I am thrilled every time I get concrete data to enrich the writing of “My Father’s House.” Here’s more, starting with the graduation photo of Helen Doyle.
Helen graduated from Upsala college in 1940, as did my brother. If Harvey was a busy man on campus, Helen’s record certainly equaled his. Among other things, she was Campus Queen in her junior year, and she was also active in a number of organizations. So many that I’m taking the lazy way out and posting a copy taken from the yearbook. It’s not as legible as I would like, but then, the point is just to show how long the list was.
Notice that her plan was to go on the Katharine Gibbs Secretarial School. As best I can find from reading about it, the goal was to provide a dignified and profitable occupation for women who were discouraged at the time from going on to higher education. Some doctors even warned that too much education would shrink the uterus. It also led to the kind of jobs where women wore white gloves at work.
In later years it went through a number of changes, finally closing, I believe, in 2011. (Upsala closed its doors in 1995)
Thanks go to Lisa Huntsha, Archivist/Librarian, Swenson Swedish immigration Research Center, Augustana College, Rock Island, Il
Working on “My Father’s House” feels like writing another Ph.D. dissertation with all the research that goes into it daily. When I started, I thought it would be easy. After all, I’m a member of the family, so I should have the facts at hand.
The truth is, I came along eleven years after my brother Harvey and eight years after my sister Thelma, so I guess I can excuse myself for being unaware of lots to things.
By 1940, the year my brother graduated from Upsala, you’d think I’d have established some firm memories. The truth is, I’m living proof that memory is a fragile process of constant creation and revision. So, like a good Ph.D. candidate, I search out the facts wherever I can find them. What I’m posting here is an exciting discovery that came in yesterday from Lisa Huntsha (see citation below)
I guess there’s no good reason why any of my blog readers should find this interesting, but it does give a taste of the 1940s, just before life for people like my brother was shaken by the attack on Pearl Harbor.
And I would love to imagine that somewhere my big brother is watching and pleased with what I’m doing.
So here’s what they said about him in the yearbook, followed by an article in the school paper.
UPSALA COLLEGE, EAST ORANGE, NEW JERSEY
C. HARVEY GUSTAFSON
187 Stafford Avenue, Forestville, Conn.
BACHELOR OF ARTS
Major: English Minor: German
Student Council 2, 3, 4, Treasurer 3, Vice-President 4; Class President 1, 3; Gazelle l; Upsalite l, 2, Christian Brotherhood 1.2; Footlight Club 1, 2, 3, 4, President 4; Symposium 3, 4, President 4; English Literary Society 3, 4, Secretary 4; Alpha Psi Omega3. 4; Blue Key 2, 3, 4; Glee Club I. 2; Gold U 3; President of Theta Epsilon 3, Zeus 4; Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges.
Many of us will remember Harvey as the collegian who always twirled his keys on a chain – somehow we were fascinated by his never once slipping or letting the keys fall. When we consider all the offices he held. although we can’t help admiring his capability and energy, we wonder how much dignity that hair cut lent to his offices. His record leads us to believe that he’ll make good in the world, and what we know of his personality confirms such an opinion. Goodluck. Harvey, in everything!
AND FROM THE UPSALA GAZETTE, MAY 16, 1940
Harvey “Gus” Gustafson is one of the most active men on the campus. He needs no introductory description; everyone knows him and he knows everyone else. For three years he was president of his class and the seat he now holds on the council has been his since his freshman year. He is Zeus of the Theta Epsilon fraternity, president of the Footlight Club, a member of Alpha Psi Omega, English Lit., Symposium, and many other student organizations. His activities speak for themselves; he is really a Big Gun.
With thanks to Lisa Huntsha, Archivist/Librarian
Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center
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