Filmmaker receives ABC grant
Julie G. Cho '92 received a $20,000 scholarship grant from ABC Television on July 25, 2001.

She will create a television pilot for an original series, "Color of Law," which follows two new agents in the hate crimes unit of the FBI.

Long a fan of cinema and television, Cho was compelled to stand behind the camera and actually make film thanks to the Asian American studies class she took at Bryn Mawr in 1991 that was taught by Jean Wu, former associate dean and director of the Division of Special Studies (now at Tufts University).

"It was there that I saw, for the first time in my life, stories about Asian Americans, written and produced by Asian Americans," says Cho. "It was a tremendous moment of both liberation and empowerment. Of course, I would discover over the next 10 years how little I knew back then, how much I needed to learn, and how many mistakes I'd make in the process. I'm still learning. But it's been an exhilarating journey."

Cho sees filmmaking as an extension of sociology, her major. "Good sociology, as my professors would instill, compels you out of the classroom and into the world," she says. "My major taught me to get underneath the statistics, to be fully aware of the stories and human relations that are more complicated and unpredictable than any number can tell you."

Cho took her first filmmaking class as a Bryn Mawr student at the University of Pennsylvania, where she edited super8 films in a stuffy converted janitor's closet, using BMC and Haverford classmates as actors.

From Bryn Mawr Cho went to Northwestern University for her master's in radio, television and film, and then received an MFA from the the University of California, Los Angeles School of Theater, Film and Television in film and television directing. She recently received another grant to produce a documentary of Japanese American swing and jazz musicians before, during and after their World War II internment experience. Her previous short film, "bubblehead," has been featured at several film festivals.

Cho was nominated for the ABC grant by East West Players, the oldest and largest Asian Pacific American theater in the United States, and was among three Asian American filmmakers selected in a nationwide search. In addition to the cash prize, the winners receive a mentor for one year to help them develop their projects. Cho's mentor is Sue Johnson, director of talent development at ABC Daytime.

Paul Weiss celebrates 100th
Paul Weiss, who taught philosophy at Bryn Mawr in the 1940s, celebrated his 100th birthday on May 19-and the publication of his latest book, Emphatics. In it he asserts that language is not merely the play of meaningless, empty symbols, but a medium of communication, and examines the way meaning is created socially and taxonomically.

Since retiring as Yale's Sterling professor of philosophy in 1969, Weiss has published more than a dozen books, including a definitive work on the philosophy of sports and works on art, cinema and politics. He considers his book, Being and Other Realities, which he wrote when he was 94, to be an important contribution to the larger body of "speculative metaphysical" philosophy.

The Washington Post, on May 19, 2001, ran an article about Weiss's life and work. Weiss was born in New York City, the son of an immigrant Jewish tinsmith and boilermaker and a mother who worked as a servant before marrying. He received his undergraduate degree in 1927 at City College of New York, then studied at Harvard with philosophers Alfred North Whitehead and Etienne Gilson. He began editing the works of Charles Sanders Peirce, a then-unknown scholar, and established him as the arguable founder of the philosophical school of pragmatism. Weiss left Bryn Mawr for Yale in 1946, where he remained until "retirement," then worked at Catholic University until age 93.

The summer 2000 issue of the Alumnae Bulletin featured civil rights activist Grace Lee Boggs, PhD '40, who was profoundly influenced by Weiss's teachings of Immanuel Kant and G.W.F. Hegel. In her autobiography, Living for Change, Boggs calls Weiss the most rewarding aspect of her Bryn Mawr graduate education: "... Weiss philosophized as if his life depended on it," Boggs writes. "A young man, in his mid-30s, and a new father, Weiss not only got an almost palpable pleasure from grappling with ideas but was passionately engaged in creating a new philosophy that would meet both his own needs and those of a society for whom science was no longer sacrosanct."

'Why not a woman?'
Why did M. Carey Thomas, the distinguished female president of a pre-eminent institution of higher education for women, choose a man as her portraitist when there were accomplished woman painters? Thomas' contemporary, Philadelphian Cecilia Beaux, for example, was a feminist and one of the most sought-after portraitists of the time.

Linda Nochlin, Lila Acheson Wallace Professor of Modern Art at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, took the rhetorical question as her launching point for a survey of two centuries of portraiture on September 21 as Roberta Holder Gellert Lecturer. "Why not a Woman? John Singer Sargent and the M. Carey Thomas Portrait, Alice Neel, and the Issue of the Woman Portrait Painter" was sponsored by the Friends of the Library and the Center for Visual Culture.

European and American women painters from the beginning included children and mothers among their subjects to show that they could be painters yet not "denatured," Nochlin said, clicking through projections of a gallery of nudes, children, mothers, sisters, aristocrats and celebrities.

In 1898, The Alumnae Association decided to commission Thomas' portrait, and she chose John Singer Sargent, sitting for him a year later. The superstar of painters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Sargent made his fortune and reputation as a portraitist of beautiful women and influential men. "A Portrait of M. Carey Thomas, President of Bryn Mawr College" traveled to exhibitions of Sargent's work and of higher education. It was included in the American art installation of the Paris Universal Exposition of 1900, chosen to embody "the most organized type of new woman of the New World, both highly educated and independent," and was awarded the Grand Prix.

Sargent depicts an intense woman, both introspective and visionary. Her illuminated face and hands, gripping the chair's arms, stand out against the black background and her dark academic robes, presenting a figure unfettered by setting, lap dogs or frilly costumes. Sergeant painted other androgynous women and showed their human qualities, as he did writer Vernon Lee, but Thomas' gaze is "stony." Hers is in the tradition of the academic portrait, where the sombre male model prevailed.

Thomas was proud of the painting, as she wrote in a letter to Mary Garrett, her friend and benefactor. As Nochlin suggested, Sargent was commissioned in the end because of his social cachet. There is also the possibility that Thomas did not choose a woman because she measured herself, and BrynMawr, in terms of male educational accomplishments.

The portrait will be permanently on display in the Class of 1812 Rare Book Room, Canaday Library, original site of the Deanery, where the the exhibit, "The Very Best Woman's College There Is: M. Carey Thomas and the Making of the Bryn Mawr Campus," runs September 21-December 20. Thomas worked with a group of distinguished designers, architects and artists to create a look for Bryn Mawr that reflected her academic ambitions for the college. The group included the architectural firm of Cope & Stewardson, the architectural firm that created the "Collegiate Gothic" style; Frederick Law Olmsted and his landscape architecture firm, known for designing New York's Central Park; interior designer and architect Lockwood de Forest; Henry Chapman Mercer, founder of the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works in Doylestown, PA, whose tiles decorate Thomas Library, and the Denbigh and Pembroke hall foyers; and John Singer Sargent.

Keen eye: archaeologist Dorothy Burr Thompson
Prominent archaeologist, teacher and writer, Dorothy Burr Thompson '23, Ph.D. '31, died on May 10 at her home in Hightstown NJ. She was the widow of the late Homer A. Thompson, professor emeritus of classical archaeology at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton NJ and director of the Agora Excavations of Athens, Greece from 1947 to 1967.

A world authority on Hellenistic terracotta figurines, Dorothy Burr was a Philadelphia native descended from a long line of Quakers and authors. She attended Miss Hill's School in Center City and at the age of 13 was taken on The Grand Tour of Europe. During the trip, she and her family were caught in Switzerland in the opening salvos of World War I. Dorothy wrote vividly of this frightening experience in a diary given to her by her grandmother, beginning her daily practice of journal writing, an effort she continued until she was 94 and no longer able to write. Her family plans to publish these diaries.

As war threatened, Dorothy's father, Charles Henry Burr, Jr., a prominent Philadelphia constitutional lawyer, was asked to work for the British government as a consultant, and the family moved to London, where Dorothy and her younger sister, Pamela spent 1917 through 1919. At her father's urging, she had begun to study Latin at age 9 and Greek at 12; she was tutored in classics during her two years in England before entering Bryn Mawr. She could not decide whether she would pursue a career in writing, painting or mathematics, all of which she loved, but while studying at Bryn Mawr became fascinated by the classical world and its scholars, particularly Rhys Carpenter, her "maestro," who taught her to love Hellenistic sculpture. She graduated summa cum laude, winning the European Fellowship and becoming the College's first graduate in Greek and archaeology. The award allowed her to study for two years at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens (ASCSA), where she worked as an excavator at various sites, including Phlius under Carl Blegen and Eutresis under Hetty Goldman.

Dorothy demonstrated her keen eye very quickly when she saw laborers at Dendra unearthing a large stone that she recognized as the entranceway lintel of a tholos tomb-a beehive shaped burial vault from Greece's Late Bronze Age. The men, who intended to break up the stone for sale, would not stop digging, but she alerted authorities, who were able to save the find. The tholos proved to be the burial place of the king, queen and princess of Midea. She once told the Alumnae Bulletin that her career "sounds very modest compared with the promise I ventured under Pem Arch long ago, to find another Tut-Ank-Amen tomb for Bryn Mawr. And yet I did find a king's tomb and I did find as much pleasure, interest and zest in archaeology as Bryn Mawr ever promised me."

She received her doctorate from Bryn Mawr in 1931, cataloguing for her thesis the Boston Museum's 117 terracotta miniatures of the Hellenistic period from Myrina on the southwestern coast of Turkey. These small clay figures of fashionable ladies, babies and nurses, actors and animals were left in sanctuaries and graves as offerings to the gods and also may have been used decoratively in Greek homes. They tell us a great deal about the everyday life of common people, their clothing, religious beliefs, amusements, even the diseases they suffered-customs from the cradle to the grave.

In 1932, she was the first woman appointed a Fellow of the Athenian Agora excavations, where she met Homer Thompson, a Canadian archaeologist who was assistant director offield work. They married in 1934 and lived during the winters in Canada, where Homer was curator of the classical collection at the Royal Ontario Museum of Archaeology and assistant professor in fine arts at the University of Toronto. Twin daughters wereborn in 1935 and a third daughter in 1938. In 1936, Dorothy unearthed and identified, in the Agora, the garden of the Temple of Hepaistos, whose existence had not been suspected, and became an expert on garden lore not only in early Greece but also in Babylon, Egypt and Italy.

Work continued at the Agora excavations until disrupted by World War II. Homer volunteered for service in the Canadian Navy. Dorothy took over his courses in Greek and Roman art at the University of Toronto (demanding, and receiving, the same salary) and discovered a lifelong passion for teaching. She also organized Greek war relief activities in Toronto. In 1946, Homer accepted the Agora and Advanced Institute positions; Dorothy served as acting director of the Royal Ontario Museum in 1946 for the year before they were to move to Princeton.

Balancing motherhood with scholarship, Dorothy taught at colleges and universities that included Bryn Mawr, Princeton and Penn. She published more than 50 scholarly papers and books. Her major work on terracotta, Troy: the Terra-Cotta Figurines of the Hellenistic Period (1963), was 15 years in the writing. Swans and Amber (1948), her translations of 6th and 7th century B.C.E. Greek lyrics, was reprinted in 1988 by the ASCSA. Among her wide-ranging interests was the Owl Book store at Bryn Mawr. Also of interest to her was film, and she helped produce a color feature on the subject of ancient Greece.

"As a person, she was pert, direct, often brusque," one of her daughters wrote. "But her enthusiasm for life and her varied passions compensated for her sometimes highly opinionated nature, making her an unusually interesting and powerful individual." Apart from the many other honors that she received, she was awarded in 1987 the Gold Medal for distinguished Archaeological Achievement by the American Institute of Archaeology.

She is survived by her three daughters, Hope Kerr of Cedar Grove NJ, Hilary Kenyon of West Hartford CT, and Pamela Sinkler-Todd '60, A.B. '73, of Philadelphia; eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. A memorial service was to be held at Bryn Mawr on October 6.

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