From time to time we’ll be using the PaulingBlog to post scans of documents that are new to the web — important or otherwise interesting items for which we haven’t yet found a place on our larger static websites. Appropriately enough, the first document that we’re featuring in this way is Linus Pauling’s birth certificate. Click on the image below for a larger version.
As is apparent from the date of the certified copy of his “birth certificate,” Pauling was seventeen years old with a year of college under his belt before an official record of his existence was issued — at the request of the Bureau of Health — by the State of Oregon. From the accompanying affidavit and exhibit sworn to by Pauling’s mother Belle, we can see that Pauling was born on the corner of 2nd and Stark, in what is described by biographer Thomas Hager (Force of Nature, (1995), pp. 22-23) as “a cheap apartment house on the edge of Portland’s Chinatown.”
Four years later the Paulings would move to the small farming community of Condon, some 150 miles east of Oregon’s largest city. Pauling’s father Herman set up shop in Condon as a pharmacist and the family remained in eastern Oregon until July 1910, when Herman died suddenly, the victim of a perforated ulcer.
Jolted by this family tragedy, nine-year old Linus, his two younger sisters Pauline and Lucille, and their widowed mother Belle returned to Portland and invested the family savings on a house in the Southeast part of town at 1189 Hawthorne Avenue. For the remainder of his childhood, Pauling and his family would eke out a humble existence by renting rooms in their home and working odd jobs.