Messenger - Vol. 1, No. 2, Page 5 Winter 1992 Tales told out of school Every life has its moments of decision. Most of us have more than one. Still, some stand out over others. One of my most memorable, crucial moments was a short conversation with Ed Rosenberry on a hot summer day in 1955. Ed was a professor in the English department, but the reason I was talking to him was because he had something to do with an associate degree program. To appreciate the situation, one has to know my unpromising prospects at the time. A high school dropout at 14, I had worked sporadically until I was 18, and then I had enlisted in the Army. Combat service in Korea helped me to mature and determine that I must somehow overcome my educational shortcomings. Although married at 21, the goal of higher education was always there. The problem was how to achieve it. During a brief stint in New Hampshire, I talked to admissions people at the University of New Hampshire and was soundly rebuffed for having the temerity to think that I might be admitted. I knew I was bright and had read extensively, but I had no qualifications on paper. On a trip to Delaware, prior to moving here, I found a U.D. catalog that discussed an associate degree program that could be pursued largely through what was then called University Extension. The contact person was Prof. Rosenberry. I explained my circumstances. Notwithstanding my lack of a high school diploma, and to my great elation, he encouraged me to apply. It is hard to explain what that moment did for me. Shortly thereafter, I talked with Gordon Godbey, director of the extension program, who suggested that I take a few courses in night school to see how things went. That September, I enrolled and found that I could indeed do the work. Two and one-half years later, with the equivalent of one year of full-time credits, I found my job abolished. But having achieved some confidence in my academic abilities, I applied to matriculate full-time. In the next two and one-half years, I completed the requirements for a B.A. in English and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. Gordon Godbey wrote me a wonderful letter for fulfilling the promise and possibilities inherent in the extension program. There were other key people. Among them were Anna DeArmond, Cyrus Day, Eve Clift and Robert Hillyer. There was also Ernest K. Moyne, my undergraduate adviser and a professor in the English department. When I was trying to decide about graduate school, Ernest told me about the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture, an M.A. program jointly sponsored by U.D. and the Winterthur Museum. Its combination of history, art history and literature appealed to me and, indeed, its interdisciplinary approach would profoundly affect my future. Two years later, I graduated, and a new world opened up. Some years later, I became director of publications at Winterthur and editor of Winterthur Portfolio. I arranged for the transformation of Winterthur Portfolio, then a hard-cover annual collection of articles on the American arts, into a scholarly journal published by the University of Chicago Press. That is when it became Winterthur Portfolio: A Journal of American Material Culture. I am told that the journal has become very important and has for some years now been on the cutting edge of research in material culture, a field this journal did much to cultivate. It is important to say that the philosophy and editorial policy of this journal owes a debt to those who initiated the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture back in 1952. One of the guiding geniuses who helped to create the program was Ernest Moyne. The other was Frank Sommer, who, in 1952, taught anthropology at the University but who later taught art history at Winterthur before becoming director of libraries. It has been my privilege to work with distinguished faculty at U.D.- first as a student and later as an adjunct professor. Ironically, I never had a credit course with Dr. Rosenberry. However, I did take his non-credit course in poetry, where he gave the most unforgettable reading of Browning's "Soliloquy in a Spanish Cloister." Recently, I chose to take early retirement from Winterthur in order to pursue a variety of interests. In addition to research, writing and consulting, I agreed to become editor of the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. But U.D. continues to play an important role in my life. My son, who shares my interest in literature, entered the University as a freshman in the Honors Program. He, too, will major in English, and he, too, will find inspiring teachers. It is now a family tradition. -Ian M.G. Quimby Ian Quimby's reminiscences are the first in a new series for the Messenger. Quimby graduated from the University in 1961 and received his M.A. from the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture in 1963. Named in 1985 to the Alumni Wall of Fame, Quimby lives in Hockessin, Del.