Congratulations to these old New York graduates

It’s commencement season, the perfect time to look back at images of long-ago graduates posing in class photos. What in the world became of them?


The suited up boys in this 1915 photo, new graduates of P.S. 64 at 605 East Ninth Street, look like they’re going places in life.

P.S. 64 opened in 1906, not long after the consolidation of the city, a time of huge investment in new school facilities. “Organized around two courtyards, it was the first elementary school to have an auditorium with direct access to the street, allowing this structure to serve an expanded role in the community,” states the Guide to New York City Landmarks.


Brooklyn Friends is a private school in downtown Brooklyn founded in 1867. This is the class of 1943, decked out in graduation suits and gowns.


Elementary and high schools aren’t the only institutions that hold a commencement ceremony. Meet the 1885 nursing school graduates from Broad Street Hospital, formerly at the end of Broad Street.

News photographer George Bain captured this image of the graduates of the “Cripple School” on the Lower East Side’s Henry Street in 1912.


Officially known as the Crippled Children’s East Side Free School, the school intended to “provide the crippled children of the Lower East Side with facilities for securing an education and learning a trade, so that they may become self-supporting,” according to a 1920 guide.

“Workrooms maintained where older cripples fill orders for all kinds of needlework and hand stitching and paper boxes.”

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4 Responses to “Congratulations to these old New York graduates”

  1. Julia Benjamin Says:

    And where are the girls from PS64?

  2. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Good question. They didn’t get a photo, or it was lost to the ages…

  3. michellesexton2 Says:

    Turn of the century education, once distinguished and desired, has become irrelevant in a country, too quick to forget. Photographs depicting school pride, with a love for learning, have sunken into a sea of sadness. The here and now version of yesterday’s many lessons are offered through online courses, all designed to pass on a diploma, free and easily obtained, using google, for one, as a cheat sheet. American history was not free and came at a huge cost constituting a prideful means of moving forward. Today’s right to work states are prospering and not to get off topic but again, freedom is not free. Let’s not forget that, and let’s not forget those who gave their life, now remembered only through black and white pictures shown all too seldomly.

  4. ledamato Says:

    I love the photo of the nurses! We had some like these at my nursing school that opened in 1883. The Long Island College Hospital School of Nursing in Brooklyn closed in 2013, with the hospital itself soon after when SUNY Downstate could not rescue it. If you come across any, please post!

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