Alumnae Quarterly, Fall 1978

Miss Marks and Miss Woolley

I found the review of Miss Marks and Miss Woolley thoughtful and fair. I agree that Miss Woolley deserves a biography of her own. In such a one I would wish that undue stress not be laid on the close friendship of Miss Marks and Miss Woolley - why not a natural, purely emotional desire for mutual affection within busy professional lives? This friendship was only one facet of Miss Woolley's "Life-and-Works" and should be kept in proportion.

Ruth Walker Larrabee '26
Fresno, California

I am grateful to the Quarterly and to Alice Kimball Smith for the full and generous review of Miss Marks and Miss Woolley in the summer issue. The book falls far short of my own hopes for it, and I have to fight the temptation to parade the difficulties, internal and external, which plagued its composition. Alice's gracious and perceptive words of praise therefore meant a great deal to me.

And evoke my sympathy for Wendy Wasserstein, whose so-different work has elicited the same sort of alumnae reaction as my book. I was at first amused to find myself catapulted into company with an author forty-five years my junior, then frankly envious of her success. (What the equivalent of a nationally televised play less than ten years out of college would have meant to me! To Miss Marks who taught me!) By now I find myself feeling something like what must be meant by the term "sisterhood." What the play and the book both demonstrate is that their sexuality was and still is a problem for intelligent women in our society, although a different kind of problem in different decades. The last paragraph of Alice's review hints at the problem as our generation encountered it in our tentative and often frustrated efforts to combine marriage and a career.

Many years ago, a male chauvinist friend told me I had "a mind like a man's, but a woman's emotions." Granted that every noun in the phrase calls for definition, I knew exactly what he meant, and so, I am sure, would Miss Woolley and Miss Wasserstein.

Anna Mary Wells '26
Kingston-upon-Thames, England

Tribute to Miss Woolley

As an older alumna, who had the privilege of being in college when she was president, and as a member, later on, of her faculty, I wish to pay a brief, twofold tribute to Miss Woolley.

My personal acquaintance with Miss Woolley began in 1918, when I was a member of the affirmative team in an intercollegiate debate at Mount Holyoke. (We won over Wellesley.) The exciting evening was made more so for me because of Miss Woolley's commendation for my share in the performance, praise I was to consider the greatest honor of my undergraduate life.

It is not too much to say that those of my classmates whom I knew best, and I believe most of my undergraduate companions, worshipped Miss Woolley. Although we were affectionately amused by her morning chapel talks on our manners, the vesper services which Miss Woolley so movingly conducted remain, for many of her "girls," an inspiration for life.

I mention one other incident which occurred just before Miss Woolley left Mount Holyoke, never to return. I had made an appointment to say goodbye to her and to thank her again for permitting me to catalogue her library. Because of my mother's long illness, I had been increasing a limited income in whatever ways I could find, and Miss Woolley had created this cataloguing task for me, at a time undoubtedly inconvenient for her. I recall the words of her farewell and the tone of her beautiful voice, as she spoke. "I am sorry for Jeannette," she said. Then, with a refreshing smile that I was always to remember, she added: "But I shall be out of it all."

Kathleen M. Lynch '19
Sarasota, Florida

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