Published June 16, 2020 by Bowdoin Magazine

Respond Spring/Summer 2020

Letters from our readers in response to our Winter 2020 issue.

Quick Kudos

Just a quick note to congratulate you on “What we love about Maine.” Outstanding!

David Carlisle ’61



I think this was the best Bowdoin Magazine I have read, after reading almost sixty years of them.

Stephen H. Burns ’60

Staying Classy

A real classy edition of the Bowdoin Magazine. The great State of Maine never had such a fitting tribute. Keep up the good work.

Corby Wolfe ’53

Maine Memories

Just wanted to say that this was one of the most beautiful and interesting alumni remembrances ever. I loved the section about the State of Maine. My father took me fishing at Moosehead Lake and Sebago Lake when I was young and, of course, I loved my time at Bowdoin. My freshman roommate was from Portland, the late Hugh Pillsbury ’52, whose mother owned a restaurant there. Thank you for that lovely issue—wonderful memories!

Bob Hitchcock ’52


Looking Back, Looking Forward

My grateful thanks to you for keeping me on the mailing list for your magazine, though my husband, Robert N. Burnham, has been gone for years (since 1980). I still have good memories of my two years after his four in WWII when we returned to Brunswick for him to complete his last two years for his BA degree. Sad I couldn’t take classes as a female, but living in Brunswick (even in Jordan Acres) was wonderful and I took advantage of working at registrations and getting acquainted with other Bowdoin wives. I was fortunate to have a sister who lived in Wiscasset, also, to see.

In California, I am now confined to quarters in my home while the threats of the virus are scary enough to keep us away from socializing and catching the disease. The predictions are not good, and let us hope the government will get the population protected—and no more virus.

The Bowdoin Magazine is particularly good for the winter and Maine’s anniversary in 2020. I have an ancestor who attended Bowdoin in 1825 in the class with Hawthorne and Longfellow. His name was Elisha Bacon, and, while in Brunswick, I copied his graduation silhouette and have it framed on my bureau and “signed” by my copy of his signature; and when I see it, it brings back so many good memories of those two years in Brunswick.

So, my grateful thanks to you for the wonderful magazine. I forward them to a great grand-daughter in North Carolina and hope Bowdoin is on her list for college in several years. She could be a student there now that women can attend the College. I’d love that!I am now ninety-nine years old, as my husband would be—we were both born in 1920.

Hopefully, our US government will soon control the virus, but it looks like a long haul, doesn’t it? Hoping we all survive!

Phebe (Bacon Case) Burnham W’43


Love for Maine

Your Winter 2020 volume was the finest issue of Bowdoin Magazine in my sixty-nine years of loyal readership. The special feeling for Maine was beautifully illustrated on the cover, lovingly and warmly expressed in your letter, and maintained throughout. Having been concerned about the percentage decline in the number of Maine students for several decades, your winter issue is spectacular reassurance that students respect and revere the College’s Maine roots. Congratulations! You have produced a treasured keepsake celebrating Maine’s bicentennial.

Alan L. Baker ’51


Insta Love

I’m just enamored with the illustrations by Portland, Maine, artist Pat Corrigan that accompanied articles in the latest @bowdoincollege magazine. [And] the tear-out heart on heavy stock—a framer! ❤

Stephanie Rogers ’94 (@readeatsee) via Instagram



As the wife of a Bowdoin alumnus (’62), I am writing with a compliment and commentary. I just love the frameable art of “Maine Love,” and the letter accompanying it! However, I have searched the magazine for the names of the artist and author. They deserve to be recognized. Thank you for your high-quality publication—it is always a pleasure to receive and read it! The excellence of Bowdoin is evident in all ways.

Martina Eastman (H. Wilson Eastman ’62)

Ed: Bowdoin Magazine Art Director Melissa Wells designed the Maine heart graphic. Executive Editor Alison Bennie wrote the accompanying letter.


Pitch Perfect

I thoroughly enjoyed Brock Clarke’s “We’re All Related.” It captures the essence of Maine humor—funny, yes, but with the wit of a subtle humorist. Going to Bowdoin in the late ’50s introduced me to the genre—first from my dear departed good friend, classmate, and fraternity brother Phil Wilson ’60, who had a wealth of these stories, some his own, told with the perfect “Maine pitch.”

I became a fan of “Bert and I” and Bowdoin’s own, the late John Christie ’59. John also is noted for skiing the Deke House stairs in an apron—you get the picture. I also tried penning one: “Most rural Mainers are more known for owning one old pickup truck, identified by the fact that no two body panels share the same ‘colah’ paint. Not true, they own two—one for the ‘rud’ and the othah for pahts!”

Bob Spencer ’60


Ties that Bind

Reading Bowdoin Magazine and the article about the medical school, I was surprised to see my relative, John Budd Thompson (Class of 1896), in the photo that listed faculty. My paternal grandmother was a Thompson whose family built a home near Brunswick that I still visit occasionally. It was one of the reasons I applied to Bowdoin. There’s an old panoramic photo of the Quad (circa 1908) hanging in the kitchen. 

Tim Hayes ’00


Polar Bears Everywhere

“Wearing it Well”: On page 39 [of the winter issue] you mention Bridget, Class of 2022. Her name is Bridget Funk, she is from Vero Beach where we live now, a lacrosse player and good buddy of my grandson Sam Paquette ’21, also a lacrosse player. How is that for “Wearing it Well?!” I was wearing a Bowdoin lacrosse belt at a physical therapy session for my shoulder. The owner asked me if I was a graduate and told me that his son’s ex-girlfriend was at Bowdoin playing lacrosse. I played lacrosse at Bowdoin and have several lacrosse jackets, hats, and, of course, belts. I can’t tell you how many people stop me and ask me if I know, or knew, so-and-so. This is amazing to me since Bowdoin is such a small college.

Ted Fuller ’61


Family Roots

I meant to tell you how much I enjoyed your inclusion of the historical information on Stockholm and New Sweden. I was born in the former and moved to the old family farm in New Sweden at age seven and a half. That property is now owned by my niece and her husband, and their son has a beef operation there. (W.W.) Thomas Park is a central picnicking place for the local residents. It still has its music shell for outdoor band concerts, where I played my alto sax until I moved away in 1958. Swedish is my native tongue. All of my ancestors immigrated from Sweden. The town will be celebrating its 150th anniversary this summer, at the Founders Day weekend, July 23–26. What is understandably not publicized in your magazine’s historical account is that an earlier governor, Washburn, and legislature wanted specifically “the introduction of emigrants from the north of Europe to our State.” The legislation that Governor Chamberlain secured, in its final form, established a board of immigration that had “the power to send to Sweden an agent offering to each adult male or head of a family 100 acres of Aroostook land.”  . . . “Despite the desire for increased population, Maine had no wish to promote promiscuous immigration” (Leamon, unpubl). German, Italian, and Spanish immigrants were discussed in the legislative debates, but entirely discounted in favor of Scandinavians. As a child growing up, I picked up the subtext of this, that migration of non-Protestants southward from the St. John River Valley was not desirable. 

Rod Forsman ’59



  • The Medical School of Maine feature in our last issue identified William Allen as Bowdoin’s second president; he was the third (Jesse Appleton was the second).
  • On page 31 of that same piece, the year “2021” should have read “1921.”