Thorne Kindergarten Center opens
In early October, Bryn Mawr College and the Thorne School opened the Bryn Mawr Thorne Kindergarten Center on the campus of Haverford College. This project was made possible by a major gift to the Thorne School by Dr. and Mrs. Rocco Motto in honor of their daughter, Marilyn Motto Henkelman ’71, who is the director of the Thorne School.
The Kindergarten Center is located in a recently renovated 19th-century farmhouse. After searching for many years for a suitable site on the Bryn Mawr campus to house the kindergarten, Leslie Rescorla, professor of psychology and director of early childhood programs at Bryn Mawr, discovered a small building on the Haverford campus that appeared to be unused and reminded her of a 19th-century one-room schoolhouse. “As fate would happen, the Provost of Haverford at that time was Elaine Hansen, whose two children had attended the Thorne School as preschoolers,” Rescorla said.
Visitors explore the new Bryn Mawr Thorne Kindergarten Center on Haverford’s campus at an opening reception.
Thanks to Hansen's unwavering support for the kindergarten proposal, and to the assistance provided by other members of both the Bryn Mawr and Haverford administrations, the two colleges were able to work out a mutually satisfactory arrangement for renovation of the building and its long-term use as a kindergarten building.
The construction process, which took about nine months, involved a total renovation of the existing building for classroom use, plus construction of an addition to house offices, kitchens, bathrooms, and the entrance hall/stairwell. The architectural firm of Brawer and Hauptman designed the building in close collaboration with the staff of Haverford College, so that the building’s restoration would be consistent with its original historical character.
“The result is a light, airy, cozy, and beautifully appointed school for young children, complete with a small playground, situated between Haverford’s cricket pavilion and its historic orchard,” Rescorla said.
The Kindergarten Center houses two programs. One kindergarten class is an extension of the Thorne Nursery School program and is suitable for families looking for a small, nurturing, child-centered full-day kindergarten program. The Language Enrichment Kindergarten, directed by Nancy Rassiga, is an extension of the Thorne Language Enrichment Preschool Program. This program incorporates in the curriculum skills that have been identified as helping to minimize the risk factors for learning and reading in children with identified speech and language delays.
Both programs provide developmentally appropriate activities to enhance the skills that make children enthusiastic, successful learners and to help children refine the social skills that help them to understand and deal with their own and other’s behaviors.
Mawrters in the arts
The creative impulse has a strong heartbeat at Bryn Mawr as programs, students and alumnae reach beyond quotidian vehicles of expression to interpret their world. Recent and upcoming works include the following:
Alicia Brooks ’01 and Nadine Gartner ’01 contributed stories and memoir to [Becoming] Young Ideas on Gender, Identity, and Sexuality, edited by Diane Anderson-Minshall and Gina deVries (Xlibris Press 2004). Poetry collections appearing in 2004 included Night Lights by Jane Augustine ’52 (Marsh Hawk Press), Cleave by Moira Egan ’85 (Washing-ton Writers’ Publishing House), Shout for Joy: Poems from the Journey by Sharina Smith ’86 (Xulon Press), and With Both Hands, by Geraldine Warburg Zetzel ’49 (Finishing Line Press). The Creative Writing Program hosted such literary figures as Paula Fox and Mary Karr, with upcoming readings by Antonya Nelson and Adrienne Rich.
Visual artist Deborah Jane Milton, Ph.D. ’82, illustrated Garden of the Spirit Bear: Life in the Great Northern Rainforest (Clarion Books 2004); Michele Drivon ’95 will show her pottery in a March 2005 exhibition of the graduating class of Haywood Community College’s Professional Crafts program in western North Carolina; and Laura Kim ’02 completed a short film for a Pop art exhibit in Philadelphia that was part of a digital film festival in Sao Paolo, Brazil. An October art installation at English House by Elizabeth Catanese ’06, Once Upon a Time is Now, addressed the passing of time, the limitations of the artist, and the understanding of gender and identity.
On the musical front, two CDs appeared in recent months: one x 1,000,000 = change by Sandra Opatow ’88 (with Pat Humphries), and So Long by Susan Kane ’75.
Theater and performing arts have a beloved tradition at Bryn Mawr, and several of these artists had milestones in 2004: Mawrterian theater company Uncut Pages wrote and performed Production Values at the 2004 Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Uncut Pages members included Crista Fuentes ’07, Becky Fullan ’04, Julia Niedzwiecki ’06, Chelsea Phillips ’05, Charlotte Rahn-Lee ’05, Lilah Rahn-Lee ’05, Katie Rutledge ’05, and Amy Sullivan ’05. The Philadelphia Living Arts Festival (formerly the Fringe Festival) hosted two more performances by alumnae: a one-woman show by Mary Pat Kane, MSS ’70, The Night I Spoke to Judy Garland, Well Sort Of and Winter Depression, and a dance performance choreographed by Myra Bazell, MSS ’04. Also in 2004, Anu Yadav ’00 wrote and starred in ’Capers, a one-woman play about the residents of a southeast D.C. housing project, and Sarah Jones ’94 continued her critically-acclaimed career with a performance of her work, bridge and tunnel, in NYC.
For information on upcoming performances, lectures, exhibitions and readings at Bryn Mawr, visit the Bryn Mawr Calendar.
From the large number of Bryn Mawr undergraduates who registered to vote and the many election activities on campus sponsored by student organizations, administrative offices, and academic departments, it is clear that the community is actively engaged in the political process.
The newly formed Civic Engage-ment Office (CEO), a collaboration between the Community Service Office (CSO) and the Praxis program to help students turn their own beliefs and concerns into action, launched the non-partisan “Smart Women Vote 2004” campaign, complete with buttons as its first initiative. Student leaders representing a wide range of clubs met weekly with CEO staff beginning in September, and at least 400 Bryn Mawr students were newly registered in September and October.
Among its many efforts, the CEO co-sponsored lectures and discussions on political discourse and public opinion. Two student clubs, Bryn Mawr Democrats and Bryn Mawr Republicans, also co-sponsored a mock forum of candidates running for president and for Pennsylvania representatives to the U.S. House and Senate. The Center for Science in Society brought two eminent scientists, R. Stephen Berry of the University of Chicago and John P. Holdren of Harvard to campus to discuss the effects of electoral politics on science policy.
On Election Day, the CEO arranged for two Bryn Mawr vans driven by 26 staff and student volunteers to leave for the polls from the front of Canaday Library every 15 minutes from 7 a.m. until 7:30 p.m.
The CEO also assisted with a visit to campus by an MTV crew, which boarded one of the vans en route to the polls to interview students about being first-time voters and the issues that concerned them. Footage was aired later that day.
Hundreds of students, some in pajamas, settled down in Thomas Great Hall with laptops, books, and craft projects to watch election results on a large-screen television. The College also provided all-American snacks of hotdogs, and red, white and blue cupcakes, popsicles, hats and pompons.
Although there was concern that students would be challenged at their polling place, the Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, there were few problems. The CEO office spoke beforehand with the Montgomery County Director of Voter Registra-tion Services, and the College Counsel and CEO staff were on call throughout the day for students who might encounter difficulties.
Bryn Mawr Democrats and Democracy Matters sponsored a post-election panel discussion on the changing face of politics, with Bryn Mawr faculty offering their views about grass roots organization, campaign finance, the role of the media, and the situation in the Middle East.
The CEO has launched a new initiative, “Smart Women Act,” and has surveyed students about the issues on which it should focus for the spring semester. “Now that the election is over, our work is just beginning,” said CSO Director Debra Rubin. “You don’t just vote and go home. Real social change takes the long haul.”
de Laguna ‘27 Led ‘Extraordinarily Happy Life’
Frederica Annis Lopez de Leo de Laguna ’27 died of heart failure in her sleep at home in Bryn Mawr on 10/6/04, three days after celebrating her 98th birthday. She was an internationally-recognized pioneer in the early anthropology of Alaska Native peoples. Friends report that de Laguna was an active scholar until the end: in her last month, she founded her own press, and had recently finished editing a book and revising her magnum opus on the Alaskan Tlingit peoples for republication.
“Freddy” was born in Ann Arbor MI in 1906 to Bryn Mawr philosophy professors Grace and Theodore de Laguna. She was home-schooled, then attended the progressive Phebe Thorne School on the College grounds. In 1923, she was awarded a scholarship to attend Bryn Mawr, where she graduated summa cum laude and won the prestigious European Fellowship.
Before traveling, de Laguna attended Columbia for a year, where she studied with Franz Boas, who tasked her with the study of Eskimo art. Since childhood, Freddy had been attracted to Eskimo people (at 13 she had written to explorer Donald MacMillan offering to “chew his boots” if he would let her go north with him), so in 1928, de Laguna began her professional training. She traveled to England to study prehistory and then France to join a field school in the Dordogne area. There she met Abbe Breuil, who taught her to sketch using a camera obscura.
She returned to London, then decided to do independent reading in Danish prehistory. Her studies led her to Copenhagen, where she met with Arctic archaeologist Therkel Mathiassen. She studied his collection of archaeological artifacts from the Central Eskimo and within a few weeks, Mathiassen had invited young Freddy to act as his assistant for six weeks on his upcoming excavation—the first archaeological survey ever undertaken in Greenland.
Freddy found the adventure thrilling and stayed on for six months, capturing with much grace of prose the entire journey on her typewriter:
“The rolling of the ship has made the machine seasick. If it is set crosswise to the roll, every time the boat heaves over, the carriage flies up and shifts into capitals. If the machine is set parallel to the rolling, the carriage sometimes has to go up so steep a hill that it balks. So I have to wait until the ship is leaning over to starboard and then type furiously to make up for lost time, before she begins to swing over onto her other side. And with one hand I grab the typewriter and the edge of the table. It has been interesting work” (from Voyage to Greenland).
In the 1930s, de Laguna led expeditions to Alaska, published The Archaeology of Cook Inlet, Alaska, earned her PhD from Columbia, published fictional detective stories, and finally returned to Bryn Mawr in 1938 to become a lecturer in anthropology.
During World War II, de Laguna served as a lieutenant commander in the WAVES, and after that stint, she returned to Alaska; her work there became the basis for Under Mount Saint Elias: The History and Culture of the Yakutat Tlingit, a groundbreaking holistic study of the archaeology, ethnohistory and ethnography of one culture, published by the Smithsonian Institution in 1972.
She returned to Bryn Mawr, and by 1940, a fund raised to honor retiring President Marion Park enabled de Laguna to teach more anthropology courses, and to set up an archaeological field school on the edge of the Navaho reservation near Flagstaff in conjunction with the Museum of Northern Arizona. She received the National Research Council Fellowship which allowed her to study at various museums and libraries in America and Canada.
By 1967, de Laguna had created and chaired the anthropology department, receiving the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1972. In 1975, the year of her retirement, de Laguna was made William R. Kenan Jr. Professor Emeritus and—with Margaret Mead—became the first female anthropologists elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences.
On her return to Alaska in 1993 to receive a lifetime achievement award from the Alaska Anthropological Association, she was honored at a reception at Homer’s Pratt Museum. “She was one of the first to recognize the right of indigenous people to write their own history,” Alan Boraas, professor of anthropology at Kenai Peninsula College told the Anchorage Daily News.
At 90, Frederica de Laguna was called “the moral and intellectual leader of anthropology” by William Fitzhugh, director of the Arctic Studies Center at the Smithsonian. Said Boraas, “Whatever it was that kept her fire going, she kept it going to the end.”
Perhaps Freddy herself provides us the answer: she told the Anchorage Daily News, “I’ve led an extraordinarily happy life.”
Return to Spring 2005 highlights