Category: Hippies & flower children

The hippie movement creates changes for the world

Post Magazine: “There once was a Guru from Rishnikesh” (Pg 23) By: Lewis Lapham

The New York Times: “Phantoms Will Not Bring Peace” October 1, 1969

The Austin-American Statesmen: “Narcotics Conference Will Meet” (pg 2) May 17, 1969


By Kelsey Daubner

The 1960’s were a pivotal time in United States history. This era produced a new attitude towards life. One in which drugs, peace, and new fashion was on the rise. The counterculture hippies rose in an attempt to prevent war and promote peace. Their care-free, love-all outlook towards life was something the world had never seen before, and completely rebelled against the straight-laced America before. To some this adjustment to these new “people” was a difficult one. The media did not hesitate to report about these counterculture hippies.

 Drug Use

When it comes to researching the hippie era, there was an abundance of material regarding the abuse of drugs. Before this time period, America had not really seen coverage on drug use. In looking through the university archives, there were several reports of drug busts in dormitories on the South West Texas campus. The most reports were about students smoking marijuana and taking LSD. A few articles were written about taking “bennies” to help with studying for exams. The effects of these Bennies were so strong that they were causing students to make stupid mistakes on tests. A writer of the University Star wrote about a federal drug abuse aid visiting the campus. In the article the writer said, “In the case of LSD, the user may find that his pupils are so widely dilated that the user may protect himself against the light with dark glasses, even at night.” I noticed that the coverage on drug use was not dramatic and almost seemed like a normal part of life. A 1968 article in Post Magazine about an Indian guru named Maharishi and his transcendental meditation referred to drug use as a casual, part of life kind of act. An example would be a snippet in the same article from your stereotypical hippie of the generation, Kip Cohen. The article says Cohen was part of the zen thing and experimented with various drugs. He regarded the drug scene as necessary, but an intermediate stage in the expansion of the mind. Also, when browsing through The Austin Statesmen, I found the law trying in many issues to put a stop to the immense drug use. They did this by holding conferences to bring awareness to the damaging effects that people would face after doing drugs. Today we have classes in school for that, but these new products in the sixties were sold with no warnings or previous knowledge behind them. This is why an abundance of conferences were held. One article in particular stood out from the Austin Statesman. This article, “Narcotic Conference Will Meet”, was to promote the crisis conference on Drugs and Narcotics with a handful of speakers. The speakers spoke about the medical aspects, political situation regarding the problem, and the psychology behind taking drugs. I was most surprised to find a small article in the Austin Statesmen about the finding of thousands of people abusing codeine-based cough syrups in which hundreds of cough syrups were being sold by the carton.

 The Anti-War/Peace Movement     

Hippies were known to be peace-makers. There was plenty of material on this subject, and I think that is because there had been so much violence up to the 60’s. A revolution began in the sense that people were more humane and civil than ever before. Post magazine makes a good point in one of their issues when stating that the parents of the hippie generation grew up during a rough time for America, The Depression. Therefore, they know you have to work hard to succeed in order to make it. Their children grow up having the things they want due to their parent’s success and they no longer believe in working hard for money. To them it is not about the best paying job, it’s about doing the right thing. People began accepting others for their differences. A huge part of the peace movement was protesting against the war in Vietnam, but at the same token I was surprised to find that protests and movements were happening all over the world. The fight between races was dissipating slowly. There was an article in the


peace demonstrators

AP Images- Associated Press. Peace demonstrators fill Fulton Street in San Francisco April 15, 1967 during their five-mile march through the city.


University Star following Martin Luther King   Jr.’s death, in which a select group of students were mourning in the quad on a Friday afternoon to bring light to his death. This time there was a still a bad taste in some American’s mouths when it came to the fair treatment of all races, such as some of the professors. As anyone would suspect, Texas had a hard time adjusting to the acceptance of other ethnicities into society. There was also a strong urge for hippies to protest against the Vietnam War, which the media covered quite frequently. An article in the University Star states, “Approximately 12 men and women from the Austin school arrived on motorcycle and in cars around 2 p.m. to find out why the students of SWTexas could not protest the U.S. policy in Viet Nam.” I found an article in the New York Times about an anti-war demonstration in Rockefeller plaza where six women scattered secret service documents across the ground. This demonstration in particular was popular among the press, probably because it was woman and especially because the women ended up standing in front of a judge in court. I read a few articles in the New York Times about foreign countries facing issues mainly about religion, but the peace demonstration were gaining the most press. One of these issues in the same newspaper quoted Albert Einstein during an article about the Arabs wanting a just settlement with the United States. Einstein says, “Peace cannot be achieved by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.” This simple quote really sums up the peace movement during the 1960’s.

The counterculture hippies started transforming their looks. Short bobs transformed into long tresses. Fringe, flower headbands, long dresses, and psychedelic looking clothing became popular. One University Star article was about the invention of the bikini. This look was new to people of this generation and caught on mostly with hippies, who had no shame showing skin. Post magazine makes a short mention that during the Guru’s meditation session the women would come wearing flowers in their hair.


“People wanted to be different and daring. People started wearing loud, vibrant colors.”




AP Images- fashion designer Mary Quant, right, waves as she poses with models wearing her Mod creations Oct. 25, 1968.




Kelsey Daubner is a journalism junior at Texas State University. She can be reached by  email at

New York Times poorly covered historic Woodstock Music Festival

By Joe Teagle

New York Times August 12, 1969 edition
New York Times August 13, 1969 edition
New York Times August 14, 1969 edition
New York Times August 15, 1969 edition
New York Times August 16, 1969 edition
New York Times August 17, 1969 edition
New York Times August 18, 1969 edition

Historic Music Festival poorly covered by New York Times

Woodstock is one of the most memorable and important concerts in U.S. history, although you wouldn’t be able to tell by New York Times’ original coverage.

There was little to no mention of the massive festival in the week leading up to the concert. Most news coverage during the week leading up to Woodstock focused on the Vietnam War, President Richard M. Nixon, and the astronauts returning home from the moon.

The first article I found on Woodstock was in the August 15 edition of the New York Times – the first day of the festival. It mentions that 346 policemen who were contracted to usher the event walked off their jobs. It also mentioned the overcrowding at bus terminals and the enormous lines to get to the concert. Most of the coverage on this day had an aura of unease.

“There was little to no mention of the massive festival
in the week leading up to the concert.”


New York Times fails to grasp significance of Woodstock Music Festival

On August 16, the second day of the concert, the coverage was mostly about jammed roads. Excessive numbers of people led to completely backed up roads for the entire weekend. The number of arrests, and ways to control the crowds were also discussed heavily. The significance of the event still wasn’t understood, and the primary discussion centered on the inconvenience of Woodstock.


New York Times shows up late to massive Woodstock Music Festival

“the young people came in droves, camping in the woods, romping in the mud,
talking, smoking and listening to the wailing music.”

On August 17, Woodstock drew front-page coverage. Again, the music festival was mostly portrayed in a negative light. According to the New York Times, what drove people to the event was “the prospect of drugs and the excitement of making the scene.” A report by the Times described the scene:“the young people came in droves, camping in the woods, romping in the mud, talking, smoking and listening to the wailing music.” The Times also described the unsanitary living conditions during the festival days, the mud-covered teenagers, the badly-manufactured drugs and the lack of food at the event. Youth was portrayed negatively once again on the 17th, with reports describing youths on the road who were “panhandling for narcotics.”

Many attendees left early, so there were several interviews in the the Times on Aug. 17th. One girl remarked “we’re vestiges of our former selves.”

“My husband and I just wanted to see what it was.”

The Times did a good job of showing both sides of the story on Aug. 17, offering both positive and negative aspects of the event. One woman who was quoted remarked, “My husband and I just wanted to see what it was. We thought it would be pretty music and pretty land to camp on. But it’s terrible. I wish we could get out.”

The New York Times should have strived for more evenhanded coverage of this event. It was only on the last day of the event that “the other side of the story” was told. Throughout the event, reporters should have gathered more interviews and investigation. Perhaps interviewing youth in the week leading up to Woodstock, as well as getting negative reactions from policemen and parents would have produced more informative stories.

Click here for a collection of Woodstock movie clips, covering several of the famous musicians.

Swami Satchidananda giving the opening speech. The crowd at Woodstock was massive. Photo credited to Mike Goff.

Swami Satchidananda giving the opening speech. The crowd at Woodstock was massive. Photo credited to Mike Goff.


Swami Satchidananda giving the opening speech. The crowd at Woodstock was massive. Photo credited to Mike Goff

Joe Teagle is a senior at Texas State University. Email him or follow him on Twitter.

Coverage of the hippie movement in the ’60s

Coverage of the hippie movement in the ’60s


The New York Times, Aug. 16, 1969

The New York Times, Aug. 17, 1969

The New York Times, Aug. 18, 1969

By Elizabeth Sanders

The Woodstock Music and Art Festival went down in history as one of the most pivotal events in the hippie movement that occurred in the 1960s. Thirty-two artists performed on a 600 acre dairy farm near Bethel, New York across three days- Aug. 15 to 18 1969. The crowd totalled an estimated 400,000 people in attendance, much larger than anyone could have expected. It marked an era of change with an assemblance of young people bent on progression and change.

Photo credit: AP Images "Woodstock 1969" (for educational use)

Photo credit: AP Images “Woodstock 1969,” for educational use

Details of the festival

One of the most notable events of the hippie movement was the Woodstock musical festival in Bethel, New York from Aug. 15 to 18, 1969. The New York Times began covering the event with a small Page 1 article on Aug. 16, 1969, that jumped to an inside page. The article mainly portrayed the high traffic level in Woodstock and the unexpectedly large turnout. The reporter speculated attendance rose to double the original estimate. Security forces — limited to about 200 police officers — had very little trouble from the crowd, as most attendees remained polite to law enforcement.

The next day, on Aug. 17, a New York Times article, “200,000 Bound for Rock Festival Jam Roads Upstate” documented the size of the crowd: “John Roberts, the 24-year-old president of Woodstock Ventures, the fair’s sponsor, estimated the crowd tonight at 200,000 to 250,000 within the presentation area and upward of 150,000 in the hills, woods and farmlands surrounding the site.” The crowd was so overwhelmingly large that the sponsors had trouble collecting fees from all the attendees, according to Roberts. Logged arrests totalled about 50, mostly for drug possession. However, none were arrested for marijuana. A sergeant in the state police was quoted saying, “’ As far as I know the narcotics guys are not arresting anybody for grass. If we did there isn’t enough space in Sullivan or the next three counties to put them in.’”

Coverage over the next few days was more prominent, with news about Woodstock on the front page, and with larger headlines and pictures. It detailed how the festival turned muddy on the 600-acre farm, and how the crowd remained well-behaved despite being cramped in the space.

Artists included Joan Baez, Ravi Shankar, Jimi Hendrix and the Jefferson Airplane. The article did note that a batch of “bad acid” distributed amongst some attendees did cause some people to seek medical treatment. The article also noted that food was scarce due to the unexpected high attendance.

The last article from Aug. 18, 1969, “Tired Rock Fans Begin Exodus,” related the aftermath as people began to leave the festival: “Waves of weary youngsters streamed away from the Woodstock Music and Art Fair last night and early today as security officials reported at least two deaths, and 4,000 people treated for injuries, illness and adverse drug reactions over the festival’s three-day period.

Articles published from the New York Times about Woodstock and other related links can be found here.

Reactions to drug use

On Aug. 17, 1969, the New York Times also ran a Page 1 article, “Varied drug laws raising U.S. fears,” and placed it next to the Woodstock article, “300,000 at Folk-Rock Fair Camp Out in a Sea of Mud.” The article explained how many states were passing contradictory drug laws in response to the spike in drug use in the U.S. (unless you mean rural areas) The article stated, “Because of this concern, the Justice Department is trying to sell the various states on the idea of a model state drug control act, which would standardize narcotic and drug laws throughout and bring them into closer conformity with Federal laws.”

Elizabeth Sanders is a journalism senior at Texas State University. More information on her can be found at her website: She can be contacted by email at

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