Iron Hand, Velvet Glove

The article “What Sawyer Said” in the spring 2013 issue brought back fond memories of President Jack Sawyer ’39, including his “iron hand in a velvet glove” way of working. During a Winter Study oral history course on the Baxter and Sawyer administrations that I took in my junior year, I interviewed Professor Dudley Bahlman, who was dean of the faculty under Sawyer. He recalled that President Sawyer would vet every letter and memo he sent out as dean. They’d always come back with a little tweak here, a little change there. (This, of course, was before word processors, meaning the entire memo had to be retyped.) One day a memo came back with the note, “OK as stands.” Professor Bahlman told me, beaming, “I framed that one.”

—Guy Creese ’75, Andover, Mass.