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The man, the myth, the legend: BRONSTEIN WEEK 2011

By Leah Ruth

Section: Features

April 1, 2011

“An obscene personality cult surrounded Bronstein”

—Jon Landau ’68, Bronstein’s student and Bruce Springsteen’s former manager

In 1987, on the 20th anniversary of the first Bronstein Week, Peter Gould ’67 wrote a letter to the student body to remind them of the meaning behind the spirit week.

In January 1967, on the eve of a beloved Art History professor’s retirement, English professor Dr. Allen Grossman spoke to Gould, telling him that something should be done to recognize the contributions of Leo Bronstein.

“Many of us were devoted to Leo for various reasons,” Gould wrote, describing his professor as a humble pacifist who may have often been under the influence of drugs.

After speaking with Grossman, Gould enlisted the help of his friend and classmate Clif Trolin ’67 to organize a medieval pageant in Bronstein’s honor. “Wine and other recreational drugs” were provided, Gould said.

A 1967 Mustang decorated with a unicorn head and streamers drove to Cambridge to pick up the professor, who Gould said “couldn’t fathom that [the celebration] was in his honor.”

That night, Gould said, Bronstein didn’t fully seem to appreciate the award he received, Professor of the Year, but he did appreciate and understand hugs from students and teachers “who had never thanked him before.”

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