Thursday, April 10, 2014

May 30, 1939: Takin' Care of Business

Sorry for the little delay in posting. I've had a pinched nerve which has made it difficult to type- but I'm slowly getting better (and better at typing one-handed!).

 Letter from Opa (Tom) to Charlotte Salmon at American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)


Dear Miss Salmon,

Please find enclosed copy of Form F of the Oberlin College filled in by Studienrat Widder. I also enclose copy of my letter to Miss Forbush of the Oberlin College.

Many thanks again

Yours sincerely,

Thomas Doppner

Letter from Opa (Tom) to Helen-Mary Forbush at Oberlin College

Dear Miss Forbush,

Miss Salmon of the American Friends Service Committee was good enough to send me the enclosed blanc, which has been filled in by Studienrat Widder, who was my head-teacher for the last three years in Berlin. 

Thanking you very much for your kind help

yours sincerely

Form F from Oberlin College, filled out by Ernst Widder, Opa's head teacher


Estimate of Scholastic Ability

Ease of Learning: Learns quickly

Relation of Achievement to Ability: Works Steadily up to capacity; takes pride in work.

Initiative and Enthusiasm in School Work: seeks and sets for himself additional tasks; is enthusiastic student.

Originality and Imagination: Displays highly developed creative power and originality.

Capacity for Independent, Critical Thinking: Displays marked capacity for independent, critical thinking.

Habits and Methods of work: Appropriate and well established

Breadth of General Reading and Information: Is widely read and exceptionally well informed.

What characteristic scholastic and intellectual traits and habits come immediately to mind when you think of the candidate? In which qualities and traits do you feel the candidate shows greatest need for growth and development?:
D. is chiefly interested in mathematics and physics. But he also showed a remarkable inclination for literary studies and for languages.

(signed) Ernst Widder
Mathematician, physicist and analytical chemist.

May 26th, 1939

These three letters are Opa’s final promised paperwork for Oberlin College. He had to feel good finishing that task. He sends to Charlotte Salmon the copy of his “form F” that Oberlin had requested and his teacher Ernst Widder filled out for him. Then of course, he sends the form and a brief note to Oberlin College. Everybody has what they want! Yay! And he sends it May 30th, 1939. Charlotte receives her letter June 10th, so I imagine Oberlin wasn’t too far behind in receiving it. The first request for information was April 24-26 1939. So considering that the letters were crossing oceans, in imminent war-time, and communicating between four parties involved (Opa, Charlotte with the AFSC, Oberlin, and Widder)- just over a month to gather all the information isn’t bad!

The form “F” is really just a questionaire for the teacher to fill out. You can tell Opa’s teacher, Mr. Widder, really liked Opa. Opa looks like a pretty amazing student. I want to add that my Opa’s niece, Helene told me that his scores for the Arbitur were pretty impressive. She said that “sufficient/passable” was actually quite good. So his scores are good- and now this glowing recommendation! How can you not want this young man to grace your halls?!

Mr. Widder paints the picture of a well-rounded, intelligent, and hard-working student who is excellent at math and science, but also well-read and gifted in literature and languages. I need to step it up! I love the last question of the page that asks for any traits or needs for growth. That question has been around for ages! And Mr. Widder ignores it completely. Take that “growth edges” trick question!

Opa has (I think) finished all of his required paperwork for Oberlin. Charlotte also should have enough of his information that if anyone else shows interest- she can send the info along. Now it’s a game of wait and see!

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