First Lady of Quincy


A maid sweeps about the room emptying ashtrays and straightening chairs. The Deans have just left, the Harvard Dames will begin arriving any minute. The man from the museum is coming later with a choice of pictures for the living room. There are notes to answer, calls to make, invitations to accept or postpone.

And if there should be a little time in the evening to relax and look over the children's homework, Mrs. Nathan M. Pusey considers this a slack day. Since her arrival in Cambridge early in the fall each hour has been packed with obligations, either social or domestic. "At this point, our outside interest is people," Mrs. Pusey smiles.

Though each day so far has meant perpetual motion for the President's wife, Mrs. Pusey is far from finished with intended projects. "There has been one very pleasant occasion when we shook hands with the freshmen, but they are the only students we've seen. We hope to meet many more during the year," she said.

In her seven years at Lawrence, Mrs. Pusey had been advisor to the college Mortar Board and enjoyed her frequent and informal meetings with undergraduates. The Puseys continue to receive a great deal of mail from their Appleton friends and subscribe to the weekly college paper, the Lawrentian.

One project that is near completion, however, is a redecoration of the President's House. Especially pleased with the attractive blue and gold wallpaper in the huge three-story entrance hall, Mrs. Pusey admits to a few anxious moments. "Had it been a mistake, it would have been a mistake on a grand scale," she explains.

Since Mrs. Pusey comes to Harvard from a co-educational college, she is happy that the opening round of introductions has brought many feminine visits. "I've especially enjoyed having the chance to know the Harvard Dames and the young wives in the Newcomers Club. The female element here, I think, is as bright and advanced as its male counterpart. I've met a pretty impressive group of young ladies."

Mrs. Pusey is a slim, keen-looking woman with quiet good taste in clothes and conversation. Some people seem incapable of bad humor and Mrs. Pusey is one of those people. Here is a non-aggressive charm, relaxed and completely natural.

A minor crisis could have arisen during the move East when the Puseys' daughter, Rosemary, learned that she was not allowed to watch football practices, a pastime she had set her heart on. Coach Jordan showed again his skill as a tactician. Rosemary was presented with a football autographed by the team.

After the great rush of activity which a football Saturday means for President as well as freshman, Sunday morning gives no chance for leisure. The family attends the early service at Christ Episcopal Church, then goes to the 11:00 a.m. service in Memorial Chapel. President Pusey has revived the custom, started by President Lowell, in reading the scriptures from the Old Testament lesson each Sunday.

Weekdays, Jaime, the Pusey's younger son, and Rosemary commute to Shady Hill school. Nathan Jr. is a junior at Belmont Hill, and is already thinking about picking a college. "The first thing he said when he heard about the appointment here was, 'Good, now I can go to Lawrence,'" Mrs. Pusey recalls. Nathan Jr. would prefer not to go where his father is president and the Puseys are leaving the choice of college entirely up to him.

With her son already examining colleges, Mrs. Pusey thinks back to her meeting with her husband. He was a junior in college, then," Mrs. Pusey says, "and I was thirteen. He seemed like somebody's grandfather." President Pusey tutored Mrs. Pusey, then Anne Woodward, for a summer in algebra. "I got an A in algebra for the first term," she says. "The next term, without the tutoring, I didn't do so well." Upon her graduation from Bryn Mawr eight years later, Miss Woodward and her tutor were promptly married.

Undoubtedly Mrs. Pusey's abundance of warmth and friendliness were evident even at thirteen. Perhaps the Harvard junior was then looking ahead to married life in a teacher's modest home. There has been then but one change in long-range plan: the modest home is now 17 Quincy Street.