Issues and Indians
"My secretary says that anyone who reaches the age of 40 and is still a bachelor is either a wolf or a drunk. I claim I'm neither."
The plump, gray-haired man who runs Dartmouth's new experiment, a laboratory course in current events, puffed on his corn-cob pipe. Beyond the glass-enclosed office was a room full of Indian seniors busily comparing the day's Daily Worker with the Manchester Guardian.
"A man can't take on too much in life," he said. "Something has to go."
Allen R. Foley is officially the head of Dartmouth's History Department. Before he took the job of steering men through the maze of news that makes up today's current events, he gave a course on the West dubbed "Cowboys and Indians" by his students.
"It was fun when I just had to tell them about Custer's last stand," he muses. But although his present post means more work, he likes it better.
Foley has long been interested in giving Dartmouth seniors a key to the understanding of today's news and newspapers. The Great Issues program in its five years has seen Foley on the steering committee for three.
The course itself, required of all seniors, tries to give a classroom approach to newsroom techniques. Part of it concerns itself with teaching students how to read and compare newspapers. Because of its range, the course has sometimes been called radical, but no attempt to erase it from the curriculum has yet been made.
"We make them read the New York Times or Herald Tribune every day," said Foley. "Most of them take the Times which surprises me. I always thought the average student here was more the Tribe type."
Foley and Dartmouth have been together for a long time He graduated from the college in '20, did graduate work in the University of Wisconsin and at Harvard, and went back to Hanover to teach in '29. But first he took a year off and went out to see the world.
"It was a grand tour to finish off my education, like Bacon once said. Nothing like education to broaden one's sympathies and all that business. I visited the Suez Canal and Korea, so when I read about them in the papers now, I can at least remember what they look like."
Most of Foley's spare time today is spent studying Vermont folklore and humor, on which he is an acknowledged expert.
"I have a little talk on it," he confides, "that I've given about 99 times. A little history, a little philosophy, a few jokes. Most people around here don't realize what a treasure house we have right across the border."
He is now thinking of preparing a book on the subject. "But I shudder when I think of funny books. Things never sound the same on paper. Besides, some of my Vermont friends might not like the idea."
Foley pulled on his long-extinguished corn cob and looked through the glass walls to the room full of busy men outside. "And a man can't do too much," he said. "Some things are just more important."