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Featured Movie-related Item: Christmas Holiday (1944)

For this post in our continuing series on movie publications in the Prange Collection, we are featuring Christmas Holiday, starring Deanna Durbin and Gene Kelly. The film was released by Universal Pictures in June 1944 in the United States.  An excerpt from the screenplay in English and Japanese was published by Kokusai Shuppansha/國際出版社 in 1947 under the Japanese title, “Kurisumasu no kyuka/クリスマスの休暇“.” (See the front cover below.  Prange Call Number PN-0237).  This publication has been digitized and is available full-text onsite at the University of Maryland Libraries and onsite at the National Diet Library of Japan (NDL) through NDL’s Digital Collection.

Gene Kelly is known for his roles in musicals during the 1950s, so you might think that a movie entitled, Christmas Holiday, would be a holiday-themed musical or prehaps a romantic comedy.  And while there is plenty of music in the film (which earned an Oscar nomination for Music Director Hans Salter in 1945), this crime drama adapted from a novel by W. Somerset Maugham is darker than you would expect.

So, are you wondering what this movie is actually about?  Let’s find out by meeting the characters, presented in the order in which they appear:

Lt. Charles Mason (Dean Harens): He’s a newly commissioned officer who gets stuck in New Orleans on Christmas Eve. He stays at a hotel to wait for the weather to clear. While getting a sandwich at the hotel bar, he meets…

Simon Fenimore (Richard Whorf): He’s a local reporter. After discussing Charles’ travel problems, Simon suggests going to a nightclub to meet Valerie, who might be able to fix his problem.

Valerie De Merode (Gladys George): She’s the hostess at the Maison Lafette [sic].  Unfortunately, she can’t really fix his problem.  The planes are grounded, the trains are all booked. Charles is just going to have to wait.  While he’s waiting he meets…

Jackie Lamont/Abigail Manette (Deanna Durbin): Jackie is a singer at the club.  She and Charles go to Midnight Mass, and afterward she reveals that her real name is Abigail and her husband is in prison for murder.  Through flashbacks, she tells Charles the sad tale of her courtship and marriage to…

Robert Manette (Gene Kelly): He is a Southern aristocrat from a prominent family.  He has trouble living up to his family’s high standards, due to gambling debts and unemployment.  Despite all of that, Abigail falls in love with him after they meet at a concert.  About six months later, when a bet goes wrong, Robert kills a bookie.  Abigail finds out after the police search their apartment. He is convicted and sent to prison.  After that, Abigail runs away and changes her name to Jackie Lamont. But Robert escapes from prison and comes to the club to talk to his wife one more time…

Well, we don’t want to spoil the ending, do we??

In September 17, 1945, the Lux Radio Theatre broadcast a production of Christmas Holiday (You can listen to a recording of the show, #406, here). The Jackie/Abigail part was played by none other than Loretta Young, the star of The Farmer’s Daughter, which we featured in March of this year.

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Crossing the Divide Opening Reception

Many thanks to all of you who attended the opening reception of the Prange Collection exhibit, “Crossing the Divide: An American Dream Made in Occupied Japan, 1945-1952,” on October 19!  It was truly a pleasure for the Prange Collection staff to welcome so many people into the gallery.  Please see this Flickr album for photos from the reception.

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Featured Movie-related Item: And Now Tomorrow

Here is another post in our movie series featuring items from our movie publications.

On November 22, 1944, Paramount Pictures released the movie “And Now Tomorrow.” It was based on the book by Rachel Field and starred Alan Ladd and Loretta Young (Three years later, Young would go on to star in “The Farmer’s Daughter,” which we featured in a previous post). Young played the lead as Emily Blair, a rich socialite who became deaf after contracting meningitis. Her search for a cure forced her to put her marriage plans on hold. It also left the audience asking:  Will the promising new doctor find the cure? Can she endure the treatment? Will her fiancé wait for her? Will she marry him, or someone else?  You can keep reading to find out more.

The image above is the front cover of Rachel Fields, “And Now Tomorrow” [Ai no akebono/愛のあけぼの], published by Kokusai Shuppansha/國際出版社 in 1948. [Prange Call Number PN-0239].  See below for more pages.

This book has been digitized.  In addition to being available in digital form at the University of Maryland, it is also available onsite at the National Diet Library of Japan (NDL) through NDL’s Digital Collection.

We also discovered several magazines that featured this movie.  Below are examples.

The Lux Radio Theater, a radio series that originally adapted Broadway shows and then Hollywood movies, was on the air for over twenty years. Today, you can listen to these broadcasts online. Many of the movie stars reprised their film roles in these radio productions. If you’d like to listen to “And Now Tomorrow,” go to Lux Radio Theater – Single Episodes and select #424.

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Thanksgiving holidays (2018)

The Prange Collection will be closed from Wednesday, November 21 through Sunday, November 25 for the Thanksgiving holidays.

Have a great Thanksgiving!


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Online Exhibit for “Crossing the Divide”

We are pleased to announce that we have launched the online exhibit of Crossing the Divide: An American Dream Made in Occupied Japan, 1945-1952.  Now you can view the inside of some of the displayed items and view additional items that do not appear in the physical exhibit.

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Interview with W. Evan Young, Research Award Recipient 2018

Each year, the recipients of the 20th Century Japan Research Awards visit the University of Maryland to use the materials in the Gordon W. Prange Collection.  They often spend a week or more on campus.  They are interviewed at the end of their stay about their research experience.

Dr. Young in the Maryland Room

One of the two recipients of the award for 2017-2018 is W. Evan Young, a professor at Dickinson College.  His research topic is “Health and Home in Occupation-Era Japan: Promoting Medical Knowledge in Popular Women’s Magazines.”


How did you learn about the research award, and why did you apply for it?

I learned about the Twentieth Century Japan Research Award through H-NET, where I saw it advertised and was inspired to apply. I had also noticed the award in the CVs of several colleagues specializing in modern Japanese studies. Since the award has supported scholars for nearly two decades, it has now fostered a sizable body of work in the field, and I was excited to have the chance to join the ranks of awardees. Although I had spent the majority of my research time throughout my academic career in archives in Japan, for the subject of my current research—women’s magazines during the occupation period—there really is no better archive than the Prange Collection. The Twentieth-Century Japan Research Award provided a perfect opportunity to begin my new long-term project with this amazing collection.

What motivated you to focus on this research topic?

I have always been fascinated by how families manage illnesses at home using a wide variety of means and methods of care. Women’s roles in domestic healthcare as skilled and knowledgeable caregivers in particular remains an understudied topic in the history of medicine, but publishers of popular print in Japan have long been aware of their crucial role in healthcare. Through my research in regional archives throughout Japan, I came into evermore contact with popular print and women’s magazines from the first half of the twentieth century that gave advice on how to treat ailments at home. My interest was piqued, but when I happened to stumble across women’s magazines from the occupation period, I realized just how much this type of medical information had become a staple of popular print following the Second World War. In the aftermath the war, domestic healthcare took on increasing importance as medical institutional infrastructure had yet to recover its prewar capacity, and the editors and authors of women’s magazines saw an opportunity to market their publications to help fill the larger therapeutic needs of the population. The Prange Collection offers access to the most complete holdings of this type of popular print from the occupation era and was the ideal location to begin my investigation into this topic.

Which material in the Prange Collection left the biggest impression on you?

The Shufu no tomo (The housewife’s friend) magazine has always been one of my favorites, and it was an amazing experience to read through the entire run from 1945-49. To my mind, one of the best things about the Prange Collection’s holdings of this magazine is just how complete it is, especially the mail-order advertisements and supplements to regular issues. One gets the sense of how the publisher experimented to try to reestablish its readership and cater to the needs and interests of its subscribers during the immediate post-war period. Taken all together, viewing the end of the war and daily life during the occupation through the eyes of the magazine’s editorial staff was a powerful experience.

How would you describe the research experience at the University of Maryland Libraries?

I had a wonderful time! The Prange Collection archivists were all so helpful and supportive, and I discovered valuable sources beyond those I initially requested. I was also impressed by the other staff in the Maryland Room—the special collections reading room—who were not necessarily directly related to the Prange Collection but were nonetheless helpful and encouraging. The research talk I gave in the beginning of October also proved a great chance to connect with a broader segment of the UMD College Park community, and I received a great deal of feedback, fruitful questions, and advice on how to proceed with the project.

Do you have any suggestions for fellow researchers using the collection?

The UMD Libraries have a slick interface for requesting materials ahead of time, which is fantastic, but be sure to also email the Prange Collection archivists to introduce yourself, let them know you will be visiting, and briefly explain your research goals. The staff are all incredibly supportive and knowledgeable. While you are visiting, ask if any of the archivists might have time to chat with you about your project—they often know about resources within the collection that might easily be missed during initial searching.

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Featured Exhibit Item of the Month [November]

The Prange Collection exhibit, “Crossing the Divide: An American Dream Made in Occupied Japan, 1945-1952,” will be on display in the Maryland Room Gallery, Hornbake Library North, University of Maryland, through July 2019.  Each month, we will feature one or two items from the exhibit.  For other Featured Exhibit Items of the Month, please visit here

Our second Featured Exhibit Item of the Month is the series of articles published in Sekai Nippo/世界日報 between July 21 and July 30, 1948 about the Exposition of Modern Interior Decoration.  

Re-creations of entire rooms from a typical American house were on display at the exposition. The idea was to view life in America as it was lived, which, according to the article on July 21, “celebrates simplicity, comfort, and beauty.”

Nowhere in the articles was dependents housing explicitly mentioned.  However, according to the editor of the newspaper in an article published on July 23, the purpose of the exposition was to showcase the revival of industrial arts in Japan and the many wonderful items made in Japan for both export purposes, as well as for the Occupation Forces. “We thought that we could learn from the simple, yet beautiful American way of life,” he wrote, “and that we could use that knowledge to chart our future.”

Tens of thousands of people viewed the exposition each day.  It was so popular that its run was extended by five days.

The Imperial Family publicly expressed interest in modern American design and lifestyle.  Princess Taka, one of the daughters of Emperor Hirohito, visited the exposition.  At the time, she was in “bride training,” when a young girl learns how to be a good housewife.  Her “trainer” accompanied her. The Princess was particularly impressed by the modern kitchen. Prince Takamatsu, a younger brother of Emperor Hirohito, and his wife, Princess Takamatsu, also visited the exposition.