Your April article on The New Princeton Companion (On the Campus) brought back memories of the original edition and its incomparably genial editor, Alexander Leitch 1924. Fifty years ago, I worked on A Princeton Companion with Mr. Leitch, editing and researching articles and compiling the index. The job came with the benefit of a carrel in Firestone, an otherwise unattainable luxury for a freshman.
The original Companion was undeniably ready for updating after half a century, and Robert Durkee ’69 has doubtless developed a formidable institutional memory during his many decades of loyal service at Princeton. Nonetheless, I maintain the (probably prejudiced) conviction that no one ever loved the University more than Alec Leitch. He treasured every blade of grass, every stone, every event on the campus, and took unalloyed delight in every anecdote and pride in every statistic about the school. He was an ideal chronicler of Princeton’s uniqueness, and I am sure that he would be pleased beyond words to see his pet project revitalized, expanded, and made newly relevant to the changing times.
After a year and a half, I left Princeton for greener (actually, bluer) pastures, and my work with Mr. Leitch came to an end. On the eve of my departure, he presented me with an orange-and-black striped stocking cap, along with the instruction to “wear it on the streets of New Haven, so that you don’t forget where you came from.” I haven’t forgotten.