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Lives Well-Lived: Harold Pagliaro & Hans Boman

Swarthmore lost two beloved members of its community this winter: a renowned scholar of English literature and a talented accompanist in the Department of Music and Dance.

Harold Pagliaro, provost emeritus and Alexander Griswold Cummins Professor Emeritus of English Literature, died Feb. 15. He was 94.

Harry joined Swarthmore’s faculty in fall 1964 and taught courses in 18th-century English literature and English romantic poetry. He chaired the English Literature Department twice — in 1970–74 and 1986–91 — and also served as chair of the Humanities Division. In 1974, he was named the College’s second provost, serving in that role, under President Theodore Friend, until 1979. After 28 years of teaching at Swarthmore, Harry retired in 1992. 

Upon finding a cache of letters he had written to his parents while stationed away from home during World War II, Harry set out to document his war experiences. His book Naked Heart: A Soldier’s Journey to the Front (1996) is one of the few World War II memoirs written from a private’s point of view.

“Familiar with the entire canon of Western literature, Harry seemed to me to embody the virtues associated with the humanities themselves,” says Philip Weinstein, Alexander Griswold Cummins Professor Emeritus of English Literature. “Intensely intellectual, fiercely alert, a productive scholar of Romanticism, as well as a loyal defender of Swarthmore College, Harry contributed immeasurably to this place.” 

Hans Boman, a gifted pianist equally adept accompanying classical ballet classes as he was classes in modern dance, died Jan. 30. He was 64.

Born in Denmark, Hans came to the U.S. in 1973 to study piano performance at the Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts, now the University of the Arts. By the time he graduated with a bachelor of music in 1979, he had already begun to build his reputation as an in-demand accompanist for singers and instrumentalists. He joined the staff of the College in 1990.

“Many students, faculty, and staff benefited from his understanding of the collaborative relationship between music and dance,” says Professor Emerita of Dance Sharon Friedler, who directed the program during much of Hans’s time at Swarthmore. “Hans put himself in service of both art forms and contributed significantly to the vibrancy of the dance curriculum through his musicianship, his gift to us all.”   

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