The New VQ: Pros and Cons

I wanted to compliment you on the redesign of the Quarterly that premiered with the latest issue. Modern, clean, simple, exciting, colorful, and clear; I think it is a wonderful change and applaud you for it! Keep up the good work!

McKay Lyall ’98
Dorset, Vermont

I wondered when I would become an official Old Fogey; now Vassar: The Alumnae/i Quarterly has made it clear. Just when I finally have more discretionary time for reading, your heavy-handed color blocks are trendy hazards. Sports scores (page 8) are difficult, the Vassar Mystery List (page 19) is impossible, Music CD (26), Connecting AAVC (64), and AAVC Bylaw amendments (66) are hopeless.

You don’t have to woo us. No browsers at newsstands, we are your loving if critical captive audience. Thank you for unembellished class notes. Please let us read the rest of the magazine.

Kay Muhs Kuhn ’44
Lexington, Massachusetts

Your desire to make the Quarterly more “with it” is commendable and, with the exception of an overdose of color, the interior is fine. The cover, however, seems disconnected—no aura of Vassar whatsoever. The articles, as always, are excellent, The Last Page being a perfect antidote to the cover!

Roxanne Beardsley ’32
Bloomfield, Connecticut

Congratulations on the redesign of the Vassar Quarterly. The crisp and clear new format perfectly complements the quality of the content.

Robert Renaud ’76
Ledyard, Connecticut

Thanks for the excellent issue of the Vassar Quarterly. But, on page 68 in the article “Up the Downhill”, was a phrase which grated: “Giving my husband and I…” The article itself was entertaining. Keep up the good work!

Frances Dennison ’42
Bronx, New York

Your recent issue may be an artistic triumph but is a communications disaster. Crowded type on a colored [background] makes it very difficult to read. I believe the purpose of the Vassar Quarterly is to keep the alumnae/i informed about the campus, the students, and each other. When it is a strain to read, the purpose of an artistic setting is defeated. This is meant to be an informative publication not a picture book.

Anne Brewster ’48
Albany, New York

Congratulations on the new look of our Quarterly, now entitled Vassar. Right from the start, the cover is uncluttered, attention-grabbing, and nicely colorful. In fact, the addition of color throughout is a great plus. The same comment about the cover applies to the entire issue, from the table of contents to the very back page. Kudos!

Claire Robinson Salmond ’47
Amelia Island, Florida

New look is refreshing, not that the previous cover was at all unattractive. It seems that visual “half-life” is getting shorter these days. Also liked the piece on Anne McNiff Tatlock ’61. Encouraging to read about a VC alum who’s high-profile in the investment business.

Peng Ngin ’84
San Francisco, California

Additions to the Mystery List

I would like to add a classmate, Blythe Morley Brennan, to your list of Vassar authors of mystery stories. Blythe wrote two, both published by Harcourt Brace: Murder by Inches (1943) and The Parchment Key (1944). They were published under a pseudonym, Stanley Hopkins, Jr. (stolen from Sherlock Holmes), which may have been why you missed them. Blythe then went on to writing documentary films and later, to being an editor with the Reader’s Digest Book Club.

Lydia Tyner Anderson ’44

Old Greenwich, Connecticut 

Editor’s further addition to the list:

Beth Saulnier ’90, whose first mystery, Reliable Sources, came out in November 1999, should have been on our Vassar mystery list. Ms. Saulneir’s second mystery, Distemper, is due out this month (June 2000); both are from Warner Books. The third book in the series is coming out in spring of 2001.

And the Mystery Is…
Aw c’mon! Or was Jorge Ribeiro ’75 joking when in “Dead Write” (Spring 2000) he said that murder has come “from unmentionable to acceptable” at Vassar. Surely he didn’t believe that a ’65 graduate actually “had to read Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers secretly.” If she did, there must have been a lot of backsliding in freedom to read at Vassar between the 1940s and the 1960s. The library stacks weren’t full of murder mysteries, but I, for sure, never heard anybody in any department—or the head resident of my dorm—suggest that we eschew the genre. Of course, I wasn’t a budding author who needed to be dissuaded. I hope that Vassar graduates in the second half of the century don’t think that those of us in the first were surrounded with thought police!

Phyllis Hickney Larsen ’44
Ithaca, New York

Re: Passing for Normal
Thank you for publishing the review by Rebecca Eggers of Amy S. Wilensky’s Passing for Normal: A Memoir of Compulsion (Spring 2000). Wilensky’s account provided welcome information for one of our inmate population who shares with the author the diagnosis of Tourette’s Syndrome.

Mary Grant McMullen ’52

Corrections Librarian
Eastern Correctional Institution
Westover, Maryland