Interdisciplinary work

I'm always glad to see the Alumnae Bulletin; it reminds me of the extraordinary social community that is Bryn Mawr and its alumnae. Recently, however, the Bulletin reminded me once again of the extraordinary research community that is Bryn Mawr and its alumnae. I was absolutely struck-there is no other word for it-by the Bulletin's Fall 2003 piece by Anne Dalke, Paul Grobstein, and Elizabeth McCormack on interdisciplinary work.

It was as if the spheres of science, language, philosophy, and literature, which I had always been told were competing, had suddenly settled down around a dinner table and stretched out a hand to me to say, "It's perfectly normal, sit down and have some tea." That is, their description of the creativity and language used when disciplines interact struck me as right on.

In a fit of enthusiasm, I sent off some of my own research, which has obviously developed independently yet along the same lines, to Anne Dalke in my old home of English House. Her encouraging and enthusiastic response has represented more genuine feedback from a fellow investigator than I have had in years of active academic work. I think the lines of communication will remain open, and I have the Alumnae Bulletin to thank! So keep up the good work; I thank you greatly!


(Editor's note: See our books section for Tabron's book.)

This is just a quick letter to the Editor to thank you for the excellent Fall 2003 edition of the Bulletin. If I really thought I could move up a gear at 84, I'd pursue the possibility of e-mail just to join in the interdisciplinary conversations on Serendip, but Ileave it all to younger and stronger brains and follow as best I can.


Katharine H. Hepburn '28

The arrival of the Winter 2003 issue of the Bulletin took me back to the day in 1953 when Katharine Hepburn was expected at the Deanery to announce the anonymous gift of a scholarship to be awarded to a student who was interested and skilled in the theatre. At the time, I was working at Bryn Mawr as Secretary to President Katharine McBride. Miss McBride was unable to greet Miss Hepburn at the Deanery and asked me to go there to meet and greet her.

As a longtime admirer of the work and person of Katharine Hepburn, I was of course delighted, although somewhat frightened at the prospect. You are thinking that Miss Hepburn and I made a connection and had a long and comfortable chat. Quite the contrary; I completely lost whatever charm skills I had developed by the age of 26 and turned into a blithering idiot. Fortunately for her, her fellow alumna and classmate, who had accompanied her that day, Alice Palache, was able to take up the slack and put her a t ease until the arrival of Miss McBride. Though I would like to do so, I don't think Ican blame my distress on the fact that Miss Hepburn was wearing slacks, which were absolutely verboten in the Deanery then. Iwould like to have that day to live over again without the total embarrassment I suffered!


To the editor:

The arrival of the Spring 2004 Alumnae Bulletin inspired me to dig out the attached poem written by my wife, Ottilie Pattison Ketchum '58, at an early stage of our marriage.

Although the current magazine contains no poetry, I thought in a forthcoming issue this piece might be of interest to prospective graduates as they contemplate their future and current alumnae as they reflect on their present state or past experience.

—Robert H. Ketchum

Reflections of a Graduate
Undated (probably 1965)

"You don''t write poems anymore," he said.
"The children are my poems now," I reply.
Moments that used to spend themselves
By college cloisters and wisteria trees
Now wheel my babies to their juice and diapers,
Through grocery stores and laundromats, and, warmly clean,
Into the wide and serious hours of sleep.
Our small home has no cloisters, no wisteria.
My life is planted with more homely trees.
It was the woman in the college girl who wrote those poems then;
The girl within the woman who writes this poem now.

Ottilie Pattison Ketchum

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