Librarians find surprise in book

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Jebejian found a 1920s newspaper article on immoral fashion.

Julia Waldow, print editor-in-chief

While discarding old books in the library last week, librarian Karen Boyarsky and library technician Barbara Jebejian got a surprise. When looking through one book, Jebejian discovered a yellowed Los Angeles newspaper article about a controversy surrounding women’s bathing suits and men’s pajamas.  The article was tucked into a book that had not been checked out for at least 15 years.

“I wondered if whoever was reading the article at the time was related to the author or someone in the story,” Jebejian said.

The other side of the newspaper clipping contained ads for everything from a Burlesque show to a Douglas Fairbanks movie. Although the clip was not dated, senior Eva Zheng, who researched phone numbers from the ads, estimated that the story was from the 1920s.

“It’s so cool finding an article that’s almost a century old in the library,” Zheng said. “The article was hilarious, too. I didn’t know people back then were funny. Just kidding.”

The article, titled “Pastor For Cool Attire,” gives a pastor’s take on the implementation of “immoral” fashion trends into the mainstream culture.

“If anyone could expose more of the human anatomy in a bathing suit than some women do in a ball gown, I just don’t want to be around,” the author, Rev. James Whitcomb Brougher, Jr., wrote. “I will drive a fast automobile, but the Lord protect me from a fast woman in one of those new-fangled, low-cut, high-strung party dresses.”

Brougher believed that instead of “arousing emotions and desires that lead to immorality,” Christian young men and women “should start in the other direction by being modest and retiring and refraining from any action that could in any way be instrumental in leading to immorality.”

Boyarsky found the article both informative and entertaining.

“While reading the article, I couldn’t help but reflect on how students had been dressing at school during the latest heat wave,” Boyarsky said. “I found it humorous that the writer was writing about lack of modesty. What would he think if he were here now?”

 

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