From the Publisher
Dear Princeton Magazine Readers,
Late in January there was a “meet and greet” event to launch the new “Experience Princeton” program with the tagline, “Discoveries Around Every Corner.” One of the attendees came up to me and mentioned how much he enjoyed my Publisher’s Letter, saying that he read the letter before he explored the rest of the magazine.
As much as I enjoyed the compliment, being the overachiever that I am accused of being, I found myself challenged on how to make the reading of your magazine even more enjoyable with this issue. I can start by the telling you that you will definitely “Experience Princeton” with new discoveries about this great town in every single article. They range from the arts, writing, and education to history, science, immigration, climate change, and even sports with our article about fencing, which is also considered an art!
Adam Welch, who graces our cover, is the dynamic director of the Arts Council of Princeton, located at 102 Witherspoon Street. But, if Adam has his way, the Arts Council will soon touch every corner of our town. His middle name should be Energy, and before you even read Anne Levin’s article, make it a point to drop in to the Arts Council at the corner diagonally across from the Princeton Public Library and see the stunning exhibits gracing the walls of its galleries. Never been there before? Well, make that your first new discovery!
Also in the area of new discovery, Donald H. Sanborn lll brings you “A Groundbreaking Program” between Princeton University and five historically Black colleges and universities to enable research collaborations funded through the Princeton Alliance for Collaborative Research and Innovation. Early research projects that are already underway include coastal flooding in the mid-Atlantic region, how poverty-stricken people in Mississippi are surviving on their Social Security, and whether asthma education programs in the District of Columbia are improving child health. This article illustrates how Princeton University is reaching out beyond its own borders to help other institutions engage their faculties in making new discoveries.
While today we may see Princeton as one of the top universities in the world, Wendy Greenberg takes us back 240 years to when Princeton was an obscure institution in a tiny town in New Jersey that suddenly became the capital of America. You will be amazed by the engravings that grace Wendy’s article and also amused by how, due to copyright law, the engravers get the same credit notice that we have to give photographers today.
Fintan O’Toole is the Leonard L. Milberg ’53 visiting lecturer in Irish Letters at Princeton University and a prolific writer of nonfiction as a literary and drama critic, historical writer, and political commentator. Ilene Dube also reports in this story that he has written over two dozen books and is considered one of Ireland’s leading intellectuals. In reading the draft, I was fascinated to learn about the recent history of this very small country through O’Toole’s recounting of the poor conditions on all fronts during his childhood.Just as O’Toole has written about the famous Irish novelist James Joyce, you will be fascinated by our own Stuart Mitchner’s writing about a different Joyce, as in Joyce Carol Oates, as he reviews her life between Alice, as in Wonderland, and Marilyn, as in Monroe. Stuart writes about her book, Blonde, of 20 years ago that was recently adapted by Netflix. He points out that a review of the book notes that what was once read as “sensationalizing the story of Monroe,” should now be seen ”as a passionate and prophetic defense.” I came away wanting to read the book and see the Netflix adaptation. In the article, you will be stunned by the beautiful photo of a young Joyce Carol Oates included in the layout.
Most of us won’t be around to measure the positive impact of the “global exchange” that Taylor Smith writes about in her description of the long-term benefits of teaching children a second or even third language at a very young age. Fortunately, as outlined in her article, world language learning opportunities are offered at many Princeton private schools, besides those available at the Princeton Public Schools. The Princeton Public Library even has children’s story times in everything from Russian to Spanish, along with a Chinese Book Group.
After sitting around doing all of this wonderful reading, are you ready for some exercise? Fencing, anyone? Did you say fencing, where ballet dancers become warriors? That may be overstating the situation, but there is no question that fencing as a sport is growing in popularity, not only in colleges but also in secondary schools and even in the adult club world. You will enjoy reading about Paul Epply-Schmidt, a lifetime fencer, who tells our writer Justin Feil (that’s not foil!) about the benefits of the sport and where in Princeton you can learn it, practice, and compete. En garde!
Finally, at the end of this letter, a story about the beginning of life — through in vitro fertilization, better known as IVF. Taylor Smith brings us up to date on the advances in the science of the process along with the advances in the demand for it for reasons that I will leave for you to find out in the article.
On a personal note, my wife Barbara and I worked for nine years trying to get pregnant, including several years of IVF. I recall one excited call I got from our doctor saying it was working and he had “a basketball team” in the petri dish. The next morning I called him and he said that the five possibilities were down to “a golfer.” By the end of the day it was over; another of our countless failures.
We finally decided to give it up, stopped all of the medicines that came with the process, and were resigned to being childless. To cheer Barbara up, I took her to Paris for a week. We did not know it at the time, but we came home pregnant with our Jordan, now 30 years old. The motto: Never give up!
Our Editor-in-Chief Lynn Adams Smith and I, along with our team, hope you enjoy this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together for you.
All best wishes,