I always thought “togetherness” was an ordinary English word, but it turns out it was invented in 1954 by McCall’s magazine as part of a publicity campaign to encourage families to do things, well, together.

“…this new and warmer way of life not as women alone or men alone, isolated from one another, but as a family sharing a common experience… Had Ed been a father twenty-five years ago, he would have had little time to play and work along with his children. Husbands and fathers were respected then, but they weren’t friends and companions to their family. Today the chores as well as the companionship make Ed part of his family. He and Carol have centered their lives almost completely around their children and their home.”

Time Magazine reports on the end of togetherness, 1959, here. Did you know Time’s entire archive was available free online?

Update (27 Jun) John Cowan points out in comments that in fact togetherness was a well-established English word before the McCall’s campaign. Maybe I should start looking stuff up before I post! I do get the impression from the contemporary sources that in the mid-50s the word was very strongly associated with the campaign; but maybe it should be seen as roughly analogous to the present position of the word “abstinence,” which has a dictionary meaning but which at the moment is closely attached to a specific political initiative.

One thought on “Togetherness

  1. John Cowan says:

    Alas, this is the merest horse@#$*. The OED records “togetherness” in the sense “the state or condition of being together or being united; union, association” in quotations from 1656 on, and the sense “the fact of getting on well together or being well suited to one another; a sense of belonging together, fellowship” from a 1930 article by D.H. Lawrence. Both senses were firmly established in the language by 1954.

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