Fifteen years ago, Brooklyn writer Paul Lukas came across a treasure trove of ephemera: a stash of 1920s and 1930s records from the Manhattan Trade School for Girls on East 23rd Street.
Though the girls have probably passed on and Manhattan Trade School is long-defunct, Lukas took on the task of tracking down each student, learning as much as he could about their post–vocational school lives.
The result is a fascinating website called Permanent Record, plus a series of articles that will launch on Slate.com on September 19.
The cards on their own provide intriguing clues about each student, such as Domenica Castiglia (above).
Her record notes that she’s Italian, was born in 1914, and left Manhattan Trade in 1931—sent to work in the city’s thriving garment industry at just 17.
The occupations of the students’ parents also tell us about 1930s New York City. Dominica’s father was a “ship-polisher—a profession that no longer exists in New York City,” writes Lukas.
Take a look at the blog to browse other student cards and info on the school itself (the striking Gothic structure at left).
[Card image used with permission]
Tags: garment district NYC, Mabel Dean Beacon High School NYC, Manhattan Trade School for Girls, New York in the 1930s, NYC school ephemera, old school records, old school report cards, Paul Lukas, Permanent Record, vocation schools NYC