From The Publisher
Dear Princeton Magazine Readers,
Welcome to the latest edition of your Princeton Magazine.
As each issue comes out, people stop me in the street and the usual comment is, “That was the best issue yet!” This time I think our team of writers, editors, graphic artists, and even the marketers, who found such wonderful advertisers, have outdone themselves and I am proud to bring you this “best issue yet!”
It is all about Princeton and its diversity — of race, of culture, of talent, of entrepreneurship, and of interests. It also shows how important women are in the endeavors coming out of Princeton, from landscape architecture, to music, to public policy, to philanthropy, and even to writing in the wonderful style of this magazine.
We start with the cover story and “the best old place of all,” as its alumni sing, and its amazingly thoughtful leader, Chris Eisgruber, who took the time to answer questions from our Wendy Greenberg. In doing so, President Eisgruber laid out his admission strategy for first-generation, low-income students. He talked about Princeton being the “best” because everybody loves it — the students, the faculty, the alumni, the parents, and even the town’s people where it is located: Princeton!
Though some of our citizens complain from time to time, you have to admit that the town of Princeton is the special and “best” place that it is because of the University.
I often think about what this town would be like if there were a corporation rather than an educational institution across Nassau Street. Their buildings would have been depreciated, or their 20-year lease was up, or their taxes had become too high, or they were bought by another company (like RCA was bought by GE), or they got a great offer from another town or even another state, so they left. What would that do to our town? I find comfort in the fact that Princeton, the University, has been here for 275 years and it isn’t going away, and that makes the town of Princeton truly “the best old place of all!”
That is why Michelle Djokic hangs her hat near here at her chamber music retreat in New Hope, Pa., while searching the world for century old musical “gems” that have rarely been performed. According to our writer, Lori Goldstein, Ms. Djokic does this to bring new musical language into the community experience. She does the same in searching out talent for her Concordia Chamber Players, who will perform their Chamberfest 2022 in a historic Bucks County barn on the farm of Doug and Wendy Kale in Solebury, Pa., and their Winterfest Concert and Concordia Gala at Cradle Valley Farm in New Hope.
Adela Raz came to Princeton having left Afghanistan, where she was born and raised in Kabul. Writer Ilene Dube tells us how Adela is following her passion of “Amplifying Women’s Voices” as director of the Afghanistan Policy Lab at Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs. Her stories of the changes to women’s lives under Taliban rule are frightening.
How many of you have heard of the Howell Living History Farm or have actually been there? If you haven’t, writer Anne Levin is here to tell you about it in her story, “Fall on the Farm —The Old-Fashioned Way.”
Inez Howell donated the farm in memory of her husband and it is a teaching venue about the history of farming in our region, but it is also about having fun, especially with their amazing cornfield maze. The maze, which is done in a different theme every year, raises funds to continually enhance the farm’s programs. It runs on weekends from September through early November, so take the kids out there and do the maze — but don’t lose them!
Anne also gives you pointers to other farms in the area that have wonderful activities for the family.
From history of the farm we go to history of the public schools in Princeton, and what a fascinating history it has been, as Laurie Pellichero writes about a new digital tour that can be found on the Historical Society of Princeton’s website. “Princeton’s Public Schools: A History” features stories of 21 schools, starting in the 1830s when a former slave, Betsey Stockton, started the first official school after she had been privately teaching children in Princeton.
That school later became the Witherspoon Street School for Colored Children at the corner of Witherspoon and MacLean streets in a building that I will be restoring next year to its handsome original architecture. Fifteen years ago I restored the second School for Colored Children on Quarry Street, which was the first school in New Jersey and one of the first in the nation to be integrated under what was known as the Princeton Plan. Based on its history, I was able to get the school listed on the National Historic Register and we named it after Dr. Waxwood, who was the school’s principal at the time of the integration, and a major force in helping to make it happen peacefully.
From farming, we move into more decorative horticulture with Taylor Smith’s terrific presentation of four of the area’s leading landscape designers and installers. We start with the design work of Ronni Hock and move on to Bruce Gangawer’s Paxton Hill Farm, which started in the late 1600s in New Hope, Pa.; Rutgers Landscape Architecture Program Director Holly Grace Nelson in New Brunswick; and Brian Knisely, founder of Cedar Creek Landscapes – all terrific artists. All of this was beautifully photographed by our Art Director, Jeff Tryon, who also does the graphic design for your magazine.
With so much interest in landscape and landscape architecture, Stuart Mitchner has put together an outstanding collection of books on the subjects through which you must browse for your next garden project.
I am sure that none of Stuart’s selected books will have cartoons in them, probably because Patrick McDonnell hasn’t gotten there yet. In his article, “Heart to Heart,” writer Donald Sanborn III, through the assistance of Karen O’Connell, was able to connect “voice to voice” with Patrick, the creator of the cartoon strip MUTTS. What you will learn is that, because of his belief that cartoons can deliver a message more effectively than just words, Patrick has worked on other pet projects in collaboration with such individuals as the Dalai Lama, Jane Goodall, and Eckhart Tolle. He also teases you into wanting to hear about his next endeavor within an operating philosophy of only working with “people who are changing the world for the better.”
In closing, I want to get back to “the best old place of all,” our Princeton, where the Princeton municipal engineers are also changing the world for the better. That has led to changed traffic patterns, closed streets, cone-blocked parking spaces, and thus, reduced traffic into our wonderful Princeton downtown retailers. Don’t be discouraged by the circumstances. There is lots of parking on the streets that are open and you will find outstanding deals in all of the retailers — just ask! Our advertisers need you!
Editor-in-Chief Lynn Adams Smith and I so hope you enjoy this issue and the fall.
J. Robert Hillier, LhD, FAIA