Spring 2018

Letters

A Word From Our Readers
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LGBT JUMBO ATHLETES

I’m contacting you in regard to Lindsay Tucker’s “In Love and Rugby” (Fall 2017), which describes the struggles of gay rugby player Nick Nasser, A17. Frankly, publishing an article about rugby and sexuality that only discusses one gay man on the men’s team amounts to erasing not only the women’s team but the rich history of LGBT community within our team.

I understand that an article was written about Nasser in a publication outside of Tufts, and I certainly appreciate the courage it takes to come out. But it’s lazy and disrespectful for Tufts Magazine to completely disregard the women’s team. Women’s sports are largely ignored in mainstream culture, and to see this reflected in a publication at my own university where I have dedicated four years to my sport is disheartening.

MEGAN MOONEY, A18


From the editors: Our thanks to Megan Mooney and the other members of the women’s rugby team who wrote to express their disappointment with “In Love and Rugby.” In sharing the coming-out story that one athlete told in another publication, our intent was not to overlook or to demean the experiences of any other athletes or any other Tufts sports team. We regret that this story landed in a painful way for some readers.

 


WOMEN MINISTERS OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY

Moyne Cubbage’s letter to the editor (Fall 2017) about my article “Tufts’ Lost Heritage” (Spring 2017) offers a different perspective on pioneering women in the clergy. One part of the article discusses the Universalists’ groundbreaking ordination of the suffragist Olympia Brown in the mid-nineteenth century. Cubbage objects, claiming that the ordination of Antoinette Brown Blackwell preceded that of Olympia Brown by a decade. And he’s correct. However, what I meant to emphasize was that Olympia Brown was the first woman ordained by a denomination.

Unlike Olympia Brown, Antoinette Brown Blackwell, a Congregationalist, was ordained without any denominational consent. Indeed, the Congregationalists refused to ordain her, so the ordaining officiator was a Methodist. Her ordination carried with it no association with a denominational body.

CHARLES GAINES, A58, CRANE61
TUCSON, ARIZONA

 


CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER

I was intrigued to discover that Tufts had produced a leading scholar on the life and works of Charles Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll (“It’s a Wonderland Life” by August A. Imholtz, Jr., Fall 2017). It was interesting to note that this scholar, Morton Cohen, A49, renounced the notion that the heroine of Dodgson’s famous Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was Alice Liddell, the daughter of Henry Liddell, who served in the 1850s as headmaster of my high school, Westminster School—an independent school on the grounds of Westminster Abbey that subsequently named a boarding house after him. Liddell moved from Westminster to become the dean of Christ Church College, Oxford, during Dodgson’s tenure as a mathematics lecturer there.

Like Cohen, Dodgson himself maintained that the fictional Alice was not based on Alice Liddell. However, no one disputes that the Liddell children were among the earliest pre-publication audiences of the Alice stories, or that Alice Liddell was a photographic subject of Dodgson, a passionate amateur photographer with a penchant for taking posed pictures of young girls. Personally, I have tended to assume that the episodes in Wonderland where Alice changes size have their origin in Dodgson’s photographic portrait sessions with Alice Liddell. Imagine the entertainment of showing a youngster how a subject’s size can be enlarged or reduced by altering the length of the bellows on an old-fashioned plate camera such as the one Dodgson would have employed.

By curious coincidence, Dodgson’s town of birth, Daresbury in Cheshire, saw the establishment in 1981 of the UK’s first synchrotron facility. The new UK synchrotron, Diamond, is located in a village a small distance from Dodgson’s eventual hometown, Oxford. For those not in the know, a synchrotron is a type of particle accelerator. Many scientists consider the electron beams produced by synchrotrons to be the ultimate means of examining the structures of the substances that surround us, and I feel sure this technology would have fascinated Dodgson.

JONATHAN TARGETT, E86
GREAT YARMOUTH, ENGLAND

 


WORD CHOICE IN DENTISTRY

I enjoyed the article on Dina Deitsch and her work as director and chief curator for Tufts University Art Galleries (“Breaking Down Gallery Walls” by Rob Phelps, Fall 2017). However, I think that a publication representing a university with one of the most prestigious dental schools in the United States should know better than to print an opening sentence about “Picasso prints and historic dental tools.” Wouldn’t you agree that “instruments” is a better word? I think that the faculty and students at the School of Dental Medicine would! 

Nonetheless, I always like your magazine. Keep up the good work!

MICHAEL C. WOLF, DDS, A59
NEW YORK, NEW YORK