She’s working her way through college — without a library

This 1952 Technicolor film, She’s Working Her Way Through College, stars Virginia Mayo as “Hot Garters Gertie,” a former burlesque dancer who has saved up to go to college. The write-up for this movie on the TCM schedule started out with this eyebrow-raising tagline:

Let other coeds wait tables or shelve library books. Burlesque queen Hot-Garters Gertie is working her way through college one article of clothing at a time!

Hoping for a glimpse of the college library, I watched this musical comedy (which, bizarrely, features a song about inflation), which also co-stars Ronald Reagan as Professor (!) John Palmer. There are closeups of classrooms, the gymnasium and football rallies, but alas, no library — or librarian — to be seen, thereby landing this film into the Class V category.

Interestingly, this film is a loose adaptation of the 1942 film The Male Animal, starring Olivia de Havilland and Henry Fonda as the professor (much more believable, eh?). As the plotline is centered around a college campus, I had also recently watched The Male Animal in hopes of spying a library, but a no-go on that score, as well.

If you would like to see some coeds who do work their way through college by shelving books, etc., in the library (something that I did, as well, during both my undergrad and grad school years!), I would recommend checking out:

By the way, Happy Christmas! 🙂


One comment on “She’s working her way through college — without a library

  1. Frederick Buechner wrote, “Books are my passion, not only writing them and every once in a while even reading them but just having them and moving them around and feeling the comfort of their serene presence.” I don’t write books; but, I still like this quote to describe my love for books and how I ended up working at a library. My love of books led me to become an English major in college. When I was a junior, I began volunteering at the local public library. Volunteering led to my decision to apply to an accredited graduate program in Library Science. In grad school, I decided to focus on archival and special collection work. The idea of working with pieces of history was an exciting one to me. Today I am working as the Technical Archivist in the Special Collection department at Samford University. A lot of the materials I work with are one of a kind or rare pieces of history. The Special Collection department works to not only store special materials but to preserve and arrange collections in order to provide researchers access to information. Access to information can be in different formats. It can be through using the records themselves or it could be through using microfilm and digital formats. My love of books may have led me to Library Science but today I am just as likely to spend my time working with other materials such as original manuscript collections, church records, photographs, newspapers, and digital materials. Samuel Johnson said, “Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.” That’s where libraries and librarians come in. Libraries offer a world of information to people and each day working in the Special Collection department may reveal a new treasure trove of information to work with.

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