93-year-old diploma found, search for family of graduate

The search is on for the family of Mary McClain, a 1922 graduate of Sedalia High School in Graves County, Kentucky. 

Richard Henson, a local history collector and small-business owner said he went to a local "junk shop” and bought the document for $10. There is little information on how the owner came across the item. Henson said the business was accustomed to people dropping off unwanted material. He believes this just happened to be one of them.

Henson believes young people don’t value family heirlooms as much as they should. “People keep their sports memorabilia more often than they keep their family history,” he said. But, that’s the worst case scenario. He hopes to find eager family members excited to come across a piece of their ancestral history.

Henson has been collecting rare items since the age of 12. “I like old stuff, and I just like collecting it, and I really like to find it,” he said. This find won’t be adding to his collection, though. He is asking for any family to come forward interested in keeping the diploma in the family. He wants no monetary reward in return. He says sometimes “it’s better to give than to receive."

The diploma is in great shape to be nearly a century old. The frame looks to be original, and the paper itself has barely worn any. Henson says he believes it’s never seen the sun.

If you recognize any of the signatures on the document and would like to take a look or you are related to the graduate, you can contact Henson at: 270-51-8510 or you can go by Henson Broom Shop at 1060 KY-348, Symsonia, KY 42082.

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