Henry Putzel, Jr.
From Grapevine-2, August 1992

Princeton University over the years has been well represented in this area by summering scholars. Walter P. Hall, a history professor affectionately known to Princetonians as “Buzzer,” was one of these. He often graced the podium on Nelson’s Old Home Day. He has written several history books as well as numerous scholarly articles. His books are: British Radicalism, 1791-1797; Empire to Commonwealth, Thirty Years of British Imperial History; and Mr. Gladstone.  He was co-editor of Historical Readings in Nineteenth-Century Thought and he co-wrote A History of England and the British Empire and The Course of Europe Since Waterloo, from the last eleven chapters of which World Wars and Revolutions: the Course of Europe Since 1900 was largely taken. His last book, Iron out of Cavalry, An Interpretative History of the Second World War, has special and poignant interest to us here in Nelson, for it was dedicated to the memories of two young men who spent many summers here and died in action within days of each other although on opposite sides of the world – the author’s older son, Walter, a member of the 85th Mountain Infantry, who was killed in Italy on February 20, 1945, and Edward Buckley Van Zile, of the 4th Marines, who was killed at Iwo Jima on February 24, 1945.

“Like father, like son” is a saying that is particularly appropriate here. For Michael G. Hall, Walter’s son, has also had a distinguished career in history and is currently Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin. As many of our readers doubtless know, Michael did an undergraduate thesis in June 1948 on the economic history of our town. Under the aegis of the Friends of the Olivia Rodham Library, this study was published a few years ago in condensed pamphlet form with the title Nelson, New Hampshire, 1780-1870. In addition to a great many articles in scholarly journals, Michael has written two books, Edward Randolph and the American Colonies, 1676-1703, and The Last American Puritan: The Life of Increase Mather.  He has generously given a copy of the latter book to the Olivia Rodham Library. Michael has co-edited The Autobiography of Increase Mather; The Glorious Revolution in America; and Science and Society in the United States.

Douglas Brown, who was Princeton’s Dean of Arts and Sciences, wrote a number of books on political science and university administration.

Gordon Craig, father of Marty (Craig) Hackman, was a former professor at Princeton and is now on the faculty of Stanford University. He is an eminent scholar in the field of German history. Among the many books that he has written are: The Politics of the Prussian Army, 1640-1945; From Bismarck to Adenauer: Aspects of German Statecraft; Europe Since 1815; Germany 1866-1945; The Germans; Force and Statecraft: The Diplomatic Problems of Our Times: The End of Prussia; and The triumph of Liberalism: Zurich in the Golden age 1830-1869.

James Robertson, an American Historian at the University of Connecticut at Storrs, has written American Myth, American Reality, and another book on American business history. He is currently working on a study of a prominent Connecticut family. His wife Janet is the author of a novel. Ruth Lape’s brother-in-law James edited America in Literature and, with his wife Elizabeth, compiled an anthology entitled Art and Craft in Poetry.

Miriam B. Goldstein has written The Teaching of Language in Our Schools.

Irma Freneau, a descendant of Philip Freneau of Revolutionary War fame, wrote among other books, a book of poetry entitled July in Winter.

And here’s an unusual one – William Acker translated, introduced, and annotated 60 poems by the Chinese poet T’ao Ch’ien entitled T’ao the Hermit.  He also did a number of other translations of Chinese poetry.

Alfred Moeller, who with his wife Harriet has occupied (and over the past many years embellished) one of the Tolman Pond “camps” also now qualifies as a Nelson author. A chemist by profession he wrote for family and friends a book of reminiscences entitled The Best of Two Worlds.

Now we move to a different literary terrain – the cookbook. Nelson is strong in this area:  I know of at least five cookbooks by local authors. Indeed one of them, by Parke Struthers, is entitled The Nelson Cookbook. It contains 600 recipes furnished by Nelson residents.

Susan Mahnke Peery is well versed in the field of cooking, having written many articles for Yankee Magazine on outstanding New England cooks. She has written The Wellesley Cookie Exchange Cookbook and, with her husband Gordon, Cooking for Friends: A Guide to Potluck Meals.

Nelson is fortunate in having a resident archeologist. We are also fortunate in having a resident mycologist. Both of these functionaries happen to be Bert Wingerson. Though she has not as yet produced an Archeological Cookbook (“Take some manna and …”), she has edited and done the cover illustration for the recently issued Monadnock Mushroom Cookery.

Here is a final item for the culinary department – did you know that Nelson currently has a Mr. Julia Child? Well, not exactly. But Barrie White has written The Midnight Snack. This little cookbook contains recipes for “100 sandwiches and some other ideas,” and is appropriately dedicated in part to, yes, the Earl of Sandwich. Pick up your copy at this year’s Old Home Day Book Sale.

There are many writings by Nelson authors that appeared in Newspapers, magazines, and other publications, but to keep this survey within reasonable bounds I have purposely not included such material. Even as far as books are concerned, I am sure that the study is complete neither as to all Nelson authors nor in every instance as to all their works. Suggestions for additional material, which can be run in a future issue of the Grapevine-2, are invited.

[A grateful P.S.: Very helpful suggestions in connection with the survey were made by Henry Fuller, Joey Geraci, Michael Hall, Dick Hardy, Ethan Tolman, Karen Tolman, and Bert Wingerson, as well as many others. Many thanks to each of them. Any errors of commission or omission, however, are my own. – H.P.]

Read Our Write Wing: Part 1

Read Our Write Wing: Part 2