Published online by Cambridge University Press: 02 May 2020
Virginia, Earth's only paradise
SEARCH FOR A NEW POSITION (SPRING-SUMMER 1941)
Once President Bok's decision had been communicated, Thompson realized that a peaceful separation was more advantageous for his career than a protracted, bitter struggle. With Europe at war and with a wife and four children under the age of fourteen, he worried about finding employment before the fall 1941 academic term commenced. After the news of his resignation became public, and having consulted friends, he investigated several opportunities: primarily one at Harvard, the other at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Moreover, Bronson asked whether Thompson had any interest in returning west if such were possible. There was even an unsolicited overture from the University of Minnesota.
First, Thompson inquired of Woodworth, then Chairman of the Harvard Department of Music, about a possible appointment there. Discussion must have taken place during his February 7-8, 1941 trip to Cambridge for Visiting Committee meetings. Thanking Woodworth on February 11th he wrote:
I look back on our weekend w[ith] deep satisfaction and a keen sense of gratitude. You were so generous w[ith] yr time, thought, and hospitality. Come what may, I shall not forget this.
As I review the situation, I am more than ever convinced that what is perforce the most that Harvard might do, is, as it happens, most perfectly suited (in nature & scope) to what I most want to do and be. Even if our plan does not work out, I shall always appreciate yr share in it; and if it does, it will make me very happy. Remember that the actual size of the figure is not of paramount importance. I only hope that [illegible name] & Forbes are right & that you will not find matters difficult. As a member of the Visit¬ing Committee, I’d far rather lighten yr burdens than add to them. Perhaps in the end I’ll be able to! I hope so.
Woodworth updated Thompson on February 20th writing in part: “I regret the long silence, but I assure you we have not been inactive. There have been consultations with the Dean and he in turn is occupied in taking up the ques¬tion with the authorities in the University… .” Five days later their commu¬nications crossed. Thompson notified Woodworth by telegram that another job possibility had arisen.