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People: Feb. 23, 1962

7 minute read

Long written off as one of the least lively members of the lusty clan founded by his “Commodore” grandfather, the late Philanthropist-Yachtsman Frederick Wil liam Vanderbilt (1856-1938) was coming in for some posthumous reappraisal. In the process of renovating Vanderbilt’s 211-acre Hyde Park, N.Y., estate, now maintained by the National Park Service, workmen uncovered a 30-ft.-wide ceiling mural depicting bare-breasted nymphs gamboling around an old man with his head in his hand. Reportedly painted over on curt instructions from Vanderbilt’s wife, the mural will henceforth be left unwhitewashed for what the Park Service described as “historical and interpretive reason.”

Out of rural Berkshire to London’s Hospital for Sick Children whooshed a police-escorted ambulance bearing the football captain and choir leader of Britain’s Cheam School: His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, 13. Following a post-midnight appendectomy, the robust Charles recuperated rapidly, was expected to be sprung this week from the TV-equipped private room for which the royal family, which does not take-advantage of the National Health Service, was paying $14 a day.

At a dinner laid on in his honor by the American Jewish League Against Communism, Columnist George Sokolsky, 68, found a bright side to Russia’s heavy-handed treatment of its Jewish citizens. Said Sokolsky: “It is inevitable that a movement based on atheism be antiSemitic. The Communists must hate us. We want them to hate us. It gives us pride and dignity that we don’t count them among our friends.”

On a triumphal 75th birthday trip to the U.S., Nadia Boulanger, Paris’ matriarch of modern music, became the first woman ever to conduct a full concert by The New York Philharmonic. Borrowing the podium of one of the few notable American composers who was never her pupil, mercurial Maestro Leonard Bernstein, the “tender tyrant” led the orchestra through psalms by her late sister,

Lili, A Solemn Music by Disciple Virgil Thomson, and the Requiem Mass of Gabriel Faure with an authority that convinced the New York Times that “she could hold up her end of the baton with most of her male colleagues.” Tactfully shrugging off this bit of male chauvinism, Mme. Boulanger refrained from repeating her response to a similar comment when she led the Boston Symphony in 1938: “I have been a woman for a little over 50 years and have gotten over my initial astonishment.”

Even in nepotistic Massachusetts, the possibility of a Teddy Kennedy v. Eddie McCormack contest for the 1962 Democratic nomination for U.S. Senator raised a few eyebrows, but already the two would-be candidates were busy polishing up their campaign styles and mending minority fences overseas. While Eddie, 38, who is state attorney general and the nephew of House Speaker John McCormack, headed off for Italy, Israel, Greece, Portugal, Spain and Britain, Teddy barnstormed through Belgium, Israel, Greece, Poland, France, West Germany and Austria. Regardless of how he fared abroad, however, ambitious Teddy Kennedy this week was slated to clear one major hurdle toward the Senate: the birthday that would bring him to the constitutionally required age of 30.

From a onetime member of the U.S. Army’s White House detail came a partial explanation of Sunday Painter Dwight Eisenhower’s striking success at capturing likenesses in his portraits. Confessed ex-Private Ray Seide. now art director of a Manhattan ad agency, in an Esquire article: “When we received the photograph or illustration [on which the Eisenhower painting was to be based], I would put it into a projector. If the machine didn’t throw an image large enough for the size of the canvas the President wanted, I would draw the subject larger. Then I would outline in charcoal on the canvas the subject the President wanted to paint. The President got a great deal of satisfaction from his painting . . .”

Gathered together to pay tribute to the right-mindedness of Virginia’s Judge Howard Smith, 79, the leading citizens of South Carolina cheered lustily as former Secretary of State Jimmy Byrnes presented the autocratic chairman of the House Rules Committee with an eminently appropriate gift: a gavel hewn from a walnut tree planted by John C. Calhoun.

For U.N. Under Secretary Ralph J. Bunche, 57, acid-etched childhood memories of racial indignities have always been alleviated by the recollection of a sixth-grade dance at Albuquerque’s Fourth Ward School, where he was one of two Negroes in a class of 65. “They played Comin’ Through the Rye,” he remembers, “and the boys and girls had to pair off, and what was I to do?” Pair off like everyone else, it turned out, for Schoolmarm Emma Belle Sweet “just took the pupils as they came. This meant something to me, something very important.” Last week, honored as Citizen of the Year at an educators’ conclave and requested to bring along his most formative teacher, Bunche chose Miss Sweet, now a spry 82. Diplomatically, Miss Sweet chose to “forget” the reason why she gave Ralph only a C+ in deportment, but the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize winner quickly chimed in to jog her memory. “I’ve always been rather warlike,” he said. “Spitballs were my weapons—and a wagging tongue.”

Welcomed at Rome’s Terminal Station by cheering throngs was Poland’s indomitable defender of the Roman Catholic faith, Stefan Cardinal Wyszynski, 60. Making his first Vatican visit in three years for the ostensible purpose of helping to prepare for next fall’s Ecumenical Council, the tough-minded Primate obviously had another mission as well: to brief Pope John XXIII on the Polish Church’s increasingly uneasy modus vivendi with its Communist Caesars.

In a masterstroke of female wheedling more than 1000 valentines poured into the London office of burly Bachelor Sir Edward Boyle, 38, who as Financial Secretary to the British Treasury bosses his nation’s civil-service telephone operators. Harking back to Sir Edward’s longstanding promise to try and get them a raise, the switchboard girls wrote:

Sir Edward, do not make me wait To ascertain my future date . . .

A troth was plighted in your name To meet my just but modest claim.

But still I languish, hope near jaded, Under-paid and under-graded.

Chicago’s incorruptible arbiter of advertising contests, the Reuben H. Donnelley Corp., found itself solemnly carrying coals to Newcastle. After wading through the entries in a jingle contest pushing Columbia Pictures’ Gidget Goes Hawaiian, Donnelley awarded one of the grand prizes—a minor part in Columbia’s forthcoming Diamond Head—to Palm Springs Housewife Lillian Kenaston, 58, better known to middle-aged Americans as 1920s Movie Heroine Billie Dove.

Stepping down as skipper of the Navy Special Projects Office he launched six years ago was Vice Admiral William Raborn, 56, steely sparkplug of the Polaris missile program. Next billet for “cando” Red Raborn: Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Development.

Reflecting on television’s impact on historiography, Canada’s Prime Minister John Diefenbaker mournfully told a Montreal audience of a prime piece of source material that got away. At the 1945 San Francisco Conference that set up the United Nations, recounted Diefenbaker, South Africa’s late Premier Jan Christiaan Smuts casually tossed away a cigarette packet on which he had scrawled part of the first rough draft of the U.N. Charter. “It was surely one of the world’s greatest documents,” lamented Dief, “and I wanted to have it badly. But the TV cameras were on us, and I felt it would be undignified for a representative of Canada —and a nonsmoker at that—to be televised rooting through a rubbish basket.”

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