The Day After
Observers touring the college campus early Monday morning found restoration measures at varying stages of completion. A visit to the Esbjornson gymnasium, where as many as 1,000 news personnel had held forth, revealed one lone NBC television camera and nine small packages of communication materials tucked in the corner of the spacious floor area, sole reminders of what had been only ten hours previously a hubbub of clattering machines and strident voices.
Men had labored throughout the night to effect the transformation. College maintenance workers had packed tables and chairs onto trucks and returned them to the Glassboro public schools. They had also restored typewriters to faculty and administrative offices, although it was months before secretaries pounded the keys of the same machines they had used in pre-Summit days. Western Union workers had dismantled teletype machines and control panels and packed them along with rolls of wire into trucks bound for storage areas outside of the Summit Town. Bell Telephone men spent the night removing telephones, panels, cables, and miles of wire. Their patience was sorely tried by a lone Japanese reporter phoning a story to his Tokyo paper for two hours, as Bell Company workmen hovered over him, waiting to detach the last emergency telephone remaining in the building. Completing his call, the journalist started to place another one. But he was thwarted by an exasperated technician, who deftly snipped the wire. This act of sabotage was greeted by rounds of applause, which even the imperturbable Oriental found amusing.
Unless one glanced at the floor, the gymnasium at 9: 00 A.M. Monday looked as neat and orderly as it had before the communications people took over on Thursday evening. The gymnasium floor, however, had altered its pre-Summit appearance. Ugly splotches made by burned-out cigarette butts and spilled liquids–coffee, milk, and soda–had deeply embedded themselves in the woodwork. No ordinary floor mop nor the best of cleaning agents would be able to remove these scars; cleansing instruments of a more advanced type were needed. Presidential Assistant Press Secretary Lloyd Hackler ruefully examining the damage, suggested to faculty-member Samuel Porch that the college apply for a federal grant. But no application was needed. A few weeks later the Federal Government sent a check for $6,000 to give the gymnasium floor a face lifting that restored its original luster.
Over in the parking lot between Oak Hall dormitory and the Holly Bush mansion, eight huge television vans still stood, mute reminders of Sunday's exciting event. Scurrying around them, busily engaged in dismantling television equipment and gathering together miles of cable, were television workers Steve Roskin, Fred McKennan, Tom Diaz, and Gino Guarva, all residents of New York City. They had been working for fifty consecutive hours, and their droopy eyelids showed the strain of fatigue.
"It could have been worse," said Tom Diaz, "if those kind Glassboro people hadn't kept us supplied with gallons of coffee." "And that crowd on Whitney Avenue," exclaimed Gino Guarva, "what wonderful parents and kids, not a kookie among them!"
Near the television workmen, American Telephone and Telegraph Company construction experts could be seen dismantling section by section the 130-foot antenna tower. Dave White took time out to explain how their all-day Saturday erection of the huge tower had made Sunday's television reception so much better than Friday's. Finishing his explanation, Mr. White suddenly said, "You know the one thing that impressed me most about this assignment was the opportunity I had to watch and hear those amazing people who stood in the street over there."
Other workmen could be seen in the Holly Bush area busily returning the campus to normal. Atlantic City Electric employees were taking down poles and transformers. Bell Telephone workmen entered the Holly Bush mansion to disconnect and haul away the twelve additional telephones they had installed early Friday morning. As they carried out this assignment, they remembered to re-connect Dr. Robinson's two phones, which had been rendered non-operative during the Summit Meetings. As early as 7:00 A.M. Ronnie Hayes and Wilbur Colloway, members of the Glassboro Highway Department, had begun working with state highway and turnpike employees. They rolled up and carted away miles of snow fence, which had formed a barrier around the campus. Other Glassboro Highway Department workmen had since 6: 00 A.M. joined forces with college maintenance men to clear debris from Whitney Avenue and the college campus.
Engaged in directing "Operation Clean Up" activities, College Maintenance Chief Otto Cassady paused to examine, in the Holly Bush area, the well-trod grass and broken shrubbery. "You know," he philosophized, "considering the army of people who swarmed on these grounds, it is remarkable how little damage was done." Cassady had heard that Washington governmental officials were coming to assess the damage and help pay the cost of restoring the Holly Bush environment to its pre-Summit beauty.
At that moment, apparently unknown to Mr. Cassady, federal and state financial officers, along with College Business Manager Walter Campbell, were holding a meeting inside Holly Bush, seeking to draw up a balance sheet of Summit expenses. Later in the summer the public learned that the Holly Bush Conference's costs totaled $25,171, with the Federal Government paying $13,337 of the expense and the State of New Jersey paying $11,834. State Treasurer John A. Kervick, in writing the State's check, made an explanatory statement:
We realize that putting a price tag on events of such international significance as the Summit Conference may strike people as rather unusual. But I am sure that no one would disagree with my own personal conclusion that it was money well spent.
Mr. Kervick, if he had wanted to assure tax-minded citizens still further, might have added that New Jersey's $11,834 share was an infinitesimal portion of the State's annual one-billion-dollar budget, and the Federal Government's contribution of $13,337 represented only a tiny fraction of the $23 billion annual cost of waging war in Viet Nam.
Meanwhile, post-Summit meeting Monday morning found a record-number 2,650 summer session students filing into college classrooms. Well-organized and administered pre registration procedures, carried out before the Summit meeting, guaranteed a smooth opening. Absent was the opening-day confusion often present at some colleges and universities-long lines of impatient students waiting to register, to change schedules, or to seek last-minute advice from harassed faculty advisers. Field Service and Summer Session Director Charles Walker, barred from his Administration Building office during the three-day Summit Conference, commented wonderingly on the smoothness of the summer session's first day:
Down the hall from Mr. Walker, College President Dr. Robinson sat at his desk giving one of his many newspaper interviews of the post-Summit week. The inquiry items were many but predictable: his feelings when learning that the Summit Meeting was to be held at Glassboro, the reactions of a three-day displaced person, the whereabouts of the chairs President Johnson and Premier Kosygin had used, the amount of sleep he had gotten during the Summit Conference period, the influence the Summit experience would have on the college, payments for damages to college property, and the outstanding feature of the Summit Conference. To all of these queries and many others, the Glassboro President gave patient replies. Like many other Summit Meeting observers, Dr. Robinson had little doubt on the conference's outstanding feature:
On Friday morning my staff and I came to work earlier than usual, for we always have had last-minute details to handle. But we never got in the buildings, let alone into our offices. State Police greeted us at the door with the statement, 'This is a holiday for you people.' Later I discovered that the FBI had taken over our offices. Naturally, I viewed Monday morning's opening day with twinges of trepidation. But actually things went off very smoothly, almost making me wonder if there had been a Summit Conference interruption.
To me the most outstanding thing about the whole experience was the reaction of those people who maintained the vigil on Whitney Avenue. I feel that their desire for peace got through to both the President and the Premier, and, given time, might be a powerful factor in creating a peaceful world. Moreover, those Glassboro folks represented the little people who, given the opportunity, would have demonstrated in the main streets of America in the same manner Glassboro behaved on Whitney Avenue.
In between these newspaper interviews, President Robinson, accompanied by his wife, found time to appear before radio microphones and television cameras, giving in a gracious manner his views and reactions to the events of the preceding three days on the Glassboro campus. The College President also snatched enough time to write a letter of appreciation to the citizens of Glassboro. Appearing a few days later in the Glassboro Enterprise, the open letter prefaced by a THANK YOU, GLASSBORO caption conveyed Dr. Robinson's thanks to Glassboroites whose magnificent performance on Whitney Avenue impressed people throughout the world. Concluding his letter, Dr. Robinson noted:
Glassboro's Public Relations Director Don Bagin was not quite so busy on post-Summit Monday as he had been during the hectic Summit days, but he did not have too much time to relax. Newsmen crowded the Bagin office, searching for background material for follow-up stories. Other reporters called upon Mr. Bagin to arrange interviews for them with college officials. The Glassboro public relations head also set in motion plans that would bring to the college thousands of newspaper clippings, detailing Summit happenings as reported in news journals throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. In still another activity, Mr. Bagin directed the tabulation of data obtained from questionnaires he had distributed to news personnel in attendance at the Summit Conference. One of the inquiries requested the visiting reporters to evaluate the effectiveness of the Glassboro State College Public Relations Department. A few days later the organized data revealed that eighty-eight per cent of the journalists believed that Mr. Bagin and his staff had performed in either an "excellent" or "good" manner. Only four per cent of the veteran newsgatherers gave the public relations workers a "poor" rating; eight per cent expressed no opinion. In view of the time available to get organized and the magnitude of the tasks, Dr. Robinson and other college officials were well pleased with the Bagin performance.
There was something moving about the Summit atmosphere. I think it had its effect on the two main participants. While there was little announced in the way of specific progress, I feel that much was done here in bringing the men closer together. When people talk face-to-face in a pleasant atmosphere, understanding must be increased.
We at Glassboro State College are grateful for the help and contributions made by the fine people of Glassboro and its environs.
Away from the college grounds, traffic on Glassboro's main thoroughfares was about the same as for any other Monday morning, although, as the day progressed, Glassboroites noted an unusual number of automobiles with out-of-state license plates. These cars from all over the country were headed for Holly Bush, where passengers disembarked to take pictures of the Summit building. In the town's business section, merchants opened stores early, hoping to recoup losses incurred over the long weekend. At Glassboro's eating establishments, proprietors and waitresses lamented the absence of reporters who had not only spent money lavishly, but had also, as they dug for news items, livened up the environment with their humor and breezy manners.
Saddest of all on that post-Summit Monday was the sight of a long funeral procession whose lead car contained the body of Mayor Joseph Bowe bound for his final resting place. Later that evening, Acting Mayor John Wilson at Borough Hall called upon councilmen, the press, and townspeople to rise and bow their heads in silent prayer in memory of a leader who had died only hours before Glassboro 's finest days. As a living memorial to Mayor Bowe, the council unanimously adopted a resolution naming the newly constructed, four-lane road from Route 322 to Carpenter Street the Joseph L. Bowe Memorial Boulevard.
Monday evening found a sizeable crowd gathered around the Holly Bush Summit site for another look at the building that had sheltered the world's great. The sightseers' presence meant of course, that Dr. and Mrs. Robinson, once more residents of Holly Bush, had to forego their usual relaxing hour on the screened-in front porch. Outwardly the curious saw an environment much like the one that had existed on that pre-Summit Thursday evening, when a friend called Dr. Robinson to tell him that he and his home would soon be in the eye of a hurricane. Gone were the trappings of the Summit days-the snow fence, the litter, and anchor fence, the cables, and the television platforms and cameras. One vestige of those stirring days and nights remained, a lone television van. When it rumbled out of the Holly Bush area later that night, its going signalized that physically at least normalcy had returned to the Summit town.
The Post-Summit Summer at GlassboroGlassboro quickly returned to its routine way of living, but as the summer progressed there were reminders of those three days in June. Tourists from all over the United States and some from foreign nations continued to drive into town and inquire of the natives, "Where's Holly Bush?" And it was routine throughout the summer to observe artists camped on the Holly Bush lawn making sketches of the nineteenth-century building. Inside Holly Bush itself one saw evidence that the Summit Conference still lingered on, for the three rooms-the downstairs swing room and the two second-floor conference rooms used by the Russian delegation-still remained as they were during the meetings. A college spokesman declared these three locations would not be disturbed …., “so that, if in the future Holly Bush is declared a national shrine, the rooms would be the same as they had been during the Summit Conference."
The sightseers and the Holly Bush interior were about the only visible evidences that Glassboro for a brief period had been the world news center. This quiet return to normalcy puzzled visitors, who asked Glassboroites, "Hasn't the Summit had any impact on your way of life?"
During the summer, an interviewer asked President Robinson what significance the Summit Conference had for the college's future. In reply Dr. Robinson emphasized that Glassboro had played host to a meeting that the world had demanded, and it had been thought desirable to hold the sessions halfway between Washington and New York in pleasant surroundings away from the distraction of big population centers. Governor Hughes had been able to persuade President Johnson that Glassboro met these specifications for a Summit Conference. Subsequently the two world leaders had come and held their two meetings in an atmosphere and with facilities both of them had praised highly.
Implied in the College President's answer was the belief that the Summit Conference held no more significance to the college or town than it had for colleges and towns throughout the United States. Dr. Robinson developed this thought more fully when he said:
We, of course, are delighted to have played host to the summit Conference and are even more pleased that the proceedings went off so smoothly. But we have no desire whatever to capitalize on our achievement. Running summits is not our business; running a college is. Certainly, we can't think that we can base our future reputation on the fact we were chosen to host a Summit meeting. Whatever reputation we have now or will acquire in the future is and will be based on how well. Glassboro meets the educational needs of its students.
Dr. Robinson went on to explain that he saw no way in which the Summit Conference could change the college's way of life significantly-its admission policies, its internal organization, or its basic curricular programs. But he did believe that the Summit experience would give Glassboro students greater incentives for learning, a deeper understanding of historical events, and the feeling that they had experienced, at first-hand, history as it was being made.
Subsequently meetings were held on campus seeking concrete methods for translating Dr. Robinson's hopes into reality. Dean of Instruction Stanton Langworthy sought to utilize the interest generated by the Summit Conference to give greater impetus to the work of the college World Education Committee, composed of faculty members dedicated to the idea that the development of world peace and understanding depended in large measure on a knowledge and understanding of the world's educational systems. Seeking to capitalize upon the interest in world affairs created by the Summit Conference, other staff members proposed a forum series, which would have outstanding national and international authorities come to the campus to speak and lead discussions on global problems. Still another suggestion was a proposal to commemorate the Summit's first anniversary by having carefully selected Glassboro people make a good-will trip to the Soviet Union, with plans for financing and preparing the Glassboro ambassadors made well in advance of the trip.
As yet these Summit conference follow-up proposals have not grown beyond the discussion stage, but one project is well under way. Throughout the summer months, Glassboro staff members gathered and organized a plethora of primary source materials relating to the Summit proceedings. Included in these background materials were twenty-six thick notebooks containing newspaper and magazine clippings published by journals all over the world, correspondence files, eighty transcripts of tape-recorded interviews, video tapes, a file of photographic materials, taped recordings of radio programs, typed copies of student and townspeople responses to Summit questionnaire, and a complete file of the Congressional Record from June 26, 1967, through August, 1967. Plans call for placing these Summit Conference sources in a section of the college library appropriately called The Holly Bush Conference Room, a place where scholars of the future can go to obtain background data for completing research reports on the Holly Bush Conference.
Like the college, Glassboro townspeople made the transition from Summitry to its normal modes of behavior with quiet dignity. Three months after the Summit Conference, New York Times reporter J. Anthony Lukas was in town to gather material for a follow-up article. When his story appeared in print, it was accompanied by a headline which accurately depicted Glassboro 's adjustment to normalcy: THREE MONTHS LATER, GLASSBORO IS A COLLEGE TOWN AGAIN. Mr. Lukas was particularly impressed with the town's refusal to capitalize on its days in the limelight. Wrote Mr. Lukas:
Glassboro, which took last June's two Soviet-American meetings in its slow South Jersey stride, is by and large taking the difficult post-Summit period with the same down-to-earth practicality. Another town might have installed a monument upon the grassy slope and a souvenir stand across the way to sell pennants and little bronze statues of Johnson and Kosygin and balloons, crackerjack, and popcorn. But Glassboro has more sense than that.
True, individual citizens had made in "limited quantities mementos bearing the Holly Bush insignia: restaurant placemats, automobile bumper stickers, dinner plates, glass tumblers, post cards, charm bracelets, and white T-shirts. Largely through the efforts of a watchdog civic committee, these souvenir items were in good taste and did little· to mar the image of the Spirit of Holly Bush. Neither were the articles sold at souvenir stands nor peddled from door-to-door. Merchants bought limited quantities but found that customers were in no rush to purchase the items. Evidently mementos of this nature were poor substitutes for memories of the real thing.
Only one incident occurred to ripple the surface of Glassboro's calm adjustment to normalcy following the Summit meeting. On Summit Sunday, June 25, a representative from the Citizen Exchange Corps, a non-profit and non-political national organization endorsed by Vice-President Hubert Humphrey and United States Senators Robert Kennedy and· Jacob Javits, was in Glassboro in an attempt to convince Glassboro clothing merchant and civic leader William Reivich of the desirability of sending a group of Glassboro citizens to Russia on a good-will visit. Mr. Reivich became enthusiastic about the suggestion. He saw the opportunity of exporting the Spirit of Holly Bush to the Soviet Union in an attempt to convince the ordinary Russian citizen that Americans were not bent on conquering Asia or any other place in the world. Buoyed by this motive, the Glassboro civic leader agreed to promote the project locally.
Initial plans called for sending 100 Glassboroites to Russia. They were to be a cross-section of the town's residents. Mr. Reivich realized at the outset that he faced two difficult problems: the selection of citizens and the financial problem of underwriting the $1,000-per-participant cost for sending lower income citizens. In addition, time available posed a difficulty. Plans had to be worked out before July 14, the date when the trip was scheduled to begin. In an effort to solve the financial problem, Mr. Reivich sent a communication to President Johnson, requesting a $60,000 grant from the Federal Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Fund, whose money ordinarily was alloted to specialists but not to private citizens.
Going straight to the State Department looks as if we expected a quid pro quo for our incidental involvement, in world affairs-and actually most of us were only too happy to donate the "quo" with no thought of a "quid" whatever. I wish this follow-up idea hadn't happened.
On July 3 it seemed that the controversy had ended when United States State Department official Robert J. McCloskey, to whom the White House had referred the Glassboro request for aid, announced, "There are no State Department funds available for this kind of trip." Later that day, however, Bill Reivich, "head bloodied but unbowed," learned of the McCall magazine's offer to underwrite the expenses of sending ten representative Glassboro women to the Soviet Union. As a pragmatic method for selecting the ladies, the sponsoring magazine stipulated that applications for the trip should be made to the Citizen Exchange Corps officials, who were charged with the thorny task of choosing a representative cross-section of women, with factors such as age, occupation, and civic background given much weight.
On July 14 seventeen Glassboro citizens, part of a contingent of 132 people, flew out of the John F. Kennedy Airport bound for the Soviet Union. Ten of the Glassboroites were the McCall's-sponsored women. Seven were residents who paid their expenses partially, with the remainder of the costs supplied by country-wide contributions sent to the Citizens Exchange Corps. In Russia the tourists visited, among other places, Leningrad, Moscow, and Kiev, spreading the Spirit of Holly Bush gospel and showering Soviet citizens with American gifts: Kennedy half-dollars, ball-point pens, books, plastic rain bonnets, and plastic rulers.
Twenty-one days later, on August 3, the Glassboro good-will ambassadors arrived back in the United States, physically exhausted but convinced that their mission had been a success in communicating the Holly Bush spirit of reasoning together to the Russian people. Back in Glassboro and well-rested, they proceeded to embark on what amounted to a lecture tour. Fortified with detailed notes contained in diaries, the tour representatives appeared on radio and television programs out of Philadelphia and New York City. They also reported their Russian experiences to service clubs, women's organizations, and to the general South Jersey public.
Thus ended the most interesting and controversial episode in the post-Summit Glassboro aftermath. As with the Summit Conference itself, only time and history can judge how effective the Glassboro good-will emissaries actually were.
It will be a long time before the visitors to the Soviet Union forget the summer of 1967, but there are also other Glassboro residents who will have much to remember. Mrs. Gladys Bowe will long recall her Summit Friday visit to Holly Bush, where the President of the United States thoughtfully consoled her on the loss of her mayor-husband. Hairdresser Mrs. Joan Fonte will not soon forget Summit Sunday, when Secret Service agents summoned her to Holly Bush to comb Mrs. Johnson's hair. Lodged in her memory will be the First Lady's warmth and interesting, running conversation about grandchildren (Mrs. Fonte has eleven, a revelation that drew a sigh from the President's wife), South Jersey weather, and the difficulty of keeping a lady's hair looking presentable on a helicopter trip.Summit Saturday evening will not fade too quickly from Glassboro Mathematics Chairman Warren Roome's memory, when he, free of charge, sheltered and fed KYW General Manager Robert Whitney and Art Schreiber, chief of the Westinghouse Broadcasting Company's Washington News Bureau. A delightful evening of stimulating conversation far into the early hours of Sunday morning was financial reward enough for the Roomes, although the grateful communications executives later sent Dr. Roome a handsome radio clock and engraved pen and pencil set, accompanied by a letter of appreciation.
And Mansion Apartments owner, Mrs. Eve Betts has her memories of the exciting Summit week end, especially contacts with famed journalists and television celebrities the world over, from Russia, Korea, Japan, Australia, European countries, and the United States. Like Dr. Roome, Mrs. Betts sheltered these weary newsmen but refused their offers of payment. For the apartment proprietor their fulsome praise of her home town was sufficient reward. From Pravda's correspondent Boris Strelnikou, she heard, "This is a beautiful place; you are kind, hard-working people with a soul." From Tokyo correspondent Satoshi Kobayashi came, "Now I can say I have discovered the real America-the warm, kindly, and hospitable people of Glassboro." Los Angeles Times feature writer Richard Dougherty chimed in with, "It's been wonderful being in Glassboro. The President could not have picked a better town to show off America at its best."
To reinforce fading memories other Glassboroites–college officials, faculty and students, together with townspeople– received, during the aftermath period, tangible reminders of the roles they had played in making the Holly Bush Conference a success. The memory stimulators took the form of letters of appreciation, which President Johnson, Governor Hughes and Sherwin Markman wrote and sent to Glassboro addresses. These were not brief, impersonal form letters; on the contrary, each one was written in an individual, personal style. And the recipients had no doubt that the writers knew precisely the contributions they had made.
As a further token of esteem, President Johnson sent to many a Glassboroite a circular, bronze medallion, 2½ inches in diameter. This- handsome memento, mounted on a walnut base, contained on its front a likeness of the President; on the back were the inscribed words:
As a lasting reminder of those three days in June, 1967, many a Glassboro home now has on its wall a framed copy of the Presidential letter, and on its mantelpiece, a mounted bronze medallion, gifts from the President of the United States. Dr. Robinson, Master of Holly Bush, received a Presidential letter and also a medallion; but he also was deluged, in the Summit Conference aftermath, with hundreds of other letters and telegrams. Written by people in all walks of life, they poured in bearing postmarks scattered throughout the world, visual testimony of the interest generated by the Holly Bush Conference.On this occasion, the oath I have taken before you and before God is not mine alone, but ours together. We are one nation and one people.
Holly Bush, June, 1967
Lyndon B. Johnson Inaugurated Jan. 20, 1965
Some of the letters came from Glassboro students, from those who stood in the Whitney Avenue crowd, and from others too far away to have been able to experience the excitement in person. The predominant student reaction was overwhelming pride-pride in their college, in its student body, and in its President and his wife. Epitomizing this emotion was the communication sent by a college junior, "My most prominent emotion was PRIDE, for now the world can see what we students and the people of Glassboro love so much."
Dr. Robinson heard from alumni, too, from graduates of earlier years and from those of recent vintage. Their messages came from near and far. A graduate of the 1920's sent a note from Lodi, Ohio, with the closing paragraph reading, "We hope that the honor and publicity of this event will far outweigh the inconvenience it has caused. May it only be outdone by the good it can do for all mankind." Another was postmarked Germany, sent by a graduate of the Class of 1955. Still another came from a 1967 alumna teaching English in faraway Newcastle, Australia. And a graduate of eighteen days, on a Bermuda honeymoon, wrote, "As a social studies major, I find it hard to believe that events I read about in the textbooks are now so very real, and, what makes it more meaningful, they are taking place on the Glassboro campus. I am so proud!"
Professional colleagues-past and present–wrote or telegraphed congratulations, including letters from college presidents in Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Maine. County school superintendents and school district superintendents joined the parade of letter-writing well-wishers, as did former State educational officials in remote Freetown, South Africa, and San Diego, California. Former State Board of Education member Frank Knowles wrote from Florida:
I guess that from now on Glassboro will be as well known in the world as it has been in Gloucester County, New Jersey. And now, when I tell someone with pride that I had been the recipient of an honorary doctorate from Glassboro, they will not give me that blank look and say, 'Where is that?'
Others were heard from: Glassboro faculty members, former faculty now teaching in other states, secretaries from past years living in Massachusetts, and Florida, the retired English teacher who stirred in Dr. Robinson the urge to write, the middle-aged man to whom the Glassboro President once taught high-school English. Letters also came from personal friends whom Dr. Robinson had not seen in over thirty years. Running through this communication mass was a common theme: fame could not have been visited on a nicer or more-deserving couple.
Scores of letters were mailed by complete strangers living in all sections of the United States, with many sending hometown newspapers containing Summit items and pictures. Excerpts from two of the letters illustrate their tone and content. From Mrs. Sara Ivey, Alabama resident and eighty-six-year-old great-grandmother, came these comments:
You folks up that-a-way certainly made a wonderful impression on the United States. Everyone here in Alabama would love to go and see for himself that delightful town of Glassboro and the college-faculty and students. It was thrilling· to see how all Glassboro rose to the occasion, as though they had been receiving and entertaining celebrities all of their lives. You are wonderful people; the rest take their hats off to you and want to shake your hands.
Wrote Mr. and Mrs. Sterrett Neale from Sherman Oaks, California:
Any of us would have been proud and privileged to have served our country and the world as you have. Many times during that weekend we thought of the turmoil and trouble you were being put to and we wondered if we could have been as calm and poised as Mrs. Robinson looked in the news photo. You stood in our stead and we're thankful to you for it.
And people from faraway places sent messages: from South Viet Nam, Japan, Australia, India, Ecuador, Argentina, Hungary, Netherlands, France, and England. Virtually all of these correspondents sent newspapers containing news of Glassboro and the Summit Conference. Some were English language editions; others were printed in the countries' native languages. These letters and papers from overseas came from a variety of persons: a United States Army captain stationed in Saigon; a student from Japan, who wrote identical letters, one in English, the other in Japanese; a business man in Tokyo; a student in India; an agriculturist in Ecuador; and a citizen in France.
All the letters exuded friendship and good will and a sincere hope that Glassboro's exemplary behavior would some how help to bring peace to a troubled world. A letter from an Australian university professor and former Fulbright scholar, after commenting on the "dramatic appeal of both the Summit Conference and Glassboro around the world," went on to urge Dr. Robinson to establish at the college a Holly Bush room, where Summit Conference materials might be housed-domestic and foreign newspapers, photographs, and radio and television transcriptions. These source materials, claimed the Australian based professor, could later be used by scholars writing research reports on the Holly Bush Summit Conference.
Dr. Robinson also received messages in verse as well as prose, for a surprising number of communicants felt compelled to express their emotions through the medium of poetry. These poems were written and sent by a variety of people, ranging from one composed by a Detroit truck driver to another written by a professor at Pennsylvania State University. Not all were written in the style of Keats, Byron, or Browning; but each communicated a central message: admiration for the Glassboro performance and a deep longing for a peaceful world.
A Potpourri of Aftermath Items
Some events following in the wake of the Summit Conference defy categorization. They exist as strands difficult to weave together into a unified pattern. One of these was Governor Hughes' intention to designate the Holly Bush mansion as a historic site. By this move the Governor will place Holly Bush in the select company of forty previously designated sites, including the Joyce Kilmer Birthplace, Nassau Hall in Princeton, James Fenimore Cooper Birthplace, Thomas A. Edison Home, Grover Cleveland Birthplace, and the Clara Barton School House. However, the new eminence Holly Bush will soon gain does not mean that Dr. and Mrs. Robinson will have to move out of their home. It means only that Holly Bush can never be destroyed nor moved without permission of a State government agency. Congressman John Hunt wanted to go further by persuading the United States House of Representatives to declare Holly Bush a national shrine. Apparently the uncertainty of the building's future occupancy and the recency[sic] of the Summit Conference combined to halt action on this proposal. In any event, Holly Bush is not yet a national shrine.
Another aftermath event can be labeled "The Mystery of the Two Missing Chairs." These were the Victorian rocker and the less-valuable upholstered chair that President Johnson and Premier Kosygin had sat in during their two meetings held in Dr. Robinson's Holly Bush library. The last time Glassboro officials saw them was on Summit Sunday evening, when workmen placed the two furniture pieces on a truck whose destination was Washington's Smithsonian Institute. Dr. Robinson, of course, had given his assent to the chairs' departure.
Later in the summer, a Washington Post reporter, on a visit to the Institute, inquired of the chairs' whereabouts. The curator assured the newsman that they had never been delivered to the national museum. Inquisitive and sensing a good news story, the reporter placed a call to White House Press Secretary George Christian, who claimed he had no idea where the chairs were; neither did he have the time to help track them down. Telephone calls to Governor Hughes and Glassboro officials did nothing to unravel the mystery.
A feature story in Ireland's Dublin Evening Press, conjecturing on the elusive furniture pieces, suggested that they were probably stored carefully somewhere on LBJ's Johnson City ranch, awaiting the day when they would become adornments in the yet-to-be built Johnson library at the University of Texas in Austin. It may well be that the Irish journal had pinpointed the chairs' location for, in the latest development in the "Case of the Missing Chairs," word came from the White House quietly assuring the Robinsons that an exact reproduction of the Victorian rocker is being made and will be sent to Glassboro in the near future.
Still another incident came along to enliven for Glassboro the placidity of the Summit Conference aftermath. Laurence Collins of the Boston Globe, impressed but skeptical over the glowing press reactions to Glassboro, became convinced this kind of a town and these kinds of people were too good to be true.
Delighted with this fantasy, Collins sat down at his typewriter and pounded out one of the most interesting Holly Bush Summit Conference news stories. The article's main thrust was that the town of Glassboro "never existed and it does not exist today." On the contrary, it was a community built in seven days on the New Jersey marshlands midway between Washington and New York City. The construction firm was the United States Engineering Corps, which worked under the direction of the Central Intelligence Agency. Together they did a masterful job, for everyone loved what they had wrought: "Kosygin loved it. The President loved it. And millions of Americans spent a weekend viewing on television a part of America they all thought had vanished decades ago."
"But," wrote Collins, "today Kosygin is gone and so is Glassboro." Presumably it had been dismantled by its creator–the Central Intelligence Agency.
Reaction to the clever satire was swift and vehement, with Collins later admitting that he had received numerous letters and countless telephone calls from angry readers. One of the protesters from Princeton, New Jersey, assured Mr. Collins that Glassboro did. exist, for the Princetonian had visited the community only recently. The irate reader insisted that the Boston Globe print a Collins retraction. Another indignant writer from Massachusetts advised Mr. Collins to consult the World Almanac, where he could find census data proving there was a town called Glassboro. An additional reaction came from a Moorestown, New Jersey resident, who sent the Boston Globe a photostatic copy of a Camden Courier-Post article on Glassboro's history, along with the caustic note: "This little article is for that lame brain writer by the name of Laurence Collins, who wrote the article about the "Town That Never Was" on June 29,1967."
Angry people sent Dr. Robinson copies of the Collins satire, urging the Glassboro President to take retaliatory action; but the Robinson reply was characteristic of the man, "I suspect that the reporter was simply trying to be humorous. It was difficult for a reporter to find a new angle about what to write." This assessment was verified by Laurence Collins himself, as he replied to a barrage of protests. Wrote the feature writer, "The article was intended only as an amusing spoof."
Summit Conference Assessments
But not everything was amusing, for, as Glassboro surveyed the world scene on post-Summit Monday, much of the Summit Meeting optimism began to evaporate into the same tension-laden atmosphere predating the Johnson-Kosygin meeting in Holly Bush. In South Viet Nam's Central Highlands, an American paratroop company was wiped out. At the United Nations Building, moderate Jordanian King Hussein was telling the General Assembly that, unless Israel relinquished captured Arab territory, the Six-Day War would be only one clash in a long war not yet fought. This proved to be a prophecy partially fulfilled a few weeks later, when Israeli and Egyptian troops fought a bruising battle along the Suez Canal. Adding to the continuing Mid-East tensions was the somber news that Soviet Russia had already rushed 150 fighter planes and 100 armored vehicles to Arab nations as replacements for those destroyed in early June.
Summit Monday's newspapers also carried other disquieting items. From Moscow came the chilling statement of the Russian Communist Party, appearing in a document marking the party's 50th anniversary in power:
There can be no question of neutrality in the struggle against bourgeois ideology or anti-communism. The struggle against bourgeois ideology and anti-communism is one of the most acute aspects of the class struggle; it is a struggle for man and for the triumph of freedom and progress for mankind. The experience -0f the 50 past revolution years has borne out the conclusion of the revolutionary that capitalism is doomed.
To underscore its apparently implacable enmity, this modern version of the Communist Manifesto went on to declare support for wars of national liberation against "imperialistic United States aggression," whether they be waged in Viet Nam, the Middle East, or in Greece. And the kindly Summit Meeting Russian grandfather did little to ease the tensions. On postSummit Monday, Premier Kosygin seemed bent on rubbing salt in the wounded feelings of Americans who had watched his Sunday evening press conference performance. First, he journeyed to Cuba for a week-long series of talks with Fidel Castro; and then on Saturday the Premier stopped off in Paris to discuss the world situation with Charles DeGaulle, the man who had dismissed the Summit Meeting sessions as nothing more important than a series of "friendly chats."
This was the state of the world only hours after the Holly Bush Conference, and it was this series of events that helped determine some American newspaper reactions to what had been accomplished at the Holly Bush sessions. A section of the press reacted to the Russian Summit and post-Summit behavior very much like the psalmist of old, who, speaking of his enemies, warned: "For they speak not peace, but they devise deceitful matters against them that are quiet in the land!" It was this thought that led one press report to predict that "Glassboro, New Jersey, will be remembered as the prelude to a sure-to-come day of infamy. We are so engrossed with fatuous, wishful thinking that we become blind to the true nature and character of our enemy." Another bitter reaction, chiding the Whitney Avenue crowd's good-will demonstration, expressed the feeling that: "I hope the well-wishers and hand-wavers of Glassboro, New Jersey, realize that behind the congeniality and affability of Premier Kosygin lies the cold heart of a hardened Communist who, like his predecessor, is determined to bury our grandchildren."
These were extreme assessments; there were others, not as intransigent but nevertheless equally pessimistic concerning the fruits of the Holly Bush Conference: Nothing really had changed in American-Soviet relations; the future held nothing save more Cold War maneuverings. The Spirit of Holly Bush existed only in Glassboro. Indeed, it was not a spirit but only a name for something that never had existed; and the prospect of a peaceful world for grandchildren was nothing but an ephemeral wish of two elderly statesmen carried away for a brief moment. by the quiet serenity of a college president's library.
Barry Goldwater's assessment of the Glassboro conference, perhaps more than any other, represented the opinions of the pessimists. To him the Johnson-Kosygin meetings were doomed before they began, for summit meetings of the past produced no results; and there was no rational reason that this one, called for no purpose other than to provide a forum for diplomatic chit-chat, would be any more successful. On a final note Mr. Goldwater maintained:
Glassboro did not change the uncompromising truths of the Cold War. It did not change communism. It did not add anything to either side's knowledge of the other–except perhaps to convince the communists that any time they want a worldwide forum they can depend upon Lyndon Johnson to meet them exactly halfway.
Not all, however, surveyed the view from the Summit with so bleak a gaze. Some looked at results from a neutral viewpoint, a position taken by Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield. He, in the jargon of the baseball fan, summed up the outcomes with the phrase, "No runs, no hits, and no errors." This was the Mansfield assessment for the present, but he went on to inform the Senate that what Johnson and Kosygin said privately was far more important than their public statements. Perhaps the future of American-Soviet relations would take an upturn for the better after Kosygin reported to the Politburo items in the meetings' transcripts as yet unavailable to the public. After listening to Senator Mansfield, Minority Leader Everett Dirksen expressed in pithy and earthy fashion another neutral assessment, "I'm delighted that the President had the guts to stand up to Mr. Kosygin." What the picturesque Illinois senator meant was that, although Mr. Johnson had not succeeded in talking the Premier into changing the Soviet positions, he had not bargained away any vital American interests. Changing the leopard's spots was a difficult assignment; it would take many more face-to-face meetings. Meanwhile the Holly Bush conclave could be viewed as an excellent beginning.
And there were those who were neither pessimistic nor neutral in their Summit assessments. At the very least the. optimists pointed out, President Johnson and Premier Kosygin had met, shaken hands, talked, and parted amicably. For this much over three billion people in the world could be grateful. To the more sanguine of assessors, Glassboro represented a starting point in the long and tortuous road to peace, but there remained miles to go before the travelers along this road could think of sleep. It might take months and even years before the motion activated at Holly Bush accelerated into a sequence of accords, but movement had begun and Soviet relations vis-a-vis the United States suggested the possibility of speeding rapproachement[sic] along.
Roscoe Drummond, writing in the Christian Science Monitor, expressed this viewpoint clearly:
We are simply not going to get any sensational or even any significant action growing out of Glassboro for some time to come. The Kremlin does not move rapidly and today it is not at all of one mind ....
But the time is ripe. The Soviets are in the midst of some very eye-opening, nerve-wracking experiences ....The time for a wrenching reappraisal in the Kremlin on U.S.-Soviet relations is at hand. President Johnson has done much to further such a reappraisal.
The results of such a reappraisal will not be disclosed at a future summit. Good or bad they will come bit by bit at the working levels in Washington, Moscow, Geneva, or elsewhere. Early headlines to the contrary, no new summit is in prospect. Johnson and Kosygin aim to keep personal contact, but there will be no second summit without extensive preparation and sufficient advance agreement so that a summit can be convened to confirm accords, not to negotiate them.
How did the people of Glassboro assess the outcomes of the talks held in their town? Understandably, they viewed with keen disappointment the somber sequence of events following Summit Sunday, happenings at variance with what they had seen and felt for three incredible days. Glassboroites had desperately wanted their town to be treated in the history books as something more than a footnote. But, despite the apparent meagerness of Summit meeting results, it seems safe to believe that, given another opportunity, the people who had demonstrated so uniquely for peace would at some future time repeat the performance. For they were persuaded that their Summit Meeting efforts like slow-operating yeast plants will, in the coming months or even years, help to produce a ferment in better Soviet-American relations.
This was the hope of Glassboro State College senior Jim Craft, when he answered President Johnson's letter of appreciation for the role that the young Glassboroite had played in helping to arrange Holly Bush for the Summit meetings. Wrote Jim Craft to the President:
Though I played only a minor part in the tremendous task of preparation; I will be forever grateful for the opportunity of helping toward the goal of world peace.
I want to thank you for the letter and the gift, which will always be reminders, at least to me, that in order to secure peace or anything worthwhile everyone must work together collectively.
Last of all, Mr. President, may I say the holly bush is a slow-growing, hardy plant. Its leaves tum yellow and drop off in the late spring and have many thorns. Even though the bush may look a little barren right now, it will again be green, fun, and fruitful. If the success of peace seems to be slow-growing, thorny, and looks barren right now, I am hopeful that, like the holly bush, it will soon be full and fruitful.
The original thought was commentator Eric Sevareid's but the words and sentiments are Jim Craft's and those of his fellow Glassboro students and townspeople.