Jonathan Francis ‘Frank’ Goodridge was an accomplished academic. He served as secretary of the Socratic Club (1947–1948) and as Senior Lecturer in English at St. Mary’s College, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, London. He was also senior lecturer in English at the University of Leicester.
But before taking any of those positions, Frank was a pupil of C. S. Lewis. When he applied for the position of Senior Lecturer in English at St. Mary’s College, he asked his former teacher for a letter of recommendation. In a letter dated January 1, 1950, C. S. Lewis makes clear why he thinks Mr. Goodridge would make an excellent lecturer and closes with this paragraph,
“This satisfies me that he will be a good teacher: he might very well turn out to be one of the great teachers. His personal character won my respect from the beginning and this respect steadily increased during the time he was with me. He is one of the most disinterested — I think I could say one of the most selfless — men I have ever met: and, in spite of his good humour and patience, which are unfailing, I should not like to be the boy who tried to ‘rag’ him. If I had a son of my own there is no one to whom I would entrust him so gladly as to Mr. Goodridge.”1
I can’t say I ever heard of Mr. Goodridge prior to reading this letter. Sounds like a man I would enjoy meeting. Knowing a little about C. S. Lewis I wasn’t surprised that he saw character equally as important as skill.
“Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.” – Proverbs 27:2.
- Walter Hooper, ed., The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963, Vol. III (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2007), 2.