Charles H. Graff matriculated at Phillips Academy in 1911. However, he is absent from the Commencement program four years later, indicating that he never graduated. Graff is also missing from the yearbooks published during his time at Andover. The only record that confirms Graff’s time at Andover, other than this scrapbook, is his mention in a 1937 alumni directory.
Graff’s scrapbook includes memorabilia from 1911 through 1914. The scrapbook is intact and well-preserved, and the majority of the pages are filled, other than a few blank sections toward the end of the book. The scrapbook cover’s design is a standard dark blue with a white “A,” but Graff has personalized his by penning in athletics score results inside the “A,” pictured below.
Sports were a large part of Graff’s life at this time, and he dedicates many of the scrapbook’s early pages to athletic memorabilia including photographs of athletic teams and individual players, cheers and Andover spirit songs as well as ticket stubs, packets, and schedules from various games. In Graff’s scrapbook, he emphasizes score-keeping and rivalries. Much of the game memorabilia concerns the Andover vs. Exeter games, but Graff also includes some souvenirs from college matches, the majority of them from Yale. He focuses mainly on football. Graff records the scores of various games by hand in his schedules, displaying the same meticulousness as when he filled scores into the “A” on the cover of his scrapbook. Graff also pastes into his scrapbook many newspaper articles from the sports section of The Phillipian including a few front page stories that announce Andover victories over Exeter.
Athletics were not the sole focus of Graff’s time at Andover however. He organizes his scrapbook into various sections as though he is segmenting different parts of his life. As a reader flips through his scrapbook, different sections reveal music and theatre programs, dance cards, and post cards. Sprinkled throughout the scrapbook are schedules for Bible study and discussion groups, suggesting Graff’s participation in the Christian community on campus. Graff also includes many seemingly insignificant items of ephemera: an excuse from gym class, notes calling him to the principal’s and the treasurer’s office, notices about money owed to the laundry service, to the Andover Bookstore, to the dancing academy, and to sporting goods stores, as well as a menu from an “Oriental Restaurant.” Although Graff does not include grade reports, he includes academic updates from the registrar which indicate that he does well in German and Geometry. He does not include much memorabilia from clubs on campus with the exception of one “Philo” schedule.
Graff’s prominent social status is apparent in the very first pages of the scrapbook, which are comprised of a sign-in log bearing the signatures, hometowns, and humorous messages of over thirty friends. He also includes many signed portraits of his friends, many of whom appear again in the sports photos and athletic brochures he saves. His scrapbook also contains numerous informal photos of Graff and his friends including pictures of them smiling, laughing, and cavorting around the school grounds. In two, pictured below, Graff and his friends grin out at the camera as they sit atop each other’s shoulders on the lawn outside an academic building.
Graff also seems to be popular with girls. His scrapbook holds ample sources for investigating courtship rituals during this time period. His dance cards are filled with many different girls’ names, all of whom are referred to formally as “Miss.” In addition, many of Graff’s postcards come from female admirers. A few bear images of Vassar College on their fronts, and the rest are humorous cartoons, many of which poke fun at male-female relations. In one, pictured below, one of Graff’s admirers writes to arrange a rendezvous.
By Patricia Thompson, class of 2019
Scrapbook Box 103