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Sunday, May 21, 2017

An Autumn Kerrville Afternoon in 1956

Tivy High School pep rally
Tivy High School Pep Rally, 1956
Downtown Kerrville, intersection of Water and Earl Garrett streets
Click on any image to enlarge
In the autumn of 1956, students of Tivy High School staged a pep rally in downtown Kerrville, as they had for decades, and as they would continue to do for decades. As with most of these events, there was a photographer on hand, taking photographs, most likely for the yearbook. The photographer carefully labeled most of the photographs.
These photographs were taken with film used to make color slides, which is a little unusual, but fortunate. While the colors have shifted a little to red and orange over the past 60+ years, a shift which can be easily corrected using modern computer software, the important thing is this: these images are in color. Many of the images in my collection from that era are in black and white, so having color images from 1956 is a real treat.
No one is completely sure who took these photographs, but there are several theories, including the yearbook photographer theory. The leading candidate, if this theory is correct, would be Barbara Matthews Eddy. (If these photos were taken for the yearbook, these images would appear in the 1957 Antler, as the yearbook is published at the end of the school year.)  Many clues suggest Ms. Eddy was the photographer: the handwritten labels on the slides, plus the fact that many of the found photographs were taken later, when Ms. Eddy was in college in Minnesota.
Kerrville Tivy pep rally
Tivy High School Pep Rally, 1956
How these photographs returned to Kerrville is a story that would not have been believed in 1956.
As many of you know, I publish a history blog online. (A 'blog' is kind of an Internet newsletter.) Most Mondays and Saturdays I post photographs or stories about the history of our community. There is no charge to read the blog, and pages from the blog have been viewed over 500,000 times. The website address is simple: www.joeherring.com
People come across the blog all over the world. I've had readers from all fifty states, plus 141 foreign countries. Honestly, though, some of the countries on the list are ones I would not be able to find on a map, and most of the visitors from outside of the U.S. don't spend a lot of time on my website. Go figure.
Monday I was contacted by a person in Minnesota who told me he'd found a box of color slides at an estate sale in Hastings, Minnesota. I suppose he searched the internet for Tivy, or for some of the names written on the sleeves of the color slides. That led him to my blog, and to my email address, which he used to contact me.
Kerrville Tivy High School
Tivy High School Pep Rally, 1956
He's never been to Kerrville, but has some family in New Braunfels. And he was very generous with the photographs, scanning some and emailing them to me.
Imagine, then, how this story would have read in 1956: "Local man publishes blog, which is read over the Internet by a man in Minnesota; the man in Minnesota scans 60 year old color slides and sends them to local man by email."
I've asked for permission to publish the photographs on my blog, and the man in Minnesota has graciously agreed. Over the next few days I'll post the photographs. I think you'll agree they're pretty cool!
1956 was an important year in Kerr County: it was the year the community celebrated the 100th anniversary of the creation of Kerr County. It was also a year when thousands of photographs were taken of events which marked that celebration: parades, contests, store displays. Most of those photographs, however, were in black and white.
Tivy High School pep rally
Tivy High School Pep Rally, 1956
The photographs of the pep rally made me realize some of the traditions which were popular when I was a student at Tivy in the late 1970s were started many years earlier.
In a few of the photographs, the students have their right arms pressed against their chests. Their right hand and arm are parallel to the ground; their right elbow is straight, too, and away from their bodies. Their extended right hands are just covering their hearts, palms facing down, parallel to the ground.
I knew exactly what they were doing as some of these photographs were taken, at the exact moment the shutter clicked. They were singing the Tivy alma mater while the Tivy marching band played. "We are from Tivy," they were singing, "from Tivy are we...."
Until next week, all the best.

Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native who played the Tivy alma mater many times on his dented cornet, more or less in time and tune with the rest of the Tivy marching band.  This column originally appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times May 20, 2017





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