Letters to the Editor

Cover of fall 2019 magazine cover, of camellia in Global Flora as seen from outside the greenhouse

Maine-ly Praise

I attended Mount Holyoke and Smith and graduated from Wellesley (thanks to Dean Bonnie Downes Leonard ’59 interviewing me while I nursed my newborn son in her office in 1977). That equals a plethora of mailings and alumnae journals in my mailbox here on my island in Maine. But, over time, I’ve learned to simply direct all but the Wellesley magazine to the recycle pile because … they don’t have articles that interest me, they don’t have that special zing of a layout to lure me in, and they don’t have what I assume to be your unique touch and imprint. Your work stands head and shoulders above the competition. Major kudos from Isleboro, Maine!

Diana Roberts CE/DS ’88, Isleboro, Maine

A Tour, Please!

I can’t wait to experience this wonderful space (“A Living Cathedral,” about the new Global Flora, fall ’19). I trust you will be open for tours when I return for reunion, June 2020.

Barbara Bolin Monsler ’65, Pleasanton, Calif.

The Editor Writes

In response to “From the Editor” on the Alumnae Achievement Award recipients (fall ’19): I found the editor’s message, as well as the people she inspired, an inspiring comfort and reminder of the true existence of @Wellesley community. shar.es/a3pe5T

—@Etche_homo (Heather Corbett Etchevers ’92), Bouc-Bel-Air, France, Via Twitter

Remembering Ruth Anna Putnam

As a Ruth Anna student from way back, I enthusiastically echo Prof. McGowan’s words of tribute (“In Memoriam,” fall ’19). She changed my life in too many ways to describe. How rare it is for someone in academic life to be so self-effacing and yet at the same time so strong an influence on those she met.

Catharine Wells ’68, Newton, Mass.

Honoring Cokie

Regarding the memorial tribute for Cokie Boggs Roberts ’64 (“In Memoriam,” fall ’19): #RememberingCokie—story about #wellesleyalum Cokie Roberts ’64 by @npratc former host Linda Wertheimer’65; tribute in @Wellesleymag. Proud of our accomplished alums.

—@mfarahad (Mani Ardalan Farhadi ’84), Los Gatos, Calif., Via Twitter

The Woman Behind the Underground

In response to the profile on Shelly Anand ’08 (“Ten Years Underground”, fall ’19): Love this @wellesleymag profile of @maanandshelly as she celebrates TEN YEARS of running @wellesleyunderg while litigating on behalf of undocumented immigrants + domestic violence survivors, raising 2 kids + now writing her 1st book for @KokilaBooks.

—@agentsaba (Saba Sulaiman ’09), Shreveport, La., Via Twitter

The Puzzle Tradition

Regarding “Puzzle Me This” in the fall ’19 issue: After graduation in 1984, I went to work for Dell Puzzle Magazines. We began a series of Math Puzzles and Logic Problems magazines; I edited many of those, in addition to taking charge of math and number puzzles for all the magazines. We had a puzzle called Number Place, and I liked it a lot, so started putting lots of them into the Math Puzzles and Logic Problems issues as well as encouraging other editors to use them in their magazines. I left Dell in 1996 and then, a few years later, started seeing my beloved Number Place puzzles with a new name: sudoku. Congratulations to Tantan Dai ’22, and welcome to my former world. (I was also briefly a highly ranked crossword puzzle competitor but dropped out.)

Gail Accardi ’84, New York

Here’s to Alumnae Editors

Isn’t it time that Wellesley celebrated alumnae editors? They are the opposite of the usual highflyers who are amply credited for their work and are meant to inspire us all (“The Woman Who Fought Lead,” and “Making the Case for Medicaid,” fall ’19). They don’t get nearly enough credit, but nothing makes or breaks a book like a good editor.

I am writing now because I recently discovered that both my excellent editors at university presses were Wellesley grads. They are: Janet Bernstein Rabinowitch ’58 of Indiana University Press, who edited my book Terrible Perfection: Women and Russian Literature in 1987, and Christine Dunbar ’02 of Columbia University Press, who recently edited my translation of a 19th-century Russian novel, A Double Life, by Karolina Pavlova.

Janet and Christine don’t know each other, but maybe this letter will uncover a noble Wellesley sisterhood that truly embodies our motto, with no gold pins attached.

Barbara Heldt ’61, Oxford, England

Katharine Leaf Bates

While I was visiting my parents’ home on Cape Cod this summer, I spent a lovely afternoon catching up with my mother in her plant-filled veranda. As I had just finished reading the spring ’19 issue of Wellesley magazine (it takes a while to arrive to my home in France!) and had seen the ad featuring Katharine Leaf Bates before leaving for the United States, a plant my mother had caught my eye. Its mother was given to me when I visited the greenhouses on my first day at Wellesley in 1985, the very first year of the plant distribution program. Katharine Leaf Bates, my first-year plant, has lived for decades, thanks to my mother’s green thumb!

Margaret Jenkins ’89, Mareil Marly, France