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Women of (stuff and) substance

This issue feels like what geologists call an inclusion in amber-a plant, insect, or object trapped in resin millions of years ago. September 11, with its tragic events, was not that long ago. Yet September 10 seems millions of years away-as does the relatively lighthearted mood with which many of this issue's articles were prepared.

Times have changed. In From the President, President Don M. Randel addresses the University community; in the Chicago Journal, you'll find a brief account of how the first wave of events has affected life on campus.

Queen of chaos:  Researcher Janet Rowley

Mistress of the messy office
Readers who otherwise enjoyed the June/01 article "Kings of Chaos" wondered why no female professors were included in its Who's Who of Messy Offices. The answer is simple. When we did the research, the Magazine had yet to knock on Janet Rowley's door. Rowley, PhB'45, SB'46, MD'48, the subject of an "Investigations" piece (see page 9), has an office that, no doubt about it, should have made the "Chaos" piece.

The Blum-Riese distinguished service professor of hematology and oncology at Chicago, Rowley has occupied her Franklin McLean Memorial Research Institute office since the mid-1980s, but claims that it wasn't until two or three years ago that things got really out of hand. The amount of stuff is striking, as is the lack of ceremony awarded some very prestigious honors. Her 1999 National Medal of Science, for instance, is propped against the south wall, along with other certificates and facing more hung akimbo on the opposite wall. Her Lasker award, a miniature version of the Winged Victory of Samothrace marking one of medicine's highest honors, is normally stored in its box under one of her two desks-a regular-sized one covered with stacks of papers, and the typing table, on which she actually works. In the photo, the typing table does double duty as a dining space; her lunch is plopped atop some papers.

"Cleaning this place," Rowley explains, "takes time, patience, and thought-none of which I have right now."

Major media influences
It may seem odd to link Miss Frances of the Ding Dong School with Katharine Graham of the Washington Post, but there are reasons to do so. Both received degrees from the University-Miss Frances (more formally known as Dr. Frances R. Horwich) earned a Ph.B. in 1929, and Katharine Graham earned her A.B. in 1938. Both died in midsummer-Horwich on July 22, Graham on July 17 (see "Deaths," page 59). And both had a powerful influence on many people of my generation-the preschoolers of the 1950s and the college students of the 1970s.

When Miss Frances rang her schoolteacher's bell, I felt as if my grandmother (also a schoolteacher) had entered the living room. I fingerpainted with the Original Ding Dong School Fingerpaint, read Ding Dong School books with titles like A Suitcase with a Surprise and Our Baby, and embarked on a fair share of Miss Frances-inspired projects. Remembering a vine grown from a sweet potato propped with toothpicks in a green, vine-patterned ceramic bowl still produces a sense of accomplishment. With each project, Miss Frances introduced many of us to a wider world.

Mrs. Graham provided another introduction to the world and how it works. The glory moments of her life were well rehearsed in the coverage of her death, including how, as owner and CEO of the Post during the era of the Pentagon Papers and the Watergate scandal, she refused to bow to government pressure. Unlike reporters Woodward and Bernstein and editor Ben Bradlee, Katharine Graham was never "immortalized" by a box-office star. But readers of Personal History, her Pulitzer-winning memoir, met a woman who became larger than life by virtue of living her life: facing fears, asking questions, doing her best, doing many things she never thought she could-and doing them well. She was, in short, the kind of person Miss Frances hoped all of us preschoolers would grow up to be. - M.R.Y.

  OCTOBER 2001

  > > Volume 94, Number 1

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Collective efforts
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News you can abuse
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The collecting mania

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  > > Chicago Journal

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  > > Investigations



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