Friday, November 9, 2007

dying from in-door-ness

This is the 1915 Camp Wawayanda brochure. It's in the Kautz Family YMCA Archive which is housed at the University of Minnesota. Melissa Pauls found, on the web, an article by historian Michael Smith that describes the history of "the ego ideal of the good camper." Smith reproduces our old brochure in his article, and here is his caption:

This brochure for Camp Wawayanda, one of the oldest boys' summer camps in the United States, evokes the countermodern ethos of the organized camping movement. Many early camp leaders focused on the power of "roughing it" in nature to build character and uplift spirits, to save the race from "dying from in-door-ness."

Here is a link to Smith's article. The notion (uplift spirits, get kids away from cities, etc.) is described generally in a book by Jackson Lears about "anti-modernism" in the last years of the 19th century and the first years of the 20th. This was of course the era in which Wawayanda was born (1901).