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BACKLASH ON BAKER LETTER
letter in the March/April issue
of the Gazette prompted me to reread Greg Robinsons article,
Admission Denied, [January/February]
and to write this letter.
expect that the way our country was drawn into World War II and the subsequent
actions of our Armed Forces to save the world from two fiendish militaristic
regimes [Baker letter] would affect the thinking and behavior of civilians,
including administrators of academic institutions, so they, too, would
do whatever they could to minimize the horrors of the war and bring it
to a successful conclusion as soon as possible.
believe, is what Mr. Baker had in mind as the basis for his letter and
Im quite sure Mr. Robinson would agree with that statement. Who could
not agree with it? However, with all due respect to Mr. Baker, whose feelings
about the war are most certainly understandable and respected, it seems
to me he may be overlooking the fact that Mr. Robinson has written an
historical account which was properly researched and reported.
That being the case, errors he has made should be refuted by authorities
with substantiated information.
I dont see where, as Mr. Baker put it, [Robinsons]
primary motivation, currently in vogue in many elitist quarters, is merely
a baldfaced attempt to discredit Penns WASPy forebears... On the contrary,
I think Mr. Robinson has performed a service by reminding the Penn community
of a particular glitch in the Universitys history of dealing well with
persons of varied ethnic, racial and religious backgrounds.
Considering what the demographers tell us, colleges
and universities can look forward to an increasing number of students
with non-Caucasian backgrounds. Penns proper understanding of its past
experiences with such students, to which Greg Robinsons article contributes,
can only help in its current operations and development for the future.
Frank F. Katz
West Orange, N.J.
As a lawyer
with extensive experience in race discrimination cases, Joseph Bakers
letter struck me as an unfortunate
example of the kind of thinking which led to the Trail of Tears, Jim Crow
laws and anti-Semitism at Ivy League universities in the first half of
this century. While attempting to defend the World War II forced relocation
and incarceration of over 100,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry, Mr.
Baker exhibited the same prejudices and stereotypes which have typified
prejudicial thought and behavior towards virtually every minority group
in the history of this country.
Coincidentally, I had just finished reading a biography
of FDR by Ted Morgan when I saw his letter, and I want to share the following
facts from Mr. Morgans book:
The director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, J. Edgar Hoover,
wrote a memo to his boss, United States Attorney General Francis Biddle,
in which Hoover argued that there was no basis for an evacuation, and
he blamed the impetus for removing the Americans of Japanese descent on
public and political pressure rather than factual data (yes, the same
J. Edgar Hoover later famous for violating the civil rights of Martin
Luther King and of American citizens who protested the war in Vietnam).
Although Attorney General Biddle opposed relocation of American citizens
as a violation of their constitutional rights, the provost marshal general,
Allen W. Gullion, argued in favor of the evacuations as a matter of national
security. A year later, General Gullion was investigated by the FBI for
allegedly forming an organization inside the Army which aimed to save
America from FDR, radical labor, the Communists, the Jews, and the colored
By June of 1944, when it was clear that there was no threat of Japanese
invasion or sabotage on the West Coast, Presidential advisor Harold Ickes
told the President that the continued retention of these innocent people
in the relocation centers would be a blot upon the history of this country.
In spite of which, FDR delayed releasing the Japanese Americans from internment
camps until after the November 1944 election so as to avoid losing votes
in an election year.
Mr. Baker is right: 20-20
hindsight is great. But in the shameful case of the forced relocation
of American citizens of a different race, at least three prominent AmericansFBI
Director Hoover, Attorney General Biddle, and advisor Harold Ickeshad
the foresight to realize that the facts did not support this massive violation
of constitutional rights. And what is Mr. Bakers explanation for this
countrys WWII tolerance towards Americans of Italian and German descent?
Could it have been because they had the same racial characteristics as
the WASPy forebears who ran this country and its institutions in 1942?
by Joseph Baker W50 was very offensive in its tenor and his rationalizations
were weak and flawed. I was deeply saddened to see this type of racism
appear in the Gazette and from a fellow alumnus.
Laurence S. Masuoka
Fair Oaks, Calif.
would think that Mr. Baker was a young man during World War II and was
aware of our terrible losses at the hands of the Japanese. Im certain
that this colored his attitudes toward Americans of Japanese descent.
Mr. Baker feels that there was no way that we could have trusted Japanese
Americans, as their loyalties could have been with Japan. Peculiarly,
though, he fails to mention our Americans of German and Italian descent.
We werent doing too well against those countries in the early forties
either and, by his reasoning, their sentiments could have rested with
the Nazis and Fascists. However, if we arrested all of them, we would
have had few people left to fight the war!
Perhaps Mr. Baker feels that our European enemies
were doing civilization a favor by eliminating all those nasty, dirty
and undesirable people. Also, we could have saved so much money by not
outfitting a Japanese-American infantry unit and awarding so many medals
to those untrustworthy Nisei soldiers.
Wake up, Mr. Baker. I doubt that Ms. Nakano was going
to be the cause of an aircraft carrier being sunk, or that my friends
Salvator and Friedrich, both Americans, were going to blow up troop ships.
America was wrong, WASPy Penn was wrong and Mr. Baker
response to Joseph Bakers letter,
I am not going to dwell on the contradiction of German and Italian Americans
enjoying all their rights while loyal Japanese Americans lost homes, businesses,
freedom and dignity. It needs to be stated that oppression against Japanese
Americans preceded December 7, 1941, by 100 years.
It was common practice for Japanese Americans to place
ownership of the land on which they farmed in the hands of U.S.-born infants.
This was a result of racist laws that forbade land ownership by the non-native
born. This was just one of many onerous restrictions placed on all Asian
Americans. The worst ones include laws that effectively kept Asian families
apart and created a subculture of permanent bachelorhood for Asian men.
I am not sure if Mr. Baker had heard the news from
over 10 years ago that the U.S. government had finally acknowledged its
mistake. The government offered an apology along with a token of financial
compensation to individuals who survived the years of internment. If our
own government can attempt to overcome what is universally considered
a tragic episode of its history, why would anyone want to make enemies
out of folks who showed the greatest loyalty by serving and dying for
an army that rounded up their families?
read with disbelief the review by Wendy Steiner of Mary Ellen Marks book,
American Odyssey, in your recent issue [Off
the Shelf, March/April]. It is hard to fathom why an alumni magazine
would publish such a gratuitously mean-spirited and uninformed review
of not only one of the most gifted photographers working today, but a
graduate of your university who received an honorary doctor of fine arts
degree in 1994 from it.
Let me be brief, although there is much that could
In the very first paragraph, establishing the tone
of the entire review, Mark is put down for being voted by American
Photo magazine the most influential woman photographer of all time
and for earning the admiration of the likes of Maya Angelou and Louis
Malle. What does that mean, the likes of? These are words usually reserved
for the scurrilous, not world-class film directors and Pulitzer prize-winning
poets. Is Mark to be trashed for the very accolades and admiration that
her work has prompted in others?
Photography is the most widely practiced medium in
the world today. In spite of Ms. Steiners statement that it is linked
to the uneasy politics of exploration and colonialism, it is no more
linked to those endeavors than to painting, the tracking of criminals,
the price of herring or the sale of underwear.
Ms. Steiner then accuses Mark of presenting an array
of types by now all too familiar in serious photography: the aged, ill,
obese, poor, rural, vulgar, insane, self-deceived, deviant, abject. Perhaps
Ms. Steiner doesnt count herself among the living, but everyone I know,
including me, has found themselves on that list at one time or other.
Mary Ellen Mark is a documentary photographer. She
did not invent the America we all share, sometimes sorrowfully. All the
more reason to value and appreciate someone who goes out to meet it and
give it enduring visual life.
Andre Kertesz, who also admired Mary Ellens work,
perhaps said it best about critics: The caravan is passing; the dogs
Director, documentary photography education
International Center of Photography
In her review
of Mary Ellen Marks American Odyssey, Wendy Steiner may have found
Marks stance difficult to inhabit, but I found Steiners stance difficult
to locate, much less inhabit. Between snide asides like wince-inducing
accolade and the tepid praise in her conclusion, it was not clear to
me if Steiner liked the book, the author or the subject matter at all.
What was clear to me, however, was that Steiner missed
the point of Marks photos; she especially missed the point of the water
babies photo when she offensively referred to members of The National
Association to Advance Fat Acceptance as hippo-ballerinas. Im not sure
if Mark wants us to respect the subjects of her photosI can assure
you that as an African-American woman, I have no respect for women in
KKK hoods. Rather, I think Marks photos invite us to see these people
the way they see themselves, which is apparently something that Steiner
finds mildly shocking.
Maybe what Steiner finds so shocking (and difficult
to believe) is that men and women who live in such dire and diverse circumstances
can have the same pride, arrogance, bravado and insecurity as those of
us who live in ivory towers?
Ides of March is the classical date for assassinations. So Wendy Steiner
marches out of Penns Humanities Forum, hatpin at the ready, for her dyspeptic
attempt to assassinate Mary Ellen Mark.
The assault is particularly ludicrous because of how
persistently Ms. Steiner stabs herself and Penn in the foot. The puzzle
of motivation is revealed in the envy masked as scorn Ms. Steiner heaps
on the fame and admiration Mary Ellens work has earned.
Ms. Steiner begins her diatribe by attacking the words
and concepts of Edward Steichen, Maya Angelou, Ms. Mark and the books
publishers. She retails the tired assault on Steichens Family of Man
concept without mentioning one of its pictures. She follows this by placing
Mary Ellens work as a cross between Walker Evans and Diane Arbus, thus
revealing in one phrase total incomprehension of the formal stances of
three major photographers. The gap between Evans and Arbus is broad enough
that one would be hard put to name a photographer who couldnt fit somewhere
in between. Its like saying a painting lies between Piet Mondrian and
She then ostensibly discusses Mary Ellens politics
by categorizing the books subject matter: in Ms. Steiners words, the
aged, ill, obese, poor, rural, vulgar, insane, self-deceived, deviant,
abject. All these Ms. Steiner labels as grotesquery. The rural? Is
this the humanity of the humanities department? But its still just a
critique of words, of concepts, of subject matter, not of pictures.
Speaking of words, I loved Ms. Steiners use of pre-digital
to sneeringly describe Ms. Marks work. I suspect what Ms. Steiner yearns
for is the day when all these grotesqueries we photographers force her
to confront will be digitally morphed and ethnically cleansed into something
more palatable to her refined sensibilities.
When Ms. Steiner finally gets around to talking about
the pictures, she reverts to that refuge of the clueless: arithmetic.
Ms. Steiner counts how many people are in Mary Ellens pictures: onesies,
twosies, threesies, four. She then discards all but the twosies because
she has a stunning revelation, a whole new aesthetic theory to prove.
Mary Ellen photographs lots of couples because she works in black and
white. Get it? Two colors, two subjects. No grays. Its like sending a
tone-deaf accountant to Beethovens Ninth and being told there were 50
people in the chorus and they sang high notes and low notes. Incisive.
Childish. Poor Penn.
Professor of photography
Parsons School of Design
New School University
Wendy Steiner replies:
could not be more surprised at the two letters concerning my review of
Mary Ellen Marks American Odyssey, not because they disagree with
me about the quality of the book in question but because they utterly
misrepresent what I say and impute disgraceful motives to me in the process.
[Dr. Steiners response was written before the letter from Joan Lifton
For example, I write that American Photos
description of Ms. Mark as the most influential woman photographer of
all time is a wince-inducing accolade, and Ms. Edwards takes me to
task for being snide. But left-handed compliments do make me wince. Would
anyone call Walker Evans or Edward Steichen the most influential man
photographer of all time? Is Ms. Mark better than all the other women
photographers but not the men? Why should her sex have anything to do
with her rating as a photographer in the first place, especially since
she does not come across as a specifically feminist artist?
Ms. Edwards also complains that it is unclear whether
I liked the book, the author, or the subject matter at all. I would
say first that book reviews are not merely a matter of thumbs-up or thumbs-down,
and evaluations of art often have an on the one hand, on the other hand
character. Professor Harbutt seems to think that calling me dyspeptic
and full of envy and prone to stabbing myself in the foot with my assassinating
hatpin (!) will invalidate the problems I raise. The assumption seems
to be that no one would ever criticize Ms. Marks work who was not ignorant,
envious or inhumane. I find this an astonishing assumption. I am not a
photographer, have never met Ms. Mark, and have more to gain by praising
her than the reverse. A reviewer mentions flaws or inconsistencies not
out of meanness or a sense of superiority but in order to get at what
a book means, how it compares to other related books and where it fits
into the general culture. Anyone who produces art or publishes books is
open to criticism.
The complication in reviewing American Odyssey
is that it is not only a body of photography but a book that presents
that photography in a particular light identified as the artists own.
I think the photographs are much more interesting than the meaning offered
up in the frame, and my review said so, though perhaps not as clearly
as it might have. The praise in my conclusion (and, incidentally, in the
two paragraphs before that as well as the introductory paragraph and the
one on Agnes Martin and Tiny) is not tepid, but sincere and enthusiastic.
The fact that I am less enthusiastic on a couple of scores does not invalidate
my admiration on others.
Why Professor Harbutt is incensed at my use of pre-digital
is beyond me. What I said is that before digital photography, artists
normally had to go away from home if they wanted subjects who were not
at home; now, of course, they can fabricate these subjects without taking
a step out the door. This is simply a matter of fact, and has no pejorative
import one way or the other. Ms. Mark herself makes us think of photography
as leaving home through her introduction and title, and her work covers
an array of subjects made familiar by past photographers odysseys.
Professor Harbutt berates me for locating Ms. Mark
among these photographers, specifically between Walker Evans and Diane
Arbus, since one would be hard put to name a photographer who couldnt
fit somewhere in between. But in fact a large percentage of photographers
have nothing to do with the ethnographic stance I describe. Evans documented
rural, poor, abject people in a highly sympathetic manner; Diane Arbus
presents exhibitionistic nonconformists in such a way as to suggest freaks.
When I say that Ms. Mark stands somewhere between the two, I mean that
she is usually not as sensationalist as Arbus or as idealizing as Evans,
but this is, nevertheless, a range in which she can be placed. It isnt
bad company to be in, either.
Ms. Edwards says that Marks photos invite us to
see these people the way they see themselves. I disagree. I think they
show us how their subjects see themselves, but often make it next to impossible
for us to see them the same way. The extreme camera angles do not let
us look head-on at the subjects, but always from a slant; we see them
in the act of presenting themselves, not as they present themselves.
This is why the portrait of Agnes Martin is such a striking exception;
she is a fellow artist, and she is practically the only person in the
collection whom Ms. Marks treats as an equal, allowing her self-presentation
to coincide with the cameras view.
Contrary to Ms. Edwardss claim, I am not shocked
that unfortunate people can have the same pride, arrogance, bravado and
insecurity as those of us who live in ivory towers. Rather, I am shocked
by the doublespeak of this book in stating that peoples quirkiness helps
us to discover the common human element that connects people all over
the world, while cutting me off from sympathy and a sense of equality
with its subjects. Irony is perfectly fine, but not when it claims to
be humanistic fellow-feeling. I do not know why Ms. Mark felt it necessary
to blunt her psychological and formal brilliance with patronizing sentimentality
and unexamined clichÈs. Her work deserves better than that. And, by the
way, the twosies that Professor Harbutt so insultingly criticizes me
for noticing are an important vehicle of this irony, full of complex meanings.
Perhaps he thinks, though, that childish clichÈs are preferable to complexity.
GOOD TO SEE SHERMAN AND
FELS GET THEIR DUE
Thank you so much for your detailed
article on Dr. Lawrence Sherman, the new director of the Fels Center of
Government [A Passion for Evidence, March/April].
I am pleased to see the position of Fels director filled by a professional
of Dr. Shermans stature and reputation, especially given that the Center
has been without a director since the tumultuous departure of Dr. James
Spady in 1996.
It is also refreshing to see the Fels Center receive
the level of attention that it deserves by the University community, as
it is one of the oldest and best public policy programs in the country.
Robert Maitner, Jr.
DISMAY AND SORROW AT PENNS
RESPONSE TO PATIENTS DEATH
worked as a health journalist for many years, I feel deep dismay and sorrow
at both the death of Jesse Gelsinger and the Universitys response to
it. I find President Rodins remarks, as quoted in the Gazette
[Gazetteer, March/April], appallingly
glib and superficial. The central issue in the needless death of young
Mr. Gelsinger is not what the University can learn from it but what patients
risk and suffer in trials that have essentially no chance of benefiting
them personally. This issue is particularly acute in Mr. Gelsingers case
because he, unlike the typical clinical-trial subject, was not a terminally
ill person beyond the help of any known treatment.
As yet, strikingly little evidenceas opposed to researchers
hopes and hypothesessupports the assertion that genetic replacement trials
will afford longer, healthier lives (Dr. Rodins words) for anyone.
After many years of work, trials such as the one Mr. Gelsinger participated
in remain experiments on human beings, not therapeutic procedures. The
chances that any present subject will personally benefit are, to say the
very least, exceedingly small. Any benefits that might accrue to present
participants will much more likely go to two other groups: researchers
who, if successful, will advance their reputations and careers and increase
the value of companies in which they may hold interests; and investors
in biotech firms.
I do not intend to imply that such considerations
necessarily influenced the Penn researchers in their decisions regarding
the trial in which Mr. Gelsinger participated. But the subtly corrupting
effects of the race for scientific priority among elite researchers have
long been well known. In recent years, the entry of private investors
money into academic research has further increased the pressure for both
secrecy and success.
The supreme ethical obligations of researchers asking
other people to take risks unlikely to provide comparable personal benefits
are to protect those generous, brave people and to err on the side of
caution rather than of scientific boldness. The history of medical research
is littered with painful, dangerous and worthless techniques and pharmaceuticals
that were, in their time, research fields as hot as gene replacement
is today. (Calling it therapy at this point amounts, in my opinion,
to either wishful thinking or false advertising.)
That medical researchers, especially those at elite
institutions, do not keep these moral obligations uppermost at all times
should cause deep chagrin to anyone who purports to care about either
medical science or human decency. That Penn could even conceivably be
guilty of the violations alleged by the FDA should cause deep shame to
all who care about the University.
Nothing the University can possibly learn from Mr.
Gelsingers death, which the University not only mourn(s) (Dr. Rodins
word) but caused, can possibly be worth the cost. I wish Dr. Rodin would
have the candor and humility forthrightly to acknowledge that fact.
Beryl Lieff Benderly
College Hall, p. 16, and Gazetteer,
p. 24, for more on this story.Ed.
much enjoyed Virginia Fairweathers article on architect Barton Meyers
[Looking In, Looking Out, March/April],
but I was stunned by a howler on p. 42: a confusion between Dhaka (Dacca
in the old British colonial spelling), the capital of Bangladesh, with
Dakar, the capital of Senegal. Alas for the demise of geography as an
SWEATSHOPS I: STUDENTS CONTINUED
IMPORTANT PENN TRADITION
am writing in support of Penn Students Against Sweatshops and to urge
the University to join the Workers Rights Consortium [Gazetteer,
March/April]. The sweatshops of the early 20th century were eradicated
only after years of sacrifice and struggle, but the pressures from globalization
have permitted this deplorable method of clothing manufacture to return.
Universities have the opportunity to strike an important blow against
the return of the sweatshops by demanding that their clothing be produced
under reasonable working conditions by workers receiving an adequate wage.
I commend the Students Against Sweatshops for bringing this issue to the
attention of the Penn community and refusing to let it be buried in endless
committee deliberations. The Fair Labor Association option, dominated
by corporations and with no union participation and no real monitoring,
is little more than a whitewash; on the contrary, the Workers Rights
Consortium is the best hope for real change.
The students who occupied College Hall continued an
important Penn tradition. At the beginning of the 20th century, Wharton
Professor Scott Nearing worked indefatigably to end sweatshop labor. In
a sorry chapter of Penn history, the University bowed to corporate pressure
and fired him in 1915; apparently, freedom of speech did not extend to
defense of sweatshop workers. I hope that at the start of the 21st century
Penns response will be more enlightened. We should all recognize the
important service that Students Against Sweatshops has provided to the
University and the greater community in raising this important issue.
Maple Shade, N.J.
SWEATSHOPS II: DONT GIVE IN TO
DEMANDS OF TRESPASSERS
The relationship between the decision
of President Rodin to pull out of the Fair Labor Association (FLA) in
response to students occupying (trespassing?)
in her reception room and a statement by Dr. Lawrence Sherman [A
Passion for Evidence, March/April] illustrates the problem that plagues
otherwise brilliant and successful persons such as Rodin. Sherman states
that the problem of conquering emotional or least-resistance-based decision-making
with rational evidence is an enormous one. How true! Exhibit 1Rodin
gives in to the demands of the trespassers before obtaining the conclusions
of a study. Perhaps if President Rodin had consulted with Professor Sherman
she would not have acted to embarrass the University (and herself) by
condoning lawlessness and acting upon emotion rather than evidence.
What is difficult for many of my generation to understand
or accept is rewarding young persons by allowing them to get their own
way, whether appropriate or not, by this kind of behavior, just as a small
child does by raising a tantrum or otherwise manipulating its parents.
I would like to know what President Rodin would do if her reception room
were invaded by a new group that supports the FLA, and thinks the Workers
Rights Consortium is ineffective? Is the prize to the group that gets
there first? Or occupies the longest? Our great president demeans herself
and our great University by such irrational and, yes, silly actions. The
shame is that she does not seem to realize or understand this.
Ronald M. Katzman
As the Gazette went to press last month,
the University was continuing to withhold its membership from both the
FLA and WRC because of inadequate responses from both organizations to
questions raised by Penn regarding greater representation by universities
and colleges on their governing boards.Ed.
DEBATE OVER 50-YEAR OLD INJUSTICE
AT PENN SHEDS LIGHT
ON LIFE IN RUSSIA
I had to laugh, and then feel a surge
of patriotic pride, when your excellent January/ February issue, and particularly
the article called Admission Denied
by Greg Robinson, made its way to me here in Russia. As my reasons might
be useful to other readers in helping them to appreciate the story, and
their lives in general, I write to offer them.
Robinsons account showed Pennsylvanians, 50 years
later, still actively concerned with and debating the rejection of an
applicant of Japanese ancestry (to a private university) on racial (and
paranoia!) grounds during World War II. What stark contrast to life in
Here, every university of any repute is still 100
percent controlled by the national regime, and every single one has a
high-ranking KGB officer in its administration. (They are now called FSB,
but a rose by any other name can still demand your documents on the street
at random, and jail you if you dont have them or make a fuss.) All foreign
students and professors (like me) deal with their universities through
the KGB, whether they know it or not, and the company actively supervises
all academic work. The KGB and the federal administration still, despite
the fall of the Soviet state, wield an absolute veto over admissions and
hirings, and they routinely check (Robinsons word) on every one. Many
study or work under routine surveillance.
Most Russian students still study at least some subjects
using political, Soviet-era texts and are paid a (tiny) salary by the
state to attend. Professors receive salaries of about $50 per month.
Both stipends are regularly delayed, sometimes for months, imposing a
rigid, poverty-like lifestyle on many. (You can well imagine what the
recruiting prospects, and general quality of education, are getting to
be here!) The curriculum is still administered nationally: students have
no electives and indeed no choices of courses or teachers within their
Yet, there is no organized student political activity
to speak of, and certainly no newspaper like The Bennett News (which
Robinson says defended the Japanese applicant in 1944), much less a university
publication like the Gazette dredging up old misdemeanors and displaying
them for the world to see.
only there were! Maybe then Russians wouldnt be living with a daily
per-capita GDP of $2, compared to $80 in the United States.
But in addition to feeling proud and better about
themselves as a result of the Robinson piece, I hope readers will, in
its spirit, think about this: Are Pennsylvanians, and Americans generally,
doing enough to replace those tired Soviet texts with better ones, and
to encourage a new kind of education in Russia? Will we be able to say,
if Russia slips back into dictatorship and America back into a cold war,
that we did all we could to keep our children from living as we did?
didnt surprise me in its report of the University administrations refusal
in 1944 to admit an applicant to a graduate program quite evidently because
of her ancestry alone. For it was not long before thenfrom 1936 to 1940that
an appreciable number of us undergraduates at Penn experienced a prevailing
atmosphere of special treatment by the administration based solely on
Having said that, I hasten to express my admiration
of the present Penn establishment for its willingness to admit in public
an instance of its past violation of civil rights, with the strong implication
that such transgression would be unthinkable to it today.
Now back to Greg Robinsons article: In its first
line is not Hey Day a mistranscription of Ivy Day? And how
about the final sentence: Her sister, her daughter and her sisters son
all attended Penn, marking three generations of the Nakano family at the
University? It fails to make sense even if Naomi Nakanos father was
a student at Penn.
WATER WORKS ARTICLE FAILED TO
CREDIT TURBINE BUILDER
I enjoyed the article,
Rebirth on the River [January/February]. I was disappointed, however,
that the article failed to mention the important role played by my great-grandfather,
Emile Camille Geyelin, in developing and installing the Jonval turbine
A very thorough study sponsored by the Franklin Institute
and written by Jane Mork Gibson in 1985 contains numerous references to
my great-grandfather, which would indicate that, in any piece written
on the history of the Fairmount Water Works, he would most certainly be
worthy of mention. For example, from page 13: Emile C. Geyelin was
granted the rights to the manufacture and sale of the Jonval turbine in
the United States and The 1851 turbine at the Fairmount Water works
is a Jonval turbine, designed by Geyelin. On page 95, there is a reproduction
of the title page of a brochure which reads as follows: Jonvals Turbine
Built by E. Geyelin, Hydraulic Engineer.
The Geyelin family have a long history of representation
at the University. My grandfather, Henry Laussat Geyelin C1877, is remembered
in a plaque over the South Entrance to Franklin Field as the first to
carry the Red and Blue to victory. His four sons went to the University,
as did our daughter and several cousins. My siblings and I were brought
up in the tradition!
Cecily Geyelin Clark
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