Last month I was sitting in front of a fire on a snowy day in the Catskills when my dad blew my mind with a photo slideshow on his laptop.
He — somewhat casually — revealed a treasure trove of photos that had recently been shared with him that captured dorm and frat life at his alma mater, Lake Forest College in Illinois. The zip drives contained hundreds of behind-the-scenes photos taken by his TKE fraternity brother John McDonough back in 1964.
TKEs (Tau Kappa Epsilon) at Lake Forest College back then were best defined for what they were not, according to my dad. They were not jocks or preppies. He insists they were “all-around guys: campus leaders, good students, good singers.”
I reached out to McDonough to find out more about the photos. He told me he used an East German single lens reflex camera called a Practika. He also said he used a cheap strobe flash that he’d recently bought which flashed at 1/1000th of a second (that’s why you can see actual drops of water frozen in time in some of these photos). McDonough photographed alot of events around LFC back then, but went on to a long career as a journalist with the Chicago Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, Advertising Age and DownBeat Magazine.
These photos from 1964 (and a few from 1965) show what college and frat life was like at the time. Looks fun. There’s not much studying going on (reminds me of my college days in that respect). Take a look. And by the way, my dad Richard appears in only one of the photos. You’ll have to guess which one…
TKEs watch the Senior Girls Serenade. During the annual event, frats took turns singing outside girls' dorms.
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