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University of La Verne’s Colorful History Showcased in New Digital Yearbook Archive

It can be hard to see the changes a university experiences over time, but old yearbooks are valuable, reliable resources that document an institution’s transformation in culture, student body, and landscape.

The University of La Verne is taking steps to preserve its early history by uploading nearly a century’s worth of yearbooks, from 1912 to 2003, into a digital library.

University archivist and professor, Benjamin Jenkins, is leading the charge in converting these paper documents into digital scans. Jenkins said his Honors 380: Internships in Public History class are the real muscle behind the project. So far, they have uploaded 22 yearbooks into the digital library.

“This is a collaboration,” he said. “I want to give credit to my students, because they were the ones who actually made this happen. I came up with what equipment we would use; what resolution we would use for depth and scanning as well as the descriptive elements we would include. But it was students who did the actual work.”

Jenkins notes that these yearbooks are time capsules that reveal a more accurate version of the university’s history.

“[Yearbooks] were snapshots of what students thought was important each year, what faculty members made an impact on them,” he said. “You can see the rise of new buildings and academic programs over time – all through the viewpoint and through the camera lens of students.”

One of the draws to a project like this is seeing just how civically engaged students were in politics and major world events from decades ago.

“The yearbooks are a great insight into what was going on at La Verne,” Jenkins said. “How students were thinking about major world affairs that were going on. If you look at the ones from the 1940s or the 1960s, they talk about folks who are off taking part in World War II, people who are doing work in Vietnam, [or] in Southeast Asia during the 1960s.”

Students who are interested in checking out the digital yearbooks for themselves can view them here. For those who would like to see them in person, the department is open to visitors Monday- Wednesday, 9 a.m. to noon by appointment. Please contact Professor Jenkins at: or (909) 448-1510.