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The Archivist: On hot days, pull down the blinds or cover up

Mary Phillips digs into the archives of The Oklahoman to find interesting treasures such as this stern warning from the summer of 1913, before air conditioning, to cover yourself or pull down the blinds.
By Mary Phillips Staff Writer Published: July 15, 2013

“Windows and porches were filled with sleepers exposed to the early morning light and the gaze of early pedestrians. The warm weather apparently had drawn hundreds to spend the night in the windows and caused them to forget the morrow.

“Of course the hot weather is to blame and Chief Jones, who is not thin, realizes that only in the windows may be felt the cooling, caressing breezes that woo sleep, but he protests that the sight presented by large fat men and women lying in the windows at 8 a.m. is demoralizing. Chief Jones is not anxious to make himself the Anthony Comstock of Oklahoma City, but he declared something must be done.”

Anthony Comstock was the head of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice and to quote Edith Johnson, editorial writer for The Oklahoman, he “had an eye that saw evil where others saw it not.”

Chances are, 100 years ago, most Oklahomans who saw people “lying in their windows” knew they were only trying to keep as cool as possible in the hot days of an Oklahoma summer.

There is no indication that the city passed a “pull down the shades or get up” ordinance, but Chief Jones went on to ban kissing in public school yards, when people were congregating outdoors because of the heat.


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