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Princeton magazine

october 2014

october h e a lt h y l i v i n g




Home is Where the Galas Are Melanie and John Clarke welcome community nonprofits to their restored Colonial Revival home

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32 OCTOBER 2014




44 18 ..... HERE & THERE .....

..... FEATURES .....




PRINCETON’S TOP 10 Haunted places around town


A restored Colonial Revival in the heart of Princeton’s historic district 12






Hail Morven’s latest (landmark) exhibition

Finding the soul of the tree 32






Joyce Carol Oates

Getting to know the men and women in blue





A well-designed life 18

A signature collection


Shining the light on a legend 54

58 ..... LAST WORD .....


The novelist’s thoughts on cats, Shakespeare, and the Obamas 68

ON THE COVER: Dusk view of Melanie and John Clarke’s Princeton home, restored by Knight Architects and Pinneo Construction. Photography by Pete Weigley.




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CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Stuart Mitchner Ilene Dube Linda Arntzenius Ellen Gilbert Anne Levin Gina Hookey Taylor Smith ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Robin Broomer SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER Jennifer McLaughlin

For more information:

ACCOUNT MANAGERS Jennifer Covill Kendra Russell Cybill Tascarella Erin Toto OPERATIONS MANAGER Melissa Bilyeu PHOTO EDITOR Andrew Wilkinson PHOTOGRAPHERS Andrew Wilkinson Tom Grimes Pete Weigley PRINCETON MAGAZINE Witherspoon Media Group 305 Witherspoon Street Princeton, NJ 08542 P: 609.924.5400 F: 609.924.8818 Advertising opportunities: 609.924.5400 Media Kit available on

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Princeton Magazine is published 7 times a year with a circulation of 35,000. All rights reserved. Nothing herein may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission of the publisher. To purchase PDF files or reprints, please call 609.924.5400 or e-mail ©2014 Witherspoon Media Group




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Witherspoon Media Group’s Advertising Team (LEFT TO RIGHT) Cybill Tascarella, Jennifer McLaughlin, Robin Broomer, Kendra Russell, Jennifer Covill, Erin Toto (NOT APPEARING). Hair and makeup by LaJolie Salon & Spa.

Dear Princeton Readers and Advertisers, Since joining the staff of the Town Topics Newspaper 11 years ago, I have seen the company evolve with the addition of Princeton Magazine, the launch of Urban Agenda NYC magazine, and the rise of our digital and social media platforms. We are now Witherspoon Media Group! While growing at an impressive rate, my incredible sales team and I constantly strive to develop and nurture personalized relationships with our clients. I am very proud of our 69-year-old legacy of providing high-quality publications and would like to take this opportunity to thank our advertisers, partners, and of course our loyal readers for their tremendous support. Princeton readers are well aware that we live in an extraordinary town. As a resident myself and the mother of two young children, I know first hand that Princeton has a multitude of resources for kids and their parents. We love going to the Arts Council of Princeton’s Hometown Halloween Parade, Terhune’s for some apple cider, kayaking on Carnegie Lake to see the beautiful foliage, Marquand Park, hockey games at Baker Rink, visiting the Princeton Public Library, grabbing churros at Witherspoon Bread and so much more! What I love most is how diverse the town is and how you meet such wonderful people from all over the world.



My goal as Advertising Director is to surpass your expectations—a challenge that grows with every issue of each publication we publish. The annual Healthy Living issue is always fun to work on (see the flip side) and the reception of our previous “flip,” Princeton Family was so positive that we have another one in the works for early 2015. Be on the lookout for the Holiday 2014 issue as it will be better than ever. To help with your holiday shopping, we are launching the Princeton Magazine online store on November 1. It will feature classic gifts from your favorite Princeton merchants. As for 2015, we are planning new and exciting programs to provide our advertisers with the best possible vehicle to get their message out to our readers! I hope you enjoy this issue and all of those to come! With warmest regards,

Robin Broomer Advertising Director


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Home is Where the Galas Are Melanie and John Clarke further their caretaking of the non-profit community in a restored colonial revival story by Ilene Dube portrait photography by andrew wilkinson architectural photography by Pete Weigley

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would be fun to play hide-and-seek at 200 Mercer Street—its many staircases, landings, mudroom and even cherrypaneled elevator make ideal hiding spots. But rather than let their guests get lost, owners Melanie and John Clarke open up those spaces for musicales and galas to benefit Princeton arts and cultural organizations. “There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for Princeton Symphony Orchestra,” says Melanie Clarke, its executive director. “Having this house enables us to execute our dreams of taking care of family and the family of not-for-profits we’re interested in.” Although she never thought of herself as a chandelier person, now that she is sharing her home with five rewired fixtures dripping illuminating prisms, Melanie says she likes them. They are fitting for a structure with fluted ionic columns and scrolling capitals towering two stories at the front entrance. About halfway between Einstein’s house and Battlefield Park, the Colonial Revival is at the heart of Princeton’s historic district. The chandeliers keep company with eight fireplaces, pocket doors, and a grandfather clock. The Clarkes—John is a venture capitalist in the healthcare industry—bought the house five years ago from the estate of Douglas Bushnell, a former American Express executive and second husband to Betty Wold Johnson. Bushnell raised three children from an earlier marriage at 200 Mercer, but when he married Johnson they lived on a farm in Hopewell. He kept 200 Mercer as a sort of museum of his collections: Titanic memorabilia, grandfather

clocks, Fabergé eggs, statues and chandeliers. Bushnell died in 2007 at age 87. Johnson, a philanthropist and widow to Robert Wood Johnson III, continues to live in Hopewell. Among the many musical organizations she supports is Princeton Symphony Orchestra, and she and Melanie have shared a long friendship. The Clarkes met Bushnell once or twice, and Johnson was delighted when they bought the property. Built in 1896 for John Howell Westcott, a classics professor at Princeton University, 200 Mercer required substantial structural repair. “We knew we had a project, though not the extent of it,” says Melanie. The Clarkes have correspondence between the original architect, William E. Stone of New York City, and Westcott, about Westcott’s fascination with the columns and capitals. Indeed the entire house is like a pattern book of Greek and Roman architectural elements, and all have been restored by Princeton architect Cathy Knight. John Clarke first began talking to Knight about 200 Mercer on the soccer field, where their daughters competed. He’d worked with contractor Tom Pinneo on the renovation of a stone house on Nassau Street for his business, Cardinal Partners. The house had to be taken back to the studs, reports John. Parts of the house were no longer on solid foundation, and so the foundation and some chimneys were rebuilt. This meant all the flooring and trim work had to be replicated. It took two years before the house could be made habitable. Knight and Pinneo employed Diamond Woodwork of Trenton to do the mill work—everything from

custom cabinets in the kitchen and master bedroom, columns throughout the house, to wainscoting in the dining room. There are 80 doors, with 80 sets of hinges and knobs, and all had to be refinished and squared by a door specialist.


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Standing in front of the house, there is so much to take in, from the stately maples and poplars that have watched centuries turn. The main house—painted in what can only be described as Princeton yellow—is flanked by two wings. Within the portico is a balcony over the front door, and dentil molding, pediments and Palladian windows articulate the structure. There is a playhouse, modeled after the main house, that has been converted to a pool house; a three-car garage has been built to look like an English cottage on the side that faces the garden; and at back is a landscaped stone terrace and grotto that, says Melanie – the mother of four daughters—would make an ideal setting for a wedding. A pool stretches the width of the yard, set off by a woodland at back and a long expanse of lawn at the front. One thinks of the John Cheever story in which the main character sets out to swim home through all the pools in the neighborhood – if he started here, he would cover a great distance. Melanie does daily laps from May to October. Alongside the pool is a tall red perforated metal sculpture by Bruce White, whose red “Crustacean” can be seen at Grounds For Sculpture. White’s large-scale commissions are in public spaces throughout the country. “I saw this sculpture in a gallery in Stowe and couldn’t stop thinking about it,” says John. “He goes after fractal patterns using laser cuttings.” “My favorite room is the sun room,” Melanie says. Formerly a closed-in porch, it has been opened up with two doors for circulation during those large parties. Light fixtures with pressed wildflowers embedded were custom made by an artist the Clarkes discovered near their summer



home in Vermont. Speaking of art, the walls are galleries of works they’ve collected from Vermont to New York’s Swann Galleries, where a daughter once worked. Eight prints by Sol Lewitt evoke an Amish quilt pattern. LEARNING FROM EXPERIENCE

The Clarkes are serial home rehabbers, beginning with their very first abode in Mobile, Alabama, in the late 1970s, shortly after Melanie received her master’s degree in health policy and management from Harvard (as an undergraduate she’d studied at Oberlin and Wellesley). John – whom she’d met in high school – had earned his bachelor’s degree in economics and biology at Harvard. In Mobile, Melanie was working for a government planning agency and John, working for General Electric, was the general contractor for the 1920s cottage they’d bought. “John did everything himself,” she says. “The night we moved in, the only toilet in the house fell through and John refitted it. His father was an engineer and always loved old houses so John learned to be handy. He loves projects.” Melanie, too, has construction in her family. Her stepfather was construction manager for Yale University. Two years later, the couple moved to Philadelphia where John went on to earn an MBA from Wharton. First they lived in a row house in Narbeth, Pa., but the only work it needed was refinishing the wood floors and painting – not much to keep the Clarkes busy, so they soon moved to a brick row house in the Society Hill neighborhood. “The house was livable but very large, with a deep lot, and needed a lot of work,” says Melanie. John built a garage and renovated everything but the kitchen. The Clarkes began growing their

family to fill the rooms. “Every time I went to the hospital, there’d be a huge push to finish another room. We were cash poor but invested blood, sweat and tears.” FROM PHILADELPHIA TO PRINCETON

The Clarkes lived in Philadelphia for eight years, where Melanie worked for a planning firm for hospitals. After finishing his degree, John commuted to Princeton to work for DSV Partners, a venture fund. Julia, 30, Noelle, 27, and Ellen, 25, were all born while the family lived in Philadelphia. After three children, Melanie left her job, and the family moved to Princeton, building a house on Foulet Drive. Isabelle, 22, was born in Princeton. It was while living on Foulet Drive that they bought the Steinway grand piano that takes center stage in the living/music room at 200 Mercer. For people who love fixing up old houses, living in a new house for 20 years was quite a hiatus, so as the daughters went on to independence, the Clarkes knew their time to move had come. “The Foulet Drive neighbors were delightful and wonderful, and it was an ideal place for a young family, but we’d always been looking for an old house,” says Melanie. Meanwhile, John had gone on to become managing partner at DSV, heading up healthcare and life sciences efforts, and in 1997 went on to found Cardinal Partners, one of the leading venture capital partnerships focused exclusively on healthcare investing. In addition to chairing numerous boards and panels, he has various “side projects” renovating small houses and farms. When 200 Mercer came along, “it was a great opportunity. It gave us a chance to exercise our renovation dreams and do it the way grownups do,


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Musical Director Rossen Milanov and Melanie Clarke preparing an auction dinner. Courtesy of Princeton Symphony Orchestra.




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Rossen Milanov directing the Princeton Symphony Orchestra at Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall, Princeton University. Courtesy of Princeton Symphony Orchestra.

with an architect and builder and project manager,” says Melanie. And, like grownups, they had the luxury of living in their Foulet Drive home for the duration of the construction. The kitchen, with granite and soapstone counters and vaulted ceiling, was added on to the house, designed by Knight to replicate the layout of the family’s Vermont house so that finding the sinks, oven and dishwasher is not confusing when going from one house to another. The kitchen opens to the backyard with a large bowed window connecting to the porch. The new porch runs the entire width of the back of the house, with a curved roof forming a bay over silvery wood decking—it feels like the porch of a grand hotel. A balustrade was repaired and matched to the original. The porch leads to a bluestone terrace, which extends onto a great lawn, a perfect party setting. Landscape designer Holly Nelson, also a friend, worked with Kale’s Nursery for the late-blooming plantings. On an early fall day, sheep’s-head size hydrangeas were tinged pink. A poplar tree, with enormous ground-grazing branches like arms stretching out in supplication, forms a focal point. Jasper, a Yorkypoo, and Oliver, a Standard Poodle, enjoy the run of the yard. With three daughters living in New York City, there’s usually one home every weekend. Daughter Isabelle, recently graduated from Harvard with a degree in East Asian studies, was visiting while Melanie led a tour through the house. Two of the daughters believe the house to be haunted and

claim to have seen a child in a hoody at their bedside, according to Melanie. “When the sheetrock was down we found places where there’d been a fire,” she says. “Maybe someone perished.” GUESTS ENJOY PRIVACY

And while the Clarkes do enjoy privacy, they find themselves changing sheets frequently between guests. Musicians and guest artists with the orchestra often stay, as might a string quartet in the area. Melanie likes the layout of the rooms, which affords privacy. The third floor landing includes a sort of aerie, with leather sofas, a sea chest, a large screen TV and a view out the large Palladian window. When U.S. Rowing Team members were hosted here they could relax in that space. Besides overnight guests, there are the parties. Two butler pantries, behind leaded glass doors inspired by similar doors in the Woodrow Wilson house on Library Place, contain 150 wineglasses and service for 50. In the mudroom’s farmhouse sink, Melanie arranges flowers for centerpieces. A month after the family moved in, a musicale for 100 was held. The annual meeting dinner for the PSO board is held here, and four times a year there is a dinner related to a concert. There was a CASA benefit, and a cocktail party for the Friends of the Princeton University Art Museum, as well as a cookbook author night for the Princeton Public Library. Melanie, who loves to cook—especially desserts—wound up preparing a meal for the authors. There have been board meetings and a dinner

PSO BRAVO! Instrument Petting Zoo. The “zoo” was open at the Princeton Public Library’s Children’s Book Festival on Saturday, September 20, 2014. Courtesy of Princeton Symphony Orchestra.

for Hands Together, a non-profit organization that provides health care and education support to the needy in Haiti—John is a trustee. The house was featured on the Historical Society Princeton’s house tour two years ago, and the Clarkes have even offered it in a house swap—giving their own share of the swap to the orchestra for an auction item. But most of all, the house is a place to have fun. An auction item for the symphony’s benefit is a dinner for 12 prepared by Conductor Rossen Milanov and Melanie. “I learned he loves chopping. Since then we do a lot of chopping together. Even in the kitchen, Rossen is a maestro.”


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(left to right) Steve Willard, Matt Willard, and Glenn Willard photographed among the domestic and exotic woods.

f you’re seeking the golden russet and brown stripes of bubinga, the dark mellow grain of wenge, the bright stripes of zebrawood or the dark sheen of ebony in central New Jersey, Willard Brothers Woodcutters is where you’ll find it. Whether for a table, a cabinet, a bar, or maybe even a guitar, Willard Brothers specializes in both exotic woods and domestics, such as oak, black walnut, maple, poplar or cherry. Located in a woodsy section of Bakers Basin Road at the edge of Trenton, this mecca for fine woodworkers is a third generation family business. Although the company has a website and a Facebook presence, woodworkers want to smell and touch what they will spend many hours crafting an enduring work from. Pass the SavATree trucks and walk into the “showroom” where you’ll see signs for Real Milk Paint alongside rolls of veneer–mappa burl, red oak, walnut and aromatic cedar. Although recently reorganized so that the wood stands vertically for easy viewing, the showroom is much more woodshop. At center is a table made of a flitch (a tree slab with raw edges) with two finely turned wooden bowls on its top.

FINDING THE SOUL OF THE TREE Willard Brothers is a company with a rich history. Sam Willard started a tree service in the 1950s that morphed into Shearer/Penn. A believer in adaptive reuse before the term came into common parlance, Willard expanded into selling lumber and furniture

from the trees he took down. He began acquiring land to establish Christmas tree farms in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and later started Bear Swamp Mulch. Willard was committed to using every part of the tree. What couldn’t be used was ground up and sold as mulch. While delivering ice in the 1950s, he met furniture sculptor George Nakashima (1905-1990). The two discovered a shared reverence for the tree. Soon Willard was bringing wood to Nakashima’s New Hope, Pa., studio. Considered one of America’s foremost furniture designers, Nakashima valued the relationship between man and tree. He published his ideas in The Soul of a Tree in 1981, a woodworker’s reflections on listening to the wood. “The love for the nature of teak and walnut can best be obtained by working with the material; by cutting, planing, scraping and sanding the wood,” wrote Nakashima, whose enchantment with the forms and spirit of the natural world evolved in the Pacific Northwest of his childhood. “The hours spent by the true craftsman in bringing out the grain, which has long been imprisoned in the trunk of the tree, are themselves an act of creation. He passes his hand over the satiny texture and finds God within.” “Sam loved trees more than anyone I’ve ever met, including my grandfather,” recounted Ru Amagasu, Nakashima’s grandson, who ran Willard Brothers’ furniture shop several years ago. “You can't believe the kind of weather Sam would go out in, saving trees.” Amagasu would see Willard working the day after major winter holidays, even when he was supposed to be retired. The Princeton Elm, at the corner of Witherspoon and Wiggins streets in the Princeton Cemetery, was

the mother for a generation of trees resistant to Dutch elm disease, a scourge that wiped out millions of elms across the country. William Flemer of Princeton Nurseries developed the diseaseresistant strain from the Princeton Elm in the 1920s. When Shearer/Penn was hired to bring down the remains of the 200-plus-year-old tree in 2005, rather than mourn its loss, Willard came up with the idea of turning it into furniture. With a saw mill, drying and storage capacity to handle the wood, all he needed was a craftsman to fashion it into one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture. He hired Amagasu to make fine furniture from historic trees of the Princeton/Bucks County region: the Lawrenceville School Elm, the Present Day Club Kentucky Coffee, the Princeton Stockton Cherry and the Yardley Meeting Walnut. (Note: The Mercer Oak, Princeton’s famed 300-year-old white oak in Battlefield Park under which General Hugh Mercer lay mortally wounded during the Battle of Princeton, and which was the emblem for Princeton Township and the seal for Mercer County, never came into the shop. When several branches were felled during a storm in 1973, a Skillman-based cabinet maker preserved some of the wood, presently incorporated into restaurant ONE 53 in Rocky Hill. When the remaining branches of the Mercer Oak were struck by a storm in 2000, arborists cleared the remnants for safety reasons.) Amagasu, who’d trained with his grandfather since his boyhood, knew how to use the ancient Chinese and Japanese technique of butterfly joints that his grandfather adapted for decorative use. “Live edge” is the term for the style of dining and coffee tables, developed by Nakashima in the 1950s, that exposes the raw edge of the flitch, or tree slab.


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(opposite) Jason Fahnestock with a custom guitar body; Matt Willard; Brian Millen with a router; Jason Fahnestock.

Jason Fahnestock sanding natural edge wood.

FOCUSING ON LOCAL WOODS Three years ago, at 81, Sam Willard was still working, driving a tractor on one of his farms, when he had a heart attack and died, doing what he loved. Today, the business is run by his sons, Glenn and Steve, and grandson, Matt. Shearer/Penn has been sold to SavATree, and Bear Swamp’s mulching operation is now leased to the Pennsylvania mulching company Victory Gardens. Ru Amagasu no longer works for Willard Brothers, but runs his own furniture making business as a tenant on the property. Brian Millen, who trained under Amagasu, manages the woodworking shop. Millen, who studied industrial design at Rochester Institute of Technology, creates everything from dining tables to Conoid chairs–thus named in 1957 by Nakashima, who designed them for his conical shaped studio. “We take a tree, mill it, and bring it through its final process,” says Millen. “It takes years.” Once a tree comes into the shop, it has to age one year for every inch of thickness. Dry heat may be used to expedite the process. “We’re no longer focused on historic trees,” says Millen. The wood is not always the best to use. And exotic woods, becoming increasingly rarer, are not

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always the easiest to work with. Willard Brothers is concentrating on local woods, such as locust, mulberry and paulownia, a deciduous tree native to China that has since naturalized in the U.S. Domestic woods are free of allergens, silica, minerals and toxins, Millen adds. “People come with a rough idea and we’ll help them to conceptualize it and sketch it out,” Millen says of his clients, who make the trip from as far away as New York City. “Architects and designers bring detailed drawings.” Sculptors also seek wood– the Digital Atelier in Hamilton has used maple and mahogany for a three-dimensional model—and others are looking for custom woodwork on boats. Paulownia is sought for surfboards and oars because of its buoyancy, and also for stringed instruments. Even telescope makers shop at Willard Brothers.

FOLLOWING THE GRAIN Matt Willard, who studied marketing at the University of Arkansas and played professional baseball for the Cleveland Indian’s farm team, joined the family business two years ago. “I saw how hard my grandfather worked to build this business,” says the 25-year-old. He is the only one of his generation with an interest in the family business. “I want to keep it going.” Matt oversees

the tree farms, as well as the wood shop, where a recent project included making massive tables from Hawaiian koa wood that had been helicoptered off the island. “But we try to keep it local so there’s not as much fuel consumption. We have beautiful material in our backyard, such as black walnut and cherry.” The company was recently featured in Fine Woodworking magazine for a countertop used with Blanco sinks, and had a table at the Philadelphia Invitational Furniture Show. Commissions have included everything from tables and chairs at Princeton Theological Seminary to sample wood for a Japanese car company to replicate synthetically for vehicle interiors. Café Galleria in Lambertville had tables made in burl poplar, and a hostess stand was made with live-edge walnut. Another restaurant in Lambertville commissioned live-edge countertops. Last winter, through Princeton landscape artist Peter Soderman and sculptor Jonathan Shor, a space at the heart of Whole Foods Princeton was dedicated to showcasing Willard Brothers reclaimed wood tables, highlighting how sycamore, walnut and other woods could be repurposed. Not only are the trees memorialized in the live-edge furniture made at Willard Brothers, but so are Sam Willard and George Nakashima, who saw life in the grain of the wood.


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“Recognizing and knowing everyone on campus, that’s My Hun.”

– Jack Toll ’16

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founded in 1864

Educating, nurturing and developing Educating, nurturing and developingsuccessful successful young men and women for more than 40 years, The School young men and women for more than 40 years, TheLewis Lewis School is a world renowned, co-educational, independent private day school focused is a world renowned, co-educational, independent private day school focused on providing exceptional multisensory educational opportunities to dyslexic on providing exceptional multisensory educational opportunities to dyslexic students in gradesstudents Pre-Kinthrough high school and post graduate levels. grades Pre-K through high school and post graduate levels.

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NOV. 14

OCT. 31

M a r k Yo u r

NOV. 1


m u s i c | b o o k s | t h e at r e | l e c t u r e s | s p o r t s

Tuesday, October 14

Saturday, November 1

7:30PM Opening night for The Understudy, a comedic play written by Theresa Rebeck, creator and producer of the NBC hit Smash, at McCarter Theatre (runs through November 2). www.

6PM “Beyond Words: An Evening to Benefit the Princeton Public Library” will include dinner, a silent auction, and guest appearance by author Gary Shteyngart.

Sunday, October 19 3PM The Richardson Chamber Players perform an evening of “Russian Treasures” with works by Rachmaninoff. 3PM Community festival at the Hopewell Elementary School celebrates the close of the public art oxen exhibit and reveal the People’s Choice Award. The Hopewell Valley Arts Council’s The Stampede exhibit and fundraiser committee invite you to go online at to purchase an “oxceptional” work of art!

Saturday, October 25 7:30AM Isles, Inc. Haunted Harvest 5K Race/Walk and Monster Madness Mile Fun Run.

Thursday, October 30 6PM Amy Jo Burns reads from and discusses her new memoir, Cinderland, about life in a small post-industrial town in Pennsylvania. Burns also teaches at the Arts Council of Princeton. www.

Friday, October 31 5PM Dress-up in your best costume for Princeton’s Annual Hometown Halloween Parade through downtown Princeton. Bring your whole family (furry friends included).



12PM Rutgers University football vs. Wisconsin at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway.

Sunday, November 2 7AM The 2014 Princeton Half Marathon. www.

Thursday, November 6 7:30PM Rosanne Cash performs hits from her latest album, The River & The Thread, at McCarter Theatre. The album explores Cash’s southern family roots through musical themes of family, heritage, place, and time.

7PM Princeton University mens ice hockey vs. Cornell University at Hobey Baker Rink. www.

Saturday, November 8 7AM The 2014 Trenton Half Marathon. www. 10AM-4PM The Historical Society of Princeton’s November House Tour celebrating the best in Princeton architecture and design. www. 8PM The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra performs works of Mozart, Strauss, and Schubert at the State Theatre NJ in a concert entitled, “Classic Vienna.”

Sunday, November 9

8PM The Ébène Quartet, a French string quartet based in Boulogne-Billancourt, France, performs at Richardson Auditorium. www.

3-5PM Jazz singer Karrin Allyson performs a benefit concert at the Arts Council of Princeton. The concert will benefit two local non-profits that address poverty, violence, and the spread of disease in the Democratic Republic of Congo. www.

Friday, November 7

Tuesday, November 11

9AM-6PM Enjoy the beauty of Longwood Garden’s Chrysanthemum Festival after hours and see more than 1,000 lanterns aglow in the Conservatory at this Asian inspired celebration (also on November 8). 11AM-7PM The 51st Annual Delaware Antiques Show on the Wilmington Riverfront. This event showcases the best in American antiques and decorative arts.

6PM Hugh Herr, Head of M.I.T. Media Lab’s Biomechatronics Group, delivers a free lecture on how bionic limbs mimic the function of natural limbs.

Wednesday, November 12 6PM Acclaimed author and Princeton native John McPhee delivers a free lecture on creative non-fiction and the writing process at Princeton University’s McCosh Hall 50.


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HURSDAY, NOVEMBER 13 10AM-2PM The Junior League Designer Showhouse and Gardens Exhibition. Tour the brick Georgian at 159 Library Place in Princeton, decorated for the winter holidays by local interior designers and landscape architects (through November 23). Tickets are available at

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 14 4:30PM The Fund for Irish Studies at Princeton University presents Charles Fanning on “Banish the Bushwah! Why We Ought to Read James T. Farrell.” 8PM The world-famous Princeton Triangle Show opens at McCarter Theatre. Don’t miss the iconic all-male kickline (through November 16)! www. 8PM The Institute for Advanced Study’s Edward T. Cone Concert Series welcomes Ralph van Raat, a celebrated pianist from Amsterdam. Raat will play works by both Dutch and American composers.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 16 1PM Alborada Spanish Dance Theatre performs the dynamic dances of Spain and Mexico at Grounds for Sculpture. 6-10PM S.A.V.E. Animal Shelter’s Annual Holiday Boutique and Party at The Bedens Brook Club in Skillman. Includes cocktails, buffet, and gifts for pampered pets and their human friends. www.

OCT. 19



10AM-10PM Start of the Friends Holiday Shopping Event at the Princeton University Art Museum Gift Shop (also on November 21). http://artmuseum.

10AM-4PM Holiday Trolley Tours led by the Princeton Tour Company (select weekends throughout November and December). www.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 22 1PM Princeton University football vs. Dartmouth College at Princeton Stadium. www. 10AM-5PM The 41st Annual YWCA Crafters’ Marketplace at John Witherspoon Middle School in Princeton (also on November 23). www.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 23 7:30PM Westminster Choir College’s Jubilee Singers Fall Concert at Bristol Chapel.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 25 6-11PM Rum & Onions 35th Annual Halloween Contra Dance including a potluck supper and evening dance.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 26 7PM American Repertory Ballet performs the timeless Nutcracker at McCarter Theatre (through November 29).

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 27 9AM-12PM The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

12-5PM Wine Trail Weekend at Terhune Orchards. Enjoy the Tasting Room where you can sample Terhune’s award winning wines and warm cider (through November 30). www.terhuneorchards. com. 5PM The official Christmas Tree Lighting at Princeton’s Palmer Square. Festivities begin at dusk.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 29 10AM-5PM The Covered Bridge Artisans Annual Holiday Studio Tour, a self-guided tour in Hunterdon County (through December 1). www. 12-3PM Every Saturday and Sunday afternoon beginning on November 29, enjoy strolling holiday entertainment, carolers, Santa, and more in Princeton’s Palmer Square (through December 21).

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 30 12-4PM Enjoy Morven Museum & Garden’s Festival of Trees, a must-see Princeton holiday tradition (on view through early January).


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Rossen Milanov Music Director and Conductor

THE 2014�2015 SEASON BEGINS! Classical Series Mini�Subscriptions Available Through October 15 sundays at 4pm Pre-concert Talks at 3pm Richardson auditorium, alexander Hall, Princeton University Campus

sunday september 28 R O M A N T I C I M A G I N I N G S Bella HRisTova, violin Bruch / violin Concerto no. 1 in G Minor Bruckner / symphony no. 4 in e-flat Major, “Romantic”

sunday november 2 C L A S S I C A L LY R U S S I A N Edward T. Cone Concert naTasHa PaReMski, piano Works by Bolcom, Tchaikovsky, and stravinsky

sunday January 18 S C E N I C R H Y T H M S Daniel BoiCo, guest conductor RoBeRT Belinić, guitar Works by Respighi, Rodrigo, and Beethoven

sunday March 15 S O U L F U L R E F L E C T I O N S ZUill Bailey, cello Works by Currier, schumann, sibelius, and Massenet

sunday May 17 V I V A V E R D I ! verdi opera excerpts featuring talented guest artists

4-Concert Mini-Subscriptions: $248, $202, $156, and $104 Single Tickets: $75, $60, $48, and $30 Dates, times, programs, and artists subject to change

Order online: By phone: (609) 497-0020

42 |


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(LEFT TO RIGHT) Ptl. Chris King, Lt. Chris Morgan, Cpl. Marla Montague, Chief Nick Sutter.

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recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, have made clear, open lines of communication between the police and the people they serve are a vital part of modern policing. It’s been almost two years since the Princeton Police Department was formed as a result of the consolidation of Princeton Borough and Princeton Township into a single municipality. The process of joining two formerly independent police departments, each with its own procedures and practices, its own culture, you might say, has not been painless. A process of review and self-reflection that has been described as a model for other municipalities, brought to light a past history of dysfunction. When the Borough and Township police became one in January 2013, a new era was heralded by then Police Chief David Dudeck, appointed to lead the new department in what seemed to be an atmosphere of renewal. One of Dudeck’s first tasks was to unveil a new Police Community Survey that asked residents what they wanted from their police. But even before the results of the survey were in, Dudeck was on leave amidst allegations of misconduct; he subsequently retired last September, shortly after seven officers, all of whom served under Dudeck when he was chief of Borough Police, filed a lawsuit against him, the department and the municipality, alleging discrimination and harassment based on “gender, sexual orientation and disability.” It was not a good start for Princeton’s largest, most expensive, most essential and most community-sensitive department. The lawsuit is not the subject of this article, which is focused instead on the Department that has not only weathered past storms but is emerging as a different kind of police department, one in which transparency is the order of the day. In April, a popular new police chief was appointed from within departmental ranks by unanimous decision of Mayor Liz Lempert and members of Princeton Council. Nicholas K. Sutter, 43, who had served in the Borough since 1995, and had been acting chief since his predecessor’s departure, was cheered by a roomful of blueuniformed officers at Witherspoon Hall. As acting chief, he had had been commended frequently as a unifying influence, introducing new community policing and traffic services, and strengthening community relations. “The department is very different now,” says Sutter, who grew up in Hillsborough in a family of public servants; both his parents were teachers. He always wanted to be a police officer and, although he explored possible careers in business and education, graduating with a double-major in finance and economics from Kean University in 1993, it was police work that drew him. “My uncle, Carl Gaebel, was an officer in North Plainfield and he was an enormous influence on me.” Sutter likens his job to a “calling.” “Policing requires service and sacrifice from officers and their families, it has to be a calling and even if many officers don’t appreciate that to begin with, they soon come to realize it.”



Sutter and his wife Carrie have three boys, Thomas, 10, Nicholas, Jr., 7 and Gavin, 4. Married for 14 years, they live in Lawrenceville. He came to Princeton straight out of Police Academy and has worked his way through division ranks, from patrol through to sergeant, detective sergeant, lieutenant, and then captain. Serving in every division gives him an edge, he believes. PERIOD OF CHANGE

“Police departments are ordinarily wellestablished and deeply entrenched organizations with long histories and established cultures,” says Sutter. “That often makes them resistant to change, and that makes the enormous change this department has gone through all the more remarkable. If not managed correctly those changes could have been catastrophic but now, one and half years on, the department is settling into its stride.”

To get to where it is now, the department built on that initial community survey, plunged into extensive officer training in such matters as the handling of immigration status with respect to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement laws, and worked to build trust in Princeton’s immigrant community, bringing to light the complex issue of wage theft, a crime that takes advantage of undocumented workers employed by contractors, restaurant owners, landscapers, private residents or companies. After a very lengthy process in which the entire agency’s practices and procedures came under scrutiny, the department was accredited by the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police in March. Sutter acknowledges “the imperative role” played by the Rodgers Group, the public safety consulting firm hired by the municipality post-consolidation to report on the health and culture of Princeton’s police. “The Rodgers Report entailed an innovative process rare among established police departments, and going through it entitles the department to think of itself as “cutting-edge.” “We are committed to thinking out of the box. We’re not a traditional police department anymore,” says Sutter.


According to the new Chief, transparency is a major aspect of that difference and it is encouraged by making sure there are regular opportunities for views and ideas to reach the Chief’s ear. “Nick is really good at taking in information and letting us know that not everything is written in stone, things can be tweaked,” says Detective Ben Gering, the police union representative of the PBA (Princeton Benevolent Association). In his weekly meetings with Sutter, Gering serves as a conduit for timeand man-power-saving ideas from officers. It’s a procedure that creates “buy-in” for everyone, he says, “especially in a profession where there are so many rules and procedures; everyone feels that they have input, and they do.” “Face-to-face meetings are valuable in a profession where so many officers work varying shifts,” says Sgt. Geoff Maurer. “Regular staffmeetings with first line supervisors and bureau heads are a way not only to share information but allow the Chief and his administrative staff to better ‘keep a pulse’ on the department. Chief Sutter is very approachable and is genuinely invested in the Department; it is obvious he is giving his all to forge the new agency into one that we, and the community, can be proud of.” The department also publishes monthly online reports. With all members of the department sharing the same break room, not much is kept behind closed doors. “We all eat lunch together, we talk about our kids, we laugh; we enjoy each others’ company,” says Sutter, who is clearly proud that his officers form something of a “large extended family.” “Sharing coffee or lunch with the officers is one of the most rewarding parts of my job.” He is quick to point out that all pulled their weight through the recent process of change. “What at first seemed like an impossible task turned out to be very gratifying and they got on with the job right from the start when things were tough; that’s when you really see character,” he says, adding that the Town Administrator, Robert Bruschi, was an enormous influence. “Bob served as a mentor to me; I was always in awe of his analytical ability to look at something from many different angles and find solutions that satisfied all involved; I learned so much from him about leadership and management.” “Consolidation was a learning process for everyone and now we are a larger police department with specialized units that can better serve the public,” says Lt. Sharon Papp, one of several female officers who are supervisors. Papp joined Borough police in 1993 and was Officer of the Year three years later. A graduate of the Trenton Police Academy, she is the daughter of a Trenton police officer, who died before she was born. One other accomplishment that Sutter is particularly proud of is the clarification of what had been an ambiguous relationship between the Princeton Police and Princeton University’s Department of Public Safety. In the past, it was unclear who was responsible for what, which often led to an inefficient duplication of effort when officers from both Borough police and campus police would respond to an oncampus break-in, for example.


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(LEFT TO RIGHT) Lt. Sharon Papp, Ptl. Mike Strobel, Ptl. Steve Kucinski. OCTOBER 2014 PRINCETON MAGAZINE

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“I’ve educated myself a great deal since my days as a Borough police officer and I’ve become much more open to ideas,” says Sutter. “I’ve had to listen and read, listen and understand.” Sutter researched what had been done in other university towns and found that a clearly spelled out Memorandum of Agreement was a recommended best practice. One of the most important aspects of the agreement, says Sutter, is that the collaboration includes sharing resources and is embodied in a “living, breathing document that is discussed at least once a month, and often more frequently.” “I’ve educated myself a great deal since my days as a Borough police officer and I’ve become much more open to ideas,” says Sutter. “I’ve had to listen and read, listen and understand.” SERVICE ORIENTED

As a Patrol Sergeant with 18 years in law enforcement, most of it in Princeton, Geoff Maurer is responsible for the supervision of a patrol squad of some eight individuals. “In Princeton, we are fortunate to work in a safe town, where quality of life issues and traffic concerns are the most common complaints. We are service oriented and assist residents in a myriad of ways that might be outside people’s ‘traditional’ perception of what police officers do,” says Maurer, an avid cyclist and runner who grew up in Plainsboro and is the proud father of two daughters. Like many of his colleagues, Maurer worked while earning his master’s degree at Seton Hall University. Like Sutter, he tried business but it wasn’t for him; he prefers the variety that a career in law enforcement brings. His father was also a police officer and enjoys interacting with the public through the Community Policing Unit. He has taught the DARE program; assisted parents with child safety; and organized a bike light give-away program to provide rear bike lights to Princeton’s Hispanic population. “Oftentimes officers only interact with citizens in a negative context: when they are victims of a crime, when they break the law, or are in a crisis. It is truly gratifying to be a positive influence in people’s lives,” he says. PROACTIVE POLICING

“The major policing issues in Princeton are quality of life issues,” says Sutter. “The town sees a little bit of everything, as a destination for an influx of visitors, we have traffic issues, and we are keenly aware of our need to ensure the safety of our young people. We police in a proactive way, reaching



out to schools and the community at large.” Besides other duties, Lt. Chris Morgan oversees both the Safe Neighborhood Bureau and the Detective Bureau. “Police work in every aspect is about helping others and the community in which you work; every hour of the day our officers are working to make Princeton a better community for our residents and visitors. What I appreciate most about this profession is working with officers and our civilian employees who are committed to the organization, the profession and the community. Because of their professionalism and dedication the Princeton Police Department has quickly identified itself as one the finest police departments in the state. There is a tremendous amount of pride in our organization.” Morgan, who grew up in Ewing and lives in Robbinsville with his wife Alison and their two children Jack, 8, and Emily, 6, looks forward to events such as “Coffee with a Cop” at local eateries in which local residents sit down with officers and enjoy a free cup of coffee and one-on-one conversation. “These sit-downs will break down barriers if residents don’t feel uniformed officers are approachable. It is our goal to foster relationships between our officers and members of the community, which in turn will benefit the department as well as the public we serve,” says Morgan whose time away from work is typically spent coaching his son’s little league team or going to his daughter’s dance recitals. Growing up with a police officer brother, Morgan saw first hand the positive impact his brother had on his community. “That’s what guided me toward law enforcement,” he says. A graduate of The College of New Jersey, he has a BS in Law and Justice and an MA from Seton Hall University that was earned as part of the NJ State Police Graduate Studies Program. In addition, he has a certificate in criminal justice education from the University of Virginia and has had Federal Bureau of Investigation training. Helping people was also an impetus for Patrol Officer Mike Strobel. “I also enjoy the fact that every shift is different and no two days are the same; you have to be mentally and physically prepared for what you may encounter any given day,” says Strobel, now in his fifth year with the Department, after graduating with a degree in criminal justice from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in 2008. He hopes to go back to school for a master’s degree in the near future. An interest in problem solving drew Cpl. Marla Montague to law enforcement. Montague grew up in a small farming community in Indiana, not far from Cincinnati, Ohio. She now lives in Ocean County with her husband, also a police officer, and has been with the department for 16 years. The department’s first female firearms instructor, Montague enjoys reading historical biographies and researching her family genealogy in her downtime.


This year, the Department added a K9 unit. Officer Harris, a Czech Shepherd named in honor of Borough Police Officer Walter B. Harris, the African American officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty in 1946, is trained in explosive detection, searching, tracking, apprehension, evidence collection, crime prevention, and security. He will also play an important role in community relations as he visits schools and takes part in local events. His handler, Cpl. Matthew R. Solovay, grew up in Edison and lives in Hamilton with his wife and two boys, aged 4 and 2. Solovay became a Princeton police officer in 2005, after majoring in Criminal Justice at Seton Hall University and graduating from the Alternate Route Program of the John H. Stamler Police Academy. He also has a master's degree in administrative science from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Being a police dog-handler is an enormous commitment for both Solovay and his family. Officer Harris has become part of the Solovay “pack,” which includes their playful five year-old Labrador retriever, Maverick. “But when Harris comes home from work he doesn't turn into a pet; he’s a working dog, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; there is no off switch, he has to be ready to go to work at all times,” says Solovay, who enjoys 5K charity runs and watching his favorite sports teams, The New York Yankees and the Dallas Cowboys. “Only a small percentage of law enforcement officers get the opportunity to have a K9 partner and I’m extremely proud of the program and grateful to the department and local government for this dynamic tool.” MOVING FORWARD

With two officers hired in August, the number of sworn officers is 53, just one fewer than the number immediately post consolidation. Sutter is happy with that. “But the more important question is whether the town’s residents and the governing body are happy with that,” he says. “I believe we can provide excellent service at this number but it’s up to the town to say whether it’s satisfied with the service we provide. Given that we are, in essence, a new department, we are still in a testing period, forming our baseline.” The next big thing on Sutter’s “To Do List” is the development of a strategic plan for the fledgling department. “This is the vehicle that will guide us successfully into the future,” he says. “It’s important that the Princeton community knows that we want them to be proud of us, that each and every one of us wants to serve them in the best way possible.” Pride is a word that Sutter uses a lot, a mantra that serves to dispel the specters of past dysfunction and discord.


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(LEFT TO RIGHT) Cpl. Matt Solovay, Harris, Sgt. Geoff Maurer. OCTOBER 2014 PRINCETON MAGAZINE

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1939 photograph courtesy of the Nassau Inn

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top ten Haunted Places in Princeton Princeton University campus: It’s been a while since any members of the audience or staff has seen the ghost of Hamilton Murray, for whom the theater in which this company of student actors performs was named, but those who claim to have encountered the spirit say he used to appear stage left during performances. Princeton graduate Murray died, along with his sister, in a shipwreck in the Atlantic Ocean in 1873.

9) Nassau Inn: More than one guest at the Palmer

Square hostelry has reported seeing a Revolutionary War type on one of the floors. He’s not angry, they say, but has a curious expression. Also seen from time to time, some say, is a woman going upstairs from the lobby to the second floor private meeting rooms.

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and cosmetics has been surprised on more than one occasion to detect the aroma of cigars -- with no smokers in sight. But since the original Nassau Inn was located directly on the site from 1756 to 1930, some are convinced that the smell comes from ghosts of travelers who bought their tobacco in the hotel.

7) Thomas Clarke House: This historic house at the Princeton Battlefield served as a hospital during the American Revolution. Among those treated was Brigadier General Hugh Mercer, who died from multiple wounds suffered during the Battle of Princeton. In one of the upstairs bedrooms, perhaps where Mercer lay, custodians and one visitor have reported getting an unusual feeling around their necks. Whether that is related to the fact that Mercer’s cravat was taken while he was in the house is open to debate. 52


6) The Barracks: This stone house at 32 Edgehill

Street built by Declaration of Independence signer Richard Stockton is thought to be Princeton’s oldest. During the Revolution, and possibly in the French and Indian War, it was used to house soldiers. That’s where the Hessian Ghost comes in. Legend has it that he appears in the fireplace every Christmas Eve. A Hessian soldier is said to have showed up there during the Battle of Princeton, and died in front of the fireplace from a chest wound.

5) Hulit’s Shoes at 142 Nassau Street: The female members of the staff at this Princeton institution swear to have seen a young girl in a white nightgown frolicking among the shelves when they go downstairs to the basement to pick out shoes for customers. 4) Princeton Cemetery: This renowned resting place of the famous and not-so-famous dates back to 1757. With so many notables buried in its plots—Grover Cleveland, Aaron Burr, and the parents of the Menendez Brothers, to name only a few—those who believe in the spirit world can’t help but be drawn to its tree-shaded grounds. More than one visitor has reported strange sensations at the cemetery. Maybe the university presidents, the signers of the Declaration of Independence, Revolutionary War veterans and philanthropists put to rest there are restless. 3) Town Topics building: The original location of the weekly newspaper, at 4 Mercer Street, now Princeton University offices and housing, was built in 1878 and moved to make way for a war memorial in 1914. Priest’s Drug Store occupied the ground floor for many years. Mary Priest, the wife of the owner, lived upstairs until

1973 during a long illness. An old woman —not threatening— wearing a nightgown, has been seen in the upper window by more than one observer.

2) Rockefeller College Quad: On the Princeton University campus, the college known as “Rocky” is said to be built on what was once a cemetery for the FitzRandolph family. When Italian stonemasons began digging at the site, they found skeletons, which were buried in a wall of the archway to the quadrangle. Two students, a married couple, have said that their room atop the archway had a couch and a painting that would move, independently. 1) McCarter Theatre: Like almost every

professional theatre, this historic stage on the Princeton campus has a “ghost light” on the stage, which stays lit when the theater is dark. While it serves safety concerns, a popular theatrical superstition is that every theater has a ghost, and the light allows spirits to perform onstage, thus appeasing them and keeping them from cursing the theater. Whether McCarter has a ghost has yet to be proven, but any of the thousands of performers who have graced its stage could be hanging around...

(Barracks Photo courtesy of the Historical Society of Princeton)

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( L E F T P A GE )

Hobart Baker, Princeton football captain until 1914, the year the stadium was built. ( AB OV E L E F T ) Chief architect Henry J. Hardenbergh. Palmer Stadium being built and its early years.


rinceton University hired celebrated architect Henry Janeway Hardenbergh to design its football stadium just over a century ago. During the process, a decision was made to build it out of reinforced concrete instead of costlier masonry. The result was horseshoeshaped Palmer Stadium, which seated 45,725 and had an end zone with an unobstructed view of Carnegie Lake. A mix of Collegiate Gothic ornamentation with a classical Greek plan, it cost $300,000 to build and was completed almost a full month ahead of schedule—well in time for the Tigers to defeat Dartmouth 16-12 in the first official game at the venue on October 24, 1914. But that reinforced concrete turned out to be a bad idea. By the time Palmer Stadium entered its eighth decade, its walls were tumbling down. Orange and black netting installed in some sections was the only thing keeping Tiger fans from getting clobbered by hunks of the crumbling material. Nests of bees, which would swarm the press box if anyone so much as opened a can of sugary soda, lurked in its recesses. So Palmer Stadium was torn down in 1996, after the Tigers played Dartmouth–and lost 24-0–on the field for the last time. The home of Princeton football and track for 82 years, and one of the two oldest college stadiums in the United States, was replaced by a 27,773-seat, state-of-the-art, $45 million structure designed by “starchitect” Rafael Vinoly. It was built on nearly the same footprint as its predecessor. Unlike at Palmer, where an all-weather-surface track was built in 1978, the newer Princeton Stadium has a separate track outside its confines. These days, Tiger fans support their team in safer, more comfortable fashion. But although nearly two decades have passed since they bid the rickety

Palmer goodbye, many still look back on it with nostalgia. It was at Palmer, after all, that Heisman trophy winner Dick Kazmaier ’52 became a Princeton football legend, leading the Tigers to an 18-1 record between 1949 and 1951. Dean Cain, who went on to star in the Superman series, set a record for interceptions at 12 in one season. In all, there were 14 undefeated seasons at Palmer Stadium between 1920 and 1964. “It was viewed as holy ground by the football world,” says Gary Walters, who graduated in 1967 and served as Princeton’s athletic director from 1994 until retiring last June. “For me,” he continues, “I was fortunate enough to see the last undefeated team in 1964, led by Cosmo Iacavazzi. I was friends with these guys. I was vested in their performance.” Pulitzer-Prize-winning author John McPhee, who grew up in Princeton and was the son of the football team’s doctor, admires the current stadium but looks back fondly on the old. “There are those of us who remember it,” says McPhee, who graduated from Princeton in 1953 and is its Ferris Professor of Journalism. “I roomed with the football players in college. And when I was growing up, I got a big kick out of being the team’s mascot. Those guys of the late 1930s and into the war years were wonderful in the way they related to a kid.” Palmer Stadium was financed by Edgar Palmer, class of 1903. He named the arena in memory of his father, Stephen S. Palmer. Construction by the George A. Fuller Company took just four months, with workmen divided into two sections. One was assigned to the east side of the stadium and the other worked on the west. According to local lore, there was a friendly competition between the two crews to see who could finish first. There are stories about legendary games, played in legendary weather. On November 23, 1935, there was the famous “twelfth man” snowstorm game in near-blizzard conditions. A crowd of 56,000 people packed the bleachers despite the storm, to watch the Tigers defeat Dartmouth 26-6. What made the game

most memorable, though, was something that happened in the fourth quarter. A man who was later identified as a local cook ran out onto the field and took a spot on the Dartmouth line. He was escorted from the field by stadium security after one play. A hurricane didn’t stop Princeton from defeating Dartmouth again, 13-7, in 1950, despite 80 mile-per-hour winds and gusts reaching 108. Tarpaulins that had covered the field for most of the morning broke from their moorings around noon, and an inch of rain poured onto the field “from one 20-yard line to the other and to within a few yards of each sideline,” according to the Princeton Tigers website. “Atop the stadium, the tar paper roofing was ripped off the press box and water dripped through in increasing quantities. The gusting winds caused the press box and the radio and public address booths to sway noticeably. Nearly 5,000 Tiger faithful braved the elements and watched Princeton complete its perfect season with a 13-7 win against Dartmouth. All three touchdowns were scored by the team driving with the wind.” The University’s head football coach Bob Surace, a 1990 graduate who was on the Tigers team from 1986 to 1989, considers himself fortunate to have played at Palmer Stadium. “You’re walking into a stadium that so many unbelievably great players have played in before you,” he said. “It’s so special that you’re in the same spot that Dick Kazmaier or Cosmo Iacavazzi or Pink Baker, who played on the Team of Destiny in 1922, came before you. He (Baker) came to almost every practice in my freshman year. And the friendships I still have today with the guys I played with–it’s just such a special place.” Surace remembers the game against Yale the year before the stadium was torn down. “The crowd was nearly 40,000 strong,” he said. “It was full, but some areas of the stadium had been condemned. Back in the 1950s and 60s it was full every week, so it was so special to have it almost full again. We had such a sense of pride.”


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A golden anniversary celebration of the 1964 team is planned, Surace says. “Unfortunately Kazmaier passed away last year, but we’re going to honor that undefeated team. The stadium was stateof-the-art in its time. The picures you see in old books of the teams are of a packed stadium. You recognize Princeton was at the level of Alabama or Ohio State. By filling that stadium, so many things on this campus got built. Princeton is partly Princeton because of the gate receipts.” Walters was on his way to a press conference announcing his appointment to the post of athletic director in 1994 when he was told that if he was asked about the state of Palmer Stadium, he should “tiptoe around” the question. Little did he know that he would spend the first five years of his tenure helping to decide the fate of the venue, and then plan for a new one. “It was in incredible disrepair and structurally unsound, I was told, and there was a strong possibility we would have to raze the stadium,” he says. “That’s what I walked into. It had a tremendous emotional impact on me. It was one of the two or three oldest stadiums in the U.S. at that time. So that issue dominated the first five years of my being director of athletics.” An alumni advisory committee including Kazmaier and Iacavazzi was put together. Once it was decided that Palmer would have to go, and Vinoly, who had never designed a football stadium, was hired, Walters set about making sure the new would have a strong tie to the old. “One of my charges was to integrate more with

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the life of the University, and make it more synergistic,” he says. “Some people wanted to move the stadium to the other side of the lake, but I said that wasn’t a good idea. You don’t want to isolate the football field. It was significant that we would be in the footprint of Palmer. We had to have a muscular, aesthetic identity that rivaled the old. For those of us on the alumni committee and the committee to build a new stadium, we were successful in sustaining the memory of Palmer by keeping it where it was. The old Palmer and the reverence we all had for it had great impact on the design of the new. We were very sensitive to the feelings of nostalgia.” The late Jeb Stuart, who was editor and publisher of the weekly Princeton newspaper Town Topics, covered high school and University sports. According to his 2008 obituary in the paper, “He became a fan of Princeton football at age six when he was taken to the press box at the top of Palmer Stadium by his father, who announced the game in progress over the stadium’s public address system. For many years after college Jeb worked beside his father in the announcer’s box as a spotter, following each play through binoculars to feed his father the player’s names and numbers for play-by-play descriptions.” Princeton athletics, especially football, likewise played a large role in the childhood of McPhee, “I grew up on stories about Palmer Stadium. It was built of concrete, spread by a method that was novel at the time,” he says. “It had to do with air pressure, I think. The thing ended up full of holes. And from early on, they had to do dental work on it. My

brother worked for a contractor in the summer. He sat in the stadium with a railroad spike in one hand and a hammer in the other. They’d clear out an area and fill it with fresh cement. Either he or his friend hit the sledge of the spike and it went all the way through and down to the ground. They were halfway up. It was honeycombed with holes.” The football team was in the stadium only for games during McPhee’s childhood, not for practice. “I went to school at what is now 185 Nassau Street. After soccer practice,” he says, “I’d go down the street to football practice at University Field, where the E-Quad is now, and hang around. There was a wall around the practice field because spies were feared to be coming from Yale or Harvard. There were only about two apertures, and everybody who went in was checked. As the mascot, I went on the field with them on Saturdays.” Walters recalls that when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, the football game was postponed for a week. “Then they played Dartmouth, and lost,” he recalls. “Then in the fall of ’64, we had a really strong team. The stadium in those days was packed. Everybody went in suits and ties. It was a big social time. The school wasn’t co-ed yet, and the undergrads brought their dates. That team set the stage for ’64-’65.” Palmer Stadium has been gone since 1996. But in the centennial year of its construction, it evokes memories for so many. “In the four major sports at that time, we were dominant,” says Walters of his own college years during Palmer's heyday. “It was a magical time.”


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( C LO C K WISE , F ROM TOP LEFT) All-American Talbot Pendleton, a few years before the stadium was built. 1951 Heisman Trophy winner Richard William Kazmaier, Jr., College Football Hall of Fame Cosmo Iacovazzi. Gary Walters, the person in charge of the demolition of Palmer Stadium and the building of Princeton Stadium. Bob Surace, current head coach at Princeton University.


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| art scene

Elizabeth Cleveland (b. 1829), Elizabethtown, Essex (now Union) County, 1840; Taught by Miss Maria M. Barton, Elizabethtown, Essex (now Union) County; Collection of Daniel C. Scheid. Photo by Marty Campanelli.

Hail Morven’s Latest (Landmark) Exhibition


by Linda Arntzenius

addition to mounting exhibitions that originate elsewhere, the curatorial staff and volunteers of Morven Museum and Garden come up with one original exhibition each year. In the past they have presented visitors to this historic mansion, once the official residence of the governor of New Jersey, with gorgeous scenes of the New Jersey Pinelands in the photographs of Richard Speedy, a groundbreaking exhibition on the artists of the New Jersey shore, and another on the itinerant New Jersey portrait painter, Micah Williams. With the oddly titled Hail Specimen of Female Art! New Jersey Schoolgirl Needlework, 1726-1860, they have pulled off one more coup. Featuring more than 150 works gathered from private collections, museums and historical societies, the exhibition divides New Jersey into five geographic regions and displays the silk on linen samplers in five corresponding galleries on the museum’s second floor. As the first such survey of its subject, it drew avid fans of the form, not only from New Jersey and Pennsylvania but from Texas, Oregon and Florida, to an all-day symposium at the Nassau Inn earlier this month. The show’s title comes from a line of poetry stitched by a Trenton teenager, Anne Rickey (17831846), in 1798. The daughter of Quaker merchant, John Rickey and his wife Amey Olden, young Anne had relatives in Princeton and visitors are sure to discover familiar names here. Three Princeton girls are represented in the show and there are quite a number from Hopewell. The full text of Anne’s sampler reads: “Hail specimen of female art/The needle’s magic power to show/To canvas various hues impart/And make a mimic world to grow/A sampler then with care peruse/An emblem sage you there may find/The canvas takes what forms you choose/So education forms the mind.” The sampler belongs to the collection of Princeton resident Daniel C. Scheid who, along with Morven’s Elizabeth G. Allen, and the New Jersey-based collectors Dan and Marty Campanelli, served as co-curator of the exhibition. The Campanellis have authored a book on the subject focused on Hunterdon County, A Sampling of Hunterdon County Needlework: the motifs, the makers & their stories. The exhibition wouldn’t have been possible without these volunteer co-curators,” says Allen. “The input and expertise of the Campanellis together with antique sampler and silk embroidery dealers Amy Finkel [of M. Finkel & Daughter, Philadelphia] and Stephen and Carol Huber of Old Saybrook, Connecticut, were crucial in creating the show,” says Allen. “As the world’s top dealers in American needlework of this kind, Amy and the Hubers were able to go through their past Elizabeth M. Freeman (born c. 1817), Woodbridge, Middlesex County, 1826; From the Leslie B. Durst Collection




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(top) Kiziah Sharp (b. 1810), Medford Township, Burlington County, 1825; Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Diker. Photo by M. Finkel & Daughter. (bottom) Sarah Ann Shemelia (1804–1883), Burlington County, 1823; Taught by Paulina Allen, Burlington County; Collection of Terri A. Brady and David W. Johnson. Photo by M. Finkel & Daughter.

inventories and identify works by New Jersey girls. Not only that, they contacted the owners to ask if they would allow their work to be loaned to Morven for the show. As a result, the exhibition presents work that would otherwise be inaccessible to the general public, and that is very exciting.” Stephen and Carol Huber, whose writings include the books Samplers: How to Compare and Value and With Needle and Brush, have been specializing in samplers and girlhood embroidery for the last forty years as dealers, museum consultants, teachers and researchers. Their expertise encompasses the motifs and designs of samplers made in New Jersey, New England, the mid-Atlantic, and the South during the period covered by the exhibition as well as the ways in culture, society, art, and literature affected the designs. The idea for the show took shape over a year ago after several possibilities had been entertained and rejected. Someone mentioned needlework samplers. Had there ever been such a show? After some preliminary research yielded likely sources, this definitive needlework exhibition came into being. The exhibition features loans from across the country including needlework completed in every New Jersey county. Besides the historic and aesthetic merit of works ranging from simple to elaborate, one of the most interesting aspects of this exhibition is the glimpse that it gives of the lives, and especially the education, of girls and young women across the state during this time—what mattered to them, what interested them, as well as aspects of social class and familial status. The curators have brought together work by individual girls and their teachers to reveal schools of work. According to Allen, the co-curators set out to identify teachers and their New Jersey pupils. “Research into the motifs and designs employed by different instructresses uncovered previously unrecognized connections,” she says. In several instances, works by the same hand are displayed together alongside related pieces by sisters, cousins, schoolmates and other close relations; teachers are united with their pupils. Girls would often embroider the name of their teacher as well as their own name or initials. Although produced in New Jersey, many of the samplers traveled far from their origins. The show brings back pieces from Texas, Illinois, Nebraska, Virginia, Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania. One contributor drove all the way from Kansas City with a sampler by Mary G. Taylor, who, as it turns out, taught several girls whose works are also shown. Responding to a call for submissions, the owner was delighted to loan the family heirloom; her husband is a descendent of Taylor’s. “We got news of this piece just as our catalogue was about to go to press so we had to hold the press,” says Allen. “It’s one of the show’s must-see pieces.” The comprehensive and highly informative exhibition catalogue will stand as a work of reference long after the show is dismantled and the samplers returned to their respective private and public collections in historical societies across the state, from Mercer to Cape May and Cumberland

her ABCs, a common subject for needlework samplers. Now where did I leave my stitch craft dictionary? Hail Specimen of Female Art! New Jersey Schoolgirl Needlework, 1726-1860 runs through March 29, 2015 at Morven Museum and Garden, 55 Stockton Street. The fully illustrated exhibition catalogue is available through the museum’s Web site and in the Museum Shop. For more information including hours, admission, and related programs, call 609.924.8144 ext.106 or visit: AREA EXHIBITS Arts Council of Princeton at 102 Witherspoon Street marks the 25th anniversary of the Princeton Artists Alliance with an exhibition of member work through November 26. Founded by Charles McVicker, the group has a current membership that includes Joanne Augustine, Hetty Baiz, Joy Barth, Anita Benarde, Zenna Broomer, Jennifer Cadoff, Rajie Cook, Clem Fiori, Thomas Francisco, Carol Hanson, Shellie Jacobson, Margaret Kennard Johnson, Nancy Lee Kern, Charles McVicker, Lucy Graves McVicker, Harry Naar, James Perry, Richard Sanders, Madelaine Shellaby, Marie Sturken, and Barbara Watts. A catalogue is available. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 9am to 5pm. For more information, call 609.924.8777, or visit: James A. Michener Art Museum, 138 South Pine St., Doylestown, Pa: Out Of This World: Works by Steve Tobin through October 26; Wendy Paton: Nuit Blanche through December 7. For more information, hours and admission, call 215.340.9800 or visit: Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum on the Rutgers campus in New Brunswick: Oleg Vassiliev: Space and Light through December 31; Jesse Krimes: Apokaluptein: 16389067 through December 14; A Place in America: Celebrating the Legacy of Ralph and Barbara Voorhees through February 8, 2015. For admission and hours, call 732.932.7237, ext. 610 or visit: www.zimmerlimuseum.

Counties. Lenders include The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Winterthur, the DAR Museum, the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College, the Bergen County Historical Society, the Cape May County Museum, the Gloucester County Historical Society, the Holcombe-Jimison Farmstead Museum, the Hopewell Museum, the Hunterdon Historical Society, the Leslie Durst Collection, the Metlar-Bodine House, the Old Barracks Museum, and the Salem County Historical Society. This unique show might well bring about a revival of sampler art. Several children’s activities and a number of specialist talks coincide with the exhibition. Dan Scheid will discuss the significance of New Jersey schoolgirl needlework and related topics in “Collecting Needlework (And Other Things),” on Thursday, November 6, at 7pm; and Winterthur Museum Director Linda Eaton will address “The Material Culture of Needlework: Why it Matters,” on Thursday, January 29, 2015, at noon. Taking inspiration from a line stitched by Anne Rickey, Dan and Marty Campanelli, will present “So Education Forms the Mind,” on Thursday, February 26, 2015, at 1pm. Allen confesses to having tried her own hand at cross-stitch as a child, as did her mother, whose interest was sparked when her daughter was learning

ArtWorks Visual Arts Center, 19 Everett Alley, Trenton: The Third Annual Art All Day is a free celebration of creativity throughout the city of Trenton on Saturday, November 8. The event features open studio tours, popup galleries, trolley cars to connecting sites, bike tours, live demonstrations, as well as art and history talks. For more information, contact: 609.510.8836 or artallday@

Carol Hanson, End of Winter Pretty Brook, 20 x 20 inch oil on canvas by Carol Hanson of the Princeton Artists Alliance


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| book scene


A Writer’s Faith by Stuart Mitchner

oyce Carol Oates had been living in Princeton for 25 years when she published The Faith of a Writer: Life, Craft, Art (Ecco 2003), one of two works she named when asked to mention books that were “close to her heart.” The author, who will be teaching her last class at Princeton University in the spring semester of 2015, also cited High Lonesome: New & Selected Stories 1966-2006 (Ecco 2006), which contains “my favorite stories of my own up to that time.” New work published this month includes Lovely, Dark, Deep (Ecco), a collection of short fiction, and Prison Noir (Akashic), the second book she’s edited, after New Jersey Noir, for Akashic’s Noir Series. The Sacrifice, a novel due early in 2015, is set in a “racially troubled” New Jersey city in the late 1980s; she is also working on a memoir to be published in fall 2015. The Act of Writing

The Faith of a Writer is a landmark in the literary genre most famously represented by The Paris Review’s Writers at Work series, the fifth of which includes an interview with Oates, along with, among others, John Cheever, Joseph Heller, Pablo Neruda, and Joan Didion. Oates also edited the eighth volume in the series, providing an introduction that concludes by paraphrasing Flannery O’Connor and John Hersey to the effect that “the very act of writing is an act of hope” and that “writing is the only real reward.” The assertion of writing’s capacity for hope and fulfillment pervades The Faith of a Writer, which thoughtfully and unaffectedly merges personal history with enlightened appreciations of a range of works, beginning with “the marvel” of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Illustrated with “bizarre creatures” and “a perpetually astonished-looking Alice,” Lewis Carroll’s book came to “a farm child, in a work-oriented household,” as “the great treasure” of her childhood and would prove to be “the most profound literary influence” of her life. On Productivity

When you open Lovely, Dark, Deep, the first thing you see, under the heading “Also by Joyce Carol Oates,” is a list of 25 volumes that for most writers would be the total of their published work. But these are 25 story collections. You’d need another full page to list the novels, volumes of poetry, plays, childrens books, and essays. Interviewing her for The Paris Review, Robert Philips addresses the issue upfront “We may as well get this one over with first: you’re frequently charged with producing too much.” After noting that “productivity is a relative matter,” Oates points out that “it may be the case that we all must write many books in order to achieve a few lasting ones....Each book as it is written,



however, is a completely absorbing experience, and feels always as if it were the work I was born to write.” Later, she adds that “each book is a world unto itself and must stand alone, and it should not matter whether a book is a writer’s first, or tenth, or fiftieth.” Oates touches on similar issues in the afterword to High Lonesome when she speaks for most short story writers in saying that “each of our stories exacts from us the same approximate commitment and hope. Prose fiction is, in essence, the realization of an elusive abstract vision in elaborate and painstaking construction, sentence by sentence, word by word. The daunting task for a writer is: what to include? what to exclude? Throughout our lifetimes a Sargasso Sea of the discarded accumulates, far larger than what is called our ‘body’ of work, for each story is an opening into the infinite, abruptly terminated and sealed in language.” The JCO Dynamic

What might called the JCO dynamic can be seen in the contrast between the language of the afterword and that of the voices and styles assumed in the narratives of particular stories. The title piece in High Lonesome offers a striking example. The tone in the opening and closing sentences, though more personal, is at least remotely comparable to the tone of the afterword. The story opens with a question: “The only people I still love are the ones I’ve hurt. I wonder if it’s the same with you?” and ends, “This lonesome feeling I’d make a song of, if I knew how.” To construct a story to fit between that invitingly suggestive opening and those poignant last words would be a challenging exercise for students of creative writing, after perhaps including the admission that follows the opening question: “Only people I’m lonely for. These nights I can’t sleep.” Right away Oates has sounded the terms of the theme with which she begins The Faith of a Writer: “Writing is the most solitary of arts.” And at this point the voice is not all that distinct from the authorial self responding to questions in the interview or composing an afterword or “autobiographical essays on the craft of writing.” In “High Lonesome,” however, there’s a transition in tone as the voice changes from asexual neutrality to masculine immediacy: “See my heartbeat is fast. It’s the damn medication makes me sweat. Run my fingers over my stub-forefinger—lost most of it in a chain-saw accident a long time ago.” As you learn, the truth is that a portion of the narrator’s forefinger was bitten off by his cousin, a deputy sheriff whose skull he crushed with a claw-hammer. Here in full force is the violent, full-blooded, visceral presence that inhabits the author’s most characteristic work. What redeems the graphic account of the killing for literature is the sound rising out of the violence, “a high keening sound” the narrator associates with the singing of his in-law grandfather whose suicide after a police sting gave the killer his motive (“the deputy sheriff betraying his own kind”). At first he thinks the keening sound is coming from his dying victim, “but making this high sharp lonesome sound it finally comes to me, is me, myself.”


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At the end, the metaphorical integrity of the concept gives literary force to the “phantom pain” in the “ugly stub-finger” (“a kind of comfort like your finger is a whole finger somewhere”) and to objects such as the sheriff’s badge and gun taken and saved like relics of the act by his killer, and even the “bloody clothes” buried in “the marshy pasture” where the old man who sang “this high old lonesome sound like a ghost tramping the hills” killed himself. The effect suggests a line that the author quotes from W.B. Yeats in The Faith of a Writer—“A terrible beauty is born.” The more neutral voice returns at the end (“such a mood comes over me here”) as Oates takes implicit possession of the story (“This lonesome feeling I’d make a song of, if I knew how”), turning the “feeling” and the “mood” into a song that is very much her own. As a reader, I might feel more comfortable with a story like “Small Avalanches,” where the point of view of the female narrator coheres more fluidly with the author’s, and where the narrative situation inspires thoughts of other writers. But the brutal poetry of “High Lonesome,” and the dynamic driving the narrative, are one hundred per cent Joyce Carol Oates, and that’s as it should be.

Only Have Faith

It’s interesting to find a less explicit but no less driven version of the JCO dynamic in “To a Young Writer,” perhaps the frankest, most uninhibited chapter in The Faith of a Writer, where an author who has endured more than her share of critical/litchat abuse says, “Don’t expect to be treated justly by the world. Don’t even expect to be treated mercifully.” In the next paragraph, the young writer is told that “Life is lived headon, like a roller coaster ride.” Though the sentence proceeds to contrast the ride to “cooly selective art” that can be created only in retrospect, the author rollercoasters right over the qualifier, “Better to invent wholly an alternate life. Far better!” You can feel the passion that invests the piece building toward the end—“Only have faith: the first sentence can’t be written until the last sentence has been written.” Which brings to mind the first and last sentence of “High Lonesome” and a word as resonant as “faith” in Oates’s celebration of the writing life, repeated twice in the italicized admonition of the first and last sentences of the essay: “Write your heart out.”


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| the last word


Joyce Carol Oates Interview by Stuart Mitchner

ecently asked to name his favorite living novelist by the New York Times Book Review, Larry McMurtry replied, “Joyce Carol Oates...a natural-born writer.” As John Updike once said of her, “If the phrase ‘woman of letters’ existed,” she would be “the person most entitled to it.” It’s good to know that the National Book Award-winner, who has been teaching at the University since 1978, will continue to make Princeton her home after her official retirement next summer. At the time of the interview, she was looking forward to Emily Mann’s “sure-to-be-controversial” McCarter production of Shakespeare’s Antony & Cleopatra. What are your plans after you teach your last class? Will you stay in the area? How would you describe the changes you’ve seen in the college community since you moved here? Though I am retiring from Princeton in July 2015, I am returning to teach a single workshop that fall. I will probably teach workshops here and there for a while, perhaps at NYU, UC-Berkeley, or elsewhere. I enjoy teaching very much, and love to work closely with young or not-so-young writers. We have no plans to move from Princeton. The most obvious change in the area is in population density, construction, and traffic congestion. Not very good changes for the environment, unfortunately.

Twitter is an intriguing new forum for communication and for abbreviated, sometimes Zen-like thoughts. Of course it is not always elevated, but we can avoid “negative” material. Twitter is particularly valuable if you are following a particular subject, for instance contemporary art, neuroscience, poetry, philosophy, feminism, noir movies, animal shelters and animal rights activism. But can one live without Twitter? Yes! Social media are luxuries in our civilized lives that some have come to feel necessary. But they are not. How do you feel about the future of the book, the durability of the print medium and the benefits or downside of devices like Kindle and e-books? After some initial interest, my husband Charlie Gross does not use his iPad very much, for some reason. When we travel, the Kindle or iPad can be particularly valuable, but for much of the time we seem to both prefer books. I don’t find the e-book a negative experience, though it is not particularly positive either—rather more neutral, depending upon the material. But one does miss the aesthetic beauty of some books— covers, texture of paper. Can you say something about what you find most exciting, interesting, or challenging in the arts right now? One of the reasons that I enjoy contemporary films and some TV series is that I don’t have to write about them. If I admire Ida—Calvary—A Separation—A Touch of Sin—Five Broken Cameras— Ajami—Breaking Bad—Mad Men—The Fall and many others, I am not required to have any professional opinions about these interesting and engaging works, which is a relief. As a reviewer, primarily for The New York Review of Books, it seems that I am always presenting a case, a statement, an assessment, an “opinion”….

Can you say a bit about how you conduct class? Will you have more time for your own work now? Your thoughts on literary prizes. Speaking of the series as an art form, My workshops are probably quite like have you been attracted by the idea other fiction workshops. Students have of venturing into that genre yourself? read their classmates’ work beforehand, Blonde was a mini series back in 2001, have printed out stories, and are prepared and is being taken up as a film with to discuss them. These are like editorial Jessica Chastain. Any comments on conferences, and are usually quite intense, that? though all criticism is “constructive.” At I am not involved in this project the end of the workshop, students pass though I’ve read the excellent screenplay copies of the stories to the writers. Of United States President Barack Obama presents the 2010 National Humanities Medal to author Joyce adaptation by Andrew Dominik, the course, I also meet with student-writers in Carol Oates in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on March 2, 2011. The annual director. It is quite a challenge for a young my office. I usually have two seniors who awards are managed by the National Endowment for the Arts. UPI/Pat Benic actress to try to impersonate Marilyn are writing senior theses, and these students Monroe, so I wish this young woman much luck. (Poppy Montgomery, in the CBS TV I meet with, as in a tutorial, in my office through the semester. movie, was excellent. I think it may have been her breakthrough role.) In her later films, I don’t really need “more time” for my writing. My schedule is ideal for my purposes – if like The Misfits, the unhappy Marilyn Monroe was forced to try to impersonate herself, a I have an unlimited amount of time, I will usually squander it. Most people feel that literary dilemma. prizes are good for publishing. There is a long tradition of prizes for the arts dating back to ancient Greek theater… a tradition of some individuals singled out while many are ignored. This is Shakespeare’s 450th anniversary. Would you rather read the plays or see them Obviously this is not a good situation, but it is not likely to change in the near future. performed? Any memorable productions you could mention? I don’t think it’s realistic to make this an either/or proposition. Most people who see Any current or upcoming projects of your own that you’d like to mention? the plays have probably read them. Directors edit the plays so that, in some cases, you My next project is a memoir titled The Lost Landscape: A Writer’s Memoir. I am just might have difficulty knowing the sequence of scenes. The most memorable production of completing this and it is scheduled for fall 2015 publication. The memoir is mostly about Shakespeare recently was the Kenneth Branagh Macbeth at the Park Avenue Armory, a few my childhood, girlhood, parents and family background, rather more than about myself. It months ago. does not contain any Princeton material, unfortunately. My marriage to Raymond Smith is touched upon, but only minimally. (Since A Widow’s Story dealt with Ray and our lives You met President Obama when you received the 2010 Medal of the Arts. What was together in great detail.) your sense of him in person? Was this your first visit to the White House? It was a very nice occasion not yet overcast by quite so much political ill-feeling as we You clearly enjoy tweeting. You have a nice sentence about Twitter: “Reliquary of lost seem to have at the present time. Both Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are gracious thoughts, brilliant insights, fleeting hopes.” Does this medium of expression in itself qualify as a new art form?




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(TOP-LEFT, TOP-RIGHT, ABOVE) Photography by Charlie Gross

Mike Tyson with Loraine Jacobs and Joyce Carol Oates in 1987.

individuals, quick-witted and funny, exuding what is called charisma. President Obama was personally involved in the National Medals ceremony in that he seemed quite familiar with the careers of the recipients – especially those in music. It was not my first visit to the White House since I’d been a guest at the National Book Festival some years before hosted by Laura Bush, who was most gracious also, a wonderful promoter of libraries and books.

Niagara was outstanding—Marilyn Monroe in her last complex, noir portrait. The studio would not ever again allow their blond actress to portray an evil woman.

Fifty years ago the Beatles film A Hard Days Night came out. Did their influence musically and otherwise affect your perception of the sixties? Though I admire the Beatles, I was not greatly caught up in their work at the time. I played classical piano—that is, I tried to play classical piano. If/when I played piano, it was classical music—Chopin, Beethoven, Bach. The piano is my favorite instrument. Can you comment on your second marriage? Your husband is among other things a gifted photographer. Have you taken it up as well? My husband Charlie Gross is retired from the Psychology Department at Princeton, where he taught neuroscience and was a research scientist for many years. He is indeed a talented and energetic photographer who loves to travel; he has been to China a dozen times, and is returning in November to teach in Shanghai. He is drawn to places in the world we are not supposed to call “exotic” any longer—but they are certainly far from Princeton. As editor of New Jersey Noir and now Prison Noir, does this reflect your interest in the Hollywood genre and old movies in general? Influence of noir on your own work? My work is often called noir—perhaps it is a helpful term since it seems to have a poetic ring. Most noir movies are somewhat plot-driven and present noir heroines, or anti-heroines—they are somewhat misogynist fantasies, though often very entertaining. Recently we attended a femme noir festival at the Film Forum in New York where the 1953

Your interest in boxing is well known. How did you get to know Mike Tyson? Did he read your book? When I was researching my book On Boxing, I became acquainted with Mike Tyson and his wonderful manager, the late, much-missed Jimmy Jacobs. I had also been asked to cover Tyson’s first championship fight, against Trevor Berbek, for Life in 1986. Tyson, whom I first met when he was 19 and rapidly ascending the heavyweight division, is a far more complicated individual than his popular-culture persona would suggest; but like so many other young athletes, and young celebrities, he was more or less corrupted by success and fame. As Floyd Patterson, another young heavyweight champion, once said, “When you have millions of dollars, you have millions of friends.” I have to ask about cats. If you had to speak up for cats in the great cat-dog debate, what would you say? What is it about cats that enhances your life? What is there to say about cats? The felines among us are absolutely beautiful, irresistible, and untrustworthy. As a long-ago farm girl, I grew up with barn cats and just one dog, a sweet mixed breed named, for some reason, Toby. I’ve always thought that I would like a dog also, but cats are much easier to live with; if you are often traveling, a cat can more easily be taken care of by another person. (My cat Cherie was a 9/11 kitty—born a few months before the terrorist attack and adopted by my husband and me from the Hopewell Animal Shelter about a week after, as a way of helping to bolster our morale. Like so many others, we were feeling crushed, and terribly helpless. A new young cat in the household, all innocence and unknowing, and very affectionate, was therapeutic.)


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Princeton Magazine, October 2014  

October 2014