Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"Oh Mother, what to wear?" "No problem, dear...

...Just put on the NDA uniform." 
The article below from Vol. 1, #1, Oct. 1926, of NDA’s THE GAVEL accompanied the photos seen in this posting.


             Our Uniform—what does it signify?  What does it symbolize?  Is it merely a dress, a garment to be worn regularly to class?
            Our Uniform symbolizes simplicity and modest of dress in the neat blue skirt and pongee blouse of summer and the stylish dress of winter.  Not only is simplicity and modesty expressed but discipline also.  The disciplinary value consists in the daily and regular wearing of the uniform. 
            Oh? fellow students of Notre Dame, let us wear our uniform as we do our refinement, wear it and think what it symbolizes and always be proud of –Our Uniform.
                                                                                                Esther Bramlage, ’27

Did the young ladies of Notre Dame Academy High School and Commercial School actually feel this way about their uniform in 1926?  Blogger may be mistaken, but she thinks they did, or at least most of them did.  From interviews of alums of the 1930s, blogger found that the sense of pride in the school AND of being seen by the world as students of NDA was strong.
A summer and winter outfit have, of course, been realized over many years but not at notable as they were in the late 20s.  When the change occurred that eliminated the white midi blouse is uncertain, but by the mid 1930’s all of the young ladies seem to have been wearing a dark blue dress.  These dresses could be of any style but the white collars and cuffs were a must.  Long sleeves disappeared also, seemingly sometime in the ‘30s.  The scarf tied in a bow, at first a rather large one seen here in the winter uniform, also changed over the years to a very much smaller version before disappearing in the fall of 1942.  
We will move forward in this vein in the next posting, so do stay posted.


juicyfruits said...

When I was a Jr. Sr. I wrote an article also on the past uniforms. I remember it was a fun thing to write about. Also, outside of about 3 lay people we were all taught by nuns.
The other rule in place at the convent was that you could not take pictures of the nuns -- so of course we tried.
Also, many of the nuns who taught us at NDA also went to school there -- so it was fun to see their "before" and "after" shots. Remember they all wore full habits, no hair showed.

Linda Luken Finke Class of 1966.

67NDAgrad said...

Dear blogger~
Love reading your blog and stories of NDA. I was a freshman when the school transitioned from 5th St. to Hilton Drive. We attended class in shifts, underclassmen in the morning, upperclassmen in the afternoon I believe. Not enough locker space for Freshmen/Sophomores so we carried our books around in brown paper bags with handles! The discussion of uniforms wouldn't be complete without mention of the dreaded "assembly blouse" that was part of the new gray skirt/blue blazer uniform of that period. The cotton blouse was buttoned up to the neck, with ruffled trim down the front placket, with French cuffs, also ruffled. It was to be worn only on special "assembly" days. I was really a piece of work.

67NDAgrad said...

I attended NDA in the 63/64 academic year through graduation in the summer of 1967. As for the building on 5th street, if you were on the 2nd floor (or above) drinking from the water fountain and someone took a drink on the first floor, the 2nd floor fountain stopped delivering water! The building also shook noticeably as truck traffic increased on 5th Street.
I just remembered another fun fact from my 4 years at NDA. Miss Culkin's book of etiquette for young ladies. Miss Culkin herself came to the school and lectured for an entire afternoon about how to sit, stand, dress, and speak like a lady.
See excerpt from Ms. Culkin's obituary. She passed to eternity in 2009.
"Very religious and deeply rooted in her Catholic faith, Anne was president of the Scranton Council of Catholic Women, served on the Board of the National Council of Catholic Women and was elected Secretary of that organization. This led to her development of the Anne Culkin Course of Personality, which she presented to more than 300,000 young women in Catholic schools throughout the U.S. and Canada. During that time, she also wrote a weekly syndicated newspaper column called "Talk it Over," and in 1958 was named in the first edition of Who's Who of American Women. In 1962, Anne wrote an etiquette book "Charm for Young Women," which sold more than 100,000 copies. After more than 20 years of traveling, she opened the Anne Culkin Boutique in Scranton."