With essentially a full employment economy, the class of 1942 graduated into a world of relative prosperity in the US. But that prosperity was largely based on a war production economy, and while there would actually be shortages of manufacturing labor until the spring of 1945, there would be just as big of a shortage in the military sphere. During WWII there were 16 million people in uniform, both men and women. On the home front, the factories would never have been able to keep up had women, typified by Rosie the Riveter, not taken up the wrenches and hammers, and headed for the factors. This began a social shift that made it clear that women could do almost anything men could given the opportunity. This was a new concept in the world of 1942, when women's right to vote was only 22 years old.
While the 1942 class annual does not mention WWII, perhaps to emphasize a more normal high school experience, the influence must have been strong. It was not clear in 1942 that Germany would not pervail in Europe, where successes were still so overpowering that all the US could do is prepare, and hope that Germany would make a mistake. Most members of the class of 1942 probably either enlisted or went to work in the factories. In school, there were probably bond drives, scrap metal drives, and a myriad of other activities supporting the war effort on the home front.
But at least on the surface, the class of 1942 ended up having a complete high school experience, and one can see from the class annual that the class was involved in a wide range of hands on activies characteristic of all pre-TV classes.
The cover of the 1942 class annual.
Left click on the image for a larger image.
The entire 1942 class annual, made available for scanning by by Edna (Carpenter) and Forrest Keyes, Godwin class of 1934 and 1932 repectively, is presented below. To view the pages, simply left click on the page numbers. Each page has been scanned at about 150% of its original size in order to make some of the details easier to see. You might have to move the image around in your browser in order to see it all. Be sure to make your browser full screen size for easier viewing.
Also be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom of each page; comments and notes are included on some of the pages. Use the "Back" button on your browser to return to the main menu. People should consider contacting me if they have additional information, or comments.
If anyone has any other photographs pertaining to the class of 1941 they'd like to see included here please contact me.