Letter: An Uncanny Knack for Research
To the Editor:
After reading about Virginia Close in the Nov. 26 Valley News, I feel compelled to share my own story of her uncanny ability to uncover the most arcane information that students sometime request. I was working on a project for a class in which I wanted to demonstrate how the relative size of France had actually shrunk with the advent of new transportation modes. I was looking for transportation timetables, both current and historic, from Paris to other major cities in France and was able to find information on airline, auto and train travel times relatively easily. I had already heard of Virginia’s legendary reputation and had asked for her help with previous research, so I asked her how far back I might be able to find information. She didn’t hesitate a minute but rather marched me over to the special-collections room, which at that time was still part of Baker Library. She then proceeded to pull out an ancient timetable of the stage coach in France! Alas, it was all in French, a language I did not know. That didn’t stop Virginia. She found one of her colleagues who could translate for me. Needless to say, my professors were duly impressed with my research and my final project, and I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Virginia for that success. I was sorry to hear of her passing and honored to have been one of the many Dartmouth students graced by her wisdom.