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Manuscript Society is a senior society at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Toward the end of each academic year 16 rising seniors are inducted into the society, which meets twice weekly for dinner and discussion. Manuscript is reputedly the "Arts and letters" society at Yale.
History and traditions
Founded in 1952, Manuscript was Yale's seventh "landed" senior society; that is, its alumni trust owns the society's meeting place or "tomb". Manuscript was one of the first of the senior societies to offer membership to rising female Yale College seniors.
Each delegation is selected by consensus among Manuscript alumni, trustees, current delegates and significant others, unlike other Yale societies where undergraduate members more freely select, recruit, and initiate their society's next delegation.
The Wrexham Foundation is the society's alumni arm. Since 1956, the foundation has underwritten a scholarship in the humanities for a "senior who shall be judged to have written the best senior essay in the field of the humanities." Administered by Yale, it is given in memory of Wallace Notestein, M.A. 1903, Ph.D. 1908, Litt.D. 1951.
Manuscript briefly played host to the 1991-92 classes of Skull and Bones, who were temporarily locked out of their own tomb by alumni who objected to its undergraduates' decision to offer membership to women.
It holds the number 344 to be sacred. The Society supposedly holds Enlightenment ideals, and the sun and sunflowers are both important symbols to members. The society also retained close connections with the campus literary society Chi Delta Theta in the early 1950s.
Designed by King-lui Wu, Manuscript's tomb is mid-century modern, unusual amid other societies' elaborate mid-to-late-19th century buildings. It appears from the outside to have only one level, yet conceals eight subterranean floors. The tomb holds a vast collection of notable modern and contemporary art. The Yale University Art Gallery is said to have temporarily stored pieces there. Wu said that he designed the building "for privacy, not for secrecy." Dan Kniley was responsible for landscaping and Josef Albers for the brickwork intaglio mural.
|Name||Yale Class||Known for|
|Matthew Bruccoli||1953||Preeminent expert on F. Scott Fitzgerald|
|Ted Morgan||1954||Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist|
|Michael Pertschuk||1954||Consumer advocate, author and former government official|
|David Calleo||1955||Intellectual historian, political economist at Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University|
|Henry Geldzahler||1957||Art historian and curator|
|Anthony Lapham||1958||CIA Lawyer|
|Stephen F. Williams||1958||Senior Circuit Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit|
|Richard Maltby, Jr.||1959||Tony Award-winning director|
|Richard Rhodes||1959||Pulitzer Prize-winning author|
|H. John Heinz III||1960||US senator|
|Dale Purves||1960||Neuroscientist, Director of the Neuroscience and Behavioural Disorders program at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School|
|Robert Glick||1962||Former director of the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research|
|David Gergen||1963||Presidential Advisor and Political Commentator|
|Robert Fiore||1964||Film producer and co-director of Pumping Iron, a documentary about Arnold Schwarzenegger|
|Paul Steiger||1964||Editor-in-Chief of ProPublica, formerly the Managing Editor of the Wall Street Journal|
|Charles Derber||1965||Professor of Sociology and social critic|
|Juan Negrín Fetter||1967||Director, Wixarika Research Center, founder of the Party of the Left at Yale|
|Richard H. Brodhead||1968||9th President of Duke University|
|Rodger Kamenetz||1970||Professor and certified dream therapist|
|Soni Oyekan||1970||Leading chemical engineer and inventor|
|Jane Maienschein||1972||Director of the Center for Biology and Society, at Arizona State University|
|Eli Whitney Debevoise II||1974||U.S. Director of the World Bank|
|Rosanna Warren||1976||Poet and scholar|
|Karl Zinsmeister||1981||Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council under George W. Bush|
|Byron Kim||1983||Minimalist artist|
|Cheryl Henson||1984||Puppeteer and President of the Jim Henson foundation|
|Tamar Gendler||1987||Professor, chair of the Yale University Department of Philosophy|
|Scott Peterson||1988||Author and journalist, Moscow bureau chief for the Christian Science Monitor|
|Jen Banbury||1989||Playwright, author of novel Like a Hole in the Head and journalist|
|Anderson Cooper||1989||News Anchor|
|Jonathan Zittrain||1991||Professor of Internet Law at Harvard University|
|Noah Bookbinder||1995||Professor of Law at George Washington University, chief counsel for Sen. Patrick Leahy|
|James Prosek||1997||Author and naturalist|
|Maia Brewton||1998||Child actress and lawyer|
|Brooke Lyons||2003||Actor|
|Zoe Kazan||2005||Actor and playwright|
|Cleanth Brooks||Hon.||Literary Critic|
|Robert A. Dahl||Hon.||Professor of Political Science at Yale University, considered the "Dean" of political science|
|Vincent Giroud||Hon.||Historian of French Opera|
|Gary Haller||Hon.||Professor of Chemistry at Yale University and Master of Jonathan Edwards College|
|Cyrus Hamlin||Hon.||Literary critic and longtime Yale professor|
|E. D. Hirsch, Jr.||Hon.||Literary critic and proponent of Cultural literacy|
|Patrick McCaughey||Hon.||Former director of the Yale Center for British Art|
|Ved Mehta||Hon.||Author and advocate for the blind|
|Wallace Notestein||Hon.||Sterling Professor of English history at Yale|
|Richard Rephann||Hon.||Former director of the Yale University Collection of Musical Instruments|
|Duncan Robinson||Hon.||Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, Chairman of the Henry Moore Foundation and Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum|
|William Kelly Simpson||Hon.||Art historian and Master of Timothy Dwight College|
|Richard Selzer||Hon.||Surgeon, author and professor of surgery at Yale|
|Steven Smith||Hon.||Political Scientist and Master of Branford College|
|Robert Farris Thompson||Hon.||Art historian and Master of Timothy Dwight College|
- Parks, Steven; Cooper, Henry S. F. Jr.; Wallace, Thomas C., eds. (2002). Manuscript Society (1953-2002). New Haven, CT: Phoenix Press.
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- King-lui Wu
- Architectural Record, November 1965. "Ingenious Use of a Narrow Site".