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Boise Junior College Alumna Helps Archivists Identify Photos from ’50s

By: Brady W Moore   Published 2:26 pm / October 26, 2017

When Joan (Edwards) Williams and her son, Matt, were browsing Historic Boise State, a collection of archived photos, they noticed a lot of names missing from the photos. Williams attended Boise Junior College (BJC) from 1949-1951, participated in the Valkyries, Associated Women Students and was a cheerleader. She also met met football player Earl Williams on campus at a BJC dance. They later married and had three children.

Photo of cheerleaders from the 1950s.

1950 cheerleaders, Virginia Oliason, Jerry Hill, Joan Edwards and Don Urry

This week, Williams and her son visited Special Collections and Archives in Albertsons Library to sift through hundreds of photographs. Archives staff pulled photos that were generally known to be from her time at BJC. Many of these photos had no dates or names associated with them, simply filed under generic folders like “Dances 1940s-1960s” or “Student Organizations 1950s.” After an hour, she had helped identify dozens of people and pin down exact years for 35 photos. These photos would otherwise remain mysteries to the archivists at Albertsons Library. They will now by scanned and published online.

Jim Duran, digital archivist said, “We are very grateful for Joan and Matt’s visit to the archives. It’s a rare treat to speak with someone that experienced Boise State history. It makes these photos come to life.”

Photo of Williams looking through the archives.

Williams looking through the photos.

If you would like to help the archives with names or dates of historical photos, schedule a meeting by calling (208) 426-3990, or email You can also add comments to photos in Historic Boise State.