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The Lens



The Lens


"The Lens" was Queens College's first student-run general magazine, including photographs of campus life and brief feature articles. This is the second issue, published in the fall semester of 1939. (Selections - full volume available from Queens College archives)


Queens College (New York, N.Y.)
Student newspapers and periodicals
Klapper, Paul, 1885-1952


Queens College (New York, N.Y.)




Queens College Department of Special Collections and Archives (New York, N.Y.)




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Queens College (New York, N.Y.)




The Queens College Lens


A publication dedicated to the students and faculty of Queens College whose life and activities of campus and classroom are presented as seen through a camera lens.




Seymour Fogel
Paul Kislick
Kenneth Kupferberg
Max Kupferberg
Paul Pasmantier
Carl Prunhuber
Robert Rose
Thomas Swearingen
Muriel Welsch

JOHN HOWLAND . . . manager
Margaret Collins
Janet Galbraith
Edgar Gregory
Harold Greiff
Alfred Walther

Thomas Ahearn
Chase Andrews
John Howland
Norman Rudnick

Jayne Finkelstein
Alfred Walther

ALFRED WALTHER . . . manager
Marge Collins
Jayne Finkelstein
Janet Galbraith
Betty Gibbons
John Havorka
Phyllis Johannsen
Irene Maddock
Felicia Mascitelli
Marion Obenchain

Financial Manager . . . Alfred Walther
Exchanges . . . Carl Prunhuber
Corresponding Secretary . . . Marion Obenchain
Faculty Adviser . . . Dr. Donald E. Kirkpatrick
Art Adviser . . . Dr. Josef Vincent Lombardo


"I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."
These words were spoken by Thomas Jefferson, whose bust is featured on the LENS cover. They are inscribed on the pedestal and eloquently express the essence of the great man's creed. The bust will be placed in Thomas Jefferson Hall in Queens College, a monument to the founder of universities, and a fitting symbol to his belief in freedom of the mind.
The bust of Thomas Jefferson is the work of the famous sculptor, Attilio Piccirilli. It was commissioned by Governor Pollard for the State of Virginia. It was originally executed in 1931 out of white Carrara marble. The original is in the rotunda of the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond. The work earned its creator the Second Congressional Jeffersonian medal.
A bronze model of the bust has been presented to Queens College by the Honorable Mark Eisner, Chairman of the Board of Higher Education from 1932 to 1938.

Students and staff who curiously awaited the first issue of LENS have been looking forward to succeeding issues with an eagerness born of admiration and confidence. In photographic technique and pictorial journalism the first issue of LENS achieved professional standards. Hailed not only by the faculty and students, LENS was spoken of with high praise by members of the governing board of our college, especially by those who are themselves journalists.
LENS can do much to quicken the development of that friendly spirit which characterizes Queens College. Vivid, entertaining, and accurate, it may become a record of our life here. In the years to come, when student days will have given way to man's estate, we may turn back to our copies of LENS, to live again the joys and disappointments that were Queens College.
A long life to you, LENS of Queens College! May your days be long, and may your opportunities to serve a growing student body ever increase with the succeeding years.
Cordially yours,



The photograph at the right, taken from the campus of Queens College, is strikingly symbolic. We are standing on the college grounds in the midst of our present activities and interests. But our eyes look beyond these narrow bounds. In the background looms New York's skyline. Life - teeming, varied, full, sad, gay, rife with success and disappointment. We gaze eagerly. And midway between college and life lies the cemetery, symbolic, but dismally so. It might well contain those who failed to bridge the gap.


The vast, unbroken blue in gentle slope
Cut the platter of flat-topped grass
In the immense circle of the distant horizon.
I stood at the center.
A fly trapped by the overturned bowl of the sky.
I felt its bondage and infinity became finite;
I released my soul.

In hungry quest it rose
And explored the curved dome,
At length returning to my body

The infinite soul seeks to penetrate the finite dome.
Does it succeed at death
To find the passage-way valved against re-entrance?
What lies beyond the dome?
God, perhaps.

Norman Rudnick, '42



A celebration which commemorates the dedication of an institution of higher learning is always significant. But that day which marks the birth of a publicly supported college is sacred in all its implications. Here is the people's expression of faith in youth and in the future.

Queens College is a triumph of the people's will,-the will to train its leaders; the will to save for society its most precious gift, the undeveloped ability of its young citizenry; the will to associate higher education with individual ability and to dissociate it from economic disability; the will to meet the needs of the truly democratic way of life.

Queens College is the youngest but, we hope, not the least eloquent exponent of equality of opportunity and democracy in higher education.




On October 30, 1939, Queens College observes its third Dedication Day. There will be much ceremony and speech-making, but more important, that day will see a college that has gone through a tremendous development in the mere two years of its existence.
When Queens College opened its doors to its first class on October 4, 1937, there were no fanfares, no great welcoming exercises. Then, 'midst the harsh clamor of plumbers' hammers and carpenters' saws, the Class of 1941 was introduced to a brand-new college. President Klapper and Dean Kiely made brief addresses, presented to the students the twenty-six members of the faculty, who smiled and bowed from their seats on the stage. That short meeting was auspicious.
The students and teachers realized that for the first term they were going to be faced with many material handicaps-lack of science laboratories and equipment; limited classroom and library facilities. But they were eager to start to work to build the spirit of Queens College while the carpenters built its halls. Of what that spirit was to consist was evident before half the first term was over. Students and teachers felt that together they had entered upon a new and exciting adventure, and that together they would work. Between them, they established a genuine feeling of cooperation and comradeship, each teaching the other many things.

The students were an active group, and before the first month of the term had ended, there were enough student organizations to meet the interests of a college twice the size of Queens. Science clubs, language clubs, a writing club, a dramatic club, and a camera club were begun. And, as a CROWN writer put it in that paper's first issue, December 2, 1937, "a rash of Greek-letter societies broke out over the campus. . ." In that first October, too, the CROWN had its beginnings, when a little group of Newown and Jamaica high-school journalists joined forces and began a little, but persistent, suggestion-campaign. Members of the faculty always lent their help in the forming of these student organizations, and there was never a hint from them of discouragement.
The faculty faced, perhaps, a harder task of adjustment, but they, in turn, had the understanding and support of the student body. Besides having to do without so many of the primary teaching facilities, they had a class of freshmen, who had to be shown the ropes of college life and study. There were no upper classmen or set of traditions to help them in this task, but they solved the problem by telling the freshmen that the future traditions of Queens College would depend upon their efforts. The faculty also had the problem of building up a program of work. They had to formulate a sort of Four Year Plan for the curriculum, taking into consideration not only the program for one or two terms, but rather the bases for four years of study. They had to look ahead, to see the college of the future with its need for a solidly planned curriculum. The students knew that they were subjects of an interesting educational experiment, and went along wholeheartedly with their faculty.
At the center of this page, you see a photographic reproduction of the invitations sent out to notables for our first Dedication Day, October 26, 1937. These invitations succeeded in assembling the largest number of important men that Queens College has since entertained at one time. One of the invitations, sent to Governor Lehman, brought a message of congratulations singing out over the wires from Albany.
The ceremonies that day were unpretentious. The faculty dressed up in their long black gowns and little caps, and followed an academic procession headed by the four hundred students of the Class of '41. Mayor LaGuardia attended, and, with the other guests, took part in the flag-raising ceremonies outside, and then led the way into the auditorium. There, speeches were made by the Mayor; Mark Eisner, then Chairman of the Board of Higher Education; Dr. Herman Cooper, Assistant Commissioner of Education of the State of New York; Judge Charles S. Colden, Chairman of the Queens College Association; Dr. John H. Finley, Editor of the New York Times; and the Honorable John T. Flynn, Chairman of the Queens College Administrative Committee.
Mayor LaGuardia, in his speech, gave himself deserved credit for one thing: (We again quote from the CROWN of December 2, 1937): "'I did not interfere with the choice of a president or a faculty-a thing which has never happened before in the history of New York City.'
"Looking out upon the New York skyline, the Mayor suggested that the students of Queens College keep their buildings low and their ideals high."
Books were presented to the library by Dr. Finley and Judge Colden. Music for the occasion was supplied by the choir and orchestra of Brooklyn College.

This year's Dedication Day will see most of the plans and works of the Queens College administration and faculty brought to fruition. The Four Year Plan is complete and in working order. The student body has grown, and along with it, the faculty and the teaching facilities of the college have increased. Our laboratories are now as well equipped as those of any college of our size. Our Music and Speech Departments rank in size of staffs and amount of equipment with those of any liberal arts college in the country and, indeed, far out-rank many of them. Our English, Mathematics, Social Science, and Natural Science Departments are unsurpassed in their personnels, their course planning and presentation. Our library has a splendid foundation in standard reference books, but is still limited in space and available staff-time; it is able, however, to meet the needs of our now large student body.
Our extra-curricular activities have grown apace. There are now over sixty clubs, fraternities, and sororities. Club-sponsored programs have presented many noted teachers, lecturers, writers, to the student body and faculty. The faculty-sponsored Institute Programs have brought many famous speakers on the subjects of science, social problems, music and art before Queens College audiences. On our campus, there is never a lagging of interest. It is as an overwhelmed freshman said recently, "Gosh, there's always SOMETHING doing."

And now, on our third Dedication Day, let us look ahead-to the future. It is not everywhere on this earth that people can do this, but we in America may count our blessings of the present and look forward without fear to what there is in store for us. Let us plan in peace what others are destroying in war. Let us build high our cities, our lives, and our ideals. Let us use our college as a standard by which to go, and we may at last attain our long delayed "new birth of freedom."

The Board of Higher Education of the City of New York
requests the honor of your presence at the dedication of
Queens College
on Tuesday morning the twenty-sixth of October
Nineteen hundred and thirty-seven
at half past ten o'clock

Kindly respond
Queens College
Kissena Boulevard
Flushing, New York

Original Format

8.5 x 11 inches (216 x 279 mm)


Queens College (New York, N.Y.), “The Lens,” Queens College Archives and Special Collections, accessed July 14, 2020,