This space is dedicated to remembrances of our dear friend and colleague Martin Pine.
was our Renaissance man not only in area of expertise, but also in his
far-ranging knowledge on virtually all subjects of culture and
history. During the years that he and I had offices across from each
other, we'd often chat about anything and everything. What we tend
to forget, however, while praising his scholarship and intellect, is that Marty
was also a dedicated teacher. He frequently turned the topic of our
conversation to students, pedagogy, standards, and the like. He was tough but
fair to his students, I could tell, and I had the feeling they respected him for
it. With both of our doors open — Marty's was always open — I could hear him
sometimes engage students for long periods of time. I'll miss hearing his voice
drift across the hall. He was a true original, a kind man, and a generous
is very sad news. Marty was the first person I had contact with at Queens
when he was running the search to replace Marion Kaplan. I was looking
for liberation from Beloit when I got the call to come interview - that
friendly, playful New Yawk voice on the phone was like a little life raft, and
Marty never ceased to be a mentor. We have lost someone truly special.
Marty Pine was a brilliant, warm, and generous colleague.
From the moment I was hired at Queens College, he and his wife, Ann, embraced
me and my family. After we moved to Mount Vernon--not too far from
them--they were eager to share their knowledge of the hidden treasures and
places to avoid in our new neighborhood. Marty was an unmistakable
presence in the department. He always had a story to tell or a bit of wisdom to
convey. Whatever he did, he did with kindness and integrity. He will
be sorely missed.
Erudite is the right word. I remember my first year at Queens, there was a room (now a classroom) right outside the History Office on the second floor. It was known as the bull-pen because it housed about 5-6 young instructors/adjuncts. There were a group of young Europeanists--Marty, Don Kelley, Jim O'Connell. I was teaching 3 sections of Western Civil having had exactly one survey course in European history as an undergraduate. I would stop in to get advice. When I told them I didn't understand Hegel, on e said (I don't believe it was Marty) that Hegel stood Marx on his head. I'm still puzzling that. All the Europeanists seemed far more erudite, well-read, sophisticated than I was (it wasn't only they seemed; they were). I had never heard of Pico or Pompanazzi (?) and here was Marty to try to explain them to me.
He told funny stories and anecdotes about people and colleagues--never mean spirited, but often revealing a different side from the obvious. And funny things happened to him. In that first year, when he told the class he was engaged to Ann, a young woman student with a crush on Marty staged a sit-down (really a lie-down) in the corridor outside the History Office. Later she deliberately flunked the course so she could take it over with him.
Marty worked tirelessly for the department without complaining unless it was hidden from the rest of us. During Keith Eubank's long time as chair, he and Jon Peterson did most of the nitty-gritty work (scheduling etc). And in these years of intra-departmental tensions, he was a friend to all.
Aside from the personal support he gave me as chair and aside from his advice on so many, many things, I always appreciated his thoughtfulness towards the secretaries. We shared a belief that they were the most overworked and underpaid people on campus and that anything we could do to make their lives a little better, we should do. From Norma Ross through Francine, Marilyn, and Alex he was their friend and supporter.
Marty (if I may; he said he hated that nickname, but I always
call him that out of affection) was the first person I met at Queens
College. He was assigned as my
faculty mentor when I was hired.
If the job of the faculty mentor is to explain to the newcomer the inner
workings of the college, then he and I collaborated in a colossal failure,
because we talked about anything but.
If, however, the job of the faculty mentor is to make you thank your stars
that you got this fantastic job, with a colleague who can be equal parts funny
and serious, as is appropriate to the moment, and sometimes at the same time, then
Marty was a thorough-going success.
We covered all kinds of ground – family, scholarship, movies, politics, Italy,
food, and, of course, the Renaissance.
One thing that Marty truly loved to talk about was his son Lewis.
I long for another conversation with Marty. I want to present my argument against
bio-pics one more time, and one more time hear his familiar but fruitless, and
ultimately funny, funny rebuttal.
I want to hear him, and see him, talk, and gesticulate, about Silvio Berlusconi. I want him to slap the table with an
open palm when he laughs and laughs.
I want to go to a museum with him, as we did recently, and wordlessly
wander the exhibits together, and then go for coffee, and commend or criticize
the curators for this triumph or that mistake. And then laugh about it.
Like my colleague Julie said, what I will remember and cannot
forget is Marty’s “funny, playful New Yawk voice”, and the way it hit the upper
registers when he wanted to make a smiling point.
Martin and I were together in a seminar at Columbia in the
fall of 1955. I had just started
teaching at Queens. My chairman, Dick
Emery, seemed to like my classroom performance and asked me to recommend a
colleague from Columbia. Obviously,
Martin was the only one I considered.
Martin and I kept in touch after my retirement, filling me in
periodically on the gossip at QC. It
was an honor to know Martin as a friend and colleague. We shall all miss him.
am sorry to hear about Professor Pine. He was always supportive of the work I
did in his Renaissance class, even if it seemed to be a little off the beaten
path. I learned so much from him.
had on my To Do list to email him to let him know that I was officially
accepted into University of South Florida’s doctoral program for Curriculum and
Instruction. What is particularly bittersweet is that I just learned on Monday
that my faculty advisor had recommended me for a Graduate Fellowship and I have
received it. I'm not completely sure what the details are, but it will at least
cover my full tuition. I wish I could have been able to send him this email. I
know his recommendation was instrumental in this opportunity.
Dr. Pine was a wonderful teacher who was instrumental in my choice of History as an undergraduate major (Queens) and for my Ph.D. (Yale). I still have my notes from his History 22B. According to my notebook, we had a 500-750 word paper due on de Tocqueville on May 15, and the final was on May 27, 1964. I guess it was no wonder that when after a long and winding path I ended up teaching Constitutional Law at a law school, once again I was talking about de Tocqueville and other writers that I first learned through him.
I was privileged to be Dr. Pine’s student.