It was the dream of many a person in 1943, to be photographed by Harold Rhodenbaugh (1901-1951), and Betty Truxell. The LOOK Magazine photographers were in town to showcase our city of 19,000 people as Hometown, USA. Harriette Anne Whipple & Catherine Ann Carswell were two of the lucky young ladies to be chosen to pose for the popular magazine.
Harriette even got to write about her experience in the local newspaper.
The Post-Star (Glens Falls, NY)
October 8, 1943
DUTY TO CITY, 2 MODELS SAY
But It's No Cinch, Aver Girls Posing for Look Magazine Series
By HARRIETTE WHIPPLE
You're sitting on a dock post about as big as grandfather's pocket watch. You look behind you and there looms Lake George, rippling, cold and wet - and you wonder how you'll keep from falling in backward. You consider that possibility, thinking, oh, well, I can swim. Then you remember you're dressed in a light cotton play suit that will look like the skin on a drowned rat - unless you hang on and pray. You're modeling for Look Magazine.
Hardly have you achieved some precarious composure when the orders start cracking: "Raise your head, turn your face no--this way, no, that way,. Now lower the head a little--yes that's right, but now your hair is hiding your face, plea[s]e brush it away, no, not so much, now get that head up again. Please, Miss Whipple, can't you stop from squinting, and you're back is slumped, can't you straighten up a bit?"
By this time, you're concentrating so much on the pose required that you forget where you're perched and just as you strike the attitude the photographer wants you start to slip. Anne Carswell, who is posing with you reaches up from the dock and grabs you just in time. Well, back-tired and leg-stiff, you finally finish the picture. Now you can stretch and relax--but no: "Come on, the sun is getting low fast: hustle over to that row boat and push it out into the lake."
After twenty minutes of pushing a rowboat you begin to think that picture making isn't all fun and you wonder if a Hollywood career is really worth it. Not that you'll get to Hollywood, or want to, but it is intriguing to be selected by Look's photographer, Harold Rhodenbaugh, as a "photogenic girl." What makes you photogenic you don't know. You try to find out.
"It's your nose," says Mr. Rhodenbaugh.
It's not, you're sure.
"Well, I mean your features generally compose well," he elaborates. Then why do you take so many pictures that don't show my face? you wonder. Not much time to think though, must get into the car and hunt another location. You're getting loopy now--the car careening around sharp curves, up steep-hills, trying to stay one jump ahead of the sinking sun. Mrs. Kingsley, your chaperon is busily arranging slacks, sweaters and other clothes for succeeding pictures. In the shuffle you loose your glasses. They're somewhere in the car. Let's all get out and look for them. Out come the seats, no glasses, the suit case is rifled--no glasses. You conduct a small treasure hunt--all to no avail. Well, let's get on, more pictures must be made--and you needed new glasses anyhow, you hope.
Now it comes in earnest: "Climb that fence, no, walk farther toward the end, now come back a little, now go out toward the end again--please repeat that."
You're getting dizzy now - and very hungry. Photographers never have a thing to eat, you think. Do they always starve people like this?
After another hour of head raising, lowering, chin-jutting, hair curling, foot-lifting, eyes turning and tooth-baring, back--twisting and arm raising, you pull your weary bones into the car. At last your reward--a big steak dinner and banana split. You arrive home at least two hours after you expected to return--smugly satisfied that you've done your duty for Glens Falls, only to find you almost missed your own birthday* party. Five more hungry girls are waiting for you--have been waiting for you two hours. It's eight o'clock and in case you'd forgotten, supper was to have been served at six!
*Harriette's birthday was October 6th.
As you can tell by their senior yearbooks found here in the Folklife Center, Harriette Anne Whipple (Glens Falls High School Class of 1944) & Catherine Ann Carswell (Glens Falls High School Class of 1945), or 'Whip' & 'Kay Ann', were pretty active teenagers. Both were on yearbook staff, prom committee, senior play production, as well as active in French Club, and Hi-Y, a club associated with the YMCA to "foster speech, sportsmanship, and academic achievement".
While 'Whip' was also a cheerleader, basketball player, and on student council, what I found most interesting was that she was a "Defense Stamp Agent".
Defense stamps were used to fund the war effort with the buyer purchasing one of five different denomination stamp: 10 cents, 25 cents, 50 cents, one dollar and five dollars. The buyer accumulated the stamps in official booklets. Once the booklets were full, the buyer would use them to purchase Series E war bonds.
The year after Harriette posed for Look Magazine, she graduated & went on to study Home Economics at Syracuse University.
My previous post on Hometown, USA, was published on August 21, 2020: Taking a LOOK at the Hometown USA Color Slide Collection.
The Post-Star archives on Newspapers.com, Ancestry.com Library Edition, Glens Falls High School Black and Red Yearbook collection, and Look Magazine Glens Falls “Hometown U.S.A.” Photograph Collection, were used in the writing of this post. All items are available for use at The Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library, Glens Falls, NY.
Tisha Dolton is Librarian/Historian at The Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls, NY. Her areas of interest are suffrage music, suffragists of Warren and Washington Counties, local women and minority populations, and embroidery.