Monday, December 02, 2013


Obscurity of the Day: The Alumnae

 Mary Gauerke's The Alumnae was a daily panel distributed by the Register and Tribune Syndicate. It arrived on the scene in 1969, when women's roles and images in society were quickly shifting from the established June Cleaver model into the modern liberated and (almost) equal woman.

Gauerke chronicled that trip through her quartet of female characters. The iconic women represented various modern and traditional types, and Gauerke utilized them as she expertly straddled the fence in search of laughs. The Alumnae was never a women's lib feature, but neither was it anti-progress. It sought instead to find humor in all its characters. One day the panel could seem reactionary, the next practically hippie. This is impressive, as I get the impression that Gauerke herself may have been rather conservative (she seems to have been associated with the William F. Buckley/National Review crowd).

Although The Alumnae was not a big hit, it was probably in the 35-50 paper range, a pretty good showing considering that generally a middle-aged male features editor had to give it the thumbs-up to get in.

The panel debuted on September 8 1969, and ended April 24 1976.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the samples!

More about Gauerke tomorrow.


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