Forum: May-June 2009

June 1, 2009

Duke University Archives

Remembering the War

Thanks so much for an outstanding article on the Dukies who served in World War II ["We Were Soldiers Once and Young," January-February 2009]. I was in NROTC at Duke in the late '80s and then the Marines.

I've always wanted to know more about that generation of alums. I also loved the photos, especially the one of the Marine detachment in formation on your front cover.

I remember reading once that the great novelist William Styron ['47] joined the Marines midway through his time in Durham, but he never reached the Pacific before the Japanese surrendered. Nevertheless, his wartime experience gave him insight. He came back to Duke and invested his energies more seriously in literature and writing.

I think the late Clay Felker ['51, Hon. '98] also served in the Navy in World War II.

Thanks again, great work!

Kirk Kicklighter '86, Columbia, South Carolina

Editor's note: In World War II, Felker, founding chair of the magazine's Editorial Advisory Board, did indeed serve in the U.S. Navy.

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My father, Walter F. Cornwell, was sent to Duke to attend the Army Finance School as a lieutenant in late 1942. I can remember watching him fall in for evening formation on the quad. It was on his recommendation that I enrolled at Duke some thirteen years later.

Ken Cornwell, B.S.M.E. '59 , Southport, North Carolina

Side Commentary

The sidebar on FCC Insiders ["Expletive Deleter," January-February 2009] failed to include Jack Pettit [John W. Pettit '57], who was general counsel of the FCC in the Nixon administration.

Really enjoyed the World War II stories. I think there is a book, at least certainly some more articles, on how Duke coped with the war.

Keep up the good work!

Bill Graham '56, Winston-Salem

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I am stunned—a tribute to Duke's war fighters. I wonder how those faculty, some of whom are still on campus, feel about what they openly called baby killers back when I was on campus. Compare the cover photo with any typical campus photo of '67 to '72 or so. I guess now those same faculty and their clones are preoccupied with hating Bush, judging by the cartoons hanging on so many office doors. Still, I take this great tribute as a sign of hope for a Duke that has not shared my values since my graduations.

Richard Wiggins '67, Ph.D. '73, Apex, North Carolina

Rock On

I was very pleased to read your article about the Duke quarry [By the Numbers, January-February 2009]. My father is Frederic H. Leubuscher, who designed the rock garden across the pond from Mrs. Ellen Shipman's terraces.

Mrs. Shipman knew of Dad's work from the yearly International Flower Show in New York and asked him to design a suitable garden to complement her terraces.

Dad knew of a New Jersey limestone that he thought would be appropriate and shipped down two box cars of the rock. When he arrived in Durham, he realized that he should have had twice the amount. Mrs. Shipman was unable to obtain more money, so Dad used the underlying native rock and "stretched" the New Jersey stone. He would expose one end of the New Jersey rock and mound soil over the other end. When seen from the terraces, the deception was successful.

My niece is Catherine Staes, who worked for the North Carolina state health department as an epidemiologist. She knew of Dad's work and wrote to all of his family about a commemorative plaque.

I attended a program on Ellen Shipman's work at Duke and found that she had designed only one garden in Wisconsin, and it is on the property next door to our home. Unfortunately, many of Ellen Shipman's designs are now gone.

Joan L. Angell, Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Milton Regain'd

I am extremely grateful to Reynolds Price ['55] for his comments on teaching Milton [Under the Gargoyle, November-December 2008]. I was a couple of years behind Reynolds at Duke, and, like him, I studied Milton with William Blackburn and Roberta Florence Brinkley.

I've been teaching Milton here at Colgate University since 1969. During the winter break, a colleague asked me to give a talk for the Humanities Colloquium on the topic "Why We Should Read Milton." I was in a curmudgeonly mood and almost sent back a reply from John Fowles—"Talking about reading today is like talking about flight in a world rapidly becoming flightless; like raving about music to the deaf, or about painting to the color-blind."

Then came Reynolds' article, and it changed my mind completely. I'm giving my talk this Tuesday, and from what I hear, I will have a packed house. I'll begin by quoting Reynolds and build on that. I thank him for the kick in the rear.

George Hudson '59, Hamilton, New York

Dishonoring Werber

It is beyond belief that Duke Magazine printed the letter from Peter Klopfer [Forum, January-February 2009]. The criticism leveled by Bill Werber ['30] was a sign of the times. To criticize a man like Bill Werber, who brought honor to Duke as the first All-American basketball player and major-league baseball player!

In all probability, many came to Duke as a result of the prestige created by this fine man. He and his wife have been some of the greatest supporters of Duke. I doubt if anyone attended Duke because Peter Klopfer was a teacher. I am sure that if he were still teaching, he would have been one of eighty-some professors who wanted to crucify the lacrosse players and coach.

I, for one, prefer the Bill Werbers of this world over the Brodheads and Klopfers.

Zeno L. Edwards Jr. '48, Washington, North Carolina