Farksolia is on hiatus while I work on my book for Barbara. It is well underway and it will be wonderful. I hope to publish it next year for her 100th birthday. We’ll have to see how that goes, though.
A year! It is very strange to reflect that two Christmases have come and gone, that the entire annus terribilis 1940 has been born and written its fearsome record and died, since any one of us who love you has clasped your hand or received a syllable written by it or unearthed the smallest clue to where you are, even to whether you are living or dead.
Barbara Newhall Follett was born in Hanover, New Hampshire, on March 4th, 1914. Her parents were the teachers, essayists, and literary critics, Helen Thomas Follett and Roy Wilson Follett. (Wilson Follett, my grandfather, was an exceptional scholar and was 1909 Oliver Wendell Holmes Scholar at Harvard College, a full scholarship given to Harvard’s highest-ranking freshman. He’s now best known for “Modern American Usage,” which was published in 1966 three years after his death; it’s still in print, although in a much-revised form. When Barbara was born he was teaching English at Dartmouth College.)
I did receive your letter, yesterday afternoon, and I read it (as you may suppose) a good many times before I came to any conclusion or conclusions concerning it. And now that I think that I have, I feel that I must point out two ideas in that letter that seem like ill-concealed weaknesses, and that cannot help but make me suspicious.
Here’s a video clip of Barbara’s sister, Sabra Follett Meservey, speaking in 1989 about Princeton’s decision to admit her as their Graduate School’s first female student, in 1961, as a “test case.” Sabra (1924-1994) and Edward B. Meservey (1916-2009) had three sons—Roger, Richard, and Michael. Sabra is introduced at about 10’30″.
Barbara vanished from her apartment at 48 Kent Street, Brookline, Massachusetts on December 7, 1939. No one appears to know what happened to her after that date. Until her death over 20 years later, Barbara’s mother tried to find out what happened. Here’s a reply to her plea to an old seafaring acquaintance of theirs—Andrew Burt—who sailed with them in the Caribbean in 1929.
(L-R): My grandfather Wilson Follett (1887-1963); his third wife (my grandmother) Margaret Whipple Follett (1907-1992); my mother Jane Follett (1935-2010); Grace Parker Follett (1911-1995; the only child of my grandfather’s first marriage to Grace Huntington Parker, who sadly died about three weeks after Grace was born); and Barbara Newhall Follett (1914-???), daughter of Wilson and his second wife, Helen Thomas Follett.