From the Collegian Archives: 1955 Satire of McCarthyism

The Greenslade Special Collections and Archives collection of old Collegians offers many nostalgic delights, and “From the Collegian Archives” seeks to bring some of our print edition mothership‘s finer moments back into the light. This week, we look at a special 1955 issue of The Kenyon Collegian American.

One of our finer moments, or one of our worst, depending on how you look at it.

Oh wait, that was only half the ad. These ran basically every week in the '50s.

That’s right, The Kenyon American. This satirical issue (pictured below) ran on April 29, 1955, with the motto “Our Country Right or Wrong.” While some of the satire is difficult to understand more than 50 years later, the issue seems to be poking fun at the nation’s obsession with Communism and, specifically, McCarthyism. The paper announces that its regular editors have been thrown out, and is full of faux-patriotic articles such as one intitled ” ‘Tis of Thee” with a border of American flags.

The two random dancing women? Yeah, that's a joke that didn't translate well to 2012.

One article claims that (real) “Senator William Jenner (R., Ind.) named Gambier’s Kenyon College ‘the single greatest threat to our long-established American way of life.’ … the college is literally infested with Communist sympathizers, internationalists, ADA contributors, non-conformists, and other similar unwholesome, un-American persons.” The political science department is called out for “their courses which include material on Communist governments, as well as the United Nations.”

A small news brief on the front page announces that a new bill “stipulates that courses in American Tradition and Custom must be taught by Congressional Committee approved instructors,” and that at Kenyon the course would be taught by legendary Professor of English Denham Sutcliffe.

Plenty of other vintage issues also include joke articles and ads (pre-dating our friends at the Collegiate by just a few years), as well as tons of fascinating material on real events in the history of the College. Check The Thrill for new installments periodically.

4 responses

  1. Pingback: From the Collegian Archives: Kenyon’s Hottest New Twist Band « The Thrill

  2. Pingback: From the Collegian Archives: The Stars Move, Therefore You Should Smoke Viceroys « The Thrill

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