Cecily Baker, a longtime staff member of Van Pelt library, died March 30 at the age of 76 of lung cancer, having been diagnosed barely a few months before.
She came to Penn in 1962, working as a secretary in the Special Collections Department of the University Library then in the Furness Building. Mrs. Baker was promoted to bibliographic assistant in the Serials Department at the newly built Van Pelt Library. Then, Mrs. Baker became senior library clerk in 1975 and held that position until her retirement in 1987.
After working 25 years at the Library, she and her son, Chris, moved to California to live with her mother and stepfather, who themselves had been antiquarian booksellers with ties to Van Pelt Library. Of Mrs. Baker, co-workers and friends recall, "Cecily was a thoughtful, gentle lady, who will be remembered for her wry sense of humor," said Louise Rees of Van Pelt.
Mrs. Baker is survived by her sons Chris and Greg and her stepfather, Ralph Howey.
Kathleen Quinn, the first director of the Pennsylvania Players and leader of the group twice during her long affiliation with Penn, died on April 24 at the age of 89.
As the daughter of Penn's renowned English Professor Arthur Hobson Quinn, the preeminent scholar of American drama, Kathleen Carberry Quinn grew up with the theater and with Penn--though her own college was Swarthmore, where she graduated in 1932.
Often the first to place herself in her father's shadow in press interviews, she is remembered in her own right as the soft-spoken director who never told the cast to "break a leg" but instead, as the Annenberg Center's founding director Steve Goff recalls: "Don't be afraid to be magnificent. Light up the sky."
In 1936, when the Pennsylvania Players was founded as an amalgamation of four undergraduate drama groups--two men's groups and two women's societies--Miss Quinn became the group's part-time director. Starting with Philip Barry's Holiday and Maxwell Anderson's High Tor, the Players ran the gamut of the leading plays of the time on stage. In 1938 the group began also to perform on radio--recording original scripts that were aired both on Penn's WXPN and on the commercial station WFIL.
In 1942 Miss Quinn joined the WAVES, where she was a recreation officer and, in Hollywood for a time, technical advisor to the Betty Hutton film Here Come the Waves. She returned to civilian life in 1946 as a recreation director for the Veterans Administration hospitals in Puerto Rican communities of New York City, but continued in the reserves and was a lieutenant commander by the time she retired.
In 1949 Miss Quinn returned to Penn and to the Players, serving until her retirement 1967. In a post-retirement career, she became development director for the Agnes Irwin School.
She is survived by a sister, Frances Quinn Steubner, and by a brother, James H. Mck. Quinn.
Almanac, Vol. 45, No. 33, May 18/25, 1999