Monday, February 24, 2014

Golden Age of Higher Education

From that bottom drawer again – yellowed copies of the Syracuse Daily Orange, the paper on which we honed our professional skills at one of the country’s top journalism schools.  Three headlines in the picture I just snapped, no by-lines--if the editor awarded you a cherished by-line in those days, you felt you were half-way to a Pulitzer.

     Anyhow –left-hand article is a report that the University just enrolled a record number of freshmen – pretty good in the middle of a war with ten million college-age men overseas.  The headline on the other side lists the faculty members recently appointed to the University’s War Records Committee. 
     And the larger headline,  in between, says that “Coeds will be told “Your Appearance Counts!” [note the exclamation point] by Miss Gladys Bliss in a lecture tonight at 7:30 in 104 Slocum.  All interested students are urged to attend the lecture tonight…The importance of good grooming to economic welfare, to home and social life, and to morale will be stressed by the speaker."
     We had no powerpoint in those days – were there even overhead projectors yet? But we were assured that “Illustrating her lecture will be charts displaying a range of subjects from facial contours to actual textile fabrics…the lecture will stress the care of the skin, the art of proper make-up, hand care, personal care, hairstying to facial contours, and the selection and use of perfumeMiss Bliss was invited to the University as part of the course in personality development and euthenics classes in the College of Home Economics.”
     Sorry, you were just born too late.  Today I suspect you’d search in vain for a university-level credit course in personality development, never mind euthenics. 

1 comment:

  1. Actually, both personality development and "euthenics" (under its modern moniker of "positive psychology") are alive and well in most psychology departments today. It's just that the emphasis on makeup and perfume has been toned down since the WW2 era.

    And I probably have no room to sneer at Miss Gladys Bliss, in view of the fact that in a later and more free-wheeling time and place, I managed to obtain a college course credit in massage. It's not something I'm particularly proud of today.