Annual letter 1976

100 Yvy hurst Road

Buffalo, NY14226

November 27, 1976

 

This has been a busy but on the whole quiet year for us. Little has changed in our lives since last year. Jeremy is in his third year of graduate work at the university of Minnesota, Danny and Maggie in Windsor, Jonathan is a junior at Canisius. Jeremy will be taking his Ph. D. Prelims in Philosophy this coming spring. He is becoming interested in the ethical problems involved in the medical experiments on human subjects. In his spare time, he pursues his journalistic interests and contributes book reviews and a restaurant column to a local weekly. Danny is in his last year at law school. He is spending this semester with Legal Assistance of Windsor, for which he receives course credit. This involves actual legal experience in counseling mostly poverty cases, representing them in court, a very welcome relief from class work. He will then have a final semester of courses and seminars and after that will do his year of “articling”, required in Ontario for the admission to the bar examination, with a law firm in Hamilton. Maggie continued to work as a social worker with neglected children in Chatham, a job she enjoyed but gave up this fall because the daily commute of 50 miles each way was too much of a strain. She has now two jobs: in Windsor as a social worker and as a college counselor and is considering going back to school next year in Hamilton. They have managed to come to Buffalo fairly frequently over weekends and we look forward to seeing even more of them next year when they will be in Hamilton, only seventy miles from here. Jonathan continues to enjoy Canisius. He is still uncertain about his future plans. He had originally thought of going into economics or business, but has been doing best in courses in history and the humanities and is now speaking seriously about majoring in urban studies.

Wilma has been unusually busy this yea. As modern language enrollments have declined at Canisius College, as elsewhere in the country, the administration has involved members of the department in administrative functions. Wilma last year took over the office advising students on graduate fellowships, a job she has enjoyed but which has also been very time consuming. In addition this year she is acting chairman of her department, while the chairman is on leave, a position she finds challenging although her interests are definitely not in administration and she is looking forward to being relieved of the chairmanship by the end of the academic year. At the same she is teaching a reduced load which nevertheless consists of two courses. Despite everything she has done some writing, completed articles on recent East German and Czech literature, is working on her Bohemian Jewish themes, and is currently organizing a session on Kafka for the next meeting of the North East Modern Language Association.

Things at the university are very quiet. The financial exigencies of the state of New York have made themselves felt in many programs and in the library, but my own situation has been relatively unaffected by them. The ambitions of the state to build a major university system have been scaled down. The serious employment situation for our graduates has contributed to a decline in history enrollments as well as in the graduate program. I find my students very pleasant, on the whole hard working, interested but much more hesitant to participate in discussions than in earlier years. The fact that the university is scattered over three campuses, several miles apart, while a new campus is under construction has contributed to the fragmentation and atomization of university life. Student political activities at Buffalo, once one of the most activist universities, have virtually disappeared. My graduate seminar still meets at our house on Monday evenings and continues to be lively, although perhaps less so than in previous years. Last semester I co-taught a course on the German and Austrian refugee intellectuals with a member of the German department, next semester I shall co-teach a seminar on Marxism and the Freudians, which will probably attract students from a number of departments. My research continues to be in the history of historical writing and I am at present revising a small volume of essays, which appeared last fall, for a German edition, we are planning to spend next summer in Germany again and look very much forward to returning to Rauschenwasser.

Apart from the State Council of the American Association of University Professors, of which she is treasurer, Wilma has had little time for outside activities. I continue to work as a counselor with the Military and Draft Counseling Center. The center is very much reduced in size now with the end of the selective service but we still counsel men in the military-- and the occasional draft refugee in Canada—and reach a very different clientele from the middle class students we used to counsel, now mostly men, occasionally women, from depressed economic and educational backgrounds who enlisted without fully knowing what they were doing. I continue to be active in the NAACP without being convinced of my effectiveness at this point. Incidentally, the exchange program between Buffalo and Philander Smith College has been revived on a modest scale and I was twice in Little Rock this past spring. Again I am not sanguine about the results but for myself I am pleased to be able to continue contacts.

This brings you somewhat up to date. We hope to hear from you too, and wish you all the best for the Holiday Season and the New Year.

Georg, Wilma and Jonathan Iggers