The 1946 Glomerata, part one

I recently purchased a new desktop document camera. It arrived and, today, I began playing around with it. There is a lot to learn, namely consistency of production values and efficiency. But, even in this learning curve part of this new toy’s workflow is already better. When I take a photo, it is already on my computer. Struggling with this camera, then, is already better than struggling with the phone.

Anyway, the first project is taking pictures of some of the photos in this beautiful book.

That’s the 1946 edition of The Glomerata, the year book of my alma mater. I collect the yearbooks. For one, they look great. For another, it’s a unique and contained hobby. I like that it was a finite thing. The first Glom was published in 1897. (I don’t have that one, so if you run across it … ) and the last, latest one I’ll collect was the 2016 book. There are 120 in between. (One year they published two books.) I now have 112 of them.

I’m sharing these images here as I digitize them, but just in case anyone else is interested, you can find them all here.

In the 1990s I ate at The Grille, the same restaurant where the English staff, are eating. I may have eaten in this same booth.

We ate there weekly. Spaghetti, with a free second plate. Every week. It wasn’t enough. The restaurant closed while I was in school, and it is one of those things you can’t not be sad about.

But that’s not what we’re about. We’re going to see how students lived in the 1940s.

Kirtley Brown was the director of student affairs. He’d been in PR. Sometime soon after this he and his wife, the now-famed author Mary Ward Brown moved back to the family farm. He died in 1970, and she passed away in 2013. Their son became a criminal justice instructor at the nearby Marion Military Institute. Kirtley Brown, the son, retired in 2023.

And we’ll probably share every photograph of people on bikes.

Mildred Woodham was the editor of The Glomerata. From Geneva, Alabama, she studied art, graduated in 1946 and moved to New York to become a fabulously successful sculptor.

Known professionally as Jean Woodham, she had prominent shows and won prestigious awards for almost 70 years.

Her last show was at the art museum at her alma mater, in 2013. She passed away in 2021.

I don’t plan on including a lot of the posed posed shots in this collection, but she was the editor of The Glom and all of this was worth mentioning.

This is a scene from the campus newspaper, The Auburn Plainsman. I worked there in school, of course.

I’ve no idea where this room is or was. The paper was in a different building when I was in school, a building that wasn’t even on blueprints when this photo was taken. It is housed in still another building today.

Here’s another surely staged scene from The Plainsman. The careful viewer will note it is the same room, with a slightly wider angle, panned to the right, with all new people.

It was a twice-a-week publication until the late 1940s. It was a weekly, the largest weekly in the state, when I was in school. They went primarily online in 2011.

In between, they’ve won 25 National Pacemaker Awards — basically the collegiate Pulitzer — including two when I was on the staff.

Yes, I have plaques.

Mimi Simms was the editor of The Plainsman. She was the second woman to sit in the big chair. She comes from Auburn royalty.

One of her brothers played football for the university, and was recorded as the best tennis player on campus. That many became a veterinarian, much like their father did. Their young brother is Jack Simms, the legendary founding faculty member of the journalism department.

Mimi did her graduate work at the University of Alabama, but we don’t hold that sort of thing against people. It seems she never married. She died in 2000, and is buried in Tennessee with her parents.

This handsome fellow is Greg Allen, president of the veterans’ organization, and yes, there are a lot of coat and tie photos in this yearbook.

Maria Duchac’s nickname was Skippy and that’s the best possible name. Also, this was apparently a family nickname, she’s heard it her whole life. She studied chemical engineering.

I love everything about this. Her major, her nickname and that door.

And as of this writing she is apparently still with us. War Eagle, Skippy.

The cutline simply says “Folk dancing class.”

I’m assuming there’s some rule that there’s a reason they were all women. But look how some of them were so intently having fun!

But there was plenty of dancing, elsewhere, of course.

The caption here reads “Winners of Jitterbug Contest.”

White leather shoes are about due a comeback, right?

And that’s 10 photos, and 800 words on the subject. That seems like a good stopping point for now.

More from the 1946 Glom next Friday. You can see all of the book covers I’ve collected, here. And if you just like old photographs, I’ve digitized selections from a few of the other old books here.

And just so where we remember where they are, all of the 1946 photos are landing right here.

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