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Our language changes with the times

  • Dancers at the Lebanon School of Dance peer around a curtain at classmates rehearsing for their recital led by Mrs. Frances Dolloph at the Carter Community Building in Lebanon, N.H., on June 7, 1969. (Valley News - Larry McDonald) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Some 50 laborers, members of Laborers Local 808, AFL-CIO, struck building contractors on June 2, 1969, carrying signs reading 'No contract, no work.' Building sites in Lebanon, Hanover and Enfield, N.H., were affected. Here a striker walks along Route 12A in West Lebanon where construction has just begun on a new store owned by Channing Brown. Union spokesmen claim construction workers have not been given satisfactory contracts by a number of area companies. (Valley News - Larry McDonald) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Mrs. Edward Butler of the Hanover Elementary School is retiring in June 1969 after many years of teaching in Hanover, N.H. Butler's fourth-grade pupils threw a party for her on June 16, 1969, and presented her a book of fine Vermont photographs. (Valey News - Larry McDonald) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Happy Woodsville High baseball players give pitcher Steve Blood a victory ride after Blood had pitched and batted the Engineers to a 3-2 come-from-behind Class M tournament championship victory over Pittsfield High on June 7, 1969, at Alumni Field in Keene, N.H. Blood, smiling along with other members of the team, holds the plaque presented to team captains by John Cummings, baseball committee member of the NHIAA. This was Woodsville's second state championship in three months as the Engineers also won the Class M hoops title in March. (Valley News - Paul Edson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Color and pageantry were in evidence on June 10, 1969, when Hanover, N.H., upgraded members of its scout troops from Tenderfoot through the rank of Life. The court of honor was held during the evening at Storrs Pond with a large turnout of parents on hand. (Valley News - Larry McDonald)Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Ben and Joe, a 4,100-pound team of oxen owned by Olin Maxham, of Woodstock, Vt., are to square off with an 80,000-pound covered bridge on June 27, 1969. The newly-constructed bridge, build on location by Milton Graton and Sons of Alstead, N.H., will with any luck at all span the Ottauquechee River in Woodstock. Passersby look at the oxen and then at the bridge and shake their head as they walk away. Others slap Olin on the back and wish him luck, while others, with hearty laugh-shout, "I've got my money on the bridge." With a fair share of blue ribbons to his credit from past ox pulling contests, the Valley News has to back Olin Maxham and his determined team of Ben and Joe. (Valley News - Larry McDonald) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • D-Day plus 25 years saw the colors raised over the new home of the American Legion building in White River Junction, Vt., at opening ceremonies on June 6, 1969. Even the weatherman cooperated for the brief outdoor ceremony, before dignitaries moved into the new quarters for speeches and the banquet. (Valley News - Larry McDonald) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Salutatorian Nancy C. Campbell, Woodstock Class of '69, suddenly became aware of the fact that she was a Union High alumnus following commencement ceremonies on June 20, 1969. Having a comforting shoulder to cry on became a common sight with many of Woodstock's red-eyed girls. (Valley News - Larry McDonald) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • It was the Dartmouth Class of '39 tapping their feet to the beat of the Dartmouth Five and a steady flow of draft beer taking out the aches and pains, if only temporarily, in Hanover, N.H., on June 16, 1969. The Big Green campus was alive and swinging -- and if the chimes of Baker Tower were tolling out the time of the early morning hours, it didn't sem to make any difference to them in the midst of the Muskrat Rumble. It wouldn't be at all surprising to find a very quiet campus the next day. (Valley News - Larry McDonald) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Wayne Clifford of the Hartford, Vt., trap shooting team peppers a clay pigeon during a practice session at Bill DeVaux's trap shooting range. In recent months the sport has been getting attention as Dartmouth College has retaken an interest in trap shooting after letting it fade since World War I. (Valley News - Bill Moore) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Mrs. Edward Butler of the Hanover Elementary School is retiring in June 1969 after many years of teaching in Hanover, N.H. Butler's fourth-grade pupils threw a party for her on June 16, 1969, and presented her a book of fine Vermont photographs. (Valey News - Larry McDonald) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Ben and Joe, a 4,100-pound team of oxen owned by Olin Maxham, of Woodstock, Vt., are to square off with an 80,000-pound covered bridge on June 27, 1969. The newly-constructed bridge, build on location by Milton Graton and Sons of Alstead, N.H., will with any luck at all span the Ottauquechee River in Woodstock. Passersby look at the oxen and then at the bridge and shake their head as they walk away. Others slap Olin on the back and wish him luck, while others, with hearty laugh-shout, "I've got my money on the bridge." With a fair share of blue ribbons to his credit from past ox pulling contests, the Valley News has to back Olin Maxham and his determined team of Ben and Joe. (Valley News - Larry McDonald) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Swirling majorettes and Lebanon's marching band led off Alumni Day festivities on June 18, 1969, along the crowded parade route in Lebanon, N.H., with attractive girls atop just-polished convertibles. Class floats rounded out annual parades. In Hartford, Vt., it was the Class of '57, depicting transportation, as the judges' first choice. Lebanon's Class of '33 took top honors on the east side of the river with the 'Keep America Beautiful' float. (Valley News - Larry McDonald) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Harry Holland's garage was turned into a theater on June 25, 1969, as Norwich, Vt., children staged a variety show to benefit Omnivision. Their efforts netted $35, which is being sent to former recreational director Henry Homeyer for the purchase of a movie camera for Jersey City ghetto children now in Homeyer's fourth-grade class. Approximately 15 children got a tast of 'show biz.' (Valley News - Larry McDonald) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Editor
Sunday, June 02, 2019

When photo editor Geoff Hansen and I started a throwback feature on the Valley News Instagram almost two years ago, we of course noticed the ways that the Upper Valley has changed visually.

Geoff wrote about that last month, when we launched this new monthly showcase of Valley News archival photographs in print. You’d be hard-pressed today, for example, to recreate the 1975 Valley News photograph Geoff once found of a farmer bringing in corn along Route 12A in West Lebanon.

Beyond that, we also noticed how dramatically the language we use to describe photos — and the people in them — has evolved. That’s evident in how the Valley News used to describe girls and women, with examples aplenty as we looked through photos for the month of June (for this edition, we chose the year 1969) and high school graduation season.

Take the caption that described “two pretty members” of Hanover’s graduating class. That kind of reductive description would not pass muster in 2019, but that’s how we identified two nameless girls in 1969. Another graduate that year, from Woodstock, was described as an “attractive lass.”

Outside of graduation, “five pretty misses” were candidates for the Lebanon Alumni Day Queen, and spectators enjoyed a “crowded parade route with attractive girls.”

The examples go on, and it didn’t get much better with age: Women were generally identified by their husbands’ names, such as in the photograph of a party for Mrs. Edward Butler, a distinguished teacher whose first name we did not print.

Of course, none of that was unusual to most people in 1969, but language evolves with us. It’s a good reminder for us to consider: How does the language we use in the media impact how we understand each other? And can we predict what kind of language are we using today that will seem outdated — or even offensive — 50 years from now?