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.
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