Each year, U.S. colleges and universities must say goodbye to many a famed and favorite teacher. Among 1952's retirements:
Baylor's A. Joseph ("Dr. A.") Armstrong, 79, who at seven used to scribble on his school slate "A. Joseph Armstrong, prof, of Greek," eventually became a professor of English and the world's No. 1 collector of Browning. In term, white-haired Dr. A. used to rise at dawn each day for a five-mile prebreakfast hike, taught with explosive severity ("Son, you sound like you have a mouthful of mush"), worked with such ferocity that he left the rest of the campus panting ("I hope to die on Saturday," he would say, "so there'll be no necessity to miss classes"). To earn money for his collecting, he started the Armstrong Educational Tours, raised a fortune for manuscripts, first editions and such items as Browning's ring and snuffbox. The collection is now housed in a $2,000,000 Renaissance library on the Baylor campus at Waco, Texas"a place," said Dr. A., "where young people can meditate on great thoughts . . . the most beautiful building in the world."
Bowdoin's Halifax-born Kenneth C. M. Sills, 72, longtime (34 years) president of the college. A former Latin instructor, famed for his fidgets (he used to tear whole handkerchiefs to shreds while teaching), "Casey" Sills mellowed into a pleasant, paunchy "ex-scholar," famed for his love of Dante, for eating (so goes the legend) eleven lobster stews at a sitting, and for liking to run his piny campus just as if Longfellow were still there: "Excellent teaching in wooden halls is much better than wooden teaching in marble halls."
Bryn Mawr's lively Classicist Lily Ross Taylor, 65, who in 25 years has set hundreds of unsuspecting girls to lapping up Lucretius, devouring Vergil, plunging into everything from the politics of ancient Rome to the cults of Etruria. Peering excitedly through her glasses, Miss Taylor started each lecture as a model of good grooming, gradually worked herself up into such a frenzy of hair-rumpling that students were moved to remark: "You can tell how well her class went by the way her hair is standing up."
The University of Chicago's Louis Leon Thurstone, 65, a top U.S. apostle of the mental test. A onetime assistant of Thomas Edison, Psychologist Thurstone explored far beyond the I.Q., devoted himself to devising tests for basic mental functions (e.g., verbal understanding, word fluency, number facility, space thinking, perception, reasoning, shape recognition). His plans after leaving Chicago: to go right on making tests as director of the new Psychometric Laboratory at the University of North Carolina.
Yale's Clarence W. Mendell, 69, former dean of the college and for nearly a generation the "grand old Roman" of the faculty. A tweedy little man with a passion for flashy sport coats and corncob pipes, "Clare" Mendell divided his time between poring over Latin sentence connection, digging up lost Tacitus manuscripts, weeding his vegetables, and just being the sort of gentle scholar that many Yale facultymen have tried to imitate.