First Christmas Reading Since '41 Puts Copey Back in College Scene
Most undergraduates will have their first opportunity to hear a tradition-bound "Copey" reading tomorrow night when Charles Townsend Copeland '82 Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory, emeritus, will come out of retirement to give his first Christmas recital since 1941 over the Crimson Network at 8:30 o'clock.
Copey's broadcast will feature, as always, the description of Christmas dinner at the Cratchits' from Dickens' "Christmas Carol." The first radio appearance in his long succession of Yuletide recitals will also include the Biblical description of the Nativity and Rudyard Kipling's "Mandalay."
The legend of the Copey readings is a part of the Kitty-Copey-Bliss tradition well remembered by latter-day Harvard men. Of the other members of the trio, George Lyman Kittredge '82 is gone, and Bliss Perry, Francis Lee Higginson Professor of English Literature, emeritus, is inactive.
No Doctor of Philosophy
Along with his Christmas recitals, an endless chain of anecdotes have sprung up about 86-year-old Charles Townsend Copeland. There is the unauthenticated tale of his becoming eligible for a professorship only to be stymied by the fact that he had no Ph.D. Faced with the problem of locating someone who could give Copey an oral examination, the board gave up in despair and waived the requirement. To this day he holds only a Doctor of Letters award.
"An artist rather than a scholar," says George Santayana '86 in his book, "The Middle Span," harking back to the nineteenth century days when, as a member of the University, he had joined the throng at Copey's reading.
To the world, he is always "Copey," although he has written the CRIMSON not to use that term anymore. "The name," he said, "is Copeland."