In Every Issue
STACKS OF MEMORIES
“Ex Libris” (Go Ask Alumni, Summer 2011) got me reminiscing about the several years in the 1930s when I worked in Harper stacks. Several items came back to me that I haven’t thought about for years.
1. My job, NYA (National Youth Administration, if you remember that), involved collating collections of old newspapers and magazines. One of the publications was the Times of London, in which the classified ads were printed on the front page and the next few pages, as needed. One ad, which appeared in an issue dated about 1910, read (as nearly as I can recall): “Undergraduate Oxford scholar wishes to be adopted by wealthy family.”
2. Assigned desks were available for graduate students who wished to do their studying there. We assumed these students were trustworthy and did not check their briefcases coming or going. However, over time quite a few books disappeared from the shelves. Frederick McCluskey, the stacks manager, summed up the situation: “We operate on the honor system. We have the honor. The students have the system.”
3. I unearthed a dozen or so Chinese phonograph records that had been left there by a Chinese student long gone. Some of them sounded to me like the bombing of Shanghai, but a Chinese student/friend who listened to them smiled beatifically and told me that they were popular love songs in China. I still have those records—some 80 years later.
—Seymour Meyerson, SB’38
IS YOUR FIGURE LESS THAN GREEK?
I enjoyed the article on the Mr. U. pageant (“Camp and Circumstance,” Summer 2011). However, permit me one tiny little nitpick. It would have been an interfraternity slugfest, not intrafraternity. It would have been between (inter) the Phi Gams and the Phi Delts, not within (intra) one of the fraternities. Elsewhere in the world nobody would notice, but this is the U of C, where pedants blossom and “fun goes to die.”
—Richard Theriault, PhB’48
I suppose you try to cover all bets but honestly—highlighting Miss U. of Chicago (“First Among Equals,” Summer 2011), no matter what or who, doesn’t sound like the university I graduated from in 1947. The only basis for argument at that time was whether you were a Platonist or an Aristotelian.
—Charlotte Glauser, PhB’47, SB’47
MORE TRUTH AND BEAUTY
Ah yes, I remember the days of campus beauty pageants. We black students knew they weren’t for us, but, being softhearted, I attended one after being told a nice co-ed was desperate for a date. The evening was a fiasco, and I’m still embarrassed when I recall the looks I got when I did a ghetto jig on the dance floor. African Americans weren’t the only students dismayed by the pageants. Many white students saw them as another attempt, along with bringing back big-time football, to make the U of C like every other college. We didn’t want to be “normal”; its difference was the reason we chose Chicago.
—Hosea L. Martin, AB’60
The lovely image of Janice Porter on the cover of the Core brought back memories of my days at Chicago and of meeting Ms. Porter several times. I enjoyed the article on the history of beauty pageants (“Beauty, Briefly”) and appreciated your mention of Ruth McCarn. Please note that the spelling is “McCarn” and not “McCairn.” Dean McCarn was an inspirational administrator and I remained in contact with her until her death some years ago. It’s also possible her middle initial was “O” and not “C,” but I don’t have the certainty about this that I have about the spelling of McCarn.
—David S. Gochman, AB’56, AB’57
The writer is correct on both counts. We regret the errors.—Ed.
Thanks for a wonderful issue of the alumni magazine, particularly the article on Benedict Ashley which appears in the supplement. Father Ashley’s life includes the most highly valued accomplishments one can imagine from one who was lucky enough to be a student in the Hutchins College.
—Cary H. Webb, AB’65