It’s that time of year again — yes, graduation season.
In 1941, LIFE magazine paid tribute to the rite of spring in a series of photographs that the great Alfred Eisenstaedt made that year at and around graduation in the town of Mansfield, in north-central Ohio. More than seven decades later, Eisenstaedt’s warm, empathetic pictures convey the strangely mixed emotions that will be familiar to anyone who’s ever donned a cap and gown and walked across a stage to shake hands and receive a diploma: anxiety, pride, relief, excitement and, for most of us, not a little melancholy. This is, after all, the real and true end of something, even as it’s the beginning of something wholly new and (if done right) something far bigger than what came before.
HAGS, graduates. (c’mon, I had to say it…) Enjoy these photographs.