CARLI Digitized Book of the Month - November 2015

From:Northwestern University

The Purple Parrot (Dec 1949)

What exactly is The Purple Parrot? This question has crossed my mind many times as I’ve searched through some of CARLI’s expansive holdings the past few years. From 1921-1950, The Purple Parrot was essentially Northwestern University’s answer to the Harvard Lampoon, a satirical magazine that skewers student life and cultural events of the time. 

This page from 1949 captures the adventures of Rene Gentry as he segues into life as a “hasher.”(A hip term from the forties that seems to refer in this case to someone who works in a dining hall). Of course being a humor magazine this means that it will of course result in calamity, which plays out in photo essay form. I now find myself wondering if Rene Gentry is a recurring figure in this magazine, one who consistently appears in different jobs and classroom situations that he will promptly pratfall and fail his way through like some type of post-war collegiate Buster Keaton.

Despite some of the humor not necessarily transferring to modern times, the Purple Parrot still proves exceptionally entertaining as a distinct time capsule that offers a peek into the student life of the time. 

Written by Ian Collins, Digital Services Librarian, University of Illinois at Chicago

This volume was contributed by the Northwestern University. You can find this volume and others from CARLI participant libraries in the Internet Archive.