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A distinctly minor but nevertheless appropriate innovation is the University's decision to change the name of Robinson Hall Annex to Hunt Hall. For years the old Fogg Museum bore the former top-heavy title, and it is quite fitting that the quarters of the School of City Planning should honor the man whose name is one of the watchwords of American architecture.
In a world where the chief employment of architects is the creation of workers' dwellings for the C.W.A. or chains of Shell gasoline cases, Richard Hunt must be honored for his art alone. Contemplation of his work should be avoided by those with a nostalgia for the good old days when the American capitalist was still on the gold standard and the voice of Wall Street carried more weight in the halls of Congress than the warm blasts from Detroit and Baton Rouge, For, while the masterpieces of the art of Richard Hunt are the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Tribune Building in New York, he is still chiefly remembered as the author of the marble-masked mansions for the crowned heads of Newport.
Today, when Lamonts get thrown into jail for communistic agitation and Coughlin rules the waves, people who still own million-dollar nests at Newport speak of them apologetically, if at all, and hope furtively that no one will noise it about. While the gleaming Taj Mahals still stand in not-so-mute testimony of the glory that was Ogden Goelet's, Cornelius Vanderbilt's, and Oliver Belmont's, most of the notables of Newport have packed up the family jewels and scandals and gone off in search of simpler dwelling-places on the coasts, of Maine. Not only did conscience-stricken Ogden Mills sell his Newport place last year in preparation for running for the Presidency of this democratized country in 1936, but even the John Jacob Astors slink into the main dining-room of the Providence Biltmore to break broad and have their domestic tiffs with the appreciative proletariat.
But the mansions planned by Richard Hunt remain rich and beautiful. And although habit-bound Harvard students will continue to refer to the building by the traditional and strangely home-spun name. "Old Fogg," Richard Hunt deserves his new glory. May his name resound through all time from the pages of Harvard catalogues.
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