My father was the 1927 class secretary throughout my childhood and college years, and later the class president. I personally knew — and so liked — many members of the class, and knew about many more. And so it is with sadness that I read in the Feb. 13 PAW the obituary of Joe Henderson, one of two surviving members of the class. I subsequently learned that the last surviving member, Alvin Kephart, a distinguished Philadelphia lawyer and state senator, died in January. Where once they were 487 members strong, now there is none.
Thanks to the efforts of its class historian, Nelson Burr, 1927 produced over the years extensive histories of itself. Classmates certainly came from more homogeneous and privileged backgrounds than would be true today, but they were more diverse than one might assume. Upon graduation more than 20 percent went into manufacturing. Two years out of college, the Depression arrived. Fourteen years out, America entered the Second World War; 188 classmates served in uniform, and eight were killed. After the war, there was great social change. At the 20th reunion in 1947, 21 reported they were divorced, 44 remarried once, four remarried twice.
This was not a class of famous men. One was a congressman, and only a few were great business successes. A fair number were educators or public servants, and 152 became doctors or lawyers. But I do believe that one could not find a more honorable, public-spirited, and gracious group than the men of 1927. I salute them all. I know they would wish us well. They also would be very proud of Princeton today.
Browsing Letters 2007-2008