Joseph Nahum Schulzinger


Died January 8, 1967

Joseph Schulzinger and I were neighbors, classmates and friends for nearly a decade, growing up in Cincinnati and attending Walnut Hills High School, from which we both matriculated to Yale, along with two other WHHS classmates, Richard Frankel and Nelson Kasfir. Each of us hoped that Yale would enable us to shape and prepare for the great adventure of life and more specifically, help us determine our place in the society and the occupation or calling we would engage in beyond graduation from Yale and then from a graduate or professional school.

Joseph arrived in New Haven blessed with many talents. I am looking at a black and white picture of him performing “Hernando’s Hideaway” on the WHHS Stage to great acclaim, and another, where he is serving as our senior class treasurer, and yet a third where he is identified as the Literary Editor of Gleam, WHHS’s Literary magazine. He wrote both prose and poetry with great skill and talent.

Some of his first impressions of Yale are reflected in a few sentences quoted from a letter he wrote to his sister Judith on September 13, 1957, during the first few weeks of our freshman year:

“I have met a South African exchange student, a Chinese Directed Studies student, a tennis champion who loves Beethoven, a pleasant goof who is a science whiz, and a divinity student who is a warm and wonderful person. I look on everyone here with awe – they are all extremely intelligent and well-rounded……….

The Invocation Ceremony, with the school officials marching in to a Bach fugue was splendid! The reception at President Griswold’s house was so elegant that I felt that I was barging in on Queen Elizabeth’s garden party.”

At Yale he registered as an English honors major, and served on the Lit Board in his sophomore year. Nothing is recorded in the Class Book beyond that point, for by then he was struggling with a life-wrenching decision whether to follow his declared interest to become a physician, something profoundly hoped for by his parents, and his heart’s desire to be a musician, or a writer, or to achieve eminence in some other form of artistic or literary endeavor. It was a decision he could never quite bring himself to make.

—by Jonathan M. Brown