in our "Growing Up in Edina: A Show and Tell Exhibit" on display at the Edina History Museum through October 2012.
Now it's your turn. Are you a fan of group photos or do you share the journalism philosophy? Do you have photos to share? And most importantly, can you help identify any of the people in the photos? Comment here or email me.
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Jennifer Adam is the Executive Director of the Edina Historical Society. She welcomes your contributions. Comment on a post or send an email (see below). Traditional mail, of course, can also be sent to:
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