CNR Annales at A Hundred
In 1911, the graduating class of The College of New Rochelle issued the first year book which was named Annales,( Latin for annals). The Class of 1911 was the last of the first four charter classes. The nineteen graduates had seen the first class of 1908 graduate; there was a new college building (Chidwick), and they had seen the campus buildings, faculty, course offerings, enrollment, and college organizations grow in numbers. The College Administration (mostly Ursulines until the 1970’s), encouraged the organization of student activities to prepare the CNR women to acquire useful skills as well as a good education. A literary magazine, the St. Angela’s Quarterly, had appeared in 1906. The charter class students eagerly studied other colleges’ traditions, rules, publications, and then sought to found clubs, establish traditions, and model their college lives on those of siblings and friends studying at other American colleges and universities. College year books, a collective class history supplemented the popular personal hobby of scrapbooks and memory books (of which the CNR Archives has several) were already common in colleges.
1911 gathered its members and sent some out to solicit advertisers to help pay for the yearbook which would also include information and photographs of the other classes. They distributed Colgate Cashmere Bouquet soap in the College colors of blue and white to spur interest (and purchases) among the students, who now numbered one hundred. The first yearbook included drawings by a student, formal portraits of the seniors who wore stylish high necked white “waists” (blouses) with hair upswept in pompadours. There were formal photographs of the three other classes and of the student organizations (Advisory Board (student government), Athletics, Drama club, Glee club, St. Angela’s Quarterly (literary magazine), Sodality, Alpha Alpha (philosophy club). The editors had written Class histories, a Class prophecy. The final night of Commencement Week found the Seniors and editors of Annales ,led by torchbearers, parading around campus in a decorated pony cart, distributing the first issue of the College Yearbook to the students in the residential cottages on the street in front of Chidwick (Maura was built two years later).
Annales has appeared every year since 1911. A faculty advisor (now, an advisor from Student Services) oversaw the organization of the yearbook staff. The class members elected editors and volunteered their efforts in copy, typing, editing, selecting photographs and selling advertisements to support the publication of the yearbook.
In 1961, the senior class initiated a new kind of yearbook with informal photographs taken by a professional photographer, and limited text was interspersed. Recent Annales includes color formal portraits of graduates in academic regalia, looking as serious as their 1911 counterparts, snapshots of students, the campus, and events.
College yearbook are facing extinction—“dropping like flies,” declares one college official. As digital, virtual and social media bypass the printed book, colleges and their students need to find contemporary (and, hopefully, lasting) ways to preserve the memory of students’ academic and social lives in college.