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From the Publisher, Summer 2024

Dear Readers,

Welcome to your Summer issue of Princeton Magazine.

Normally, this letter would come from Editor-in-Chief Lynn Adams Smith, but given my long life in Princeton, Lynn thought that I would be a better person to review this issue of the magazine with you. Rather than the usual summary of what you can expect to read in the pages that follow, I thought I would write this letter as a more personal recollection of experiences related to the stories in this issue.

With “The Saga of Jasna Polana,” I had a very good friend, Carl Abrams, who was the electrical contractor on the project. Carl was very proud of the electrical control room in the basement of Jasna Polana and he wanted me to see it. So, he invited me to lunch and a tour of his workmanship. We drove into the courtyard of the mansion, parked, and as we were walking toward the house we saw a furniture truck with workmen unloading a spectacularly beautiful dining set of a table and 12 very elegant chairs.

I saw Carl’s electrical control room, was suitably impressed, and then we spent an hour walking through the house. As we were returning to the car, we saw the men loading that beautiful dining set back into the truck. I asked, “How come?” and the driver of the truck said Mrs. Johnson told him, “Get that crap out of here and fast! I don’t like it!” I won’t repeat the other four-letter words that he said had come with that instruction!

In “Forward Thinking Innovators from New Jersey,” you’ll see that I provided a lot of the material and am quoted in the article. What I would like to add in this letter is that my father was an amazing artist and, working with pastels, everything he drew was a very accurate rendition, including a portrait of my mother that now hangs in the gallery named for her at the West Windsor Arts Center.

Cookbook author Mary Abitanto has written “Turning Toward a Healthier Lifestyle Through Mindful Nutrition,” which includes some terrific recipes. During last month’s Reunions Weekend, as President of the Princeton Class of 1959, celebrating its 65th reunion, University President Chris Eisgruber presented me with a book, How We Age: The Science of Longevity, by Coleen T. Murphy. It’s all about how to live longer, perhaps to 100!

In “Grazing Through the History of Central New Jersey Dairy Farms,” you will learn about Walker-Gordon Farm and its modern concept of producing milk that was healthy and safe through an assembly line approach, which ended with an amazing machine known as the Rotolactor.

What the story doesn’t tell you, but I will, is that the Rotolactor was where undergraduates, including yours truly, took their dates at 2 a.m. after every bar and restaurant in Princeton had closed. After all, women were not allowed in the Princeton dorms after 7 p.m. and, if you got caught breaking that rule, you were promptly expelled. So why not spend the rest of the night watching cows getting milked!

Dairy farms may be part of our history, but “3D Printing: At the Digital Forefront of Creative and Technological Design” is definitely part of our future. As architects we used to build models out of cardboard, and more permanent models for marketing or historic displays were made with basswood. The job was usually assigned to summer interns or graduates just out of school. Today’s graduates are so digitally savvy that computers build the models for them.

A few years back my office had a huge pre-Christmas presentation of both boards with drawings and a model. On a Saturday I was Christmas shopping at a mall and saw two kids and the young designer to whom I had entrusted the entire presentation. I asked, “What are you doing here? Who’s working on our presentation?” His response was, “I’ve got four computers doing the renderings, and the 3D printer will have the model done by 2 a.m. tonight!”

I don’t have any stories about Rex Goreleigh except that he was very approachable by all students. One day, on a bike ride, I dropped into a really cool abandoned industrial shop on the D&R Canal in Griggstown. It was Goreleigh’s studio at the time. He could not have been more cordial, and it was there that I learned that he knew how to accurately imitate every possible painting style.

Stuart Mitchner’s Book Scene about oceans is truly amazing, and you can spend all summer reading on the beach with what Stuart has reported and recommended.

My only personal connection with that topic was my MFA thesis at Princeton on the design of a National Oceanographic Center for Woods Hole, Mass. It was a design based on educating the public through entertainment. The AIA chose it as the Best Thesis in the country and it was displayed in Washington, D.C., for the summer of 1961.

In closing, you must visit Lynn Adams Smith’s “A Well-Designed Life” pages. On page 78 you will see a beautiful woven chandelier. Please then go to the Table of Contents on page 6 and see how our Art Director, Jeff Tryon, has linked that chandelier with the sweater worn by Barbara Johnson. That is why he is our Art Director!

Please forgive the very personal aspects of this letter and get into enjoying reading the articles themselves. That’s what Lynn and I really hope you will do. Enjoy our writers’ efforts along with your summer.

Respectfully yours,

J. Robert Hillier, Lh.D., FAIA

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