Illustration: Daniel Hertzberg

Elyse Graham ’07’s eloquent Princeton Portrait of George “Horse” Kerr Edwards 1889 in your July/August edition merits further promotion in your pages. Graham brings back to life an ultimate, bittersweet moment in a young alumnus’ short time on Earth with grace and compelling storytelling. The reader feels fondness for Horse, despite the 125 years that separate his passing from our learning of his unique “species of humor,” beloved by his peers. 

Were it not for this portrait, we’d also not see so piercingly how infectious diseases we don’t think much about today, like tuberculosis, used to cut short the lives of men and women who would have doubtless made great marks on history, had they been allowed more time. In that context, it lets us marvel at the many lives saved from the current pandemic, thanks to fast vaccines, antivirals, and modern health care. 

But most importantly, I appreciated Graham’s touching description of Princeton during that Reunions weekend of 1897, as it would have appeared through Horse’s eyes, a vision that could hold true today. We see “faces that glowed with expressions decades younger than their wearers … [watch] daylight sink over Nassau Hall … [look] at the night sky through treetops heavy with the song of summer insects … .” 

Thank you for this moment of pure Princeton poetry, and I hope to see more portraits by Graham in the future.

Editor’s note: read Elyse Graham ’07’s latest Princeton Portrait.

Zeyna Ballée ’01
Aix-en-Provence, France