The Jester (1967)

by Rick Teller '70, Williston Northampton Archivist

1967: Williston Academy’s Literary Society had, for many years, published an oh-so-serious magazine called The Scribe.  Imagine, then, the excitement when the Society announced that they would depart from venerable tradition and attempt a humor magazine.  The first, and only issue of The Jester appeared in the winter of 1967.  Almost immediately, certain elements in the administrative hierarchy objected to the cover on grounds of taste, until it was pointed out that the navel in question, which belonged to our champion diver, was on display in the pool every afternoon.

51 years later, this seems relatively innocuous.  Tasteless, yes, but hardly provocative.  But our plan to republish substantial excerpts here was somewhat modified when we realized that by 2018 standards, the magazine was so replete with trademark violations, potential libel suits, and what are now called “trigger warnings,” that we had to be very selective.  Plus: some of it was too insider-obscure to resonate today, or just wasn’t very funny.

The persons responsible, plus a couple of ringers.  As with all these images, you may click to enlarge.

But much of it was funny, or clever, and still is.  Perhaps against our better judgment, here are excerpts, beginning with a parody of that prep-school classic, The Catcher in the Rye.

Poetry.  After all, The Jester was published by a Literary Society.

The Jester contained advertising.  Of all the ads, this was the only one we thought we could safely reproduce.And of course, there was an SAT parody.  Apparently the College Board doesn’t ask those analogy questions any more, probably because almost no one could do them.  Pity.And finally, we have another poem.  That spring, the Literary Society returned to publishing The Scribe.  The Jester never saw another issue, in part, perhaps, because by 1968 “mere anarchy [had been] loosed upon the world,” and student priorities were changing.  Is it an artifact of a simpler time?And did you miss these favorite posts from the past?

 “Loyalty” The Great Red Scare briefly rears its ugly head at 1953 Williston.  This one is personal.

“Heroic” Some Northampton School for Girls faculty who made a difference.



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