Several of us who helped produce “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” in its earliest days have been sharing with each other the excellent article by Court Mann (“The many, many, many letters of Mister Rogers,” Oct. 21). We are uniformly impressed with the depth and sensitivity of the author’s understanding of both Fred’s work and his engagement with others he encountered in life. As a reader might infer from the article, everyone who engaged with Fred through any means — in person, through TV, or through the written word — came away from that experience with an inspired sense of their own being and possibilities.
While Court Mann couldn’t name or pay tribute to all who contributed to the work of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” with regard to the particular subject of his fine article I want to pay tribute to Barbara Davis, who was responsible in those formative days for managing the large flow of incoming mail from viewers at “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” She ensured that every single letter was taken with the deepest seriousness, assessed with both pastoral and psychological sensitivity, and responded to in a way that was a natural extension of Fred’s relationship with viewers. We can all be grateful for the years — in some cases, lifetimes — that many gifted people like Barbara devoted to making Fred and his work so readily available, not only to young TV viewers over several generations, but perhaps even more importantly, now as a beacon of decency to remind us who we were all born to be.
Princeton, New Jersey