To the Editor:
This letter was also sent to the Tisbury select board.
For the last dozen years, I have been a trustee of the Peter C. Cornell Trust, a charitable trust founded by Peter C. Cornell, my great-uncle and father of my godmother, the actress Katharine Cornell. I have long been familiar with the gift that Katharine Cornell arranged, through
the trust, that established a venue for theatrical and cultural events in the town of Tisbury, which she loved (and where I visited her in my youth at her Vineyard Haven home).
Consequently, I was startled to read in The Martha’s Vineyard Times of the bizarre decision by the town of Tisbury to turn the Katharine Cornell Theater and related space into administrative offices. The article suggests that the town’s official view is that the terms of her gift did not require that the space thereby made possible remain a performance and cultural venue, but this is pedantry: Her intent was clear.
I regret that town administrative staff have to work in cramped spaces, but administrative convenience hardly justifies a net reduction in community quality of life. How is this good public service? And how does it in any way respect Katharine Cornell’s wishes, generosity, and memory?
Stephen E. Cornell