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David Kennedy

In an address at the Law School Auditorium on February 2, Stanford historian David Kennedy ’68PhD recounted the strategic decisions that won the war for the United States. By slowing down war mobilization in the midst of the conflict in order to protect the economy, he said, the U.S. ended the war “at the summit of the world.” Kennedy won the Pulitzer Prize last year for his book Freedom from Fear. His talk was part of the Graduate School’s “In the Company of Scholars” Tercentennial lecture series.


Acclaimed writer Edwidge Danticat visited the Beinecke Library on February 7 to read from her most recent work, The Farming of Bones. Danticat said that some people have expressed anger over her representation of Haitians and her dealing with subjects that are taboo in the West Indies. “Many people treated my first book, Breath, Eyes, Memory, as anthropology instead of as fiction,” said Danticat. The experience led her to think more about what to tell and what not to tell. “If you do tell,” she said, “you have to prepare yourself for the consequences.”


Cesar Pelli has designed the tallest buildings in the world (the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), but his latest work for Yale will be a bit more down to earth. The architect and former dean of the School of Architecture has been commissioned to design the new engineering building at the corner of Prospect and Trumbull streets. Pelli’s previous works at Yale include the Boyer Center for Molecular Medicine, the Yale University Press building, and the Lanman Center at Payne Whitney Gymnasium.


Among the panelists at a film studies conference on “The Theater of Irish Cinema” on February 2 was Stephen Rea, the Irish actor best known for his Oscar-nominated performance in The Crying Game. Rea discussed his low-key approach to acting and his unwillingness to soften his Irish brogue to get more commercial roles. “I’m a stubborn Belfast git,” said Rea. “I want to do something where I feel comfortable. I don’t want to pretend to be someone else.”


The new director of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library should feel right at home when she takes office this summer. Barbara Shailor, the dean of Douglass College at Rutgers University, has spent several summers and two sabbatical leaves at the Beinecke working on a three-volume catalogue of the library’s medieval and Renaissance manuscripts. Shailor, who is a specialist in Latin manuscripts, is also a native of New Haven and a graduate of Hamden High School. At the Beinecke, she succeeds Ralph Franklin, who retired last year after 18 years as director.


It couldn’t hurt for a residential college master to know something about Paradise (lost or not), and Milton scholar John Rogers ’84, ’89PhD, surely fits the bill. Rogers, an associate professor of English, will succeed Harry Stout as master of Berkeley College this fall. Roger’s wife, Cornelia Pearsall ’84, ’91PhD, an assistant professor of English at Smith College, will be Berkeley’s associate master.


Close-Up: Sandra Boynton



Sandra Boynton ’74 remembers her penchant for brevity posing a problem when she was at Yale. “Whenever I was assigned a five-page paper,” she says, “I always said what I wanted to say in three paragraphs.” But while still a student Boynton found her ideal medium in the greeting card, building a career on the strength of a menagerie of nameless cats, pigs, and hippos who offered warm, wry observations on the human condition—or just plain silliness, as in the famous “hippo birdie two ewes” birthday card. Boynton made a rare public appearance on January 29 and 30 as the first Eustace D. Theodore ’63 Fellow.

Boynton lives in Litchfield County with her husband, Jamie McEwan ’75, and four children, including a daughter who is a sophomore at Yale. Calling her talk “The Curious Misuse of a Yale Education,” Boynton talked about her work not just in greeting cards (which she stopped making four years ago even as sales reached 80 million cards a year) but also books, songs, and theater. A group of Glee Club alumni under the direction of Fenno Heath performed selections from Grunt, a 1996 Boynton project featuring Gregorian chant in pig latin.

Boynton also spent a year and a half at the School of Drama, and she says that theater and cartooning aren’t all that different. About an illustrated book she is working on now called Consider Love, she says “It’s very much like directing a play, in that gesture has to stand for a lot. I was just working on a sequence with a rooster and a chicken, and while it sounds funny when I step back and get some perspective, it’s hard work figuring out what the expression on that chicken should be.”  the end


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