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Eugene V. Rostow, 94 Yale Law Journal 1315 (1985)


On retiring, Gene Rostow terminates the active installment of an association
with Yale that commenced when he entered Yale College as a
freshman more than fifty years ago. Gene has been a cyclone of energy
throughout the forty-five years of our acquaintance, and unless the law of
entropy has operated in reverse in his case, I assume that he generated at
least as much excitement as an undergraduate. Evidence of his views in
those days can be gleaned from the Harkness Hoot, an irreverent Yale
College publication with which he was associated and which, unlike most
of yesteryear's undergraduate effusions, is entertaining even today. One of
its targets, which it repeatedly attacked with vigor and zest, was "all that
is smug, ornate, and ridiculous in Yale life," especially Yale's "architectural
chaos." The chaos, as the publication's name implies, consisted of
Yale's residential colleges and the other "girder Gothic" buildings that
Vincent Scully (and perhaps Gene as well) would today protect against
the bulldozer with his own body. Is it possible that Mother Yale knew
best, and that yesterday's rear guard has become today's avant-garde?
Whether the answer is yes or no, Yale has clearly had the last word: The
Harkness Hoot is not preserved in the functional simplicity of Seeley
Mudd Library, but in Sterling's architecturally chaotic Yale Manuscript
and Archives Room, on shelves that are protected by sliding doors made
up of glass that was cut carefully into panes, only to be reassembled and
held together with mock-medieval leading.

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