The VW Owners are Ganging Up on Us

September 21, 2011 at 4:35 pm 1 comment

The photo as it appeared on page 53 of the Sept./Oct issue.

“I loved the photo of the smiling co-ed from ‘move-in day 1962.’ Then I took a look at the VW Bug in the background. I had a ’63 Bug when I was at Penn State; it was 10 years old at the time. But it didn’t have that type of front bumper, nor did it have the high-back seats. Those appeared in the late ’60s, 1968 more than likely.”  —Joan Fulton Cass ’75

The above letter is just one of ten (at last count) that we’ve received regarding the “time-traveling” VW Bug on page 53 of our Sept./Oct. issue.

Jessie Knuth, our graphic designer, and I had discovered the photo in the University archives last spring. Not only did it make us laugh (what’s up with the giant dog?), but it was one of few photos with a date handwritten on the back: 1962. I hadn’t noticed the Volkswagen, which many of you pinned as a ’68 model, and didn’t question the date’s accuracy. Truth be told, though, I’m no car buff and probably wouldn’t have noticed a 2012 Maserati in the background—my eyes were fixed on the giant shaggy dog. Oops.

An image in the May/June issue produced a similar response. When two men in a 1928 photo from the Archives were labeled as “Penn State thespians,” we heard from more than two dozen readers who knew that the suit-wearing gentleman was no thespian, but famous 1920s bandleader Paul Whiteman. Oops again.

On the bright side, mistakes like these generate tons of feedback—which lets us know people are reading and care enough to speak up. And we like that. Really!

So, if you see any out-of-place Volkswagens, misidentified jazz legends, or anything else you’d like to comment on in the magazine, email us at

Mary Murphy, associate editor

Entry filed under: The Penn Stater Magazine. Tags: , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Photographic Memories « The Penn Stater Magazine  |  May 16, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    […] magazine has sparked a memory for them. And because some of these photos are perplexing (remember this one?), it’s even cooler when a reader can explain just what’s going on in the […]

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