LETTERSCAPTIVATING THEATER Professor David Guss’s article about Joe Consolmagno’s (A39) theatrical activities in the World War II “Great Escape” POW camp (“Captive Audience,” Winter 2009) was fascinating. Incredibly, another man with deep Tufts connections was in the same camp, and played a key role in the Great Escape itself. William S. Barnes, a professor of Latin American studies and international law at the Fletcher School (he also taught undergraduate courses at Tufts, for which I was his teaching assistant), had been a pilot early in the war. He was taken prisoner after being shot down in North Africa. During the planning for the Great Escape, he was a “scrounger,” obtaining items such as maps, train schedules, and copies of German ID papers. Barnes was not among the seventy-six who actually escaped, the majority of whom were recaptured and then shot by the Gestapo. After the war, he devoted most of his life to mentoring Fletcher and Tufts students.
GARY GLENN, F65, F67
I was tickled by the references to Professor Marston Balch. He was one of my favorites. His daughter, Gabrielle, was a classmate.
When the issue arrived, I had been reading two books about other Nazi prison camps: Christ
in Dachau, by the German Roman Catholic priest Johann Maria Lenz, and Résistance: One Woman’s
Defiance in Occupied France, by the French political prisoner Agnès Humbert. The contrast among these three prisons was riveting.After I earned a library degree at Columbia, my first job was as an Army librarian. I once served at the Test and Evaluation School at the former S.S. barracks adjacent to Dachau.
Yes, the Bubs perform music written by other people, but so does the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Although they are amateurs participating in a self-managed and directed, noncredit, club-level activity, the Bubs’ influence is felt throughout the vocal music world. A tenor might be a couple minutes late to physics class, but he just recorded a solo that will inspire students in Melbourne and professional groups in Helsinki. The group’s recording techniques will be studied at seminars six months hence, and their arranging techniques copied by hundreds of groups looking to incorporate the latest sounds. And if they sometimes display the swagger of rock stars … well, within the international a cappella community, that’s exactly what they are.
ART AND THE DISTAFF Professor Cristelle Baskins’ feminist perspective on art history is inspiring (“Scenes from a Marriage,” Winter 2009). I conceptualized the work shown [here]—a parody of the panel titled Seven Virtues, which appeared on page 35 of the issue—after hearing Professor Baskins speak about her exhibition “The Triumph of Marriage: Painted Cassoni of the Renaissance” at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. My painting has only Six Virtues (temperance is excluded because the women in my life do not strive to embody it).
As an artist I am interested in “reconstructing” women’s history by incorporating old masters’ techniques, compositions, and meta-narratives. The cassoni are rich with symbolism, yet relate so intimately to the lives of individual women. I am glad Professor Baskins has given us all the opportunity to see this fascinating work.
The photographs of the painted cassoni are breathtaking, and the layout makes reading about these objects of art a pleasure. Tufts
Magazine has truly done justice to the exhibition.
CATHY BREEN, J87