|J/A Mail Room|
A Beacon of Clarity
And now Lucy is composing and playing music, with a creatively integrated theme of climate change, no less?!? Please let us know where in town you’ll be performing this summer, Lucy—we’ll be there with bells on!
Gerry O’Connor ’78
After a press event with Ms. Jones holding forth and holding her young child, she was dubbed “Seismom.”
Andrew Gabriel ’76
Tributes to Donald Rohr
But the highlight of the trip was an afternoon spent with Professor Emeritus of History Donald G. Rohr on the front porch of his longtime home on the East Side (Obituaries, May/June). He was ninety-three at the time, and, despite his physical frailty, his mind was very sharp. He had chilled champagne in a silver ice bucket, so we sipped this and ate cookies on a silver tray while discussing life, Brown, educational philosophy, and world affairs. It was a simply delightful visit.
Professor Rohr was always very kind and helpful to me. From him, I heard my first college history lecture in Pembroke’s Alumnae Hall, and four years later he personally awarded me my history degree in St. Stephen’s Church. Along the way, he helped me work out transfer credits from the University of North Carolina, and he always came to our faculty receptions at Diman House. Over my faculty career at UNC, he influenced the way I taught in class and how I interacted with students outside it. We were saddened to note his passing.
Professor Rohr was an extraordinary man who will be missed by all who were fortunate enough to have known him. His was a life well lived.
Donald M. Stanford Jr. ’73
I was saddened to read of Professor Rohr’s passing, coincidentally on my seventy-third birthday. His legacy includes stimulating a deep and abiding interest in history in me and, I am sure, in many others who were privileged to have studied in one of his classes.
David Prescott ’64
I had the opportunity to take Dr. Rohr’s course in European History when I was an undergraduate in 1962. The lectures were marvelously informative, and Dr. Rohr also had a very delightfully dry sense of humor. In addition, he was very supportive of me (as well as many other students) as a freshman from a Midwestern suburban high school becoming exposed to an Ivy League school. He was certainly a tremendous asset to the Brown faculty. I am sure you must miss him very much.
Stephen Jensik ’66
More on Science and Art
Until late in the nineteenth century, the world investigated and explained in science and the world depicted or evoked in art was the world available to everyone, at least with a little effort. Newton and Darwin could be read and understood by most educated people, and the work of Dickens, Balzac, Keats, and Whitman seemed to be about that same world, although in different ways.
But in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, both science and art have been addressing worlds unavailable to the ordinary educated person, and they have diverged in radically different ways. Science has become increasingly dependent on advanced mathematics and on observations quite distant from the experience of the non-scientist: quanta, genomes, objects light years away. The arts, on the other hand, have increasingly dealt with the immediate and often wholly subjective experience of the creator, which becomes available only to the extent that one can share that point of view or experience: Cubism, Abstract Expressionism, Joyce, postmodernism, etc.
I don’t suggest that there is anything wrong or inappropriate about these developments; only that they present a problem for the popular understanding and for seeing the connections between art and science.
James Smith ’56 AM, ’60 PhD
Professor Leon Cooper seeks accommodation between science and art. Why? Is society suffering? Is there a need for rapprochement? Are scientists so dissatisfied with their own lot that they need to subsume art as well? The lead-in line to the article states that “the work of artists and scientists is more alike than you might think.” Well, no, it is not. Art is freedom. It has little interest in the rigor that science prizes. Art sets out to excite and delight. It improvises freely. It dares to create exhilaration and sometimes moves people to tears. Science doesn’t even try for such human connections. Science courts logical continuity. Only on the rarest occasions is science seized by inspiration. Art and science are not antipodal. They are simply culturally different.
Herbert A. Mehlhorn ’56 PhD
Thomas Colthurst ’92
Joseph C. Diepenbrock ’76
Art and Information
Peter Mackie ’59
In short, it seems that the author of this piece should have spent a bit more time talking, or rather listening, to Makki so that this article, in which the Muslim in question speaks against making caricatures, would not itself have turned into a caricature of how not to write about a minority group.
Tracy M. Lemos ’00
Brown and the Military
John C. Stevens ’63
President Paxson’s statement on ROTC was misleading, to say the least. I had a long dialogue with former President Simmons on this issue, but could not seem to convince her that ROTC off-campus is not the same as on-campus. It is a significant deterrent to prospective ROTC members, which is probably exactly what is intended. Either that or Brown thinks it needs to shelter its other students from the horror of seeing students in uniform. Or both.
Why is it that Brown alone, since 1969, has not been able to see the value of affording its well-educated and enlightened students an opportunity to engage and be a part of our military on campus? Interestingly, when I put this to students in an article in the Brown Daily Herald many years ago, I received several nice e-mails wondering why the administration continues to ban ROTC.
When I was at Brown, I enrolled in the Navy ROTC two-year program, mainly to avoid the draft. It was a watershed decision for me, and was absolutely responsible for the successes I had during five years in the navy and in my personal and business life ever since.
Brian Barbata ’68
More on the Aldrich Brothers
The clever Marvel had dropped off gloves and a ball at the home of the reluctant, inseparable brothers, who at first refused to have any attention drawn to them on Aldrich Field on dedication day. Aldrich Baseball Field was situated on the larger fifteen-acre tract that was also called Aldrich Field.
Aldrich Field is no longer, and the Aldrich name all but disappeared with the 1988 name change from Aldrich-Dexter Field to Erickson Athletic Complex. The brothers are still memorialized through the four large Aldrich Field clocks from Marvel Gym that now sit atop the Nelson Fitness Center. The brothers have come full circle, since directly across Hope Street is Pembroke Field, once the site of their estate.
Peter Mackie ’59
Ted Widmer replies: All the details relating to Sullivan Ballou’s death, and the complicated events that followed it, are available in a book-length study by Robin Young, For Love & Liberty: The Untold Civil War Story of Major Sullivan Ballou and his Famous Love Letter, issued in 2006 by Thunder’s Mouth Press. The story is also told in a history journal: see Evan C. Jones, “The Macabre Fate of an American Civil War Major,” America’s Civil War (November 2004).
Women at Brown
I was disappointed, however, that the article omitted all mention of the role of the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women in bringing the case back to public consciousness. The Center mounted an extensive exhibit on the case and sponsored the two-day conference described in the story.
Since its founding in 1981, the Pembroke Center has been dedicated to teaching and research on women and to preserving the history of women at Brown—women like Louise Lamphere. Without the Pembroke Center, I doubt that Brown’s 250th anniversary would have included any mention of Lamphere’s historic fight to give women an equal shot at a place on the Brown faculty. We still need institutions like the Pembroke Center, and let’s not forget the important work it does.
Jean Howard ’70