Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Zenith (High Point University Yearbooks) 1946-1948


Second only to scrapbooks (a nasty ebay habit I've been trying to quit since...probably when I started). But seriously? How is that 18 year olds in 1946, '47, and '48 (the academic years from which these photos were meticulously culled, in their digital editions) looked so grown up? If it were 1946, and I practiced the basic beauty regime of your average college Freshman, would I look like Rita Hayworth come picture day? Isn't the laughing girl in the rose skirt, front right, like something out of a stock photo? Below, Jeannette McBain and Lorraine Chapman show you how it's done...lipstick perfect, eyebrows perfect, hair perfect, and so very elegant.

Granted, there were also plenty of average featured Sues and Sals in the yearbooks I perused, but anyone would notice a pointed lack of sloppy personal grooming in each and every one of the classroom peers overwhich I pored. Ladies' hair-- curled, clipped, coiffed! Gentlemen's ties-- sufficiently sporty! The fanned lace across the bodice of Miss Chapman (right) makes me positively yearn for a time when "formal" meant "evening gown" rather than"not jeans".

What lovely gals...what voluminous skirts and curls. Directly above, "Exquisite Senior Blanche Myers" of Thomasville, NC. Above left, the very pretty (if improbably named) Adrienne Angel, a High Point local with a major in Music. Doesn't she sound (and look!!) like a superhero's girlfriend? I forgot to keep note of the lady in the upper lefthand photo (if she's your grandmother, do let me know), but look at the sequin work on her dress, and the star shaped necklace at her throat. Elbow length, fingerless gloves? I believe I will.

Click on the picture above and see a real live line up from a real live soda shop! Above the top of the backshelf is a monstrously large Coca-Cola display...three collegiates to either side and a soda jerk in the middle admonishing his gaggle to "Join the Coke Club!" Wonder what it looks like in color? I did.

Can you just see the Antiques Roadshow dollar signs rolling over in the whites of my eyes. How cool! HOW COOL. These were apparently just cardboard cut outs that could be tacked wherever needed. These mint ones were worth somewhere in the thousand dollar range. Ephemera! How I love you!

Meet Owen, Doris, Neil, and Tommy-- your 1948 High Point University freshman class officers. I have yet to master the art of socks and loafers without looking like someone's blowsy hausfrau mother, but I know it can be done! Look at Doris. AND I've seen contemporary examples I liked. Maybe it's something to do with having feet that resemble large wooden planks, and that's where I'm missing the mark. Le sigh.

Does not the gentlemen in the left hand corner SINCERELY resemble none other than Gary Busey? I, myself, was immediately struck by the likeness. Handsomer, in that he is younger and not Gary Busey, but the features are so alike! To the right, what you would get if Jimmy Stewart and Loretta Young had a kid together. The angelic Grady Herman Whicker (Honor Roll, English Dept. Assistant, Ministerial Association) has a twin sister right next to him in the yearbook, Miss Pansy Henderson Whicker (middle right). In spite of her awesome hair, I would be jealous if my twin brother had such blonde hair and clear, striking eyes as young Grady.

Below Busey and Stewart-Young, a selection of gentlemen with interesting hair. Note the wide variety of rooster combs, pompadours, and slicked back styles. Also, how is the guy in the lowest right (Harry M. Matthews, manager of the basketball, football, and softball teams) a college Sophmore? He looks like he owns a small business. Betty Trollinger (right) was not only voted "Lovely Sophmore", but was also selected "Miss High Point University" by Cecil B. Demille! I'm diappointed more colleges don't have beauty contests judged by famous impressarios/Hollywood figures (remember the post about Frances Espy?).

Some High Point beauties (I was once again too lazy to note their names! For shame).

And two more High Point gents:

Nice hair, lefty. Seriously. In a kind of retro, tamer Eraserhead-y way, you have great hair. Man on the right, you look a little like Tyrone Power. I doubt, in 1948, that would work against you. Actually, I doubt in 2011 that would work against you.

Girls whose names I did remember:
Blanche Myers (Home Ec, left) and Carolyn Neely (Business Administration, right). I think Carolyn Neely is the prettiest girl in the book.

Hazel Frances King, Ellen Ruth Lewis

Doesn't the girl on the left actually look a little like Miss Hayworth?

Vivan Alene Cheech (Home Economics), Doris Lee (amongst her extracurriculars?? "Vocalist with Swing Band"!!)

Gloria Yvonne Bingham (left), Marie Sue Butner (Home Ec, middle),Wincie Victoria Cagle (Science!!, right)

While I'm glad to have settled on this braided hair style that is both old fashioned and practical and whimsy, I'll have to say that the girls of High Point do have me singing a song of shears. And curlers. Possibly a permanent. I'm so terrified of getting an 80's style, far too tight helmet that I haven't dared yet, but how else can I get the effortless ringlets and waves some of these girls have going on? Without having any particular skill in hair dressing or setting, that is.

Thisssss.(Ruth Payne, Brasstown) And not this. (Sorry to call you out, Reba, you know you're my girl).

Don't you wish you'd taken more time with your high school portraits now? Mine were not nearly this glamorous. But the marked inspiration I'm mulling over now, thanks to these books!

Dig up a decade yourself at Internet Archive.

Til next time.


  1. You get it by first looking much more like Roseanne Roseannadanna than a starlet, while you brush your curled locks, but you keep at it until they turn into waves and curls like the loveley ladies you showed above. :)

    My high school photos should probably all be burned!

  2. I KNOW. i was looking into getting a good old fashioned perm for a while but everyone i talked to said that those styles were all from curler sets, NOT perms. a perm would merely help the hair hold the set and give it extra body and texture, but to get those styles you apparently still have to do a ton o work. sigh.

  3. @Tasha: I tried Hot Sticks through the tutorial on Fleur de Guerre's website, and I think I just wasn't patient/tenacious enough with the directions... I want the waves, though!!

    @Honey Hi: Good info! I always hear "So you want a perm?" and I'm like "I don't know! I just want...not straight hair! Forties hair! I want forties hair!" I'm so bad at setting my hair myself though. I'll have to practice.

  4. Old yearbook photographs are so inspiring. The clothes, the hair, the styling. I wish I could look exactly like that! xoxo

  5. I'm breaking out in a cold sweat about the possibility of someone posting my yearbook photos on the internet in 60 years! I really wish I had looked as nice as these ladies and gents. My extra-curriculars were National Honor Society treasurer and member of academic team and Mu Alpha Theta (yeah, the math club). I'm not so sure Cecil B. DeMille would have been impressed!

    Why oh why are there no more soda fountains? There's still one in the Nichols Hills drugstore in Oklahoma City (where I grew up), but that was it! I don't know of any where I live now and it makes me sad!

  6. Oh my goodness. I can't wait to have spare time to look at these yearbook archives!! Another fantastic post, I ate up every word! I want to be that put together when I was 18! Haha ;)
    M xo

  7. I love looking through yearbook mostly for the hairstyles! I think they're so much more interesting than those we have nowadays:)


  8. Yes! I love how stylish and clean-cut people look, I wish I could be like that! The hair especially, just magnificent!

  9. These are awesome, just look at the perms on those ladies! :) jazzy ♥



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