Deerfield Academy Home Movie, 1966

An Ivy Style Facebook group member dug up this fantastic video shot at the prep school Deerfield in 1966, which was only rediscovered last year.

It’s a combination of “Take Ivy” and “Dead Poets Society” come to life, with soccer, extensive shots of nature and architecture in the first half, and then tremendous sartorial variations within a fixed genre. The boys also seem surprising mature for teenagers; perhaps that’s a Deerfield specialty. — CC

35 Comments on "Deerfield Academy Home Movie, 1966"

  1. I would guess that the average guy in this film weighs about 20 pounds less than his modern counterpart. Did you see the reasonable size of the hamburgers? And eating at a picnic with real metal utensils!

    Meanwhile, I noticed some fine 3-Button OCBDs.

  2. This video has more madras and oxford cloth than a Brooks Brothers store.

    Props to the guy at the 26 minute mark with the monogrammed polo.

  3. Richard Meyer | November 28, 2017 at 4:31 pm |

    Very like our grandson’s current experience at the Haverford School. Thank God, somethings change little.

  4. I think we need video proof of that.

  5. Fetish. Naturally.

  6. Delightful bit of vanished cultural history!

  7. Michael Brady | November 28, 2017 at 5:55 pm |

    Re: OCBD’s. It was Gant that had the third button in the collar, right? Sero and Enro always seem like lesser shirts to me but Sero, in particular, had it’s loyal followers. Sero did not have that third button, IIRC. A little later, Bert Pulitzer and Gitman came along.

  8. Edward Aisthorpe | November 28, 2017 at 6:00 pm |

    Terrific! I live in a large city and never see anyone in anything remotely like what’s on show here.

  9. That was a treat, seemed like the normal 1966 suburban high school in the Midwest costume wise. Could this be archaeological proof of the “White Privilege” myth? I’m just kidding, it was a hoot and brought back memories of 1966.

  10. Michael Brady
    I believe most BD shirts had the third button, not all had locker loops. The shop I purchased most of my shirts from in the 60s carried Gant and Creighton BDs, both had third buttons. Funny, all my father’s WWII military shirts were Creighton. I believe the third button disappeared when ties got wider, with the exception of sports shirts. I’ve never owned a Sero.

  11. Richard, thoroughly enjoyable!


  12. @James Kraus Modern men of high school age today may well be 20 pounds heavier than the men in this video; however, I’d wager that the men in this video, who’d be about 70 years old at this point, weigh, on average, well more than 20 pounds heavier than 70-year-old men did in 1966.

    “Weight increases were greater among older men: Those between 40 and 49 were nearly 27 pounds heavier on average at the end of the study period. Men 50 to 59 got 28 pounds heavier, and 60 to 74 were almost 33 pounds heavier on average in 2002 compared with 1960.” –

    Also, the Baby Boom generation has a higher incidence of diabetes, high cholesterol, and hypertension than did their parents. All these health indicators are linked to one common cause – obesity.

    Don’t pin the fat problem on the youth.

  13. Is there a name for the style of T-shirt shown at 26:15 with the colored stripe around the color, and the “tab” or “keystone” stripe going down an inch or so from there? I have searched in the past, but haven’t seen anything like it recently. Definitely a 60’s thing.

  14. Brooks Brothers never had the three button OCBD.

  15. Incredible piece of prep history. Wonder who made that monogrammed polo shirt.

  16. The stricter dress code of most private a schools bleeds into students down time. So even when students “dress down” they tend to be better dressed than their dressed down peers. It’s very hard for me to wear jeans and a t-shirt in casual settings.

  17. @ GEM

    I don’t recall the name of the t-shirt with piping around the collar and sleeves and a tab at the neck on the guy at 26:15, but I do recall having one right around that time. Odds are good I got it at BB. I have a vague notion it was being marketed as a crew shirt.

  18. @Vern

    I own a BB Own Make shirt from the line that came out a couple years ago (supposedly based on designs from the heyday) that has a 3 button collar. Not sure if that counts for much.

  19. RJG
    I all ways thought those shirts had their origins as rowing crew jerseys. That said the craze of skate boarding/surfing that hit the nation in the mid 60s and surf music seemed to proliferate the shirts, at least in Texas where I lived at the time.

  20. JDD,

    I apologize. I have not bought a shirt there for many years and was never aware. Thanks.

  21. RWK
    I have no argument with your cited studies, but for the most part the youth of today will do much worse that Boomers. Very few of us were over weight at 20. We were far more physically active in our youth than today’s youth. For Christmas we got new athletic gear and gift certificates to our favorite men’s shop. Our Xbox consisted of a vibrating platform with plastic football players, something to do on a winters day waiting for the snow to stop so you could shovel it.
    So yes since the industrial revolution humans in relatively wealthy countries have used their backs less to earn income and each generation gets fatter. I think the tech revolution has accelerated that, time will tell.

  22. @RJG and Mac: those shirts are known as “henleys”. The tab is usually two school colors: the kid in the reel’s shows Deerfield’s green and white (although the white isn’t very visible on a white background).

    When I was rowing (don’t know if they still do it), if you were in a final heat, everybody bet their henleys; all losing boats had to strip ’em off and hand them to the winning boat. Sort of like scalps. I’m happy to say I’ve still got a few somewhere in the attic that I took off of some Georgetown and other lightweight crews.

  23. For those who find it to tiring to use Google:
    A Henley shirt is a collarless pullover shirt, characterized by a placket beneath the round neckline, about 3 to 5 inches (8 to 13 cm) long and usually having 2–5 buttons.It essentially resembles a collarless polo shirt. The sleeves may be either short or long, and it can be made in almost any fabric, although cotton, cotton-polyester blends, and thermals are by far the most popular. Henley shirts are generally regarded as menswear, but women’s versions have appeared as business casual and casual wear as well.

    Henley shirts were named because it was the traditional uniform of rowers in the English town of Henley-on-Thames. The first Henley Royal Regatta was in 1839.

    In his biography of Ralph Lauren, the journalist Michael Gross quotes a New York merchant who recalled showing a vintage shirt to a Ralph Lauren buyer: “I showed this fellow underwear—a three-button long-sleeve shirt by Johnstown Knitting Mills. He said, ‘This is a new shirt.’ That’s where he got the idea for the Henley shirt.”

  24. Paul
    Thanks for confirming the crew connection. I think many of us knew about the jersey forfeiture in crew or at least an exchange.

    R. Paternost
    I would have Googled it had I known it was called a “Henley”, but thanks for doing it. The shirts I’ve bought over the last 20 years advertised as Henleys are long sleeve heavy cotton, like long underwear tops. I wear them mostly for cold weather hunting or football games as a base layer.

  25. @Mac & Paternost:

    None of the ones we rowed in back in the 80s had buttons on them; it was just like a little strip of double-colored ribbon down the front. Although I do have a couple of long-sleeve shirts from Bean called ‘river driver shirts’ that have a small button placket like that. They’re cotton on the inside and wool on the outside.

    I always thought the coolest part of that racing tradition was that you got the shirt of your counterpart in all the other boats: ie. I rowed stroke, so 5 strokes personally surrendered their jerseys to me; my bowman got shirts from 5 of his peers; etc.

  26. Paul
    You must have been in top shape, I’ve watched crews work out. Explain to me what “rowing stoke” means, watched many races, but don’t know crap about rowing.

  27. “Stroke” seat is a position: it’s the rower closest to the stern of the boat. In most shells (back then anyway), you’re face to face with the coxswain, who is the only person who sits facing forward. The stroke and the ‘cox’ communicate about the performance of the boat, including stroke rating, which is maybe where the name comes from: the rest of the rowers key off of the stroke’s oar, thus setting the rhythm and rate for the entire boat.

  28. Thanks, guys. We discussed the Henley and rowing legacy on the comments of the Facebook post of this article, too. I found that Deerfield still sells a shirt like that:

    Also, I found a company called Guideboat that sells some nice (yet spendy!) rowin-inspired shirts:

    I bit the bullet and ordered that one.

    Wish I could have gotten this when it was available:

    I also noted that while these seem to be derived from the Henley form, the ones I’m interested in have evolved (devolved? 🙂 into t-shirts. A term that shows up is “tab collar”, although not the tab collar we are used to discussing.

  29. I liked the typewriters, filing cabinets, and telephones in the film.

  30. Loved this, seemingly shot just moments before the hippie movement changed America forever. The famous headmaster, Frank Boyden, and his wife Helen, both instantly recognizable, appear in several segments. He was headmaster until 1968. I think my favorite however is the guy with the popped collar and lacrosse stick starting at 28:14.

  31. Edward Aisthorpe | December 3, 2017 at 8:04 am |

    28:50, Donny Osmond?

  32. I went through prep school in the early 1980s and it wasn’t all that different…

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