Friday, July 27, 2007

Toledano Remembers

Ralph de Toledano ’38 (Obituaries, May/June) was on campus in 2006 for the first time in 50 years. He came from Washington, D.C., to appear on a panel of editors at the Columbia Review reunion on March 11, 2006. Speaking to about 120 alumni and students gathered in Low Library’s stately Faculty Room, all of them associated with the College’s long-lived literary magazine, de Toledano said: “I guess the time I was at Columbia most of you would consider the Dark Ages. I was Class of ’38. But it was a very, very exciting time at Columbia. We had Herman Wouk ’34, we had Robert Giroux ’36, we had Robert Paul Smith [’36], we had John Treville LaTouche, who moved on to Broadway doing musicals. And the College itself was very exciting. Think of it: Senior Colloquium, which was the most exciting course I took at Columbia, was headed by Lionel Trilling [’25] and Jacques Barzun ’27, and when they began arguing with each other, the sparks would fly. It was really tremendous.

“As far as the Columbia Review is concerned, we had some very notable issues. It was a practice then to have a professor review every issue of every publication, and so the magazines were an integral part of the College. What was most important is that we reflected the times and the times were exciting times, exciting in many ways. It was the time of the Spanish Civil War, which struck me very deeply because I had family on both sides. It was just stimulating, there were wonderful people, wonderful professors — Mark Van Doren, Trilling, Barzun — and those were all in my field.”

— from Les Gottesman, Letters to the Editor, Columbia College Today, July / August 2007.

See also:

Toledano and Smith

De Toledano Papers (1940–71)