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Oct.21, 2009

Vol. 110, No. 3

from the editor

From the Editor

Published in the October21, 2009, issue

Bill Selden ’34
Frank Wojciechowski
Bill Selden ’34

I never met Bill Selden ’34, but I always could rely on him.

When PAW was running a piece on coeducation, we knew we could consult his book Women of Princeton, 1746–1969. When we needed to check facts about eating clubs, we referred to his history Club Life at Princeton.

Over the last three decades, Selden became a highly regarded expert on Princeton history, writing about buildings, campus life, and more. He co-wrote his last booklet, about the new Center for African American Studies, when he was 95. For all his contributions, Selden — a 2007 winner of the Alumni Council Award for Service to Princeton — accepted no pay.

Selden died Sept. 21. He was 97. His classmates surely will provide a more personal remembrance in a future issue of PAW. His passing is their great loss, and ours.

Accompanying PAW’s article about photographer and Princeton professor Emmet Gowin (p. 20) is a portrait by Ricardo Barros, who first met Gowin in 1980, when the professor invited Barros to bring his portfolio to his home.

“Emmet looked at my work and began to talk,” Barros recalls. “He spoke of ideas, inspiration, and art. I had expected to learn about craft, but he focused his comments on life. He talked for nearly two hours. It took me years to understand many of the things he said.”

Barros admits that even though his own work is now exhibited in museums, it was “still intimidating” to be assigned Gowin’s portrait in September. He need not have worried; the two spoke of life and photography for an hour before Barros even took out his camera. It was, Barros says, “the chance to follow up on a conversation we had started nearly three decades before.”

Marilyn H. Marks *86

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CURRENT ISSUE: Oct.21, 2009