The War that Wadleigh Students Imagined

World War II was a traumatic and key event in the history of the 20th century, affecting societies, institutions and individuals. Schools were no exception. History of education has often focused on how schools reacted to this new war context and the institutional and pedagogical changes they implemented. Student voices - what students thought, what they felt, and how they imagined this new experience in their lives - have usually been silenced.

 This exhibit intends to bring those voices to the forefront of the discussion. Looking at the yearbooks of an all-girls Harlem high school and the pieces students wrote and published there, its objective is to introduce the viewer to the 'historical imagination' of these young women when thinking about World War II. By 'historical imagination' we mean the process through which individuals not only imagine the past, but also imagine themselves and others as 'historical actors' across space and time. This exhibit intends to show how, through historical imagination and writing, these girls made sense of what they and the world were experiencing, inhabiting a past that was already gone, a present they were part of, and a future they wanted to build.


History is made through questions. The War that Wadleigh Students Imagined is an exhibit that invites you to explore and interrogate its materials as a historian would do.

Along the exhibit sometimes you will find this blue question mark. If you roll the mouse over it, some questions for guiding you in thinking about the material will appear. If you prefer to explore the exhibit on your own, you just need to move the mouse away from the question mark and the questions will disappear. The choice is yours!




Exhibit by Rodrigo Mayorga, edited by Ansley Erickson