Nell Irvin Painter

Sixtieth Birthday Tribute

Nell Irvin Painter photo, 2001  
Nell Painter in the early 1990s.  

Nell Painter celebrated her 60th birthday on August 2, 2002. As part of the celebration of this milestone, her family organized a tribute on this website. Many of Nell's friends simply extended their greetings; others recalled personal experiences with Nell; others provided appreciations of her scholarly work. In addition to pages of greetings and tributes, the celebration also included an on-line photo album. The family will continue to post late arrivals. Please e-mail the text you would like to have posted here to her husband, Glenn Shafer, at

We will also continue to enlarge the photo album. If you want to add a photograph to a message you already sent, please e-mail it to Glenn or write to him for a mailing address; we will scan the photograph and return it. We would especially like to have more photographs of Nell and her friends from the 1960s and 1970s.

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Nell wrote the following response to the greetings from her friends:

3 August 2002

nell and sam roberts  
Nell Painter with her student Sam Roberts at Dartmouth College, November 2000.  

Thank you, thank you, my dear friends, for all your generous and heartfelt greetings on my 60th birthday. I still feel buoyed by your affection, but even so, I keep rereading the file to savor my wonderfully generous friends. Your messages remind me of my good fortune to have had you by my side, some of you for forty years and more. Without your support in this cruel world, I would long ago have lost heart and surely fallen silent.

I had a perfect day yesterday: I read my greetings, which buoyed my spirits tremendously. Then we took our regular nice long walk. We drove to Quebec for lunch at the restaurant beside Lake Memphremagog, where (in 1995) we first decided to spend more time in this part of the world. In the midst of such pleasure, one thought sobered me: that same gorgeous day marked Claudia Tate's internment at age 55. May her soul rest in peace.


nell in Quebec 2000  
Nell Painter at Les Boisés de Lee Farm in Stanstead, Quebec, Christmas 2000.  
nell in boston 2001  
Nell Painter receiving the Nancy Lyman Roelker Mentorship Award. Boston, January 5, 2001.  

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