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Trove of Old Report Cards: “400 Little Dramas Sketched Out On Cardstock”

A Slate writer on Sunday posted the first two articles in a series about a trove of report cards from a girls’ vocational school in New York City that he discovered in the basement of an old school building. It sounds like there will be some fascinating stories from his efforts to to learn more about what happened to the school’s graduates — some of whom may be the grandparents of today’s teachers and students:

I opened one of the drawers and was surprised to find hundreds, maybe thousands, of old report cards. Oddly, they were not for Stuyvesant High students. They were all for teenaged girls who’d attended some sort of trade school back in the early 1900s. Many of the report cards featured small photographs of the students, and most of them were loaded with unusually vivid commentary about everything from the students’ study habits to their personal appearance (one girl, who apparently had red hair, was described as a “real carrot-head”), all rendered in impossibly perfect fountain-pen script. I was immediately smitten.