Faculty obituaries

Samuel T. Lachs, Professor Emeritus of History of Religion and the Leslie Clark Professor Emeri-tus of Humanities, died at his home in Haverford on September 17.

Born in Philadelphia in 1926, he earned his teacher’s diploma from Gratz College in 1945 and his baccalaureate from the University of Pennsylvania the following year. In 1950, he was ordained a rabbi after graduating from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City, and in 1958, he obtained a Ph.D. at Dropsie College in Philadelphia. Both Gratz College and the Jewish Theological Seminary later awarded him honorary doctoral degrees.

Dr. Lachs joined Bryn Mawr College in 1971 as associate professor of the History of Religion department. He was promoted to full professor in 1977 and became chair of the department the following year, a position he held until his retirement in 1992. He was a much-respected teacher and scholar, who contributed to the growth of the College’s Hebraica and Judaica library. He is the author of Judaism (1979), A Rabbinic Commentary on the New Testament (1987) and Humanism in Talmud and Midrash (1993). His many articles were published regularly in journals such as the Jewish Quarterly Review.

He is survived by his wife, Phyllis S. Lachs and by his children, Susanna, Michael and Joshua. A funeral service was held at Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El in Wynnewood on September 19.

• • •

Emmy Pepitone, Professor Emeritus of Human Development, died on August 22 at the Quadrangle in Haverford.

Born in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1924, she immigrated to the United States in the late 1930s and earned a B.S. and an M.S. in psychology from Vassar College. She continued her graduate studies at Yale University and the University of Michigan, where she earned a Ph.D. in social psychology and group dynamics in 1952. She taught at Temple University and Harcum College before joining the Bryn Mawr faculty in 1967.

Professor Pepitone’s scholarly interest was social behavior among children. Her publications include many journal articles, her 1980 book, Children in Cooperation and Competition, and a 1990 volume written with two collaborators, Advances in Field Theory. She received a Fulbright grant to Greece in 1987 for her crosscultural research into children’s behavior in situations of scarcity. She was an active teacher and mentor, supervising 44 master’s theses and doctoral dissertations during her Bryn Mawr career. She retired in 1991. A memorial service was held at the College on September 30. She is survived by her husband, Albert Pepitone.

The Allergist’s Wife
Mawrters suffering from a touch of Class Notes Syndrome may get some relief from the cautionary "Tale of The Allergist’s Wife," directed by Lynn Meadow ’68. Written by Charles Busch, the comedy came to Broadway’s Ethel Barrymore Theater in November from its sold-out run at The Manhattan Theatre Club, where Meadow is Artistic Director.

Played by the hilarious Linda Lavin, Marjorie Taub has bottomed out in a mid-life crisis, declaring herself an intellectual fraud and a failure, when childhood friend Lee—who claims to have chummed with everyone from Henry Kissinger to Andy Warhol—bursts back into her world. Lee revives Marjorie’s spirits, but takes over her life and apartment as well. Is she a Golem, a succubus? Mawrters may find the ending unsatisfactory, while acknowledging a kernel of truth in Marjorie’s epiphany.

For more about the play, visit its website.

Mary Lincoln Todd biographer
Linda Levitt Turner ’57 appears in Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided, an American Experience series airing on PBS February 19-21 at 9 p.m ET (check local listings).

The series weaves evocative original cinematography of battle scenes and White House dinners, cabinet meetings and shopping sprees with archival daguerreotypes and photographs to create a vibrant sense of America in the mid-19th century and of one of the most intriguing couples to have lived in the White House, whose lives paralled that of a nation at war.

Levitt is the author of Mary Todd Lincoln: Her Life and Letters (1972), written at the request of her father-in-law, Justin G. Turner, who had one of the largest collections of Lincolniana at the time and owned a number of Mary Lincoln’s letters. She has lectured extensively about Mary Todd Lincoln, has written many articles and has appeared in two documentaries on the History Channel, The First Ladies and The Lincoln Assassination.

Sister act
Myra Mayman ’66 and Toby Mayman ’63 both announced their retirements last fall from leadership positions in arts programming, but the charismatic sisters will not be slowing down. Commenting on "this piquant coincidence of our dual free-falls into the last adventure of life," Myra says that: "The wonderful and scary thing about life nowadays is that you can create and recreate yourself."

Founding director of the Office for the Arts at Harvard and Radcliffe,Myra will retire at the end of June. Radcliffe President Matina Souretis Horner ’61 and Harvard President Derek Bok established the OFA in 1973, including Radcliffe’s long-standing arts programs, to integrate creative thinking and expression into undergraduate education. Myra created and nurtured a wide variety of new programs, publications and services, including an annual arts festival, which she instituted at the request of actor John Lithgow, Harvard ’67, and President Neil L. Rudenstine.

Upon hearing the news of Myra’s retirement, Lithgow said, "Oh my god! Oh no! Oh, this is dreadful news!" But Myra is confident that the OFA is ready for its next phase, tying individual creativity to the role of the arts in American democracy. She says she will lead "a life of international travel and romance with my husband" while pursuing some writing and consulting projects.

Toby retired in October as president of the Colburn School of Performing Arts in Los Angeles, although she will continue as vice chair of the Board of Directors.

Tapped by philanthropist Richard Colburn to lead the floundering music academy, which was on the verge of being abandoned by the University of Southern California (USC) during the recession of the 1970s, she transformed it into a nationally acclaimed institute with 1,500 students. Now educating children aged 2 and a half to 18, the Colburn School will eventually add a four-year college-level music school. Toby also wants to spend more time with her husband, but as vice chair will be able to focus on expanding Colburn’s board and developing closer relationships with neighboring art institutions. "I don’t think she’ll ever really retire," Colburn said. "She’ll be a pillar of power to this school until her dying day, because of her strong will to be and to do. The school as it stands today is a living testimony to all that Toby has done."

‘The Owl Award’ given to Mike Niccolls ’39
Mike Niccolls ’39 received special honors at Alumnae Council last fall for more than three decades of work as linchpin of the Bryn Mawr-Haverford Washington alumnae/i career network.

In her tribute to Mike, Director of Career Development Liza Jane Bernard said, "In the 1970s, long before ‘networking’ became an overused term, Mike worked with Nancy Monnich, then in Career Planning and Placement, to bring structure and attention to alumnae networking for career planning purposes. ... I have known Mike for 15 years now. She has put into place dozens of networking receptions, seminars and Information Interview Day programs in Washington, has referred alumnae to the Extern Program routinely, and has created a model for our collaboration with Haverford Career Development volunteers in the interest of extending the reaches of our network.

"But it is Mike’s unique brand of networking for which she is known. For years Washington alumnae annually received Mike’s Career Network Survey which she collected and had available for students or alumnae seeking assistance in their career or job search exploration. Equipped with these surveys, a computer list of area alumnae and her vast knowledge of the personalities and interests behind the names, she has helped Mawrters to connect to help each other.

"As Emily Murase ’87 writes: ‘...Mike thought nothing of picking us up from the not-so-near metro station to deliver us to her living room. She fed us, she coached us, she listened to our frustrations, then she fed us again!’ "

Mawrters pick trash
On October 26, students, faculty and staff sorted and weighed 40 bags of one day’s campus trash, culled from a number of administrative buildings and dorms, on Merion Green to demonstrate the community’s recycling habits. Organized by Abby Youngblood ’01 with the support of Bryn Mawr’s student environmental group, the BMCGreens; the Green Plan Committee; Batten House CoOperative; and the Community Service Office. More than 50 percent of the garbage could have been recycled or given to charities and 44 percent could have been recycled under Bryn Mawr’s current program. Youngblood, a physics major, organized the Dive as part of a class for her independent study in environmentalism to raise campus awareness and to help Facilities Services find cheaper ways to remove solid waste from campus.

‘Big book, big trouble’?
Paul Shorey Professor of Greek Richard Hamilton’s most recent book, Treasure Map: A Guide to the Delian Inventories, may seem to be a "big book" (as in the Greek saying, mega biblion, mega kakon: "big book big trouble"). An analysis of yearly inventories from temples on Delos, an Aegean island that was a religious site for centuries, it does match in length his three previous books combined, but in comparison to the paper that went into producing the book, its length is modest indeed. A short visual history of that paper as it makes its way from point of origin; via modern transport--not quite capacious enough--to its R&R (Rest and Recycling).

cover icon Return to Spring 2001 highlights