Letters to the editor

It's Toppy

More than 20 of you called or wrote, and we have determined without a doubt that it was Professor Toppy Tull escorting Frank Lloyd Wright in 1946 on campus. Warren Landolt ’49 pointed out that the photo appears on page 125 of the 1948 Royal Purple. Following is a selection of letters we received.

I was asked to greet Mr. Wright outside when he arrived at the rear of the chapel in 1946 (the car in the background I believe is a 1939 Chevrolet). That is Toppy Tull walking with Mr. Wright. I remember this well because when Mr. Wright got out of his car he looked up at the Chapel and said “what a monstrosity.”

Thomas M. Jones ’49
Banning, Calif.

The MacGregors know their own! Having grown up in the shadows of these two Cornell and Mount Vernon greats, I also say it’s Toppy. Who else could wear a tie and shirt of that style on such an occasion? Note the nose ridge line, eyebrow formation and the ear lobes, they say Toppy Tull. I enjoyed what each one of them brought to the Mount Vernon and Cornell community and how they left me feeling bigger than myself on all occasions of our meetings.

Jack Koch ’50
Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Sherlock Holmes would undoubtedly conclude from looking at all three photos that, as unlikely as it seems, Toppy Tull and Jay MacGregor were, in fact, the same person. Who knew? I guess it’s possible that they were identical twins, probably separated at birth. There must be a movie script in this story, if you can find a good writer.

Dick Hadsell ’66
Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.

I am quite confident the photo is of Toppy Tull with Wright. I was present at the visit of Frank Lloyd Wright in 1946 to Cornell. He gave an address at King Chapel, during which time the electric lights went out, and light was replaced by candlelight. Frank Lloyd Wright remarked about how much lovelier the atmosphere was in the chapel, because in electric light, i.e. extreme visibility, the chapel was “a monstrosity.” Initially, radiators knocked, and the sound was very difficult for the speaker. And then the lights went out.

I published my first work in The Husk of December 1946, which also included an article by Frank Lloyd Wright titled “The Right To Be Oneself.” I was honored to appear in the same magazine.

Arlene Swift Jones ’49
Bloomfield, Conn

To me the clue was the middle finger ring on the left hand. It can be seen in both photos, and would be an unusual placement for most men. It has to be Mr. Tull.

Jim Elijah ’69
Lincolnshire, Ill.

Thank you much for the fine article “English evolves.” My mother, Martha Jackson Morgan ’44, was an English major, specializing in Shakespeare. She enjoyed reading the article and hearing about OCAAT. She and I went over the “Recommended reading” list for current Cornellians and had fun telling each other about the books that one of us was familiar with. There were only two titles that neither of us had heard about.

We would like to share Martha’s opinion in reply to your question regarding the faculty member shown walking with Wright. I held up the Cornell Report page to show my mom, while covering the two photos at the bottom. I asked her, “Who is this man on the right, shown walking with Frank Lloyd Wright?” Her immediate response was, “why, that’s Toppy.” Background that supports the credibility of her opinion: Martha (Marty) Jackson worked part-time for three of her undergraduate years as private secretary to Dean MacGregor (fall 1941 to spring 1944); she saw him every day in all seasons. And as an English major, she took several courses with Professor Tull. So she knew them both quite well by sight.

Mary Morgan Belknap
Vashon Island, Wash.

Toppy Tull and Frank Lloyd Wright

An outtake photo was discovered that also suggests it is Toppy Tull, a known dog lover, with Frank Lloyd Wright. (Photo: Cornell archives)

Remembering Doc Rogers

The death of Dr. T. Edwin Rodgers ’39, emeritus professor and chairman of the biology department at Cornell, occasions this letter. Dr. Rodgers advised John Shillinglaw and me to be the first applicants from Cornell to the Washington University School of Medicine. The opportunity to attend and to graduate from Washington University has determined much of the satisfactions in my life.

Dr. Max Wisgerhof ’64
Grosse Point Farms, Mich.

Editor’s note: To read or share remembrances of Ed Rogers, go to our online memorial blog.


The first section of the Cornell Report I read is the Class News, and it was wonderful to read about Gordon Whitaker ’65 and Bob Hellwig ’67. Congratulations Gordon and Bob on 39 years of happiness and wishing you many, many more! Thanks for sharing your celebration with everyone and thanks to the Cornell Report for sharing this good news.

Lynn Ross Cope ’87
Johnston, Iowa

Honor Roll returns in fall Cornell Report

Another debate in the winter 2009 Cornell Report Letters section was how readers felt about the online Annual Report and Honor Roll of Donors, and even whether the Cornell Report should go online only. We surveyed readers of the Honor Roll and have determined an abbreviated version will return in the fall Cornell Report. We plan to continue printing and mailing the Cornell Report for alumni within the united States. The online version has been redesigned and Class News has been added. Class News is password-protected; to access it online, please contact our class news coordinator.