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What Back to School Looked Like in Vintage Los Angeles

Tina Lerno, Librarian, Digital Content Team,
3 children heading into a school on the first day
First day of school: the smile of the girl at left, and the tears of the miss at right, tell the story of mixed emotions of Los Angeles' younger set today, as school starts for an army of 605,000 youngsters, [September 15, 1958]. Herald Examiner Collection

It's the day lots of adults look forward to, and lots of kids dread. After a summer of fun, it's time to start setting that alarm again, shop for supplies, and go back to school!

Looking through our photo archives, not much has changed from days gone by, though the school year does seem to start earlier and earlier, with LAUSD students going back to school on August 14.

And don't forget, the Los Angeles Public Library is your best resource as you head back to the classroom.

Dr. Alexander Stoddard, new superintendent of schools, and Mrs. Bertha Norton, teacher, look over the first group of children

Dr. Alexander Stoddard, new superintendent of schools, and Mrs. Bertha Norton, teacher, look over the first group of children enrolled in kindergarten at Fremont School, [September 13, 1948]. Herald Examiner Collection

Women waking up and turning off her alarm clock

Photograph caption dated September 14, 1962 reads, "Bells Again—Schoolteachers never seem to get away from the sounds of bells, and Mrs. Doris Segall of Sherman Oaks is no exception. The first bell is that of her alarm clock, which tells her it's time to get out of bed and get ready for the more than 30 students who will enter her B3 classroom Monday at Herrick Avenue School in Sylmar. There are name cards to fill out and lessons and bulletin boards to prepare. There's the momentary quiet of an empty classroom, which will soon be shattered when school bells ring and tell some 227,000 Los Angeles City School District pupils in the Valley that summer vacation is over and it's time to get back to work." [1962]. Valley Times Collection

a man and a women point at a back to school sign on a chalk board

School bells beckoning Valley students also sound a call to square dancers as fall and winter club schedules begin. Pictured are Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Davis of Square Crows, [September 7, 1961]. Valley Times Collection

Shown modeling fall fashions are Sandie Bingaman, Sonia Dennis and Jane Bum Balugh

Photograph caption reads "The May Company Valley Tea Room was the setting for a Back-To-School Fashion Show presented by the Central Valley District Camp Fire Girls last week. Shown modeling fall fashions are Sandie Bingaman, Sonia Dennis and Jane Bum Balugh," [September 11, 1956]. Valley Times Collection

Joe Wedgewood and his dog, Major

"You have to stay home, pal," says Joe Wedgewood as he ties up his dog, Major, before returning to school on September 15, 1947—the first day of the fall semester. More than 650,000 school children all over the county marched back to their classrooms this morning, [1947]. Herald Examiner Collection

Teen age models in the latest fashions, 1962

Back to school fashions at Fashion Square in San Fernando Valley. Teen-age models are from left Terry King, Sherman Oaks; Andrea Aston, Sunland, and Barbara Hunter, also Sherman Oaks, [1962]. Valley Times Collection

, first grade pupils of Hoover Street School gathered around their teacher, Miss Martha Ingram

Back to the world of reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic after three months of summertime, first-grade pupils of Hoover Street School gathered around their teacher, Miss Martha Ingram, for their first lesson on September 17, 1951. Nearly 600,000 boys and girls answered the call of school bells as the fall semester opened. Herald Examiner Collection

Students at Eagle Rock's first elementary school in 1888

Students at Eagle Rock's first elementary school in 1888. The school was located at the corner of Casper and Colorado. It was razed about 1908. Security Pacific National Bank Collection

Group photograph of the first class of the first public school in the San Fernando Valley

Group photograph of the first class of the first public school in the San Fernando Valley, on the site of the San Fernando Reservoir near Lopez Street, [1884]. Valley Times Collection

Young students pose for a class photo outside of the wooden schoolhouse of the Lemon School in Puente

Young students pose for a class photo outside of the wooden schoolhouse of the Lemon School in Puente, later to be known as La Puente, [ca 1890]. Security Pacific National Bank Collection


 

 

 

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