Meet Marie Garaventa. What you see above is her report card from the Manhattan Trade School for Girls, which she attended in the late 1920s. If you take a closer look, you can see she was of Italian descent, hard of hearing, slightly underweight, and never absent from class even once. If she’s still alive, she will turn 97 years old this Sunday.
I have almost 100 of these report cards (never mind where I got them). Each one is actually a packet several cards stapled together, with each packet featuring class grades, notes regarding job placements, and, in many cases, letters of reference and related paperwork. In short, each report card is its own fascinating little story, and collectively the cards form a larger story about New York during the Depression.
I’ve started working on a book in which I plan to tell these stories. No publisher yet, but I have an agent and a battle plan — the wheels are turning. Right now I’m working on the proposal, which will take me a couple of months. Working title: Permanent Record.
A big part of the project will entail tracking down the women shown on the report cards — or, more likely, tracking down some of their relatives, since most of the women themselves are probably deceased (Marie was one of the younger ones). I could use some research assistance for that, preferably from people who are particularly research-savvy (that would be you, Trevor Williams) and who, ideally, have Lexis/Nexis access (which, sadly, I don’t have, although I do have access to ancestry.com, which should be helpful).
What’s in it for you? Not much, unless I get a really big advance (highly unlikely) or unless you’re the kind of person who gets a kick out of plumbing the depths of a particularly deep, interesting rabbit hole (maybe not so unlikely if you’re a Uni Watch reader, right?). The one thing I can promise is that the report cards are endlessly fascinating, so you’ll probably find the project plenty interesting.
I’m also curious about ways of using social media to help find these women and their families. Which message boards should I be posting queries to? Should I start a new blog called “Desperately Seeking Depression-Era Manhattan Trade School for Girls Students”? How might Facebook be of use?
If you have any suggestions along those lines, and/or if you’re interested in signing on as a research intern, please let me know.
Thanks for reading this far. We now return you to your regularly scheduled uni-related content.
Best news of the year so far: Oh. My. God. That’s Giants pitcher Henry Sosa yesterday. “As a Giants fan, I almost squealed with delight,” says Alex Moggridge, one of several readers who sent me that photo. “If those are the official socks, my life is complete. Any idea if that’s the real deal?”
I figured there was no way those were team-issued socks. But then I saw this video clip, in which we learn that the socks are not only team-issued but are the brainchild of team CEO Bill Newcomb, who just won himself the Executive of the Year award in a landslide.
Sure, it’d be nice if they were striped stirrups instead of just socks, but I think trading ’rups for stripes is actually a fair swap. Only question now is how many San Francisco players will wear their pants high-cuffed — and how many teams will follow the Giants’ lead in the striped-hose sweepstakes.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Interesting DIY project by Matt Wooster, who’s been making his own logo magnets. “I recently started into this because of the lack of merchandise with the vintage logos — i.e., Expos, Whalers, Oilers,” he says. “I make them using a Xacto-type knife, adhesive magnetic sheet, cutting mini-mat, letter-size paper, and a laminater with laminate sheets. I print the logos onto letter-size paper and laminate it. Then I cut out the logos and press them onto the magnetic sheet. Once the logo is stuck onto the magnetic sheet, I cut the shape out.” … New team name and logo for the Sioux Falls Canaries, who are now the Fighting Pheasants. … What’s going on here? According to Jeremy Brahm, “The Yomiuri Giants are asking kids to design their own uniforms for a three-game series at the Tokyo Dome in July. The winner will have their uniform worn by the team for the entire series. The uniforms have to look like they would in a game and they have to be hand-drawn, not computer designed.” There they go, de-valuing design again. … “Your coverage of the Blues’ blue-and-white skates reminded me of these,” writes Jake Elwell. “The top-of-the-line yellow Rally Bobby Orr model was the ultimate skate in the Boston area ca. early ’70s. Don’t think the B’s ever wore ’em, though.” … Easton hockey will be debuting a new ultra-light helmet on Monday. … Now there’s a nice set of stripes (great find by Marc Burgess). … Okay, after yesterday’s false start, here are solid pics of the Brewers’ new road jersey. … Mike Hersh found something weird: a 1969-70 Philadelphia Flyers media photo of Bobby Clarke wearing No. 10. “10 was Bill Sutherland’s jersey number that year,” notes Mike. “In this Flyers team photo from the same season, Sutherland is in the front row wearing 10 and Clarke is in the second row wearing his usual 16 — their jersey numbers are clearly visible. Clarke was always known to wear 16 throughout his career, but I have an action shot of Clarke down at my parents’ house where he is again wearing #10. I’d ask them to scan it, but they’d never find it.” Dude, make them find it! … The construction crew working on the Penguins’ new arena is wearing T-shirts showing a hard-hatted Pens logo (with thanks to Rob Ullman). … New uni numbers for the Tigers and the Mets. … Looks like Purdue Pete is on the way out. … Tons of old Indiana high school basketball photos in this gallery (with thanks to Dan Netser). … NBC News correspondents covering the Olympics have removed the Polo logo from their jackets (with thanks to Brinke Guthrie). … Oooh, check out this 1939 Ebbets Field usher — not to be confused with the chief usher (great find by Lance Smith). … Very interesting artwork based on NBA courts and arenas here (with thanks to Kate Perryman). … Awesome collection of old Olympic posters here. Click around — recommended (with thanks to Stan Olechowski). … Coupla Olympic hockey observations from Steven Wojtowicz: rings on the net, and a new form of logo creep. … New design forthcoming for the reverse side of the penny (with thanks to Adam Brodsky). … Jeff Czuba notes that the Canadian and Swiss hockey teams took different approaches regarding how to position their “A” and “C” designations on their contrast-colored yokes. Jeff likes the Swiss approach because the letter doesn’t overlap from one color to the other, but I think the Swiss letter is positioned too high. The real problem is that yoke is more of an old-style football yoke instead of a hockey-style design — the color break is too low on the chest, which is the cause of the letter-positioning problem. … Good spot by Grant Goldman, who noticed that the armhole trim and NOB lettering on Toney Douglas’s roster photo don’t match the Knicks’ actual jersey style. … Was a traveler at the Philadelphia airport pulled out of the security line and subjected to a high-intensity search simply because she was wearing a Cowboys jersey?
I sure fucking hope so She thinks so (with thanks to Chris Flinn). … No photo, but Thom Dennis says No. 15 on the Russian women’s hockey team is wearing white skates. … The Mets marked the beginning of spring training by engaging in that time-honored routine, “How many hats can we fit in one photo?” (As noted by Terence Kearns.) … “Norwegian goalie Pal Grotnes has a very odd superstition,” writes Tyler Hull. “During the first and third periods he wears a Reebok Revoke blocker. But during the second period he switches to a Reebok Premier Series 3. Never seen this before.” … Topps’s new baseball card set includes insert cards with cap logos.