This is part of an occasional series of historical
pieces by Ross Jones, vice president and secretary
emeritus. A 1953 graduate of Johns Hopkins, Jones returned
in 1961 as assistant to President Milton S. Eisenhower and
was a close aide to six of the university's 13
In the 1940s the university occasionally held
Commencement exercises in the auditorium of the old
Maryland Casualty Co. on West 40th Street, the site of
At one of those ceremonies, in 1943, according to
correspondence in the Hamburger Archives, university
Provost P. Stewart Macaulay engaged one J. Norris Herring
to be the Commencement organist.
About a week after the event, Mr. Herring, who lived
at 2113 St. Paul St., wrote to Mr. Macaulay, saying "one
detail relative to the engagement of myself" had not been
covered in their earlier correspondence.
That was, said Mr. Herring "the mention of a fee
therefor." He said he hesitated "to make it a point of
individual consideration, feeling that it would resolve
itself." But, "possibly now you may have been waiting for
me to refer to it, and I do so, now."
He said he had played for many years at the
commencements of the Girls Latin School in the same
auditorium "for a fee of $10 on each occasion." He said if
that figure was agreeable to Hopkins, it was to him.
Responding immediately, Provost Macaulay said, "We
were both perhaps remiss in not having mentioned the
delicate matter of a fee." He added that the amount was
"entirely satisfactory" and assured Mr. Herring that a
check would be on its way.
Henry S. Baker, university treasurer, sent Mr. Herring
a $10 check the following day.
There is no indication whether Mr. Herring played for