[Scrapbook and Vernacular Photograph Album Documenting Frances Mentzer's High School Years in Cheyenne, Wyoming]. Wyoming, Frances Mentzer.
[Scrapbook and Vernacular Photograph Album Documenting Frances Mentzer's High School Years in Cheyenne, Wyoming]
[Scrapbook and Vernacular Photograph Album Documenting Frances Mentzer's High School Years in Cheyenne, Wyoming]
[Scrapbook and Vernacular Photograph Album Documenting Frances Mentzer's High School Years in Cheyenne, Wyoming]
[Scrapbook and Vernacular Photograph Album Documenting Frances Mentzer's High School Years in Cheyenne, Wyoming]

[Scrapbook and Vernacular Photograph Album Documenting Frances Mentzer's High School Years in Cheyenne, Wyoming]

Cheyenne, Wy. 1918-1921. [35] leaves, illustrated with approximately 215 items of ephemera, 161 back and white photographs, and dozens of newspaper clippings, mostly adhesive mounted, but with numerous items loosely laid in. Approximately 100 photos are portraits, mostly wallet-sized photobooth photographs; the remainder measure from 2.5 x 4 inches to 4 x 4.5 inches. Oblong folio. Contemporary black cloth photograph album, front cover lacking, all leaves loose. Minor wear to rear board. Contents in overall nice condition. Very good. Item #2405

An immense scrapbook and photograph album containing over 375 photographs and pieces of ephemera documenting the high school years of Frances Mentzer at Cheyenne High School in Wyoming. Frances (“Fritz” to her friends) was the daughter of W.C. Mentzer, a state court judge and a highly-motivated student who ended up graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Nebraska several years after this scrapbook ends. She later returned to Cheyenne and worked as the town’s librarian at the local Carnegie Library.

The scrapbook is filled with representative pieces from Frances' high school life, including at least ten long letters to her from fellow students (mostly boys) and many invitations, programs, party favors, and dance cards from numerous events. The album contains at least thirty theater programs and/or broadsides including at least twenty from Cheyenne's Princess Theater and several from the Atlas Theater; at least one of the programs lists Mentzer as a performer. There is also a full menu for Cheyenne's Bon Ton Cafe which served “American and Chinese Dishes.” In addition, the album contains a few handbills and other ephemera related to community service in World War I, placards from events, typescripts of school songs, certificates of achievement for speech events, and much more. Well over half the of the items of ephemera have short handwritten notes regarding her experiences at the respective events, and some of them are filled out by hand with lists of students who attended the events. Mentzer was also a sponsor of the Cheyenne ROTC, accounting for the healthy amount of ROTC-related items present here, and the newspaper notices picturing Mentzer as one of several female sponsors. On one of the pages recording her summer vacation in 1918, Mentzer mounted a package of Army Navy cigarette rolling papers next to a program for the Frontier Days event on July 27. Interestingly, the program for Mentzer's graduation ceremony on June 12, 1921 notes that the Baccalaureate Address was given by eminent women's rights advocate and suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt.

There are also dozens of newspaper clippings recounting football and basketball games, school elections, performances, and more. Particularly notable among the notices are the clippings of a student strike that occurred after three students were expelled for a prank. Mentzer joined in solidarity with her classmates; next to headlines of “Bolshevism Broke Out In High School” and an editorial that stated “a good citizen places the sanctity of the laws and of duly constituted authority above his own personal grievances,” her unexcused absence slip is proudly placed.

Unique items include a two-page typescript of a play as well as a draft of a speech she apparently gave at graduation, as well as a two-page manuscript draft of Mentzer's idea for a newspaper called “the Mountain Ear.” She was assistant editor of the Cheyenne High School newspaper, The Lariat, and two full copies of the paper are included here. The Lariat was distributed citywide as it was “the one vital connection between the students and the community as a whole.” A notice printed at the bottom of the last page of the second issue reads, "This page produced in its entirety by Frances Mentzer."

The photographs include a stunning three-page spread with about ninety photo booth portraits of identified students. Other images include playful group shots, some showing the students in costumes and a great larger-format photo showing a group of students saluting a flagpole while the flags of seven different countries get raised.

A comprehensive and unique look at the high school years of a curious, intelligent, socially-active young woman in Cheyenne in the years immediately following World War I.

Price: $1,750.00