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May 07, 1939 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1939-05-07

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SUNDAY, MAY 7, 1939

FOUR SUNDAY, MAY 7, 19391'11111 11 11



Max Lerner Lauds C. A. Beard's
Interpretation Of Constitution
The Ninth Article In The New Republic's Series:
Books That Changed Our Minds

At The


In California


(Continued from Page 2)

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Edited and managed by students of the University of
Michigan under the authority of the Board in Control of
Student Publications.
Published every morning except Monday during the
Oniversity year and Sumni r Session.
Member of the Associated Press
The Associated Press is exclusively entitled to the
use for republication of all news dispatches credited to
It or not otherwise credited in this newspaper. All
rights of republication of all other matters herein also
Entered at the Post Office at Ann Arbor, Michigan, as
second class mail matter.
Subscriptions during regular school year by carrier,
$4.00; by mail; $4.50.
National Advertising Service, Inc.
College Publishers Representative
Member, Associated Collegiate Press, 1938-39

Managing Editor
Editorial Director .
City Editor
Associate Editor
Associate Editor
Associate Editor
Associate Editor.,
Associate Editor
Associate' Editor
Book Editor.
Women's Editor
Sports Editor . .


Robert D. Mitchell
. . Albert P. Mayio
. Horace W. Gilmore
. Robert . Fitzhenry
.8 R. =Kliman
. . Robert Perlman
. . . Earl oilman
. . William Elvin
* *Joseph Freedman
S . Joseph Gies
. . Dorothea Staebler
. . Bud Benjamin

Business Department
Business Manager. . . , . Philip W. Buchen
Credit Manager . . . . Leonard P. iegeman
Advertising Manager . . . WiliamnL. Newnan
Women's Business Manager . . Helen Jean Dean
Women's Service Manager . . . Marian A. Baxter
The editorials published in The Michigan
Daily are written by members of the Daily
staff and represent the views of the writers
To The
New Staff.. ..
ITIS with sincere wishes for a suc-
Lcessful and pleasant year that the
outgoing editors offer their congratulations to
the new leaders of The Daily. Carl Petersep, the
new managing editor, Stan Swinton, city editor,
and Elliott Maraniss, editorial director, have
all served the paper well as night editors and
deserve the honor and recognition that has been
givei them. Their Influence on student affairs
and their contribution to the University as a
whole will be considerable and undoubtedly con-
Though we regret that our term of office has
ended, we want to say, "Take over, fellows, and
best wishes for a swell year!"
-Robert Mitchell
Et Vale * *
HE LAST DAY of an editorial writ-
er's tenure is a sentimental affair.
He is allowed by tradition to drop the formal and
modest. "we" and to croak like Cassandra about
the future. He is privileged to wrap in mellow
phrases the short past which has comprised
his college years and he gives himself the dubious
pleasure of surveying in one pontifical sweep the
present in which he is enmeshed. So forgive and
forget: this only happens once a year.
On first impulse I would like, on graduation
day, to pick up my text books and throw them
as powerfully as I could, right smack at the cen-
ter of the center door of Angell Hall. In that
gesture I should finally be able to express my
disgust at the failure of the University to turn
out thinking students. In that futile, foolish pitch
I would make articulate my contempt for an
educational system which swallows adolescent
children from the high schools and disgorges
them unspoiled and unchanged after four years
of so-called higher training.
All this on first impulse. For I know that Angell
Hall is only a symbol and an innocent one. The
fault lies rooted far deeper than in a silent, mas-
sive, gray building, far deeper than in the men
who move within its walls. The fault lies in-
terred in a vicious socio-economic system which
rewards hypocrisy and calls it strategy, which
exalts expediency and calls it wisdom, which
laughs at truth, justice, fraternity and dismisses
them with the word idealism, which is afraid of
change and brands those who wish it "Com-
Whether the educational system of a capital-
ist democracy can ever educate its citizens to
think clearly, truthfully, intelligently, so clearly,
so truly, so intelligently that if they desire radi-
cal change through democratic processes they
shall have it, I don't know. The Marxists, and
I use the term with respect, did not in the past
think so. What their attitude is today, I do not
know, for they have had to modify their tactics
to battle a far deadlier enemy than bourgeois
democracy. In that fight which is democracy's
fight, they have adopted a different attitude, a
philosophy which aims at upholding democratic
processes. In that adaptation to changed circum-
stances they may have changed also their form-

At Columbia University about a quarter-
century ago, crowded classrooms were listening
to an assistant professor in his early thirties ex-
pound strange doctrine. His name was Charles
A. Beard and he was a tall rangy young man
from Indiana, with a sharp aquiline profile,
looking half farmer and half Roman philosopher.
When he talked he threw back his head and
half-shut his eyes, but his doctrine was such as
to cause the ghosts of generations of Constitu-
tion-mongering professors to hover uneasily over
his classroom. The study of American history, he
said, was cluttered with myths that had more
relevance to filial piety than to the real past. He
was concrete. Instead of repeating Bancroft's .
sunny banalities on the guiding hand of Provi-
dence in the affairs of the young Republic, which
led to the conclusion that the Almighty must
have been a Federalist, he analyzed a batch of
Treasury statistics, or dug up some pamphlets
by John Taylor. He was unafraid to incur the.
charge of irreverence. He refused to convert his
job into a pastorate for a herd of academic
sacred cows. * * *
Stimulated By Social Movements
The fact is that Beard's book was no literary
mutation. The intellectuals were writing in re-
sponse to new movements for social justice-
populism, trade-unionism, socialism, muckrak-
ing, the "new freedom," the "new nationalism."
And these movements were themselves a response
to the powerful compulsivescof the new technol-
ogy and the new system of class relations. .
The book . . . was "An Economic Interpreta-
tion of the Constitution." The title itself was
enough to startle the academic and political ty-
coons: the very juxtaposition of our great Sacred
Writing with so secular a phrase as "economid
interpretation" conveyed to many the sugges-
tion of outright blasphemy. And the book pulled
few punches. It set out to explain the formation
of the Constitution and the founding of the
new government, not on the doctrinal plane of
the "federal" as against "states' rights" doc-
trine, nor on the traditional plane of "compro-\
mises" between sections and between small and
large states, but on the plane of economic in-
terests. * * *
Economic Motve Primary
The book became thus an inquiry into the
proposition that "the direct, impelling motive"
in the formation and ratification of the Consti-
tution "was the economic advantages which the
beneficiaries expected would accrue to themselves
first, from their action." To test this he set about
making a survey of property interests in 1787,
both in realty and personalty. It led to the hy-
pothesis of an opposition of economic interest
between the small farmers, the debtor class and
the unpropertied urban dwellers on the one
hand, and on the other the landed proprietors
(Hudson Valley partoons and Southern slave-
holders) and the groups with personalty in-
terests (money loaned or seeking investment,
state and Continental paper, manufacturing,
shipping, trading and capital speculatively in-
vested in Western lands.) The interests of the
propertied groups often clashed. But, whatever
their differences, on one thing they were agreed:
dents filing merrily along, blankly oblivious to
any purpose which could give their day-by-day
existences meaning and direction, I feel a murky,
black despair. Where can one start, what can one
change, how can one overcome the all-permeat-
ing indifference which sabotages Spring Parleys,
and Student Senates, Peace rallies, and protest
meetings, which permits an outmoded curricu-
lum to persist in its ineffectiveness, which allows
incompetent teachers to prattle away their ill-
digested and dis-organized subject matter, which
carries along with the utmost nonchalance a
time-wasting, if harmless, system of extra-cur-
ricular inactivities.
Certainly what is needed, on the part of teach-
ers as on the part of students, are an open-
mindedness, a readiness to disassociate oneself
from his particular vested interest, a faith i
democracy, and the courage and inspiration to
fight militantly for democracy's ideals, the brav-
ery to ask and fight for change when it is called

if they were to survive, then what was needed
was a strong central government that would
check radical state legislation, put down the open
insurrections against property, create a unified
tariff and monetary system and set up checks
upon the action of the majority.
The political leaders of these propertied groups
were compelled to resort to an extra-legal coup
-a Constitutional Convention which adopted a
revolutionary program and put it through in de-
fiance of the provisions for amendment in the
Articles of Confederation. The groups represent-
ing important personalty interests in the state
legislatures quietly and carefully engineered the
selection of their own delegates to the Conven-
tion. In the amazing Chapter V on "The Eco-
nomic Interests of the Members of the Conven-
vention," which is the heart of the book, Bear
examines in detail the economic interests and
experience of each delegate and immediate per-
sonal economic interests the small farming or
mechanic classes," while at least five-sixths
(including the Convention's leaders) "were im-
mediately directly and personally interested in
the outcome of their labors at Philadelphia, and
were to a greater of less extent economic bene-
ficiaries from the adoption of the Constitution."
The document they constructed, for all that it
was couched and defended in terms of political
doctrine, was in all its implications and in its
deepest meaning an economic document. The
state ratifying conventions were chosen, because
of property disqualifications or indifference,
by a vote of not more than one-sixth of the
adult males. They were certainly, in their leader-
ship, representative of the same economic groups
as the members of the original Convention. The
whole process of ratifying this document had the
same aspects of a deliberately maneuvered coup
by the propertied interests as the calling of the
Convention itself.
Thesis Writing
Beard is the only American historian since
Turner whose historical method has been wide-
ly recognized as taking the shape of a "theory"
or a "thesis." This may be because he has always
been more than a historian. He has always had
one foot, and the firmer one, planted in political
science: which may prove the meaninglessness of
both labels, or may prove Robert Lynd's 6ontn-
tion (in his "Knowledge for What?") that a
historian is always a better historian when he
is something else to start with. We see now 'that
Beard's inquiry into the origins of the Constitu-
tion was only the first of a series of panels on the
theme of the role of the economic in American
culture.* * *
Such doctrine, quite apart from the initial
shock it gave in 1913, could not help leaving a
more continuing mark on American thought. It
was for many a harsh awakening from afake
American Dream. The premise even of the muck-
rakers had been of an original Eden, and a
fall from grace-to be remedied by the atone-
ment of reform. But Beard laid bare the basic
struggle between democracy and capitalism and.
traced it back to the origins of the American
state. Eden had never been Eden. The triumph
of the oligarchs that Beard's contemporaries
were witnessing was thus not contrary to the
spirit of 1789 but a logical culmination of it.
And what was true of the origins of the gov-
ernment was true of later crises in its history.
The slogans of the propertied groups took on
for many people a new meaning. The Supreme
Court issue was especially affected. For if it
was true that the Constitution itself was the
product of class interests, it would follow a for-
interpretation. Then what became of the divine
tiori that the same interests were operative in its
right of judges and their Lucretian place aobve
the mortal battle? Nor were the Socialists, de-
spite Beard's protestations, slow to draw their
deductions. The book, writes Joseph Freeman in
"An American Testament," "was a byword among
Socialist agitators who liked to quote established
intellectual authorities . . . . (It) establishe
beyond question the Socialist contention that
the United States was a class society whose fun-
damental laws are class laws for the benefit of
the bankers and manufacturers as against th
workers and farmers."g
Accurate Distinction
Beard has often disavowed this claim' that
his book proved the Socialist thesis. While I thinl
he has under-estimated the effect of Marxism
on the climate of opinion from which he drew
his doctrine, he has undoubtedly been accurate

in distinguishing between Marxist thought and'
his own. He has traced his own intellectual gen-
ealogy back to Madison, Hamilton, Webster,
Calhoun and Emerson: and beyond them- to
Harrington and Aristotle. There has been, he'
contends, a tradition of economic emphasis in
native American political thought. This is a
healthy reminder for those who equate "eco-
nomic" with "un-American." Under the stress of
the attack on him, Beard has increasingly un-
derlined this dissociation. * * *
The fact is that Beard, like other social think-
ers in his tradition, has never made up his mind
on the central problem of the role of the eco-
nomic in history. His book on the Constitution
was the closest he came to a formulation. In
some ways it was oversharp, in others not sharp
enough. It was oversharp by making the eco-
nomic interpretation a theory of men's motives
rather than of men's ideas. Spurred no doubt by
a desire for definiteness and precision which is
not to be found in the history of ideas, and by
a need to protect himself against the charge of
vagueness, Beard cut out for himself too big a
job=-to show that the members of the Conven-
tion stood to gain in immediate and personal

WHEN timid undergraduates enter
the office of The Californian and
express a desire to become members
of the staff, they are first handed a
mimeographed pamphlet setting forth
the fundamental facts they must
digest before they can be useful.
The first paragraph of that pam-
phlet says: "The Californian is a com-
pletely student managed and student
edited newspaper, and is allowed full
independence of editorial opinion
within the limits of truth and re-
sponsibility. The editorial freedom of
The Californian is the paper's most
cherished possession."
Ordinarily a newspaper which en-
joys editorial freedom woud not make
such an ostentatious announcement,.
containing as it does a warning, an
admonition, and a boast. But those
who are familiar with The Californi-
an and its recent history know the
circumstances under which the state-
ment is made.
Not Always Edit Freedom
The Californian has not always
had editorial freedom. To go through
the files of ten or twenty years back,
one is struck by the monotonous tone
of the editorials: "Keep the lawns
clean," and "How about some school
spirit" seemed to be the extent of
It is difficult to attribute such in-
anity to mental capacity. Most cer-
tainly, even in those halcyon days,
college editors had reasonably com-
plex intellects. The only and obvious
conclusion would be that Californian
editors were beset by official taboos
and blue pencils.
But as the University grew and
took its place among the great edu-
cational institutions of the world; The
Californian began to show a virile
and robust mind of its own. Editors
ventured to suggest that perhaps
changes would be made here and
there, and the public found that
California students did not have such
juvenile limitations after all.
Free Press Essential
And as years wore on, the new out-
look was popularly accepted. It be-
came altogether evident that a free
press and an expressive press was
just as essential to a great University
as to a great country. Unhappily, such
reasoning was not unanimous, nor
destined to survive eternally.
After the collapse of the post-war
days of plenty and the coming of
depression, a certain intangible rest-
lessness came over the nation. New
philosophies sprang up, many of them
to grow and prosper in the new light
of pragmatism. Opinions divided,
mninds and men parted company for
the sake of differing ideals.
In that huge reshuffle of intelli-
gence, the college press in general
took a vigorous part; so vigorous, in
fact, that many were soon muzzled
and suppressed by the hands of
superior powers. A chosen few es-

caped, The Californian among them.
Passing Along The Torch
Those who guided The Californian
along its course of freedom had no
misconception of its position, how-
ever, and editor after editor, in their
"swan songs," passed along the torch
of freedom with a plea and a prayer
for its safety. Their writings had an
air of misgiving. They seemed to
sense the approaching storm.
Thenhcame the deluge, consisting
for the most part of clouds and thun-
der. An editor of The Californian, a
progressive and liberal-minded think-
er, had dared to suggest that perhaps
things were not so good and beauti-
ful as people thought. He set forth his
opinions as his own. His only sin, if'
such it was, amounted to a sincere
and truth-seeking analysis of ac-
cepted ideals and traditions.
To many that was heresy and
damnable blasphemy. In haste and
secrecy a clique of busy-bodies in and
about the Executive committee drew
up a high-sounding manifesto and
attempted to railroad it into opera-
tion. Few people were fooled. Under-
neath the superficial justices of the
proposal were technical phrases which
would irreparably and efficiently steal
away The Californian's editorial free-
Hushing Men With Ideas
The censorship plan was obvious-
ly aimed at one individual, the edi-
tor, yet those who fostered the idea
were altogether willing that future
editors of the paper should be bound
and gagged if they could but hush
the man who dared have an idea of
his own and to express it.
. The fathers of censorship were
greatly astounded at the wrath they
had called down upon their own
heads. The' plan was so ridiculed,
abused, damned, and belittled that it
was withdrawn as hastily as pride
would permit. The would-be censors
were somewhatsurprised that so
many students, faculty members, and
common citizens upheld the philoso-
phy of Voltaire.
The staff of The Californian is
much wiser for its experience. It
knows who are its friends, and who
merely pretend to be. It will not again
be caught unaware or unprepared to
protect the freedom which is its
"most cherished possession."
The Californian will continue to be
free, and to deserve that freedom.
Future editors will express their be-
liefs without fearful reserve; they
* will represent those opinions only as
their own and will accept responsi-
bility for them. They will recognize
that the voice of opposition is as
privileged as their own, but they will
insist that "the other side" must ac-
1 cept the same responsibility as they
i do. A free editor of a free newspaper
passes his baton into capable and
free hands.
-The Daily Californian

pictures, "Youth of "China" and
'Voice of Peace" will be shown.
Coming Events
Ann Arbor Independents: Rehear-
als for Lantern Night will begin
Monday, May 8, and will continue
each night next week, from 4 to 5
it the League. It is important that
you be there Monday or Tuesday.
The Junior Class of the Engineer-
ing College will hold a meeting in
Room 348, on Wednesday, May 10, at
four o'clock. All members of the
Class are urged to attend.
All League House Presidents and
girls are requested to attend a very
important meeting on Wednesday,
May 10, at 3:30 p.m. in the League.
German Table for Faculty Mem-
bers: The regular luncheon meeting
will be held Monday, May 8, at 12:10
p.m. in the Founders' Room of the
Michigan Union. All faculty mem-
bers interested in speaking German
are cordially invited. There will be
a brief informal talk by Professor
E. A. Philippson on, "Rassenkunde
und germanische Religiongeschichte."
Physics Colloquium: Dr. L. J. Las-
lett will speak on "Some Work in
Copenhagen; the Danish Cyclotron,"
at the Physics Colloquium on Mon-
day, May 8, at 4:15 p.m. in Room
1041 East Physics Bldg.
Conferences on the Nervous System:
Under the auspices of the Depart-
ment of Anatomy, a series of confer-
ences on the nervous system will be
held with sessions at 10 a.m., 2 and
4:30 p.m. on Monday, May 8, in Room
4556 East Medical Building. All in-
terested are cordially invited to at-
University Women: There will be a
canoeing party on Monday, May 8, at
4:15. Those who wish to go must
have passed the swimming test. Please
sign up in Barbour Gymnasium or the
Women's Athletic Building, or call
Jane Brichan at 6944 before Monday
Camp Craft Classes: Both Camp
Craft classes will meet at 4:20 p.m.
at the Women's Athletic Building on
their respective days this week.
Iota Sigma Pi will have a meeting
Tuesday evening, May 9, at 7:30 p.m.
at the Graduate School. Plans for
initiation are to be discussed.
First Methodist Church, Dr. C. W.
Brashares will preach at 10:40 a.m.
on "Uniting Methodists" at the Morn-
ing Worship Service.
Stalker Hall: Wesleyan Guild meet-
ing at 6 p.m. at the Church. This will
be an Installation Service for the new
Student Council. Fellowship hour and
supper following the meeting.
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Sun-
day: 8 a.m. Holy Communion; 9:30
a.m. Junior Church; 11 a.m. Kinder-
garten; 11 a.m. Holy Communion and
sermon by the Rev. Henry Lewis; 4
p.m. Student Picnic at the Saline
Valley Farms. Cars will leave Harris
Hall from 4 to 4:15.
The Westminster Guild: 6 p.m., the
Westminster Guild will meet for
supper and a fellowship hour. At the
7 o'clock meeting Professor A. K.
Stevens of the English Department
of the University will speak on the
topic "Democracy in the Church."
First Congregational Church, State
and William Sts. Minister, Rev. Leon-
ard A. Parr.
Public worship at 10:45. Dr. Parr

It Seems To Me.



Governor Lehman quite properly
has vetoed a bill which would have
exempted caddies from the protec-
tion of workmen's compensation laws.
"The occupation of a caddy is a
somewhat hazardous one," wrote the


Governor, "and
there is no justi-
fication for de-
priving these em-
ployees of the
benefits of work-
men's compen-
sation law. This
b i 11 is disap-
The best legis-
lation of all

physical. It keeps the lads out in the
open air. But that's good for adults,
too. Carrying a heavy golf bag over
a championship course is too tough
a job for a growing boy. And I think
the Governor puts it all too mildly
when he speaks of the occupation as
"somewhat hazardous." There are
those who venture forth upon the
links as dangerous as any hammer
thrower. Getting out of the line of
the drive of such a one is purely im-
And caddies do not build character.
Where on earth would they get it?
Surely not from the average member.
Save in the case of the highly talent-
ed, man does not appear at his best
upon a golf course.
Even under gray skies the boy who

Easily said.
There is no way, no program, no instrument,
no process which can accomplish this. That is the
truth and the trouble.
It depends on some of you who read this. For
the rest, this same message must be repeated,
and incessantly. It must be repeated as I have
repeated it from those who have said it better
than I can.
Once you have understood and accepted these,
not as a code to be engraved on a bronze tablet
and hung over the doorway, but as something to
be woven into your soul and spirit the greatest
barricade is taken and fallen.
There are many here at Michigan who have
thrown off their indifference, who have dug
and fought against implacable enemies. They are
the members of the American Student Union,
and yes, I dare, the Young Communist League.
But the latter is a small group with a definite
philosophy, which is at several basic points too
distasteful for my timid soul. Not that one must
reject it ipso facto because the horrendous word
"Communist" is attached to it. At least let him,
look at it objectively, intelligently, without ruff-
ling his hair.
The ASU has no philosophy except a faith in
democracy. There are some communists in it,
with a small and capital "C." Don't be afraid of
them. They do not growl or bite; they are in fact
very likable people. The Student Union is a live
force. Its program is the collective expression of

would be to make the craft of caddy-
ing one open only to adults. And nat-
urally I feel the same way about
newsboy, and carriers. In respect to
"the little merchants" it has been
said that association with the news-
paper industry in even the humblest
capacity serves to build character.
Newsboys, we are told, get to be
President. However, there must be
something wrong with the theory be-
cause reporters don't. And the only
editor in the White House was less
than a howling success.
In the case of caddies it is ad-
mitted that the benefits are largely
bers of the Convention but their pro-
perty attitudes. To be sure, their at-
titudes might be inferred from their
holdings-but it was a roundabout
procedure and one that laid Beard
open to the charge of stressing the
crass aspects of men's motivations.
His enemies made the most of it. * * *
But these criticisms should not
blind us to the importance and in-
fluence of the book. Its importance
lay in the directness with which it
cut through the whole tissue of liberal
idealism and rhetoric to the economic
realities in American history-and
therefore in contemporary American
life as well. * * * Beard's book on the
Constitution is one of those books
that become a legend-which are
more discussed than read and which

,arries the clubs is likely to hear blue, will preach on the subject, "We Have
language, and he will see men seizedi The Meanns- t?" T n nhrwi. nhrd..

with the gambling fervor in its most
virulent form. There are persons,
otherwise upright, who will kick a ball
out of a bad lie simply through the
temptation of the fact that the match
is for a dollar Nassau.
Again there is the matter of count-
ing the number of strokes consumed
upon the 610-yard thirteenth hole.
The caddy who observes this com-
putation must come away with the
notion that the average American
business man is either mendacious or
just naturally not good at figures.
And often 'the boy, whose own moral
nature is in a formative state, is sub-
ject to grave temptation when invit-
ed to become an accessory after the
"Bill here says I shot an eleven. I
claim it was only ten. I'm right, ain't
I, boy?"
It is much easier to be candid about
cherry trees than chip shots from the
rough. George Washington Jones1
realizes where his tip lies, and he is
likely to reply, "That's right, boss,"
even though he knows that both were
wrong and the big duffer consumed
It would seem to me that the caddy-
ing craft would produce inferiority
complexes in the young. It is true that
I know some pro golfers who were

1ilC IVICaLla-.out,: Ille c11V1us ulluir

directed by Donn Chown will sing
and Mrs. Hope Bauer Eddy will sing
for the morning solo, "Sheep and
Lambs" by Sidney Homer. Miss Mary
Porter will play the following organ
numbers: "The Guardian Angel" by
Bierne-Gaul and "Glorificanlus" by
Gaul. The meeting Gof the Student
Fellowship will be an outdoor affair
with games and picnic supper at the
home of Mrs. Ray Steiner on Geddes
First Presbyterian Church, 1432
Washtenaw Ave. 10:45 a.m., Morn-
ing Worship Service. "Living With
3urselves" will be the subject upon
which Dr. W. P. Lemon will preach.
Palmer Christian at the organ and di-
recting the choir.
Disciples Guild (Church of Christ)
10:45 a.m. Morning worship. Rev.
Fred Cowin, Minister.
6:30 1.m. Music Appreciation Hour.
Prof. Leonard S. Gregory of the Uni-
versity School of Music will discuss
some of the May Festival Music. His
talk will be illustrated with records.
The program is open to all interested
7:30 p.m. Social hour and refresh-



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