Dinner and Dancing
George Holland’s photographs suggest that Corinthians enjoyed a vibrant social life in the period 1955-1965. Many of the community’s civic organizations and the groups affiliated with International Paper held parties, banquets and dances throughout the calendar year. Some of these were annual events or awards ceremonies, while others were retirement dinners or banquets given in honor of special guests. Holland’s images offer a glimpse into a community whose abundant organizations provided a lattice of social activity throughout the year.
Organizations that were affiliated in some way with International Paper provided many of the social opportunities that Corinthians enjoyed. The EMBA Sports Banquet offered a festive annual event for men and boys, and a separate EMBA bowling banquet recognized the winning EMBA men’s and women’s bowling teams, so husbands and wives attended this event together. The Mill’s TAPPI group (The Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry) organized dinners as well that included the spouses of the Mill’s engineers and technical personnel. The Hudson River Federal Credit Union that was organized by Mill employees also held annual dinners.
The events that occurred under International Paper’s social umbrella demonstrated the commitment of the Hudson River Mill’s management to balancing leisure with work. Fostering social interaction among employees and underwriting much of its cost was a way to build Company loyalty among workers and to create a stronger work culture within the mill. While most of the formal dinners organized directly by the Company tended to include management, engineers, and their visiting professional guests, the remainder of the mill’s workforce had the opportunity to enjoy retirement celebrations, EMBA-sponsored social events, and annual Credit Union dinners. On most of these occasions spouses could join their working husbands or wives for affordable evenings of dinner, drinking and dancing.
Community and church affiliated organizations like the Rotary Club, Knights of Columbus, Corinth Fish and Game Club, the Corinth Fire Department each held banquets during the year. Even the Corinth Central School custodians enjoyed dinners together. Often there were banquets when Hudson River Mill organizations and community groups celebrated an event together. One of the most notable of these was held in honor of O.B. Beyer who retired in 1961 after serving as manager of the Hudson River Mill for twenty-six years. Although many functions were held at restaurants in Glens Falls or Lake Luzerne, the Community Building hosted many social events.
Many people in these photographs were children of the Great Depression and veterans of World War II, and so their sensibilities from an earlier time shaped community life in Corinth in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Social events appear to have been organized primarily for married couples that reflected the premium placed on marriage at the time. Clothing styles are traditional, and dancing tends to be formal. Numerous community events were organized specifically for Corinth youth, although Holland’s photographs suggest that the social world of adults and children remained separate. The exceptions were the EMBA Sport Banquet attended by men and boys, and the annual Credit Union party where children with savings accounts were invited to attend. Some images show that rock n’ roll music and emerging popular tastes had begun to make inroads into the community.
George Holland photographs from 1955-1965 reveal Corinth as a socially engaged industrial community. There were numerous social activities throughout the year, and an abundance of opportunities for both personal relaxation and for forming social bonds with others living within the community.