Early Yearbooks as a Lens into Student Life

“Although Brooklyn College has yet neither campus nor impressive college buildings, it has what is certainly more important, an atmosphere of intellectual activity.”   -Preface  to Town and Gown, 1932.


Alma Mater montage from Skyscrapers, page 6 (Brooklyn College Archives).

What was it like to be a student at the newly created Brooklyn College?  Rented office space in different buildings made it difficult to get to class on time, and the school lacked adequate athletic and performance spaces.  Another challenge: the financial hardships students faced as they struggled to go to college during the Great Depression.

Yet these students, led by a small but dedicated cadre of faculty and administrators, managed to carve out a viable college experience filled with academic and athletic achievements.  Makeshift conditions did not limit the whirlwind of social activities which could rival those at any college, whether in the 1930s or today.

Let’s take a look at how the graduates viewed their BC experience by exploring the clubs, social activities, and sports described in the first three yearbooks: Town and Gown (1932), Skyscrapers (January 1933), and Broeklundian (June 1933).


Social Activities