While a few interviews were conducted by necessity over the phone, most were done face-to-face as my work on various writing projects took me around the country. I was able to connect with Gaudino’s former protégé Craig Brown in Arizona, with Jake Gaudino at his retirement home in Indio, Calif., outside Palm Springs, and with John Rensenbrink, Gaudino’s close friend from graduate school days in Chicago – and an early Williams colleague – in Maine.

In two cases, people were interviewed in groups. Jeff Thaler organized a reunion of Williams-at-Home alumni in Williamstown and when that proved to be especially productive –- one person’s story would stir the memory of another — Dale Riehl arranged a similar gathering of Williams-in-India veterans in New York.

Though we call this an oral history, we have occasional entries from written sources: from letters, newspaper clips, the journal Gaudino kept during his college trip to Europe and in a few instances from his formal writings. One snippet from an early Gaudino student, James C. (Jim) Scott ’58, (the “small genius” entry), was taken from the transcript of an interview that Cambridge anthropologist Alan Macfarlane conducted with Scott, a longtime Yale political science professor.

In the tradition of oral histories, the entries reflect the way people speak, down to the “you knows” and “I means.” But they have been edited several ways: to eliminate some of those tics of conversation and avoid excessive repetition—both within entries and among them–and to allow for self-corrections later in an interview. If someone started an anecdote early in a conversation, then dredged up another detail a half hour later, those often are combined.

In some cases, however, we included many entries on the same point, as on the “guru” issue. The assumption was that we can learn something from the subtle – and not-so-subtle – differences in how various students and faculty members viewed the passionate following of “Gaudinoites.” Let me again thank the faculty colleagues for participating, particularly those who shared their doubts. It can’t be easy being asked about a colleague dead for decades for a project initiated by a fund formed by adoring students. But the Gaudino tradition demands that dissenters be heard, and taken seriously. When we quote a colleague suggesting that Gaudino’s Williams-at-Home program was bunk, and that students might have gotten just as much out of joining the Army, that’s not offered up merely to be dismissed. It’s a question worth pondering.