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Tag Archives: Newport News

- Those Who Served, Those Who Fell: War and the Yearbook


Fare Fac Sampler, 1943, Fairfax High School, Fairfax, VA. https://archive.org/details/farefacsampler1943fair_0

As the holiday season comes and goes, our thoughts turn to those who are away from home and those who will never see home again. Through my work with the Virginia Yearbooks Digitization Project, I found that many students during times of war, both in the armed services and support services, were recognized and remembered in their local school yearbooks. So far, I have only uncovered yearbooks referring to WWII, despite browsing through others looking for similar tributes during WWI and the Korean or Vietnam wars. Due to copyright law, this project only includes yearbooks up until 1977.  If our readers have examples from other wars, we would love to see them!

It has been heartwarming and heartbreaking to read the homages of students to their fellow classmates and friends on the covers, dedication pages, or other yearbook sections. Those young students obviously thought it was important to pay their respects to their peers. For example, one digitized yearbook from the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company Apprentice Program depicts an era in Virginia when many young men from the Tidewater region either served in the military or worked at the shipyard. The yearbook dedication reads, “To the all important role played by the shipbuilder in the fight for our American way of life, we humbly dedicate the 1942 Binnacle.” An opening page … read more »

- Everybody’s Doing What? The Turkey Trot!: Irving Berlin’s Song and Latest Dance Craze Too Much For Newport News.

Watch the full episode. See more Masterpiece.

(Editor’s Note: The short scene above from Downton Abbey, part of PBS’s Masterpiece, though an English period drama, is set only weeks after the trial in Newport News and is a great example of a couple dancing the Grizzly Bear to “Everybody’s Doing It Now.”)

If you’ve ever heard “God Bless America” or “White Christmas” then you know the music of Irving Berlin. Considered by many critics to be the country’s greatest songwriter, many of his songs are American classics. It was very strange indeed then when one of our archivists discovered the sheet music to one of Berlin’s songs entered as evidence in an obscenity trial in Virginia.

On the evening of 3 April 1912, Newport News police arrested Olympic Theater owner E. T. Crall, song-and-dance troupe leader Palmer Hines, and his six dancing girls. That night’s act, judged too hot for the public good by police, combined Palmer singing the suggestively titled Berlin song “Everybody’s Doing It Now” with the girls dancing the Turkey Trot, the racy and very latest “animal” dance to sweep the nation.

The animal dances which emerged around 1909 and later, such as the Turkey Trot, Grizzly Bear, and Bunny Hug, were the dances of ragtime music, the popular music of its day. The Turkey Trot was the first … read more »

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