THE MICHIGAN DAILY
September 17, 1956
September 17, 1956
THE MICHIGAN DAILY
VyV " 7ir TV
Harvey Wants to Know Where're All the Nice, Sweet
Books, & Where's the All American Boy
He spent $8,000,000 to erect a law school, quibbled over
$174 expenditure, and never returned to see his building
for fear that reality would belie the dream.
By ROY AKERS
HARVEY, a friend of ours who
reviews books for a living,
stumbled over the garbage cans
outside our window the other
night. Falling into the basement,
and edging himself cautiously1
around our landlady's pet wood-
chuck, he finally made a grand,
if crestfallen entrance into the
After catching his breath, and
carefully dusting off an apple
crate, Harvey sat down and grab-
bed eagerly at a sack of bread
crumbs we had stacked in the
corner against the forthcoming de-
pression. Then, between inhaling
the crumbs and brushing away the
spider webs, he told us his troubles.
Nobody, Harvey thinks, should
be a book reviewer! All writers,
he says, hate his guts; the editor
cuts his best sentences, and his
wife keeps wondering when he's
going to work for a living.
They're not starving, you under-
stand; at least, not yet. For he
and the wife tend a garden be-
hind the city dump, and raise a
pig in the basement. It's just that
the neighbors invert their collec-
tive, lower-class noses at the pig.
The pig-who grunts to the name
of Cornucopia-is a friendly crea-
ture but, like Harvey says, people
are born snobs.
Troubles & Goo .
SCRAPING the last few bread
crumbs from the bottom of the
sack with the blade of a pocket
knife he had won at a spelling bee
in the eighth grade, and wrapping
them carefully with a bandanna to
take home to the pig, Harvey
swilled deeply at a jug of chianti,
relaxed, and then came up with
his real troubles.-
Being a book reviewer, he re-
flected, wasn't really quite as bad
as it looked. There were worse
things, he allowed, than wearing
patched pants and walking around
with a barefooted wife. Writers
didn't hate him, Harvey admitted,
they just thought he stunk. The
editor even gave him a cigar after
cutting the more choice sentences
of his reviews. And, after all, his
wife did admire him for working
in the garden.
"That's about as much as a
stevadore gets for handling gold
bullion eight hours a day," we
remarked. "What more could you
"For good writing," snapped
Harvey, his eyes giving us a cold,
critical appraisal. "You should see
my fan letters," he wailed. "The
freshman co-ed from Michigan
State keeps asking why I don't
review nice, sweet books. The
Wolverine gridiron star wanted to
know what happened to the All
American Boy, and the guy who
replaces leaded windows at Har-
vard wondered why-"
"You got three fan letters?" We
"Four," shrugged Harvey proud-
ly, "since the first of the year.
That is, if you count the one from
the politician in Flint," he hasten-
ed to add.
"Man, you're famous. With that
much fan mail--"
"Famous like horsefeathers!"
Harvey glared. "Look, you're a
writer still wet behind the ears
who hopes to bat in the Mickey
Spillane league someday. Just tell
me what's the matter with writ-
"There's nothing the matter
with writing," we answered.
"Then what happened to the
nice, gooey books? Why did the
All American boy disappear? For
what reason can't the guy who
Mr. Akers has contributed
both articles and book reviews
to the Magazine Section. An
example of the latter is also in-
cluded on this page.
replaces leaded windows at Har-
O YOU remember the Good
Old Days?" We interrupted.
"What Good Old Days?" Harvey
wanted to know.
"That's just the point," we re-
plied, "maybe nice, sweet books
and the All American Boy are just
that-like the Good Old Days-
something that everyone has heard
about, but no one seems to remem-
"Could be," Harvey conceded,
"but that still doesn't mean writ-
ers couldn't produce nice, sweet
"Writers can write about only
what they see and hear and feel.
Any writer knows ..."
"Now you're trying to tell me
the old story," scoffed Harvey,
"that there's no such thing as fic-
"We didn't say that."
"Then what are you trying to
"Merely that fiction is an exten-
sion of reality, an apperception of
all the interlocking complexes of
a writer's real experiences. He can
illuminate the fabrication with
fantasy; interpret it with illusion,
if need be, but in the ultimate end
the principal character is a hun-
dred people he has known; the
dialogue is the roar of many
crowds he has heard, and the
theme is the countless, intangible
realities he has almost-but not
"But, certainly," Harvey observ-
ed, "the writer has met nice
"The writer," we corrected him,
"has met nice persons."
"And what do you mean by
"Would you take some real ex-
periences for an answer?"
"Guess I'll have to," Harvey
grumbled, as he picked his teeth
with a broomstraw.
Stock Thy Barn. .
"IN THE early morning hours of
a day many years ago we drove
a country doctor out over the mud-
dy roads of the West Virginia hills
on an emergency call. The autumn.
air was cold; the roads were
treacherous, and the darkness was
interspersed only by the feeble
rays of our headlights becoming
lost through a drenching rain.
Finally, after twenty miles of such
driving, we arrived at the scene
of the emergency.
"The house-a small, clapboard
affair-was not painted. A flick-
ering, gas mantle hung on the
wall; there were no rugs on the
floor, and the effects of soap and
water were conspicuously absent.
There were not even sheets on the
beds. But the house was almost
surrounded by producing gas wells,
and completely dwarfed by a huge,
"After examining the lady of
the house the doctor determined
that she was seriously ill, and
would require immediate hospital
attention. 'Where,' he asked one
of the ill-clad children, 'was her
father?' The child replied that her
father was at the barn with the
"The doctor sent the child for
her father, and prepared the
mother for the journey to the hos-
pital. These roads were not built
for low-slung ambulances, and she
would have to be taken in our car.
Having prepared the lady, who
was in obvious pain, for the jour-
ney over the rough roads there
was nothing for the doctor to do
except sit and wait for the hus-
"The little girl, at long last, re-
turned. But she was alone. "Is your
father coming?' the doctor asked.
"'Daddy said he is busy with a
pedigreed calf and can't be both-
ered,' the small child replied.
"That was one of the examples,"
we said to Harvey, who, having put
down the broomstraw,
with his rear left foot.
"THROUGHOUT our high school
gkn irl whom we
shall call Louise. Louise attended
boarding schools in the North-the
public schools of the South were
not open to people like her-but,
since her brother was a friend of
ours, we came to know her rather
well during the summer months.
Her family owned the finest, pri-
vate swimming hole in the county,
and the biggest watermelon patch.
"Louise's maternal grandmother
had been a Negro servant to one
of the wealthiest men in the state.
Some years after the death of the
man's wife this servant had borne
him a child. The child, a girl,
grew up and eventually married a
white man from the North. Louise
was a product of this marriage.
"Louise's mother had inherited
a fortune-large, even as fortunes
go. With a beautiful estate and a
houseful of servants there had
come coal mines and oil wells to-
gether with many extensive hold-
ings of valuable properties. Louise
had most of the things that people
want-or think they want.
"But we are not discussing Louise
here because of her wealth. We
remember her because she was a
good and a kind person. Louise
had learned her painful lessons
through trying to cope with her
own particular kind of world, and
had ended up with the grandest
degree of all-an educated heart.
"On this particular Sunday eve-
ning, though, an aunt of ours had
forcibly dragged us to church. Our
aunt thought then, and still
thinks. that we are going straight
to-well-you know the kind of
illusions old maid aunts sometimes
have. We didn't see any of our
friends in the church-we never
do-and were sitting there feeling
sort of uncomfortable and lonely
when Louise walked in.
"The good preacher, as we re-
member, was talking about toler-
ance and the brotherhood of man.
It's a good subject; something that
even sinners like us need to learn
a little more about. But he didn't
bat an eye when his wife got up
and moved after Louise had sat
down in her pew. He just kept
preaching about tolerance and the
brotherhood of man.
"Two years ago we saw Louise.
We walked up a hill that hovers
over a beautiful river and helped
her pick flowers growing wild in
the woods. A few minutes later
the two of us sat down, placed the
flowers on her brother's grave, and
"'He had volunteered,' she said,
'and maybe that was right.' And
she had often wondered if, when
the bomber fell, he hadn't found
what he was looking for-some
way to help. Louise smiled on the
flowers. 'He-he always thought
that things would get better. You
know what I mean?' She half-
"We nodded our head. We
Yuletide Joy . .
HARVEY, relaxing his rear left
foot, was now paring his right.
front toenails with the small blade
of his pocketknife'.
"And just last winter," we con-
tinued, "there was another inci-
"We were walking down Wood-
ward Avenue in Detroit. It was at
a late evening hour of a day about
a week before Christmas.
"Snow was falling and the
streets, turned newly white, coun-
ter-reflected the ornaments of the
gaily dressed windows. Rays of
multi-colored lights, blending with
the puffs of falling snow, made the
whole avenue appear like a fairy-
See HARVEY, Page, 13
but that if he really had in mind
my temperament, that was still
supposed by my acquaintences to
be rather vigorous.
"He took the remark as it was
meant and smilingly said, 'Sit
down. I believe you will do'."
Cook unquestionably had a flair
for the dramatic. One of the con-
ditions which he stipulated during
the negotiations was that his
name remain secret.
It was discovered only when, on
September 21, 1924, an alert re-
porter noticed an inscription bear-
ing Cook's name on a small stone
panel over a door leading to the
lounge of the Lawyer's Club.
The event was significant
enough to make the New York
Times, which noted, "The identity
of the donor has been a mystery
for two years ...
Mystery & Letters .. .
ALTHOUGH it is probable that
his insistance on keeping his
name a secret resulted in part
from his love for mystery and the
dramatic, it also evidenced an ab-
horrence for publicity, which he
shunned at. every possible point.
On March 3, 1927, long after his
dream had been built, Cook wrote
the University, "... I shall be glad
to write you a letter to be read at
your annual club ... provided the
letter is not made public and no
public announcement made as to
its contents. There shall be noth-
ing startling . . but newspaper
notoriety I never have sought."
Informed of the difficulty in
preventing reporters from making
public his speech, Cook replied,
April 5, 1927, "I can see from your
letter that you would be somewhat
embarassed to control the report-
ers. I am embarassed not to con-
trol them...you can read it at the
end of the meeting after first
ejecting summarily all the report-
ers ... I have had publicity enough
and don't want any more."
To avoid publicity Cook cancel-
led his plans to send a letter and
sent a telegram instead, noting "I
don't want to do this but the re-
sponsibility lies elsewhere."
THE more than 100 letters Cook
wrote the secretary of the Law-
yers Club during the five-year per-
iod from 1925 until his death, June
4, 1930, give a full and interesting
picture of the man.
To understand the l e t t e r s,
though, it is necessary to under-
This "building will last for a thousand years," retorted Cook to
a suggestion that depreciation reserves be established. Of the
Lawyers Club's financial statements he raged, "I defy gods and
men to understand these accounts." Of the Club's director, Miss
Inez Bozorth, he stormed ". . . I have heard from four different
independent sources that she is discourteous and obnoxious .. .
my advice to you is to substitute a new management." But his
pettiness did not preclude a great depth and intelligence.
stand first Cook's relation to the
Club. Of all his projects the Law-
yers Club was the most cherished.
He had grand ideals concerning
what he thought it should be and
watched it religiously through cor-
Though he had many precise
and odd notions regarding con-
struction and practices, and most
of them werepincorporated, the
many stipulations he is rumored
to have attached to the gift are
for the most part false.
It is not true, for example, that
the Law Library is legally prohib-
ited from charging fines, nor that
the Lawyers Club must serve ice
cream daily, nor that the Cook
fund adds to faculty salaries.
As one member of the Law
School Faculty has put it "There
were enough peculiarties about
Cook but few specific strings at-
tached to his gift." Some of his
suggestions, contained in letters,
were incorporated but their legal
status is uncertain. An example is
his wish that the Lawyers Club
not be used for "accomodating or-
ganizations, conventions, or asso-
ciation, nor for meetings of any
Americana * .
F ERVERENT energy was poured
into the project by Cook. It
was more than simply a large
money gift. Cook did not, in his
eyes, give eight or sixteen million
dollars. He gave a law school.
That he was dedicated to the
ideals of law and education seems
clear. His flowery inscriptions
were not, as these things so of-
ten are, the work of a good public
relations expert. He was not mo-
tivated, as many of today's bene-
factors are, by tax lavs which
would give the money to the gov-
ernment if not to the institution.
Article 10 of his will (cast in
metal in the Law School) reads:
"Believing, as I , do, that Ameri-
can institutions are of more con-
sequence than the wealth or pow-
er of the country; and believing
that the preservation and develop-
ment of these institutions have
been, are, and will continue to be
under the leadership of the legal
profession; and believing that the
character of the law schools de-
termines the character of the le-
gal profession, I wish to aid in en-
larging the scope and improving
the standards of law schools by
aiding the one from which I grad-
uated, namely, the Law School of
the University of Michigan."
BUT in his gift there was more
than even the cherished ideals
of a profession. The Lawyers Club
appears to have been a focus for
Cook, an outlet for all the eccen-
tricities, loneliness, dreams, that
characterized the man.
For Cook, the Lawyers Club was
to be an integral educational ad-
junct to the Law School, like the
famous Inns of Court of England.
Nothing was too good for it.
Though a usually prudent man, he
resolved all doubts in favor of
money when the Lawyers Club
Much of Cook is revealed in the
letters he wrote. They show a man
living in a world of dreams yet
proud of his hard business realism,
proud of his Lawyers Club.
They show also a man fanatic-
ally attentive to pretty detail and
trivia that should have been be-
neath worrying over for a man
who had given away countless mil-
In a letter Nov. 18, 1925, to Prof.
G. C. Grismore, then secretary of
the Club, Cook asks, "I see that
$872.64 was expended on the build-
ing. What were the main items for
this? Has the entrance been block-
ed against automobiles as directed
by the architects?"
And in another letter he is dis-
turbed by an expenditure of $174.
Feuds & Fights ..
OOK'S pride in the construc-
tion of the Lawyers Club is
shown in his reaction to a sugges-
tion by the auditors that part of
the profits be set aside for a de-
On June 2, 1926, he wrote, "Now
as to the repreciation reserve. You
don't need any. That building was
built for a thousand years. I have
no patience with these theoretical
depreciations which absorb mon-
ey . . . Do you expect some part
of the building will tumble down.
or be worn out?" The Club still
does not have a depreciation re-
He constantly corresponded with
the Law School regarding sale of
his two books on corporation law,
sometimes receiving checks for as
little as $7 in payment for sale of
Cook was not, from all evidence,
an easy man to deal with: once de-
cided, he was not easy to sway.
His feud with Miss Inez Bozorth,
director of the Lawyers Club from
1924 to 1954, is an example.
Though regarded as a highly ef-
ficient worker, she became the
target for Cook's bitterness, a bit-
terness motivated by the belief
that the Club was making too lit-
tle money for legal research, his
general distaste for women, and
his particular resentment at hav-
ing a woman manager of his men's
gan a vigoi
of the Club
timent if in
one of the
I am trying
In the s
guests. I h
that she is
a very ba
club . ."
1927, "It [
pay no inte
of the bui
bably is ba
It seems to
is to substi
in place of
have had t
and the t
THE FRENCH TOUCH:
National Pastime, But No Soul
"The Red Room," by Froncoise
Mallet-Joris (translated by
Herma Briffault; Farrar, Straus
& Cudahy; 247 pp.; $3.50).
LAST YEAR it was "Bonjour
Tristesse" by Francoise Sagan.
But this year's newest reference
tome to the French national pas-
time of boudoir gymnastics is
"The Red Room," courtesy of
Mme. Francoise Mallet-Joris.
"The Red Room" is a pretty
book upon which to feast one's
eyes. Its cover, though not quite
large enough, has been discreetly
done in red plush. American pub-
lishers are naving a hard time of
It financially, so the rumors go.,
But they do have taste.
And with Mlle. Sagan's second
book due to appear in the near fu-
ture this could still be an inter-
esting summer. Mine. Mallet-Joris
and Mlle. Sagan have already out-
Kinseyed the naive gentleman
from Indiana. All of which leaves,
quite simply, only one flesh-shat-
tering question remaining. Can
they out-Francoise each other?
The answer is probably, "yes."
And we are betting the two cents
we found in the gutter last week
on Mine. Mallet-Joris, not because
she is a better writer, particularly,
but for the reason that she is now
an ancient married lady of some
Mlle. Sagan is still a tender blos-
som in her teens. And when it
Comes to facts - the books by
these two young ladies are sim-
mering. over with facts - figures
don't lie, gridles notwithstanding.
'THERED ROOM" is the sec-
from the pen of Mme. Mallet-
Joris. Most of the same characters,
though sometimes different bed-
rooms, follow through both books.
And for that reason it might be
best for those who missed the first
installment of this sex opera -
for us to go back a little ways.
The scenes were finely drawn
and the characters skillfully fab-
ricated in this Parisian lady's first
novel, "The Illusionist," published
(in the American edition) in 1952.
"The Illusionist" was the begin-
ning of the chronicled saga of He-
lene Noris, a red-headed and
equally red-blooded 15-year-old
Helene, the daughter of a Bel-
gian industrialist, had lost her
mother in infancy. This, perhaps,
was one of the reasons for her
finding her first smattering of a
love of sorts at the hands of Tam-
ara, her father's mistress. But
Tamara, at the end of "The Illu-
sionist," breaks the illusion by
marrying Helene's father.
"The Red Room" continues the
sequence by using the same human
triangle in the same Flemish set-
ting. Helene is a girl of eighteen
now, and the torch of love she
had once burned for her former
Lesbian enchantress has charred
into embers of contempt and
rHE triangle loses its shape by
the entrance of a new charac-
ter into the plot. Jean Delfau, a
gifted man of the theatre, arrives
at the little Flemish town from
Paris and bumps right smack dab
into the many charms of Helene.
And it is here that Mme. Mallet-
Joris exhibits amazing honesty
and skill, 'together with remark-
able observational perception, as
a novelist. Only a woman could
possibly have written this book, for
who else but a woman knows what
a woman really means when she
says yes or no. The poor man can
only guess. Mme. Mallet-Joris not
only knows - she also knows why'
In "The Red Room" the author
depicts the pains of growing up
as being gradually raised by an
ever-increasing comprehension of
love. And it is that most ironical
of novels; a good book with a prin-
cipal character whose highest
awareness of love has never been
elevated beyond the level of a mat-
tress. Helene Noris gave her body,
but kept her heart intact. Still,
this does not detract from the
competence or the scope of a
highly talented young writer. For
there are more frigid hearts than
this world dreams of.
There will, no doubt, be another
sequel in the life of Helene Noris
beyond "The Red Room." In it
she may learn, as others have, that
love is not attained by egotism,
cruelty and selfishness. One hopes
:hat in her next book this gifted
authoress will endow her princi-
pal body with a soul. Then -- and
only then - will
Helene Noris be
LAST summer Harvey, a friend
of ours who reviews books for
a living, scrubbed his overalls,
washed both ears, and caught a
tramp steamer for Europe. Leap-
ing over the side of the steamer,
and swimming ashore on French
soil, he came across a young lady
picking grapes in a vineyard.
"But, Mademoiselle," asked Har-
vey; as he rubbed his eyes and
came out of a traumatic shock,
"why aren't you in bed?"
-Harvey arrived back in America
in the late fall on a cattleboat. He
was wearing a beret with his horn-
rimmed glasses - acted real cul-
tured - and was an admitted ex-
pert on women, poetry, sex and
other lesser forms of art. In look-
ing backward - Harvey has ex-
cellent hindsight - he now re-
alizes that the question he asked
the young lady was probably the
faux pas of the year. For, like
Harvey says, the French do find
time to pick grapes, make and
drink wine, and come up with a
national election every few
When Mme. Mallet-Joris learns
what Harvey did about France she
will be a better and more accurate
novelist. Meanwhile, she has kept
faith with the legend of the sons
and daughters of the French Re-
public. "The Red Room," together
with the red plush binding, de-
serves to be in the Christmas
stocking of every American girl,.at
least by Thanksgiving.
COOK ROOM - Once an exact replica of Cook's New York
library (including many of his possessions and books), the room
is now used as a seminar for law school students. Reproduced
here is a facsimile of a portion of the room.
FORMAL RECEPTION - Reproduced from an old photograph taken in the n
shows the dedication of the Lawyers Club. Despite his having donated the
structure, Cook did not see fit to attend this ceremony, living up to a descr
who refused to view "the creations of his own mind . . . for fear . . . they
splendor of his dreams."