Special Places

October 31st, 2013

The photo on page 39 of “Special Sense of Place” (September/October) by Raymond P. Rhinehart ’62 showing the field that ran from Thayer Street to University Hall brought back to me the tales of the inter-fraternity baseball games, with a keg of beer on each base, that my father, a member of the class of 1914, told me he had played in a century and more ago. And, of the offer that cousin Charlie Lippitt, always difficult, made him during his freshman year of $100 in gold if he’d walk down the side of College Street reserved in those days for upper classmen. My father regretfully, but very wisely, turned him down.

In those days President Faunce was reputed to know every student by name. Why not? Brown was essentially small and local. “Prexy” must have known most of their families socially. Not so under President Wriston in my day during the 1950s.

Thanks for bringing back these memories.

Thank you also for the Hawkins sword article (“The Case of the Civil War Sword,” Elms, September/October). I have been following this case for years. The sword is a truly magnificent piece of craftsmanship.

Henry L. P. Beckwith ’58
Wickford, R.I.


I enjoyed Raymond P. Rhinehart’s well-composed, evocative study of the development of significant parts of the Brown campus. But several conspicuous omissions are puzzling. Hope College, for example, is mentioned only in passing and is not visible in any of the fine photographs accompanying the article. Yet, built in 1822, it is the second-oldest Brown building. Similarly, the massive Faunce House, which was erected in 1903 and occupies the northern boundary of the College Green, is alluded to only by way of its “Arch.” And the imposing Carrie Clock Tower (1904), which soars from the northwest corner of the Front Green at Prospect and Waterman streets, is ignored.

Troubling, too, is the disappearance of older place names. Rogers Hall, now called the Salomon Center, was once named for William Rogers, Brown’s first student. For a time after the dedication in honor of the Salomons, a small placard in remembrance of him remained on a corner of the building, but before long even that was gone. Lincoln Field, imperially presided over by the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, is newly dubbed Simmons Quad. The older place names are part of the institutional memory of the University, and something is lost when they are absent from daily use.

Paul J. Palmera ’65 AM

As noted in the magazine, the Rhinehart article was an excerpt from his book Brown University: The Campus Guide, and therefore not an exhaustive look at campus buildings. More detail about the buildings Palmera lists can be found in Rhinehart’s book. —Editor

Rhinehart writes that Pembroke 
and Brown merged in 1971. That was not the case. The women’s college, Pembroke College in Brown University, was already a part of Brown, as was the men’s college, known then as “The College.” It was Pembroke College and the College, each already a part of Brown, that merged.

Nancy L. Buc ’65
Washington, D.C.

 Rhinehart’s excellent article opens and closes with a reminder from the College Charter that Brown is concerned with preparing students “for discharging the Offices of Life with usefulness and reputation.” In that regard, I notice that in addition to “Sex Week” in March, we have added a “Nudity in the Upspace” week. I am estimating their contributions to reputation, and usefulness, as approximately equal.

Ray Martin ’78
Ridgefield, Conn.

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Related Issue
November/December 2013