On this date in 1917, DWC defeated
rival Commerce, 22-12, as 4,000 fans cheer at the Polo Grounds.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On this date in 1828, Gov. DeWitt Clinton
died in office, three years after he opened the Erie Canal.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
On this date in 1972, the comedy
The Sunshine Boys opened on Broadway. It was written by Neil Simon,
Class of 1944.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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 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
The people ride in a hole in the ground.
New York, New York, what a hellava
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.
On this date in 1979, composer Richard
Rodgers, Class of 1919, died in New York City.
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.