Shelf Life

“You spend a lot of time looking at the reverse side of things,” she explains.

Page 67 of the Voynich manuscript in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library's digital image collection. The Voynich manuscript is a centuries-old document written in a language which no one can understand or even recognize. For most of its time at Yale, it has gathered dust in the Beinecke Rare Book Library, hidden from sight. Recently, however, it caught the eye of some documentary producers interested in making a film about it. The Beinecke librarians are now scrambling to update and expand the manuscript’s. . . Read more
Max Ehrenfreund
Coach Class

With one infectious grin, Coach Williams fills a room.

The Yale Bowl wasn’t always near-empty on Saturday afternoons. People didn’t always tailgate past half-time; in fact, the very first game of recognizable American football between two U.S. universities—Harvard and Yale—took place in New Haven in 1875. It was a Yale man, Walter Camp, who later became known as the “father of American football,” transforming a brutal form of rugby into a whole new game. Looking at images of the Yale Bowl in the 1930s and ’40s, Professor Charles Hill says, one gets a sense. . . Read more
Sophie Quinton
Lost and Found

Two armchair historians also hunt for treasure.

If time travel existed, Jesse Thompson and Tony Cwikla would have racked up millions of frequent flier years. They’re history buffs—guys who’d prefer to throw back ale with Benjamin Franklin than with high school buddies, who’d rather watch gladiator matches with Caesar than with Russell Crowe. But since scientists have yet to find a traversable wormhole, Thompson and Cwikla must recover history instead of living it. When they aren’t working their normal jobs (Thompson as switchboard operator and Cwikla as factory worker), the two men. . . Read more
Haley Cohen
Mumbai, Continued

Revisiting a childhood haunt.

A month after gunmen stormed the Taj Mahal Hotel, I took a long-planned flight to Mumbai, India, to visit family. I hadn’t seen the city in four years, but as my uncle drove us to his house in the suburbs, Mumbai looked the same. The traffic was still terrble; the skyscrapers swelled upward in the late-night sky; the smog was still thick enough to block out the stars. Even this late, some of the shops lining the perimeters of the slums were still open, little. . . Read more
Neena Satija
Loan Rangers

Elm City community groups fight foreclosure.

While the dramatic failures of financial powerhouses like Lehman Brothers and AIG in September, 2008 are often considered the beginning of the current global financial crisis, for New Haven residents, the downturn began three years earlier with a sharp dip in the housing market. Between 2007 and 2008 alone, Elm City home sales dropped by 26.2 percent, well above the 16 percent national average. As the value of New Haveners’ homes fell and the interest rates on their mortgages rose, the result was a record number. . . Read more
Nick Handler
Poster Child

One graphic designer in a new generation of feminism.

Yale is covered in text. I don’t always see it and I don’t always read it, but it’s all over buildings, statues, bulletin boards, portraits, and signs. It’s often titular: “John C. Calhoun,” “Nathan Hale,” “James Woolsey,” “Kingman Brewster.” It’s often institutional: “The Yale Political Union,” “Mory’s,” “The Whiffenpoofs.” Recently, it’s often been hateful: “N****r,” “sluts.” For Jessica Svendsen MC ’09, this text is also masculine, connoting a mostly male institutional history and culture. When, this January, she began printing words on sheets of paper and. . . Read more
Nicole Allan
Talking Shock

New Haven veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder move forward together.

The first day Paul was in Vietnam, his company lined up to take pictures with a dead enemy soldier. When Paul refused, they punished him. “They made me bury the guy,” he said. “They weren’t about to let me get away with not touching him.” The rest of the group—five veterans and a chaplain—listen quietly, sitting in a scattered circle in the third-floor chapel of the West Haven Veteran’s Administration Hospital. Leaning back in their seats with their legs crossed, they are just settling into. . . Read more
Kanglei Wang
Village Voices

Women talk each other through rehabilitation.

It’s a Tuesday morning in February at the Village of Power, and Josephine is asking the women seated around her in a makeshift circle of chairs what they’ve done this week to turn a negative into a positive. The women, eleven in all, slump back into their sweatshirts and jackets. Although it’s warm indoors, some are still wearing the secondhand winter coats they got from the Columbus House shelter, where many will spend the night. No one speaks. Maybe it’s a little too early in. . . Read more
Alexandra Schwartz
At Last

The first time I didn’t quite see Obama in person.

The first time I didn’t quite see Obama in person, I spent the night alternately watching election returns and feverishly vomiting the full contents of my stomach. It was there, in the Nashua South High School gym, where the then-senator was set to give his “Yes We Can” speech after he lost the New Hampshire primary, that I thought it was all over for both of us. Just half an hour before Obama spoke, I finally succumbed to the flu and passed out while a. . . Read more
Mitch Reich