THIS JUST IN: Dissecting Gender Roles through Greeting Cards

By Yvette Yurubi, Special Collections Archives Assistant

According to the Greeting Card Association, greeting cards have their recorded origins dating as far back as the Ancient Egyptians, who would often include messages of goodwill on papyrus scrolls. Greeting cards had a prolific growth in use with the advent of the printing press and the rise of systemic, government-operated mail delivery that made it easier to transmit letters over greater distances. They experienced a cultural rebirth in the late 1800s and 1900s when Valentine’s Day celebrations in Great Britain popularized the exchange of small tokens of affection, the most notable being Valentine’s Day cards. Since then greeting cards have become ubiquitous in expressing all kinds of sentiments, from “get well” wishes to birthday and anniversary regards.

Because of their growth in popularity, greeting cards contain a wealth of information about the evolution of social history, and they present a more intimate depiction of how historical events were being interpreted by businesses trying to cash in on widespread, popular attitudes of the time. Most notably, they help illustrate the casual use of sexist images and terminology, much of it embodied in the images of children, who were often the recipients of these cards, without any thought or care for the subtle way they were emphasizing societal views on gender roles. Our newly acquired Vintage Greeting Card Collection represents a sample portion of how much traditional gender roles had permeated our social conscience with the cards aimed at girls, often including women either in sexually implicit context or in domestic roles, such as doing housework or nurturing children. There is also a heavy dosage of flowers, lace, hearts, pink backgrounds, and other imagery traditionally associated with femininity spread throughout them. In contrast, the cards which feature boys or men in them usually have them playing with cars or trucks or taking on the role of doctors, cowboys, and astronauts, and the cards are generally more restrained in color and decoration.

Interestingly enough, not all cards adhere firmly to gender roles, as there are numerous cards that blatantly depict women in non-traditional career roles, performing activities such as mining, piloting airplanes, sailing, and even being portrayed as soldiers. One of the more unique acquisitions is a World War II-era card in which female soldiers are disciplining each of the leaders of the Axis powers in a manner befitting of a mother scolding a small child. Likewise, among the cards featuring men, there are a few of them showing men in a nurturing role as fathers and caretakers. One card even shows a female kitten and a male dog riding on a bike together with the female kitten steering while the male dog holds a bouquet of flowers.

The writings inside the cards contain an extra layer of story-telling that often contributes to the unique rarity of these cards. For instance, one card with racy women on the cover has writing in pencil stating, “Gee kid don’t you wish you had a shape like this, SLIM,” to an unknown recipient named Vera. It’s easy to weave a tale around such messages as these, imagining who both the sender and receivers were, and what kind of relationship they may have had with one another. Not knowing the truth provides an intriguing mystique to these cards that bids our imaginations to run wild.

You can see more cards like these now at the Special Collections Department, currently located in the eighth floor of the Otto G. Richter Library.



THIS JUST IN: Motoring through the Depression: to Florida & New England by ‘House Car’

By Nicola Hellmann-McFarland, Special Collections Library Assistant

What exactly is a “house car”? It is, indeed, what it sounds like -a house that is also a car, very much like any other recreational vehicle (RV). However, it is often custom-built on a truck frame or a small bus, converted into a bulky sleeper and touring car made to allow its driver and inhabitants to romance the road with maximum convenience, celebrating their freedom to explore.

This was the idea of Winfield L. Markham from Lakewood, NY, who took to the road with his box-shaped house car in the early days of the Great Depression during the winters of 1930 and ’31. One of our latest additions to the Florida Photograph Album Collection at Special Collections, an album entitled “Motoring through the Depression: To Florida & New England by ‘House Car,’” showcases this excursions.

Camping-friendly alterations were generally made to cars almost as soon as they were introduced. Allegedly, the first version of a house car was the Pierce-Arrow’s Touring Landau from 1910 (America’s premiere prestige automaker at the time), which attracted quite a crowd when it was shown at the Madison Avenue Motor Show in New York that year. It was a nifty car to own, and only three Landaus were made, one of which was purchased by cereal magnate Charles William Post. A few years later, refusing to be outdone by Post, another famous cereal magnate, Will Keith Kellogg, requested his own vehicle -only fancier, of course. Known as the “Ark”, it was built from a white motor truck and was modeled after a classy Pullman railroad car.

The house car owned by Winfield L. Markham was not as dandy as those owned by Post or Kellogg, but it sure went places. In it, he made at least three long trips – a 5000 mile trip to Florida with a friend, a 1675 miles trip through New York and the New England States with his mother and a party of friends, and another trip to Florida, again with his mother and the same friends.

One of Mr. Markham’s hobbies was to produce travelogues of his trips, and he documented these voyages by taking many photographs of the places he went, with or without his travel companions posing in them. Afterwards, he arranged 95 of his images in a beautiful, hand-made photo album, each neatly captioned with typed titles, echoing both the diversity of the places traveled and the curiosity and eagerness of the travelers to explore unknown territories.

In his images, Mr. Markham’s eye for the quirky managed to capture the details of life on the road and his appreciation of nature side by side with his interest in cultural history. On one of the trips south to Florida, for instance, Mr. Markham and his travel companion Glenn W. Harris had made a stop in Georgia at the site of “Stone Mountain,” the gigantic memorial to the Confederacy of which had only been partially completed at the time –a surprising scene for today’s onlooker-, and in the following year, on their way back north from the Sunshine State, the group traveled through Florence, SC, where Mr. Markham took pictures and also gave a lecture at what his photos’ captions describe as the town’s “first colored high school”.

His pictures also reflect a fascination with Florida’s lush nature. He visited the state’s “Largest Cypress Tree” near Orlando twice, and there are several images in the album depicting the beauty of Florida’s royal palms and live oaks.

Furthermore, he documented himself and his travelers savoring Florida’s oranges, a Seminole Indian man fishing in the waters of the Everglades, and scantily-clad bathers and suit-wearing businessmen side by side at Miami Beach.

 

During his trip through New York and New England, his images brought a different set of interests into focus. There are images of the travel party roughing it between boulders in the Adirondack Mountains and marveling at the 228 feet high Taughhannock Falls near Ithaca, NY. The travelers were also captured admiring some Art Deco at Bok Singing Tower near Lake Wales and enjoying the simple pleasure of an Atlantic Ocean beach.

Throughout the entire photograph album, we get to see the quirky house car, framed by the great outdoors of the White Mountains of New Hampshire, on a snowy road somewhere in North Carolina, gawked at by a group of nosy school children in Clinton, NC, and appearing majestic by the rolling waves of Daytona Beach.

In our day and age, we often take travel experiences for granted and might not even be easily impressed by them anymore. But in 1930 when personal motorized transportation -let alone inside a bulky custom-made house car- was still a relatively new thing and other American states beyond one’s own hometown were thought to be far and mysterious destinations, it is easy to imagine how much of an adventurer’s heart Mr. Markham and his travel companions must have had to embark on such long expeditions. They belonged to the early camper culture of Americans, following their wishes to take to the road and explore their country while enjoying “the intimate pleasure of traveling in a vehicle that was both an oversized car and an undersized house.” (Home on the Road: The Motor Home in America by Roger B. White)

The photo album, “Motoring through the Depression: To Florida & New England by ‘House Car,’” can be viewed as part of the Florida Photograph Album Collection at Special Collections on the eighth floor of the Otto G. Richter Library.



THIS JUST IN: Ben Cartwright Wants You to Know About Propaganda

Lorne Greene as “Ben Cartwright” in the long-running TV show Bonanza. (Photo: NBC)

By Nicola Hellmann-McFarland, Special Collections Library Assistant

For those of you old enough, or those who have fathers and grandfathers that remember the Golden Age of Television, the 1960s TV show, Bonanza, was about Ben “Pa” Cartwright and his three sons, who ran a farm by the name of “Ponderosa Ranch” in the Wild West during the Civil War era. Bonanza aired on television for an amazing fourteen years, and it rose to legendary status, as did Ben Cartwright, a beloved and wise patriarch, an upstanding citizen, and a conservative – in the best sense of the word. Although this was not his first television job, Canadian actor Lorne Greene (1915-1987), who played Ben Cartwright, quickly became an American household name as much as that of his alter ego.

None of his other memorable roles had reached a status as iconic as the role of Ben Cartwright, and in the face of all his “olden days” wholesomeness, who would have thought that Lorne Greene was actually quite interested in philosophy? And why is his name among those of the creators of a card game from the mid-1960s entitled The Propaganda Game? Well, one of his friends at the time was a certain Robert W. Allen, a former student of Professor George Henry Moulds, author of the book Thinking Straighter. Rumor has it that Allen and Greene “were discussing philosophical topics one evening, when Greene suggested that they design a game based on propaganda and its techniques.” Allen, remembering Moulds’ textbook, contacted his former professor, and the three men went to work on what eventually became The Propaganda Game in 1966.

“The Propaganda Game” comes with an instruction book, 40 cards containing propaganda quotations, four “prediction dials,” and a “clear thinking chart.”

Designed to be played by two to five players, the game’s neat little plastic box includes an instruction book, 40 cards containing propaganda quotations, four “prediction dials,” and a “clear thinking chart.” Players must compete in propaganda techniques like self-deception, language, irrelevance, and exploitation. The instructions indicate that one player must read a quote, and the other players must secretly decide which technique is being employed. Afterwards, they must vote on an outcome to be decided by the majority rule. Each player who did NOT vote with the majority must then try to sway the popular voters to change their vote within one minute. Finally, the majority voters are instructed to cast their ballots again, and the true outcome is determined.

The Propaganda Game has been played continuously ever since it joined the ranks of the Academic Games Leagues of America. It has educated thousands of players on how to recognize propaganda techniques used in advertisements, political announcements, and other examples from human dialogue.

We can thank Lorne Greene for creating socio-cultural awareness by lending his famous name to this game, and The Propaganda Game itself can be viewed in all its glory here at Special Collections on the eighth floor of the Otto G. Richter Library.



THIS JUST IN: Lions, Tigers, and Pegacorns, Oh My!

Age of the Womanimal, published for the Garden of the Womanimal/Caroline Paquita exhibition at the Booklyn Art Gallery from April 12 – June 18, 2014.

By Yvette Yurubi, Research Assistant

In following this year’s #BeBoldForChange theme for International Women’s Day, we wanted to highlight one of our more recent and unique acquisitions from Caroline Paquita and Pegacorn Press. Caroline and her collaborators have been publishing zines together since the mid-1990s. These works showcase femininity and sexuality in a raw and brazen way, and capture the female body in all of its many shapes, forms, and sizes, while also tackling the experience of being a woman in today’s society. The exaggerated, cartoon-like designs blend with their uninhibited approach to art and serve to capture women not at their most demure, but at their most feral and expressive, unencumbered by traditional gender roles and society’s seemingly impossible-to-achieve beauty standards. There is an elegant absurdity to her work that completely divorces the notion of being a woman from any regulatory definition and instead represents women as untamed, unapologetic, and unashamed of their own female form.

Garden of the Womanimal, published for an exhibition at the Booklyn Art Gallery from April 12 – June 18, 2014.

On the moniker of her independent press, Caroline states that Pegacorn has “embodied the wild spirit that I wanted the press to embrace – a feral beast, and one that wouldn’t just print and release ‘boring’ work by ‘socially acceptable’ people who have always had opportunities to have their work put out. I wanted artists to feel there were no restraints on what they wanted to put out with Pegacorn Press, and that they had the freedom to make whatever they wanted – that they could be as weird or as wild as they wanted.” Her run of Womanilistic, in particular, with its unhinged and frenetic art style, perfectly encapsulates the ideas of unabashed freedom that she wants to encourage. The style achieves this by using close-up ink drawings of the female anatomy and women wearing bestial features in a manner that is explicitly treated as empowering instead of insulting.

Taco Time, from Womanilistic #3

Several women’s issues are conveyed through abstract images in this set of zines. The themes range from body image to sexuality and gender inequality, taking an evocative stance that emboldens readers to not shy away from these topics but rather to lay them all out in the open for discussion. The resulting images and text elicit a dialogue about modern perceptions of gender and trying to transform the norm by rampaging through the idealistic and encouraging self-expression in an unrestricted sense. These zines also offer a welcome glimpse into the celebration of being a woman in a society where the definition is ever-changing and where barriers are constantly being shattered.

We invite you to come enjoy International Women’s Day every day with us here in the Special Collections Department. Located on the eighth floor of the Otto G. Richter Library, the department is a place where anyone can learn more about women’s history by exploring our growing collection of feminist zines and artists’ books.



Presenting the StoryCorps-Warmamas Community Archive

By Patricia Sowers, Director of Warmamas

storycorps-blog_logoThe Afghanistan-Iraq war is described as our country’s longest war. From 2001 to 2014, over 2.5 million men and women were deployed, most of them to war zones. Multiple deployments were not uncommon. Most of those deployed said goodbye to a mother.

Saying goodbye to a son or daughter leaving for war has never been easy. It matters little if it is a first or last deployment—a mother’s anguish is the same. I, too, had to say goodbye to my own son when he announced that he was being sent to the Middle East in a diplomatic capacity. For six years, I lived in secret fear. Eventually I realized that my own feelings of foreboding were dwarfed by what mothers with children in direct combat were experiencing. Their voices were rarely heard and yet were an essential part of our ongoing national narrative on the gravitas of war. There was a need for a place where these women could share their experiences. Warmamas was created out of this need.

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Patricia Sowers (center), Director of Warmamas, converses with StoryCorps-Warmamas oral history donors at Special Collections. Photo by Andrew Innerarity.

None of us were prepared for the kinds of stories we heard. They were beautiful, they were painful, they were inspiring. Some were tragic. They all told a story of strength. There was a story about a mother who takes to bed for three days when her son tells her he has joined the Marines; the mother who sends her second son off to war but refuses to let her third one go; the mother who talks about developing patience when there is no letter for months; the school-teacher whose son returns with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and yet shows a determination to get well that she never expected; the mother talking by phone to her son in Afghanistan and suddenly hearing a bomb explode as his camp is attacked; another mother determined to fly to Kabul when she hears her son is injured; the mother who called an admiral at the Pentagon to complain that her son hadn’t written for six months; the mother who doesn’t cry as her daughter leaves for Iraq so as not to upset her. There are many stories about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and how one mother has struggled with her son’s suicide by creating a foundation to help other at-risk veterans.

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An oral history interview is conducted at Special Collections for the StoryCorps-Warmamas Community Archive. Photo courtesy of Patricia Sowers.

Many mothers expressed surprise that anyone would be remotely interested in their experiences. They have come to understand, however, that their stories have value and are part of the larger story of war and peace and that perhaps one day a stranger or even a grandchild would want to listen.

Warmamas is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) founded in Coral Gables by Gail Ruiz, local artist and attorney, Philip Busey, UF agronomist and political activist and myself, an English teacher at Miami Dade College and hand-wringing mother. Warmamas began by filming, documenting and publishing mothers’ stories and later partnered with the University of Miami and StoryCorps in 2014 and 2015 as part of the Military Voices Initiative which focused on veterans and their families. The veteran narratives are stored at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC and are also—along with the Warmamas’ mother interviews—part of UM Special Collections’ StoryCorps-Warmamas Community Archive.

We are presently interviewing mothers of veterans of all wars. Most interviews are videotaped in the mother’s home. Audio recordings of veterans of any war can be done at the veteran’s home or at the studio in Richter Library.

For more information, please contact:

Patricia Figueroa Sowers, Director
Warmamas
Email: pfsowers@bellsouth.net
Phone: 305-461-5193

You can also watch her full oral history interview here.

 



The Bunny Yeager Collection

Bunny Yeager, 1965

Bunny Yeager, 1965

Not long ago I told my mother—always curious about my day-to-day life as a writer—that I was working on this very essay about Bunny Yeager the famous pin-up model and fashion photographer. She laughed knowingly and then instantly demurred. After some prodding on my part, my mother finally admitted that the “world’s prettiest photographer,” had once photographed her in bikini. Apparently Yeager, according to mom, was into “finding regular girls around Miami,” in the 1960s. This conversation then strangely loomed over almost every page I turned in the newly acquired Bunny Yeager Archive at the University of Miami Special Collections. I had decided to tackle her collection before knowing this but, good lord, was I going to happen across some kind of nudie pic of my mom?

On the set of Dr. No

On the set of Dr. No

The contents of the Bunny Yeager Archive at Special Collections is, according to Ed Christin, an archivist working with her estate, “the first major acquisition by anybody,” from the artist’s holdings. It comprises all of her publishing correspondence, all of her audio recordings, one hundred plus original images, a scrapbook, a pair of shoes, a bikini, several magazines she’s featured in and nearly all of the books she published. Christin explains that the photos are a good cross-section of the collection and that the bikini was included because, “a lot of people think that she made the first bikini in America.” Of course this grand claim is made by many. There are Roman mosaics from the 3rd century of women in Bikinis.

Milton Berle (left) and Bunny Yeager (right)

Milton Berle (left) and Bunny Yeager (right)

It’s worth mentioning that that the process of looking through most of the pictures in the Yeager archive is equivalent to looking at pornography in the library.  Many of the models are are topless and if people catch what you’re looking at they can sometimes raise eyebrows. Apart from this nervousness, one can further make themselves particularly neurotic, if you start worrying your mother is going to show up in the negatives.

The archive depicts Yeager as a complicated and fascinating artist who rubbed elbows with the greatest faces of a generation. She was on set in White River Ocho Rios, Jamaica for the very first James Bond film, Dr. No to take publicity stills of Sean Connery and Ursula Andrews. There’s photographs by Yeager of heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano and of Milton Berle, one of America’s biggest television stars. There is a picture of the great jazz artist Sammy Davis Jr. photographing Yeager, who taught him how to shoot models in 1955 segregated Miami.

Miss Bornzeville

Miss Bronzeville

It bears mentioning that only folder that includes visual representation of a black woman is in a manila envelope using a common euphemism of the day that would now be considered racist, “COLORED GIRL CONTEST WINNER,” in Yeager’s hand underneath her branded return address. Perhaps indicative of the times, the picture is also only photograph of Yeager’s in the collection which is not labeled with the model’s name.

Sammy Davis Jr. using the photography techniques Bunny taught him.

Sammy Davis Jr. using the photography techniques Bunny taught him.

The reams of letters that make up Yeager’s publishing correspondence lay in clearly marked folders with major names such as Hugh Hefner the publisher of Playboy with whom she worked intimately for years alongside lesser known players. One thing is abundantly clear from reading her letters; Bunny Yeager was always hustling. Whether with the suits behind a magazine, or a book publisher, or the ad men and music executives of her day, Yeager was sending them letters with exactly what she felt and wanted. She seems to be in a constant pitch mode, spit-balling and brainstorming with men in positions of power. One letter to a magazine editor has a list of 15 prospective book titles and topics, with a handful of them almost ridiculous such as “Unusual Pets You Can Own,” and “All about Houseboats.” In a 1965 letter to a film producer, she pitches a television show twenty years before that show was actually made: “Story about detectives and police and vice in Miami Beach.” Yeager at one point offers, “exclusive pix of Santa Claus at a local nudist camp,” to James Lynch at the Enquirer proving there really was no limit to to her hustle. Yeager was a dexterous mix of cunning business acumen, a large personality, an expert photographic eye and a taste for provocation.

Strangely despite the hordes of naked women in the collection, the most shocking title—at least by today’s standards—is Yeager’s diet plan which she regularly pushed on her models and even dabbled with herself. There are moments in reading The Amazing 600 Calorie Model’s Diet (1980), where you wonder how she didn’t inadvertently cause a death by malnutrition. Indeed, near the end of the book there are countless stretching exercises suggested to help, “overcome fatigue brought on by the diet.” At the end, she hilariously implores her fans: “When you realize that it’s really true, that you are the weight you want to be, you will feel like celebrating immediately. Fine. Just don’t celebrate by eating anything.” Yeager later in the archive admits to trying to get back on the diet herself, but admits how hard it is to stick to

Since her death in 2014, Yeager’s career has begun to come back into focus and many have tried to place to label her as a feminist artist, but it is certainly more complicated than that, especially considering by 21st century standards how casually she seems to objectify other women. In a 1958 letter to Hefner she frets that there are “no big bosomed girls around it seems,” and in an angry response to a rejection letter from Lynch at the Enquirer admits that several of her models were “dogs.” It is clear that she was able to sit at the table with some of the major players of her era because she was churning out naked pictures of other women.

A contact sheet showing Bunny's photographs from the Artists and Models Ball

A contact sheet showing Bunny’s photographs from the Artists and Models Ball

Aquatic performer and photographer MeduSirena is one of the last models that Bunny Yeager worked with before she died. She admits that when she arrived for her photo shoot she wasn’t prepared to be asked to be shot nude, but MeduSirena was Yeager’s first subject in five years and she was truly honored to be working with someone she saw as so great, calling the experience “momentous” and “truly great”. She said she felts “not at all pressured but could see how it could happen,” and goes on to explain that “everyone has their own issues with nudity.” MeduSirena was scheduled to have a beach shoot when Yeager died. She went on to explain that Yeager was so good at using natural light and emphasizing the female figure that she remains one of the biggest influences on her life and work.

Bunny Yeager (left) with MeduSirena

Bunny Yeager (left) with MeduSirena

Models were a part of Bunny’s life and now her indelibly part of her legacy. Her working relationship with the beloved model Bettie Page has become legendary, creating a reel of kitschy pin up images that have become emblematic of the genre. Her pictures have a keen attention to composition that can only be described as art.

Perhaps most indicative of her overall output was her role as the producer and director of the Artists and Models Ball on Miami Beach. An age-worn scrapbook chronicling the event over the years shows the event was all the rage of 1960s Miami society. Inside is a seating chart, letterhead with promotions and newspaper clippings before and after. An entrance ticket to the party held at the Deauville in 1961 was $7.50 (the 2016 equivalent of about $60) and they drew over 2500 people.

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Yeager’s Artists and Models Ball scrapbook

The proceeds were for the Scholarship Fund of the Miami Artists School and Gallery and the intention was to highlight Miami as a burgeoning cultural art center. The event appears to have been an elaborate and decadent party with 500 models in costumes with awards such as “Best Undressing Job,” “Briefest costume,” “Girl most likely to Enslave an Artist.” Milton Berle himself called the event a “Jewish orgy,” and there are reams upon reams of bizarre images in Special Collections from the party displaying a type creative and bizarre hedonism that today’s Miami Beach no longer has. It is this event and the countless pictures up and down Miami Beach that demonstrate Bunny Yeager’s legacy is uniquely Miami and her dedication to South Florida has made both the city and the University’s collections a better place.

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Entries in the “Briefest Costume” contest at the Artists and Models Ball

And no. I did not find my mother in the files. Praise the gods. She claims it was only bikini, not full nude. The Book Detective will not be digging further into that question.

Nathaniel Sandler, Book Detective for UM Special Collections

Nathaniel Sandler, Book Detective for UM Special Collections



New Exhibit Explores Gender and Social Justice in Vintage Board Games

By Yvette Yurubi, Reference Assistant, Special Collections

Long before video games came along, board games dominated as a common pastime for adults and kids. With their 2-D platforms, simple narratives, and easy, straightforward objectives, they were a hit among friends, during parties and family gatherings. So what can we learn today from this historic national pastime?

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What Shall I Be? The Exciting Game of Career Girls (1966), players vie to be first in becoming a “career girl.”

After Special Collections recently acquired a series of vintage board games, UGrow Fellow Ellen Davies created a display highlighting what games can tell us about social issues and attitudes in mainstream culture. Without the many bells and whistles virtually transporting players to worlds beyond, these games used more simple tactics to entertain, meanwhile reflecting the ideals of the time. In games from the 1960s and 1970s, we are transported to a time when even the concept of equality, regardless of gender or race, was still making its way into many parts of society.

What Shall I Be? The Exciting Game of Career Girls, for instance, is a game where players must roll the dice, move around the board, and collect career, personality, and subject cards in order to obtain their “dream job.” The game only offers to women six very limiting jobs to choose from: model, airline hostess, ballet dancer, actress, teacher, and nurse. Notably absent are many STEM-based jobs aside from nursing, jobs in the military, and hard-labor jobs, and the game comes equipped with set-backs where a modeling career is out of a player’s reach due to them being overweight or being unattractive. It presents a singular view in which women are highly valued for their looks and behavior rather than their education, intellect, and abilities.

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Male career options highlighted in What Shall I Be? The Exciting Career Game for Boys.

It’s notable that the boy’s version of the game does also offer careers that would be considered traditional for men alongside an array of educational possibilities: law school – statesman; graduate school – scientist; college – athlete; medical school – doctor; technical school – engineer; and flight school – astronaut. However, the absence of careers like steward, model, or dancer also shows a limited perception where men aren’t granted much freedom to pursue anything that doesn’t fall within long-stemming societal views of masculinity.

While these games might be taken at face value, it’s also possible that the creators wanted to use them to make social commentary by highlighting the blatant lack of equality. Woman & Man: The Classic Confrontation furthers this idea by encouraging players to take on the role of the opposite gender and experience “life” through their lenses. The goal of the game is to gather 100 status quo points, though those who choose to play as women can only start with a range of 5-40 points and a position as an assistant while those who play as men, start the game with 36-60 points and a managerial position. The lack of gender equality is exhibited from the onset, illustrating the harder struggle women have had to endure to even stand on an even playing field with men.

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Woman & Man: The Classic Confrontation (1970s) encourages players to experience life through the lens of the opposite sex.

In the wake of growing awareness of social issues and the expanding and rapidly evolving concepts of gender and sexuality, these games seem laughably outdated and politically incorrect. However, aside from their novelty, they do provide an opportunity to open up a dialogue about how casual sexism and restricted gender roles once dominated the social consciousness of the past and how they continue to be an issue today that everyone is struggling to transform and reinvent so that future generations do not have to be so confined in what role they feel they should have to fulfill in order to be accepted into society. We eagerly invite you all to venture to the 8th floor and join us with your friends to share in the experience of these vintage games which are now on exhibit.



Now Accepting Applications: The Dave Abrams and Gene Banning Pan Am Research Grant

The Dave Abrams and Gene Banning Pan Am Research Grant

Abrams Banning Winner Graphic (275x105)The Pan Am Historical Foundation announces the ninth annual Dave Abrams and Gene Banning Pan Am Research Grant competition. Up to $1,500 will be awarded to support scholarly research using the Pan American World Airways, Inc. Records held by the University of Miami Libraries’ Special Collections. The grant honors two of Pan Am’s most avid historians, Dave Abrams and Gene Banning.

Since its first international flight in 1927, Pan Am positioned itself as a world leader in American commercial aviation. The Pan Am records date from 1927 to the 1990s and include administrative and financial files; technical and research reports; public relations and promotional materials; internal publications including newsletters, journals and press releases; and thousands of photographs. Image015

The grant is open to advanced graduate students, independent scholars, and faculty. Priority will be given to research proposals that will result in publication in any media.

Application Procedures

Applicants must submit a proposal of no more than two pages describing their research project, include a curriculum vitae or résumé, and provide two letters of recommendation.

Application deadline is September 30, 2016

Please send inquiries and applications to:

The Dave Abrams & Gene Banning Pan Am Research Grant
c/o Jay Sylvestre
University of Miami Libraries
1300 Memorial Drive
Coral Gables, FL 33146-0320
j.sylvestre@miami.edu

About Dave Abrams and Gene Banning

After graduating from the University of Miami, Dave Abrams (1919-2005) joined Pan American Airways and worked for 42 years as a meteorologist, navigator and Director of Flight Operations for Latin America. Abrams was instrumental in the formation of The Pan Am Historical Foundation after the company shut its doors in 1991, and in finding a home for the Pan Am’s archives and memorabilia.

Gene Banning (1918-2006) was one of the longest serving pilots for Pan Am. His aviation days started with the infamous flying boats in 1941 and ended with Boeing 747s in 1978. An avid researcher, Banning was a guiding member of The Pan Am Historical Foundation from its inception and the author of Airlines of Pan American since 1927 (McLean, Va.: Paladwr, 2001).

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About the Pan Am Historical Foundation and the University of Miami Libraries

The Pan Am Historical Foundation is a group dedicated to preserving the heritage of Pan American World Airways. For more information about the Foundation, visit http://www.panam.org/. The Special Collections of the University of Miami Libraries preserves and provides access to research materials focusing on the history and culture of Florida, the Caribbean and Latin America. The Pan American World Airways, Inc. Records consists of hundreds of boxes of materials and reigns as the most avidly consulted single resource in Special Collections. For more information about the Special Collections of the University of Miami Libraries, visit http://library.miami.edu/specialcollections.

Past Winners

2015: Josue Sakata, Boston Public School Primary Source Sets

2014: Hadassah St. Hubert, “Visions of a Modern Nation: Haiti at the World’s Fairs”

2013: Ken Fortenberry & Gregg Herken, “Point of No Return: Solving the Mystery of the Lost Clipper”

2012: Felipe F. Cruz, “Flight of the Toucans: Technology and Culture in the Brazilian Airspace”

2012: Gordon H Pirie examined Pan Am’s role in civil aviation to, and from, in post-colonial Africa

2011: Jonathan Ruano, “Pan American Airways, the South Atlantic Route and Rise of the American Empire”

2010: Houston Johnson, “Taking Off: The Politics and Culture of American Aviation, 1927-1929”

2009: Augustine Meaher “Pan Am Arrives Down Under: A Diplomatic and Aeronautical Accomplishment”

2009: Roger Turner, “Pan-Am’s Contribution to the Development of Aeronautical Meteorology”

2007: Jennifer Van Vleck “No Distant Places: Aviation and American Globalism, 1924-1968”



Florida Menu Collection: A New Taste of Florida History

By Yvette Yurubi, Reference Assistant, Special Collections

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The Buccaneer Lodge in Marathon, Florida, was a famous resort in the Florida Keys. This menu highlights some of the local seafood dishes.

There is much to be learned about a region’s culture and economy through looking at something as commonplace as a simple restaurant menu. Some of the world’s oldest menus trace back to clay tablets written by the Sumerians who devoted time to listing out foods that they would serve their gods. Since then, menus have become a daily part of our lives, so much so that they tend to go unnoticed beyond their utilitarian purposes. But they also have an important use in libraries and archives, shedding light on moments in time and highlighting changes in the world at large.

In a general sense, menus provide a very graphic and immediate window into the way economy, class, and cuisine affect one another. If you ever want to know where the upper echelons of any society chose to dine or what cuisine they revered as their finest, there is no better source than menus. Hotel and cruise menus, in particular, capture the cultural conscience in terms of what can be classified as luxury and exotic dining while menus for local eateries capture what the working class and less affluent chose to eat on a daily basis. Furthermore, they depict how the nation’s fluctuating GDP and increase or limits in global trade affected the prices of common, regional dishes and foreign dishes over time, showing the delicate interplay between supply and demand.

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Left: A mid-century menu from the Fleur de Lis Room, an iconic restaurant located inside the Fontainebleau Hotel on Miami Beach which hosted performances by Elvis and Frank Sinatra. Right: Menu cover from Little Havana’s China City, today known as Oriental Restaurant.

Florida’s menus, in particular, exhibit the rich history of the many diasporas that make up the state’s diverse population and a growing maritime and agricultural economy as new businesses started to emerge throughout the 1900s. The previous uninhabited swamp lands of Florida were purchased by visionaries like George E. Merrick, founder of Coral Gables, who sought to turn these lands into profit, thus aiding Florida in becoming an agricultural center that quickly expanded and prospered over time. As Florida’s land grew more attractive to other business moguls due to the year-round warm temperatures, its prime fishing locations, and its beautiful beaches, the hospitality industry also flourished.

In the 1960s and the decades that followed, mass diaspora from the Caribbean islands contributed to a dramatic cultural shift that had also affected the local cuisine, particularly in South Florida. Spanish and Caribbean food were rapidly becoming a staple there, introducing native Floridians and vacationers to a new array of dishes and flavors that would eventually expand internationally over time. These trends could be observed in the way traditional American dishes were being replaced by a growing obsession among food enthusiasts in fusion cuisine. The onset of the new millennium also brought about more awareness to health issues and lifestyle choices, paving the way for gluten-free, low-fat, and vegetarian dishes becoming ubiquitous among modern restaurant menus.

As part of our initiative to document Florida’s unique and evolving cultural history, we have been collecting menus from all over Florida and adding them our new Florida Menu Collection. We invite you now to come bring us all the menus you happen to find while dining out or strewn among your old belongings and to donate them to the University of Miami Special Collections department here on the 8th Floor of the Otto G. Richter Library.

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This Miami Beach eatery was also popular in the 1950s.



This Just In: Pan Am Memories

By Yvette Yurubi

A few months ago, we were honored to have former Pan Am stewardess, Daniele Desmoulins Perez-Venero, visit us to donate some of her papers to supplement our Pan American World Airways, Inc. records and our World Wings International, Inc. records. When asked to enrich her donation with some biographical tidbits about her time in Pan Am, she shared with us a few of her fondest memories of how she began as a stewardess and her years working for the glamorous airline:

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“It had barely been two months since I had arrived in New York coming from Paris in a Norwegian cargo boat. I was 24 years old and fearless.

I arrived alone in October of 1964 with 200 dollars in my pocket, no job in sight but possessing a precious green card. I was lucky to get hired as a secretary by the Cultural Department of the French Embassy about a week after my arrival and before all my money ran out. About a month and half later when I saw an advertisement in the newspaper that Pan American World Airways was looking for stewardesses, I was ecstatic. This had always been a dream of mine! So I hurried to make an appointment for an interview and decided to miss work on that day.

After dressing up in my second-hand blue suit, white blouse, and high-heeled leather black shoes, I presented myself at the appointed time and place. The waiting room was full of anxious-looking young ladies like me. When my turn finally came to be called, I was ushered into a dark room where someone -I assume was a psychologist- started asking me questions about myself and about pictures projected on a screen. Then, I was led into a small room with a window where a panel of four friendly looking people was seated. They asked me the usual questions: why do you want to work for Pan Am, how many years of college do you have, what other languages do you speak… I answered everything to their satisfaction. Then they asked me to tell them a little about myself, so I recounted the story of my arrival in New York and also how I had managed to learn English and Spanish fluently. They seemed to be so impressed that they decided to hire me on the spot! They asked me not to tell anyone because this was not done according to their usual long procedure where they would send letters weeks after the interview to let the candidates know whether they had been accepted or not. Of course, I was flattered and left the room beaming.

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After about a month of training and after graduation, Pan Am offered us a choice of destinations for our first flight as trainees. They let me have my first choice which was New York to Paris (with a layover in Paris) and Paris to Monrovia, Africa, where we stayed for a couple of days before flying back to New York. I thought the flight to Paris was a favor to me on the company’s part. They knew how delighted my family and I would be to see each other when I arrived at the Paris Orly airport in full regalia!! And since it was January, I was wearing the same winter coat that I gave to the Special Collections Library of the University of Miami with long black leather gloves. In warm climates, we would wear short, white gloves instead. The Pan Am uniform was actually quite nice-looking. It consisted of a blue-grey gabardine suit, a short sleeves white blouse underneath, a pillbox hat as was the fashion in the sixties, black high-heeled shoes, and gloves appropriate to the season. We changed once on board the plane. We took off our jacket, hat, white blouse, and put on a smock. We also changed our shoes to low-heeled shoes. To illustrate these looks, I provided some photographs of myself in uniform and also wearing a smock inside the plane to the Special Collections Library at UM.

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In those days undergarments were mandatory. We had to wear a girdle and a full slip… and those could be checked, as well as our weight, before flying time. Our hair style could not touch the collar. We could be reported for any transgression; I remember, for example, being reported for having worn green instead of blue eye shadow on a flight.

Because Pan American Airways needed flight attendants who could speak Spanish for their Boeing 707 flights from San Francisco to Guatemala and Panama, they sent me to be based in San Francisco. I remained on the same route for several months, which was a disappointment to me because it was not my first choice. The flights to the Pacific and the Far East sounded more exciting. When my two roommates commented on their flights to exotic destinations like Tokyo, Bangkok, Singapore, Tahiti, Sydney, I could not help feeling rather envious! Finally, my turn came, and they let me fly all their other routes. Some of the countries I flew to that I remember are Japan, Thailand, Guam, England, Australia, Tahiti, and, of course, Guatemala and the Republic of Panama. We often made stops in Hawaii on our way to the Orient or Anchorage on the way to Japan. The company was so big, I never flew with the same people.

We were allowed to bid for the trips we wanted and according to our seniority we got it or not. We always stayed in the best hotels (such as The Intercontinental, Sheraton, Hilton, or other five star local hotels) and were treated like royalty. It was a dream life.

On my first vacation, in April of 1966, I invited my mother to fly around the world with me. I had kept the Pan Am itinerary papers as a souvenir, and I have given them to the Special Collections Library of the University of Miami recently, along with other papers and memorabilia.

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I had to have a valid visa for every stop the plane made along the way, even if we did not plan on staying there. This was a good precaution as we unexpectedly got loaded off in Beirut. It was a time of turmoil before the war and people were trying to get out. However, we did not regret this unscheduled stop; we were able to visit some interesting places like the ancient city of Byblos, and we ended up buying two beautiful hand-made oriental carpets at the free zone in Beirut! We were able to continue on our way the following day. This free travel was one of the wonderful perks of working as a stewardess for Pan American Airways.

I later became a purser but not for long. I got married in Panama and had to quit flying, but I am still in touch with my Pan Am family as a member of the World Wings Miami Chapter.”

These memories are now immortalized in her collection, the Daniele Desmoulins Perez-Venero papers, housed here in the Special Collections department and can be accessed by anyone who wants to relive the captivating world of Pan Am in the 1960s.