I first met Henry, I believe, in 1958, at Grand Central Station; we were both  about to board a train bound for the Berkshires, to attend arts camp in Stockbridge, MA. Henry dazzled me immediately and deeply, and when I wrote to my parents about my fellows at Indian Hill, among them Karen Christenfeld, Myra Rubin, and Ann Snitow, he was center stage, the person chosen to act Galileo in the camp’s production of Berthold Brecht’s  Galileo. Who could not but be impressed by this polymath, a consummate musician, an intellectual in the best sense of the term, an actor, a  rare being, who with humor and sensitivity probed and emotionally sustained those who had the good fortune to know him. Our friendship continued even after he went to Oberlin College and I to Barnard. When he moved to New York to continue his studies at Columbia College and Columbia University, we reconnected. Perhaps Henry introduced me to Yeshi Sherover who also had attended Oberlin. Henry received his master’s and doctorate from Columbia University in English and Comparative Literature; his dissertation, Ben Jonson and the Truth of Praise, was published in 1973. Henry is on the faculty of the Eugene Lang College of the New School ( New York City), where he received  recognition for his unique educative gifts, the  Distinguished University Teaching Award. For more on this professional musician, author, and “teacher,” see http://www.newschool.edu/lang/faculty.aspx?id=3372.  Regrettably, I have found only two drawings of Henry, the first is graphite on a sheet c. 8” x 11,” the second, water color on newsprint ( 14 x 17).  Henry’s piercing blue eyes and the intensity of his expression are riveting in person but the drawings do not convey these physiognomical aspects. The second one draws on Bonnard and Matisse is decorative, yet character, persona, is intended   in the flurry and dash of impression, of suggestion not definition. In contrast the first drawing is introspective, the subject engaged within as he submerges his reason and sensibility in the text. At least two 14” x 17” portraits were drawn in charcoal or chalk, where Henry is proximate to the frontal plane and directly engages the viewer. His lips were parted, in one, as if engaged in conversation.  In my mind’s eye I recall the work but it no longer exists.


Henry B. Shapiro