A labor of love: Documenting Madison High School class of 1928

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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A scrapbook started 90 years ago has been completed and is a book about the Madison High School class of 1928.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A scrapbook, filled with mementos and memories of the Madison High School class of 1928, was started by a 16-year-old student over 90 years ago and recently was completed by his son.

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Herbert Nye was the Madison High School class of 1928 historian. PHOTO PROVIDED BY CHARLIE NYE

Herbert Nye was the Madison High School class of 1928 historian. PHOTO PROVIDED BY CHARLIE NYE

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Herbert Nye was the Madison High School class of 1928 historian. PHOTO PROVIDED BY CHARLIE NYE

That student, Herbert Nye, started the book on the first day of his senior year, Sept. 26, 1927. “Went to school. First day stayed till noon. Helped dad in the afternoon,” he wrote.

Nye had a knack for detailed recollection and loved to write things down, said his son, Charlie Nye, a 1970 graduate of Trotwood-Madison High School and a retired journalist living in Indianapolis. He kept diaries all his life until his death in 2009.

Though Nye was aware of his father’s gift for cataloging, it wasn’t until after his death he discovered the class of 1928 chronicle.

The tan, hard-covered book with a green spine was filled with details about his father’s senior class whose motto was, “Build for Character, not for Fame.”

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Herbert Nye, began documenting his senior year at Madison High School in this book on Monday, Sept. 26, 1927. PHOTO PROVIDED BY CHARLIE NYE

Herbert Nye, began documenting his senior year at Madison High School  in this book on Monday, Sept. 26, 1927.  PHOTO PROVIDED BY CHARLIE NYE

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Herbert Nye, began documenting his senior year at Madison High School in this book on Monday, Sept. 26, 1927. PHOTO PROVIDED BY CHARLIE NYE

The cover, with “My Golden School Days” printed on it, opens to pages of calling cards, newspaper clippings and candid photographs of classmates.

“When I started seeing these pictures of his friends, even though I had never met them, I found it kind of fascinating,” said Charlie Nye.

“It’s interesting how fleeting moments can be captured in the frame of a photograph and can last forever,” said Nye. “That fleeting moment passes so quickly, but that image documents what life was like and is going to last forever.”

Among the black-and-white photos is one of Nye and classmate Evelyn Vaniman seated on the ground during Senior Day on May 9, 1928. And another, taken the same day, shows a group of girls striking a pose while standing on barrels.

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Trotwood, Ohio: Senior girls strike a playful pose atop barrels for Madison High School classmate Herbert Nye on the Trotwood school's Senior Day in 1928, 90 years ago this week. On May 12, 1928, 43 graduates received their diplomas in the school's auditorium. PHOTO PROVIDED BY CHARLIE NYE

Trotwood, Ohio: Senior girls strike a playful pose atop barrels for Madison High School classmate Herbert Nye on the Trotwood school's Senior Day in 1928, 90 years ago this week. On May 12, 1928, 43 graduates received their diplomas in the school's auditorium. PHOTO PROVIDED BY CHARLIE NYE

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Trotwood, Ohio: Senior girls strike a playful pose atop barrels for Madison High School classmate Herbert Nye on the Trotwood school's Senior Day in 1928, 90 years ago this week. On May 12, 1928, 43 graduates received their diplomas in the school's auditorium. PHOTO PROVIDED BY CHARLIE NYE

Turn the yellowed pages and a newspaper clipping with the headline “Trotwood School Players Will Appear in Comedy,” announces the junior and senior English class production of “Penrod,” in which Herbert Nye had the lead role.

A pink paper rose affixed to the next page has Nye’s neat handwriting underneath it. “One of the roses on the fence in the scenery for ‘Penrod.’”

Maintaining his decades-long high school friendships was important to Nye, who organized a 50th-year class reunion in 1978 and then annual reunion dinners until 1998 when just four graduates were able to attend.

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Madison High School class of 1928 graduates Elizabeth Eby and Mary Swinger sit in the rumble seat of Fred Kimmel's 1928 De Sota Roadster. Fred sits behind the wheel. PHOTO PROVIDED BY CHARLIE NYE

Madison High School class of 1928 graduates Elizabeth Eby and Mary Swinger sit in the rumble seat of Fred Kimmel's 1928 De Sota Roadster. Fred sits behind the wheel. PHOTO PROVIDED BY CHARLIE NYE

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Madison High School class of 1928 graduates Elizabeth Eby and Mary Swinger sit in the rumble seat of Fred Kimmel's 1928 De Sota Roadster. Fred sits behind the wheel. PHOTO PROVIDED BY CHARLIE NYE

“When I was going through his records and saw these pictures and notes about his classmates, I wondered whatever happened to them?” said Charlie Nye. “I took it on as a challenge to track them down.”

In recent years, Nye has used his father’s meticulous documentation and his own research to create a book of photographs and text about his father’s classmates called “Madison HS Class of 1928.”

“One of the last things I remember him saying to me was ‘you’re the best son anyone can ask for,” said Nye. “I use that as motivation to do things that would honor him or make a statement that would be pleasing to him, and to ensure all the time and effort on something that he valued, would be passed on to more generations.”

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Former classmates from Madison High School's Class of 1928 gathered for their 50th reunion in June 1978. PHOTO PROVIDED BY CHARLIE NYE

Former classmates from Madison High School's Class of 1928 gathered for their 50th reunion in June 1978. PHOTO PROVIDED BY CHARLIE NYE

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Former classmates from Madison High School's Class of 1928 gathered for their 50th reunion in June 1978. PHOTO PROVIDED BY CHARLIE NYE


MADISON CLASS OF 1928

For more information about the Madison High School class of 1928 contact the Trotwood Madison Historical Society at (937) 837-5387 or contact Charlie Nye at pug1392004@yahoo.com. Books can be purchased from Nye for $25, plus $3 shipping. Nye will e-mail a PDF version of the book at no charge to the family of class members.

ABOUT THIS FEATURE

HISTORY EXTRA is a weekly pictorial history feature showcasing the Miami Valley’s rich heritage. If you have a unique set of historic photos found in your parents’ or grandparents’ attic that depicts the past in the Miami Valley, contact Lisa Powell at 937-225-2229 or at Lisa.Powell@coxinc.com.

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