50 years ago, this was the advice a ‘Charm School Handbook’ gave to teenage girls

Wards wendy 1966 pleasantfamilyshopping

In the 1960s and 70s, the Montgomery Ward’s department stores offered something called the Wendy Ward Charm School for teenage girls.

Once a week the girls would meet in a room above the department store and, according to a WWCS graduate, “spend a couple of hours learning how to paint our nails, walk and sit with good posture and conduct ourselves like ladies.”

The classes would end with a fashion show.

Each attendee received a handbook.

Wendy Ward

Remember, the book was written for young girls in the 60s, which means it was written in the mindset of a girl who grew up in the 40s and 50s.

The advice is dated. Like this image below, informing young women that it isn’t just about what you say but “how you sound.”

Wendy Ward Charm School Handbook

But not all of the advice is terrible; just old. Here, the handbook reminds a young woman that it’s her unique characteristics that make her appealing (ahem, to men.)

Wendy Ward Charm School Handbook

Kari Martin-Rollins, 25, recently posted some of these photos on Facebook and allowed Business Insider to post the snaps she took of the handbook.

Martin-Rollins writes,

When my mum was a little girl, she briefly attended [Wendy Ward] charm school, which was apparently more of a norm in the 1960s. She just came across her manual from this program, and we both got a kick out of going through it. Here is a page about developing ‘feminine appeal’, copyright exactly 50 years ago.

Wendy Ward Charm School First

We dug through the photos Martin-Rollins sent us and found some of the best pages with the most dated advice, like the section on “how to talk to boys.”

It reads: “If you saw a movie and you liked a movie, say “I liked the movie, but I’m not sure I understand all they were trying to say.” This gives him a chance to be very manly and explain things to you.”

Also, don’t forget to help boys by making them think you’re impressed by them!

Wendy Ward Charm School Handbook

Trying to lose weight? The handbook regards you as a “dumpling.”

“Learn to love the foods that make you pretty,” the book reads.

Wendy Ward Charm School Handbook

Not so fast, “string beans.” There are tips here for you, too. You get to eat bread before you fall asleep.

Wendy Ward Charm School Handbook

“Don’t telephone a boy — even if he asks you too. This is sure “social” suicide,” the handbook says.

Wendy Ward Charm School Handbook

Standard etiquette rules are offered:

Wendy Ward Charm School Handbook

As well as a page called “Your Legs And You.”

Wendy Ward Charm School Handbook

The book suggests pinning back your ears if you have big ears.

Wendy Ward Charm School Handbook

There’s also this great section on getting a date. The advice starts out somewhat timeless, stating men aren’t that different than women emotionally — we all want to be loved.

Then you get down to the bottom of the page.


Wendy Ward Charm School Handbook