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This Month In Clinton History  
December 03, 06 - DWC News by The Staff by







December 1

On this date in 1917, DWC defeated rival Commerce, 22-12, as 4,000 fans cheer at the Polo Grounds.

December 1

On this date in 1958, the musical Flower Drum Song opened on Broadway, with songs by Richard Rodgers, Class of 1919, and story co-written by Joseph Fields, Class of 1913.

December 2

On this date in 1897, Walter Hoving, Class of 1917, was born in Sweden. From 1955 to 1980, he served as head of Tiffany & Company. His leadership took the company from $7 million worth of business in 1955 to $100 million for the Fifth Avenue store and its five branches in 1980. At Clinton, he had been captain of the football team.

December 3

On this date in 1932, Clinton and George Washington HS, both undefeated and untied and Clinton also unscored upon, fought to a scoreless tie before 17,000 fans at Baker Field.

December 4

On this date in 1977, the play Chapter Two opened on Broadway. It was written by Neil Simon, Class of 1944. But wait! On this date in 1986, the play Broadway Bound opened on Broadway. It was also written by Neil Simon, Class of 1944.

December 5

On this date in 1910, Abraham Polonsky, Class of 1927, was born in New York City. He wrote the screenplays for many classic films, including Heart and Soul in 1947 and Force of Evil in 1948. During the 1950s, he was blacklisted from Hollywood when he was accused of being a Communist sympathizer. He eventually returned to Hollywood as a writer and director.

December 6

On this date in 1967, Dr. Adrian Kantrowitz, Class of 1938, performed the second human heart transplant, the first in the United States, just three days after Dr. Christian Barnard performed the world's first heart transplant in South Africa.

December 7

On this date in 1901, DWC graduates of 1900 and 1901 met in the old 13th Street Clinton building to approve the first constitution for the DeWitt Clinton Alumni Association.

December 7

On this date in 1941, Chief Boatswain’s Mate Harold Jacobs, Class of 1938, was on board the cruiser New Orleans at Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands when the Japanese attacked. During World War II, he and many other Clinton soldiers wrote to the Clinton News to give first hand accounts of what the war was like.

December 8

On this date in 1941, 1,200 Clinton students sat in the auditorium and listened to a radio on the stage to hear President Franklin Delano Roosevelt ask Congress to declare war on Japan. The day before, Japan had attacked the US naval base at Pearl Harbor. More Clintonites probably served in World War II than from any other high school in the world. Why? During the 1930s, Clinton was the largest high school in the world with an enrollment of 12,000, all of whom were boys.

December 9

On this date in 1962, the original Broadway production of I Can Get It for You Wholesale closed after 300 performances. Its book and the novel it was based on were written by Jerome Weidman, Class of 1930.

December 10

On this date in 1828, Gov. DeWitt Clinton died in office, three years after he opened the Erie Canal.

December 10

On this date in 1893, Clintonite Lew Brown was born in Odessa, Russia. He wrote many songs, including, “The Best Things in Life Are Free” and “Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries.”

December 10

On this date in 1902, Vito Marcantonio, Class of 1921, was born in New York City. He served 14 years in the US House of Representatives.

December 10

On this date in 1965, Bill Graham, Class of 1949, produced the first Grateful Dead concert (San Francisco). Graham became the most famous producer of Rock concerts of his day.

December 11

On this date in 1991, Robert Q Lewis, Class of 1938, died in Los Angeles, California. Though he had featured roles in such classic films as An Affair to Remember and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, he was best known as a TV host and quiz show panelist in the 1950s and 1960s.

December 12

On this date in 1920, Robert Blackburn, Class of 1939, was born in Summit, New Jersey. He grew up in Harlem. As a Clinton student, his art work appeared often in the Clinton News and the Magpie. In 1948, he opened the Printer’s Workshop and became one of the most influential print makers in American history.

December 13

On this date in 1952, composer Richard Rodgers, Class of 1919, and his wife, Dorothy, joined 1,500 students, parents, and teachers for an evening of music and dance in the Clinton auditorium. The evening reached its peak when Rodgers agreed to conduct one of his songs. What a thrill it must have been for the students in the orchestra to have the composer leading them! For young people today, Rodgers is most famous for writing the music for the film The Sound of Music, which is shown on television every year at holiday time.

December 14

On this date in 1908, Dr. John L. Tildsley, an assistant principal from the High School of Commerce, was appointed as the second principal of DeWitt Clinton High School. While he was principal, the Clinton News was first published (1913). Oh, and he did not allow students out of the building during lunch!

December 15

On this date in 1943, Clintonite Thomas “Fats” Waller died in New York City. As one of Clinton’s most celebrated alumni, he wrote the songs, “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” “This Joint is Jumpin’,” and “Honeysuckle Rose.”

December 15

On this date in 1984, Clintonite Jan Peerce died in New York City. He was one of the most distinguished opera tenors of the 20th century and the first American to sing at the Bolshoi Opera in Moscow, Russia.

December 16

On this date in 1904 Edward Morris Bernstein, Class of 1922, was born in New York City. He was an economist who served as the first director of the International Monetary Fund.

December 17

On this date in 1916, Bernard Gerald Cantor, Class of 1934, was born in New York City. In 1972, his company, Cantor-Fitzgerald, became the first brokerage firm to display live market information on computer screens. In 1983 it was first to offer worldwide screen bond services in United States government securities.

December 18

On this date in 1906, The World, a newspaper at the time, wrote the following about the new building DWC had opened on 59th Street in Manhattan:

“The DeWitt Clinton High School is probably the best-equipped public school building devoted to secondary education in the country. There are 105 recitation classes, two physics laboratories, two chemistry laboratories, ten biology laboratories, two lecture rooms, a library, a lunch room capable of seating 800 boys and two gymnasiums.” In 1929, DWC moved to Mosholu Parkway. Today the 59th Street building is John Jay College.

December 19

On this date in 1991, the Alvin Ailey Dance Company dedicated an entire evening’s program at NYC’s City Center to the choreography of Donald McKayle, Class of 1947.

December 20

On this date in 1946, Clintonite Sugar Ray Robinson became the world welterweight champion defeating Tommy Bell. He held the title for five consecutive years (1946-1951).

December 20

On this date in 1970, Max Schuster, Class of 1913, died in New York City. He was the co-founder of the publishing house Simon & Schuster. Their first published book was one of crossword puzzles and it came with a pencil.

December 20

On this date in 1972, the comedy The Sunshine Boys opened on Broadway. It was written by Neil Simon, Class of 1944.

December 21

On this date in 1907, the DWC Alumni Association held its seventh annual dinner at the Prince George Hotel in Manhattan. Alumni president Henry Blumenthal called for the creation of a DeWitt Clinton University. A century later, he is getting his wish with the creation of small learning communities at Clinton.

December 22

On this date in 1922, Stanley Lieber, Class of 1939, was born in the Bronx. He changed his name to Stan Lee and created Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four.

December 22

On this date in 1924, Frank Corsaro, Class of 1942, was born in New York City. He is one of the most celebrated opera directors in the world.

December 23

On this date in 1923, Leonard Stern, Class of 1940, was born in New York City. His credits include creating the popular TV series McMillan and Wife and writing scripts for Get Smart, The Honeymooners, and The Phil Silvers Show.

December 24

On this date in 1977, Bernard Herrmann died in California, one day after finishing the recording of the soundtrack of Taxi Driver. One of Hollywood’s great film composers, he is featured on a US stamp.

December 25

On this date in 1940, the musical Pal Joey opened on Broadway, with music by Richard Rodgers, Class of 1919, and lyrics by Lorenz Hart, who attended Clinton from 1908 to 1910.

December 25

On this date in 2002, Russell Berrie, Class of 1951, died in New Jersey. He was founder of Russ Berrie & Co, which made RUSS bears. He was also a generous philanthropist and a strong proponent of Christian-Jewish dialogue.

December 26

On this date in 1980, The Record , an Iowa newspaper, published the article “City of Children: Christmas on the Avenue Juárez,” written by Seymour Krim, Class of 1939. Krim is regarded as one of the fathers of “new journalism” or “creative non-fiction.” His 1960 best-selling book, The Beats, was a collection of the writings from the most controversial writers of the 1950s.

December 27

On this date in 2005, C-Span repeated its June 16, 2002 program on James Baldwin, Class of 1943, from the library at DeWitt Clinton High School. Guests examined racism in America and the rise of the civil rights movement through Baldwin’s life and writings. Attention was paid to the significant influence Clinton had on Baldwin.

December 28

On this date in 1944, the musical On the Town opened on Broadway. Among the lyrics written for the show by Adolph Green, Class of 1932, and his partner Betty Comden were:

The Bronx is up and the Battery is down.

The people ride in a hole in the ground.

New York, New York, what a hellava town!

December 29

On this date in 1959, the prestigious New York Times wrote an article on Anne Marie Rosenberg, a prominent social activist who had taught at Wadleigh High School in the 1910s. One of the Times’s sources was the equally prestigious Clinton News of October 19, 1917.

December 30

On this date in 1979, composer Richard Rodgers, Class of 1919, died in New York City.

December 31

On this date in 1932, Joseph McKee finished his four-month term as acting mayor of New York City after scandal had forced Jimmy Walker to resign. McKee had been a teacher at DeWitt Clinton in the 1910s.