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Every Vintage Gift Has A Story


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CONTENTS

66

72

28

HOLIDAY 2017

48

14

38

Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009), Easter Sunday Study (#2187), 1975, watercolor on paper, 19 x 30”. The Andrew and Betsy Wyeth collection. © 2017 Andrew Wyeth/Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.

..... FEATURES .....

..... HERE & THERE .....

PAINTING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND

EVERY VINTAGE GIFT HAS A STORY

BY ILENE DUBE

BY LYNN ADAMS SMITH 22

The Brandywine River Museum of Art 14

PRINCETON PANTRY TO BE JEWISH IN PRINCETON

33

BY ANNE LEVIN

A look back

BOOK SCENE BY STUART MITCHNER

28

Holiday Servings Chez Alice

UNDERSTANDING IRAN

34

BY DONALD GILPIN

Princeton University pursues a long-standing relationship

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

38

Little Explorer

THE CHILDREN OF MCCARTER THEATRE’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL

Creative Joy

56 58

BY DONALD H. SANBORN III

Young Ensemble actors make unique contributions to the cast

HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS BY LAU RIE PELLI CHER O

48

62

NAVIDAD NATIVITIES BY WENDY GREENBERG

Bucks County company mines the “true meaning” of Christmas with one-of-a-kind works 72

ON THE COVER: Vintage gifts from H1912, Princeton. Photography by Jeffrey E. Tryon.

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PRINCETON MAGAZINE HOLIDAY 2017

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HOW TO KEEP PETS HEALTHY DURING THE HOLIDAYS BY TAYLOR SMITH 66


PRINCETON MAGAZINE

PRINCETON MAGAZINE

| FROM THE EDITOR

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017

Welcome to the Holiday issue of Princeton Magazine.

APRIL 2017 HOME & DESIGN

HAPPY CENTENNIAL, ELLA FITZGERALD THE IMMIGRATION ACT OF 1917 ARTIST, LOUISE INGALLS STURGES

LIT FROM WITHIN

DESTINATION MONTCLAIR

Jane Cox, Director of Princeton University Program in Theater

AMPED FOR CAMP

BARBARA AND TOM BYRNE

PRIVATE SCHOOL TRADITIONS

Navigating the sometimes troubled, always exciting waters of family, finance and politics

URBAN AGENDA PHOTO CONTEST

SEBASTIAN CLARKE is the Affable Auctioneer. The best part of his job isn’t the glitz and glamour PRINCETON IN AFRICA PROGRAM

Beatrix Farrand

Develops young leaders committed to Africa’s advancement

Force of Nature

AMPED FOR CAMP

Find rollercoasters, horses, and s’more fun at summer camp

THE FASHIONABLE BRIDE Gear up for wedding season

AUDIBLE FOUNDER & CEO

DONALD KATZ

2017 PM_CVR Feb2017FINAL.indd 1

2/21/17 1:36:27 PM

AUDIBLE FOUNDER & CEO

DONALD KATZ

PM_CVR April2017.indd 1

PRINCETON MAGAZINE

PRINCETON MAGAZINE

SPRING 2017 REUNIONS ISSUE

PETER SINGER ON ETHICAL POLITICS PRINCETON’S STATELY MANSIONS THE BLESSINGS OF HOME DESIGN MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PRINCETON CHANOYU

2017

THANKS TO AUDIBLE’S DONALD KATZ, THE GENERAL POPULATION NOW HAS MORE TIME THAN EVER TO CONSUME AND ENJOY BOOKS BY CREATING A DIGITAL LIBRARY ON THEIR MOBILE DEVICES.

HOME & DESIGN • APRIL

F E B R U A R Y/ M A R C H

3/30/17 1:35:17 PM

S U M M E R 2 01 7

GET OUT & ENJOY: GROUNDS FOR SCULPTURE AT 25

EVOLVING NEIGHBORHOOD HOMES ADAPT TO CONTEMPORARY LIFESTYLES

NEW JERSEY’S NATIONAL PARKS SHARK RESEARCH INSTITUTE OF PRINCETON DESTINATION: RED BANK IN THE PINE BARRENS, FOLLOWING MCPHEE

GET OUT & ENJOY • SUMMER 2017

SPRING 2017 • REUNIONS ISSUE

PRINCETON UNIVERSITY REUNIONS WEEKEND PRINCETON’S ROLE IN WORLD WAR I GARDENING WITH AMERICA’S FOUNDING FATHERS LANDSCAPE DESIGN THE MAKER MOVEMENT

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5/17/17 8:41:51 AM

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PRINCETON MAGAZINE

PRINCETON MAGAZINE

S E P T E M B E R 2 01 7

BACK TO SCHOOL!

6/30/17 5:04:55 PM

FA L L 2 01 7

THE SPIRIT OF GOTHIC ARCHITECTURE: SPIRES, FLYING BUTTRESSES, AND GARGOYLES

FA L L 2 01 7

SEPTEMBER

We publish seven issues of Princeton each year and always deliberate at length on what to put on the covers. Our goal is to make them engaging, diverse, and beautiful. Everyone has their favorite cover and it’s fun to see them all together on this page. The glamorous photograph on the cover of this issue was taken by our Art Director, Jeffrey Tryon, and relates to a feature about vintage gift giving. We have compiled a list of resources where you can find elegant retro gifts such as an ice bucket from the Plaza Hotel, an original Ansel Adams print, a classic Chanel handbag, or a Rolex with a well worn band. Staying organized will help reduce the stress we all experience this time of year. Check out our list of Holiday Happenings so you can plan ahead and not miss out on the festive events. One of my favorites is George Washington’s annual Christmas day crossing of the Delaware River in Bucks County. The event is popular with people of all ages and many bring their dogs. It’s important not to ignore pets during the holidays and we have an article in this issue about keeping them healthy. We interviewed area veterinarians about potential risks such as holiday decorations, food, salted sidewalks, and frigid temperatures. If you are thinking of seeing A Christmas Carol at McCarter Theatre, you will enjoy reading about the young performers. Find out who they are, what schools they attend, and what inspires them. Everyone loves model trains and The Brandywine River Museum of Art has an extensive collection. It all began in 1973 and has grown in scale and popularity over the years. Today, it takes six people nearly a week to set up the train displays. The museum also has several exhibits, including a lovely collection of Andrew Wyeth’s winter paintings on display till the middle of February. In addition to celebrating the holidays in this issue, we wanted to embrace a bit of our community’s history with Anne Levin’s article To Be Jewish in Princeton: A Look Back. The article draws from a 1999 collaborative exhibit by The Historical Society of Princeton and The Jewish Center. In addition to acknowledging the Jewish families, academics, and merchants of Princeton, the story speaks openly about past anti-Semitism.

2017 • BACK TO SCHOOL

PRINCETON MAGAZINE

SMALL HOUSES WITH BIG PERSONALITIES NOMADIC EXPEDITIONS ACROSS MONGOLIA TRENTON AREA SOUP KITCHEN THE PROMISE OF “LIVING DRUGS” GENETIC TESTING FOR BREAST CANCER PROFILES IN HEALTHCARE ALL HALLOWS’ EVE

H O L I DAY 2 01 7 PM_CVR Sept2017.indd 1

8/28/17 10:56:43 AM

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10/18/17 11:14:26 AM

Publishing articles about religion and politics can be challenging but we have not shied away from those topics, and Donald Gilpin’s article on Understanding Iran—Princeton University Pursues a Long-Standing Relationship is an example. The article explains the University’s motivation in wanting to shed light on the relationship between Iran and the United States. Bob Hillier and I hope you enjoy the varied selection of articles in this issue and wish you all a happy and healthy holiday. H O L I DAY 2 0 1 7

Respectfully yours,

Lynn Adams Smith Editor-In-Chief @princeton_mag

Every Vintage Gift Has A Story

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AT THE BRANDY YWINE RIVER MUSEUM M OF ART BY ILENE DU UBE In all its starkness, winter was the favorite season of the painter Andrew Wyeth (1917–2009), one of the 20th century’s most popular American painters. Even today, exhibitions of his works draw large crowds to museums. Wyeth described winter as a time when “you feel the bone structure in the landscape—the loneliness of it—the dead feeling...” Wyeth’s landscapes of that season are both placid in their silence and haunting in their feeling of desolation. He has the ability to capture the nuanced shades of white, even when working in watercolor. Writing in The New York Times, Roberta Smith described Wyeth’s landscapes, even those from the other three seasons, as “barren, wintry, usually sunless views of the woods, fields, and solitary houses” that have “provided so much in the way of khaki and olive drab, so little in the way of green grass or blue skies.” His subjects often paralleled those of the great black and white photographers, such as Walker Evans. The Brandywine River Museum of Art celebrates winter in all its glory. A Brandywine Christmas offers everything from one of the world’s most extensive model train displays to carols concerts, a Polar Express read-aloud pajama party, holiday trees lovingly decorated with handmade ornaments, and holiday events and programs for all ages. To round out the experience, the museum is exhibiting a selection of Wyeth’s winter paintings, including snowy scenes, through mid February. “He captures the many shades of snow,” says Curator Audrey Lewis. “This intimate exhibit is a new way of looking at his work, from a family collection that hasn’t been seen often, and not as a group.” ANDREW WYETH (1917-2009), PENNSYLVANIA LANDSCAPE, 1941, TEMPERA ON PANEL, 35 X 47”. BRANDYWINE RIVER MUSEUM OF ART, BEQUEST OF MISS REMSEN YERKES, 1982. © 2017 ANDREW WYETH/ARTISTS RIGHTS SOCIETY (ARS), NY

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Wyeth achieved international acclaim while focusing on the land surrounding his homes in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania—just a stone’s throw from the Brandywine River Museum—and in Maine. Surrounded by rural landscapes rich with natural beauty, he learned to look within his internal landscape to fulfill his wanderlust. His father, N.C. Wyeth, who achieved fame illustrating tales of pirate adventures, took him on nature walks and trained him to see with sensitivity and identify with his subject emotionally. He taught him to paint the light and air around the subject, to paint the mystery. “If you want something profound, the American countryside is exactly the place,” the younger Wyeth wrote. He discovered the complexities of the human condition and the fragile line between life and death. Wyeth would spend late spring to late summer in Maine, returning to Chadds Ford for the winter months. His very last painting—titled Goodbye by his widow, Betsy—was executed in Maine. Buckets, boats, boots, cloaks, and other vessels in Wyeth’s paintings leave a memory of absent owners and inhabit a human presence such that they become portraits without having a figure in the painting. Through open windows and doorways, a spirit enters or exits just as the breeze creates billows in the curtain.

Gaining the trust of neighbors, Wyeth would be given the keys to their homes, to enter at will to make sketches or watercolors. Beginning in the 1930s and continuing for more than five decades, the Chadds Ford farm of Karl and Anna Kuerner was at the heart of Andrew Wyeth’s artistic sphere in Pennsylvania. Deeply inspired by the landscape and people, Wyeth created hundreds of drawings, watercolors, and temperas depicting the farm and the Kuerners during these years. “Wyeth had full rein of Kuerner farm, he was allowed to come and go as he pleased, to wander at night,” says Lewis. “They had a relationship that was personal and friendly, based on trust. They accepted him, just as the Olson family did in Maine.” (Wyeth’s most famous painting, Christina’s World, came out of his relationship with the Olson family.) Groundhog Day, painted in 1959, is an example of a painting that is more about what’s not in the painting than what we see on the canvas. The final image consists of a white plate, cup and saucer, and a knife on a white clothed table, wallpaper, and a window to the outside where we see a jagged-tooth log. What started out as a painting of Karl Kuerner and his wife and dog in fact contains none of them. The painting depicts a sunny, peaceful winter kitchen, awaiting the farmer’s return. Karl, the master of the scary dog and

obedient wife, is a fearsome man who eats only with a knife. “He wanted to evoke Karl’s presence through other means,” says Lewis. “It’s a symbolic portrait. His presence is there even though his physical person is not. It is symbolic of his realm, and you can see his world through the kitchen window.” In 1978, Karl is painted on the hill beyond which are the tracks where Wyeth’s father was killed when a train hit his car. Karl’s unclothed body appears to be melting into the season’s last patch of snow, yet also rising. His face bears the peaceful repose of death, and this painting probably refers to Wyeth’s father, as well. “There is an undercurrent of death in his work,” says Lewis. “His subjects alluded to death.” Wyeth worked in graphite, pencil, watercolor, and tempera, a process that involved mixing pigment with egg white and painstaking layering. He was attracted to the medium because of its earthiness, says Lewis. His earlier watercolors, especially those in Maine, were more colorful, with blues and purples, but after his father’s death, Wyeth’s palette grew muted. (Later, toward the end of his life, he returned to color.) A reproduction of Groundhog Day can be seen in the Kuerner Farm, gifted to the Brandywine River Museum of Art by Karl and Anna’s son, Karl Jr., in 1999 and designated a National

ANdREw wyETh GAllERy AT bRANdywINE RIvER MuSEuM.

ANdREw wyETh STudIO. PhOTO by CARlOS AlEjANdRO.

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ANdREw wyETh STudIO ExTERIOR. PhOTO by CARlOS AlEjANdRO.


CRiTTER CaRolERs

ChildREN aNd ThEiR PaRENTs ExPERiENCE BRaNdywiNE ChRisTMas. PhoTo By CaRlos alEjaNdRo.

Historic Landmark in 2011. Tours of the farm, as well as the studios of N.C. Wyeth and Andrew Wyeth, are offered by the museum. Visit www.brandywine.org/museum/tours/studio-tours. To make the most of a visit to the Brandywine River Museum of Art and experience a Brandywine Christmas: The Brandywine River Museum of Art’s model train display, a holiday family favorite since 1972, offers both toy and scale model trains made by Lionel, Williams, Atlas, Mike’s Train House, K-line, and others. With more than 1,000 pieces— including locomotives, passenger and freight trains, and trolleys, all moving along 2,000 feet of track—the annual holiday exhibition of the Brandywine Railroad is one of the largest modular model railroad installations in the world. Critter ornaments that have been handmade using natural materials such as pine cones, acorns, egg shells, flowers, and seed pods, each with its own personality in the shape of cats, dogs, reindeer, bears, angels, and stars, have been a Brandywine tradition for more than 40 years. Sales of these ornaments, made by volunteers, benefit the Volunteers’ Art Purchase Fund, along with art education and programming. The sale begins Thursday, November 30, 5-9PM, and continues December 1, 2, and 3 from 9:30AM-5PM. Critters will also be available for sale in the museum shop from Monday, December 4, through Sunday, January 7, 2018.

Carols Concerts are on Sundays, November 26, December 3, 10, 17, and 31, 1 to 3PM, with international opera singer Peter Campbell, accompanied by pianist Matthew Jewell. Included with museum admission. The Polar Express Read-Aloud Pajama Night takes place Thursday, November 30, 7-8PM. Children are invited to wear pajamas and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies as they delight in Chris Van Allsburg’s book about a trip to the North Pole. Tickets $15 adults; $8 children, includes museum admission. The Children’s Christmas Party is another beloved Brandywine family tradition, this year on Wednesday, December 6, 6-8PM. Visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus and enjoy entertainment, costumed characters, face painting, model trains, antique dolls, trees adorned with hundreds of critter ornaments, and Cookie Land! Tickets $15, non-member adults; $5, non-member children ages 3-11; $12, member adults; free for member children and children under age 3. Breakfast with the Trains on Saturdays, December 9 and 16, 8:30-10AM. All aboard as you join a behind-the-scenes visit with the Brandywine Railroad. Discover how the layout, one of the world’s largest, is created and the complicated multitasking it takes to keep everything running. This before-hours event includes a private tour of the trains in action with Brandywine Railroad engineers, with special activities for the youngest train fans and a continental breakfast in the

PhoTo By jaCquEs-jEaN TiZiou

museum’s Millstone Café. Children will receive a Brandywine Railroad souvenir; ages 3 and older accompanied by an adult are welcome. $20 members; $25 non-members. Sing along as folksinger Rick Spencer presents familiar Christmas tunes from the Victorian age for A 19th Century Christmastide on Saturday, December 9, 11AM and 1PM. Included with museum admission. Enjoy early access to the museum’s Brandywine Railroad display during PECO Sensory-Friendly Train Morning on Saturday, January 6, 2018, 8:30-9:30AM. Space is limited and registration is required. Complimentary museum admission. The Terrific Trains family program takes place Saturday, January 6, 2018, 10AM to noon. See the Brandywine Railroad and create a colorful train to display at home. Included with museum admission. The Brandywine River Museum of Art features an extensive collection of American art housed in a 19th-century mill building with a dramatic steel and glass addition overlooking the banks of the Brandywine. The museum is open daily from 9:30AM to 5PM (except Thanksgiving and Christmas day), and is located on Route 1 in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. Admission is $18 for adults; $15 for seniors ages 65 and over; $6 for students and children ages 6 and up; free for children 5 and younger and Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art members. For more information, call 610.388.2700 or visit brandywinemuseum.org.

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A Wish List from hAmiLton JeWeLers 1. Love Knot Collection pendant 18k rose gold; $1,675 2. Baccarat Crystal Mille Nuits Flutissimo set of two champagne flutes; $550 3. Shinola Bedrock Chronograph; $1,000 4. Visconti pearlescent brown resin ballpoint pen; $595 5. Baccarat Crystal Louxor Tip Top wine stopper; $155 6. Hermes H-Hour mother of pearl and diamond dial timepiece; $3,950

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shutterstock.com

h s i w e J e To B : n o t e c n i r in P k c a B k o A Lo vin

ByrtesAy onf thne HeistoLricael Society of Princeton

cou Photographs

Back in the 1930s, my grand parents considered moving from Philadelphia to Princeton and opening up a medical ofďŹ ce for my grandfather, an obstetrician. But as Jews, they worried about discrimination. So they stayed put.

Photo courtesy of Anne

Levin.


photo courtesy of wikipedia

S

Albert Einstein accepting U.S. citizenship certificate from judge Phillip Forman. Einstein became an American citizen in 1940, not long after settling into his career at the Institute for Advanced Study.

ome eight decades later, such trepidations would seem unfounded. Princeton’s Jewish community coexists collegially among other religions and cultural groups. The town prides itself on diversity. Being Jewish in Princeton is, you might say, no big deal. It wasn’t always so. Jews were a small minority in Princeton until recent decades, and incidents of anti-Semitism are documented. But among Jews growing up here in the last half of the 20th century, when Princeton was a small college town, some describe a mostly peaceful existence. “I never experienced prejudice here. Absolutely not,” says Boston city planner Sarah Peskin, who is 67 and grew up in town. “I think I encountered anti-Semitism maybe once,” says landscape architect Alan Goodheart, who still lives in Princeton. Goodheart and his twin brother were the first to celebrate their Bar Mitzvahs at The Jewish Center of Princeton in 1954. Jews have been in Princeton since Colonial days. According to a book published after a 1999 collaborative exhibit by The Historical Society of Princeton and The Jewish Center to mark the latter’s 50th anniversary, the first Jewish person to be documented in Princeton was businessman “Judah Mears of Princeton-Town.” Mears is mentioned in an 1737 account book entry, according to Old Traditions, New Beginnings: Two Hundred Fifty Years of Princeton Jewish History, the companion book to the exhibit by curator Alice M. Greenwald. By the early 19th century, Jewish scholars were serving as Hebrew tutors for Seminary students. But many were becoming converts to Christianity. The exhibit book mentions Sara Marks, a Jewish woman from New Orleans, who married prominent Princetonian John Potter Stockton in 1845. The marriage caused a scandal. But Sara converted to the Episcopal Church soon after the wedding. Her name appears in the baptismal records of Princeton’s Trinity Church just after the birth of her first child. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, European Jews emigrating to America began filtering into Princeton. Despite blatant anti-Semitism — Greenwald’s book quotes editorials from a local publication protesting America becoming “the dumping ground for the degraded classes of the continent of Europe” — they began to settle in town, making a living as peddlers and shopkeepers. Greenwald’s

book notes about 25 Jewish families by 1930, many living above the shops they ran on Nassau and Witherspoon Streets. It was a small, close-knit community. There was Vogel Brothers butcher shop, Louis Kaplan’s clothing store, Wolman and Caplan’s Reliable Furniture, Braveman’s watch repair shop, Dolsky’s Stationery Store, Alpha Dairy, Urken’s Hardware, Viedt’s Tea Room and Chocolate Shoppe, and Princeton Clothing Company, among others. “The store became the true focus of my childhood, the vantage point from which I could compare and contrast the Yiddish-speaking apartment above with the larger, English-speaking world outside, a world personified by the vigorous, self-assured students who inhabited the campus buildings and came into the store every day,” recalls May Dolsky Braidman in the exhibit book. Dolsky’s Stationery Store, run by her parents, was frequently visited by Albert Einstein, a prominent member of Princeton’s Jewish community. Einstein was often described as a “religious non-believer.” Along with other emigres who came to Princeton to teach at the Institute for Advanced Study, he was closely involved with the Princeton United Jewish Appeal. Princeton’s first Jewish congregation, B’nai Zion, was established in the late 1920s. Donald Rosenthal, who grew up in an apartment on Witherspoon Street above the family clothing store, recalled in the exhibit book, “Our Jewish activities centered around the B’nai Zion ‘Synagogue’ – a large, first floor rented room in the Branch Building on Spring Street. It had a narrow entrance just a few steps up from the street and was conveniently located just a short distance from our family’s store and apartment…the congregation also used a large auditorium on the second floor of the Branch Building with a wide entrance on Witherspoon Street.” By the late 1940s, the Jewish community had outgrown the Spring Street location. To combine religious observance with social and educational activities, The Jewish Center was founded. Services were held in a one-room building on Olden Street, the former location of the First Church of Christ Scientist. But within a few years, the growing congregation was searching for a larger facility. The current site, at 435 Nassau Street, was purchased in 1956. Not everyone was enamored of the new location. “I really liked that old building on Olden

(ABOVE) Greenwald, Alice M. Old Traditions, New Beginnings: Two Hundred Fifty Years of Princeton Jewish History / Princeton, N.J.: Historical Society of Princeton, 2002

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Mr. Watson and David Kahn at the Alpha Dairy on Witherspoon Street, c. 1935. Historical Society of Princeton.

Albert Einstein house, 112 Mercer Street in Princeton. Wikimedia Commons.

Detail, Princeton Chapter of Hadassah-Life-Membership Tablecloth, ca. 1972-1990. Courtesy of the Princeton Hadassah Chapter.

The Jewish Center, ca. 1983. Historical Society of Princeton.

Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his daughter Indira Gandhi visit Albert Einstein at the Albert Einstein house in Princeton, in 1949. Wikimedia Commons.

Vogel Brothers Butcher Shop, CA. 1920. Historical Society of Princeton.

Spring Street entrance to B’nai Zion Synagogue, late 1930s. Historical Society of Princeton. Evelyn Dolsky in front of the store, ca. 1930s. Courtesy of Evelyn Dolsky Glassman, Bayside, N.Y.

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PRINCETON MAGAZINE HOLIDAY 2017

Harry Ballot with customer, 1933. Historical Society of Princeton.


Street,” said Goodheart. “I was even the shamus (caretaker) for a while. I went to Friday night services there with my father. The new building…it wasn’t beautiful. And it had no excuse for not being beautiful, because it was brand new.” “I remember there was a lot of discussion about where it would move,” recalled Peskin. “My father was on the committee. They wanted to be on Nassau Street to be visible, but he thought another site would be better, where All Saints’ Church is now. Shortly after they built on Nassau Street, they discovered there was not enough parking, which he had predicted.” A new sanctuary and significant expansions have accommodated the growth of the congregation, which went from 80 families in 1959 to more than 600 families in 2000. But numbers have ebbed in recent years. “It hasn’t grown, but it’s changed,” said Rabbi Adam Feldman, who has been with The Jewish Center for 13 years. “It’s more vibrant now. We have more programs, and classes for all ages. Worship services are well attended. We do have fewer members. But that’s just society today. That’s true in all denominations.” A number of Princeton’s Jewish residents are involved in Chabad of Princeton, an alternative to traditional affiliation described on Chabad.org as “a major movement within mainstream Jewish tradition with its roots in the Chassidic movement of the 18th century.” Rabbi Dovid Dubov, whose residence on Princeton-Kingston Road has been home to the local Chabad since 1991, said the goal is “to reach out to all Jews, even those unaffiliated. Our main goal is to build Jewish identity. We say there is no difference between one Jew and another. We don’t believe in Orthodox, Conservative, or Reform (classifications). We accept everyone.” (The Jewish Center of Princeton calls itself ConservativeEgalitarian.) It is Chabad that holds the popular lighting of the Hanukkah menorah in Palmer Square each year. “I am what is called an outreach,” Rabbi Dubov continued. “We visit hospitals, prisons, and reach out to all different levels of Jewish people. Many unaffiliated Jews, for whatever reason, don’t like to come to synagogue. We reach out to them many times during the year. We have no such thing as membership, but there are hundreds and hundreds of people we are involved with.”

A new center for Chabad of Princeton is planned for a site on Route 206 near Griggs Farm. Rabbi Dubov said an opening is targeted for beginning of 2018. The organization is actively involved with students at Princeton University. While The Jewish Center has figured prominently in their lives, some in Princeton recall a relaxed attitude to their faith. “I went to the Jewish Center as a kid. I wasn’t particularly attuned to it, though,” said science writer and editor Michael Lemonick. “My parents were very secular. I didn’t have a strong Jewish identity, but I did have a Bar Mitzvah.” “We had a back-and-forth, mixed relationship with The Jewish Center,” said Peskin. “ My parents felt it was important to be connected, but neither had had particularly religious educations, so we didn’t go to services. I went to the Sunday School and was in a confirmation class with Everett Gendler, who was the rabbi in the sixties. But I chose not to be confirmed for a variety of reasons.” Gendler, who served at The Jewish Center from 1962 to 1967, was known for his involvement in progressive causes. “There was a Jewish youth group he organized that was very welcoming and a really interesting place to get together for kids from a variety of faiths,” Peskin said. “He marched in Selma and was a very inspiring leader. People enjoyed talking with him. But then it was made limited to members of the temple, and I dropped out.” The Jewish Center today makes a point to be inclusive. “We have a lot of intermarried families here. They are all welcome to participate to the extent they want to,” said Rabbi Feldman. “We embrace and welcome all Jewish families.” Greenwald, curator of the 1999 exhibition on Princeton’s Jewish community, summed it up in her book: “For those with initiative and vision, Princeton has provided a place of opportunity for Jews who, increasingly since the 1920s — and particularly in the second half of the twentieth century — have contributed to the economic, cultural, professional, and intellectual life, as well as the governance, of this community. The reciprocity between Princeton and its Jewish citizens has come to embrace mutual expressions of support for tolerance, diversity, and spiritual pursuits.”

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| BOOK SCENE

HOLIDAY SERVINGS CHEZ ALICE

A

mong the holiday season’s crop of new books, most of which are immense, amply-illustrated volumes destined for display, some of this year’s stand-outs feature interesting women, whether photographers like Mary Caperton Morton (Aerial Geology), painters (Women Artists in Paris, 1850-1900), or women of the Old West like Calamity Jane (The Calamitous Life of Martha Jane Cannary), or superstars like Wonder Woman (The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen) and culinary legend Alice Waters, whose modest-sized, compulsively readable best-selling memoir is more suited to bedside than coffee tables. Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook (Clarkson Potter $27) had me smiling the instant I saw the photograph of the Times Square Automat accompanying the opening chapter. If, like me, you associate Alice Waters with her masterwork Chez Panisse in Berkeley, you may be amused to know that this most charismatic of restauranteurs grew up in Chatham, N.J. and first felt the allure of food in a lost New York landmark. “When I was little,” she writes, “I always wanted to go to the Museum of Natural History and eat at the Automat for my birthday.” The Automat was her favorite because “it felt like an entirely new way to have food” and she could choose what she ate. “Every surface ... was shiny: there was a huge wall of little stainless steel doors, sort of like post office boxes, with windows displaying the food in each one. You put your money in one of the post office box slots, opened the door, and got your dish …. I liked seeing the food before I picked what I wanted—I couldn’t or didn’t read the menu, so being able to see it resonated with me. We’d each go for what we wanted, and then the whole family met back at the table to eat our various dishes together. “She loved being given her own money and being allowed to make her own choices, and she loved putting her money “into that little door.” As she notes, the irony is that Chez Panisse became known for offering just one fixed-price menu each night. ON THE MOUNTAINTOP

Like Alice Waters, Mary Caperton Morton discovered her life’s work as a young girl. In her preface to Aerial Geology: A High-Altitude Tour of North America’s Spectacular Volcanoes, Canyons, Glaciers, Lakes, Craters, and

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PRINCETON MAGAZINE HOLIDAY 2017

BY STUART MITCHNER


Peaks (Timber Press $29.95), she recalls finding a rock covered with seashells in the mountains of West Virginia: “Finding a slice of an ancient ocean floor on a mountaintop forever changed the way I saw the world. I am now a geology writer, an avid traveler, and a mountaineer.” As she puts it, with mountaineering “the higher you go, the more you see. Mountain tops are fantastic classrooms, airplane window seats are even better.” She ends her preface, “I hope this book changes the way you see the world and inspires you to get out and see more of it.” Besides being a freelance science and travel writer and a regular contributor to EARTH magazine, Morton has a blog headed Travels with the Blonde Coyote. In her 10 years as “a road warrior nomad,” she’s hiked in all 50 states and evolved from “a girl who looks up at the mountains to a woman who climbs to the summits.” She now lives at 8,000 feet in Big Sky, Montana. FIRECRACKERS

Photographic adventures on a more down-to-earth scale are the subject of Firecrackers: Female Photographers Now (Thames and Hudson $45) by Fiona Rogers and Max Houghton. Established in 2011 in the context of what continues to be “a male-dominated industry,” Firecracker (fire-cracker.org) is an online platform dedicated to supporting female photographers worldwide by showcasing their work in a series of monthly, online gallery features; by organizing events; and by awarding an annual grant to enable a female photographer to fund a project. Building on Firecracker’s foundations, this book brings together the work of more than 30 contemporary photographers from around the world. Each profile explores the photographer’s creative practice, illustrated by photographs that showcase a key project in her career, and a selection that offers a wider view of her work. The images reflect a variety of styles, techniques, and locations—from German Alma Haser’s portraits that use origami to create 3D sculptures within the frame, to Egyptian Laura El-Tantawy’s series on political protest in Cairo. Fiona Rogers is Magnum Photos’ global business development manager, as well as the founder of Firecracker. Max Houghton runs the MA Program in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London. DRAWN TO PARIS

Edited by independent curator Laurence Madeline, formerly a curator at the Musée d’Orsay, Women Artists in Paris, 1850-1900 (Yale Univ. Press $65) includes essays by Madeline, Bridget Alsdorf, Jane R. Becker, Joëlle Bolloch, Vibeke Waallan Hansen, and Richard Kendall. Featuring 36 artists from 11 different countries, this lavish, thoughtfully illustrated book includes paintings by Impressionists such as Mary Cassatt and Berthe Morisot, and lesserknown artists like Marie Bashkirtseff, Anna BilinskaBohdanowicz, Paula Modersohn-Becker, and Hanna Pauli. In a situation familiar to female photographers a century later, women were “mostly barred from formal artistic education but cleverly navigated the city’s network of ateliers, salons, and galleries.” Essay subjects are the female artist in portraiture, the experiences of Nordic women artists, and the presence of women artists throughout the history of the Paris salon. The striking cover image is from Echo, an 1891 oil on canvas by the Finnish painter Ellen Thesleff (1869-1954). GRAPHIC WOMEN

automats (my wife and I still quote from old Lulu comics), before moving on to crimebusters like Miss Fury, super-spies like Tiffany Sinn, sci-fi pioneers like Gale Allen, and iconic favorites Wonder Woman and Ms. Marvel. According to Library Journal, “the mix of history, pop culture, and a little bit of reference is more akin to a heavily illustrated coffee-table book, allowing for browsing short entries about superheroes such as Wonder Woman and Jessica Jones and cult favorites such as Emily the Strange.” Hope Nicholson is the owner and founder of Bedside Press, and a consulting editor for Margaret Atwood’s Angel Catbird (Dark Horse Comics, 2016). French Writer Christian Perrissin (El Niño, Cape Horn) joins forces with award-winning artist Matthieu Blanchin to tackle the legend of Martha Jane Cannary and her life alongside the likes of Buffalo Bill Cody and Wild Bill Hickok in Calamity Jane: The Calamitous Life of Martha Jane Cannary (IDW $29.99), a graphic novel presented in English for the first time. Fans of Robin Weigart’s lusty foul-mouthed Jane in David Milch’s great HBO series Deadwood should enjoy this lengthy, in-depth graphic biography (368 pages) of the prototypical cowgirl, “a bona fide frontierswoman, a professional scout, drunk, and sometime whore, doing whatever it took to stay alive in the hardscrabble days of American expansion.” ALICE IS HERE!

It could only happen in New York, city of the Automat. My wife and I were having lunch at the Union Square Cafe some years ago when we began hearing “She’s here! she’s here!” from the wait staff. A small crowd seemed to be forming around the woman seated at a table to our left. When our waiter came for the order, my wife, a fellow student of Waters at Berkeley, said, “I’ll have whatever Alice is having.”

Hope Nicholson’s The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen: Awesome Female Characters from Comic Book History (Quirk Books $24.95) begins with a tribute to Little Lulu, a beloved character I associate with the era of HOLIDAY 2017 PRINCETON MAGAZINE

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Understanding Iran—Princeton University Pursues a Long-Standing Relationship

88 | PRINCETON MAGAZINE HOLIDAY 2017

photography courtesy of shutterstock.com

By Donald Gilpin


images courtesy of wikimedia commons

(OPPOSITE) The Golestan Palace is the former royal Qajar complex in Iran’s capital city, Tehran.

Revolutionists defending Davachi Bridge, Tabriz (May 1, 1909).

The relationship between Princeton University and Iran goes back a long way— at least 110 years to 1907 when Howard Baskerville, Class of 1907, went to Iran to teach science and English. He died at age 24 fighting alongside his students for constitutional democracy, but his memory lives on for many Iranians, and his grave is preserved in the northwestern Iranian city of Tabriz. After graduating from Princeton as a religion major, Baskerville executed many supporters of the constitution. wanted to learn about a foreign culture and language before continuing Tabriz was a central region of opposition to Muhammad Ali Shah his studies for the ministry. In the fall of 1907 he arrived in Tabriz to teach and the royalists, who laid siege to the city, cutting off supplies from at the American Memorial School, run by the outside. Baskerville, influenced by the Presbyterian mission. his Persian students and friends, became In addition to teaching science, increasingly involved in supporting the English, tennis, riding, and geometry, constitutionalist effort. Baskerville directed his students in a According to a 2007 Princeton Alumni production of Shakespeare’s The Merchant Weekly article, Baskerville was ready to of Venice, taught a class on international die for the cause of constitutional liberty law (informed by his courses at Princeton and the protection of the city of Tabriz. on jurisprudence and constitutional In April 1909, after 10 months of siege, government taught by Woodrow Wilson, Tabriz was still surrounded by royalist who was Princeton’s president at that time), forces and running out of food and medical and became increasingly interested in his supplies. On April 20, while leading a students and their culture and politics. scouting force searching for breaks in the The Persian Constitutional Revolution city walls, Baskerville was shot and killed (Iran was commonly known as Persia, at by a sniper’s bullet. least in the West, until the 1930s.) had Thousands of mourners lined the begun about two years before Baskerville’s streets as his coffin, covered with 16 floral arrival in the country and eventually led to wreaths,was carried to the cemetery. the establishment of an elected parliament BASKERVILLE REMEMBERED (the majlis) and the hope for a new social and political order. The royalists fought The Carpet of Baskerville. The portrait of Howard Baskerville was woven by the carpet weavers of Tabriz, Iran before 1910. A telegram sent from Persian back, however, and Muhammad Ali Shah, constitutionalist leaders to Baskerville’s parents in Minnesota read as newly installed on the throne after his father’s death, closed the parliament, follows: “Persia much regrets honorable loss of your dear son in the cause abridged many of the new freedoms, suppressed democratic forces, and

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withdraw from the 2015 nuclear agreement; war in Syrian, battles against the Islamic State, and other conflicts in the Middle East make Iran an occasional ally but more often an adversary; and a Princeton University graduate student conducting research for his dissertation has recently been imprisoned in Iran with a 10-year sentence for espionage. John Haldon, Princeton University history professor and director of “Oh, thou, the revered defender of the freedom of men, the Mossavar-Rahmani Center, commented on the importance of “trying Brave leader and supporter of justice and equity, to understand the Iranian perspective from outside in the whole context Thou hast given thy life for the felicity of Iran, of the nuclear question. One tries as an historian to see both sides of the O, may thy name be eternal, may thy soul be blessed.” picture. It’s very apparent that there’s a lot of misunderstanding, certainly at the senior levels in the U.S. government, about the nature of Middle The memory of Baskerville lives on in Iran, with several schools in East culture and politics.” Tabriz and elsewhere in the country still named for Pointing out the role of the Center in “explaining him. His portrait and a large bronze bust are displayed that different world to North Americans,” Haldon at Constitution House in Tabriz, alongside a report on cited the need to to make the Middle East seem “less the story of the 1909 conflict. strange, less foreign, less scary. People automatically Stephen Kinzer, writing in Politico two years respond “purely from the perspective of what they ago on the eve of the nuclear accord between Iran see from the outside, and in at least 50 percent of the and the U.S., along with five other countries and the cases that’s a misinterpretation of what the original European Union, noted, “History has largely forgotten action was intended to achieve.” the sacrifice of Howard Baskerville, but it has new He continued, “Currently in the U.S. a lot of what resonance as our two countries move toward ending is said at the top is for home, domestic consumption. their long hostility.” But it goes out to people from all over the world, That resonance may be even greater today as the where it has a completely different impact.” nuclear accord seems to be in jeopardy, after President Describing the difficulties involved in interpreting Trump’s recent refusal to re-certify the agreement. the words of politicians, particularly across cultures, Kinzer’s subsequent comments about Baskerville are Haldon spoke about the role of scholars and perhaps even more timely and appropriate now than educators. “We have to try and illuminate the ways they were two years ago. in which Iranian political and economic attitudes and “Now is the ideal time to rediscover him,” Kinzer public utterances operate at home in Iran and in other wrote. “His blood sealed a tie between Americans localities in the Middle East and how they resonate and Iranians who believe in freedom. Recalling beyond that and what they actually signify. When Baskerville’s sacrifice thus should pull our two an Iranian foreign minister makes a provocative Nura Hossainzadeh countries back toward the path of cooperation, statement about the enemies of the Islamic Republic, pluralist democracy, and mutual respect.” is this saber rattling? Or just to please the local Iranian audience, which like the United States is factionally RESEARCH AND TEACHING ABOUT IRAN divided along political lines? Politicians have to bear in mind what their constituency thinks about what In 2012, following in the spirit of Baskerville, two they say. Princeton alumni made a $10 million gift to create the “Iran is not a dictatorship. It’s a democratic Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran society, with a very robust parliamentary system, but and Persian Gulf Studies at Princeton University. it doesn’t work like Britain or France or the U.S. It’s In commenting on the gift, Sharmin Mossavara different form of democratic structure with socioRahmani, chief investment officer of the Private cultural assumptions about democracy and how it Wealth Management Group at Goldman Sachs and a works. We need to understand that, and we need to 1980 Princeton graduate, said, “We hope that through understand how Iranians see the world and respond its mission of scholarship and teaching, this Center to it.” will build on the legacy of Baskerville and that of COMPREHENDING THE COMPLEXITY so many other Princetonians in bringing people and places closer together.” Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani, Nura Hossainzadeh, a lecturer on one-year appointment her husband, an oil and gas executive and a 1974 in the Near East Studies Department teaching a course Princeton graduate, added, “Baskerville is still on modern Iran and a seminar entitled “Liberalism, revered by Iranians who remember also the Princeton Democracy, and Islamic Thought,” expressed the connection—a connection that drew me to this John Haldon hope that her courses “will discourage students from University more than 40 years ago.” seeing Iran as the ‘other,’ but instead enable them to comprehend the The Mossavar-Rahmanis grew up and completed their high school complexity of Iranian society and history and notice the ways in which education in Iran before moving to the United States. They are now living in intellectual ideas and even the emotions and sensitivities of Iranians are New York City. similar to our own.” The Mossavar-Rahmani Center, seeking a comprehensive interdisciplinary She went on to note, however, that “the aim is not to paper over our approach to understanding Iran and the Persian Gulf, supports teaching and differences, but to learn to engage with alien ideas—whether it be theories research on Iran and Persian Gulf studies, addressing the history, politics, of Islamic government or criticisms of Western interference in the domestic society, economics, religion, literature, art, and culture of the region. politics of Iran—in a more informed manner.” CHALLENGES IN THE CURRENT Hossainzadeh, who grew up in this country with an Iranian father and POLITICAL CLIMATE American mother, graduated from Harvard as a government major in 2006, then moved to Qom, Iran, enrolling in an all-female Islamic seminary Fostering understanding and a positive relationship between the United studying Islamic political thought before returning to the United States States and Iran, however, raises significant challenges in the context of to earn her Ph.D. in political science at UC Berkeley. She is currently the contemporary political environment in which the United States may working on a book, a revision and expansion of her doctoral dissertation,

40 | PRINCETON MAGAZINE HOLIDAY 2017

photography courtesy of princeton university

of liberty, and we give our parole that future Persia will always revere his name in her history like Lafayette and will respect his venerable tomb.” A memorial tablet was later placed on Baskerville’s grave, containing a verse written by Aref Qazvini, the national poet of Iran in the early 20th century:


images courtesy of wikimedia commons

Shahyad Tower (later Azadi Tower), Tehran. Supporters of Ayatollah Khomeini hold a demonstration in Iran during the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

People jumping at Azadi Tower on the International Day of Peace, which is observed annually on September 21. Photo by Vahid Takro. HOLIDAY 2017 PRINCETON MAGAZINE

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photography courtesy of shutterstock.com A group of young women at Golestan Palace, Tehran City, Iran.

The aim is not to paper over our differences, but to learn to engage with alien ideas—whether it be theories of Islamic government or criticisms of Western interference in the domestic politics of Iran—in a more informed manner. that will explore the political works and theory of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Noting the widespread misunderstandings and the difficulties for Iranians and Americans to relate positively with each other, Hossainzadeh said, “What I hope to contribute through my scholarship and my teaching are discussions of Islamic thought that might help to contribute to a better understanding between the two countries. It’s hard for Iranians to come here, especially recently with Trump’s executive immigration order, and also it’s hard for Americans to go there. There’s just generally a fear of going there.” With the students in her classes the goal, she said, “is to understand the diversity of political opinion and political theories in Iran as a way of better understanding Iran and how best to engage with Iranians.” Hossainzadeh discussed the opportunities in Islamic studies at Princeton through the Near Eastern Studies Department, the Mossavar-Rahmani Center and elsewhere. “It’s unique the extent to which at Princeton there seems to be an effort to promote awareness and understanding of Iran. There seem to be a lot of Iran-related events here, whether it’s on the history of Iran, pre-modern Iran, or contemporary Iran.” She concluded, “In broader terms, wars are started at least partly on the basis of fear and misunderstanding. The more you know about other countries the less likely you are to fear them based on reasons that may or may not be accurate. It’s great that Princeton is promoting Iranian studies to make sure that we all have a more accurate picture of what Iran is and the ideas that are circulating in contemporary Iran.” Haldon discussed the work of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center and its expanding presence at Princeton. “Our mission is to act as a hub within

42 | PRINCETON MAGAZINE HOLIDAY 2017

the United States to focus interest on Iranian matters, whether they’re historical, socio-economic, political, or diplomatic. We hope to support more Iranian faculty positions, more language teaching, more postdocs, more visiting scholars and other people who would contribute to studying Iran and helping people more broadly understand the situation there.” Haldon suggested that the 2018-19 school year may see a series of short-term, high-profile appointments at Princeton, people with international diplomatic interests connected with Iran, perhaps from the State Department or the United Nations. “Not just academics and intellectuals,” Haldon said. “We want to bring people to campus who have something to say about Iranian-U.S. relations, for example, or the role of Iran in the Middle East and the wider world.” The Center is now looking towards a new senior appointment in Iranian studies, an Iranian expert to lead it into its second five years. “We already have an international reputation,” said Haldon, who plans to retire at the end of this academic year. “People know about us. We have a busy schedule of talks and seminars. We support a lot of campus activities and our own visiting researchers both in the U.S. and internationally when they go to conferences or do research abroad.” Learning about Iran, developing that understanding aspired to through the teaching and scholarship of Haldon and Hossainzadeh; through the work of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center, the Near Eastern Studies Department, and other Iran studies initiatives at Princeton; may never be more important than it is right now, though one might still find initial inspiration in Howard Baskerville, who set out for Tabriz 110 years ago to learn about the culture of Iran.


photography courtesy of shutterstock.com

Winter view of Tehran with a snow covered Alborz Mountains.

Night view of Azadi Tower (Liberty Tower) in Tehran, Iran. Formerly known as Shahyad Tower, King’s Memorial Tower. HOLIDAY 2017 PRINCETON MAGAZINE

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Greg Wood (left) and Mimi Francis in rehearsals for A Christmas Carol. Photo by Matt Pilsner.

is good to be children sometimes,” writes Charles Dickens, “and never better than at Christmas.” For children who enjoy acting, singing, and dancing, it is even better to live in the Princeton area. Xander Kurian, Julianna Pallacan, Michael Karnaukh, and Camille Grove are four of the child performers who have been selected to be part of this year’s Young Ensemble in McCarter Theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol. The Young Ensemble comprises one of three segments of the cast. The other two are the Community Ensemble, for ages 14 and older; and the principals, professional performers who are members of Actors’ Equity Association. “Our director, Adam Immerwahr, came up with an idea, I guess two or three years ago, of this reimagined A Christmas Carol,” says Emily Zetterberg, McCarter’s assistant producer. “[We continued] with the script by David Thompson, but reimagined our A Christmas Carol to include these Community Ensemble members.” “The central concept of this version of A Christmas Carol is that Scrooge’s behavior has an impact, not just on him, but on all those around him,” Immerwahr says. “He then discovers that has an impact on an entire world of people he had been ignoring this entire time.” For Zetterberg, the fact that most of the members of the Community and Young Ensembles are not professional performers enables them to make a unique contribution to the chemistry of the cast. “What they bring is a genuine excitement at being onstage and engaging with the professional actors,” she says. Although the youngest member of this year’s cast is age 7, candidates can be 5 years old. Auditions for the older members of the Community Ensemble are held in April and May, whereas “we wait until fall to begin casting our Young Ensemble, because we know that kids grow,” Zetterberg says, laughing. “We are looking to cast children who are going to look and sound much the same in late September as they do when we start rehearsals on November 9.” Of the 173 children who auditioned this year, “I would say that the majority have some prior theater experience,” Zetterberg notes. “We do get plenty of kids who say,

‘this is my first time auditioning. What can I do?’ And it’s really great to see those kids as well. The kids who have no experience at all end up bringing a real joy and youthfulness that we’re looking for.” There are two audition days. “Each child is only being seen once in the audition process, and then once in callbacks,” Zetterberg explains. “We have a 10-minute group activity at the top of each hour. That allows us to see how the children interact, take direction, and participate in collaboration. After that, we see each child individually. We have them sing a short clip of a song, and then read one scene from the show. If they can’t read, which happens sometimes with our youngest contingent, they tell us a short story instead.” “We were looking for dynamic, charismatic young people who clearly showed enjoyment in playing characters and being onstage,“ Immerwahr says. “We were looking for young artists who were very genuine; we want the performances to feel real. And we wanted to have a cast that was as diverse as the greater Princeton area is. We wanted that in the adults, and in our Young Ensemble.” “We want to represent not only the community that Scrooge is living in, but also our community,” Zetterberg adds. “We’re thrilled to welcome back those who are returning, and to reinvigorate the cast with the new energy that’s coming in.” Despite the varying degrees of theatrical experience held by the cast members, Immerwahr sets a high standard of professionalism for all of them. “We raise a high bar for our young actors; [we expect them] to function as young professionals,” he says. “They are members of the community, but we believe that if we raise the bar high enough, they will reach it. And they do, every year.”

Xander Kurian

Children’s portraits courtesy of the Grove, Karnaukh, Kurian, and Pallacan families.

XANDER KURIAN

Kurian, 10, is a student at Community Park Elementary School. Although McCarter’s A Christmas Carol is the first play for which he has ever auditioned or performed, he was in the show last year. He is returning to reprise the role of Archie, a boy at the party given by Scrooge’s nephew Fred. HOLIDAY 2017 PRINCETON MAGAZINE

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Jessica Bedford, Warner Miller, and Greg Wood with members of the Young Ensemble. Photo by Matt Pilsner.

“Last year I didn’t know what was going on; I just wanted to try,” Kurian said. “This year I was worried, I really wanted to get in. I was super stressed when I made a mistake.” “Xander is a terrific young actor,” says Immerwahr. “His reading of that role was just extraordinary. In the guessing game at the party, Archie is the one who finally gets the answer right. Xander brought such joy and life to his audition, for that guessing game. It was a great pleasure to be able to cast him, once again, in that role.” “My favorite part of being in A Christmas Carol was [and] is performing,” says Kurian. “I love performing because it’s fun to make the audience connect with the play, with all the emotions.” When Kurian isn’t performing, he enjoys video games. “In my free time I also make gaming videos.” He and his brother James share a YouTube channel called JX Gaming. “We have 10 subscribers!” Asked about his goals, Kurian reveals a diverse set of interests. “I hope to act now, and when I am older I want to switch by being an actor, a doctor, an electronic engineer, and maybe a YouTuber.”

Julianna Pallacan

JULIANNA PALLACAN

Pallacan, also 10, attends the Village School in West Windsor. This year’s A Christmas Carol is the first production for which she ever auditioned. “I [have] seen the show twice and I really liked it,” she says. “Julianna is playing Margaret, who also is a character at the party,” says Immerwahr. “The room came alive when she got in and started playing around with

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PRINCETON MAGAZINE HOLIDAY 2017

Kelsey Carroll and Graham Beers. Photo by Matt Pilsner.

the scene. It was great fun for all of us; it was a very honest performance, but a very filled performance, full of childlike joy—which in that role is critical.” Pallacan is taking lessons in music and dance. “I take lessons in violin and I take lessons in ballet and flamenco,” she says. “I took lessons for ballet at Dance Corner, West Windsor with Miss Roni Wilityer, who has been a angel in my life. I take flamenco at Arts Council of Princeton. And I take violin in my school.” In addition to dancing and playing the violin, “I also like making arts and crafts and reading,” she says, and adds, “I love animals and science. My goals are to be good in school and get better at acting and dancing. [For] now I hope my performance in A Christmas Carol is going to turn out [to be] good and fun.” The arts, and animals, are interests Pallacan plans to pursue. “When I get older, I want to still be a good person, an actress, a dancer, and a vet.” MICHAEL KARNAUKH

Karnaukh, 13, is a student at Princeton Charter School. In 2016 he performed the role of Pugsley in the musical version of The Addams Family, at the Acting Manitou Summer Theater Program in Oakland, Maine. For A Christmas Carol, he will portray Boy Scrooge. “Michael is a terrific young actor,” enthuses Immerwahr. “That role requires depth of feeling. His scene is short, but it’s a pivotal scene in Scrooge’s story. Michael is an actor who can really navigate it. It’s one of the more challenging roles in this play, but Michael came in and took us through the emotional journey of the character, responded beautifully to direction, and I think he’s going to be an incredibly moving Boy Scrooge.” Karnaukh takes lessons in dance, music, and acting. “I take dance at

Michael Karnaukh


(TOP ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT) Alya Delvalle, Michael Karnaukh, Adeline Edwards, Jamai Brown, Romy Johnson, Ethan Chang. (BOTTOM ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT) Julianna Pallacan, Xander Kurian, Camille Grove, Roman Engel, Amelia Cutter, Stefan Naumoski. Photo by Noah Befeler.

Princeton Ballet School,” he says. “I take bass guitar, piano, and music theory at Westminster Conservatory. I also go to an amazing acting summer theater performance camp in Maine, called Acting Manitou. [It was] founded by Steve Borowka and Tim Brownell, [who] both worked at McCarter.” In addition to dancing and singing, “I like to write stories and plays,” says Karnaukh. Asked about his goals, he replies, “I hope to give the audience an amazing show at the McCarter Theatre in A Christmas Carol. In the future I hope to live life to the fullest and go wherever I was meant to go.” CAMILLE GROVE

Grove, 7, is a student at Maurice Hawk Elementary School. She will play Emilia, a girl at Fred’s party. Her A Christmas Carol audition was her first. “Camille brought extraordinary audacity to her audition,” Immerwahr recalls. “Her personality shone through! She responded really well to direction.” Asked whether she is taking lessons in acting or music, she replies, “Yes. I’ve have been playing guitar for two years. My teacher is Mr. Jean Chamount, a jazz guitarist from France.” In addition to acting and playing the guitar, she loves “to read, write stories, write songs, bake, play with friends, listen to music, and watch TV.” When she is older she wants to “keep practicing and learning so I can become better at guitar and piano.” Revealing ambition that belies her young age, she adds, “I also would like to get a Ph.D. one day. I also would like to start my own business.”

Camille Grove

Members of the company of A Christmas Carol. Photo by T. Charles Erickson.

DARKNESS AND LIGHT

Against the bleak backdrop of Dickensian London, “The addition of our very loving cast is what brings in the warmth,” Zetterberg says. “What’s thrilling about this new production is that it brings you into the classic story, and gives you a new understanding of Scrooge’s journey—from his selfishness and lack of compassion, to his embracing of his community.” “Scrooge opens the windows in his bedroom, letting light shine in for the first time,” adds Immerwahr. “He goes and brings presents to people, and suddenly it starts snowing. So we’ve gone from the rainy, bleak London to beautiful Christmas London. The hope I have for the audience’s experience of the production is that they’ll get to watch Christmas be invented every night, and by the end of the journey, you’re thinking, ‘Winter, that incredibly special time of the year. I’m ready for the holidays!” A Christmas Carol is at McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton from December 5-31. For more information, call 609.258.2787 or visit www. mccartertheatre.org.

HOLIDAY 2017 PRINCETON MAGAZINE

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McCarter Theatre’s A Christmas Carol

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H LIDAY HAPPENINGS BY LAURIE PELLICHERO

Jack Frost is in the air, and the “most wonderful time of the year” is about to begin… Mark your calendar for these festive events that celebrate the season: NOW THROUGH DECEMBER 17 The North Pole Express Flemington Station, 80 Stangl Road, Flemington; Various times www.blackriverrailroad.com Take a holiday fun family train ride to North Pole Station — and meet Santa and Mrs. Claus! Enjoy cookies and hot cocoa, sing along with Santa’s elves, tell Santa your Christmas wish, have your photo taken in Santa’s sleigh, and much more. The train operates rain or shine; allow approximately two hours for your trip.

NOVEMBER 22 (ONGOING) Annual Festival of Trees Morven Museum & Garden, 55 Stockton Street, Princeton; Wednesday through Sunday 10AM-4PM www.morven.org Morven Museum’s annual Festival of Trees is a Princeton holiday tradition. Visitors will enjoy the museum’s elegant galleries, hallways, and porches artfully decorated for the holidays by local businesses, garden clubs, and nonprofits (on view through January 7, closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day).

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PRINCETON MAGAZINE HOLIDAY 2017

Annual Festival of Trees, Morven Museum & Garden

NOVEMBER 24 Princeton Tree Lighting Ceremony The Green on Palmer Square, Princeton; 5PM www.palmersquare.com Palmer Square’s 65-foot Norwegian spruce tree, decorated with more than 32,000 lights, will be lit with the help of Santa Claus at this annual ceremony. There will also be music by Holiday Brass and the Princeton High School Choir, and a special performance by the Princeton Repertory Ballet’s Nutcracker and Clara.

NOVEMBER 24-26 Old City Hall Holiday Train Show & Annual Tree Lighting Downtown Bordentown www.downtownbordentown.com Thanksgiving weekend marks the start of the annual Old City Hall Train Show, with trains displayed throughout City Hall. The Annual Tree Lighting is Saturday, November 25 at 5PM at Crosswicks Street and Farnsworth Avenue with songs, hot chocolate, and a special appearance by Santa.

DECEMBER 2 Holiday Christmas Tree Lighting & Visit By Santa Princeton Shopping Center, 301 North Harrison Street, Princeton; Noon-2PM www.princetonshoppingcenter.com At this annual event Santa will catch a ride to the shopping center on a hook and ladder fire truck with some of Princeton’s bravest, and later be available for photos There will also be festive carol singers and other activities.

DECEMBER 2-3 Kick off the Holiday Season Weekend Terhune Orchards, 330 Cold Soil Road, Princeton, 10AM-5PM www.terhuneorchards.com Enjoy fun for the whole family with wagon rides and visits to the animals in the barnyard. You can choose the perfect Christmas tree and wreath and start your holiday shopping with Terhune’s unique selection of gift baskets with farm-grown fruit, baked goods, and wine. Santa will be in the barnyard from noon to 4PM. Warm up with hot mulled wine and try their award-winning wines in the Tasting Room from noon to 5 p.m. Sample homemade baked goods, cheeses, apple butter and more.


drumthwacket holidays 2016. photo by suzette lucas. the old mill hill society, photo by jean bickal a christmas carol photo courtesy of mccarter theatre center.

George Washington’s Annual Christmas Day Crossing Washington Crossing Historic Park

51st Annual Mill Hill Holiday House Tour Historic Mill Hill, Trenton

Ugly Holiday Sweater Party & Competition Hopewell Valley Vineyard

Holiday POPS!

DECEMBER 2

DECEMBER 14

51st Annual Mill Hill Holiday House Tour Historic Mill Hill, Trenton; Noon-5PM www.trentonmillhill.org Sponsored by the Old Mill Hill Society, the theme of this year’s Mill Hill Holiday House Tour is “Attention to Detail,” celebrating the architectural details that make the Mill Hill neighborhood unique.

Annual Menorah Lighting North Plaza on Hulfish Street, Princeton; 5-6PM www.palmersquare.org Special guest speakers and the Odessa Klezmer Band will be at this year’s Menorah Lighting in Princeton. The ceremony will take place in front of Mediterra restaurant, rain or shine. Afterwards, there will be music and refreshments in the Senior Room at the Nassau Inn.

DECEMBER 5 (ONGOING)

DECEMBER 16

A Christmas Carol McCarter Theatre Center, 91 University Place, Princeton; Various times www.mccarter.org Dickens’ classic returns to McCarter Theatre in this reimagined production. Follow Ebenezer Scrooge on a magical journey through Christmas past, present, and future and watch as a community ensemble comprised of local performers brings the story to life both on stage and in the theater (through December 31).

Ugly Holiday Sweater Party & Competition Hopewell Valley Vineyards, 46 Yard Road, Pennington; 6-8:30PM www.hopewellvalleyvineyards.com Celebrate the season at Hopewell Valley Vineyards during Music & Merlot at their annual Ugly Holiday Sweater Party & Competition. Enjoy light fare menu additions, and come wearing the ugliest holiday sweater you can find to compete to win title of Ugliest Sweater of 2017.

DECEMBER 6 (RECURRING)

DECEMBER 16

The Holidays at Drumthwacket 354 Stockton Street, Princeton; 11AM - 1:30PM www.drumthwacket.org The Drumthwacket Foundation, in partnership with New Jersey Garden Clubs, presents the annual holiday open house at Drumthwacket, the governor’s official residence. Guests can view rooms decorated for the holidays, with docents on hand to answer questions. Reservations are required. Wednesdays and Sundays, December 6, 10, 13, 17, and 20.

Holiday POPS! Princeton University, Richardson Auditorium; 4PM and 7PM www.princetonsymphony.com Get into the spirit of the holiday season with arrangements of beloved carols performed by the Princeton Symphony Orchestra and the Princeton High School Choir. There will also be a carol sing-along. Rossen Milanov, conductor; Princeton High School Choir, Vincent Metallo, director.

DECEMBER 8-10

George Washington’s Annual Christmas Day Crossing Washington Crossing Historic Park, Routes 532 and 32 (River Road), Washington Crossing, Pa.; Noon-3PM (Actual crossing at 1PM) www.washingtoncrossingpark.org George Washington’s daring 1776 Christmas Day crossing of the Delaware River and defeat of the Hessians in Trenton is considered a turning point in the Revolutionary War. Witness this historic event for yourself during this reenactment. This Bucks County tradition features several hundred reenactors clad in Continental military dress and George Washington himself. Listen as General Washington delivers an inspiring speech and then leads his troops across the river in replica Durham boats.

Sauce for the Goose Market Princeton Shopping Center, 301 North Harrison Street, Princeton www.artscouncilofprinceton.org Presented by the Arts Council of Princeton, this annual holiday sale of artwork by local and area artists has established itself as a resource for ceramics, glassware, ornaments, and other forms of fine art and crafts for gifts to friends and family. This year’s market will be held at ACP’s pop-up studio at the Princeton Shopping Center. Sale hours: Friday, December 8, 5–8PM; Saturday, December 9, 10AM–5PM; and Sunday, December 10, 11AM–4PM.

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HOLIDAY 2017 PRINCETON MAGAZINE

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PHOTO CREDIT: HUGO JUAREZ

How to Keep Pets Healthy During the Holidays BY TAYLOR SMITH

The winter season poses many potential risks to animal companions, from frigid temperatures to road trips, food, and holiday decorations. We spoke with some well-known area veterinarians to get their advice on what families can do to protect their beloved pets. 66 |

PRINCETON MAGAZINE HOLIDAY 2017


NorthStar VETS Dr. Stacey Rebello.

NorthStar VETS Dr. Stacey Rebello with a tortoise.

NorthStar VETS emergency services.

PHOTO CREDIT: NORTHSTAR VETS

Dr.

Christopher Garruba of Nassau Animal Hospital, located care are all specialties. at 3440 US-1 in Princeton, said that owners should be Kristen Hedderich, director of pet care operations at Morris Animal Inn, said, aware of salted sidewalks and roadways. “Dogs can slip “The safety and well-being of all pets is our number one priority.” This hands-on and fall on the ice just like people and collect ‘ice balls’ facility uses an air-handling system with UV light treatment to eliminate airborne between their toes,” he said. “Their paw pads may also illnesses such as canine cough or canine influenza. Also, hospital-grade cleaning become irritated by salt on the roads. It’s important to equipment, smoke and fire detection, and backup generators ensure pet safety. carefully examine your dog’s paws and paw pads after each walk.” Outdoor areas are kept clear of snow and ice and the indoor facilities are temperature When asked whether all dogs require a winter sweater or jacket, Dr. Garruba controlled with soft natural lighting and skylights in every room. Hedderich adds, assures that “tiny dogs with a small body mass “We make sure that the Morris Animal Inn has will appreciate a sweater to keep them warm, but the feel of a spa with soothing background music be aware that some dogs are allergic to wool. Also, in every room — it is a calm environment for the dogs should never get soaked in the sleet or snow animals.” to the point of shivering. A waterproof raincoat will Grooming services take into account winter help to keep them warm and dry during walks in health issues. For example, dogs may receive a paw inclement weather.” soaking treatment for dry, cracked paw pads or a Animals, like humans, often experience dry skin healthy skin and coat treatment complete with a during the winter months. The combination of indoor soothing shampoo and conditioner. Hypoallergenic heating and dry air may lead to flaking of the skin and options are available to pets with allergies or excessive itching, which is known to drive anyone sensitive skin. Nail trim packages and soothing crazy. Concerned owners should always consult with massage enhance pet comfort. a veterinarian before treating their dog’s or cat’s dry Older pets or animals with arthritis are given skin. “Treating dry skin may include supplemental special attention, with frequent short exercises oils in the food, nutritional supplements, shampoos, and plenty of quiet time as needed. The majority conditioners, or medications,” says Dr. Garruba. of the dogs engage in group play and are organized NorthStar VETS Dr. Michael Doolen with a guinea pig. “An appointment with a veterinarian will verify that according to size and play style. there is not some underlying illness causing the dry skin.” Cats are given special love and attention with games of toy chase, “story time,” Morris Animal Inn in Morristown is unlike any other pet care facility because views of the fish tank, brushing, and quiet lap time. In the Kitty Play Room, cats they retain a veterinarian on-call 24 hours a day and a full-time Pet Wellness roam freely with access to climbing and scratching posts, outside views, toys, department. This internationally-recognized pet care facility is dedicated to catnip, and furniture. maintaining the health of all daycare and boarding animals through attentive and Pet parents are encouraged to contact Morris Animal Inn as soon as possible understanding care. Specific meal preparation, administering medications and when making their holiday plans. Also, Hedderich said that owners are encouraged supplements, training, engaged playtime, daily brushing, and special handling and bring their cat or dog’s favorite items from home, whether it be a special toy or a

HOLIDAY 2017 PRINCETON MAGAZINE

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Photo Credit: hugo Juarez

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PRINCETON MAGAZINE hOlIdAy 2017


For those who plan on taking a road trip over winter vacation and bringing their pet along with them, be advised that this can be particularly stressful for animals and their owners. It is helpful to get your pet accustomed to riding in the car ahead of the vacation. Taking brief car rides to a nearby park or around town will acclimate your pet, so that they won’t always associate the car with a trip to the doctor’s office. Dr. Rebello adds that “pet-appropriate safety equipment, including crates for cats and small dogs and seat-belt harnesses for larger pets, will ensure their safety in case of an accident.” Safe travels!

PHOTO CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

blanket. These added comforts will decrease any separation anxiety experienced by the pet. To request a reservation, call 973.532.5030 or visit www.morrisanimalinn.com. NorthStar VETS is a 24-hour emergency veterinary hospital offering specialty, referral, and surgery services for dogs, cats, exotics, and other animals. Their Central New Jersey location is at 315 Robbinsville-Allentown Road in Robbinsville. All of NorthStar’s veterinarians specialize in a specific discipline of veterinary medicine including internal medicine, critical care, dentistry, neurology, cardiology, rehabilitation, and more. Dr. Stacey Rebello at NorthStar VETS in Robbinsville advises that pet owners should be particularly careful of what pets are ingesting during the holidays. “Most people know that chocolate is toxic. Ingestion of even small quantities of dark chocolate is likely to result in nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tachycardia (elevated heart rate), cardiac arrhythmia, or even tremors and seizures in larger amounts. Milk chocolate (while dangerous) is much less toxic.” There are also many ingredients in holiday baked goods that pose a threat to animals. “Raisins, which appear in fruit cake and many types of cookies, are of particular concern since the ingestion of even a few can result in irreversible kidney damage,” said Dr. Rebello. “Macadamia nuts can cause vomiting, depression, tremors, and transient weakness to the point of a total inability to walk/move. Lastly, onions and garlic can be toxic in large doses, particularly in cats, and can cause anemia (low red blood cell count).” For indoor pets, including hamsters, guinea pigs and/or certain cats, the ingestion of holiday decorations or tree ornaments is not uncommon, but can pose terrible risks. Dr. Rebello warns that items like tinsel and ribbon can “cause obstruction and damage to the esophagus, stomach, and intestinal tract. And while not an obstruction risk, we also worry about the ingestion of potentially hazardous holiday plants like poinsettias, which can cause inflammation and irritation of the oral cavity, esophagus, and stomach lining and result in nausea, drooling, and vomiting. Meanwhile, other holiday plants like Easter lilies (more common in the spring season) are highly toxic and can result in potentially fatal acute kidney failure.”

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NAVIDAD NATIVITIES Bucks County Company Mines the “True Meaning” of Christmas with One-of-a-Kind Works Michael Stumpf, who has been a photographer, banking executive, ad agency owner, and community leader, cherished his childhood F. W. Woolworth Nativity scene into adulthood. When it fell apart from age, he and his daughter built one of their own design. Some years later, A.J. DiAntonio, who was captivated by Nativity scenes and had amassed an impressive Christmas collection, left a Hollywood production career and returned to the Pennsylvania suburbs where he grew up. The two met four years ago and, for fun, decided to work on a crèche together. Seeing the possibilities, they were as excited as two kids at Christmas. Stumpf’s and DiAntonio’s Navidad Nativities, based in Bucks County, Pa., has tapped into a growing and appreciative market intent on celebrating “the true meaning of Christmas.” BY WENDY GREENBERG The Irish Cathedral Nativity setting is a crumbling cathedral typical of many sites in the counties of Ireland. This nativity can be viewed from all four sides. The carved wood figures are the creation of Ulrich Perathoner in Val Gardena, Italy. The entire scene is lit with individual LED lights that can be dimmed with a control unit in the base of the creche. Signed and dated by the artists. Overall size is 14" x 14" x 16" (height).


SYNERGISTIC COLLABORATION

It is said that in 1223 in the hills of Umbria, St. Francis of Assisi arranged the first Nativity scene. By the 18th century in Naples, Nativity scenes had come to be known for artistic excellence. The Nativity scene’s role in paying homage to the birth of Jesus Christ has inspired countless scenes worldwide, but on this side of the Atlantic, Stumpf and DiAntonio have elevated the tradition with custom designs, dramatic lighting, and thoughtful artistry. The designing duo work from a pastoral studio called the Sanctuary Atelier behind Stumpf’s Buckingham, Pa., home. There, often to the sound of Christmas music — at anytime of the year —

for inspiration, each brings his particular skills to the collaboration. “We work well together,” said DiAntonio. “It happens so synergistically. I might be carving a window while Michael is painting a backdrop. We found each other’s niche. We could each do our own designs, but in collaboration it will look better.” Each scene begins with a theme: an Irish cathedral as a tribute to Ireland; the American Southwest; “classic” style, which suggests Roman influence; or Bethlehem, which depicts Judean architecture. Many are custom designs which reflect a family’s persona using Nativity figures from the family itself.

“We design settings that evoke the meaning of the birth of Christ,” DiAntonio said. “There is a symbolism, a purpose, to what we do. Here was a child (Christ) who was born in the most humble of circumstances, who was worshipped by peasants and kings alike, all equal in the eyes of the Lord.” The lighting is dramatic but respectful. “How we light these pieces is important,” explained DiAntonio, who has worked extensively with set designers. For example, he described small LED lighting commonly used in model railroads. “It bounces off the colors of the pieces.” Scenes are enhanced by the small details: gnarled trees made from copper wire or spun hemp, roofs thatched with broom needles,


one personal. They build to size and consider the room in which the final piece will be displayed. The finished scenes, with figures, have ranged in cost from $900 to $10,000.

PROMISING BEGINNINGS

Getting to this point took several decades. Stumpf described what he believes was the beginning. “In the 1980s, we had a Nativity scene from F.W. Woolworth Company,” he said. “It was cardboard with plaster figures, but I used to like changing the look with different lights and moving the figures. When it deteriorated I said to my daughter, ‘let’s build one.’ My great-great-grandfather was an architect, after all.”

At the time, Stumpf, a graduate of Bucks County Community College and a former U.S. Navy photographer, was executive vice president of a regional bank and was living in Riegelsville in rural Bucks County. “I got some rocks and added some local materials, put it on display at the bank, and called it the Bucks County Nativity Scene. People wanted me to build one for them and their friends.” Encouraged by admirers of his scenes, he studied the history and architecture of the Nativity and learned about the pieces made by guilds in the Bavarian and Italian crèche-making regions. Friends Bob and Joyce Byers, who had their own renowned Christmas market at Byers’ Choice in Chalfont, Pa., encouraged him to do more.

We design settings that evoke the meaning of the birth of Christ

backdrops painted by artist Stumpf, small rugs, and carved wood figures with realistic gestures and facial expressions. Attention is paid to architecture like doorways, arches, and rooflines. In addition to their own artistic skills, X-Acto knives, Dremel drills, spackling paste that resembles stucco, and hot glue are essential. Navidad builds about 20 presepios, as they are called in Italy, for collectors, churches, and families each year. DiAntonio and Stumpf travel regularly to Europe to find figurines, and Stumpf has also designed for Fontanini, one of the largest producers of Nativity figures in the world. Each Navidad scene takes about 30 to 40 hours of labor, not including discussion with clients to make each

Nativity for a New Century in progress in Atelier Sanctuary studio. All Navidad Nativities are meticulously constructed of wood, and concepts take a substantial amount of time and planning. holiday 2017 PRiNCEToN MaGaZiNE

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By 1988 he had left the bank and founded an ad agency. The crèches took more of his time, and in 1996 he was able to visit the Atlanta Gift Market. “I wandered around and found rather decent Nativity figures but none of the settings were anything to write home about. I said to myself, ‘let’s get serious.’” He pitched his Nativity business story to magazines, and after a 1996 piece in Country Living, a reader got in touch and offered $3,500 for one of the Nativity scenes pictured in the magazine. Hundreds of queries poured in. He began to design buildings for Roman Inc.’s Fontanini division, and began selling through Fontanini’s 5,000-plus stores as well as displaying original work in the Atlanta showrooms. In 1999, representatives of the Vatican contacted Stumpf about designing the official Centennial crèche, but he had to turn it down because of other deadlines. He still shakes his head that he turned down the Vatican. (He also turned down a stint on Martha Stewart’s television show because he didn’t feel ready.) But at a Fort Washington, Pa., holiday show, he sold everything and won a Best in Show award. And, Navidad has a permanent presepio at Byers’ Choice, which was featured for the World Meeting of Families and Pope Francis’s visit in 2015.

DIANTONIO’S DRAMATIC INFLUENCE

Stumpf and DiAntonio forged a fast friendship and collaboration. For his part, DiAntonio, with his Hollywood production savvy, further elevated

the dramatic look of the crèches. After graduating from James Madison University, DiAntonio worked in production at the Salt Lake City Olympics and then for Los Angeles’ Dakota Films, which specialized in opening segments (think Billy Crystal’s opening on the Oscar telecast). After 10 years, he said, “I had enough. It was stressful. I was tired.” He happened to have a wide-ranging Christmas collection of nearly 400 Nativities, and met Stumpf at a Nativity event at Byers’ Choice. Shortly after, he moved near Malvern where he grew up. His day job is at a Christmas shop in Chester County. “My obsession is somewhat out of control,” he joked. “I have no idea what spoke to me about it. I couldn’t tell you. My mother had a small papiermâché Nativity made in India and I played with that until several figures crumbled.” He freely admits to his OCD — obsessive Christmas disorder.

GLENCAIRN AND MORE

Business began to take off. After creating a very large scene for the Byers’ Choice collection of classic 18th century Neapolitan crèche figures, Stumpf and DiAntonio were invited to visit Glencairn Museum in Bryn Athyn, Pa., where they were inspired by the architecture. “We wanted to tell the story of Glencairn and the Bryn Athyn Cathedral,” said Stumpf. Unveiling their Nativity for the New Century for the museum staff for the World Nativities exhibit, they heard a gasp and applause, and knew they had captured the essence

of the architecture. Glencairn Museum’s World Nativities exhibition presents dozens of three-dimensional Nativity scenes collected from around the world, according to curator Ed Gyllenhaal, who said that, “for many Christians the Nativity scene is a meaningful expression of religious faith, providing a compelling visual focus during the Christmas.” World Nativities shows how artisans adapt the Nativity scene to represent their own spiritual, intellectual, cultural, and regional environments. World Nativities at Glencairn Museum runs from November 24 through January 7, 2018. The Museum is open from daily from noon to 4:30PM; closed December 11-12, and 24-25. There is a suggested $5 donation to World Nativities and a second exhibition, Do You See What I See? Imagery from Nativity Scenes (same dates and times). The future of Navidad Nativities? More of the past. In Italy, it is believed Nativities should be relevant today, Stumpf noted, and he and DiAntonio plan more engaging and dynamic settings that elevate the tradition. They still want to build a Nativity scene inspired by the Church of the Nativity in Jerusalem. And who knows what inspiration their trips to Austria, Germany, and Italy will bring. “The art is important,” says Stumpf. “People and ideas come and go, but art that inspires the heart lasts.” Navidad Nativities can be reached at 215.794.0625 and 267.884.3108, or view work at www.navidadnativities.com.

(LEFT) The Holy Night Stable includes a rock grotto and wooden stable. Figures are approximately 4-5" tall and are crafted in the Italian Alps by the Ulrich Perathoner family. Figures are all created from wood, hand finished and painted; lit with four adjustable LED lights with a hidden control unit in the back of the piece. The overall size of the piece is 28"w x 20"d x 20" h. Signed and dated by the artists. (RIGHT) A.J. DiAntonio working in the studio.

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PRINCETON MAGAZINE hOlIdAy 2017


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Princeton Magazine, Holiday 2017  

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