Scene Again: 1947

You know you’re in another era when a news story describes the Winter Carnival queen being borne to an event on “a gay litter by four Nubians.”

In this case, the language is from the mid-1940s, and the event, as described in The Bates Student, is the 1945 Winter Carnival ice show. During that era, the carnival queen, her court, and a crowd of spectators traditionally paraded from the upper campus to the iced-over tennis courts adjacent to Alumni Gym.

That year, a professional ice skater named Jimmy Partridge, attending Bates as part of the wartime Navy’s V-12 officer training program, organized a lavish ice show that included skaters “jumping over Bates coeds — to their delight!” Partridge had performed at the Center Theatre in Manhattan and with Stars on Ice and the Ice Follies.

“At the time, Sonja Henie was in the movies, and many were interested in figure skating,” recalls Birgit Svane Libbey ’49, a performer in Bates ice shows. “Lois [Foster Johnson ’49] would organize a group, pick the music, usually a ballet, and choreograph the show.”

Other memories? “My feet freezing,” she laughs. Pictured above are (from left) Barbara Muir Moore ’49, Lydia Fox Stoughton ’49, and Dorothea Carr Foster ’49, likely from the 1947 “Gay Nineties” ice show.