Risks and Rewards

What’s the greatest risk you’ve ever taken? How old were you when you chose to take this risk? For pianist and Indiana University professor Menahem Pressler, one might argue that flying around the world to compete in an international piano competition was one of his greatest risks. From a young age Pressler was a natural player and chose to hone his skills as he grew older by attending the Tel Aviv Conservatory in Israel, where he and his family had emigrated to in 1939 from Germany to escape Nazi sentiments. After taking years of piano classes, Pressler decided he would enter into the Debussy International Piano Competition hosted in San Francisco, California. Luckily for him, his knowledge and talents supported him through the competition and Pressler won, marking his place in the world as a pianist and artist from that moment forward.

A young Menahem Pressler playing piano
A young Menahem Pressler playing piano

Menahem Pressler made his debut as a classical solo artist with the Philadelphia Orchestra only a few short weeks after winning the Debussy Competition. From there he has traveled the world performing solo, with his classical music ensemble the Beaux Arts Trio, and with other musicians and musical groups for over sixty-five years.

In 1955, Pressler accepted a position as a professor at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. That same year, he performed with the Beaux Arts Trio for the first time, a classical chamber music group he co-founded with violinist Daniel Guilet and cellist Bernard Greenhouse. The Trio played their first concert at the Berkshire Music Festival (now known as Tanglewood) in Lenox, Massachusetts and continued to play together in different configurations with Pressler at the helm until 2008.

The Beaux Arts Trio, c.1962
The Beaux Arts Trio, c.1962

With a career as illustrious as Menahem Pressler’s, it comes as no surprise that the materials documenting his career is voluminous. Processing Professor Pressler’s collection was interesting for me as it helped me fully understand the breadth of his life and career, and how much of both he had dedicated to engaging the public with his talents.

The Beaux Arts Trio 1960 Itinerary
The Beaux Arts Trio 1960 Itinerary

Although I knew Pressler was constantly in motion with either travel or teaching, I was delighted to come across an itinerary from 1960 that delineated the places and time spans of each concert he had that year. From Indianapolis to New York, London to Jerusalem, Pressler’s influence spanned the entire world twice over. Program booklets and clippings match up with the itinerary dates and show which selections the Trio and Pressler focused on during this time period.

Beaux Arts Trio, Program Booklets, 1960
Beaux Arts Trio, Program Booklets, 1960

One of the first concerts of the year took place on January 27 in Miami, Florida. The trio played a classic Haydn’s Trio No. 3 in C major before moving on to a more contemporary piece by Aaron Copland entitled Trio on Jewish Themes (“Vitebsk”). One of the group’s last concerts took place at The Library of Congress’s Coolidge Auditorium where they played pieces from Joseph Haydn, Georg Friedrich Händel, Maurice Ravel, and Hermann Zilcher.

The Scotsman, September 5, 1960
The Scotsman, September 5, 1960

An article published by The Scotsman on September 5, 1960 stated that, “If the old Italian craftsman [Stradivarius] could claim some credit for the refined yet ample tone which flowed from [their] instruments he would have rejoiced at finding his instruments in the hands of such masters, for each is a soloist in his own right.” Another article published just a few days later on September 7, 1960 by the Daily Telegraph and Morning Post stated, “The pivotal point is the pianist, Menahem Pressler. His greatest technical asset is his touch, which, at the command of intense musical understanding produces not only runs of unusual fluency and the realization of hypersensitive phrasing, but the power to hold clearly the shifting balance of the music between the instruments with never any loss of control or tone.”

Menahem Pressler
Menahem Pressler

Accolades such as these continue up until this very day for the now 90 year old musician. Mr. Pressler has been the recipient of many influential and important awards such as the German President’s Cross of Merit, First Class (2005), France’s Order of the Arts and Letters (2005), and a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Edison Foundation (2009). None of these accomplishments could have been achieved without the daring choice to take a risk (an instructive example to us all).

The Pressler papers document his career as an artist and professor at Indiana University and are now processed with a finding aid available through the Archives. Contact the Archives for more information or to gain access to the papers! Additional information about Menahem Pressler may be found on his official website: http://menahempressler.org

Resources:
R., J. W. “Instruments in Master’s Hands.” The Scotsman [Edinburgh] 5 Sept. 1960: 5-6. Print. Edinburgh Festival
Warrack, John. “Edinburgh Festivial-Exciting Trios.” Daily Telegraph and Morning Post [London] 7 Sept. 1960: 9-12. Print.

Influencing Academia: Denis Sinor’s Legacy at IU

Denis Sinor at 93
Denis Sinor at 93

Denis Sinor was an esteemed professor at Indiana University for over four decades. His work in the field of Central Eurasia shaped the way academics view the topic and area today. Sinor was born in Hungary on April 17, 1916, and was educated in Hungary, Switzerland, and France. Sinor was very active in the political scene in his youth, and during World War II, he served in the French Army as a member of the French Resistance. After his time in the military, he decided to enter the world of academia and after obtaining his MA in Oriental Studies at Cambridge University, he was appointed to its faculty.

In 1962, Sinor came to the United States as a visiting professor at Indiana University. His active professional life at Cambridge University surely influenced IU’s interest in him, as he wrote more than one hundred articles and reviews on the linguistics and histories of Inner Asia.

Defining Central Eurasia

Soon after joining IU’s faculty, Sinor was appointed to the head of the Uralic and Altaic program (later renamed the Central Eurasian Studies program [CEUS]). He served as the Chair for this program from 1963-1981, but continued to hold other important administrative positions as well as teaching and along the way, securing the title of Distinguished Professor, one of greatest honors IU bestows upon faculty, in 1975.

INUNRC
Inner Asian & Uralic National Resource Center (INUNRC)

In 1963, Sinor created the National Defense Education Uralic and Altaic Language and Area Center (later renamed the Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center [IAUNRC]) and served as the Director from 1963-1988. From 1965 to 1967, Sinor was the Chairman for the Asian Studies Research Institute (later named the Sinor Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies [SRIFIAS] in 2006). His work with these research centers, as well as the considerable amount of written work he produced, helped define the term “Central Eurasia” for the academic world.

Professional life

PIAC
PIAC

Professor Sinor also focused his considerable energy to professional service. He served as the editor of the Journal of Asian History (JAH) from its inception in 1967 until 2011. The JAH studies the regions of East, South, South-East and Central Asia before 1900. At IU, Sinor edited the Uralic and Altaic Series (over 174 volumes) and the Oriental Series. Sinor was a major force in the establishment of the Permanent International Altaistic Conference’s (PIAC) headquarters in Bloomington in 1962, for which he served as Secretary-General for numerous terms.

Sinor in North Pole
Sinor in the North Pole

Throughout his lifetime, Sinor traveled extensively in Asia, including Afghanistan, Chinese Turkestan, Soviet Central Asia, Northern Pakistan, Siberia, and Inner and Outer Mongolia. He received many honors within and outside of the United States from groups such as the American Oriental Society, the Oriental Institute of the Russian Academy of Science, and was the twice holder of a Guggenheim Fellowship (1968, 1981).

Professor Denis Sinor passed away on January 12, 2011. Through the gift of his papers to the University Archives, his teaching mission can continue.  Those interested in learning more about Professor Sinor, his life and his professional activities, should feel free to contact the Indiana University Archives for assistance!

Alfred Diamant Papers

diamant
Together with his wife, Ann Redmon Diamant, he wrote their memoirs, Worlds Apart, Worlds United. This publication tells a heartwarming story of two people falling in love during a time of war.

The Archives are pleased to announce that the Alfred Diamant papers are now processed!

Alfred “Freddy” Diamant was born into a Slovakian Jewish merchant family on September 25, 1917 in Vienna, Austria. He was the only child of Ignatz Diamant and Julia Herzog Diamant. As a child, Diamant dreamed of teaching history but due to the rise of Nazism in Vienna such a dream was forbidden and he instead entered the family textile business and managed a mill in Beška, Yugoslavia. Though he attempted to study business administration, due to the annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany (Anschluss) in 1938, Jews were expelled from universities. A year later, he escaped the escalating persecution practices of the Nazis and immigrated to the United States in 1940.

In the U.S., Diamant found work in a textile mill in Massachusetts, but in 1941 he was drafted into the United States military to fight for the cause of the Allies. After volunteering to speed up his service, he started basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky and was later transferred to Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis, Indiana. There, he met his future wife Ann Redmon. They were married March 18, 1943 at Irvington Methodist Church in Indianapolis. This happy period in his life was cut short when he was selected for Officers Graduate School and transferred to Maryland. There, his commanders learned of his German speaking skills and he was trained as an interrogator of prisoners of war for three months. Before being sent to England in 1944, Diamant became an American citizen.

On D-Day, June 6, 1944, Diamant served as part of the 82nd Airborne Division. His team was dropped eighteen miles off course. He was fortunate to survive, but was captured and taken as a prisoner of war. After attempting to escape, Diamant was shot in the back by his pursuers and survived a potentially fatal shot. He sustained a lumbar fracture from a bullet that remained in his body the rest of his life. He and the other prisoners were rescued in the following days. His wound was enough to send him home where he finally pursued his dream of an academic career studying political science.

Diamant received his A.B. and Master’s in Political Science at Indiana University and later obtained his Ph.D. from Yale in 1957. He taught at the University of Florida (1950-1960), Haverford College (1960-1967), and finally, Indiana University, from which he retired in 1988. At I.U. he served as the Chair of Political Science and the Chair of West European Studies. During his career he earned various awards including the Guggenheim in 1973 and Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship. He is described by his colleagues and students as a tenacious, courteous, and intellectual person who had a keen interest in both his students and colleagues. He was devoted to helping others understand the world they lived in and desired a more just and peaceful world. He had a passion for classical music and fine literature and passed that love of culture to his children Alice and Steve. Towards the end of his life, he suffered from failing vision, but continued to stay informed by book recordings and volunteer readers. Alfred Diamant passed away on May 11, 2012.

The Bored Walk

BoredWalk006BoredWalk008Feb1940

Self-described as “the humerous publication of Indiana U.” the Bored Walk was a humorous college magazine published by students at Indiana University from around 1931 until 1942.  The publication featured jokes, cartoons, and campus gossip and news. Cover art was unique and often featured student artwork.

October 1935The 1931 Arbutus described the Bored Walk‘s scandal page, “Borings,” as one of its most interesting features, though the content was usually related to campus happenings and may be difficult for today’s reader to fully understand. For example, a “scandal” tidbit from the 1934 remarked that, “Maybe the coeducational system has its good points after all. Fygam Flowers had intended to deny our almy mammy the pleasure of his Feb1934presence this semester. But he met Trydelt Prentice and changed his mind.”  A 1942 Borings report similarly states that, “S.A.E. ex-rod man Neal Gilliatt recently placed his badge for safe keeping in the care of Theta Mary Rees.  If she keeps it as safely as she does her scholastic average, Neal will never more wear his frat pin.”

As is the case with many magazines of this time period, BoredWalk004it is also particularly striking that nearly every back cover features a large, colored cigarette ad.  Yet interestingly, in a letter to President William Lowe Bryan, the magazine’s 1935 general manager comments that “A high standard of advertising has been maintained although it has meant the rejection of lucrative contracts for beer and liquor advertising.”  Apparently alcohol was not appropriate for students, but cigarettes were!

The Bored Walk student staff members believed their privately owned and operated publication to be highly circulated, widely read, and much enjoyed.  In 1932, the staff attempted to hand it over to the University in order to ensure its continued publication citing a circulation of 2,000 copies and that subscriptions were not merely for IU students. Subscribers included folks outside the state of Indiana, and that a number of readers were potential IU students and extension students. The Board of Trustees considered the matter, but declined.

In 1942 student owner Meredith Bratton once again tried to sell the publication before he joined the military but IU News Bureau Director E. Ross Bartley opposed the proposition saying, “The parents of our students would not understand how the University would permit some of the things that have been published in the last two years.” Bratton replied that he did not want to hand over management of the Bored Walk, but simply wanted University backing in order to more easily obtain advertising and gain recognition from the merchants bureau of Indianapolis.

Eventually, two students by the names of Bob Anderson and Nat Hill leased the Bored Walk from Bratton. The magazine, however, went into a steady decline following a series of complaints from the Dean of Women, local church officials, administrators, and Bloomington residents over the magazine’s content. The IU Bookstore and Union both cancelled their subscriptions. The October 1942 issue sealed the Bored Walk‘s fate. According to a letter written by Bartley, the offending issue contained several jokes of a sexual nature, some of which included rude remarks against the Catholic Church. Furthermore, a local priest had felt it necessary to report the magazine to higher church officials as material not suitable for Catholics to read. Anderson and Hill shouldered the blame and requested that the University order the cessation of the publication.

IU Comptroller W. G. Biddle wrote to Meredith Bratton at naval training to tell him the news of the publication’s end stating, “It was no longer decent enough to distributed as a product of Indiana University students.” Unfortunately, no copies of the issue in question exist in our collection, so we can’t see the offending articles for ourselves.

Interested in learning more about the Bored Walk? Contact the staff at the Archives!

Myles Brand’s Presidential records

The finding aid for the presidential records of former Indiana University president Myles Brand is now available online.

P0040169

Myles Brand was born on May 17, 1942 in Brooklyn, New York. He earned degrees from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of Rochester before beginning his career as a professor of philosophy. He soon moved into administration in addition to his teaching duties, among his positions serving as the dean for the Colleges of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arizona and as provost and vice-president for academic affairs at Ohio State University. From 1989-1994, he served as president of the University of Oregon.

Brand became the sixteenth president of Indiana University on August 1, 1994, a position he held until 2002. During his tenure as president, IU saw a great deal of growth both economically and academically. Among his achievements are growth in fundraising and the university endowment, research grants, the creation of the School of Informatics, development of the Central Indiana Life Sciences Initiative, and creation the IU Advanced Research and Technology Institute (now the IU Research and Technology Corp).

The School of Informatics, now the School of Informatics and Computing, was the first of its kind in the country and helped make IU a leader in the field of informatics and information technology. Brand also oversaw the gift of the Lilly Endowment to fund the Indiana Genomics Initiative (INGEN). At $105 million, it was the largest private gift in the university’s history to date. It is considered by some IU administrators to be one of Brand’s most lasting legacies.

Brand with the Board of Trustees and IU Administrators
Brand with the Board of Trustees and IU Administrators

During the course of his career, Brand served or headed a number of academic committees, including the American Council on Education (1994-1997), the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges (1995-1998,  and the Association of American Universities (1999-2000).

Upon his departure from Indiana University, Brand became the fourth president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in 2003 where he worked to bring reform to college athletics. Myles Brand passed away on September 16, 2009.

Contact the University Archives to learn more about the presidency of Myles Brand.