The Weekly Blog: 10/11/06

NOTE: This post was originally published at princetonalumniweekly.blogspot.com/

One of a kind

“Players & Painted Stage,” the new exhibit of Irish theater books and artifacts from the Leonard L. Milberg Irish Theater Collection that opens at Firestone Library Oct. 13, includes one manuscript that few collectors even knew existed: “The Cooing of Doves,” a never-performed one-act play by Sean O’Casey. Last December, at an auction in Dublin, rare books specialist J. Howard Woolmer purchased the typescript for the Milberg Collection for a price — 60,000 euros, or about $75,000 — that drew the attention of both the Irish press and the bidders in the room. Despite the significance of the piece, Woolmer said he was able to remain “very cool” during the bidding. "It’s the first auction I’ve ever been to where I was applauded,” he said. For more information about the collection, see PAW’s Sept. 27 feature and Professor Michael Cadden’s related essay.

Image courtesy of the Leonard L. Milberg Collection of Irish Theater

Friday night lights

On Oct. 13, Princeton football will make history, hosting Brown in the Ivy League’s first Friday night game (7 p.m. on ESPNU). The Tigers (4-0, 1-0 Ivy) and the Bears (1-3, 0-1 Ivy) played a tight game in Providence last season, which the Bears won 31-28, helping them to win the league championship for the first time since 1999. The Tigers, ranked 22nd in the Division I-AA national coaches’ poll, have had a 10-year Ivy title drought and are hoping that a win will propel them to similar success.

Two other Princeton teams also have important Ivy home games this weekend. In field hockey, the Tigers (6-5, 4-0 Ivy) host Brown (7-2, 3-0 Ivy) Oct. 14 at noon at the Class of 1952 Stadium in a game that will determine the front-runner in the league title chase. Women’s volleyball (12-1, 2-1 Ivy) faces defending Ivy champion Cornell (8-6, 3-1 Ivy) Oct. 14 at 4 p.m. in Dillon Gym in a key early-season match.

Rise and fall of an American dynasty

In The Senator and the Socialite: The True Story of America’s First Black Dynasty (HarperCollins), Lawrence Otis Graham ’83 chronicles three generations of a black family, following its members from rags to riches to welfare. The biography focuses on Blanche Kelso Bruce, who was born a Mississippi slave in 1841 and later amassed a real estate fortune, served in the Senate, and married Josephine Willson, the daughter of a wealthy black doctor. By 1950 the family had gone bankrupt after decades of lavish spending and bad investments, and the senator’s grandson was jailed for embezzlement. Graham is a lawyer and author of Our Kind of People: Inside America’s Black Upper Class. For information about other books by alumni and faculty, visit New Books at PAW online.

For brevity’s sake

Daniel Oppenheimer, assistant professor of psychology and public affairs, received the 2006 Ig Nobel Prize for Literature Oct. 5 for his research about the unnecessary use of long words. The prizes, which Nature has affectionately called “silliness awards,” are presented at Harvard University by the Annals of Improbable Research. Oppenheimer’s one-line acceptance speech: “Conciseness is interpreted as intelligence, so thank you.” Visit the PAW archives for a brief synopsis of his award-winning work.

On the scene

Good day sunshine: At right, Elizabeth Gummerson, a first-year Ph.D. student at the Woodrow Wilson School, took advantage of the summer-like weather Oct. 9 to hit the books by the fountain next to Robertson Hall.

Photo by Frank Wojciechowski

Alumni in the news

First Lt. Pete Hegseth ’03, a former infantry platoon leader for the 101st Airborne Division, published an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal Oct. 3 urging President Bush to send more troops to Iraq. “I believe, as the president noted, that ‘the safety of America depends on the outcome of the battle in the streets of Baghdad,’ ” Hegseth wrote. “Why then do we have just enough troops in Iraq not to lose?” … Former Secretary of State James Baker III ’52 addressed Iraq as well in Time’s “10 Questions” Oct. 9. Baker is co-chairman of the Iraq Study Group, which he said aims “take a fresh-eyes look at the situation in Iraq to see if we can come up with a consensus, a bipartisan approach, and advice to the Congress and the administration.” … The Oct. 9 issue of Time also featured alumnus Tom Szaky ’05, the young entrepreneur who, with Jon Beyer ’05, founded TerraCycle, a company that uses worms to turn garbage into plant food. TerraCycle’s alumni connections were featured in PAW last April. … Former Princeton soccer standout Charlie Stillitano ’81 is co-hosting a pair of soccer programs on Sirius satellite radio, The Star-Ledger (Newark, N.J.) reported Sept. 26. The radio shows, which cover European soccer for an American audience, are an uncommon commodity according to Stillitano, the former general manager of the New York-New Jersey Metrostars. “It’s not like the NFL, which you can get at 100 different outlets,” he told the paper. “This is something you can’t easily get. I believe there’s an audience out there.”

More at PAW Online

Under the Ivy – Spelman Halls? Whitman College? Gregg Lange ’70 takes a look around at campus building-naming trends.

On the Campus Online – When it’s time to select a course or proofread a thesis, students can find help from their peers, writes Christian R. Burset ’07.

Eliminating early decision – Dean of Admission Janet Rapelye discusses Princeton’s recent choice in an extended interview.

Posted by Brett Tomlinson, with reporting by Katherine Federici Greenwood.

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