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Morning wear in America: Harvard 1961 Commencement from LIFE Magazine

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by voxsartoria, Dec 5, 2009.

  1. moddey

    moddey Well-Known Member

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    The passing of the age is sad in a strange way. I don't yearn to live in that world, but the present is a slight bit tawdry in comparison. It seems on par with the loss of biodiversity.

    +1

    harvard looked nothing like this when I was there...

    an interesting point. along with the loss of biodiversity goes heavyweight cloth, skilled tailoring, languages, literacy, so many artisanal skills...
     
  2. M. Charles

    M. Charles Senior member

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    For those interested, by Gaddis Smith, famous but now retired Yale history professor:

    http://www.yalealumnimagazine.com/is...ssion3645.html

    Life at Yale for wealthy undergraduates resembled escapist movies about the rich and carefree. They enjoyed their automobiles, weekends in New York, country club summers, sailing on Martha's Vineyard, and trips to Europe. Spectator yachts lined the Thames when Yale rowed against Harvard at New London in June.

    When the residential colleges opened in September 1933, undergraduates selected by the college masters (there was not room for all) lived in luxurious suites, ordered meals from printed menus and were served by uniformed waitresses, and after eating perhaps repaired to the squash courts for exercise fitting their station in life. Faculty fellows of the colleges delighted in weekly dinners followed by port, conversation, and sometimes bridge or poker. The residential faculty fellows (bachelors only) had large apartments. The masters lived with their families in mansions worthy of bank presidents before the fall.

    Yearbook histories chronicled football victories, dances, the membership lists of fraternities and senior societies, with only a few passing comments on increased undergraduate interest in finding part-time employment or the difficulty the Yale Record was having with the cost of its new building. One cartoon showed a man with an empty basket; the caption asked, "Who's got those six billions Irving Fisher told us Prohibition had saved?"

    Varsity football prospered. Games filled the Yale Bowl with cheering students and alumni. Gate receipts held up so well during the Depression that in 1931, the chair of President Herbert Hoover's committee for unemployment relief asked Yale to hold a postseason benefit game with other elite schools. In 1937, Yale raised the salary of one part-time assistant football coach, law student Gerald R. Ford '41LLB, from $3,000 to $3,500, more than that of an entering junior faculty instructor with a PhD.

    Some alumni recalled afterwards that they were oblivious to conditions outside of Yale. Hear Senator William Proxmire '38: "We lived in a kind of disembodied cocoon, a deliberate isolation from what we could see and smell and hear when we left the New Haven Campus. . . . Most of my classmates were wholly preoccupied with sports and girls and grades, and bull sessions about sports and girls and grades -- in that order. If you wanted to be happy, it was a great time to be a Yalie. If you wanted to be serious -- you had to wait."

    Or novelist and lawyer Louis Auchincloss '39, who confessed that "ultimately there was not, even for me, any keeping of the world (or FDR) out of Yale. Hitler barked on the newsreels. The King of England abdicated for love. Richard Whitney's embezzlement shook my father's world. On weekends at home my mother deplored my ivory tower. 'The world is going to pieces,' she complained at a lunch party, 'and Louis is writing his term paper on the Medici popes.' Bless Medici popes!"
     
  3. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Senior member

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    an interesting point. along with the loss of biodiversity goes heavyweight cloth, skilled tailoring, languages, literacy, so many artisanal skills...

    Yes, but there has been a marked rise in eBay, Facebook, texting, and StyleForvm skillz unknown in 1961.

    Plus, we have Splenda.


    - B
     
  4. Albern

    Albern Senior member

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    See here.

    Thanks!!
     
  5. AlanC

    AlanC Senior member

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    Those pictures make me want to cry.
     
  6. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Brown, Commencement 2009:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Five FooPoints to the first person who spots RJman.
     
  7. robin

    robin Senior member

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    Way to ruin this thread foo. WTF are they doing in that last one? RJ, care to help?
     
  8. Bird's One View

    Bird's One View Senior member

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    Sometimes I regret my early and unceremonial departure from Brown. This is not one of those times.
     
  9. rob

    rob Senior member

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    I love the poor fellow walking with the crutch.

    rob
     
  10. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    My great-grandfather attended Harvard back in the '20s.

    Alas, no photographs remain due to the Cultural Revolution.
     
  11. malefic

    malefic Senior member

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    Brown, Commencement 2009: [​IMG]
    "Artist's conception of NYU commencement, 2023": [​IMG]
     
  12. robin

    robin Senior member

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    My great-grandfather attended Harvard back in the '20s. Alas, no photographs remain due to the Cultural Revolution.
    Maybe Harvard has photos of him in an archive somewhere? You'd be surprised - I've found pictures of ancestors in very odd places whenever I start to look.
     
  13. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    Maybe Harvard has photos of him in an archive somewhere?

    One would assume so.

    My great-aunt--his eldest daughter--had to enroll at Columbia because Harvard did not allow women as undergraduates at that time.
     
  14. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Senior member

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    One would assume so.

    My great-aunt--his eldest daughter--had to enroll at Columbia because Harvard did not allow women as undergraduates at that time.


    Do you know why she didn't go to Radcliffe?


    - B
     
  15. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    Do you know why she didn't go to Radcliffe? - B
    I imagine she wanted a more independent entity than a coordinated college. Something of a strong-willed woman as one might expect from a lawyer's daughter.
     
  16. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Senior member

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    I imagine she wanted a more independent entity than a coordinated college. Something of a strong-willed woman as one might expect from a lawyer's daughter.

    I suspect that she was spared the regime inflicted by the parents of Harvard Girl.


    - B
     
  17. LaoHu

    LaoHu Senior member

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    Can anyone identify the two gentlemen on the left in this photo?

    [​IMG]
     
  18. lee_44106

    lee_44106 Senior member

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    Guy on the right bears a resemblance to Robert McNamara (more dovish of course)

    Guy on the right looks like Mike Huckabee [​IMG]
     
  19. rnoldh

    rnoldh Senior member

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    Fabulous, unforetuneately that era is gone.

    In one of the great tragedies of Harvard's glorious history, they turned me down for admission.

    It was 1967 and I had applied as a Lincoln HS, Brooklyn NYC grad.

    I got on some sort of waiting list and I was accepted by Cornell and Rice U. I decided to leave NYC to it's own devices and I left for Texas. The rest is history.

    I do admit that Rice had nothing to compare to Harvard's pomp and circumstance of the 1960s.

    But I wonder if Harvard had anything to compare to Boys Towns in the Valley? Perhaps the Boston Combat Zone existed then.

    As Vox has pointed out, these photos are of a commencement, and not daily dress of course by any means. A few of my Lincoln HS friends did get into Harvard ( they had 1600 SATS, and Harvard was very picky with which poor Jews they accepted ) and they invited me to Ivy League Football games. I remember the Harvard Yale game as a big deal. I think the Harvard guys were dressed better than my college friends back in Texas but not spectacularly so.

    Here is a story about my HS buddy Brian Newmark who got into Harvard. He was 6' 7" tall and Harvard wanted him for his basketball skills. If you read the story, note his comments about Brighton Beach and the Viet Nam war. I'm going to contact him and see if he'll participate in an oral history and website I and the family of Michael Klenfner, a common friend of ours are planning as a tribute/remembrance site. I'm sure he will.

    I really remember and love that era. Thanks Bill.
     
  20. radicaldog

    radicaldog Senior member

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    Great photos. I'm a fan of the notch morning coat [​IMG]
     

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