Selected Graduation Invitations

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Wednesday, March 5, 1913: We had a class meeting tonight to decide some things. One was we selected our invitations.

Metal movable type similar to what the printer may have used to make the invitations (Source: Wikipedia)

Metal movable type similar to what the printer may have used to make the invitations (Source: Wikipedia)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Grandma was in her last year at McEwensville High School. Her class apparently was selecting what the invitations to their graduation would look like. I think that you’d call Grandma a senior, but I’m not sure since the school was an old-fashioned 3-year high school.

I think this is what was involved in getting invitations—

One of the class members probably visited the shop of a printer and got some sample invitations. The samples may have been glued into a book.  There probably were different prices for different invitation styles.

Once the class selected an invitation style, the words that would go on the invitation, and the number of invitations needed, the information would have been taken back to the printer.

The printer would then have ordered the blank invitations from his supplier. Once the blank invitations arrived, the printer would set up the type-face and print a copy for the class to proof.

Once the proof was approved, the invitations would be printed.

Whew, that’s a lot of steps (and I probably missed a few). It’s so much easier today with the internet.

8 Responses

  1. Grandma was probably very excited to be graduating soon! I remember the thrill of selecting our graduation announcements. (Mostly for me, it was the thrill of being done with school!)

  2. My grandfather had an old hand printing press in his basement when I was a kid. He used to print the programs for the Sunday morning church services, among other things. Thanks for bringing back a fun memory for me. :)

    • Your comment brings back memories of a mimeograph machine we had when I was a child. We used to do a Christmas letter on it each year. I loved to turn the handle to make the paper roll over the inked drum.

  3. I can almost feel your grandma’s excitement over graduation. I am already wondering about the next steps she will take in life.

  4. I shop at a scrapbook store where they sell a lot of old type set. They also have fashioned them into cool shelf art. Some letters will be backwards but that adds to the cool visual I think.

  5. Yes, while I love the (perhaps apparent) simplicity of life back then, I am thankful for computers.
    ;-D

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