Monthly Archives: August 2013

Connie Campbell, Pillar of Witherspoon Community

Len Newton called to tell me about the funeral for Connie Campbell, an active member of Witherspoon Presbyterian Church who died at age 84 on August 23. She typified the leaders of the black community, says Newton, lauding her career. He cites her obituary in Town Topics. She was a buyer at Claytons, a department store on Palmer Square, at a time when it was difficult for African Americans to get anything but a government job. 

Newton, who is white, has long been a champion of interacial communities. He was among those who founded the group of homes on Dempsey Avenue, built to be an interracial and affordable community, and he joined Witherspoon Presbyterian Church which, in 1952, was mostly black. “When I came from Philadelphia to work at Opinion Research, I went at least once to every church in town. The choir director at Witherspoon recruited me because they needed a tenor.”

Fewer and fewer people remember how it was in Princeton in the ’50s, Newton says. In the late 1930s, AFrican Americans were pushed out of what is now Palmer Square to make room for the town center. Schools were segregated until 1948.

“The African-American community was invisible to the white community at that time. But people knew each other. If went to a party on the West Side, I would find Connie and her husband, Floyd, serving the food.”

Newton celebrates all she did, including being an ordained deacon and elder of Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church; member of the original Verse Speaking Choir; board member at Princeton Nursery School, Princeton Arts Council, and Princeton Senior Resource Center, and serving as a volunteer at Princeton Hospital.

The funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 31, 2013 at Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church, 124 Witherspoon Street, Princeton. Calling hours will be from 1 p.m. until time of service at the church. Interment will be held at the Princeton Cemetery.

Calling hours will be from 6-8 p.m., Friday, August 30, 2013, at Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church. Organizational service will be conducted at 7:30 p.m. at the church.

Beginning a Beautiful Friendship

This post, by Jeanette Timmons, is on the blog at She wrote it for the newsletter of the Jewish Center of Princeton, honoring the cooperation and support between the congregations:
The Jewish Center has offered support to the Cornerstone Community Kitchen, an outreach program that feeds Princeton area residents a hot dinner every Wednesday evening at the Princeton United Methodist Church. PUMC congregant Larry Apperson conceived and implemented the program in June 2012, which serves 60 meals each week. Currently, TASK delivers the main course and CCK volunteers prepare side dishes and serve the meal in a restaurant-style environment.

TJC congregants Jeanette and Forrest Timmons began volunteering at CCK in August 2012 as part of Forrest’s Hesed project. Jeanette enjoyed the experience so much, she has volunteered weekly ever since. Other TJC families, including the Glassers and Zinders, have since volunteered too.

In August 2013, PUMC began a renovation of its kitchen so that the CCK can prepare its entire weekly meal on-site. TJC offered the use of its dairy kitchen so that CCK could continue its food preparation uninterrupted during the nine-month-long project. While forging this relationship, PUMC donated its 10-burner Vulcan stove with double oven to TJC. This timely act of generosity came just as the oven in TJC’s meat kitchen broke down.

Both guests and volunteers come to CCK’s Wednesday dinners for a variety of reasons, be it need-based, for companionship, or the feeling of camaraderie that pervades the environment. Friendships have formed as many volunteers and guests are regulars. “The greatest unexpected pleasure that’s come from our service has been the coming together of people from throughout the community to serve,” says Apperson. Guests sit at tables decorated with centerpieces, are served by volunteers, and are entertained by a pianist. The relaxed atmosphere invites lively conversation. Besides the dinner meal, bagels, sandwiches, children’s breakfast bags and gently used clothing are available for guests to take home.

The CCK is truly an interfaith, community-wide effort. Besides congregants from TJC and PUMC, CCK has welcomed volunteers and support from Beth Chaim, St. Paul’s, and Queenship of Mary Roman Catholic churches, Quaker Friends, Princeton University, local Girl Scout troops, and the Princeton Historical Society. Local businesses such as Panera and the Bagel Hole regularly donate baked goods, and Zorba’s Brother and the Rocky Hill Tavern have provided an entire meal. For more information about CCK or to get involved, please email

Jeanette Timmons

Cub Reporter Interview: Julie Harris

julie harris

Julie Harris died. What an actress. My interview with her, when she portrayed Emily Dickinson in Belle of Amherst, was an early lesson in the freelance journalism business. Besotted with Emily Dickinson, I saw her in that one-woman play in Philadelphia and went backstage with my daughter, age 13. Harris agreed to speak to me by telephone at her next stop, St. Louis.

Harris had just made a movie, The Hiding Place, based on the true story about Corrie Ten Boom, the Dutch Christian who survived a Nazi concentration camp and managed to forgive her captors.
corrie ten boom
That book made a deep impression on me (it fueled my desire to memorize Bible verses in case I was ever trapped without a book, either incarcerated or lost in the woods or whatever).

So I assumed Harris was a Christian. I sold a story on her to a national Christian magazine, and then set about to track her down — because somehow she had failed to tell me how to reach her. Publicity agents were not helpful to a newbie writer, but I knew she was in St. Louis, so I methodically called all the hotels in St. Louis until, bingo, I found her and we talked for about 15 minutes.

Then the story fell apart. Julie Harris was a very spiritual person, but she avowed that the deities that she valued most highly were, in this order, Gandhi, Mother Theresa, and Christ. Maybe the first two were reversed.

That wasn’t sufficient for the Christian magazine. I don’t think I ever managed to sell the story to any publication, but I did get to talk to the actress I adored. The Hiding Place seems to have passed into oblivion; it was not even mentioned in the New York Times article. RIP, Corrie Ten Boom and Julie Harris.

jon peter

Being early is not too different from being wrong, said Jon Gertner, speaking to the Princeton Regional Chamber at the August breakfast. The author of The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation (Penguin Press, March 2012) gave glimpses of the clashes and collaboration that led to innovation at Bell Labs, the consolidated R&D center built at Murray Hill when AT&T was the largest company in the world in terms of revenue, assets, and employees.  A former New York Times Magazine  writer (2004-2011) Gertner is currently editor-at-large at Fast Company magazine

He illustrated the danger of being “early” with the enthralling story of vacuum tubes and transistors.  When the 101-D vacuum (or repeater) tubes (which enabled sound to be relayed from switch to switch across the country) was being hailed as “the great miracle device of our time,” Bell Labs CEO Kelly considered it an inherently flawed technology.  He was determined to find a technology based on silicone and germanium not susceptible to weardown and breakdown.

His mindset drove the “solid state” team to get rid of the relay switches and find an electronic solution: the first transistor in November, 1947. What happened next was that the transistor was basically abandoned by Bell:  It was costly to produce.  Only the US Military kept it alive until continued innovation led to lower cost.  At the same time, the press hailed solar, created to get electricity to remote areas.  Yet the fad for solar soon faded since there was no comparable drop in cost. 

The “Being early” mantra was just one of the takeaways. Others: 

  • First identify large, significant problems and then attack them to achieve breakthroughs
  • Innovations by definition have both scale and impact on society
  • There is no set way of making breakthroughs
  • Failure is an inherent part of innovation.
  • We don’t foresee the use and value of breakthroughs.
  • When inventions are not effectively commercialized, the inventors will scatter and create their own companies but the company that spawned them may die.

As several members of the Chamber observed, substantial governmental subsidies at every stage, combined with the backdrop of 23 operating companies providing capital, made it possible for Bell Labs to fund basically anything.  Bell Labs had the freedom to concentrate not on quarterly profits and consumer goods but rather to focus on the foundations of our live.  They changed our world and our lives.

Ralph Schlegel: Retrospective

Ralph chair 2

A visual thinker I’m not, so I am always amazed by how an illustration can indeed be worth a thousand words. For years I looked forward to the editorial cartoons by Ralph Schlegel in the Sunday edition of the Times of Trenton. I freelanced there in the early ’80s and his wife Sharon, Times columnist, is a dear friend.

Now that he is retired, I have to stifle the impulse to look at that page first, because I will miss the visceral energy of his caricatures, his sly wit, and his finely tuned jabs — some gentle, some acerbic — at the folks who run our city and state. As U.S. 1’s Dan Aubrey wrote, these images “scream of recurring political shenanigans and the constant need for a free press to keep an open eye.”

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Through August, Lawrence Library has an exhibit of Schlegel’s work, not just his editorial cartoons for the Trenton newspaper, but also his freelance work for such publications as the New York Times, Business Week, and U.S. News & World Report. Go for a good chuckle, or for nostalgia, but you will also come away with a new appreciation for how an illustration can get closer to the real truth than words can.

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What Your Parents Did — It Sometimes Matters

Clara Lippert Glenn, the female CEO of one of Forrestal Village’s prestigious firms, The Oxford Princeton Programme (TOPP), was interviewed for the Corner Office column of the New York Times on Sunday. TOPP, a global training resource for energy professionals.  After founding the Princeton Energy Group in 1992, she merged it with an Oxford-based firm, and now runs more than 200 public courses around the world.

She was profiled by Anna Cunningham in U.S. 1 Newspaper in June.  “Lippert Glenn, a liberal arts language major, has parlayed her love of other cultures into a long, successful career in learning and development for energy professionals all over the world . . . Today the one-time languages major may have forgotten much of her French, allowed her Russian to get rusty and let her Spanish slide, but she is fluent in the international terminology of energy power… “

The New York Times interview revealed that her husband’s death, when he was 56 and she was 48, changed her views on work-life balance. “. . . a well-adjusted, well-rounded employee, in the end, is going to stay with you longer and produce better work. It’s not worth it to push people to where they’re putting in 12-hour days. And I’m going to force you to take your vacation, and I don’t want to get e-mails from you while you’re on vacation.”

However, the NYT did not indicate how this language arts major got into the energy industry, starting as a trader, in the first place.  That’s because U.S. 1 reporters are required to ask “What did your parents do?” Answer:  her father had various positions in the oil refining sector, including starting a company that manufactured additives for use in refineries’ catalytic conversion units.

My conclusions: Rarely does the apple fall a big distance from the tree. And  — talent will out, no matter what your major!

Guest Post: Mobile Strategy at J&J

This post on the talk by Charles Masarik is by Karen L. Johnson. An alumna of J&J, she led a cross-functional team to create and deliver the first assessments and audits of eBusiness, Privacy and Internet Security.


One hundred-forty strong (and undeterred by vacations or the beckoning Jersey shore), Princeton Regional Chamber members gathered on Thursday at the Forrestal Marriott, where they

• witnessed the acceptance of a $500,000 check from the chamber’s foundation, a landmark event benefitting nonprofits,

• welcomed 11 new members, evidence of the vitality of the Chamber and

• heard a stimulating perspective on mobility for business by a 26-year veteran of the IT industry, Charles (Chuck) Masarik.
Masarik is the Senior IT Manager for Global HR Solutions at Johnson & Johnson. He oversaw development of the integrated workflow and service delivery platform and technology solutions that enable the J&J Enterprise Employee Service Center to service and support 120,000+
employees and is the process of developing their mobile strategy. He is the IT lead for the J&J Corporate EBS mobility strategy and has been the domain lead for Global HR Enterprise Architecture, representing more than $35 billion in asset value. Yet he still keeps his tech edge: he’s currently developing an HR app to enable HR documents (docs) to be scanned and forwarded to the HR data system and eliminate manual processes.

Customer-focused as he is, Masarik opened his talk “Mobile Business Case & Strategy” by polling the audience: How many mobile devices did they have on them? Most persons in the room had several, and he then pulled out three of his own.

So what’s Mobility and why is it important? Broadening the discussion from the room to the world or moving up the scale, Masarik noted there are 6 billion mobile subscriptions globally – 86% of the world’s population. If PC growth was exponentially fast, mobile phone is growing faster still…and it’s estimated that in 2015, 183 billion apps are to be downloaded for your customers, employees, family, friends…and Mobility must be part of your business strategy.

Mobility is everywhere – and the mobile phone? That one device is always on, always connected, always with your audience at every marketing touch point, giving immediacy,
interactivity, personalized communication, and Social Media integration.

Masarik advised, Look at the focus areas – business value, user experience, technology, and Governance – to determine your mobile maturity: Are you Informal, Tactical, Coordinated or Strategic? Use a cross-functional team to evaluate and prioritize your digital assets and set your
mobile strategy and direction.

Moving to Market Imperatives, Masarik stressed optimizing your content for the unique mobile environment, using Mobility to engage audiences around your brand, and integrating Mobility into your marketing mix.

But beware! No fire-and-forget here! The J&J IT leader reminded us of the increasingly sophisticated mobile users. What’s required is an analytical, customer-savvy, targeted,
strategically-integrated, continually-updated approach where user expectations on the digital experience rule. All the while, you’ve got customer data to protect throughout, so strong security and Governance are critical, both themes to which Masarak repeatedly returned. In other words, missteps here ean losses that can’t be calculated in dollars and cents.

One last note. What was discussed concerning outwardly-facing mobility also applies to inwardly-facing mobility. The days of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) may be fading, but where it applies, one possibility is to route devices through Blackberry. Masarik gave a nod to Blackberry,
where, he finds, security is infinitely easier than on other mobile devices.

And as he finished the Q&A, on the Cloud and Blackberries, he put his (apparently beloved) Blackberry
and several other devices back in various pockets, still wondering how he acquired so many.

Photo: Chuck Masarik of J&J and Peter Crowley, chamber CEO

Architects Celebrate

mercer architecture

Meet  Mercer County architects today at an all-day symposium at Lawrenceville School. that celebrates the county’s 175th birthday. Bob Hillier and Michael Graves are on the speakers list, along with Phillip Hayden and Michael Mills. It’s at TCNJ, details here. Though it costs $20, most of that cost is for lunch, so I bet you could get into the afternoon session easily by just showing up. This weekend, historic houses will have special opening hours.

Sorry for the late post —

and here is a way-in-advance notice for the county’s celebration of technology. Mark your calendar for Friday, October 4, at College of New Jersey.

Rejected by the IAS: Sociology of Religion

I’m a big fan of the Institute for Advanced Study — funded by department store moguls, home of Albert Einstein, headed now by a Dutchman of formidable talent.

But it made my blood boil to read the obituary written by Margalit Fox (no relation) of Robert Bellah, “Sociologist of Religion Who Mapped the American Soul,” in the New York Times today.

When the IAS named him to a professorship, according to the obit, “many of the institute’s faculty — whose members were overwhelmingly scientist and mathematicians — called his scholarly credentials into question.” Sociologists, I would suggest, have traditionally been the Cinderellas of the sciences. Further, according to his colleagues, “in the ardently secular canon of the hard sciences, religion was deemed an insufficiently rigorous subject for scholarly scrutiny.”

Amid the hullabaloo, Bellah rejected the appointment and remained at Berkeley.

Let’s be fair, that was 1973 and this is 30 years later. Few of those voting faculty members are still there, and times have changed. But we in Princeton missed having, in our midst, the author of The Broken Covenant: American Civil Religion in the Time of Trial (1975), Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American life” (1985) and Religion in Human Evolution: From the Paleolithic to the Axial Age” (2011).

He was called “the greatest living sociologist of religion.” Had he been at IAS, I would have found out about him before. But I’m glad to know now.