Elvis’ High School Memorabilia

A few months ago, I wrote an article for Elvis International magazine titled “Elvis’ High School Yearbook.”  A copy of this highly desired collectible was sold at an Elvis auction this summer, and the auction website showed pictures of every Elvis reference, picture, and signature in the yearbook.

               

Elvis’ 1953 High School Yearbook                    Blow Up from Biology Class Photo

In the time since my article went to print, two more copies of The Herald 1953 Humes High School yearbook have come up for bid at another auction.  In addition, one is paired with a copy of The Herald 1957.  It seems the yearbook staff that year wanted to honor the school’s incredibly famous graduate, and included a page with a photo of Elvis and a printed signature and inscription he had written to the school.

            

The inscription on the photo says, “My Best to the Students and Staff of Humes High – your own, Elvis Presley”  I hope the winning bidder did not think Elvis actually wrote his message on the yearbook copy being sold and based his bid on that.

According to Seth Poppel, self-proclaimed world’s most renowned collector, buyer, and seller of high school yearbooks at Seth Poppel’s Yearbook Library, “I have purchased over 20 different Elvis Presley high school yearbooks, and examined, page-by-page at least 10 to 15 others. Many of them are signed because the students were given time, after getting their yearbooks, to pass them around in an assembly line fashion, up one row and down another, in homerooms and other classrooms.”

Elvis participated in this mass signing process, but he did not use a great deal of originality on his messages.  Here is what he signed on the three yearbooks to most recently surface.

 

On Dorothy June Forshee’s book:  “Best of everything to a very sweet cute girl.”

 

On Bobby Perry’s book:  “Best of luck to a swell guy.”

 

On Billie Ann Banks’ book:  “Best wishes to a sweet girl.”

You will note that the last one has two signatures: Elvis and Elvis Presley.  This is because Billie Ann Banks was quite a popular member of the Class of ’53.  She was part of a group of Elvis’ classmates that were invited to join Elvis for private movie viewings over the years at The Malco Theater in the Whitehaven area of Memphis.   Elvis often rented out the theater for the private enjoyment of a select number of his friends, including some of his former high school classmates.  Many of those same insiders spent time at Graceland.  Billie Ann Banks smartly took her old yearbook along to two of these “reunions” and got Elvis to give her bonus autographs. 

Inside front cover of Billie Ann Banks’ yearbook with signature and message from Elvis

 

There have been a number of other memorabilia items from Elvis’ high school years that appeared in auctions the past two years

This is the program for the Humes High School Commencement Exercises for the Class of 1953.

                 

 

Here’s an interesting Elvis autograph.  It is on a library card for a book he checked out in eighth grade.

             

 

The library book is about Andrew Jackson, indicating Elvis had an interest in history from an early age.  Further proof of this is the information on Elvis’ yearbook page which says history was one of his majors and he was a member of the History Club.

 

The Humes High Student Directory shown above may be the most telling piece in this collection of Elvis high school memorabilia.  It was printed during the 1950-51 school year when Elvis was in the tenth grade. 

You will note two things.  First, Elvis’ name is misspelled Elvin.  That certainly must have been embarrassing to him.  But, even more significant, there is no home phone number listed for him.  Elvis’ parents must have still been too poor at that time to have a telephone.  It is common knowledge that Elvis rose from very humble beginnings, but if we ever needed another reminder, this is it.

©  2010    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

26 responses to “Elvis’ High School Memorabilia

  1. Pingback: Interesting Elvis Memorabilia – Part 37 | ElvisBlog

  2. Interesting. My aunt (mom’s sister) is Billie Banks. As far as I know, my mom still has her yearbook too. She is older. Was on the library committee with Elvis.

    • Hi Lynn: Have you let your aunt know what those yearbooks are worth if they are signed by Elvis?

      Phil Arnold, Original ElvisBlogmeister

  3. I sold an original Elvis signed Humes HS yearbook at the big Atlantic City show back about 1993. Mine was inscribed by Elvis to Billy Wooley. Elvis wrote next to Billy’s entry, “Best of luck to a great artist….Elvis”

    • What was it sold for at that time?

      • Hi Darin:

        I assume you are referring to the Humes High School yearbook. I don’t know about the one mentioned in this post, but other ones have sold for $5,000.

        Phil Arnold, Original ElvisBlogmeister

  4. Bonnie Pickens

    Do you know if Elvis ever got to go to any of his class reunions?

    • Hi Bonnie:

      I did some research (sorry it took so long), but I can find no information about Elvis going back to his high school reunions. Seems like he would have, at least in the early years.

      Phil Arnold, original ElvisBlogmeister

      • My dad graduated with Elvis and he was suppose to attend the 25th anniversary in 1978., but he never made any of the others as I had this discussion with my dad several times.

  5. My dad graduated with elvis in 53 and we are wondering what the yearbook is worth and its inscription from elvis is the same to a swell guy elvis.

    thanks
    dwray

    • Hi dwray: Go to Elvisblog and type “yearbook” into the search box. The first result will give you some good estimates of your yearbook’s worth.

      Phil Arnold, Original ElvisBlogmeister

  6. I have a copy of the Herald 1953 (50th anniversary edition) yearbook. I think it’s a copy of Frank Wilson’s yearbook. Do you have any idea what this book would be worth? It’s in great condition (new) and we’d like to auction it off for a fund-raiser for the local Seniors’ Centre. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  7. My mother went to L.C Humes High School in Memphis when Elvis was there. Her name was Betty Jean Woodard at the time . She told me she lived a block from Elvis and thought he was a shy boy at school.

    She was dating my dad who was a young naval electronics instructor in Memphis. On their first date they took a Bus to a movie with Elvis Presley sitting beside them. My mom is still alive and has more memories of Elvis at the school if anyone is interested.

    • Hi Gordon: If you wan’t to send me any of your mom’s stories about Elvis, I will try to build a blog article around them. I have done a whole series on memories of Elvis by his Humes High Schoolmates, so I’d love to do another. Does she also have any photos of Elvis in school?

      Phil Arnold, Original ElvisBlogmeister

  8. I loaned my daughter my yearbook for 1953 and her husband(not a collector) gave it to the St Jude foundation. A good charity but I would love to know where it is now. .Had other signatures that I would have v loved to have. Is there anyway I could find it?

    • Hi Ann: I really don’t have a clue. However, I get a lot of requests like this, so I have created a standard reply. Please contact Jerry Osborne, famous Elvis collector, author and historian. His website is jerryosborne.com, his phone number is 360-385-1200, and his e-mail address is JPO@olympus.net.

      Thanks for reading ElvisBlog. Hope you enjoy it.

      Phil Arnold, ElvisBlogmeister

  9. HOW CAN YOU TELL A REPRINT ELVIS 1953 HERALD FROM THE ORGINAL.
    HOW MANY YEARS WERE THEIR REPINTS MADE.

  10. 1957 the herald yearbook-my had Elvis sign his! Yes he does have the printed 8×10 sign picture of elvis in the yearbook but my dad also had Elvis personally sign it! Elvis signed, “best of luck Billy you are a nice fellow but I don’t know a soul that likes you you punk ” everyone knows you are bad but I don’t think so” Elvis Presley. We live in memphis can you tell me where my dad can take this to get it authenticated and how much would this be worth?

    • Jodie: I think you might have something very valuable here. There are dozens of the ’54 Herald out there with Elvis’ signature and a brief message. Certainly there are no other signed ’57 Heralds with such an interesting message from Elvis. I have a standard reply for these types of requests, and you should get the autograph verified by Rich Consola. Then contact Heritage Auctions on line and find out how to sell your book at one of their all-Elvis auctions. You will get more money than if it is in one of those general entertainment auctions. Here’s the standard message:

      I get a lot of requests like this, so I have created a standard reply. Please contact Jerry Osborne, famous Elvis collector, author and historian. His website is jerryosborne.com, his phone number is 360-385-1200, and his e-mail address is JPO@olympus.net. For autographed articles, Jerry will provide appraisals based on the assumption that they are valid. For autograph verification, please contact Rich Consola, one of the world’s foremost authirities on Elvis signed material. His e-mail address is rfconsola@roadrunner.com

      Thanks for reading ElvisBlog. I hope you enjoy it.

      Phil Arnold, ElvisBlogmeister

  11. and’ I tried to ‘comment’ on the actual ”Auction’ page, but it keeps re-directing me here!? 🙂

    • Mike, I’m not sure what you mean by the actual auction page. Give me the URL you refer to and I’ll try to figure out what’s going on.

      Phil Arnold, Elvisblogmeister

  12. You can see an exact replica of the ‘real’ RCA sessions shirt on my Facebook page under; ”50’s Elvis Tribute Show”. I got the info. of the RCA shirt being Yellow with black polka-dots and a Blue collar from Mr. Scotty Moore and ‘the Late’ Mr. Bernard Lansky.

  13. much did the year book 1957 sell for ?

  14. Thanks for the information. I may be checking with you when another question comes up concerning Elvis’ 50s wardrobe. I am confused why your comment was made on this article. There is no clothing. Just high school memorabilia. Phil Arnold

  15. I have put 7 years of extensive study into Elvis’ clothes during the 1950s’,…and the photo on the ‘auction’ page of the ”polka-dot” shirt in a red/orange color is NOT the same shirt he wore for the RCA studio photos on Dec. 1st. 1955 that appeared on the back of his first album cover! This was a second shirt in red,…THEE’ shirt is Yellow with Black polka-dots with a Blue collar which you can see from the ‘only’ color photo taken at that session by ‘Popsie’ Randolph. Elvis usually bought two or three shirts of the same design in different color,..this is what happened here. Mark Lee Pringle(50’s ETA) Ohio.

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