Syracuse Central High School (Central Tech) Collection

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Nicholas C. Nett
Title: Syracuse Central High School (Central Tech) Collection
Dates: 1885-2004
Quantity: 16.6 linear ft.
Abstract: The Syracuse Central High School (Central Tech) collection contains a diverse array of unique materials relating to the history of the high school and the educational and extracurricular activities of its students.
Language: English
Repository: Onondaga County Public Library
Local History & Genealogy Department
447 South Salina Street
Syracuse, New York, 13202
(315) 435-1900

Administrative History

Syracuse Central High School was founded in 1903 to replace the 1867 Syracuse High School facility located near the old Board of Education Building in Syracuse, New York. The new high school, designed in 1899 by Archimedes Russell to accommodate 1,500 students, was erected in 1903 at the intersection of South Warren and Adams streets, south of the business district of downtown Syracuse. The high school operated under the name Syracuse Central High School from 1903 to 1960 and later as Syracuse Central Technical High School. In 1975, the high school officially closed after the graduation of the senior class. Even though the high school has been vacant since 1975, the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1981.

The Syracuse Central High School—or “Central Tech”—collection is a recent acquisition of Onondaga County Public Library’s Department of Local History and Genealogy. The collection was gathered, compiled, and managed by Nicholas C. Nett, a 1952 SCHS alumnus. Nett created the collection to preserve the cultural heritage of the currently defunct high school. Nett expected to donate the collection when the School reopened as The Institute of Technology @ Syracuse Central. However, those plans never materialized and Nett subsequently donated the expansive collection to OCPL in 2009.

Nett did significant outreach to SCHS/Central Tech alumni to obtain their personal school memorabilia and academic records. The collection contains a diverse array of materials relating to the history of the high school and the educational and extracurricular activities of its students. Items of interest include report cards, diplomas, photographs, student publications, clippings, banquet programs, dance cards, class rings, pins/buttons, and other unique ephemera.
A History of Syracuse Central by Nicholas C. Nett [PDF]


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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The collection comprises archival materials relating to the history of Syracuse Central High School and the academic and extracurricular activities of its students. Items date from 1885 to 2004, along with numerous undated materials. There are six main categories of the collection: academic records, class year materials, special events, extracurricular activities, student societies, and school-related materials. Each series is organized into narrower subseries and then arranged chronologically.


Series 1: Academic Records

This series contains documents belonging to individuals who attended and graduated from Syracuse Central or Central Tech High School. Subseries including report cards, awards, and diplomas provide valuable information for genealogists, while the curriculum materials are a valuable source of information on the history of education in Syracuse. Most of the items presented here contain the names of SCHS/Central Tech alumni. Date coverage is from 1888 to 1967.


Series 2: Class Year Materials

This category includes a variety of subseries ranging from class photographs and reunion pictures to senior memories booklets. Senior memories booklets are a collection of name cards, often with personalized notes or signatures on the back. This series also contains graduation materials like commencement exercises, as well as invitations and programs from various convocation ceremonies. The memorabilia subseries includes class rings and pins, mostly from the 1940s. Date coverage is from 1885 to 1975. However, not all class years are represented.
Commencement/Graduation Excercises/ Graduation Lists, 1894-1975 [PDF] [Excel]


Series 3: Special Events

The Special Events series contains abundant dance and prom ephemera, such as dance tickets, event announcements, and clippings. These unique items span six decades of the school’s history. Also included are items from a 1945 memorial held at Lincoln Auditorium to commemorate the SCHS students who perished in World War II.


Series 4: Extracurricular Activities

Extracurricular Activities includes athletics, the school newspaper, student government, and music and drama organizations. These groups and organizations were prolific and popular from the turn of the century until the closing of the school in 1975. However, the items in the collection only extend until the mid-1960s. Athletics provide a wide range of items from varsity letters, play books, and game stubs to clippings, photographs, and school fight songs. The Music and Drama organizations provide sheet music and playbills from many different productions. The Student Government subseries includes hallway passes, election announcements, and student handbooks. The School Newspaper items include clippings, certificates, and awards. OCPL holds a separate collection of the student newspaperThe Recorderin the Local History/Genealogy Department. This Extracurricular Activities series provides a score of information on the social and cultural lives of SCHS students.
List of the School newspaper The Recorder, 1889-1963 [PDF] [Excel]


Series 5: Student Societies

The Student Societies series includes the Senate, along with sororities popular at SCHS through the mid-twentieth century. These organizations, especially the Lyceum and Philomathean societies, were extremely popular with students. Many of the items pertain to events held by the organizations and range from hand-written invitations to handmade rush booklets with creative themes like ski-pants and stockings. Some clubs contain unique society jewelry like rings and pins. Group portraits, included in almost all subseries, contain the names of club members and are an invaluable resource for genealogists.


Series 6: School-Related Materials

This series contains a subcategory devoted to the high school building itself; items include room numbers, postcards, and clippings. Also featured in this series is numerous school memorabilia. Items include school notebooks, pins and buttons, a tablecloth, school banners, passes, and nametags. Additionally, menus from local restaurants that students frequented are featured in this series. Miscellaneous photographs, both identified and unidentified, are included. Date coverage is from the 1900s to the 1960s.
List of Lincoln Auditorium Programs, 1930 - 1976 [PDF] [Excel]
List of Yearbooks, 1909-1975 [PDF] [Excel]
Teacher Roster, 1854 - 1975
[PDF] [Excel]


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Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is arranged into series based on broad subject categories like academic records, class year materials, special events, extracurricular activities, student societies, and school-related materials. Series are further divided into subseries, specifying particular organizations, clubs, and events. Within each subseries, items are arranged into folders by form or genre (correspondence, clippings, ephemera, etc.) and then in chronological order.


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Access Restrictions

Patron must have a valid OCPL library card.

Use Restrictions

User must use materials in the Local History and Genealogy Department of OCPL.
Permission must be obtained from staff for reproduction of any materials.


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Related Material

The Local History and Genealogy Department has other archival materials of Syracuse Central High School, most notably, the school newspaper,The Recorder, and yearbooks. For online users, a photograph collection is available on New York Heritage. Please check with OCPL staff to access other collections.


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Subject Headings


Russell, Archimedes, 1840-1915.

Corporate Bodies

Syracuse Central High School (Syracuse, N.Y.).
Syracuse Central Technical High School (Syracuse, N.Y.).
Syracuse High School (Syracuse, N.Y.).


Class reunions--United States.
Commencement ceremonies--United States.
Education, Secondary--Curricula--New York (State).
Education, Secondary--New York (State).
Education, Secondary--United States--Curricula.
Education, Secondary--United States--History.
Education, Secondary--United States.
High school athletes--New York (State).
High school graduates--New York (State).
Journalism, High school.
Proms--Social aspects--United States.
Proms--United States--History--20th century.
School music--New York (State)--New York.
School sports--United States--History.
Student government--United States.
Teenagers' writings, American--New York (State).
Teenagers--Education (Secondary)--United States.
Teenagers--Education--Social aspects--United States.
Teenagers--United States--Social life and customs.
Teenagers--United States--Societies and clubs.
Young adults--Education--United States.
Young adults--New York (State).
Young adults--Recreation--United States.
Young adults--United States--Social life and customs.


Syracuse (N.Y.)--Buildings, structures, etc.
Syracuse (N.Y.)--Education.
Syracuse (N.Y.)--Genealogy.
Syracuse (N.Y.)--History.
Syracuse (N.Y.)--Public Schools.
Syracuse (N.Y.)--Social life and customs.

Genres and Forms

Buttons (Information Artifacts).
Compact Discs.
Pins (Jewelry).
Report Cards.
Rings (Jewelry).
Sheet Music.
Songs (Document Genre).

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Syracuse Central High School Collection
Onondaga County Public Library
Local History and Genealogy Department

Acquisition Information

Gift from Nicholas C. Nett to Onondaga County Public Library

Finding Aid Information

Created by: JRR/CM
Date: May 14, 2010
Revision history: May 21, 2010 - EAD created (JRR/CM)

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Academic Records
Report Cards
Oversize 1 Report Cards 1902-1963, Undated
Awards and Certificates
Oversize 1 Certificates 1888, 1913, 1919, 1935, 1932, 1933
Oversize 1 Award Announcements 1959-1967
Curriculum Materials
Oversize 1 Curriculum Schedules 1910, 1940s-1950s, Undated
Oversize 1 Clippings 1940s, Undated
Oversize 2 Diplomas 1892, 1907, 1917
Oversize 2 Diplomas 1929, 1923, 1924, 1929
Oversize 3 Diplomas 1930, 1934-1938
Oversize 3 Diplomas 1942, 1952, 1963
Box 4 Diploma Ribbons Undated
Class Year Materials
Class Pictures
Oversize 5 Framed Photographs 1901, 1906, 1907, 1917
Oversize 6 Framed Photographs 1927, 1928, 1935
Oversize 6 Photographs 1885, 1913, 1917, 1919, 1925, 1927, 1930, 1936, 1947, Undated
Oversize 6 Printed Material 1935, 1939, 1940
Oversize 6 Clippings Undated
Senior Class Memories
Box 7 Programs and Booklets 1935, 1947, 1952, 1955, 1959
Box 7 Senior Class Name Cards 1947, 1952, Undated
Box 7 Classes of 1942-1946
Box 7 Class of 1947
Box 7 Class of 1952
Box 7 Class of 1953
Box 7 Class of 1954
Box 7 Class of 1955
Box 7 Class of 1963
Box 7 Class Rings and Pins
Class Pin 1926
Class Ring 1942
Class Ring 1943
Class Pin 1943
Class Ring 1949
Class Ring 1952
Graduation Materials
Box 8 Commencement Exercises 1887-1975
Box 8 Graduation Invitations 1930s-1950s
Box 8 Graduation Ephemera 1895-1975, Undated
Box 8 Clippings 1952, 1959
Special Events
Proms and Dances
Box 9 Clippings 1934, 1978
Dance and Event Ephmera 1900s-1960s, Undated
Box 9 WWII Memorial Assembly 1945
Extracurricular Activities
Student Newspaper
Box 17 The Recorder, January 1889 - June 1906
Box 18 The Recorder, September 1906 - June 1912
Box 19 The Recorder, September 1913 - June 1920
Oversize 20 The Recorder, September 1925 - May 1933
Oversize 21 The Recorder, October 1933 - May 1963
Box 9 Clippings 1910s, 1930s, Undated
Box 9 Awards and Certificates 1934, 1953
Student Government
Box 9 Student Handbooks 1931, 1963, Undated
Box 9 Hallway Passes 1930s-1950s, Undated
Box 9 Student Government Certificates Undated
Box 9 Ephemera 1950s
Box 9 Clippings 1930s, 1950s, Undated
Oversize 11 Athletic Certificates 1935-1958
Oversize 11 Photographs 1934-1959, Undated
Oversize 11 Clippings 1920s-1970s, Undated
Oversize 11 Printed Materials 1903, 1930, Undated
Oversize 11 Ephemera 1933-1948, Undated
Box 10 Varsity Letters Undated
Box 10 Buttons and Pins Undated
Music and Drama Organizations
Oversize 11 Sheet Music 1908, Undated
Oversize 11 Songs 1909-1910, 1932, Undated
Oversize 11 Printed Materia l1950s
Box 12 Photographs 1935, 1957-1958, Undated
Box 12 Playbills 1928-1954, Undated
Box 12 Clippings 1931, 1948-1949, 1951-1953, 1957, Undated
Box 12 Ephemera 1928, 1936, 1951
Box 12 Audio – CD, School Fight Song “Sons of the Red and Blue” plus sheet music for all the band parts. Undated
Student Societies
Adelphian Sorority
Oversize 13 Photographs, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926
Alethean Society
Oversize 13 Clippings Undated
Oversize 13 Printed Material 1952, 1955
Oversize 13 Ephemera 1906-1968, Undated
Lyceum Society
Oversize 13 Correspondence 1940s
Oversize 13 Clippings 1930s-1940s, Undated
Oversize 13 Publications 1889, 1919
Oversize 13 Printed Material 1947, 1949, 1950
Oversize 13 Ephemera 1908, 1930s-1950s, Undated
Phi Delta Sigma
Oversize 13 Correspondence 1928
Oversize 13 Clippings Undated
Oversize 13 Printed Material Undated
Oversize 13 Ephemera 1927-1928, Undated
Pi Phi Fraternity
Oversize 13 Fraternity Dance Ticket, 1951
Oversize 13 Pi Phi Pin, Undated
Oversize 14 Correspondence 1940s
Oversize 14 Clippings 1942, Undated
Oversize 14 Photographs 1945, 1950s, 2004, Undated
Oversize 14 Printed Material 1940s-1950s
Oversize 14 Ephemera 1900s, 1940s, 1957, Undated
Philomathean Pin Undated
Philomathean Pin Undated
Oversize 14 Correspondence 1951
Oversize 14 Clipping sUndated
Oversize 14 Publications 1924-1925
Oversize 14 Printed Materia lUndated
Oversize 14 Ephemera 1910-1954
Senate Pin 1915-1916
Oversize 14 Correspondence Undated
Oversize 14 Clippings Undated
Oversize 14 Printed Materia l1950-1951, Undated
Oversize 14 Ephemera 1904, 1950, Undated
Miscellaneous Clubs
Oversize 14 Printed Materials 1928
Echeoratia Member Portrait 1928
Oversize 14 Ephemera 1928
Amorelta Pin 1928
School-Related Materials
Building-Related Materials
Oversize 15 Clippings 1940s, 1952, Undated
Oversize 15 Ephemera 1900s-1950s, Undated
Postcards 1900s-1950s
Classroom Numbers Undated
Signage 1900s-1950s
School-Related Materials
Oversize 15 Photographs 1906-1960s, Undated
Oversize 15 Printed Material 1941
School Memorabilia
Oversize 15 Notebooks Undated
Oversize 15 Local City Menus Undated
Oversize 16 Passes, Nametags, and Postcards 1900s-1940s
Oversize 16 Felt Badges and Pins 1930s-1950s
Oversize 16 School Banners Undated
Oversize 16 Tablecloth Undated

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