Livingston Co

New York

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Courtesy Campaign at Nunda High School


What was school like in 1940? Evidently some people at the Nunda High School thought it needed improving. Two classes, one of girls, the other boys, made up a set of rules they felt would be the center of a "courtesy campaign" at the school. Here are the "rules" that they made up -they appear here just as found on some fading mimeo sheets.


"These rules were prepared by the Girls in Miss Ginther's room."

Girls have precedence over boys.
Sit quietly during an assembly or lecture.
Do not chew gum or eat during assembly or lecture.
Do not leave assembly unless absolutely necessary and then leave quietly.
It is impolite to stand within "ear-shot" of a conversation (especially a teacher). Try to be occupied.
A boy should never exhibit a girl's picture or event boast of having one.
The boy calls for the girl at her home, talks with her parents (either one) and finds out what time she should be home.
No kissing on the street or in public places.
Do not cough without covering your mouth.
Do not tell dirty stories when ladies or girls are around.
Do not drink or cheat.
Do not talk to the girls in a loud or unpleasant voice.
If boys are entering rooms ahead of girls they should hold the door open.
If a boy is around when a girl drops something he should pick it up.
If seats are filled boys should get up and give girls their seats.
Boys should take their hat off when in school or any other public places.
Boys should not interrupt when others are talking.
Boys should show courtesy when speaking to a girl or teacher.
Boys should drew and appear near in school and other public places.
Boys should not fight in halls or home rooms.
Boys should not fight in halls or home rooms.
Boys should not slap each other on the back.
Boys should come to school clothes, not farming or hunting clothes.
Boys' personality should show itself well groomed without using a magnet on his fathers' pocketbook.
A boy should not brag about himself or his family.
A boy should earn most of his spending money.
The boys should hold the drinking fountain for the girls.
When boys or girls walk in front of anyone they should say "pardon me." Say excuse me when in the room or at the table only.
When boys are walking with the girls they should walk on the left or if there are two girls, (if he chooses), he may walk between them.
If a boy sees a car coming he should take her arm to warn her of the danger.
No courting in public places for either boy or girl.
If a boy has a date with a girl, he should never brag about it before or after the date.
Boys should never fight over a girl.
Boys should never dance all the while with the same girl.
Boys should not sit in front of a girl's home and honk the horn to let her know he's there.

If a boy is dancing with a girl and he steps on her foot or bumps into another couple he should say "pardon me."
The boys should mingle with the girls, not gather in a group of their own.
The boys should help the girls on and off with her wraps.
The boys should see that the girl's dances are taken, although do not take an undo number himself.
Boys should always thank the girls for their dances.
If the boy cannot and does not want to dance, he should not care if she dances with someone else.

At Home:
Use the same fine ways to your mother as you do the ladies outside.
Keep your clothes picked up.
Don't borrow your dad's belongings without permission.
Don't take the family car without permission.
Don't contradict.
Be friendly.
Treat your family with respect.


"These Thirty-nine rules were prepared by the boys in Mr. Conklin's room."

Don't use powder in public.
Don't use lipstick in public.
Don't giggle.
Don't comb hair in public.
Don't monkey with the phones.
Don't write notes in class.
Don't group in the halls.
Don't save seats for friends at movies or assemblies.
Don't close locker doors belonging to other students.
Don't stop on stairs for conservation.
Don't put on necking exhibitions in front of boys.
Put papers in the baskets instead of on the floors and in desks.
Dress neatly and correctly.
Let the girls say hello first instead of the boys.
Cut fingernails and use less nail polish.
Don't dance between classes.
Less gossip, please,
Please chew gum less vigorously.
Don't write on the blackboard unless given permission by the teacher.
Keep your lockers clean.
Girls should be more courteous to service club monitors.
Less Noise
Straighten chairs and desks at the end of the period.
Be more polite to teachers and fellow students.
Keep to the right in halls.
Bring your own equipment to classes such as pens, pencils, and paper.
Girls should do their own homework, less copying.
Leave light switches alone.
Pardon yourself when you walk in front of somebody.
Sit in the chairs, not on the desks.
Use better English.
Be on time for classes.
One in a seat.
Don't be so high hat.
More cooperation with the school activities.
Make themselves less conspicuous.
Be more reliable.
Be yourself and not someone else,
Be modest.


We invite anyone that was part of these classes, or has additional information about the Nunda "Courtesy Campaign" of 1940 to contac us. We especially would like to know - did it work?


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