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Archives


An obituary for Arthur Schatz
An obituary for Irwin Lainoff
REMEMBRANCES — of Harry Baron
An obituary for Marion Greenstone


An obituary for Arthur Schatz

by Albert C. Lasher

On October 11, 2005, Artie Schatz died. I went to a memorial service a week later at his apartment at Kips Bay Plaza. I learned from the speakers he had been one of Time’s most valued and respected photographers. Turns out, he was legend at Time and Life magazines for his willingness to take on any assignment, no matter how dangerous or onerous. At the same time, he was famed for his independence, another way of saying he was cantankerous, outspoken and generally disrespectful of authority. But when he got an assignment, he always came through with great results. He worked for Time for more than 30 years and was responsible for a number of outstanding Life covers. One of them, dated July 26, 1968, is still available for sale today as a work of the photographer’s art. The photo shows two women in great high spirits, both flight attendants, celebrating the inaugural Moscow to New York air route.

Those of us involved with Vanguard in its last years will remember Artie as a Vanguard photographer. I don’t recall whether we had more than one photographer, but it wouldn’t have mattered because Artie was a presence that couldn’t be denied. Those of you who remember him will recall he was short, feisty and fearless. I joined the Wall Street Journal a few years after graduation and Artie was a free lance photographer. There were only two women on the newsroom floor at the WSJ in l952. One was on the copy desk and she was married. The other, a beautiful girl with deep set black eyes and long dark hair, was not. She presided over the copy machine and she and I got to be friends. Turns out she aspired to be a model and couldn’t afford the professional photos required for a proper job search. As part of my plan to ingratiate myself, I prevailed on Artie take the necessary photos and arranged for her to meet him at his studio for the shoot.

He called me a few days later and said it went well and he’d mail to me a set of contact sheets. All the photos were nudes. That demonstrated an aspect of Artie’s character with which until that moment I had not appreciated. He was deceptive in appearance, but dogged in pursuit.

We stayed in touch sporadically over the years, mainly at the times we had Vanguard reunions. I still have the photos he took at one of our early ones. He didn’t make the later ones, partly because of the demands of assignments in distant places, like Vietnam. The last years of his life he waged an angry battle with cancer.

I wish I was able learn more about his career than the sketchy outline above, but Time refused to release any information to me and I’ve been unable to track down his wife, Ine. I remember him warmly and smile when I think of him.


An obituary for Irwin Lainoff

by Albert C. Lasher

There’s a photo by Artie Schatz that was taken sometime in May 1950 when Vanguard was suspended. It was published in the Spring 2001 issue of the Brooklyn College Magazine as part of a major spread about Vanguard. It shows Harry Baron, standing on a chair, speaking to an assemblage of Vanguard staffers. Irv Lainoff is at the center of the photo, between Warren Lee and Herb Dorfman, looking grim and determined.

Irv was finishing up his freshman year at the time. Like all of us, he was appalled by the attacks on Vanguard and its dissolution the following October at the hands of the Brooklyn College administration. And, like so many of us at Vanguard, he committed himself to a career in journalism.

Irv and Carole got married during Carole’s senior year at Brooklyn, and had their first child, Steven, soon after. (A second son, Michael, was born a few years later.) Following Army service, Irv was admitted to the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Class of ‘56. Halfway through the year, he ran out of money. Literally, no money. He would have to drop out and get a job.

I had graduated from the J-school four years earlier. I took a call one day from Dr. Richard T. Baker, Dean of Admissions. It was about a scholarship fund my class started the year before. We had raised a little over $100.00, not bad for openers when newspaper salaries for new reporters ran about $60.00 a week and our class only had 63 graduates. Baker asked me how well I knew Lainoff. We both understood he was about to leave the school. Would it be all right if Irv was to become the first recipient of the J-’52 scholarship?

He graduated and landed a job at Business Week. From that platform, Irv took a flier and went to work for a highly publicized new mutual fund, the Manhattan fund, put together by a wunderkind, Gerald Tsai. He ended up as a partner in Neuberger & Berman, where everyone called him Irwin. He was a talented investment manager. I know first hand, because he arranged for me to become a director of his company. He made a lot of money for Neuberger’s clients, his partners and of course, himself. Along the way, he and Carole became generous benefactors to Brooklyn College (President Christoph Kimmich attended his funeral service), the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn’s Congregation Beth Elohim (where he served as president), the Vanguard Prize endowment and other good works.

He especially valued his connection to the J-school. His gifts to the school, he explained, was one way he could demonstrate the importance of the $100.00 scholarship that enabled him to hang on until graduation and in a real way, propelled him on to a successful career in business journalism and in Wall Street.

Irv died on November 29, 2007, after a long and difficult battle against diabetes.


REMEMBRANCES — of Harry Baron

If you want to add your own thoughts about Harry, send them to any of the names listed below.




Jack Leavitt

Four of us — Harry Baron, Jack Zanger, Hal Zimmerman and I — decided in early 1950 to enlighten ourselves by regular discussions of the world and what a better place it would be if people paid more attention to us. We called our group "The Thoughtress" and met in Zanger's apartment because, as part of the Williamsburg public projects, the building gave us a chance to ride elevators. Vertical mobility in action, a treat for Harry, who grew up near a Pitkin Avenue candy store in the East New York section of Brooklyn.

We must have inaugurated a profound assemblage but the only memorable lore I've retained from our sessions came through a pronouncement Hal made in his most somber tones. (For those of you who don't know Hal, he was a regular Vanguard visitor, never on the staff but often socializing with us.) "When you apply for a job as a shoe salesman," Hal declared, "the manager will ask you how to treat a customer. The first thing you have to do is find out the customer's shoe size. Then go back into the stock room and return with a single shoe. A LEFT shoe. If you carry out a right shoe, you'll never get hired." Over the years since then, long after Harry had embraced small town journalism in the Quad Cities, acted in little theatre and edited magazines, Harry and I periodically wondered whether our lives would have changed if we ever put Hal's wisdom to a career test. Best foot forward, indeed.

When Harry sent me a copy of a novel he wrote on urban rioting, he noted that someone else received credit as the author. "That's fine with me," he explained. "I've got the copyright." Ars gratia something or other.

Harry and Maureen played host to me on my short-term visits to New York in the late 1950s. On a walk through midtown Manhattan one evening, Maureen, a child of the Northwest, stood on a street corner as we waited for a green light. "Ah," she sighed, "It smells just like Spokane." Harry pointed towards her feet and said, "You're standing over a sewer." He twinkled. He always did.

Albert C. Lasher

I met Harry Baron in the fall of l949 as a new reporter for Vanguard, the Brooklyn College student newspaper. He was Managing Editor. Awesome. I delivered my first piece, 3 or 4 paragraphs about something or other. I wasn't rigid in fear or anticipation, but concerned about how it would be received.

He liked it. He cheered my cleverness in describing, "one worn dollar bill," which he said helped give the work some cachet.

Neither Harry nor I forgot that exchange. I remembered it because it validated my interest in journalism and in working on the college weekly. He remembered it, I suppose, because it exceeded his expectations and was the start of our lifelong friendship. I remembered it also, I think, because it was my introduction to who Harry was, unreservedly kind to children, small dogs and rookie reporters.

Just short of 2 years later, in the late summer of 1951, he was working as City Editor of the Sumter Daily Item, a daily newspaper in Sumter, South Carolina. Paid circulation, at the time, 7,000. My application to the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism had been waitlisted and I had pretty much resigned myself to not hearing from them again. I was looking for a job on a newspaper. Harry invited me to come down to Sumter where I would work as a reporter on his paper. The job paid $50.00 a week, which in those days would have readily covered my expenses in Sumter. Fantastic! And classic Harry. Once again, he reinforced my interest in journalism and gave my spirits a much needed lift.

I was packed and ready to get on the Greyhound to Sumter, when a call came in from the Dean of Admissions of the J-school. I had been accepted. Zounds! Harry shared my enthusiasm and I took the other fork in the road. But I have to say Harry's offer of a job on his paper was a contribution to my morale that is hard to measure and harder still to translate into accomplishment. I know, however, that it surely buoyed my self—confidence and therefore better enabled me to face the challenges of the Columbia program. It was of a piece with his reaction to that "one worn dollar."

I have been ever grateful.

Stan Isaacs

I am afraid I can't give you much on Harry. I didn't have many dealings with him at Vanguard. He was close to Jack Zanger, as I recall. He was enthusiastic about Vanguard and Vanguard people. He had a gentle way about him, a good sense of humor.

Larry Eisenberg

A few decades ago I had a lunch date with Harry at a restaurant on West 55th Street. As I approached, I saw him standing outside and I asked why he hadn't sat down inside. He said, "I didn't want to take up a table if I wasn't eating yet." That was so Harry.

What else was so Harry was that he was intelligent, funny, talented, kind, thoughtful and he never made a big deal out of any of it. He was just there—take him or leave him. I'm not saying he was an angel. He was also on the money at sensing the motives of those who were, shall we say, less than sincere.

We did a lot of lunches—including some in the past couple of years whenever Geri Stevens was in town. Harry, Geri, Gloria Levitas & I would tell jokes, satirize politicians and reminisce about good times in the distant past. One day we placed bets on how B.C.'s President Kimmich would rename certain parts of the campus after whoever donated the most money ("The David Geffen Lily Pond"?).

Five years ago, after another lunch—Harry invited me to his and Maureen's apartment, where I discovered the walls covered with amazing creations. Harry had used what he called "found objects" to put together into pictures that had endless meanings. He'd never said a word about it before. I wondered: What other talents was he hiding? Certainly he wouldn't comment. When I suggested that he should have a show he shrugged. "Yeah, I guess so." But he never did

When Harry read—and liked—a piece of my writing, he would rave. And if he didn't like it he would say so and why. There was never a hint of superiority or cruelty or envy, which I've found in a few too many critiques. I still kvell—a word that would make him smile—when I read, for the ten thousandth time, an e-mail he once sent about a story I wrote: "Lorenzo! ‘The Florentine Connection' is a 24-carat gem. Maureen and I loved it. —Harry Baron." (Self-promotion in a memorial? What the hell. Harry wouldn't mind).

If I had to define Harry it would be with a quote attributed to Ernest Hemingway about a literary critic he admired: "He has a built-in bullshit detector."

Myron Kandel

I'd like to sum up Harry Baron in six words:

"He was a very nice man."

Sure, he was also a talented writer, editor and artist, and a loving husband, father and grandfather. But there are many others with at least some of those attributes.

But Harry topped us all in being such a nice guy.

I first met Harry 58 years ago at Vanguard. I was as unseasoned as a freshman could be, and Harry was a worldly returning vet, with Navy service in World War II under his belt. But he was as nice and helpful as he could be to all the novices like me.

Albert Lasher recalls that it was Harry's encouraging words about the first story he wrote for Vanguard that led Al to embark on his own distinguished career in journalism.

But that was Harry's way. He could be a tough editor, but he was constructive and never nasty, even to the rankest beginner. And he had that wonderful sense of humor that never left him, even in his darkest days.

So we became friends, and remained friends, a wonderful experience shared by so many former Vanguardites over more than half a century. It was fun to be in Harry's company.

Then, he began showing up with a tall, soft-spoken, but very smart, girl from the state of Washington. At first, friends thought they were an odd couple. Harry had many attributes, but height wasn't one of them. Maureen towered over him, though it never seemed to bother Harry. And Maureen told me that early on she had confided to a girl friend that she had met a guy she really liked, except that he was rather shorter than she was. But as the relationship blossomed, she added, it began not to matter.

And so, the odd couple became the ideal couple, each proud of the other's professional and personal achievements.

Harry had an unusual and varied career in journalism — in newspapers from South Carolina and Iowa to New York's garment district — and in magazines from True Detective and hot-rods to Golf Magazine and Esquire. He even helped me out when I was in a jam at the New York Herald Tribune by working freelance on the financial copy desk.

Although he spent most of his time as an editor, he was also a fine writer, with that always-present sense of humor. Let me give you just one example. When the former Vanguard members decided to put out a memory journal in 1998 in connection with a reunion dinner 48 years after the paper was thrown off campus, Harry was a natural choice to edit it. And he did a terrific job.

But on the opening page, he insisted on putting a disclaimer, with tongue in cheek. It read:

"The producers and perpetuators of this issue… are not responsible for typographical errors, dangling participles, redundancies, tautologies, aberrations in syntax, exaggerations, imperfect memories or marital disputes arising from any article appearing herein."

That was typical Baron.

But the fine points of language were not Harry's only talent. Later in life, he became an artist, again not in the typical mode. His work was unusual and distinctive. He may have been the only palindromic artist in America — at least that was how he described himself. And if on a visit to their apartment, you received a personal showing and explanation of his pieces, it was a special treat. And in my own family, he was an inspiration to another writer-turned-idiosyncratic-artist, my wife Thelma. And for that, we'll both always be grateful.

So that's my personal view of Harry Baron — mentor, friend, journalist, inspiration, and above all, a very nice guy.

Pearl Shaine Panes

Remembering Harry Baron...

Who wasn't wild about Harry?

I remember him as a kind, gentle, capable, clever, reliable presence on Vanguard. I always enjoyed his company. We were dear friends among other dear friends...as it was on Vanguard.

Many years lapsed between those Vanguard days and the reunion parties that allowed me to find Harry again. Most of our recent contact, however, has been via the cyber frenzy that brought many Vanguardians together again. Our Emails were frequent and funny. Sometimes Harry and I exchanged messages in transliterated Yiddish, since Harry and I were both well versed in "mama loshen."

I draw upon the words of the great Bard (King Henry V, i) to say goodbye: "The Lord in heaven bless thee, noble Harry."

Norman Gelb

In my treasured memories of Vanguard, Harry is there as a fine writer, a fine editor and a dedicated comrade in arms when we were fighting the forces of wickedness. But what I remember most about Harry was that he was fun to be with.

He was often good for a belly laugh,but mostly his was a dry, tricky,understated humor, a double-take kind of wit regularly hidden behind a subtly mocked mask of seriousness. It was different and refreshing. I have a photo of him in the cafeteria looking profoundly earnest in conversation over lunch while delicately fingering a fork grotesquely twisted out of shape.

After I had been away from New York for about four years, on a visit back I accidentally ran into him on Broadway.

"Harry!" I cried, to which he muttered poker faced, without missing a beat, "Dammit, I'll miss my bus," before letting loose one of his big grins, grabbing my arm warmly and leading me off somewhere to catch up. Like I say, Harry was a fun guy.

Herb Dorfman

From the first time I met Harry — sometime in the late "40's — I honestly enjoyed being with him. He was a very likable guy, with a wonderful sense of humor and the ability to create funny ideas. One instance (among many): the two of us were invited to speak to a girl's club (they were called ‘Houses', I think) to describe what it was like to put out a campus newspaper. As we were going in, I said to Harry "We need a clever opening". I didn't have one. He looked around and saw a calendar on the wall. He took it down, walked into this room full of cute girls and said; "Ladies, I have dates for all of you", and showed them the calendar. It got a big laugh. I asked him if he'd been planning it — he said no, it just occurred to him. And he had many more inspirations like that.

When I think back, I don't ever recall having an argument with Harry. Some differences, but never any hard feelings or sore points. He was easy to talk to, and he made sense.

When I was working for the newspaper of the garment workers Union, he indicated in a letter to me that he'd like to come to New York to work (he was in Iowa). We had an opening for a writer, but I warned him that the news material was dry and self-serving. He came anyway, and started turning out material that was easy to read, polished and professional. He had me spruce up my style as well. It was during this time that he met his wife-to-be Maureen.

And then, visiting his apartment in recent years, I was almost shocked to see that he was a good artist as well, not painting but putting objects together to make a unique display. A surprise for me so late in our friendship.

But he was full of surprises, and ones I remember with a smile.

Give ‘em hell, Harry.

Helen & Joel Isaacson

You could always count on Harry. He was the great no-nonsense—which did not mean no-fun—journalist, the editor who would be there for the new staff when you needed some help. And he was the only one who really looked the part, with his foreign correspondent's belted trench coat.

Therefore, it was not at all surprising when on a visit from Ann Arbor to New York in 1965, we met Harry and his raincoat at a mass anti- Vietnam war march looking just as we remembered him. Of course, he would be in the right place at the right time doing the right thing.

We had just dashed into a toy store and bought a little red wagon so that we could march with our two young kids, and because we heard rumors of anti-anti-war thugs and police on horseback, possibly harassing the marchers it was especially good to have Harry there marching with us.

Josh Greenfeld

Most of us will recall Harry Baron as a writer and editor. And, indeed, no single individual better personified Vanguard than Harry. He was like a Franz von Papen, spanning the eras from World War II to Korea. I can still see him in his sailor boy navy uniform visiting the Vanguard offices when they were in the basement next to the bookstore and then up two flights and some six or seven years later to the top of the center stairway of Boylan Hall as a big cheese and courageous editor in civvies never seeming inert, a kinesthetic figure, with a quick and a eye gleaming smile.

But I also like to think of Harry now as the fine conceptual artist he became in his later years, the walls of the Baron apartment, adorned with the whimsical and playful sculptural reliefs and collages he fashioned creatively out of technological leftovers. There were pieces I wanted to buy but Harry refused to sell— or just didn't want to take my money. But one day, a year or so ago, in the mail came a small relief, entitled "Steppin' Snippets" in which two of the plastic remnants of assemble-yourself toys had become shining gold silhouettes mounted on a red square pasted against a black background. And the two "snippets" indeed seemed to be dancing, figures in perpetual movement, as was Harry himself.

It hangs on the wall of my study now and —like all my memories of Harry, from Vanguard days to Manhattan lunches of recent years to a single Catskill night when Harry happened to pick me up, a between-jobs- hungry waiter hitch hiking on mountain roads and put me up and fed me at the Resort Hotel where he was working as chauffer — I am grateful.

Jerry Ordover

I recall meeting Harry Baron as a young man working on the Brooklyn College Vanguard, the school's weekly newspaper. I met Sy Lieberman at the same time but Sy soon left Brooklyn to pursue specialized graduate studies in Michigan. I was impressed by their knowledge of news writing and news practices and the grown up way they were treated by others even though they were lowly sophomores like myself.

I had spent the previous semester as a cub reporter on the City College newspaper, "The Campus," but the training had not been very structured and I felt very ignorant. Harry and Sey were writing regular stories and they were very much at ease with their assignments. Harry and Sey gave me much time and assistance in writing up my assignments and commenting on the recommendations of the senior editors in their weekly lectures to us cubs. Since I was also a sophomore and had my experiences as a freshman at City College. I had lots of anecdotes to match their experience at Brooklyn.

Unfortunately the passage of years has washed my recollections clear of the details of the stories that we traded. Mildred Strum was Editor in Chief, Shirley Sirota was the Managing Editor and Burt Hochman was the Co-Sports Editor.

But for the most part, faces come back but not the names. Sey moved to graduate school in Michigan but Harry stayed on at Brooklyn College for a while longer before leaving. During that time we became fast friends, trading stories and opinions and helping each other out. Harry was like a brother or a cousin to me. At the same time, he was very helpful to the cub reporters who followed me as I prepared to enter the army.

Harry loved Brooklyn College. Before I left for the army in March of 1945, Harry left Brooklyn College for the US Navy. It was always a pleasure to be in his company, to hear his chuckle and see his peppy smile. I never could get enough of him, largely due to the distance between each others' homes and our overcrowded work schedules but we were always there for each other when called upon.

I will miss him dearly!

Jewell Kurtz Golden

Harry really cared about making sure things were right from the start.

So he simply had to visit Mike Levitas, who was carrying bags at Tamiment. He wanted to talk to him about Vanguard, now that he was one of the editors. My parents drove us near the Poconos. Harry had a friend who took us in his small airplane to a little airport near the resort. We got a ride to the hotel. There was Mike loaded down with bags. He was able to get some time off. We went with him on a rowboat where the two of them talked about their plans for Vanguard and the coming semester. Harry was so animated, so articulate, and so pleased that he had gotten to know Mike in so relaxed a way.

The last time I saw Harry was at Mike Kandel's honor award. I reminded him of our jaunt and he chuckled, "That was a great beginning for the year. I sure was determined to meet with him. I was glad that I did."

And he did make things right from the start.

Sy Lieberman

I first met Harry Baron in 1943 —more than 60 years ago — when we were both incoming Brooklyn College freshmen. But the real connection between us was not Brooklyn College, it was Vanguard, the college newspaper. Harry and I both spent more time at the Vanguard office than we did in the Brooklyn College classrooms.

Harry and I started out as cub reporters and we both became co- feature editors. That is as far as I moved up, but Harry made it to Managing Editor. Harry and I covered dozens of stories together — ranging from a feature about a pretty Brooklyn College undergraduate who was named that month's Miss Subways to coverage of the infamous Brooklyn College basketball scandal.

Although Harry and I entered Brooklyn College together, I graduated about a year before he did, because my service in the Air Force did not last as long as his service in the Navy during World War 2.

I spent the next 9 years doing graduate work at the University of Michigan, but that did not preclude us from getting together. Oddly enough, the place where we got together was in the state of Iowa. At that time, Harry was working for a local newspaper in Davenport, Iowa; I periodically visited a client of mine in Newton, Iowa; and a third Vanguard alumnus, Gene Levitt, was teaching in the Psychology Department at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. The three of us met from time to time in one Iowa locale or another.

When I finished up at the University of Michigan, I moved back to New York and took an apartment on the Upper West Side -a few blocks from the West 87th Street apartment where Harry and Maureen lived together for almost 40 years.

Harry's weight never varied more than a pound or so from his thin 135 pounds, except for the last few years when he put on a few pounds after he quit cigarette smoking a few years ago. When we were younger Harry sometimes accompanied us on our visits to my parents in Brooklyn, where my mother tried —unsuccessfully—to fatten him up.

In recent years, my wife Marilyn and I took walks along Columbus Avenue, and when we did so we often visited the Barons at their apartment. Marilyn called Maureen on her cell phone, told her that we were in the neighborhood, and Maureen invariably invited us up. Marilyn and I expect to continue doing so, but Harry won't be there any more.

Harry was one of the sweetest people I ever knew, and we'll sorely miss him.

Henry Grinberg

My working relationship on Vanguard with Harry was not vast, but before I get to that, I have to begin with a tedious but necessary tale.

I was born in London and came to the U.S. in the summer of 1948. I had dreams of going to Columbia, the only American university I had heard of, but I soon learned I would have had to apply for admission much earlier than that summer. Through a family connection I was accepted at Yeshiva College in five minutes flat. After a year at Yeshiva, I met a charming girl while working at a summer camp and determined to follow her to the ends of the earth if necessary. Fortunately, she was to be found at Brooklyn College.

A Yeshiva roommate of mine said he had a dear friend at Brooklyn, Norman Gelb, an editor on Vanguard, who he said, if I was interested in working on a college paper, could be of help. My heart leapt up. My dream in those days was to be a music critic. Within a short time, Norman and I got together. He was warm and welcoming.

He wanted to know about my high school and former college journalism experiences. There were some, but they didn't come across as too impressive. When he heard of my own ambitions, he said Vanguard indeed was looking for a music correspondent.

From the passing conversations among Vanguard staff members that I managed to catch during that first visit to the office on the second floor of Boylan, I gathered that they all seemed mature and tough. I became frightened. The only thing I had going for me then was my full- blooded British accent, mostly the BBC that I tried to affect, but with exotic touches of Limehouse and Russian-Yiddish. I discovered speaking British in those days, astonishingly, could make up for lacks in experience and qualifications.

"We have to talk to Harry Baron—he's the managing editor," said Norman, and led me into an inner office. That's how I met Harry. He leaned back and surveyed me with what they call a shrewd eye.

Lightly built, very thin, brown hair in an impossibly tight array of curls, he listened as Norman described me and how Vanguard could use me. At last he stirred.

"I know the English," he said. "I met them while in the service. I know what they're capable of. " A gesture in my direction. "This one," he growled, "am I going to have to waste all my time deleting the u's in words like flavor and favor and harbor and arbor? That's the sort of thing they do."

Norman laughed and turned to me. "Would you really do that?" I assured them that I knew the difference between American and British spelling.

Right, we could use a music reviewer," said Harry. As a test, he immediately assigned me to cover, that very weekend, performances of Rodgers and Hart's "A Connecticut Yankee at the Court of King Arthur" by the Brooklyn College Light Opera. I tried to protest. "This isn't the kind of music I deal with. I prefer Beethoven and Brahms."

Harry gave me a benign smile. "In a couple of weeks, both the Brooklyn College Student Orchestra and the College Choral Society will be performing. Sweetheart, I need to know whether you can write!"

Well, I carried out the assignments. I had to do two reviews: different casts were involved each night.

Monday morning, I handed my copy to Harry. I was expecting to be roasted. To my surprise, not only was I treated with politeness and courtesy, but I received what I still consider to be awfully valuable lessons in copyediting and revision. Harry was insightful, perceptive, and knew his stuff. And he understood how to transmit information. I could say he proved important to me both as a writer and a teacher.

I was accepted on the Vanguard staff. Harry and I didn't have much to do with each other after that. I had my beat and he had his. But he was always accessible and unbelievably generous to one learning his craft. I shall always be grateful.

Larry Jaeger

I had worked my way up the ladder to what I had long wistfully viewed as the exalted, benighted circle of Vanguard leaders and shakers when two bright young cubs named Harry Baron and Sey Lieberman first came on the staff. I remember them both well, extremely bright, extremely capable, extremely eager, and—though they were but kids in the eyes of world-weary 19 year old me—they fitted immediately in with the joshing, prankish, closely knit Vanguard crowd of that era (I guess by now I do belong to an era!) I see Harry now—wiry, not very tall, thick shock of unruly dark hair falling over his forehead while he worked at the typewriter, usually with a cigarette drooping from his lips. His voice is still clear in my ears—drawling, acerbic, wisecracking out of the side of his mouth. I was graduated in 1945, so I never had the pleasure of seeing Harry (and Sey) climb up the Vanguard ranks—though I am aware from all that the rest of you have written about Harry that he became for all who knew him and worked with him a galvanic, much loved and respected figure. I am saddened to hear of his death at the age of 80 and I appreciate what a loss all Vanguard has suffered.

Larry Friedman

Harry Baron. A distinctive name—and a person of distinction. He always was fun to be around. He was a good listener who cared what you were saying. And, of course, he was a superb storyteller. That is a potent combination that makes for the best in journalism.

Harry often struck me as a raffish character out of Damon Runyon. He was a tummler. I cannot think of a specific anecdote about Harry, except that always was smiling or laughing. I truly believe he was one of those who drove the idea of keeping Vanguard alive through reunions. We all owe him a lot.

Judi Freilich Salzer

To me, Harry was one of the "older guys" on Vanguard. Wordly, mature. He looked like a Runyonesque tough guy. But the one with a heart of gold. A really sweet man — so vividly and so fondly remembered.

Estelle Matsil Freedman

Remembering the old news room ...Harry was all over the place..in the newsroom with the biggies, outside the inner circle with the lesser folk, always kidding, smiling, flirting a little along with his sidekick, Seymour. It was happy time for me, especially when my grades were in mortal danger. Often there was some other girl with me, was it Nancy.. ....Rita?...others I should remember but don't, also drinking in the fun'....cause old BC could be pretty austere back then. Thank you Harry.

Bill Taylor

In his tribute to Norma Lieberman, Harry Baron wrote of her sharp humor and her gentility. Harry was cut from the same cloth. When I joined Vanguard I soon came to regard Harry as one of the wiser heads from whom I could learn about life and journalism. And that was right. The photo of Harry lecturing our crowd in the time of crisis is one that will stay indelibly in my memory. I wish I could remember what he was saying but really the photo tells it all.

Geri Cohen Stevens

Harry Baron was one of the only two managing editors under whose direction I remember working during the two-plus years I spent on Vanguard before assuming the job myself. I know there were more but only two left their mark: The first was Sid Frigand and I remember him because I was fresh out of high school and he was a war vet and I found him scary.

The second was Harry, and I remember him as my managing editor for many reasons, not the least of which were his limitless patience and kindness. One vivid instance that comes to mind as I reflect back concerns a story that I turned in which completely missed the mark. I had spent hours constructing what I thought was a brilliantly clever lead paragraph, around a really dumb pun on the name of the major player in the story. Harry went over what I submitted line by line, in my presence. He asked some questions, jotted down my answers and somehow managed to re-direct my entire approach. Not once did he use the word "rewrite" nor did he criticize what I had done. He got me to believe that the changes were entirely my own idea.

The other thing about Harry's tenure as managing editor that I remember well, aside from his ubiquitous trench coat, was how organized and really professional he was. Everything was written down in a black and white notebook. He had a painstaking system for programming each issue's contents, with columns for assignment, reporter, deadline, copy editor and so forth. I tried to duplicate both notebook and system when my turn came but somehow didn't quite get it.

Harry was sharp-witted, fun and had a great sense of humor, but I don't remember his ever using his wit or humor at someone else's expense. I'm not sure I can say that for all of his colleagues — including myself — back then when we all thought we were so terribly clever.

In recent years, Harry was one of a small group that met for lunch whenever I visited New York from California where I now live. I watched him gradually grow slighter and more sallow as his illness took its terrible toll but he did not behave any differently and never complained. I will miss you, Harry, on my next visits, when we meet for lunch and see the enormous emptiness your absence has created.

Sid Frigand

Think of Harry and you have to smile. That dear elfin man exuded a feel-good aura that radiated his warmth, wisdom and compassion. He was always ready to participate in fun endeavors. I can recall an incident - - I think it was 1947 — when Irv Goldaber and I concocted a scheme to hold a fake seance. Ethel Spevack volunteered her furnished basement and played spooky music on her fiddle during the event. The whole scheme centered on contacting Bert Hochman's ancestors—not particularly anyone by name. My sister Millie volunteered to be the medium with a shmatta tied around her head and a crystal ball in her hands. With the lights very low, she invoked the spirits. Everybody was asked to hold hands while ominous thumping on the ceiling and stairs (my brother, Hy with a broomstick) signaled the arrival of the specter. Suddenly the table started to shake violently, evoking gasps and shrieks among the participants. Then all the lights went out and Ed Lapidus, dressed in a rented gorilla outfit, joined the circle. When the lights went on again, everyone screamed with laughter at the sight of Bert's primogenitor.

So what's all this got to do with dear Harry? Who else would sit for an hour under that suffocating table covered with a floor length oilcloth, artfully rattle the table and emerge grinning from ear to ear? That was definite proof that Harry destined to be a shaker and maker.

Over the years that followed, we'd see each other whenever Josh Greenfeld came in from the West Coast: Jerry Ordover, Bert Hochman and others who could make it. Harry was always exuberant, jolly and informative. He made us all feel good. Even in recent years, when he was besieged by illness, his good-fellowship and joy of life had a contagious effect on us.

Harry was a decent, wise and life-affirming man. I will miss him.

Gloria Barach Levitas

Ever since Sasha BARON Cohen burst on the scene, I had wanted to tease Harry about him: Another Jewish Baron I was going to say — undoubtedly a relative. But if Borat had been a relative, he would have been Harry's evil twin because everything he did and said seemed designed to make people uncomfortable; to reveal them to themselves in the most mean-spirited way. This, of course, was the precise opposite of Harry whom I can only think of as one of the sweetest men I have ever known.

Harry was also the ultimate realist and his courage in confronting the disease that ultimately killed him was not only memorable, but like so many things Harry did made things easier for his friends.

In fact what I remember most about Harry was his kindness and gentleness: traits that were commented upon in virtually every eulogy given at the memorial. But it was sweetness tied to a sharp intelligence, and more creativity than ever realized. I also think of Harry as Humphrey Bogart — partly because I remember him in a trench coat, and partly because he actually did have another twin: an editor, much like him, for whom we both worked at different times after graduation. The editor was a man named Bernie Williams, employed by a thoroughly scurrilous publisher whose only redeeming feature was his willingness to hire Brooklyn College graduates by UAT Universal Publishing Company. I worked on trash— writing sexy scenes in otherwise forgettable books (my sexy scenes were also probably forgettable). Harry worked there later, in another division devoted to Golf magazines and I don't remember what else. Both of us worked for Bernie Williams — a man who spoke with an amazing Brooklyn accent Like Harry, Bernie was short, given to wearing trench coats and, while he didn't paint, was a wonderful guitarist. Bernie later married a tall attractive editor (very much like Maureen) who admitted that Bernie reminded her of Humphrey Bogart Bernie was always gentle, and like Harry, he always managed to show you how to edit without making you feel like a fool. In the end, he taught both of us a great deal about editing.

More recently, as Geri mentions, we used to meet for lunch in the neighborhood. Harry was then battling the cancer that ultimately killed him, but you would never have known he was sick from his conversation. Mostly we gossiped and in the time-honored tradition of Vanguard, we would get rowdy, outrageous and often out of control. Harry joined in, but he always had the good sense to stop us before we went round the bend...and he did it without doing more than looking at us and shaking his head in pretended despair.

When I think of "grace under pressure" I think of Harry.

He was more than a baron — he was a prince...


Subject: An obituary for Marion Greenstone
From: Larry Yaeger

Marion (Isaacson) Greenstone, who was a Vanguard staff member from early 1943 until her graduation in 1946, died in November 2005 at the age of 80. One of her favorite reporting assignments was to cover Student Council meetings, which became virtually her exclusive beat and earned her frequent bytined front page stories Marion win be remembered by Vanguardians of the early 40s as a slender and extremely attractive girt who was prevailingly serious and somewhat reserved in demeanor. Though not a prig or a stuffed shirt, she was generally not one to take part in the often raucous gags and pranks that some of us indulged in (never, of course, interfering with the weekly job of getting an issue out on time?) Marion took a tot of good-natured kidding from Vanguard friends because she was one of the relatively few Brooklyn College students who commuted daily between school and her home far up in the Bronx-a ride each way of over an hour on the old IRT. Though she Iived close to what was then the Bronx's Hunter College campus, she explained that, having gone to an all-female high school (Wafton), she had no intention of attending an all-female college too After graduation, Marion taught English in a Hebrew parochial school. She met and married Myron Greenstone, himself a City College alumnus who got his degree after serving as an infantryman in the Italian campaign in World War Two- After marriage, Manon resolved to follow up on her long-standing interest in art and was accepted at Cooper Union. Following her graduation, she joined the art faculty at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where she taught design and composition for many years. She won a Futbright Scholarship for study in Italy, maintained a studio at home in the Greenstones' Park Slope brownstone, where she painted, did pen-and-ink and charcoal drawings, and designed stained glass. She exhibited at a Manhattan gallery, won a commission to do a mural for a new public library branch in Queens, and is represented in the permanent collection of drawings in the Brooklyn Museum- Marion died after suffering briefly from both ovarian and lung cancer (though she had never smoked in her life.). She and Myron eariy in their marriage decided not to have children. As you gather, I remained close to Marion and Myron until their deaths.

—Larry Jaeger


 


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