Shapley's Pinafore Letter

Letter from H. Shapley to E. Upton, Jan 23 1930.

Miss Eleanor Upton
30 Forest Street
Providence, Rhode Island

My dear Miss Upton:

Now that I have time to reply to your letter, we find that we have 
misplaced it. Memory may help a bit.

Mr. Gerrish is not now sure how he concluded that Winslow Upton wrote
the Harvard Observatory Pinafore. Mr. Gerrish's father was a cabinet
organ maker, and Mr. Gerrish does not remember that he was ever a teacher
of music. One of Mr. Gerrish's father's organs was owned by Mr. Upton
and was installed in what is now Professor Bailey's office on the
way up to the 15-inch telescope dome - the place where Winslow Upton
lived at the time of the writing of the Pinafore and where he
vainly awaited "a decent salaree". Mr. Gerrish thought that (1) the
handwriting would identify it, and (2) probably had identified the
manuscript when we dug it out first in 1921. But now that we look
the manuscript over again we see it is not Upton's writing at all. It does
not seem to be Professor Searle's writing. Not being experts we cannot
be sure, but this present manuscript seems to have been written by
Mrs. Fleming.

We have many letters written by your father here at the Observatory
and feel sure that the manuscript is not in his handwriting. In our
minds that throws no doubt on the authorship of the piece, but do
you think the librarian at Brown University would care to have the
manuscrip photostatted for his files, since the writing is not
Mr. Upton's? Awaiting your report on this point, we shall send you
a rather badly used-up and hastily typed copy which was used in
the rehearsals. 

A few incidental notes on the performance:

1. We decided on giving the Pinafore sometime during the first
week in December. After a little search we located the manuscript,
and at a sudden preliminary meeting we had no difficulty in choosing
some of the cast.

2. The typed copy we are sending you may indicate some small 
changes and deletions. The most important change is toward the
end where Miss Rhoda G. Saunders is substituted for F.E.S. (Seagrave)
as the consoler of Dr. Leonard Waldo in his declining years.

3. One or two of the cast had sung in Gilbert and Sullivan pieces
before, but the others were new to the game (perhaps that is
a needless remark to anyone who saw it). We had about half a
dozen rehearsals all together, interrupted by hour examinations
and Christmas vacations and particularly by epidemics of colds. There
were several special rehearsals of the chorus, and everybody went into
the thing gleefully and faithfully.

4. Professor Ransom is of the mathematics department of Tufts College,
a member of the Bond Astronomical Club, and a member of a group
of volunteers who come to the Observatory one or two times a month
for evening computations on occultations. All the other performers
are members of the Observatory staff except Miss Wright, pianist,
who worked here last year and the year before, but is this year
devoting all her time to studies, and Mildred Shapley.

5. Mr. Bok came to Harvard as a research fellow from Holland; 
Mr. Millman is an assistant in astronomy, and came from the
University of Toronto; Mr. Wheelwright is a student 
concentrating in astronomy and a member of our most notorious course,
Astronomy 10. Mr. Campbell, as you may know, has charge of
visual astronomy at the Observatory and is our representative
in managing the affairs of the American Association of
Variable Star Observers.

6. The Observatory Pinafore was given for the Bond Astronomical
Club on January 13, with the house still more crowded than on
New Year's Eve.

7. I have had many letters from astronomers concerning our meetings,
and especially the New Year's Eve party. They seem to agree that
we attained the zenith of foolishness and merriment.

I send you a report on the show made by a reported for the Cambridge

I hope I have answered the questions, and given you the information
you desire. Please feel free to make further inquiries.

                   Sincereley yours,
                       Harlow Shapley.