Do you keep up with the library’s Special Collections and Archivesblog? If that’s a no, you may have missed archivist Leith Johnson’s “Pick of the Week,” which depicts then-Vice President Richard Nixon’s momentous visit to Wesleyan on October 18, 1956. Here’s your bi-weekly reminder that an institution of higher learning can change a lot in 50 years or less, and that Martin Benjamin ’57 once looked like this.
Shot by Fraser M. Lyle ’58, the above photo finds Tricky Dick on a Connecticut campaign stop less than a month before Eisenhower securely won reelection:
The Argus reported that Nixon spoke to about 400 students who crowded around him on High St. Suzy Taraba included this photograph, taken by Frazer M. Lyle ’58, in her recent presentation on alumni gifts of archival materials to the University Relations major gifts team. This photograph is particularly remarkable because it’s a color print, something that is rare among our photographs from this time period.
The Highwaymen were remarkable for living out a fairy tale — twice. In 1958, as freshman initiates of a Wesleyan fraternity, they had to come up with an entertainment act. Under the guidance of Mr. Fisher — who as a high school student had sung and recorded with the Academics, a doo-wop group — they put together a folk music show.
By 1961 the group had a No. 1 hit with African-American traditional “Michael.” By 1962 they’d hit Greenwich Village’s active folk scene. By 1964—eight albums, ten singles, and three appearances on Ed Sullivan later—they’d call it quits.
That is, until 1990, when Fisher attended a concert by an imposter Highwaymen group featuring Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson. So they sued. And then reunited. And finished what they’d started. Here’s a taste of Wes’s oldest, little-known folk stars. Take a study break; it’s worth it: