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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • SPANGLES: THE CONTINENTAL CIRCUS

The In Crowd: 1943

The In Crowd: 1943

October 1943. Washington, D.C. "Sally Dessez talking with some friends near her locker at Woodrow Wilson High School." Popular girls and their minion. Photo by Esther Bubley for the Office of War Information. View full size.

 

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The boy is reading back the minutes from the previous Cool Chick Clique meeting.

About Sally

OWI photographer Esther Bubley shot a series of photos about a day in the life of Miss Dessez during the war. Sally was the grand-daughter of one of Washington's most prolific architects (Leon Dessez), and the daughter of career naval officer Captain J.H.S. Dessez, who had made a harrowing escape from Mindanao in 1942 as Japanese invaders pressed forward. Residing with her father and an aunt for this phase of "the duration," Sally served as yearbook editor at Wilson High, and graduated near the top of the Class of '44. After attending Bryn Mawr College, she wed Luther Decker Miller Jr., son of the Chief Chaplain of the U.S. Army (and himself an Episcopal pastor). Her husband served in suburban Washington, and then for thirty years as rector at St. David's Church in Washington. The family's homestead remains in the school zone of Wilson High.

Babushkas and long coats

During the 1940's, 50's and even into the 60's, it was very common for women in cold climates to wear those items on a daily basis. It kept the wind, humidity and elements from messing up their coiffed hair (since almost all youngsters walked to school) and the long coats kept most of the body warm. When the short, snug jackets took the place of coats, my sister labeled them "A++ freezers," which was quite accurate if one had to walk long distances in cold weather.

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