Celebration 55: A Record Retrospective

This past week, Harvard Law School played host to Celebration 55: The Women’s Leadership Summit, which marked the 55th anniversary of female enrollment at the law school. Some of the 13 women in the 500-person law school class of 1953 were present, joined by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who attended HLS from 1956-1958. While the events of the week of been reported elsewhere, The Record thought it worth be worthwhile to take a look back at what the law school was like in 1953. Below, we have reprinted a story published on the front page of the Thursday, October 22, 1953 edition (Volume 17, Number 4) of The Record. While many glass ceilings remain firmly in place, we would be remiss if we did not acknowledge the progress HLS and America have made over the course of the last half-century. And we have the courageous 13 women of the Class of 1953, as well as sojourners like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, to thank for much of it.

Forum Finds ‘American Girl’ Dedicated to Purpose of Hooking American Male

The American Girl is personable, charming and dedicated to one lifelong purpose: hooking the American Male. Chances are that she will succeed too, if she stays dressed and leaves her blue jeans at home. These may have been the conclusions reached by the panel of speakers at the first session of the Harvard Law School Forum held in Sanders Theater last Friday Night.

The noted social anthropologist, Earl Wilson, was the first speaker. He seemed to have one chief thesis-Women Look Better When They Are Dressed. Proceeding on the thory [sic] that proof of his point was to be found by reducing his arguments to their barest essentials, Mr. Wilson took his audience to a nudist rendezvous near Egg Harbor, N.J., and proceeded to describe in some detail his adventures therein. When he wasn’t talking about nudism, he was talking about Earl Wilson. Both subjects, we thought, seemed pretty much exhausted at the end of his half-hour discourse.

Having duly taken Mr. Wilson’s point to heart, we were immensely relieved to find that the next speaker, Magda Gabor, had taken the precaution to dress before coming down to Sanders. Having heard that she was, and presumably still is, the subject of some pretty serious international discussions, we were anxious to see what the fuss was all about. We did. Here was a woman. An utterly lovely and vivacious Continental, her every accent and mannerism seemed designed to display in all its vigor great charm.

Not that it matters much, but her comments on the American Girl may be stated briefly. Naturally, she is good looking, intelligent, and possessed of a charming personality. But in addition, it was a pleasure to learn that She can light her own cigarettes (but would prefer to have one handed to her already lit), open the necessary doors by herself and walk, virtually unaided, down a street. The American Male, on the other hand, is a Conqueror. Pure and simple. But at least the Harvard man conquers with sartorial taste enhanced with the usual conservative tie.

Al Capp rounded out the panel of speakers. What he spoke about we will never know for it seemed that every sentence of his was punctuated by an infectious grin and accompanied by a belly laugh which was contagious enough to be caught up by the audience.

Oh yes-he did say something after all. If Mr. Wilson was obsessed by nudism, Mr. Capp was almost apoplectic about blue jeans. He just didn’t like them and that was that.

One saving grace to this program was the moderation of Felicia Lamport. She was urbane and witty and kept the audience continually off balance with a series of incredible puns. (Sample: The subject of tonight’s program is “The She Around Us.”)The next session of the Forum will meet in the New Lecture Hall on Oct. 30. The program is entitled “Banned in Boston.” Our impression was that this last one should have been.

W.W.
Published October 22, 1953

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