Fashion Forward: Student Style in North Carolina Yearbooks

March 20, 2024

A new exhibit in Wilson Library uses photos from yearbooks across North Carolina to explore social trends and style preferences of college and university students throughout history. The exhibit covers more than a century of college fashion, from Carolina’s first yearbook photo in 1891 to Meredith College’s Women’s Basketball Team in 2020. 

You can view the exhibition on the walls of Wilson Library’s first floor (bottom floor). All the photos in the exhibit are provided by the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center (NCDHC). A QR Code accompanying each image links to the digitized version in the NCDHC collection. 

The yearbooks featured in this exhibit come from organizations throughout the state that have worked with the NCDHC. The Center – located in Wilson Library – partners with libraries, museums, alumni associations and more to make historic collections available online. You can view even more yearbook content from colleges and high schools at


A group of white men in suits poses for a photo, sitting on steps outside the University of North Carolina.

Class of 1891; from The Hellenian, 1981; contributed to DigitalNC by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Three portraits of young women. The women have bobbed hair and wear dresses typical of the 1920s. They are seated and looking at the camera.

Mary Davis, Evelyn Mendenhall, Mary Miller; from Pine Needles, 1924; Contributed to DigitalNC by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Photographs of six young black women. One wears a pantsuit, another a short dress. Three wear longer gowns. One wears a skirt suit.

Campus Group and Event Representatives; from The Bear, 1970; contributed to DigitalNC by Shaw University.

A group of black women pose for a photo, each with a hand on their hip. They are cheerleaders at Richmond Technical Institute in 1977.

Cheerleaders; Valiant, 1977. Contributed to DigitalNC by Richmond Community College.

Nine women in basketball uniforms pose for a photo. They wear sleeveless jerseys with v-necks, and knee-length basketball shorts. Their jerseys - and a sign behind them - all read "Meredith.:

Women’s Basketball Team; from The Oak Leaves, 2020; Contributed to DigitalNC by Meredith College