Branson School News, Sports, Life and Opinion

The Blazer

Branson’s student-run newspaper
Branson School News, Sports, Life and Opinion

The Blazer

Branson School News, Sports, Life and Opinion

The Blazer

Jump back through time: The Blazer, March 1957

The Brenda Brown libary as seen from the hill in 2024. (Cooper Tenney)
The “Res” as seen from the hill in the 1950s. Today, many things about this same area have changed on campus.

A jump through time of the Blazer’s History: how different was Branson on March 1, 1957 from today, March 1, 2024?

Looking back through the archives, I was able to find some of the first editions of The Blazer with the help of Charlotte King-Mills, librarian. This specific edition was published just two years after The Blazer Newspaper was founded in 1955 by co-editors Rae Eastwood and Mary Rand.

But lets dive into the history of the Blazer newspaper. At the time of its founding, the formally-titled Katharine Branson School was an all girls boarding and day school in the 1950s. It remained as such until 1972 when Headmaster H. Leonard Richardson opened the Mount Tamalpais School – an all boys school on the K.B.S. campus. In the fall of 1985, the two schools merged, forming The Branson School.

But back to the early days of The Blazer’s publication. An article published in the 1957 edition was reminiscent of today. Just like our seniors, their minds were on college applications around this time 67 years ago. Seniors evidently claimed housing in upper crossways, perhaps a perk of the second semester of their final year.

Another article published described the festivities of the spring. The juniors of KBS had a dance following a difficult exam week, while the sophomores were busy planning a class party with ice skating, movies, or a theater performance . The freshmen were stuck in writing in their mythology notebooks.

Interestingly, the 1957 print edition featured the eighth grade, which used to be a part of Branson as well. In fact, for some period of time, Branson had all grades 5-12, albeit just girls.

Switching gear to the acting club “The Phantastics,” a very popular part of KBS as demonstrated by the numerous articles featuring them throughout the early Blazer issues, had just performed the play “The Green Pastures.” The 1957 edition of The Blazer wrote the following about the show: “For all of you who missed the play, it was done in black-face, and very well acted. ‘That was one of the best plays given at KBS’, was frequently overheard as the curtain closed on the last act. The acting was indeed superb on the whole.”

Looking at the historical context of our country, this is a very striking difference in the culture of the time. We see a huge cultural shift between what was acceptable at the time and what we consider appropriate and culturally aware today.

Activity at KBS seemed to be very centered around living on campus. In February of 1957, move in day in New House (perhaps after a school vacation) and Sunday morning breakfast were highlights for the residents of Crossways.

A sports article from the old edition saw KBS competing in girls tennis against The Hamlin School. Branson won a thrilling match on their home court.

Moving on to academics, in a class called “Charm School,” the students “learned a good deal about sitting up, and standing up at ‘young ladies’ should,” according to the writer of the article. Another class that is obviously not taught at Branson today, and speaking again to the cultural and societal change we have undergone since the publication of this 1957 issue.

The Blazer’s historical impact as a publication details the ways in which life back in the 1950s can be similar yet so different to the school’s identity today.

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About the Contributor
Cooper Tenney
Cooper Tenney, Editor-in-Chief
Cooper Tenney serves as editor-in-chief and first joined The Blazer in 2020. He has received two honorable mentions, one in 2022 for environmental coverage and the other in 2021 for news story, from the Journalism Education Association of Northern California.