Wednesday, July 27, 2016

THERESA MAY: Time at Oxford (Updated Oct. 29, 2016)

Calling Sherlock.
Theresa May was born Oct. 1, 1956 in Eastbourne, Sussex, only child of Zaidee Mary Barnes (1928–1982) and Hubert Brasier (1917–1981).

Her father was a Church of England clergyman who was chaplain of an Eastbourne hospital and later vicar of the Church of St Mary the Virgin at Wheatley, near Oxford. 

May was educated primarily in the state sector but with a short spell at an independent Catholic school. At 13, she won a place at the former Holton Park Girls' Grammar School. She then attended Oxford where she studied geography at St Hugh's, graduating in 1977.

The current issue of Private Eye has a lead story about gossip writers trying find out about Mrs May’s time at Oxford. A potential source was a campaign pamphlet of 45 pages written by undergraduate  David Blair to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Oxford University Conservative Association (OUCA, founded 1924). The source is believed to include self-serving articles for and against notables such as William Hague, Daniel Hannan, Jeremy Hunt and Sally Ullman (later Bercow).

Postscript 1, Aug. 11, 2016

The British Library, according to Ian Senior, has no copy in its catalog but the Bodleian and Trinity College allegedly do. Both these copies were reportedly searched for and found missing. Lord Gnome of Private Eye was correct in his report that no dirt about the undergraduate lives of Theresa (nee Brasier) and Philip May was to be found in the 1994 History of the Oxford University Conservative Association by David Blair. But he was entirely wrong when he asserted that a rare copy of this slender volume had "mysteriously gone missing" from the Trinity College Archive. The only mystery is why no one from Private Eye thought to check this erroneous detail by means of a email to Clare Hopkins, Trinity College Archivist.

Postscript 2, Oct. 29, 2016

I have since visited with Clare Hopkins in Oxford and have seen the 1994 History of OUCA. It is a slim volume indeed and I could personally add a lot of detail about the years 1962-65. There is nothing in it about the Oxford activities of Theresa May.

Monday, July 25, 2016

R.I.P.: John Brademas, Oxonian and NYU President

John Brademas, 1927-2016
John Brademas was for many years a Congressman from Indiana and then Prsident of New York University.

He was born on March 2, 1927, in Mishawaka, Ind., the son of Stephen Brademas and Beatrice Goble. His father was a Greek immigrant who ran a restaurant. His mother was an elementary-school teacher, and one grandfather was a college professor.

In 1945, he graduated from Central High School in nearby South Bend, where he was valedictorian and the football team's quarterback. He enrolled at the University of Mississippi, where he joined a Navy ROTC program.

After his freshman year, he won a scholarship and transferred to Harvard. There he became president of the Wesley Foundation, the campus Methodist student group. In successive summers, he worked at an auto plant in South Bend, lived among Indians in Mexico and was an intern at the UN's temporary headquarters in Lake Success, N.Y.

After graduating from Harvard with high honors in 1949, he attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and in 1954 earned a social studies doctorate. Back home in northern Indiana, he resolved to run for Congress in a largely Republican district with diverse demographics. After losing races in 1954 and 1956, he gained political experience as an aide to two members of Congress and in Adlai E. Stevenson’s 1956 presidential campaign. He taught political science at St. Mary’s College for a year and was active in civic affairs.

In 1958, on his third try, he won the seat for Indiana’s Third Congressional District. In 1977 he married Mary Ellen Briggs, a third-year medical student at Georgetown University and mother of four children by a former marriage.

As a Democrat who represented Indiana from 1959 to 1981, Brademas sponsored bills to add funding to education. He opposed the Vietnam War and many defense measures, rebuked President Richard M. Nixon in the Watergate scandal and voted for civil rights legislation, environmental protection, day care programs and services for the elderly and people with disabilities.

He became majority whip, the House’s third-ranking official, and was re-elected 10 times in a mostly conservative district, winning up to 79 percent of the vote. He was defeated in the 1980 Republican landslide that elected Ronald Reagan president.

Brademas was president of NYU from from 1981 to 1992. After the couple moved to New York in 1981, his wife became a dermatologist at N.Y.U. Medical Center.

Mr. Brademas was the author of Washington, D.C., to Washington Square (1986) and, with Lynne P. Brown, The Politics of Education: Conflict and Consensus on Capitol Hill (1987). From 1994 to 2001 he was chairman of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, and from 2004 to 2007 he was a member of the New York State Board of Regents. In 2005, N.Y.U. established the John Brademas Center for the Study of Congress, a research and teaching facility.

By the end of his tenure — he stepped down in late 1991 and retired as president emeritus in 1992 after a sabbatical — he had raised $800 million for NYU and nearly doubled its endowment to $540 million. He added new fields of study, like the Onassis Center for Hellenic Studies and the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies; enlarged the campus; and added 11 residence halls, providing housing for half of the undergraduates. He also had established N.Y.U. study programs in Cyprus, Egypt, France, Israel and Japan.

After 22 years in Congress and more than a decade as president of NYU, John Brademas died on July 11, 2016 in Manhattan at 89. He is survived by his wife, three stepchildren, John Briggs, Katherine Goldberg and Jane Murray; a sister, Eleanor Brazeau; and six step-grandchildren. His stepson Basil Briggs Jr. died in 2003.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

BRITISH PMs: Universities Attended (Updated Aug. 15, 2016)

Theresa May. Oxford gets another, to make
27. Cambridge has 14 British PMs.
With Theresa May installed as British Prime Minister, Oxford racks up another PM spot. There have been 76 Prime Ministerial Administrations so far (the official UK Govt. site shows 75, but it also still indicates as of July 17, 2016 that Cameron is the Prime Minister).

The official site counts a Prime Minister twice if he came back after an interim (so far no female Prime Ministers have achieved this). The Disraeli-Gladstone pas de deux leaps to mind.

The Oxford and Cambridge rankings now show, by my calculations, a total of 41 Oxbridge Prime Ministers:
Oxford - 27
Cambridge - 14

[Postscript July 22: These numbers were confirmed in a recent post by the Editor of Oxford Today, Richard Lofthouse. I was pleased to see that two of the comments on his post as of July 22 stepped away from self-congratulation or  questions about pre-university testing to ask fellow Oxonians, more or less: "Where did our educational go wrong to produce a Cameron and a Johnson?" (And, by implication, a Brexit.)]

Within Oxford, the leading colleges are:
Christ Church - 13
Balliol - 3
Trinity - 3
Brasenose - 2
Other: Hart Hall (later Hertford), Jesus, Somerville, St Hugh's, St John's, Univ.

Within Cambridge, the leading colleges are:
Trinity - 6
St John's - 4
Other: Clare, King's, Pembroke, Peterhouse.

Other universities attended (10, of which 5 are not in addition to Oxford or Cambridge. I credit two universities when someone attended both; none of the Prime Ministers is listed as attending both Oxford and Cambridge, but five attended a second university in Birmingham, or Scotland, or the Netherlands or Germany):
Edinburgh - 3
Glasgow - 2
Mason Science College (later part of Birmingham) - 2
Leiden - 1
Utrecht - 1
Leipzig, Saxony - 1

No university attended - 8

Summary: Oxford 27, Cambridge 14, Other university (not additional) 5, No university 8.

Prime Minister Term of office University Total College Total
Thomas Pelham-Holles
Duke of Newcastle
Cambridge 14 Cambridge Clare 1
Robert Walpole 1721–1742 Cambridge

King’s 1
William Pitt the Younger 1783–1801

Pembroke 1
George Hamilton-Gordon
Earl of Aberdeen
1852–1855 Cambridge

St John's 4
Frederick J. Robinson
Viscount Goderich
1827–1828 Cambridge

St John’s

Charles Watson-Wentworth
Marquess of Rockingham

St. John’s

Spencer Perceval 1809–1812 Cambridge

Trinity 6
Charles Grey
Earl Grey
1830–1834 Cambridge


William Lamb
Viscount Melbourne


Arthur Balfour 1902–1905 Cambridge


Augustus FitzRoy
Duke of Grafton
1768–1770 Cambridge 

Peterhouse 1
Stanley Baldwin 1923–1924
Cambridge &
Mason Science College


John Russell
Earl Russell
Edinburgh 3 Edinburgh

Gordon Brown 2007–2010 Edinburgh

Henry John Temple
Viscount Palmerston

St John's

Andrew Bonar Law 1922–1923 Glasgow 2 Glasgow

Henry Campbell-Bannerman 1905–1908 Glasgow;


John Stuart
Earl of Bute
1762–1763 Leiden 1 Leiden

Neville Chamberlain 1937–1940 Mason Science College 2

William Cavendish
Duke of Devonshire
1756–1757 None 8

Arthur Wellesley
Duke of Wellington

Benjamin Disraeli
Earl of Beaconsfield

David Lloyd George 1916–1922 None

Ramsay MacDonald 1924 

Winston Churchill 1940–1945

James Callaghan 1976–1979 None

John Major 1990–1997 None

Herbert Henry Asquith 1908–1916 Oxford 27 Balliol 3
Harold Macmillan 1957–1963 Oxford


Edward Heath 1970–1974 Oxford


Henry Addington 1801–1804 Oxford

Brasenose 2
David Cameron 2010–2016 Oxford


George Grenville 1763–1765 Oxford

Christ Church 13
William Petty
Earl of Shelburne
1782–1783 Oxford

Christ Church

William Cavendish-Bentinck
Duke of Portland

Christ Church

William Grenville
Lord Grenville
1806–1807 Oxford

Christ Church

Robert Jenkinson
Earl of Liverpool
1812–1827 Oxford

Christ Church

George Canning 1827 Oxford

Christ Church

Robert Peel 1834–1835

Christ Church

William Ewart Gladstone 1868–1874

Christ Church

Robert Gascoyne-Cecil
Marquess of Salisbury

Christ Church

Archibald Primrose
Earl of Rosebery
1894–1895 Oxford

Christ Church

Anthony Eden 1955–1957 Oxford

Christ Church

Alec Douglas-Home
Earl of Home
1963–1964 Oxford

Christ Church

Henry Pelham 1743–1754 Oxford

Hart Hall (Hertford) 1
Harold Wilson 1964–1970

Jesus 1
Margaret Thatcher 1979–1990 Oxford

Somerville 1
Theresa May 2016– Oxford

St Hugh’s 1
Tony Blair 1997–2007 Oxford

St John's  1
Spencer Compton
Earl of Wilmington
1742–1743 Oxford

Trinity 3
Clement Attlee 1945–1951 Oxford

Univ. 1
Edward Smith-Stanley
Earl of Derby

Christ Church

William Pitt the Elder
Earl of Chatham
1766–1768 Oxford;
Utrecht University
1 Trinity
Frederick North
Earl of Guilford
1770–1782 Oxford; Leipzig 1 Trinity