Campus Humor: The Green Gander

On April Fool’s Day, 1915, a humor magazine was started on campus. The Green Gander was published by the men’s journalism honorary society, Sigma Delta Chi and included jokes and anecdotes that poked fun at prominent university and community figures. Perhaps needless to say, the magazine was a success. Because women weren’t allowed to work on The Green Gander, they started their own humor magazine, The Emerald Goose, which was also a hit. In 1922, the two magazines “married” and published under the Green Gander name.

Cover of the first issue of The Green Gander, April 1915.

Cover of the first issue of The Green Gander , April 1915.

Some examples of the humor in the earlier years of the magazine are as follows:

April 1915:

Waiter: “Sauerkraut, Hungarian goulash, Irish stew or French toast?”

Student: “Ham and eggs. I’m neutral.” (Reference to WWI)

Music Prof. (after recital): “Well, what do you think of my execution?”

Patron: “I’m for it.”

Homecoming issue, 1937:

“Higher Education: Learning to yawn with your mouth closed.”

The Green Gander was published quarterly until its last issue in April 1960. By the mid-1950s, the publication had become more risque, including “pin-up” style portraits of female students. It was still immensely popular with students, but the administration was less enthused. Complaints about its contents were submitted from off-campus individuals, and the Journalism Department was concerned about the lack of professionalism evident in the magazine by its students. Here are a couple of examples of the humor from these later editions:

December 1958 issue:

“I see you are not a gentleman,” scorned the woman on the street corner as the wind swept her skirts overhead. “No,” he replied, “and I see you aren’t either.”

“Love is blind so a fellow has to feel his way around.”

The November 1959 issue of the Green Gander. The cover format was new (and less comical) for this issue.

The November 1959 issue of The Green Gander. The cover format was new (and less comical) for this issue.

The editorial board made a change in 1959, and the November issue of that year had an entirely different – and more serious – tone. Topics in this issue included “Iowa State’s Cultural Opportunities,” “Marriage and College – How is it Done?” and “How to Make a Decision.” It still maintained a somewhat humorous slant, but nothing like before. Readers were not so fond of this new format and hung an effigy of the new editor on central campus. The April 1960 edition made another attempt at humor, but there was no recovery from that November issue. The publication was laid to rest in October 1960.

The final issue of The Green Gander, April 1960. One last attempt at humor.

The final issue of The Green Gander, April 1960.

Much of the information in this post was taken from here, where you can read more about it and Iowa State’s past traditions. Want to read The Green Gander for yourself? Stop in and ask to see some copies (dare I say, “have a gander” at them), call number LD2546 G74x. We look forward to seeing you!

Holocaust Remembrance Day: Herb Plambeck Remembers Dachau

Note: images and descriptions in the following may be distressing to readers.

Holocaust Remembrance Day – or Yom HaShoah – was just this week (April 16th). Every year, it is commemorated on the 27th day of the month of Nisan in the Jewish calendar, which correlates to sometime in April or May in the Gregorian calendar, depending on the year. Another remembrance day, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, is held on January 27th and commemorates the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Yom HaShoah is largely observed in Israel and in Jewish communities throughout the world and marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Considering the tragedy that was the Holocaust and the lessons that were learned from it, more than one recognized day of observance seems justified.

It might be a surprise to learn that we in the Special Collections Department at ISU have materials related to the Holocaust. Admittedly, there’s not much, but what we do have is certainly interesting.

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Selections from the Papers of Journalist and ISU Professor Jack Shelley

Broadcasting legend and Iowa State Professor Emeritus Jack Shelley passed away earlier this week.  To learn more about renowned radio and television correspondent Jack Shelley, read the tribute by ISU Greenlee School of Journalism Director and Professor Michael Bugeja and other colleagues, detailing the remarkable life and career of John D. “Jack” Shelley.  Shelley worked for many years at WHO (1935-1965) and was a war correspondent (1944-1945) in both Europe and the Pacific during World War II.  Among his many accomplishments, he interviewed hundreds of combat soldiers, recorded one of the first broadcast interviews with crew members of the airplanes that dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, was aboard the battleship U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay to cover the Allies’ acceptance of the Japanese surrender, and was one of twenty reporters chosen to cover the atomic bomb tests at Yucca Flats, Nevada (1953).

Shelley in 1965 when he joined the faculty at ISU

The University Archives holds the Papers of Jack Shelley.  The materials from Shelley’s time as a war correspondent in World War II comprise the majority of the collection.  There is not a lot of material from his time here at Iowa State University as a journalism professor, except in the folder of biographical material.  The collection includes biographical information and personal memorabilia from his travels as a war correspondent, radio broadcast scripts, war documents, cablegrams, news releases and clippings, personal accounts and reports of events witnessed, family correspondence, photographs, and audio recordings.  Four broadcasts by Shelley are available on iTunes U, including interviews with the atomic bomb crews, reports on the Japanese surrender on the Battleship Missouri, and Yucca Flats interviews before and during the atomic blasts.

Below are just a few of the artifacts and records from the John D. “Jack” Shelley Papers:

War Correspondent pin

War Correspondent patch

Cable transmission from Jack Shelly announcing that the troups had heard the news of Japan’s surrender.

First page of the broadcast script in which Shelley describes the official Japanese surrender, including some of the “sidelights of the ceremony” and what it was like as a war correspondent witnessing the event.  To see the rest of the script, as well as other materials within Jack Shelley’s collection, please come visit the Special Collections Department.  The collection’s finding aid/description is available online.

In addition to the Jack Shelley Papers briefly described above, Jack Shelley donated the papers of his aunt, Kate Shelley, to the department.  Kate Shelley is known for heroically crawling across a railroad bridge during a severe storm to warn the local railroad station about a fallen bridge before an express train was to cross, saving the lives of its passengers and crew.  Her collection is available for viewing in our reading room, and the collection’s finding aid is also available online.