Messenger - Vol. 1, No. 2, Page 5
Winter 1992
Tales told out of school
     Every life has its moments of decision. Most of us have more than
one. Still, some stand out over others. One of my most memorable,
crucial moments was a short conversation with Ed Rosenberry on a hot
summer day in 1955. Ed was a professor in the English department, but
the reason I was talking to him was because he had something to do
with an associate degree program.
     To appreciate the situation, one has to know my unpromising
prospects at the time. A high school dropout at 14, I had worked
sporadically until I was 18, and then I had enlisted in the Army.
Combat service in Korea helped me to mature and determine that I must
somehow overcome my educational shortcomings. Although married at 21,
the goal of higher education was always there. The problem was how to
achieve it.
     During a brief stint in New Hampshire, I talked to admissions
people at the University of New Hampshire and was soundly rebuffed for
having the temerity to think that I might be admitted. I knew I was
bright and had read extensively, but I had no qualifications on paper.
     On a trip to Delaware, prior to moving here, I found a U.D.
catalog that discussed an associate degree program that could be
pursued largely through what was then called University Extension. The
contact person was Prof. Rosenberry. I explained my circumstances.
Notwithstanding my lack of a high school diploma, and to my great
elation, he encouraged me to apply. It is hard to explain what that
moment did for me.
     Shortly thereafter, I talked with Gordon Godbey, director of the
extension program, who suggested that I take a few courses in night
school to see how things went. That September, I enrolled and found
that I could indeed do the work.
     Two and one-half years later, with the equivalent of one year of
full-time credits, I found my job abolished. But having achieved some
confidence in my academic abilities, I applied to matriculate
     In the next two and one-half years, I completed the requirements
for a B.A. in English and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. Gordon Godbey
wrote me a wonderful letter for fulfilling the promise and
possibilities inherent in the extension program.
     There were other key people. Among them were Anna DeArmond, Cyrus
Day, Eve Clift and Robert Hillyer. There was also Ernest K. Moyne, my
undergraduate adviser and a professor in the English department. When
I was trying to decide about graduate school, Ernest told me about the
Winterthur Program in Early American Culture, an M.A. program jointly
sponsored by U.D. and the Winterthur Museum. Its combination of
history, art history and literature appealed to me and, indeed, its
interdisciplinary approach would profoundly affect my future. Two
years later, I graduated, and a new world opened up.
     Some years later, I became director of publications at Winterthur
and editor of Winterthur Portfolio. I arranged for the transformation
of Winterthur Portfolio, then a hard-cover annual collection of
articles on the American arts, into a scholarly journal published by
the University of Chicago Press. That is when it became Winterthur
Portfolio: A Journal of American Material Culture. I am told that the
journal has become very important and has for some years now been on
the cutting edge of research in material culture, a field this journal
did much to cultivate.
     It is important to say that the philosophy and editorial policy
of this journal owes a debt to those who initiated the Winterthur
Program in Early American Culture back in 1952.
     One of the guiding geniuses who helped to create the program was
Ernest Moyne. The other was Frank Sommer, who, in 1952, taught
anthropology at the University but who later taught art history at
Winterthur before becoming director of libraries.
     It has been my privilege to work with distinguished faculty at
U.D.- first as a student and later as an adjunct professor.
Ironically, I never had a credit course with Dr. Rosenberry. However,
I did take his non-credit course in poetry, where he gave the most
unforgettable reading of Browning's "Soliloquy in a Spanish Cloister."

     Recently, I chose to take early retirement from Winterthur in
order to pursue a variety of interests. In addition to research,
writing and consulting, I agreed to become editor of the Pennsylvania
Magazine of History and Biography. But U.D. continues to play an
important role in my life. My son, who shares my interest in
literature, entered the University as a freshman in the Honors
Program. He,     too, will major in English, and he, too, will
find inspiring teachers. It is now a family tradition.
     -Ian M.G. Quimby

     Ian Quimby's reminiscences are the first in a new series for the
Messenger. Quimby graduated from the University in 1961 and received
his M.A. from the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture in
1963. Named in 1985 to the Alumni Wall of Fame, Quimby lives in
Hockessin, Del.