LIFE | A Continuous Lean.

How to Mold “Tough-Minded Gentlemen”

Sep 14th, 2015 | Categories: England, Jared Paul Stern, LIFE | by Jared Paul Stern


“For more than five centuries Winchester has molded tough-minded English gentlemen,” LIFE magazine wrote about one of the oldest public schools in the UK in 1951. While Winchester College in Hampshire, UK has never attained the the fame of Eton or Harrow, it is safe in the knowledge that having been founded in 1382 it is “older than almost all other public schools and the model for most of them.” For more than 500 years Winchester had been “helping to perpetuate a breed of Englishmen whose authoritative bearing and strait-laced espousal of ‘fair play’ have always set them aside as a public school product”. Winchester men call themselves Wykehamists, after their founder, William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester.

Until 1984 Wykehamists were also well known for their straw boaters, or “strats” which featured students’ house colors on the band, still sported by Old Wykehamists on Winchester Day. The term “public school”, confusing to Americans as it equates to private and boarding schools here, came about because schools like Winchester were originally established to educate poor scholars who could not afford private tutoring, with a smattering of noblemen’s sons for good measure. While some now take a public school education as a signifier of snobbery, as LIFE wrote, “To Winchester men the motto ‘Manners Makyth Man’ on the school coat of arms sums it up: rugged discipline and a sound education, not noble birth, determine a man’s stature.”


Building a Better M.I.T. Man, 1956

Aug 11th, 2015 | Categories: Jared Paul Stern, LIFE | by Jared Paul Stern


“Sailing dinghies down the Charles, M.I.T. men sometimes convey an impression of leisurely living,” imparted the May 7, 1956 issue of LIFE in a story headlined “Amidst Grinding Work, Some Fun”. “But in their fraternities and their rooms on campus, these same men line the walls with banners proclaiming, ‘Tech is Hell.’ Boasting they have the toughest regimen of any U.S. campus, they point out that they average 55 hours a week in class and laboratories, nearly double that of their liberal arts counterparts at Harvard.”

The magazine seemed at pains to point out that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (est. 1861), which other college men might accuse of producing “milquetoasts”, was in fact doing our country an essential service in a time when the Soviets seemed to be outpacing us in the realm of science. Another article titled “The Need for Better Scientists and M.I.T.’s Answer” focused on recruitment strategies and their commitment to turning out more and better engineers and scientists that the pesky Reds.



Winter of ’42 in Maine

Jan 12th, 2011 | Categories: LIFE, Maine | by Michael Williams

Hey kid, second to the front, nice boots.

Summer in Fairfield County Connecticut

Apr 21st, 2010 | Categories: LIFE | by Michael Williams

Waspy people doing waspy things in Connecticut. Summer of 1948 & 1949.

The Sportswriters

Mar 31st, 2010 | Categories: LIFE | by Michael Williams

Army vs. Navy, November 1948. As photographed by Cornell Capa for LIFE Magazine.

Jimmy Cannon (one of the greatest sportswriters of all time) famously said that Joe Louis was "a credit to his race, the human race." Not a bad dresser either.

LIFE Archive | Marlon Brando in The Men

Dec 17th, 2009 | Categories: LIFE, Movies | by Michael Williams


There is a great photo set (by Edward Clark) in the LIFE archive of Marlon Brando preparing for his 1950 film debut The Men. The story was based on a group of returning WWII vets that had to cope with the mental and physical injuries of war. After coming off of his role in Broadway’s Streetcar Named Desire, Marlon Brando spent a lot of time at a VA hospital preparing for movie.

Life Archive | Stars and Stripes

Sep 25th, 2009 | Categories: LIFE | by Michael Williams

That’s America right there — a nice big fella in head-to-toe khaki standing in front of a beat up American flag. If I knew this gentleman I would buy him a beer and ask him about his days in the big one. As I powered through the Life Archive I keep coming back to photos with Old Glory in them. As it turns out, being young and patriotic is on the up-and-up, so it seems my timing is right on. Enjoy some stars and stripes before you head out for the weekend.