A Chronicle of an American School




New Amsterdam
© 1992. The Hotchkiss School.


dustcover information:

"A boy arrives in Lakeville, age thirteen, in the autumn of his prep year, knowing little or nothing of the world. What do we want him to know four years later ... and what do we expect four years after that, when the same child emerges from the university? Whom do we hope to meet on the afternoon of the last commencement? Do we look for a man or a woman who has learned to trust the unique and specific value of his or her own mind? Do we hope for an individual capable of wisdom and accustomed to submitting his or her life to the questions of conscience? Do we mean to discover individuals on the order of Thomas Paine or Thomas Jefferson or Archibald MacLeish, or do we want somebody who thinks that the sum and zenith of all human experience is a killing in the bond market and a house in Palm Beach?" --- Lewis Lapham '52, Editor Harper's Magazine

"The school does not encourage a sense of entitlement ... The students have to work to be who they want to be. If you're arrogant at Hotchkiss, you don't meet with a good response from anybody. You can't really get away with being a jerk on a regular basis at the school --- as can so many people in other areas of life. I don't mind admitting that Hotchkiss students are select, that they're the best students we can find. But what counts in the end is that they be real contributors to society." --- Katha Diddel Warren '75, Elected Trustee in 1987

"How has the Hotchkiss School managed to accommodate a hundred years of unprecedented change --- a century during which horse-and-buggy trails have become less familiar than the fiery trails of space-bound vehicles, and Victorian propriety has yielded to unabashed self-expression?

"The short answer --- carefully; certainly not without considerable tension and the constant need to mediate between the forces of tradition and innovation. Oh yes, also by following the golden rule: do not disturb the cherished memories of alumni --- and, more recently, of alumnae as well." --- Introduction to Historical Overview

Ernest Kolowrat '52 is a free-lance writer, documentary producer, and communications adviser. He has also been principal of a summer school in France, served as an aide in Florida nursing homes, and sold heavy-duty exercise equipment in Boston. Kenny: The Man Who Looked Like the Shroud is his previous book.

Stephen Birmingham '46 is a social historian and novelist whose twenty-five works include "Our Crowd," Life at the Dakota, The Auerbach Will, and The Rothman Scandal.

C. D. B. Bryan '54 is the author of P. S. Wilkinson, Friendly Fire, Beautiful Women: Ugly Scenes, and the centennial history of the National Geographic Society.

John Hersey '32 won the Pulitzer Prize for A Bell for Adano and is author of Hiroshima, The Wall, and other books; his most recent work, Antonietta, was published in 1991.

ISBN 1-56131-058-1

Mary Meehan Finney

"She would often emerge from the headmaster's office on an errand into the main corridor bristling with boys. Her presence sent a message direct to the boys' hearts --- its power muted and refined by its innocence and purity."

---Robert V. Massey, Jr. '24

To the Hotchkiss School Staff Far too often unheralded in the past, their obliging devotion has been integral to the school's functioning --- whether in caring for the buildings and grounds, preparing the daily fare, providing medical care, keeping the accounts straight, or carrying out the myriad secretarial and other service tasks. Symbolic of this role has been the forty-year service of Mary Meehan Finney as secretary to four headmasters, whose burdens she lightened immeasurably. At ninety-four, she continues to reside not far from the school where she first went to work as a young woman.

Thank you, Mary Finney; thank you one and all of the Hotchkiss staff.



What Made Maria Do It? Stephen Birmingham '46
Kicked Out, C. D. B. Bryan '54


1. The Duke's Way: A Memoir
2. Minutes from the Past
3. A Paradise for Boys
4. The King's Domain
5. The Duke's Garden
Eulogy to GVS by John Hersey '32


6. In Transition
7. Privileged to be There
8. Approaching Year 2000
9. Fair Hotchkiss


Headmasters, Board Presidents,
Alumni Award Recipients

First graduating class of the Hotchkiss School

Excerpt from Articles of Association

New Haven, Connecticut, MY 7, 1891 Amended on July 17, 1974, at board of trustees meeting to read ". . . for the preparation of young men and women for a college or university course."

Chapter Two