Permanent Record: What Happens to the Cards?

A trove of 1920s report cards and the stories they tell.
Sept. 18 2011 2:23 PM

Permanent Record

What happens to the cards?

You may be wondering if I gave Doretta LaPorta her mother's report card after interviewing her. No—but I will soon.

All the families I interviewed in the course of the Permanent Record project will be receiving their loved ones' report cards shortly. The rest of the cards will be placed in women's history archive, where they will be made available to scholars. (Interested parties can contact me and I'll put them in touch with the archive administrator.)

Deep down, I know this is the right thing to do, but I have mixed feelings about letting go of the report cards. On the one hand, I've always thought of myself as a collector, not a hoarder. I love old and unusual items, but my attitude has always been, "This thing was never truly mine. It was someone else's before, then it cycled into my life, and later on it can cycle back out so someone else can enjoy it." Still, the Manhattan Trade cards are on another level. They're beautiful objects, but that's the least of why they're special. They're stories; they're lives. Over the years, I've felt connected to those lives. Relinquishing that connection will be difficult.

Paul Lukas writes about food, travel, and consumer culture for a variety of publications.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 11:33 AM Planned Parenthood Is About to Make It a Lot Easier to Get Birth Control
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 21 2014 2:00 PM Colin Farrell Will Star in True Detective’s Second Season
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 5:03 PM White House Chief Information Officer Will Run U.S. Ebola Response
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.