Monday, January 4, 2016

19 Spirited Vintage Photos of Cheerleaders in Action from between the 1930s and 1970s

The majority of early cheerleaders were men—in large part because squads did not begin opening their ranks to women until the 1920s. The gender balance shifted further during World War II, when an increasing number of women filled positions vacated by men who had been drafted to fight in the war. By the 1960s, the sport became dominated by women, as National Football League teams began to organize professional squads.

These interesting vintage photos published by LIFE magazine from the late 1930s until it ceased publication in 1972, give a glimpse into everyday American pastimes...

Male cheerleaders in action at Wisconsin-Marquette football game, 1939. (Alfred Eisenstaedt—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Howard University cheerleader Alfreda Young leading cheer during football game, 1946. (Alfred Eisenstaedt—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Sixty high school cheerleaders with crepe-paper pompons whip up football spirit, 1947. (Ralph Crane—The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

SMU cheerleader leaping high into air at University of Texas football game, 1950. (Loomis Dean—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Cheerleaders at Florida State University, 1952. (Robert W. Kelley—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Duke cheerleaders cheering among the fans in the bleachers, 1952. (Mark Kauffman—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

High school girl cheerleaders wearing sweaters and skirts leaping high in the air during their vigorous cheers at the basketball game, 1953. (Francis Miller—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

The girls of Central Catholic High School performing their cheerleading act in the gym, 1953. (Nat Farbman—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Cheerleaders parading prior to a football game between Queens College and the University of Toronto, 1954. (Lisa Larsen—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Cheering section of cheerleaders in Spokane Coliseum, 1954. (J.R. Eyerman—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Hempstead High School cheerleaders chanting a cheer as they encircle the school's tiger mascot during game with Uniondale High, 1958. (Gordon Parks—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Cheerleaders at Little Rock high school game with Louisiana high school team, 1958. (Stan Wayman—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Students participating in a cheerleading practice, 1958. (Paul Schutzer—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Members of the Kilgore Rangerettes, a dance/drill team, at the 1960 Cotton Bowl. (Robert W. Kelley—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Lawrence High School cheerleaders during football game, 1960. (Francis Miller—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

A group of cheerleaders rooting for their team, 1964. (Larry Burrows—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Cheerleaders training under Bill Horan, of the American Cheerleaders Assn.; Florence Alabama State College, 1965. (Lynn Pelham—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Notre Dame cheerleaders work the crowd during the 1966 "Game of the Century" against Michigan State, 1966. (Bob Gomel—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Cheerleaders cheering for a high school basketball game, 1971. (Grey Villet—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

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