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Reunion Class Gathers Writings

By Leondra R. Kruger

In September 1941, the class of 1945 had more than 1,000 members.

And as of 1995, according to the Class Book Committee, those members have written more than 1,000 books.

The full list of the writings of the Class of '45 includes publications by Pulitzer Prize winning historians Stanley Karnow '45 and Justin Kaplan '45. Topics range from medicine to music and technology to trout fishing.

But the list doesn't stop with literature.

It includes the patent for a plastic reclosable container--better known as the Ziploc bag--contributed by Steven Ausnit '45, the 30-year chair of Minigrip, the company that produced the bag.

Though Ausnit submitted the patent himself, he says he doesn't consider his patent to be on the same level as his literary classmates.

"I'm sort of a side issue," Ausnit says.

Other notable authors on the list include Harry Oster '45, a retired professor of English, who spent the years between 1955 and 1963 recording folk music in Louisiana, and Paul Schneider '45, who wrote episodes for television shows ranging from "Star Trek" to "The Six Million Dollar Man."

Andrew G. Meyer '45 ,the chair of the Books Committee, says the list of books is the product of more than a year of research and compilation.

Meyer, a retired Massachusetts judge, took on the project at the urging of J. Murray Howe '45, the class gifts coordinator. He says they began by sending letters to each member of the class and continued by running a computer database check at Harvard.

Howe, a friend to Meyer's since their undergraduate days, says he began to think about compiling the publications of his classmates simply because "it seemed like a good idea."

"I was aware there were a lot of people in the class who had written books, and I thought it might be good to investigate," Howe says.

Frederick A. Hagar '45, Meyer's college roommate, was recruited for the books projects at an alumni meeting.

Hagar, a history and literature concentrator turned professor at Trent University in Canada, says he spent "quite a few hours" in Widener Library typing his classmates' names into a HOLLIS terminal, Harvard's on-line card catalog.

"It was very depressing because I hate computers. I would have much preferred using a card catalog," Hagar says. "But that's just because I'm old."

A sample of 200 books of the class of '45 will be on display in the Winthrop Junior Common Room, and there will be a 40-book display in Widener Library.

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