I never knew Hazel Watson, but I have her report cards. The first one is dated 1901, when Hazel took Reading, Numbers, Writing in New Sharon, Iowa. Her grades were 4, 5, and 3, respectively. The last one is dated 1912, and she took English, American History, General History, Music, Geography, Bookkeeping, and Algebra. Her grades varied from 70 (General History) to 88 (Music). They are the real cards, not some printed piece of ephemera.
The question, of course, is, do I use them in a journal, adding ink or paint? Or, do I use them without altering them?
I’d love to use them as postcards–most of them are blank on the back, except for the parent’s signature. A few have “explanations to parents” on the back. They would make a great postcard series of events of the years they span.
If I put ink or paint on them, I’ll take away part of the history, and they will lose something. If I leave them alone, they don’t become art, just some old report cards. The one thing I am not interested in is photographing them or scanning them and using the image, which has no spirit and no soul. I either have to alter them or leave them untouched. If it makes a difference, there is no relationship between her family and mine, I purchased the cards in a bundle of “stuff.”
What would you do with Hazel’s report cards? Alter them? Leave them untouched? Let me know in the comments.