Skip to main content

Law Office of Ronald David Greenberg

Site Map
Notice; disclaimer
About the firm
Contact the firm
Member Login
Curriculum Vitae
Publications (with links)
Publications (by date)
U.S. Navy tour of duty
Selected photos
Business Lwyr comment
Securitization comment
Work in progress
Selected references
Selected editorships
Startup businesses
Safire letter comment
Verbal skills importance
Business law importance
Humor importance
Experience importance
Work-life balance
Professional Engineering
Role of law importance
Pro bono activities
Army ballistic missile

Army Ballistic Missile Agency (NASA), important road not taken   

ABMA Research Engineer appointment ; U.S. Navy denial of AMBA reassignment:  

  • Appointment as ABMA Research Engineer:  Selected for position of Mechanical Engineer at Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) at Redstone Arsenal (Cape Canaveral, Florida; Huntsville, Alabama (see excerpt of 12/3/1956 ABMA letter at "Information on engineering position at ABMA" below and at "Synopsis of correspondence" below).  Accepted the assigned position as Research Engineer (Aeronautical Instrumentation) in ABMA Missile Firing Laboratory (under Wernher von Braun, director of development operations division) at Port Canaveral, Florida  (see excerpt of 4/24/1957 letter at "Information on engineering position at ABMA" below and at "Synopsis of correspondence" below). 
  • Employment subject to U.S. Navy approval:  Employment at ABMA subject to U.S. Navy's approval (see excerpt of  2/14/1957 AMBA letter at "Information on engineering position at ABMA" below and at "Synopsis of correspondence" below).  ABMA letter makes clear that "we jurisdiction in military assignments at this Agency" and "very few Navy personnel [are] assigned to ABMA" though “our understanding that at the time you enter the service you are given your choice of assignments.  However, these requests are not always approved."
  • U.S. Navy denial of assignment:   Requested that the U.S. Navy issue orders reassigning me to report to the ABMA to replace the original orders assigning me to U.S. Navy Supply Corps School (Athens, Georgia) The Navy denied my request.

[History of ABMA (under construction):]       

  • Components of U.S. military’s space program transferred to NASA:  President Eisenhower ordered (on October 21, 1959) components of the military’s space program to be transferred to NASA (transferred to NASA in 1960), and a substantial proportion of ABMA facilities was leased (in July 1960) to NASA to form the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center. Some of these facilities later received national historic recognition for their activity during both the ABMA and NASA eras (source:  Click here and here for details (Google™ search results)Click here and here for more details (Bing™ search results). Click here and here for Wernher von Braun and NASA.

Written by veteran aerospace journalist Bob Ward, who spent years investigating his subject, this biography presents a revealing but even-handed portrait of the father of modern rocketry. As he chronicles Werner von Braun's life, Ward explodes many myths and misconceptions about the controversial genius who was a hero to some, a villain to others. The picture of von Braun that emerges is of a brilliant scientist with limitless curiosity and a drive to achieve his goals at almost any price--from developing the world's first ballistic missile used against the Allies in World War II to helping launch the first U.S. satellite that hurled Americans into space and the Saturn V super-booster that powered them to the moon. Along the way readers are introduced to the human side of this charismatic visionary who brought the United States into the Space Age.

Michael Neufeld,Von Braun: Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War (2008), its review noting

[Forthcoming from research below]  

Dennis Piszkiewicz,Wernher von Braun: The Man Who Sold the Moon (1998),  (Publishers Weekly: “Von Braun, who became a U.S. citizen in 1955, was a national hero to many and prophet of the space age. Including a history of the U.S.-Soviet space race, this biography makes a convincing case that he was also a war criminal, his past sanitized for expediency.”).

[Forthcoming from research below]

  Wernher von Braun, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, Mar. 30, 2014, Noting Erik Bergaust, Reaching for the Stars (1960) ("a definitive and authoritative biography").  The  Encyclopaedia Britannica noted that

Braun always recognized the value of the work of American rocket pioneer Robert Goddard.  “Until 1936,” said Braun, “Goddard was ahead of us all.” At the end of World War II, Braun, his younger brother Magnus, Dornberger, and the entire German rocket-development team surrendered to U.S. troops. Within a few months Braun and about 100 members of his group were at the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps test site at White Sands, N.M., where they tested, assembled, and supervised the launching of captured V-2s for high-altitude research purposes. Developmental studies were made of advanced ramjet and rocket missiles. At the end of the war, the United States had entered the field of guided missiles with practically no previous experience. The technical competence of Braun’s group was outstanding. “After all,” he said, “if we are good, it’s because we’ve had 15 more years of experience in making mistakes and learning from them!”

After moving to Huntsville, Ala., in 1952, Braun became technical director (later chief) of the U.S. Army ballistic-weapon program. Under his leadership, the Redstone, Jupiter-C, Juno, and  Pershing missiles were developed. In 1955 he became a U.S. citizen and, characteristically, accepted citizenship wholeheartedly. During the 1950s Braun became a national and international focal point for the promotion of space flight. He was the author or coauthor of popular articles and books and made addresses on the subject.
. . . .  

After the National Aeronautics and space Program Administration (NASA) was formed to carry out the U.S. space program, Braun and his organization were transferred from the army to that agency. As director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Braun led the development of the large space launch vehicles, Saturn I. IB,, and V.  The engineering success of each rocket in the Saturn class of space boosters, which contained millions of individual parts, remains unparalleled in rocket history. Each was launched successfully and on time and met safe-performance requirements.

In March 1970 Braun was transferred to NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., as deputy associate administrator for planning. He resigned from the agency in 1972 to become vice president at Fairchild Industries, Inc., an aerospace company. In 1975 he founded the National Space Institute, a private organization whose objective was to gain public support and understanding of space activities.

noting also Erik Bergaust, Reaching for the Stars (1960), a definitive and authoritative biography.
  • Huntsville, Alabama:  See also, e.g., Jeffrey Zaslow, In Huntsville, Ala., Rocketerr' Legacy Has Complex Echoes:Residents Embrace Scientists Brought In After War, But Nazi Past Still Haunts, Wall St. J., Nov. 10, 2004, at A1

[Research re Wernher von Braun:]  

Wernher von Braun: The Man Who Sold the Moon (Dennis Piszkiewicz, (Amazon review at : The book reveals that factions of the U.S. Army, in their zeal to have von Braun's team of scientists working for American interests, covered up what they knew about his complicity in Nazi causes and abetted him in the perpetuation of the myth he carefully created about his past.)

The Mars Project by Wernher Von Braun and Henry J. White (Oct 1, 1962),  

[customer review] This book is a real classic. You will see how rocket wizzard and space visionary Wernher von Braun and his colleagues imagined a manned mission to Mars with the technology available in the mid 20th century. With today's knowledge and financial horizon, von Braun's vision looks pretty oversized, and the surface of Mars certainly is very different from what they believed 50 years ago. The very value of this book is that it simply showed how such an extensive mission could be made feasible -- that it is possible to send people to Mars without fancy technology of science fiction writers. The authors use some calculus and diagrams to explain the complicated flight dynamics for sending a spacecraft to another planet and landing on its surface.

Today we know that a mission to Mars will not look like von Braun's "Mars Project" but it is good to know that most of the basics haven't changed.  Buy this book together with Robert Zubrin's "Case for Mars" and you'll see the progress within half a century. [Zubrin's "Case for Mars" is available at

[customer review] I found this book in a search that was filtered for science fiction, and I didn't see anything in skimming the reviews that made me think otherwise. Please be warned: this is not fiction. It has no characters or plot. It is a rocket science textbook packed with equations and technical diagrams. If that's what you're looking for, you're in luck!

Wayne Biddle, Dark Side of the Moon: Wernher von Braun, the Third Reich, and the Space Race (2009),

Placide D Nicaise, Huntsville and the von Braun Rocket Team (Jan. 4, 2013 (Kindle))

This is THE REAL STORY about a small Southern town at the dawn of the Space Age. It was at this time and this place that engineers struggled to build the machines to take mankind away from Earth for the first time. This is the story of Wernher von Braun--a man with an obsession for space flight and with the genius to make it happen. He and his team struggled against more than gravity and the hazards of outer space on the way to the moon. They faced political pitfalls along the way and abandonment at the end of their mission.

In spite of the distractions, von Braun organized the talent and technology for one triumph after the other in rocketry and space flight. He fired the minds of everyone with his vision of mankind's greatest adventure. In the end, his team accomplished what many people said could not be done--the Apollo missions to the surface of the moon.

Annie Jacobsen, Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America (2014),

In the chaos following World War II, the U.S. government faced many difficult decisions, including what to do with the Third Reich's scientific minds. These were the brains behind the Nazis' once-indomitable war machine. So began Operation Paperclip, a decades-long, covert project to bring Hitler's scientists and their families to the United States.

Many of these men were accused of war crimes, and others had stood trial at Nuremberg; one was convicted of mass murder and slavery. They were also directly responsible for major advances in rocketry, medical treatments, and the U.S. space program. Was Operation Paperclip a moral outrage, or did it help America win the Cold War?

For more on Wernher von Braun, see, e,g,

[Research re Huntsville (George C. Marshall Space Flight Center); Johnson Space Center (Houston); Kennedy Space Center (Houston):]   

NASA (transferred to NASA in 1960), and a substantial proportion of ABMA facilities was leased (in July 1960) to NASA to form the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, (Since its inception in 1958, NASA has accomplished many great scientific and technological feats in air and space.)  (Johnson Space Center was established in 1961)  (A little more than five decades ago, launch pads and towers began to rise one by one above the scrub land, dotting the shoreline of Florida's East coast. By 1960, the "Missile Firing Laboratory" had become an extension of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.)  (A little more than five decades ago, launch pads and towers began to rise one by one above the scrub land, dotting the shoreline of Florida's East coast. By 1960, the "Missile Firing Laboratory" had become an extension of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.)

. . . . 

On July 1, 1962, NASA officially activated the Launch Operations Center at the seaside spaceport, granting the center equal status to Marshall and offering the center's new director, Dr. Kurt H. Debus, a direct report to the agency's headquarters in Washington, D.C. The following year the center was renamed to honor the president who put America on the path to the moon.).

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Encyclopaedia Britannica, Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, Mar. 30, 2014,  National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), independent U.S. governmental agency established in 1958 for the research and development of vehicles and activities for the exploration of space within and outside of Earth’s atmosphere., (Johnson Space Center was established in 1961) (In April 1950 the U.S Army established its team of rocket specialists, headed by Dr. Wernher von Braun, as the Ordnance Guided Missile Center at Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Alabama. This center was the origin of what eventually became the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). On 1 February 1956 the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) was formed at Redstone Arsenal ABMA. This was a merger and expansion of existing agencies there; its team of scientists and engineers formed the nucleus of the Development Operations Division.

Early in 1960 President Eisenhower submitted a request to Congress for the transfer of ABMA's space missions to NASA, including certain facilities and personnel, chiefly the Development Operations Division. The transfer became effective 14 March 1960 and NASA set up its "Huntsville Facility" in preparation for formal establishment of the field center later that year. The next day, 15 March, President Eisenhower proclaimed the NASA facility would be called George C. Marshall Space Flight Center." The name honored George C. Marshall, General of the Army, who was Chief of Staff during World War II, Secretary of State 1948-1949, and author of the Marshall Plan. General Marshall was the only professional soldier to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, awarded to him in 1954.)     

In 1956-1957 I do not recall my being aware of any of the history at that time of the German scientists’ participation in the space/rocket program in Huntsville, or of Wernher von Braun’s having moved to Huntsville in 1952.   Had I known in 1956-1957 what I know now, I probably would sought to receive orders to report to the labs, to the extent that they were in existence at that time at any stage of their inception/planning, in Florida (Kennedy Space Center's inception/planning circa 1958 (?)) or Houston (Johnson Space Center's inception/planning circa 1958 (?)).

I would have made such a request to be transferred to the Florida or Houston labs to avoid being subjected to, and spared, controversy -- and out of respect for the views, and feelings, of those opposed to using WWII V-2 rocket German scientists at ABMA -- on my serving a tour of Army duty at  AMBA Huntsville (or George C. Marshall Space Flight Center (1960 (?)).  I would probably made a similar request if I were to have extended my work at AMBA either in the military (Army or Navy) and continuing afterward in civilian life after discharge from the military.

These difficulties would seem to have been by-passed by ABMA's having me report to the Cape Canaveral labs  (see below on this page Correspondence on engineering position at ABMA  at  (4) Letter on Research Engineer assignment to Missile-Firing Laboratory (Apr. 24, 1957)) when it specified my exact initial assignment as Research Engineer (Aeronautical Instrumentation) in the Missile Firing Laboratory at Cape Canaveral, Florida.   [Forthcoming: above difficulties and career decision not reached by reason of Navy's not giving me orders to report to ABMA, though still needed to decide, on discharge from Navy, what to do re scholarships at MIT (mechanical engineering), Ohio State University (mechanical engineering), and HBS (MBA) [add documentary excerpts either in this paragraph or in Gallery 4a on Navigation Bar, or in both] dependent on career choice to pursue engineering or management and law.  See on Navigation Bar SELECTED HONORS:  at Graduate School Scholarship  (Teagle (1959-61) Harvard University, Graduate School of Business) and at Other Fellowships/Scholarships  (M.I.T., Engineering Fellowship (unable to accept; 1959); Ohio State Univ., Mechannical Engineering Dept., invitation to submit fellowship application (unable to accept; 1956).]

[History of ABMA (end of construction)]    

        Correspondence on engineering position at ABMA:  

  • Synopsis of ABMA correspondence: 
(1) Letter of appointment to Mechanical Engineer (Dec. 3, 1956)("selected for the position of Mechanical Engineer, GS-5"). 

(2) Notice of Rating by U.S. Civil Service Commission (Jan. 3, 1957) ("Eligible--Your numerical rating is 99 -- Provisional:  upon graduation, May, 1957"). 

(3) Letter on jurisdiction (Feb. 14, 1957(emphasis added) ("we have no jurisdiction in military assignments at this Agency" and "very few Navy personnel [are] assigned to ABMA" though “our understanding that at the time you enter the service you are given your choice of assignments.  However, these requests are not always approved.”). 

(4) Letter on Research Engineer Assignment to Missile-Firing Laboratory (Apr. 24, 1957), confirmed my acceptance and provided some details on scope of assignment:

Inasmuch as you have accepted a position with the Army Ballistic Missile Agency” *** “our intention is to assign you to the position of Research Engineer   (Aeronautical Instrumentation) in the *** Missile Firing Laboratory” having "the basic function of test firing missiles being developed by this Agency” and “includes functions in the fields of  * * *, measuring and tracking of missiles in flight, electronic and electrical design and development work in instrumentation, and acquisition and evaluation of data.”  “You are requested to report for duty to the Army Ballistic Missile Agency, Huntsville, Alabama, 3 June 1957.  A few days later you will be sent, at Government expense, from Huntsville to your duty station at Port Canaveral, Florida.”  “If this assignment is not satisfactory, please advise us immediately and we will arrange for you to be assigned to one of our laboratories here in Huntsville. (Emphasis added.).

  • ABMA letters; Notice of Civil Service Commission Rating: 
(1) Letter of appointment to Mechanical Engineer (Dec. 3, 1956)

(2) Notice of Rating by U.S. Civil Service Commission (Jan. 3, 1957)


(3) Letter on ABMA jurisdiction (Feb. 14, 1957)

(4) Letter on Research Engineer assignment to Missile-Firing Laboratory (Apr. 24, 1957):  

missilefiring lab

                          * * * *

Cf.   Professional engineering" on Navigation Bar.  See also, "Curriculum vitae" (at "Military Experience") on Navigation Bar.


Other roads not taken by me:  

The following examples indicate some of the consequences of the decisions that I made when confronted with a career or other fork in the road.

  • Roads not taken socially

Recent media attention on Max's Kansas City, Village Gate, et al. raised the question of my not experiencing the variety of entertainment available in Manhattan, such as Max's, which I never fully enjoyed.  I did frequent various other enjoyable restaurants/bars, such as Chumley's, Blue Mill Tavern, Waverley Inn, and Cedar Tavern, all of which were nearby to Max’s and to my N.Y.C. (Greenwich Village) apartment.  With, however, the recent recounting of Max’s lustrous past, I now wonder about my not getting to enjoy more of Max's and several other Village sites such as the Village Gate, Bottom Line, and Village Vanguard. 

The attention given to Max's Kansas City has been widespread:  in the press (e.g., New York Times, New Yorker, New York Magazine, Vogue), in other media (e.g., WNYC), and at the Steven Kasher Gallery exhibition (in Chelsea (Manhattan, N.Y.)).  This media attention on Max's, quite the rage in its heyday, has stirred up in me some nostalgia about Max's since I never really enjoyed its charms. 
I thus never became a habitué of Max's, though  friends  mentioned meeting there, and I stopped by on occasion (when it was crowded but not going in or staying only momentarily).
  Max's historic past was something that I did not appreciate fully when it was thriving as a business. 

Now I wonder what I missed, if anything, which has prompted my broader reflection on other roads not taken by me.  One important example is my not being able to report for duty at the ABMA, particularly the excerpt of the letter dated February 14, 1957, indicating that a request for an assignment is not always approved and that very few Navy personnel are assigned to ABMA.  See below(on this page) at Roads not taken militarily.

For information on Max's Kansas Cityclick here  and  here.  For more information on Max's, click here(for Google™ search results).  For more information on the Steven Kasher Gallery exhibition and the the book Max's Kansas City: Art, Glamour, Rock and Roll (Abrams Image, Sept. 2010) being launched at the exhibition, click here ((for Google™ search results) and  click here (for bing™ search results).  For more information on the Army missile facility,  click on Navigation Bar at "curriculum vitae" (then see "Military Experience").   See, e.g., the following excerpt of a New Yorker article on the Backroom at Max's.

  • Roads not taken militarily:

The simple missing out on Max's makes me think that though my Navy tour was worthwhile and enjoyable, I now wonder what might have wrought instead had my request been granted by the Navy for duty at the Army missile research facility. Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken comes to mind.   

Frost's poem is especially poignant given that my mode of transportation to the ship in October of 1957 was by car on the road.   My orders were to report for duty on the U.S.S Tarawa (CVS-40), which I did by taking to the hodgepodge of roads in my 1956 Dodge, the Interstate system being in its embryonic stages back then, to Quonset Point, R.I. (across Narragansett Bay from Newport, R.I.).  Despite my car's suffering an engine breakdown on the New Jersey turnpike, causing a delay for repairs to the Dodge (the mechanic's diagnosis was that a "piston swallowed a valve"), I duly reported a few days late for duty aboard the Tarawa

In a nutshell: instead of of taking the road to the Army Ballistic Missile Agency in Huntsville, Ala., I took the road to Quonset Point, R.I., the Tarawa's home portSo here I am speaking -- literally -- of roads taken and not taken.

Frost's poem becomes even more poignant to me, however, given that Sputnik was launched on October 4,1957.  With that launch came the dawn of the space age, and with the space age came interesting and important projects for rocket engineers and scientists at ABMA and other facilities.  See, e.g., Steve Garber, Sputnik and The Dawn of the Space Age, NASA History Web (October 10, 2007), (noting that "[h]istory changed on October 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik I," that the "launch ushered in new political, military, technological, and scientific developments," and that "[w]hile the Sputnik launch was a single event, it marked the start of the space age and the U.S.-U.S.S.R space race."); Sputnik, Encyclopædia Britannica (2013), (“whose launch by the Soviet Union beginning on Oct. 4, 1957, inaugurated the space age.”).

My work as a supply officer on the ship constituted engineering experience and was certainly worthwhile.  See, e.g., "Gallery 11: professional engineering" at  "Engineering experience" on Navigation Bar.  The tour on the ship was honorable, interesting, enjoyable, even exciting at times. See, e.g., "Gallery 2: US Navy" on Navigation Bar.  Yet I wonder about the opportunity foregone of  the engineering experience at the Army Ballistic Missile Agency, especially during the early stages of the space age after Sputnik. Still, the idea of going to graduate school for an MBA and a JD came to me while on the Tarawa. See below (on this page) atRoads not taken academically.

For information on the Village Gate, click here,  the Bottom Line, here, and the Village Vanguard, here.  For a review on WNYC of some of these and other venues,  click here.  See also "curriculum vitae" (at "Military Experience") on Navigation Bar.   For information on Krapp's Last Tape, click here.   For information on the Cherry Lane theatre, click here.  For the closing of this Village institution, click here.     For information on Steve Martin's latest novel on art, An Object of Beautyclick here, on spreading himself too thin, here, and for other information on Mr. Martins book search results), here, and on Mr. Martin,  here

  • Roads not taken academically: 

Probably the earliest fork in the road that I faced academically came as a freshman at the University of Texas when I had to decide whether to embark on a so-called  Plan 2 program, a specially selected series of courses in the liberal arts. Click here  for more on Plan 2. I opted for a decidedly less broad and more focused course of study when I chose to major in applied physics with a minor in  applied mathematics.  I declined to enter Plan 2 by reason of my going to my strengths – math and physics – and thus majoring in applied physics (1952-1954) and mechanical engineering (1954-1957, two summers to catch up on engineering requirements) rather than a rigorous liberal arts program under Plan 2.  Though I had some aptitude for liberal arts courses in high school, my performance in math and science was markedly better. My view of a major was guided by sheer practicality: what course of study would enable me to make a living upon my emergence from college.  I was  also guided by the wise counsel of my uncle (Hyman ("Hymie") Karotkin).  Early in my years as a New York lawyer, however, I tried to broaden my background in the liberal arts. See, e.g., "curriculum vitae" at "Selected Education" on Navigation Bar (courses at N.Y.U. and the New School, 1966-1969). This interest in the liberal arts continues to this day in my readings though not by my enrolling in formal courses. Verbal skills are also important, so English usage has been emphasized for many years by me.  See also, e.g., "Gallery 1b: publishing houses" at "William Safire/Times Books, NY Times Book Co (letter on verbal skills)" on Navigation Bar

Although I have been fortunate to receive several scholarships/fellowships for graduate school (see "curriculum vitae" at "Fellowships/Scholarships" on Navigation Bar), they were awarded for graduate work of a practical sort, such as business and engineering.  [Forthcoming:  facing difficult decision re MIT, HBS, and Ohio State University scholarships in mechanical engineering (Masters and possibly Doctorate) or business (MBA) (add excerpts from letters received from MIT, Ohio State, HBS) either in this paragraph or in Gallery 4a on Navigation Bar, or in both) dependent on career choice to pursue engineering or management .  See on Navigation Bar SELECTED HONORS:  at Graduate School Scholarship  (Teagle (1959-61) Harvard University, Graduate School of Business) and at Other Fellowships/Scholarships  (M.I.T., Engineering Fellowship (unable to accept; 1959); Ohio State Univ., Mechannical Engineering Dept., invitation to submit fellowship application (unable to accept; 1956).]  Upon graduation from University of Texas (having focused on applied physics, applied mathematics, and engineering), my  priorities were to serve in the U.S. Navy (or, if permitted, the Army at its missile research facility (see "Curriculum Vitae" at "Military Experience" on Navigation Bar)), attend graduate business school and, perhaps, law school, and go to work to earn a living.

I never gave any thought as an undergraduate to pursuing or applying for a fellowship or scholarship to do graduate work abroad (e.g., a Fulbright, Marshall, or Rhodes). A professor (at University of Texas)  revealed to me that by my not having completed the section on extra-curricular activities on the reverse side of course registration materials, I was not considered to be interested in a Rhodes scholarship, and the search committee for that scholarship accordingly did not ask that I apply for the scholarship. (I now suspect that I may have disappointed the professor if he had placed may name before the Rhodes committee as a promising candidate.  I consider this omission a mistake that I should have not made.)  In any event, even had I filled in the additional information sought on the registration materials, I would not have done so even remotely intending to have my name considered for these scholarships to study abroad because I possibly knew of them only vaguely at the time. And if I were to have been more aware of them, I probably still would have been focused on obtaining an education that would have enabled me to earn a living as an engineer. This view gradually changed while I served as a supply corps officer for almost two years aboard the U.S.S Tarawa (CVS-40) -- at which time I began to consider going to graduate business school and, possibly, law school to prepare for a career in management (either corporate or consulting). 

Eventually, I did apply, and am grateful, for an award of a Teagle Foundation scholarship, on which I chose to attend Harvard Business School (instead of M.I.T. on a Teagle combined (presumably) with a separately awarded M.I.T. Engineering Fellowship in Mechanical Engineering (Metalurgy)).  The Teagle Foundation scholarship was created by Mr. Walter C. Teagle, former President and Chairman of the Board, Standard Oil Company (New Jersey), after his retirement from the Company.  He endowed The Teagle Foundation, Incorporated, which established a limited number of scholarships in Cornell University (undergraduate & graduate), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (undergraduate and graduate), and Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration (graduate). Acceptance by the institution was a first requisite for eligibility, and candidates must, e.g., have been an employee with at least two years of accredited service in Standard Oil.  Consideration was given to the candidate's academic achievement, character, qualities of leadership, intellectual promise, ability to profit from college training, and, in the case of returning veterans, the candidate's record in the armed services.  See, e.g.,  

  • Roads not taken professionally: 

I would never have been eligible for the Teagle had Raymond F. Rabke, Jr. not been instrumental in my becoming employed by Standard Oil Co. upon graduation.  I am grateful to Raymond F. Rabke, Jr. (he died circa 1986)  who, having graduated in chemical engineering from the engineering school of the University of Texas at Austin in 1956, who worked at the then Esso refinery, Baton Rouge, La., and whose help and invitation was instrumental in my becoming employed by the Esso refinery upon my graduation in 1957 from University of Texas at Austin, and thus my being eligible,for the Teagle. I did not realize it at the time that I was eligible for the Teagle, until later after serving in the U.S. Navy (1957-59) and applying in 1958 (circa) to M.I.T. and Harvard Business School.  As an employee of Exxon (then Esso and Standard Oil) (1957-64)) while serving in the U.S. Navy, I was on military leave of absence (1957-59).  As a student at Harvard Business School (1959-61) and Harvard Law School (1961-64),  I was on educational leave. I worked summers at primarily Exxon facilities as an engineer (Baton Rouge, La. refinery, summer 1959), business analyst (Baton Rouge, La. refinery, summer 1960), assistant researcher (Harvard Business School, summers 1961, 1962 (circa)), international finance analyst (Treasurer's Dept., N.Y., New York, summer 1963).  

My application to HBS (5/1/1959 at Item 29) indicated that my plan was to continue with Standard Oil Co. (N.J.) in management, given that I understood that the Company preferred its engineers who intended to pursue a management career attend business school.  I was fortunate to obtain from Standard Oil (i.e., Esso Standard (Baton Rouge, La. refinery)) an additional leave of absence to attend Harvard Law School.  Upon graduation from law school, I sought a position as a lawyer in Standard Oil's legal department (N.Y.C.), but was not accepted by reason of its policy of usually hiring lawyers only with a certain number of years' experience, and thus I followed a different, yet somewhat similar, career path in the legal department of Allied Chemical (1964-1967) in New York City, combining legal work with training as an engineer (E.I.T.).  See, e.g., "Gallery 11: professional engineering" on Navigation Bar. I continued this combination with Arthur, Drye, Kalish, Taylor and Wood (1967-1969).  My career focus at this point had evolved to include international business law and finance.                               

This metamorphosis/transformation was substantially complete by 1970 when I began teaching business law and tax at Columbia Business School.  Though without question I enjoyed teaching immensely, the workload was demanding (e.g., class preparation typically took 10 or so hours, plus time commitments to meeting with students after class and service to the School), and I thus began to concentrate on this phase of my life

My career as an educator/lawyer has been very fulfilling,  Yet I have sometimes wondered had I been interested in studying abroad and  had applied for, and received, a fellowship or scholarship to do so, what that direction possibly may have wrought in my career -- probably leading to academia as well -- so that perhaps all roads do lead to Rome.  Again, Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken comes to mind.  But see, e.g., Daniel Akst, Choose or Lose, Wall Street J., Oct. 13-14, 2012, at C10, review of  Robert E. Goodwin, On Settling (2012) ("We must foreclose some options: The alternative is a life full of potential but empty of meaning.").  Likewise, my commitment to the engineer-in-training (E.I.T.) requirements when practicing law but with industrial clients, e.g., Allied Chemical and Uniroyal and intrinsically in satisfaction of the E.I.T. requirements (subject to the P.E. licensing board's (Texas or New York) approval of such experience), gradually gave way to my full commitment to that of a licensed attorney and lessened to that of a licensed professional engineer as a consultant or in management in an industrial setting.  

  • Road may yet to be taken -- engineering commitment -- a work in progress:   

My commitment to engineering is a work in progress.  I still have a lingering thought to complete the requirements for the P.E license (inter alia, an examination beyond the one for the E.I.T. that I passed in 1957 (circa) in my last year at the University of Texas).  I probably will not have the time to do prepare and sit for the P.E. exam -- either in mechanical engineering or in industrial engineering. See, e.g., "gallery 11: professional engineering" on Navigation Bar.

Even if I do not pursue satisfying the requirements for the P.E. license, my commitment to science/engineering has nevertheless continued as reflected by my commitment though limited, in professional organizations such as:  American Society of Mechanical Engineers(1957 (circa)-    (Life Member)) , Texas Society of Professional Engineers (EIT) (1957 (circa)-    (Life Member),  New York Society of Professional Engineers (EIT) (1964 (circa)-     (Life Member)), National Society of Professional Engineers (EIT)  (1957 (circa)-     (Life Member)), American Association for the Advancement of Science (1971-     (Emeritus)), New York Academy of Sciences (1979-      (Emeritus)).  

Other roads not taken, and taken,  by others:   

Examples abound of persons having had, including examples as characters in plays having been portrayed as having, similar realizations about roads not taken.  See, e.g.,  Steve Martin's published views and interviews, click here.  See also, e.g., Emma Rosenblum, How To Succeed In Hollywood Despite Being Really Beautiful, New York Times 42 (June   2011) [Actress Brit Marling  is haunted by another Brit Marling, perhaps one who took an internship at Goldman Sachs upon graduating from Georgetown University instead of moving to Los Angeles to make movies].  For more on Brit Marling, click here  and  hereCf., e.g., Krapp's thoughts in Samuel Becket's Krapp's Last Tape (which  I saw at the Cherry Lane theatre in Greenwich Village (circa 1965)).

  • Prime example -- Professor Benjamin Graham of Columbia Business School:    

Professor Benjamin Graham's career, as one of the professorial giants at Columbia Business School, is a quintessesntial example of Frost's The Road Not Taken. See, e.g., Douglas W. Cray, Benjamin Graham, Securities Expert; Author and Financier Dead at 82 in France Pioneered Modern Analysis of Investments, N.Y. Times, Sept. 23, 1976, at 44 (emphasis added),, noting that

A reader and translator of Greek and on English, mathematics and philosophy, dropping out of his only economics course after a few weeks. He graduated as a member of Phi Beta Kappa and was offered teaching positions in the English, mathematics and philosophy departments.

A reader and translater (sic) of Greek and Latin and student of music, Mr. Graham was nonetheless urged by the Columbia dean to consider a career in business.  He started out on Wall Street at $12 a week, putting prices of stocks and bonds on a blackboard at a brokerage house. By 1926, he had established, with Jerome Newman, an investment fund known as the Graham-Newman Corporation and an investment partnership known as Newman & Graham.

The two partners discontinued their business operations in the late 1950’s but not before realizing impressive returns from investments.  One of their most successful investments, amounting to $750,00, was in the then-small Government Employees Insurance Company.  GEICO has come under severe financial pressure in the last year, but Mr. Graham and his former partner have not been associated with it for some time.

In addition to his own investments, Mr. Graham was long active as a financial consultant to corporations and individual clients. He was also a guest lecturer in finance at Columbia and from 1955 to 1965 was an adjunct professor in finance at the University of California at Los Angeles.

See also, e.g., Legacy of Benjamin Graham: The Original Adjunct Professor (Published Feb 4, 2013 (Producer Louisa Serene Schneider; Photographer & Editor Christina Choe),  (noting that “This film, brought to you by the Heilbrunn Center for Graham and Dodd Investing, Columbia Business School, premiered on February 1, 2013 at the 16th Annual Columbia Student Investment Management Association conference.”); Richard Loth, The Greatest Investors: Benjamin Graham, Investopedia (2013),  

Cf., e.g., Benjamin Graham 1894-1976, The Graham Investor (2013),  (noting that “Ben had in 1928 started working at Columbia teaching a course on security analysis which was, as could be expected, eminently practical. The course was also extremely popular, and those who attended or were connected with it in some way include such legendary value investors as Warren Buffet, Bill Ruane (later to manage the Sequoia Fund), Walter J Schloss, Irving Khan, Charles Brandes, and David Dodd. It could be said that Ben’s classes, which continued until his retirement from Wall Street in 1956 actually made the reputation of Columbia Business School.”).  Id. (“On the business side, the Joint Account eventually morphed into the Graham-Newman Corporation at the start of 1936, mainly for tax reasons, and this corporate arrangement between Ben Graham and Jerome Newman was to continue until Ben retired in 1956 and moved to California.”). 

Graham is also noted in the following publications:
Warren Edward Buffett, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, Dec. 8, 2013, (noting that “Warren Edward Buffett American businessman and philanthropist, widely considered the most successful investor of the 20th century, having defied prevailing investment trends to amass a personal fortune of more than $60 billion.”).  Id. (noting further that Buffett “[k]nown as the ‘Oracle of Omaha,’ Buffett was the son of U.S. Rep. Howard Homan Buffett from Nebraska. After graduating from the University of Nebraska (B.S., 1950), he studied with Benjamin Graham at the Columbia University School of Business (M.S., 1951).”); Value Investing, a Columbia-exclusive program, Columbia Business School Executive Education,; The Famous People, Society for Recognition of Famous People (2013), also,

Cf., e.g., generally,        
Jeffrey M. Laderman, Master Investor, Business Week (June 14, 1997), book review of Benjamin Graham, The Memoirs of the Dean of Wall Street (1996  (ed. Seymour Chatman), .
Benjamin Graham, The Memoirs of the Dean of Wall Street (1996), available at  (noting review :“When Benjamin Graham died at 82, he was one of the great legends of Wall Street: brilliant, successful, ethical-the man who invented the discipline of security analysis. Time has only enhanced his reputation, with disciples such as billionaire investor Warren Buffet's continuing to praise Graham and crediting his work in their own successes. Now, 20 years after his death, his memoirs are reaching the public at last.”); 
Warren Edward Buffett, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Encyclopaedia Britannica Online Jan. 6, 2014,  (noting that “After graduating from the University of Nebraska (B.S., 1950), he studied with Benjamin Graham at the Columbia University School of Business (M.S., 1951).”)

For more information on Professors Graham and Dodd, see, e.g.,Value Investing History, Columbia University (2008),, noting that:

Value investing was developed in the 1920s at Columbia Business School by finance professors Benjamin Graham and David Dodd, MS ’21. The authors of the classic text, Security Analysis, Graham and Dodd were the very pioneers of their field.

In the early twentieth century, investors were guided mostly by speculation and insider information. Graham believed, however, that the true value of a stock could be determined through research. He worked with Dodd to develop value investing — a methodology to identify and buy securities priced well below their true value. Graham and Dodd’s security analysis principles provided the first rational basis for investment decisions.

Graham began teaching his reason-based approach at Columbia Business School in 1928. For many years, he continually revised his methodology and his course, which he taught to both Columbia students and Wall Street professionals. The course was subsequently taught by his successor Roger F. Murray, who edited several editions of Security Analysis.

Tano Santos, What Do Financial Economists Have To Say About "Value"? Why practitioners of value investing and academics who study it have more to learn from each other than they think, graduate school business, Columbia, ideas at work (May 25, 2011),, noting that

Contrary to a widespread belief among practitioners of value investing, value has been the focus of much academic finance research for at least three decades. The literature on the value premium — a term researchers use to mean something very precise, but that is closely related to practitioners’ notion of value — is simply staggering. On the practitioner side, value investing stretches back to 1934, when Columbia Business School professors Benjamin Graham and David Dodd ’21 published the first edition of their magnum opus, Security Analysis.

For more information on Professor Dodd, click here or here.

  • Other examples:    

Cf., e.g., Joel Dean, Functioning of the Economist in Antitrust Litigation, 20 A.B.A. Antitrust Section 71 (1962),, (noting under title “Joel Dean” of “Joel Dean Associates and Columbia University”); Joel Dean, Misconceptions About Consumer Welfare, The Freeman Foundation for Economic Education Jan.1, 1966, (Mr. Dean is President of Joel Dean Associ­ates, a firm of economic and management consultants, and is Professor of Business Eco­nomics in the Graduate Faculties of Political Science and the Graduate School of Business of Columbia University.). See also 

Cf. also, e.g., Garry Wills, History Department, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, Northwestern University (2013),

Road taken:    

The road taken by Professor Graham -- Broadway – connecting Columbia University with Wall Street -- was the same Broadway that I have taken.

Professor Graham’s pathway to Columbia Business School was significant for the School, his presence having markedly benefitted itSee above (on this page)Prime example -- Professor Benjamin Graham of Columbia Business School at Benjamin Graham 1894-1976, The Graham Investor.

My pathway to Columbia Business School markedly benefitted my practice and made all the difference.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Frost, The Road Not Taken (last stanza)