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The Road Not Taken The Road Not Taken
A Documented Biography of Randall Thompson, 1899–1984
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Chapter XIII - Princeton University (Fall 1945-Spring 1948)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 May 2020

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Summary

He is an excellent lecturer and, though not

an historical scholar, competently

informed and authoritative.

(Roy Welch)

THE HIRING PROCESS

Having weathered an exceedingly busy 1945 spring term, Thompson was surprised to receive a letter from Professor Roy Welch of Princeton University discussing an upcoming vacancy on the faculty. As he explained to Bronson:

The point is, that Welch writes that Sessions is going to Berkeley and asks whether I am susceptible to an inducement to succeed him. I have replied that we’d be glad to have him (Welch) visit us this week-end; and he arrives tomorrow night.

O, how I wish you were nearby to talk to. I’d so love to know what your feeling would be about our moving to Princeton. I have put out such roots here and have, in a studied way, trained myself to think of myself as belonging here, staying here for the long pull, insusceptible of any offers to go elsewhere. The whole community is mine and I am its! I have pictured myself as staying here till I retired from teaching.

Margaret felt otherwise, as you know, and there is no doubt that being here has robbed us of one of the children after another. And the center of their activities will not grow nearer to Ch’ville with the years… .

Much depends on what the details of Welch's offer stack up to. But I foresee that it is going to be hard to say no… .

If they’d assigned us a house on the Lawn, instead of giving it to Sna¬vely, wd that have made us feel more permanent, more loathe to go? And if so, would buying a house now make us feel like staying? What sort of house might one hope to get in Princeton, after all? O, for a sign, a sign!

Sessions, who had been teaching there since 1936, had accepted a faculty appointment in the Department of Music at the University of California, Berkeley beginning fall 1945. Years later, interviewed by his biographer Andrea Olmstead, he explained his reasons for leaving Princeton.

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The Road Not Taken
A Documented Biography of Randall Thompson, 1899–1984
, pp. 545 - 572
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2018

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