Oh, Scottie!

I enjoyed the article and photos of Scottie Lanahan Smith ’42, F. Scott Fitzerald’s daughter [Summer 2014; shown center right, on her way to the 1964 Democratic Convention]. It brought back a memory for me.

In the early 1960s, I interned my freshman and sophomore summers on the Northern Virginia Sun in Arlington, Virginia, when Scottie was the editorial writer. She would sit cross-legged on her chair and peck away at her typewriter. I wanted to be a reporter (which I became), and she encouraged me. Even though my duties were mainly as a copy girl, Scottie asked the editor to give me some writing assignments, which increased over time.

When she learned I was a student at Vassar, she told me that she’d carved her initials inside the closet of her room in Josselyn. My dorm was Josselyn, too, and when I returned to campus in the fall I found those initials in the closet of my room. I no longer remember the number of that room but invite residents and readers who enter Josselyn to peek into closets where they can.

Judith Welles ’63

Bethesda, Maryland

Bravery in Boston

While Bruce Mendelsohn’s bravery during the Boston Marathon bombing is commendable, his piece “Running into the Unknown” [Spring-Summer 2014] fails to acknowledge the tremendous bravery of the first responders and other citizens who worked together to save so many lives that day. Indeed, the Harvard Kennedy School report on the response to the bombing praises the hard work and coordination of people at various levels across multiple jurisdictions, governments, and agencies. There was plenty of courage to go around that day. Mendelsohn’s glaring omission is troubling and, frankly, distasteful, in advance of the first anniversary of the bombing.

Action may be more powerful than mere discussion, but action in concert with others advances our humanity and acts as a salve to even the most awful wounds.

Rachel Becker ’01

Boston, Massachusetts


As one observant reader pointed out, we failed to identify the young woman who appeared on the cover of the Spring-Summer 2014 issue. Our apologies to Viola Nakanjako, a Ugandan performer in the production At Home in the World, staged in two cities in Japan last spring. Vassar and the Japanese organization Ashinaga, which supports children around the world who have lost parents, collaborated on the production.