While I was wandering around on the web, I came upon a lengthy story about a woman I had never heard of who died three days ago at the age of 105. Marian Cannon Schlesinger was, by this account, an interesting and accomplished person. She was married for thirty years to Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., L’il Arthur as he was known around Harvard Square to distinguish him from his famous professor father, Arthur Schlesinger, Sr. Marian Cannon Schlesinger’s sister was married to the great scholar of China John Fairbank. [This was an era when brilliant Radcliffe students, instead being encouraged to continue their studies, were expected to marry smart Harvard students and keep house for them, but that is for another blog post.] If you spent eleven years hanging around Harvard Square, as I did, you will be interested in the gossip in the obituary. You can read the whole thing here.
One brief quote from Marian Schlesinger really caught my eye, since it confirmed the impression I had formed from afar. Writing of the Kennedy White House, she said, “I had a curious feeling that great decisions were made in an almost frivolous way, like the Bay of Pigs fiasco, which from my remote perch seemed to have been run by a bunch of hubris-mad teenagers, mostly Yale boys, who dominated the Central Intelligence Agency and who looked upon the Cuban enterprise and the catastrophe rather like a Harvard-Yale game they would win next time.” This line deserves to go into the histories of that time, if it has not already done so.