A Major New Resource on Roger Hayward

The polymath Roger Hayward, a favorite of ours over the years, at last has a major web exhibit devoted to him that is worthy of his talents. At forty-three chapters long and containing some 432 images, Roger Hayward: Renaissance Man is now the authoritative resource on Hayward’s remarkable life.

For those unfamiliar with the Hayward story, here is some text from the official press release announcing the public launch of this exhibit.

Born in New England just before the turn of the century, Hayward attended the Masschusetts Institute of Technology, where he graduated with honors in architecture. Despite having built a reputation in the Boston area as a talented fine artist as well, Hayward and his wife moved to southern California in the late 1920s, lured by the offer of a position as Chief Designer at the Los Angeles-based Cram & Ferguson architecture firm.

With the stock market collapse of 1929 and the onset of the Great Depression, Hayward was forced to expand his skillset in order to make ends meet. His solutions to this dillema were an indication of the remarkable creativity that defined his professional life. For one, he crafted puppets and performed puppet shows in his home for a fee. He also built three looms for his wife Betty, whose resulting textiles were sold at local markets. Indeed, Hayward’s ingenuity resulted in numerous patent applications over the course of his life for products ranging from fountain pens to nut crackers to baby bassinets.

Over time, Hayward’s relationship with many scientists at the California Institute of Technology served to bolster his interest in the sciences. Hayward also worked on behalf of the United States government during World War II and became an expert on the subject of optics. He is now believed to have been a key contributor to the development of the Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope.

Following the war, Hayward built a reputation as a scientific illustrator of great import, providing visuals for Scientific American‘s “Amateur Scientist” column for nearly twenty-five years and collaborating with Linus Pauling on numerous publications including 1964’s The Architecture of Molecules, for which Hayward served as co-author.

The Roger Hayward Papers, upon which the exhibit is built, arrived in Oregon in circuitous fashion.  Our first contact with the collection came in 2004 during which time our staff was conducting copyright research for the website It’s in the Blood! A Documentary History of Linus Pauling, Hemoglobin and Sickle Cell Anemia, which incorporated Hayward’s pastel drawings of both normal hemoglobin and sickled blood cells – drawings which reside in the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers.

(Among the highlights of the new Hayward exhibit are two galleries of his famous pastel drawings of molecules, most of which had never before been made available to the public.)

At the time, the collection resided with members of the Hayward family living in eastern Canada.  Impressed by the work that our department had done with the Pauling Papers and interested in adding to OSU’s corpus of materials related to Pauling, the family agreed, in 2009, to transfer the Hayward Papers more than 3,000 miles to our facility for final arrangement, description, preservation and access.

Page 1 of Hayward’s biographical scrapbook.

What arrived was a treasure trove of letters, drawings, photographs and notes of all kinds, including ideas for new inventions and materials developed for the Allied war effort.  Most extraordinary though was the Biographical Scrapbook that Roger meticulously kept over the course of his life.  Chock full of revealing newspaper clippings, photographs and even original art works, the seventy-four page scrapbook is a prized possession among our collections and served as the source material for much of what is presented on the Hayward exhibit.

Hayward and Caspar Gruenfeld building a moon model, ca. 1934.

Hayward and Caspar Gruenfeld building a moon model, ca. 1934.

As it turns out, the Hayward family’s decision to donate Roger’s papers to Oregon State University was an inspired one, as the resource is among our more heavily used manuscript collections.  In there three years here, Hayward’s drawings have been used in both commercial and educational contexts, and researchers have traveled from as far away as Buffalo, New York and Berlin, Germany to use the collection.  Currently, work is on-going concerning Hayward’s moon models and his puppet theater production of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”

The entire experience has been immensely gratifying for us and we are pleased now to present a web exhibit that might spur further inquiry into the life of an extraordinary personality, a true Renaissance Man.

One Response

  1. I have an oil painting by Roger Hayward made on a hand made ca nvas
    that Iv’e had for many years.
    After reading his very impressive biography I realized that it is a most
    unusual one because it is an oil painting.
    In all of the literature, there wasn’t any mention of his using oil but only
    water color. Also the scene is one that doesn’t fit any of the visual work.
    this one is of a harbor scene with sail boats, and a dock.It is in a very impressiionist loose style.
    If you are at all interested in seeing a photo of it, I would be happy to
    send you one.
    Most sincerely,
    Lillian Varga

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