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Columns

March 3, 2014

Beauty, grooming took center stage in Oneonta in March 1964

Good grooming, beauty and style seemed to be a recurring theme in the news around Oneonta during the month of March 1964.

“‘Beauty U.’ Opens Doors” was a headline seen in The Oneonta Star of Tuesday, March 3 as, “Eleven area women, armed with scissors, combs and other allied equipment, launched themselves on a new career Monday morning in downtown Oneonta.”

“They made up the first class in Edward’s School of Beauty Culture which opened its doors for the first time yesterday in its Main Street ‘campus.’” This was found on the second floor of 205 Main St., over what was then the Woolworth’s store.

Edward Abate and Morris Michaelson opened the school with a six-and-half month course that gave their students 1,000 hours of lectures, demonstrations and practice on beauty culture. Abate was also the sole proprietor of Edward’s Hair Stylist on Chestnut Street.

Graduation from this school gave each student a state-recognized diploma, a temporary license to practice and an appointment to take the State Board examinations required for a permanent license as a beautician.

Abate had been planning the school for nearly a year, receiving his license to open the school on Feb. 27.

After a special welcome by Oneonta Mayor Albert S. Nader at 9 a.m., the students “donned white uniforms, picked out kits containing combs and brushes, etc. and were each assigned a dummy head complete with real hair.”

A full-page newspaper advertisement on March 2 described all the courses a student would take. Classes were available Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and night classes on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 7 to 10 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The school lasted only a few years, as a city directory from 1974 showed that it no longer existed.

Looking their absolute best was key to young women who were entering the annual Miss Oneonta Pageant, as the deadline was fast approaching for the Oneonta Jaycee-sponsored contest, Saturday, March 7.

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