Library Digitizes VHS Yearbooks


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This might be the best rainy day activity ever: The Verona Public Library has digitized every Verona High School yearbook from 1921 to 2015, and they are all searchable here.

You can search for an edition of Shadows by year, or search for the name of anyone who graduated VHS during those years. The search engine returns senior profiles and any mention of the name in photo captions throughout the books. If today’s Verona students try, they can likely find their parents, grandparents and quite a few of their teachers as high school seniors.

This is a big deal because while the library has long maintained a complete collection of VHS yearbooks, looking back in them wasn’t easy. They were stored in a room in the basement, not on the shelves upstairs, and if you wanted to consult one, you had to request it from a librarian and not leave the building with it.

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The collection begins with the first class to occupy a building just for Verona high school students–the center rooms of what is now H.B. Whitehorne Middle School. VHS’s principal in 1921–and the district’s superintendent–was Frederick N. Brown, whose name was later put on one of Verona’s four elementary schools. And the faculty was just eight teachers, including Paul Goeltz, whose name is now on the lower field at today’s VHS.

The year books are chronicles of Verona’s history, and that of the world at large. The yearbooks of 1943, 1944 and 1945 included seniors, juniors, and some teachers who had enlisted to fight in World War II.

And they may hold a clue to one of the biggest VHS mysteries: The year when the high school first used a Hillbilly for a mascot. We’ve got a t-shirt for the first person to find it. Put the year and page number in the comments below.

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected]


  1. Very interesting. 1968 was the year that Al Rotella came up from Tennessee to Verona to coach football at VHS and there was a Hillbilly image in Tennessee that looks very much like the 1968 image.

  2. If it was, there’s no image of it in that year’s yearbook. “Hillbilly” was bandied about as a nickname in the late 1940s, and there was a rough drawing of a rustic-looking person in a yearbook in the early 1960s. But the earliest gun-and-jug Hillbilly seems to be 1968. But still looking for something earlier.


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