Friday, March 25, 2016

Faculty hiring, 1950s-style

Yale in those days was an old boys' club into which I was pleased to see that I could fit. The very manner in which I was hired has always amused and gratified me. At the December 1956 Philadelphia meeting of the American Philological Association, Professor Dow had invited me to join his group for dinner at the famous, and expensive, Bookbinders Restaurant in the city, an event charged with hidden significance, since Dow was much too cheap to frequent such places ordinarily. In addition to three or four of his students, Dow had invited Frank Brown, who . . . was the chair of the Yale Classics Department. Fifty years ago when the old-boy network controlled the job process there was no neutral mechanism for those offering jobs and those seeking them. Opportunities were not posted on a public list; young people entering the field had no means for making themselves known other than what their mentors could do for them. Precious little, as you can imagine, for women or Jews or those from obscure institutions.
. . .

The following week I was surprised to receive a note from Brown inviting me to present myself as a candidate for the opening at Yale.
Charles Rowan Beye, My Husband and My Wives: A Gay Man's Odyssey (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012), p. 133

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