Collections on Student Life

James L. Bixby Photographs, 1939-1942

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James L. Bixby was a member of Northwestern's class of 1943.  A liberal arts major, Bixby did not complete the requirements for a degree.  He was a photographer and photo editor for the Purple Parrot, a highly regarded campus humor and feature magazine, as well as a contributing photographer to the Daily Northwestern and the Syllabus.  After Northwestern, Bixby's work would include freelance photography for The Chicago Tribune.
The photographs in the Bixby collection document life at Northwestern during the period 1939-1942.  Prominent among them are images of courtship, fraternity and sorority rituals, and formal dances.  Rounding out the collection are photographs of student residences, athletic events, theatrical performances, members of the faculty and staff, and notable visitors to campus (including Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey).  These images have been used as illustrations in two cultural histories: Helen Lefkowitz Horowtiz, Campus Life: Undergraduate Cultures from the End of the Eighteenth Century to the Present (New York: A. A. Knopf, 1987) and Beth L. Baily, From the Front Porch to the Back Seat: Courtship in Twentieth Century America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1988).

The full collection consists of approximately 1,000 items.  We present a few highlights here.


 | Last updated 9/15/2008