The photo in the yearbook captures the film legend at the age of 15. The name underneath her image reads Norma (Jeane) Baker. This is the first officially published portrait of Marilyn Monroe and is the only one she has portrayed in a high school yearbook.

Marilyn Monroe was born on June 1, 1926 as the illegitimate child of Gladys Pearl Baker in Los Angeles. The mother never announced the name of the father of her child. She named her baby daughter Norma Jeane and gave her the surname Mortenson, Gladys' then husband. When Norma Jeane was baptized, her mother changed her last name to Baker, after Gladys' first husband.

Norma Jeane Banker as a child Norma Jeane Baker as a child

Norma Jeane's childhood was anything but happy. When she was only two weeks old, her mother, who was suffering from a nervous condition, turned her into a foster home where Norma Jeane lived for seven years. In 1933, Gladys took her little girl back, but was soon after admitted to a mental hospital in February 1934. Norma Jeane went to a second foster care and stayed for some time in an orphanage.

The frequent change of residence meant that Norma Jeane never visited the same school for more than two years. Suffering from crippling insecurities, the young girl's speech developed a stutter. Norma Jeane received nicknames such as "the mouse," "the human beanpole" or "The Mmmmm Girl," a cruel jibe at her speech problems.

Norma Jeane Baker 1942 University High School, Los Angeles, yearbook Norma Jeane Baker 1942 University High School, Los Angeles, yearbook

"As a little girl, nobody told me I was pretty, you should tell all little girls that they are pretty, even if it's not true." - Marilyn Monroe

When Norma Jeane attended 10th grade at University High School in West Los Angeles from February to June 1942, her appearance had changed. The portrait in this year book captures a confident, smiling young woman with dark curly hair. Before Norma Jeane became a platinum blonde movie star, she wore her reddish natural hair color with pride.

Norma Jeane did not graduate high school. Instead, on June 19 the same year, she married James Dougherty, who was five years her senior and whom she had met just months before. The marriage was a stopgap, as Norma's then foster family lived in the same neighbourhood as James Dougherty lived. When the family decided to move to another state, Norma married Dougherty so that she  would have to live in the orphanage until her 18th birthday.

blog.php-169 Photograph by Marilyn Monroe from 1952. Currently up for auction at Catawiki

The marriage of convenience lasted four years. During this time, Norma Jeane was scouted for model work. In the years that followed, she became Marilyn Monroe: one of the 20th century's biggest stars and was married twice more. To this day her premature death is shrouded in mystery.

This piece of 20th century Pop Culture history was auctioned in the summer at online auction house Catawiki for $2 100. Peter Schnug, the largest collector of Marilyn Monroe memorabilia in Germany secured the winning bid for this piece. Peter Schnug was ecstatic when he saw that the yearbooks featured the signature of the future Hollywood star. Peter Schnug was positive that Monroe signed the book "Jeane Norman.''

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