1923 Periscope QuizDid you know May 30 – July 4 is the first-ever Northfield History Month? Learn more about the events here.

Every weekday this Northfield History Month, come on over to the Northfield History Collaborative to learn a little more about one of the newest additions to our online collection of materials that help tell Northfield’s history.

The newspaper of Northfield High School, “The Periscope,” dates back to at least 1922. Thirty-one issues of the paper, ranging from 1922 to 1933, now join a few other fledgling copies available online in the Northfield History Collaborative.

The first regular issue of The Periscope was printed in February of 1922, though that  first untitled issue notes that a student newspaper has been “fledgling” for about two years already.

That first issue included a contest to name the publication. The second then bore the name “Periscope,” with the following explanation:

After much deliberation and thought over the array of names which were suggested in response to the call for titles, the staff finally decided upon “The Periscope” submitted by Lois Miller of the freshman class. In this advanced age when periscopes are being put to every day uses, even appearing in crowds awaiting parades, our name should not he incongruous. We may use our “Periscope” as the High ‘School eye through which to watch and note the parade of school life as it passes by.

Below that box, an article appears encouraging students to try the hot lunches the school was now offering:

Tho many of us are dimly aware of the fact that the serving of hot lunches has been introduced recently into our school, we give little thought or consideration to what goes on in the domestic science room every noon. It may seem a small matter to us who live near by whether the people who live far away get a good hot meal or not on these ten below zero days, but anyone who has sufficient interest to go down and “take a try” will realize the Importance and value of this new enterprise. Few of us realize what really good things the domestic science girls can cook. We don’t know of the soup that “beats all,” of the escalloped corn that melts in your mouth, or of the macaroni and cheese that makes you wonder whether there really isn’t someone in this world whose cooking is equal to mother’s. In most schools the size of ours, lunches are very popular and well patronized by every student. That is what makes them a success. The more people who eat, the better and cheaper the lunches can be made. At present there are about twenty-five taking lunches every day and the average number is increasing. Hot lunches are coming into their own rapidly, but it is we, and we only who can make them a true success and a proper factor of our school. Let’s take a dime and try ’em!

A few more highlights:

  • A 1932 issue mentions a local influenza outbreak that kept 103 high school students out in one day. In an era that saw maybe 90 graduates a year, that’s nothing to sneeze at!
  • A 1922 issue interviewed two Northfield men about their acquaintance with Abraham Lincoln! (Though one probably didn’t really constitute “acquaintance.”)
  • Here’s my favorite part in the issues I browsed: A quiz! Back in 1923, Periscope readers were encouraged to rate themselves on a list of noble characteristics. How do you rate?