1940-1969

The Show Must Go On

In 1941, the Outing Club carnival committee found themselves facing a potential crises. They had scheduled the annual Winter Carnival for the same weekend that the male ski team was scheduled to be at Middlebury. A carnival without a ski-meet would surely be a flop before it even began.

The women's ski team, however, had been a major feature of the Durham snow festival the previous year, so it was decided that for the first time ever, co-ed skiers from colleges throughout New England should be invited to compete at the Winter Carnival. Thus, the carnival was saved.

Beanie Scene

The Sphinx, a sophomore honorary society, was organized in 1950. Its principal concern was to welcome the freshmen to the university and to initiate in them a strong school and class spirit. They guided freshmen through the first week of orientation, using good-natured "hazing" to teach them the traditions and ways of campus life.

The freshmen were required to purchase a beanie immediately upon arrival to campus. Only after the first varsity home football victory could wearing the beanie be discontinued. The proper response to the greeting "Cheery Hi, Frosh" was to remove the beanie from the head by picking it up by the button on top and answer most respectfully, "Cheery Hi."

Powell Powed

In 1961, a group of students announced their intentions of protesting nuclear weapons by refusing to take cover during a statewide air raid drill. The state and local police were out in force and eighteen students were eventually arrested.

The arrested students appeared a week later before Judge Bradford McIntire '25 who fined them each fifty dollars. President Eldon Johnson declined to punish the students further despite the calling for their "prompt dismissal" by then-Governor Wesley Powell. Powell announced that he would attend the next trustee meeting to urge the board to overrule Johnson. A thousand students showed their support of Johnson by lining the walk from his house to Thompson Hall as he made his way to the meeting.

Twisting the Night Away

students dancing
According to The New Hampshire, a handful of avant-garde students first tried the new dance called the twist in the spring of 1961, when Chubby Checkers' song of the same name was released. The dance style, in which couples did not have to touch each other, was met with reserved contempt. More students encountered the dance at beaches and resorts over the summer break.

In October, many UNH students made the trip to Hanover for the UNH-Dartmouth football game. After the then-Indians beat the Wildcats 28–3, Dartmouth fraternities opened their parties to UNH students. Nearly every party featured a band with guitars—and scores of couples wildly twisting. For many, the weekend marked their first exposure to the twist, and after that, despite complaints from at least one UNH man of cramps in his side from too much twisting, the craze was here to stay.

Fashion Fad

"What price beauty?" asked the author of an article in the February 13, 1964, issue of The New Hampshire. The fashion trend in question was the latest craze among co-eds of having their earlobes pierced.

There were three basic methods used for ear-piercing. Some women found medical doctors or dentists who were willing to do it for them. Another options was to wear "sleepers," tight earrings which took up to two weeks to work their way through the earlobe. But the quickest and most popular method was done by recruiting a girlfriend, who would freeze the earlobe with an ice cube (one woman used snow) and then punch a needle through it.

And what did the guys think about the look? "Aesthetically I like them," one senior said, "Pragmatically they just add to the frailty of the female frame."

Phonetics

Many of today's students would find it unbearable to leave their dorm room without taking along their cell phone. In 1965, however, staying in touch was a little different. The Freshman Handbook described the convenience the phone system provided in the women's dorms:

Dorms are equipped with pay phones for long distance calls and there are two extension phones on each floor for campus calls. Freshmen and sophomores are obliged to take phone duty. Actually the job is quite simple—answering the phone, taking down messages, and helping male callers buzz their dates. Buzzers ring day and night; from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and from 10 in the morning until 11 at night on Sundays. Each floor has a buzzer and each girl has a number when that special call or caller comes. Supreme delight and mad running down the stairs to the familiar sounds!

Moving Maizie

When the first UNH wildcat mascot, Maizie, died in 1927, the Student Council had her stuffed and mounted in a glass case.

Don Gordon '70 recalls she was on display at Huddleston Dining Hall when he first came to campus in 1966. He and two friends, "inspired by Freshman Camp with an excess of school spirit," decided that Maizie was ill-placed and poorly lighted where she was perched on that ornamental balcony in the dining area.

Nancy Wilbur, Jane Simon, and I surreptitiously entered the dining room—not to steal ice cream—but to place Maizie in a better light. We positioned Maizie over the door leading into the room on the Fairchild side... where hundreds of student noticed her for perhaps the first time. She remained there for many weeks, presiding over our meals, discussions, flirtations, chance encounters, and deep bull sessions over coffee—in short, over all the things (almost) that were part of our college life in those days.

Eventually someone who was in a position to do something about it removed her to the Field House where she remained for the next thirty-two years.

House Rules

The chapter in the 1968 student handbook on university housing explains that the primary goal in the administration of the Residence Halls is to create an environment of group living which will contribute "to the maturity of the student and to his total education."

All students residing in campus housing signed a contract agreeing to abide by the printed terms and conditions of occupancy. However, within the individual dorms, unwritten rules were created by house councils, house mothers, resident assistants, and hall officers in response to specific idiosyncrasy of its occupants. These types of regulations did not appear on formal contracts, but were spread by word-of-mouth, signs posted on bathroom doors, or simply stern looks.

Some of these dorm specific rules include:

  • No brushing teeth in the water fountains (Lord Hall)
  • No throwing Coke bottles out of windows (Hunter)
  • Wearing nightgowns in the main lounge was forbidden (Smith Hall)
  • Screens must not be removed from windows (Stoke Hall)
  • No sitting on the milk machines (Scott Hall)
  • In Hubbard Hall, the side door of the hall must be locked at 3 PM while other doors weren't locked until 7 PM. The rule was to guard against the theft of a small, infrared hamburger oven.

Flag Feud

flags flying
On April 26, 1968, about 300 people attended an "Anti-War Fair" sponsored by the Student Political Union. The New Hampshire Committee for Peace in Vietnam, the Young Socialist Alliance, and the Cambridge Female Liberation Front were among the groups invited to speak. Folksingers and a rock band also entertained the crowd.

The New Hampshire reported, "Right-wingers, left-wingers, and moderates argued over war and peace, capitalism and socialism, and why the American flag should be raised, while a black flag, common symbol of mourning for those killed in Vietnam was hauled down."

The flag issue started at about 9 AM on the morning of the fair, when the SPU replaced the American flag on the Thompson Hall flagpole with a black flag. Later in the day, a group of students, some of them fraternity members, hauled down the black flag saying it was unpatriotic to use the same flagpole which flies the American flag as a tool to protest deaths in Vietnam.

A short time later, Mrs. John W. McConnell, wife of the university president, crossed the street from her house holding an American flag, which she raised and then left. She told reporters that telephone calls from Durham residents protesting the symbol of mourning prompted her actions. Members of the SPU then raised another black flag that flew on a separate rope beneath the American flag until the fair ended shortly after 5 PM.