I enjoyed very much your article on the “Critters” of the 1960s and ’70s. Having graduated from Princeton in 1952, done a tour of service with the Navy and earned a Ph.D. from the institution on the Charles River, I found myself back in Princeton for a few years as an instructor in the history department. Then, thanks to a career change (from European to Chinese history) in 1967, I did an introductory summer Chinese course at Yale (only a year later would the largely Princeton-built summer Chinese School at Middlebury open). At Yale, one of my classmates was a Vassar junior, Vivienne Bland, on her way to Princeton as a Critter that fall.
At Princeton she also baby-sat occasionally for our daughters so my wife and I could go out. One evening she was let in by our 7-year-old Sarah, who asked her what she did. “I’m a student,” replied Vivienne. Sarah’s eyes grew side with astonishment. “I thought only boys could be students,” she said, her remark overheard unfortunately by my Radcliffe-educated wife, who was perpetually concerned about our raising our children in such a socially backward atmosphere as Ol’ Nassau.
Recently our former baby-sitter and Princeton’s former Critter, now Vivienne Bland Shue, has retired from her position as Leverhulme Professor of Chinese Studies at Oxford and one the leading scholars of Chinese political science of our day.
“Princeton in the Nation’s Service,” your article concludes. Yes, but sometimes Princeton has to be dragged, kicking and screaming, in that direction.