Who do you know in this PHS Class of ’38 photo?

PHS Class of 1938, Mt-Vernon Class Trip, PHOTO COURTESY OF CHERYL JOHNSON SMEKAL, DAUGHTER OF ELWOOD C. JOHNSON

The young men and women in this May 3, 1938 photo of a Palmyra High School class trip to Mt. Vernon belong to that generation that grew up during the deprivation of the Great Depression.

As these mostly 17 and 18-year-old seniors moved closer to the end of their high school careers, Action Comics #1, dated June 1938, featured the first appearance of  Superman—and sold for a dime. (A mint copy of Action Comics No. 1 sold for $3,207,852 on an eBay auction in 2014.)

However, faraway events already in motion would soon crush their innocence and abruptly thrust these youngsters into adulthood.

Around the world the seeds of World War II had already been sown some time before.

The causes of the war – the rise of Hitler and Mussolini, Japanese territorial expansion, and Germany’s military aggression – coalesced as America, still mired in the Great Depression, tried to stay neutral from the European conflict.

WWII Honor Roll Veterans List from The New Era, Sept 14, 1944

Pearl Harbor was still 3-1/2 years away.

The PHS Class of ’38 came of age in the United States during World War II, and its graduates would either fight in the war or strive on the home front to help win it.

Television journalist and author Tom Brokaw first coined the term “The Greatest Generation” to describe those who came of age during the Great Depression and the Second World War and went on to build modern America. The people in this photo and in the Honor Roll at right were among that Greatest Generation.

Who do you know in this eight decade old photo? -JMc

 

 

Scary times? It could be worse.

Imagine the emotions of the townsfolk of Riverton, Palmyra, and Cinnaminson as they gathered in the Parish House of Christ Church at this December 17, 1941 meeting, ten days after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The purpose of the meeting was to prepare the community for an air raid drill to be held the next night at 11:30 pm.


In September, 1944, The New Era, Riverton’s hometown newspaper published a list of persons serving in the conflict that still had a year to go.

WWII Honor Roll Veterans List from The New Era, Sept 14, 1944

I see the names of Carl McDermott and his two brothers about a third down the second column.

McDermott Bros L-R – Bill, Paul Carl

THANK YOU for your service, Carl!

Who do you know in this list? (PDF here)

screen capture from an issue in our online newspaper collection

The New Era of August 16, 1945 issue records the jubilant celebration over the war’s conclusion and gave a sober reminder of the supreme sacrifice given by those “so that this Nation might live.”

We sincerely thank Kate Washington Hickey for gifting the Society the air raid fliers seen above as well as many other items, some of which we will show here another time.

postcard scan courtesy of Mrs. Betty Hahle

We are proud to be caretakers of Riverton history and invite you to join the conversation with your recollections and remarks. This archive is made richer every time another part of local history emerges and readers can simply learn from it or even contribute more to it.

While we enjoy getting likes and comments on Facebook, your thoughts are more likely to become part of the record here. If you think the history of our community is work keeping, scroll down to the bottom of this post and click on the link – Leave a comment.  – JMc