Monday, April 4, 2016

Play Ball! Opening Day and a 1957 issue of Senior Scholastic

Today is Opening Day for most Major League Baseball teams, including the Phillies.1 So it seems like a good time to share this cool vintage cover of the April 19, 1957, issue of Senior Scholastic, a publication of Scholastic Corporation.2

Senior Scholastic started out as just Scholastic magazine in 1922. Over the decades, the company launched a number of different magazines, including Junior Scholastic, for younger students, in the mid-1930s. To differentiate it from that magazine, Scholastic was renamed Senior Scholastic.

Senior Scholastic ran into some controversies over the years. Parents and politicians at times disapproved of the magazine's content. Twice during the 1930s, it was accused of promoting communism.3 In 1948, the city of Birmingham, Alabama, banned the magazine because of article advocating racial equality.4

While there is not a specific magazine titled Scholastic or Senior Scholastic today, the company produces a variety of educational magazines aimed at various age levels, including My Big World, Scholastic News, Science Spin, DynaMath, Scholastic Action and Scholastic Art. Junior Scholastic, containing social studies content for grades 6-8, still exists.

So that's some context and background for this 32-page staplebound newsprint publication from 59 years ago that's featured here this morning. While baseball is spotlighted on the cover, there isn't very much baseball content inside. This is a serious magazine aimed at high school students, with the space given to hard news far outpacing sports, entertainment and a small jokes section.

The "Cover Story" consists of just five paragraphs, in which Sports Editor Herman L. Masin predicts a New York Yankees vs. Milwaukee Braves World Series. (He was right on the money!) Of course, picking the Yankees didn't exactly make you Nostradamus back in those days; the Yankees won 15 of 18 American League pennants between 1947 and 1964. Meanwhile, the Braves, who defeated the Yankees in the 1957 World Series, were led by 23-year-old National League MVP Henry "Hank" Aaron.

Here's some of the newsier content featured in this April 19, 1957, issue of Senior Scholastic:

  • A forum in which student-delegates from around the world discuss what they discovered about America on their visit. Pham Throng Le of Vietnam says, "News from America more often mentions H bombs than new good books. I discovered America was just the opposite." Lim Heng Loong of Singapore says, "The American system is designed to produce responsible citizens, prepared to take their part in community life in a free society." And Ziyad Husami of Lebanon says, "In the Middle East, many persons feel — rightly or wrongly — that Americans do not care about our feelings as human beings. I believe that America should do more to regard the human element first and last in the Middle East area."
  • A three-page article examines the economic distress happening in Chile and explains how the American government is trying to buoy the "bright beacon light of democracy in a region of the world where dictatorships are, unfortunately, all too common."
  • An article tackles the tricky issue of who takes over the United States presidency during times when the president is unable to carry out his duties. It became a hot topic in the wake of President Dwight D. Eisenhower's mild heart attack in September 1955. The debate was not fully solved until the adoption of Amendment XXV to the United States Constitution in 1967.
  • A news analysis of Britain's announcement that its defenses would henceforth rely on atomic weapons and guided missiles rather than manpower and ordinary weapons.
  • A brief mention of Manouchehr Eghbal becoming Iran's new premier.

Finally, there's that Coca-Cola advertisement on the back page of this Senior Scholastic issue.

1. There were three games on Sunday, including the Pirates beating the Cardinals in the first game of the 2016 season.
2. Check out 30+ posts on various Scholastic books and records in Papergreat's archives.
3. And, in 1952, a Scholastic Corporation editor had to explain to the House Committee on Un-American Activities his involvement, 20 years previous, with a short-lived magazine that was suspected of promoting communist sympathies.
4. Historical information on Scholastic Corporation used in this post is from

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