IN THE 1960s and 1970s, the Montgomery Ward’s department stores offered something called the Wendy Ward Charm School for teenage girls.
Once a week the girls would meet in a room above the department store and, according to a WWCS graduate, ”spend a couple of hours learning how to paint our nails, walk and sit with good posture and conduct ourselves like ladies”.
The classes would end with a fashion show.
Each attendee received a handbook.
The advice is dated. Like this image below, informing young women that it isn’t just about what you say but “how you sound”.
Here, the handbook reminds a young woman that it’s her unique characteristics that make her appealing (ahem, to men.)
Kari Martin-Rollins, 25, recently posted some of these photos on Facebook and allowed Business Insider to post the snaps she took of the handbook.
When my mom was a little girl, she briefly attended [Wendy Ward] charm school, which was apparently more of a norm in the 1960s. She just came across her manual from this programme, and we both got a kick out of going through it.
Here is a page about developing ‘feminine appeal’, copyright exactly 50 years ago.
We dug through the photos Martin-Rollins sent us and found some of the best pages with the most dated advice, like the section on “how to talk to boys”.
If you saw a movie and you liked a movie, say ‘I liked the movie, but I’m not sure I understand all they were trying to say.’ This gives him a chance to be very manly and explain things to you.
“Also, don’t forget to help boys by making them think you’re impressed by them!”
Trying to lose weight? The handbook regards you as a “dumpling.”
“Learn to love the foods that make you pretty,” it helpfully tells the reader.
Not so fast, “string beans”. There are tips here for you, too.
You get to eat bread before you fall asleep.
“Don’t telephone a boy — even if he asks you too. This is sure ‘social’ suicide,” the handbook says.
Standard etiquette rules are offered:
As well as a page called “Your Legs And You”.
The book suggests pinning back your ears if you have big ears.
There’s also this great section on getting a date. The advice starts out somewhat timeless, stating men aren’t that different than women emotionally — we all want to be loved.
Then you get down to the bottom of the page.
In all caps: “DON’T DIE AND DON’T GO STEADY. EITHER ONE WILL TAKE YOU OUT OF CIRCULATION.”