Frederick A. Peterson

Yale A.B., Cambridge
Harvard, A.M.

Instructor in English

Appointed 1946

Kudos and Memories

"FAP was the guy who tried to teach us to use the word "this" correctly. It's funny how hard it was, at least for me, to learn something so easy; and it's funny how it's stuck with me all these years--like the misuse of "because" in the oh so common "the reason is because", which FAP probably taught us too.

To this day I correct both usages when I find them in drafts of whatever I'm asked to read and comment on.

Once FAP needed a photo of him for some journal, and asked me to take it while he was teaching the class I was in. It led to a wonderful stand-off--he posing waiting for me to take the picture, me waiting to take the picture until he stopped posing and acted naturally!

I think we agreed to do both, and that he would then pick. I have no doubt which picture he chose!"

David Othmer

"One warm Spring evening a huge crowd converged on FAP's front lawn, chanting 'We want FAP!' or words to that effect. Why did we do this? Because it was a warm Spring evening.
Shortly, FAP emerged with arms folded, sauntered toward the aggressive mob, looking us in the eye saying, 'Yes?' The people in the front, including myself, immediately tried to get behind the people in back of them. In about five seconds the whole panicked mob was running headlong in the opposite direction and disappeared into the night.

He must have been puzzled."

John Coggeshall

"I was in the early-evening class with Mr. Peterson my Upper year. That was the one after our athletic practices, and we were usually half exhausted. I remember he took one look at our dropping eyelids one cold November day, stood up, went to the windows, and threw them wide open. The small room filled with the freezing night air, and FAP went back to his desk with the small oriental rug in front, which I imaged at the time was keeping his feet much warmer than mine. He then went into some detail about properly using "this" and "that" to a far more wide-awake and attentive class. "

Paul Neshamkin



Memorable Quotes or Quirks