During a visit to the Chicago History Museum a few weeks ago, I made digital images of material from the Lucy Flower Technical High School Photo Collection.  From its founding in 1911 until its dismantling in the late-1950s, “Flower Tech” was the only female vocational school in Chicago and the city’s only racially-integrated school for girls. The following are a few images of Flower Tech students, or “Flower Girls,” from the 1940s:

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Sewing students

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Dressmaking students in hand-made outfits

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Flower Tech athletes, the “Flower Foxes”

The coloring of these images could be improved in Photoshop, particularly the first image that is slightly yellow. That image also shows signs of age; if you look closely, you can see white specks in front and to the left of the desk. These imperfections would be easily removed through Photoshop. In general, however, these photos are in good condition and would not benefit from excessive editing.

Other material that I’ve collected through my research on Flower Tech and that my group plans to use for our final digital exhibit could be improved with Photoshop’s many editing tools. This includes the following photocopies from the Chicago Defender that featured Flower Tech students of color in the 1930s:

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These images and their accompanying text provide important insight into how Flower Tech was promoted as a prestigious institution for high-achieving female students in the black community. Unfortunately, they are in rough condition. First, newspaper text that was printed on the opposite side of the page can be seen to the right of each student’s face. Second, the images are over-exposed as a result of the scanning process. And third, both images are grainy from the low-quality of the original scan. I have yet to explore all the wonders of Photoshop, but am excited to learn if and how these images might be improved through its editing software.

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