Pauling’s OAC: Sophomore Social Life

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[An examination of Linus Pauling’s sophomore year at Oregon Agricultural College, which began in Fall 1918. This is part 3 of 3.]

Life on the Oregon Agricultural College campus during Linus Pauling’s sophomore year started off with one primary focus: World War I. As a result, Greek life activities and other traditional social excursions were temporarily suspended by the U.S. War Department as their ideals were deemed to be “incompatible” with those espoused by programs like the Student Army Training Corps. Ever vigilant, OAC students found their way around some of these restrictions by participating in planned informal gatherings. Greek life was not reinstated until late fall, after the war’s conclusion, and social planning committees did not return until late winter term.

Despite the war pulling away many of the school’s athletes for service, OAC still fielded teams through all three terms. Sports offered students a distraction from the realities of war and gave them a common point of focus to rally behind. In fall, football games began shortly after school started with the first contest of the season taking place on Saturday, October 12, 1918. As the term moved forward, several games were cancelled on account of the influenza epidemic and the season ended on a disappointing note with a 13-6 Civil War loss to Oregon in Eugene. Illness hampered the basketball team as well and their schedule on a down note with two additional losses to the rival Ducks, described as the “Lemon Yellow men” in the class yearbook.

Women’s athletics were also popular on the OAC campus. Though the war effort led to the cancellation of the the hockey and tennis seasons, OAC’s ladies completed intercollegiately in swimming and intramurally in basketball and soccer. Nearly 300 students turned out to participate in basketball, the women’s sport with the longest history at OAC.


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Linus Pauling and Paul Emmett (back row) with a group including Pauling’s sisters Lucile (3rd from left) and Pauline (far right), 1919. Paul Emmett and Pauline Pauling married some fifty-seven years after this photo was taken.

After living on campus during his freshman year, Pauling spent the fall 1918 term rooming with Lloyd Jeffress, a friend from his childhood who had first introduced him to the chemistry a few years back. In addition to this crucially important experience, it was through Jeffress that Pauling also met Paul Emmett, a fellow OAC student who would become a close friend, research partner and, eventually, brother-in-law.

Just as Pauling had been academically successful in his freshman year, so too did he excel in the classroom during his sophomore year. Taking courses including engineering physics, metallurgy, analytical chemistry, and mining engineering, Pauling received all A’s in his math and science classes throughout the year, and a complete 4.0 grade point average in his winter term. In addition to his schoolwork, Pauling was a member of the Miner’s Club. This group took field trips to study mine surveying, mining geology, and mining methods throughout the year. These excursions were particularly fascinating to Pauling as he had already been interested in rocks and minerals for many years.


The OAC student body was a very vocal bunch who often took to their school newspaper, The Barometer, to voice their opinion. One particular issue of common concern was the fight to resume programmatic social functions. Temporarily banned during the war, activities of this sort still had not been reinstated by the beginning of the winter 1919 academic term.

In response to growing unrest, college administrators created a social events committee, comprised solely of faculty members, to which the students offered their complaints. As a result of this dialogue, the first school-sponsored social function of the year – aside from a series of Armistice celebrations – was a “Greater O.A.C.” dance held on Saturday, February 1, 1919.


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Illustration included in the 1918-1919 Beaver yearbook.

In the spring, an exciting and important opportunity was extended to Pauling: an offer to join the Gamma Tau Beta fraternity. Pauling eagerly pledged, despite being troubled by the feeling that he had been selected mostly to raise the house grade point average. By 1919, OAC’s Greeks had established a reputation of regularly compiling a collective GPA that was higher than the college average, and Pauling suspected that his invitation may have been in keeping with the continuation of this ambition.

Pauling’s experience in the fraternity was different than anything he had known before. His upper-class house brothers nicknamed him “Peanie” and expected that he, as with his fellow underclassmen, would go out on weekly dates. Pauling was not interested in pursuing this obligation and often feigned illness as a means to excuse himself. Indeed, romantic involvements were mostly a passing afterthought for Pauling in the years prior to his meeting Ava Helen Miller in January 1922.

By the end of spring term, there were at least 25 fraternities and 13 sororities associated with Oregon Agricultural College. Not surprisingly, Greek life on campus was a potent force, and was especially prevalent within the spheres of intramural sports and competitive speech. Gamma Tau Beta regularly competed in both areas and often fared well – in 1919 the house placed second in baseball and track, and third in basketball.

In debate, students from across campus enjoyed taking on topics both serious and comedic. In one instance, competitors were asked to wrestle with the following argument: “Resolved, That an alligator is a better pet than a rhinoceros.” Pauling participated in an inter-class competition that spring and eventually developed a reputation for his oratorical skill.

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Image of the “Nothing But The Truth” cast, 1919

Indeed, once unshackled from the restrictions of war-time, social life took off during spring term. In April, the college’s theater club, Mask and Dagger, performed a farce titled “Nothing but the Truth.” A “stunt show” put on by students throughout campus was also staged during the term. And in addition to the inter-class debate competition, Pauling also participated in a sophomore class party to round out the school year.

Athletically, while fall and winter proved pretty rough, spring brought a couple of OAC victories over rival Oregon in both track and baseball. These wins contributed to a broader sense of good feeling on a campus that had seen some tough times over the past academic year.

Buoyed alongside his classmates was young Linus Pauling. Still just 18 years old, Pauling concluded his sophomore year with excellent grades, an improved social standing through his fraternity, and a job lined up over the summer to test paving materials used on Oregon’s brand new highways.

Pauling’s OAC: Life During Wartime

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SATC cadets being addressed by OAC President William Jasper Kerr, October 1, 1918.

[Examining Linus Pauling’s sophomore year at Oregon Agricultural College, the 1918-19 academic year. This is part 2 of 3.]

While World War I began in the summer of 1914, it was not until April 1917 that the United States entered the field of battle. During this time, Oregon Agricultural College became a significant site for military training and was particularly well-known for producing young enrolled officers. In 1918, a Student Army Training Corps unit was established on campus, and the early period of Linus Pauling’s sophomore year at OAC was dominated by SATC influence.

The SATC was created to allow young men to enroll in the military while still furthering their technical education. From the outset of hostilities, the War Department established as a high priority the need to maintain standards of higher education for the nation’s youth and, in particular, to build practical skills for those who would eventually serve.

While the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) had been established a few years prior, during the war the SATC effectively replaced the roles and responsibilities that the ROTC had been meant to build and organize. Nearly half of all male students at OAC were enrolled in the SATC during the school year, and Pauling was among them. Following the conclusion of the war, Pauling remained active in the ROTC as well. Indeed, by the time that he graduated from OAC, Pauling had been promoted to the rank of Cadet Corporal within local Company H.


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Benton County (Oregon) War Bonds poster, 1918.

The Great War made a tremendous impact on students at OAC and with the establishment of the Corvallis SATC unit the college became a West Coast epicenter for military training. The urgency of a war-time curriculum was partly enabled by a shift away from semesters in favor of an academic quarter system, which allowed for three-month training periods that dovetailed more readily with the military’s needs.

Following American entry into hostilities, OAC also began to heavily promote student enrollment in classes that would support the war effort. Many courses at OAC were likewise adapted to fit the needs of the moment. This shift was most pronounced within the School of Engineering, with courses in mechanical, electrical, experimental, civil, chemical, and mining engineering quickly reimagined to strengthen the student body’s readiness for battle.

For Pauling, who was a chemical engineer, these adjustments manifested in three specific classes that were new to the college’s course offerings: “Explosives” in fall term, “Camp Drainage/Trenches Issues” in winter term, and “Excavation for War Purposes” in the spring.  As with all other SATC students on campus, Pauling was also committed to a rigorous training schedule, often devoting multiple hours in a day to military drills. These shifts in obligations did nothing to wither his enthusiasm: throughout the war, Pauling remained a steadfast and enthusiastic supporter of the American effort, and was later described as “100% for it” by his cousin Mervyn Stephenson.

Indeed, during the war years, communities across the United States were enveloped by a wave of nationalistic feeling, and Corvallis was no exception. On October 1, 1918, the community put forth a Pledge of Loyalty with 3,000 male students, between 700-800 female students, and nearly 10,000 Benton Country residents signing on. Uncle Sam was likewise a regular character in the school’s newspaper, The Barometer.


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A portrait Pauling in his military dress, 1918.

World War I came to a conclusion mid-way through Fall term and, as might be expected, November 11, 1918 proved to be a significant day on the OAC campus. Upon hearing the news that the war was over, spontaneous celebrations rocketed through campus, and within days there had been multiple parades and assemblies honoring those who had served. Notably, war-time restrictions on social functions were also temporarily lifted to allow students to gather in good cheer.

And while the armistice did not bring with it an immediate dismantling of war-time activities, the thoughts of many began to shift toward ideas on reconstruction in the post-war period. Students throughout campus debated the specifics of how best to proceed through the months and years ahead, with many agreeing on a global industrialized democracy as the ideal for moving forward. In letters to The Barometer, multiple students further commented on the role that higher education would play in this vision for the future. One writer perceptively offered that OAC had become an important breeding ground for future leaders and

will have to broaden out into bigger lines of thinking, for the world is demanding real leaders who are more than technical leaders.

In another demonstration of the lasting effects of the war, the Oregon legislature passed a law in the months following the Armistice that made military training compulsory for high school boys throughout the state. Similar regulations remained in colleges like OAC, where ROTC programs had already been mandatory for male students.

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Dedication of the Memorial Union, June 1, 1929

Oregon Agricultural College lost 51 students and staff in battle during World War I. Their collective sacrifice was not forgotten by OAC, an institution that took seriously its long tradition of military service. In 1920, proposals for a student activity center that would “stand as a lasting memorial erected to the honor and memory of the students and alumni who gave their lives in the service of their country” began to circulate on campus. Pledges were solicited not long after and, in 1927, excavation began in the heart of campus. Completed in 1928 and dedicated a year later, the Memorial Union now serves as a warm, welcoming and universally beloved space for OSU students to study, socialize, rest and reflect.

Pauling’s OAC: Sophomore Year

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Linus Pauling, age 17.

[Ed Note: Another academic year begins this week at Oregon State University. This fall also marks the 100th anniversary of Linus Pauling’s sophomore year at what was once known as Oregon Agricultural College. This is post 1 of 3 looking back on Pauling’s experience of the 1918-1919 school year.]

On September 23, 1918, a Monday, 350 sophomore students returned to Oregon Agricultural College to resume their classes after a long summer break. Among them was seventeen-year-old Linus Pauling who, because of his ROTC commitments, had split his vacation between an intensive six-week military training course at the Presidio Army post in San Francisco, and a job working at a shipyard in Tillamook, Oregon.

Pauling was excited to return to Corvallis because it meant that he could once again frolic with his first love, chemistry. A Chemical Engineering major in OAC’s College of Mines, Pauling thoroughly enjoyed his courses. He also appreciated the overall college experience and felt comfortable in the close-knit community that OAC embraced and advertised.

A total of 4,086 students registered at OAC throughout the 1918-1919 school year, and among them were 86 Chemical Engineers. More popular majors at the Land Grant school included Mechanical Engineering – which accounted for a quarter of enrolled students – Agriculture, Home Economics, and Commerce.

Fall term also marked the opening of a new academic unit at OAC, the School of Vocational Education. Included within this unit were the departments of Education, Psychology, Agricultural Education, Home Economics Education, and Industrial Education. The stated mission of the new school was to “train teachers in vocational lines for secondary and higher education.” And while this ambition was squarely in line with the broader charge of the college, World War I had also pulled many local teachers away, leaving Oregon’s communities in dire need of more instructors to take their place.

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The reference area in OAC’s new library, housed in current-day Kidder Hall. 1918.

The beginning of a new school year likewise brought with it the opening of OAC’s first designated library, located in what is now known as Kidder Hall. The building was so named in 1964 to honor the first professional librarian to staff the building, Ida A. Kidder, a beloved faculty member whom many referred to as “Ma Kidder.”

Indeed, OAC was in the midst of a period of significant maturation during this time and many faculty members who were then active on campus are now remembered through buildings that bear their name. These individuals include William Jasper Kerr (president of OAC), Ava B. Milam (Dean of Home Economics), Clara H. Waldo (first woman to serve on the OAC Board of Regents), John Andrew Bexell (Dean of the School of Commerce), and others. In 2011, Linus Pauling joined their ranks when the Linus Pauling Science Center was formally dedicated on the western edge of campus.


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Students working in an OAC chemistry lab, circa 1915.

Throughout the school year, Pauling was employed in a chemistry lab, preparing solutions for his fellow students to use in their coursework. Since his father’s death eight years prior, Pauling and his family had been confronted with a severe financial burden and young Linus had been compelled to work to bolster the household economy. This trend continued at OAC, where his wages were meant to fund his higher education, which he valued so deeply. During this time, Pauling had been storing his money with his mother, Belle, in Portland, and she had been unknowingly using the savings to keep herself and her two daughters afloat. This turn of events would become the source of a major interruption to Pauling’s education down the road.

Two disruptions of more immediate concern defined much of Pauling’s sophomore year: U.S. involvement in World War I and the deadly outbreak of Spanish Influenza. The arrival of the flu wreaked havoc on Corvallis students from the outset of the term: within the first month of fall, four students had fallen ill and a handful of new cases were being reported each week. In response, OAC converted it’s YMCA/YWCA facility, present-day Shepard Hall, into a hospital to attend to all who had fallen ill. The college also brought in two nurses and a new physician specifically to handle the epidemic.

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Mervyn Stephenson with his cousin at Kiger Island, south of Corvallis.

But amidst the seriousness of the times, the end of Pauling’s sophomore year did bring several pieces of exciting news. For one, Pauling’s cousin, Mervyn Stephenson, was set to graduate. Part of a graduating class of 130 students, Stephenson was one of five to complete a degree in civil engineering. Immediately following the completion of his coursework, Stephenson was taken on to work with famed bridge engineer Conde B. McCullough in southern Oregon.

That spring, OAC also received approval to begin construction of a new engineering building, present-day Graf Hall. This new space would include modernized lab equipment for OAC’s faculty and engineers-in-training, including a hydraulic testing center, a material testing center, and a steam and gas engine laboratory. While not directly focused on the needs of the college’s chemical engineers, the new space was an indication of OAC’s commitment to its engineering curriculum and surely a source of excitement for Linus Pauling and many others who inhabited his world.

Pauling and Freeman: The End of the Run

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[Post 8 of 8 in our series examining Linus Pauling’s relationship with his long-time publishing house, W.H. Freeman & Co.]

In the 1970s and 1980s, well after Bill Freeman’s departure from the company that he started, Linus Pauling published a number of other books through Freeman and Co., including two big sellers, Vitamin C and the Common Cold, and How to Feel Better and Live Longer, as well as Orthomolecular Psychiatry, which was more of a niche volumeBut as the staff at Freeman and Co. evolved, Pauling began to experience trouble communicating.

Over time, Pauling also felt his editorial contributions were being restricted. Notably, when Basic Physical Chemistry for the Life Sciences was published as part of his series, Pauling had no hand in editing it. Once the book had gone to the printers, Pauling sent a letter to Freeman & Co. president Stanley Schaefer stating his belief that the text should not have been released in this manner. No text, he felt, should be published in his series if he was not really and truly the editor.

Schaefer replied that he had no intention of impinging upon Pauling’s authority over the series, but did express his feeling that Pauling’s fame worked against the company at times. In addition, Pauling’s manuscript comments were often very blunt, and while it is unclear how many authors were given the opportunity to read Pauling’s assessments directly, those who did were often upset by comments that they felt were unfair.

One author in particular, an R. Nelson, wrote several pages to Schaefer defending his stylistic choices after the company had rejected his manuscript. Pauling, for one, had criticized his informal tone, but Nelson felt that the approach made the book more appealing to younger generations of scientists. Nelson then attacked the company’s decision to retain Pauling as an editor for the chemistry series, writing

The problem really arises because the chemistry editor is the author of the first text and is a man of strong convictions (as well as great prominence). I believe that this situation puts a potential author (one with no prominence) in an untenable position.

Schaefer was moved by this comment in particular and asked Pauling to reconsider the manuscript with the understanding that some minor errors would be corrected. In so doing, Schaefer also sided with Nelson’s point of view in suggesting that Pauling’s take was based largely on differences in style. In this instance, Pauling was flexible and reconsidered.

In 1970, to help with the problem that Nelson had raised, Schaefer hired Pauling’s friend, colleague and former student, Harden McConnell, to serve as a co-editor for the chemistry series. McConnell was someone whom Pauling respected and who also tended to be rather more gentle in his critique, and the arrangement worked out well. The collaboration likewise helped to spread the editorial responsibilities such that Pauling could dedicate more time to other projects.


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Pauling’s notes for his memoir.

The situation had changed substantially by 1979 when Richard Warrington, the latest president of the company, suggested that Pauling terminate his editing contract. Though stressing that Pauling’s “association with the company as an author and adviser in the early years was very important to the success that followed,” Warrington also pointed out that Pauling was no longer teaching. As such, Warrington worried that Pauling’s interests and priorities had changed significantly. He also felt that the Freeman company hadn’t been as effective at bringing in successful chemistry texts in recent years. Pauling felt similarly, but also pointed out that the flow of manuscripts from the company had slowed considerably.

As the company continued to experience leadership changes throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Pauling’s relationship with Freeman as an author also began to deteriorate. Notably, at the same time that Warrington had asked him to terminate his editing contract, Pauling discovered that the company had allowed his landmark General Chemistry to go out of print. Another milestone came about a year later when Neil Patterson assumed the role of president and moved the company to New York to be closer to Scientific American, with which Freeman and Co. now shared a CEO. Pauling had long enjoyed having a publisher based on the West Coast and was disappointed with the move.

In 1991, a correspondent named Jonathan Paul Von Neumann wrote a letter to Pauling expressing his disappointment that Freeman and Co. hadn’t shown any interest when he approached them about translating How to Feel Better and Live Longer into other languages. Pauling wrote back, sharing Von Neumann’s concern and confiding his belief that publishing companies often mishandled their authors.

In 1992, Pauling’s relationship with Freeman and Co. all but came to a close when the publisher rejected two of his proposed manuscripts. One was a freshman text that he planned to write with his youngest son, Crellin. Perhaps more disappointing was the firm’s lack of interest in Pauling’s second suggestion, a memoir that he was to title The Nature of Life — Including My Life.

W.H. Freeman and Company was eventually reabsorbed into its parent company. Now an imprint under Macmillan Learning, the group continues to publish successful science textbooks and provide other educational resources.


Perhaps more than anything else, William Hazen Freeman was a man who created a network of scientists who came together to write, edit, and circulate textbooks geared at improving science education in university classroom. In pursuing this ambition, he harnessed the brilliance of scientists who were top-notch in their fields and commissioned them as editors or writers (or, in the case of Pauling, as both) to disseminate knowledge and advance disciplines. As a result, W.H. Freeman & Co. was, in its prime, a hub for collaboration and communication between scientists and other creative thinkers. It is likely that no other corporation played as profound a role in Pauling’s story than did his long-time publisher.

 

Life After Bill Freeman

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[Tracing Linus Pauling’s association with the W.H. Freeman & Co. publishing house. This is post 7 of 8.]

In the years immediately following Bill Freeman’s departure from the company that he founded, Stanley Schaefer ran W.H. Freeman & Co. quite smoothly. In 1969, Bill Kaufman took over as president with Schaefer staying on as chairman, and Kaufman also did well. Notably, he played a key role in the release of revised editions of Linus Pauling’s General Chemistry and College Chemistry, and by the end of his first year in charge, Schaefer was able to report that the company had grown. As the onset of the 1970s loomed, Freeman & Co. had published fourteen new books and added seventy-two titles to its Scientific American offprint series. The outlook for the next fiscal year seemed bright.


The connection with Scientific American was especially important, as the company had formally merged with the publication in 1964. Of this change Schaefer remarked,

Now united are the forces of two successful, non-competitive publishers who have outstanding reputations for high standards and excellence in scientific publishing. Each is making distinctive contributions to the new alliance. I mention, for example, the significant new source of authors for Freeman books that is now available to us.

Illustrator Roger Hayward, who had spent years working for both Freeman and Scientific American, expressed surprise at this news, but congratulated both parties and noted that the transition seemed to him a “happy circumstance.”

That same year, Pauling and Hayward began collaborating on The Architecture of Molecules, originally titled Molecular Architecture but renamed by Pauling just prior to its release. A stunning and unique collision of science and art, the book was successful right away and continued to do well for years afterward. Both collaborators received 15% royalties for the first 10,000 copies sold in cloth, 18% for every cloth-bound copy sold beyond the initial 10,000, and 10% for the paperback editions.


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C.B. Van Niel

Despite his earlier claim that he would not feel confident in the company without Freeman directing it, Pauling continued to maintain a positive and productive relationship with his long-time publisher. In one particular instance, Pauling played an instrumental role in smoothing tensions caused by an unflattering review of a Freeman text. The review in question was authored by microbiologist C.B. Van Niel, whose highly critical assessment of Wayne W. Umbreit’s Modern Microbiology appeared in the widely read magazine, Science.

Prior to the review appearing in print, Van Niel had sent a letter to Bill Freeman warning him that the review would not be favorable, but Freeman had left the company by this point. His replacement, Stan Schaefer, didn’t see the review until it had been published. Once he saw the Science piece, Schaefer responded personally to Van Niel, writing that the criticisms had hit sales hard. Schaefer further speculated that Van Niel harbored a personal grudge against Umbreit and that this was the real source of the animus permeating the review.

It was at this point that Pauling came to Schaefer’s aid. He informed Van Niel that he personally had not found the book to be nearly as flawed as the review claimed and accused his correspondent of “malicious mischief,” stating that most of the errors that he attacked were simple and relatively common across publications.

Without waiting for Van Niel’s response, Pauling then wrote to Phil Abelson, the editor of Science, asking him to redact the review because it was disrespectful, incorrect, took sentences out of context, and was overly aggressive in tone. Seeing Pauling come to Umbreit’s defense, many other professionals in biology and bacteriology spoke out against the review, criticizing its focus on minor errors. More importantly, many within this group also chose to adopt the text despite its flaws.

To stave off future conflicts of this sort, Schaefer requested that, as a courtesy, drafts of reviews be sent to Freeman & Co. before publication, so that the company could prepare if the analysis was unfavorable. Pauling also asked Van Niel for his own annotated copy of the Umbreit text so that Umbreit could use it in his revision process.


When Stanley Schaefer promoted Bill Kaufman to president in 1969, he assumed the position of chairman, a post that had previously been occupied by Freeman himself. Kaufman opted for early retirement in 1971, reporting to Pauling that the timing felt opportune because the “fame” of the company was at an all-time high. He was also confident in the competence of the staff and its collective motivation to ensure the continued success of the company.

Pauling was also feeling bullish about the company’s prospects — so much so that he finally brought up an issue that had been troubling him for some time. Contractual modifications that Bill Freeman had instituted for the second edition of College Chemistry — modifications that lowered Pauling’s royalty rate — were presented as temporary changes needed to help grow the young company financially. When it was suggested, Pauling saw no problem with the change, so long as it was temporary. But, as far as he could see, the lower royalty rate had been applied to the third edition of College Chemistry as well, and Pauling came to feel that he was being taken advantage of. In a letter to Stan Schaefer he expressed his feeling that the agreement, as it was being continued, “might be said to have been obtained by fraudulent methods, involving statements to me that I think were untrue or at least misleading about the financial situation of the Company.”

Schaefer checked the royalty statements and concluded that Pauling was correct in his assessment. After apologizing and thanking Pauling for bringing the matter to his attention, he then set about calculating the difference between the royalties Pauling had received and the royalties that should have dispensed. Once done, Schaefer assured Pauling that the company would pay him $5,000 owed for the second edition of College Chemistry and $7,400 for the third. Pauling thanked Shaefer for his straight dealing and then requested that the company pay him interest at the rate of 7% on these remittances because they were late.

Freeman, Cooper and Co.

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[An exploration of William H. Freeman and the publishing firms that he founded. This is part 6 of 8 and focuses on Roger Hayward’s interactions with Freeman, Cooper & Co.]

Despite the disappointing end to his involvement with the company that he had founded, Bill Freeman worked in the publishing industry for the rest of his life. Post Freeman & Co., he stayed with his new employer, Addison-Wesley, long enough to regain a sense of confidence. With his wife Margaret, he then set about establishing his second independent press: Freeman, Cooper & Company, a name that once again incorporated the Freeman brand, but now also included Margaret’s maiden name.

Rather than limiting the scope of their new firm to a specific discipline as Freeman had done in the past, Freeman, Cooper & Co. published books on a wide range of subjects. While Bill Freeman was still primarily interested in publishing textbooks, he shied away from entering into direct competition with his previous company. As a result, his new venture published books for academic use that were not, strictly speaking, textbooks. And while science remained a key area for the publisher, other areas including psychology and philosophy also began to populate the catalog.


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Roger Hayward, ca. 1960s

Though Freeman relished the fresh start, he still recognized the value of retaining past connections. Key among these connections was illustrator and close friend Roger Hayward, whom Freeman approached with a few project ideas in 1971. The first of these ideas was a book that he hoped Hayward would write on “the simpler and fundamental geometry of nature,” intended for use by both introductory and advanced students. He also proposed that Hayward illustrate a different book on crystallography for chemists, and a third book focusing on the chemical elements.

Hayward expressed interest in these projects, as long as Freeman could pay him royalties. Freeman agreed, but warned that the royalties might be small because the audience for each project was likely to be rather specialized. For Hayward, this was a risk worth taking, given that his royalty income from other projects was robust enough to absorb a potentially low payout from these new ventures. Having arrived at this understanding, Freeman’s only additional request of Hayward was that he not complete illustrations for any rival publishers. This was also an easy request to fulfill as Freeman, Cooper & Co. were engaged in direct competition with only a few other firms.

Their agreement in place, Hayward set to work on new illustrations and an early draft for his geometry of nature book, contacting Freeman regularly to keep him apprised of his progress. By this point in his career, Freeman no longer held his authors to strict deadlines, so long as they did a good job of staying in touch. In their exchange of letters, Freeman provided gentle guidance to Hayward as he developed his text. When Hayward broached the idea of including anecdotes from his personal life in the book, Freeman expressed reluctance. And while he ended up telling Hayward to proceed, he advised caution: too much autobiography could harm an author’s academic authority, he felt, though the right amount of personal narrative could work to forge a deeper connection with students.


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Drawing of a Cooper Structure as published by Ruth Walker in October 1973.

Once Freeman had piqued Hayward’s interest with these smaller projects, he unveiled the idea that he was most excited about, an organic chemistry manuscript by Ruth Walker, a chemist at Hunter College. Hayward enthusiastically agreed to provide illustrations for the text, but soon became enmeshed in a familiar set of struggles: when Walker raised concerns about Hayward’s initial drafts, the illustrator refused to make changes.

Most of Walker’s concerns were over small or superficial details in the illustrations, but a particularly contentious debate ultimately led to a significant advancement. As part of his portfolio for the Walker project, Hayward had created a paper model of a tetrahedron that was designed for students to tear out and construct into own molecule. While on board with the idea, Walker claimed that the instructions that Hayward had written were inaccurate and that the overall design was ineffective.

Unable to resolve the debate themselves, Walker and Hayward brought the matter to Freeman. The publisher was intrigued by Hayward’s unique design, but agreed with Walker that it would be difficult for students to follow the instructions that Hayward had provided. As a means of clarification, Freeman suggested a minor modification – the addition of dotted lines to indicate the direction in which students should bend the model. He also promised Hayward that he would collect more authoritative opinions from accomplished chemists and reconvene with him before the publication of the text.

Several of the chemists that Freeman contacted agreed that Hayward’s model was unique and had potential as a teaching tool. When Freeman relayed this feedback to Hayward, the illustrator immediately took steps to patent his design. Freeman assured him that the copyright protecting the material in the book would be sufficient for this purpose as well.


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Once it was established that Hayward and, to some extent, Freeman had created something new, Freeman’s associates in the scientific world went about naming the structure. They eventually settled on the Cooper Structure, an obvious source of frustration for Roger Hayward. Peeved, he crafted a short memo to Freeman that was written in the large, bold typeface that he had adopted as a result of worsening eyesight. “For goodness’ sakes,” it read, “What’s wrong with the Hayward Structure?”

Freeman replied that the Hayward Structure was actually the first name that had been proposed, but that the group of scientists couldn’t arrive at a consensus. Some other names they tried included the Freeman Structure, a hopper crystal, a starved tetrahedron (because of the model’s concave sides), an inverted dodecahedron, an instellated polyhedron, a Texas Tetrahedron, and a Cooper Crystal. The Cooper Structure was the name that everyone ultimately agreed upon. Hayward belatedly suggested the HFC Form – for Hayward, Freeman, Cooper – but his suggestion was largely ignored.

Changing tactics, Hayward once again began investigating a patent, arguing that  copyright protections simply prevented anyone from publishing the design. Freeman remained sympathetic to Hayward’s feelings, but firm in his resolution that a patent was not necessary. As time moved forward, Hayward sensed that he was losing the fight and that the process had moved beyond him. In fact, because Freeman’s modification is what made the model effective, Ruth Walker gave him credit for the discovery. In a Journal of Chemical Education article, she wrote

A unique model for illustrating the tetrahedral geometry of sp3 bonding is obtained when the pattern in the figure is cut out and assembled…the resulting structure is a tetrahedron with four recessed faces and a central hole, and has been named the Cooper Structure. Each face is recessed in such a way as to produce a model that clearly shows the relative position of four bands extending from the center of a tetrahedron, one towards each apex. This model was designed by William H. Freeman for inclusion in ‘Organic Chemistry: How to Solve It (I. Molecular Geometry)’ by Ruth A. Walker, after Mr. Freeman observed models made by Roger Hayward, the illustrator of the organic workbook published by Freeman, Cooper and Co. in 1972.

Hayward was somewhat placated by the wording of the article, which let him claim a share of the credit for the design. He proceeded to recommence work on his geometry of nature book, but never finished it as his health problems increased in severity.


Meanwhile, Bill Freeman was also experiencing his share of setbacks. Just before the Cooper Structure conundrum arose he was hospitalized for exhaustion, which slowed production considerably and led to a period of prolonged discouragement. In a letter to Hayward, he made reference to “hurdles, disappointments, problems and shenanigans that I dare not put into print.” And for all the fuss that it caused, Ruth Walker’s book, Organic Chemistry – How to Solve It, sold only 11,000 copies.

Over the course of its history, Freeman, Cooper, and Company experienced moderate success, but never achieved the same fame as its predecessor. Many of the authors who had found their niche at W.H. Freeman & Co. remained loyal to the original company even after its namesake had moved on; indeed, with the notable exception of Roger Hayward, Bill Freeman built his new company largely from scratch. He insisted though, that modest successes did not diminish his passion for the independent press. After he passed away in 1992, Margaret took over the firm and ran it smoothly for a few additional years before letting it go to become another piece of publishing history.

Trouble at Freeman and Co.

Freeman-and-Scientific-American-catalog

A W.H. Freeman catalog from 1986 noting the firm’s long association with Scientific American magazine.

[Exploring Linus Pauling’s relationship with the W.H. Freeman & Co. publishing firm. Part 5 of 8.]

After more than a decade of success in the publishing world, W. H. Freeman and Co. hit a roadblock. The difficulties began with a personal matter that arose in the summer of 1959, when Bill Freeman separated from his wife, the former Verne Kopplin. When divorce papers were ultimately filed the following year, Freeman offered his wife an even division of all their assets, with the notable exception of his stake in the company. Collectively, the couple owned 43% of the firm and Verne insisted that she retain her share. In her communications with Freeman, Verne pointed out they had married in 1946, the same year that the company was founded, and that they had worked together to grow the company to its current stature. As such, she was entitled to a degree of control over its future direction.

From the outside looking in, Linus Pauling maintained a different point of view. In a letter to Freeman, Pauling expressed his feeling that, although Verne – a prominent Bay Area attorney – had previously provided legal services to Freeman & Co., she had, in his opinion, done little to support the company beyond her contributions as a consultant.

The possibility that Verne might retain a claim to the company was one that weighed heavily on Freeman. In a letter to Pauling he revealed that “I find it quite impossible to carry on my work while sharing with her anything of my future.” He also expressed concern that he might lose control of the company were Verne to retain her shares.

Freeman knew that he would not be able to influence Verne’s decisions concerning the direction of the company. He also feared that she was planning to consolidate the stocks held by colleagues and friends to essentially buy the company out from under him.

Pauling did his best to provide a lift in his reply:

I believe that W.H. Freeman and Company, as built up by you, has become the outstanding publisher of college textbooks of the highest quality in the United States…I was so greatly impressed by your ability that I felt that the advantage of having my book [General Chemistry] put out by your firm, because of your extraordinary ability and originality and convictions about the importance of publication of books of high quality, would outweigh the disadvantage of lack of an organization and reputation of long standing.

He concluded that he wouldn’t feel comfortable continuing his association with the company in the event that Verne succeeded in reducing Freeman’s control over it.

So strong was Pauling’s conviction that he expressed a willingness to dramatically increase his skin in the game. Cognizant of the financial burden that the divorce and its aftermath had placed on Freeman, and hoping to ease this burden, Pauling offered to buy Freeman’s stock, which would provide Freeman with the capital to purchase Verne’s shares should he wish. Freeman agreed to the proposition but only on condition that he be given the option to buy his stock back within three years. Pauling was not comfortable with this arrangement and the two failed to arrive at a solution that would satisfy them both.

In the end Verne retained her shares, and once the divorce was settled in the fall of 1960, Freeman continued to spiral. In order to keep Verne from gaining control of the company, he was obliged to purchase at least 200 of her shares at $55 each while also paying the mortgage on the house that they had shared. In a letter to illustrator Roger Hayward, Freeman bemoaned his state of affairs:

Old man Freeman feels like the tempest in a terribly small teapot; no one ever gives any thought to the tempest’s feelings or understands how constrained he feels.

In need of an escape, Freeman took the summer off to travel around Europe. He made it as far as Greece and self-published a book describing his experiences, titled Ola Kala: The Greek Word for It.


shaefer001

An excerpt from Stanley Schaefer’s letter to shareholders written during trying times for the company that he now led. October 1, 1962.

Meanwhile, tensions mounted at W.H. Freeman & Co. as their eponymous leader became increasingly unstable. A growing sentiment among many stockholders was that Freeman would do anything to keep control. As this idea continued to grain traction, executive vice president Stanley Schaefer became nervous about the future of the company and sent out a request to many of the stockholders that they become proxies, thereby granting them the authority to make decisions about the firm.

Finally, in January 1962, Bill Freeman agreed to sell his stock, though he was resistant to sell within the company because of his objections to the firm’s recent association with Scientific American. It is likely that the arrangement with Scientific American was entered into to provide a measure of protection for the company amidst the financial damage caused by Freeman’s divorce. In his correspondence with Pauling – one of the few people at W.H. Freeman & Co. that he still trusted – Freeman railed against the decision and expressed sharp criticisms of Stanley Schaefer and Bill Kaufman as well as other long-timers like Harvey McCaleb and Adam Kudlacik. Pauling balked at these denunciations, pointing out that Freeman had hand-picked these men and needed to trust in their judgment, as Pauling did.

After a different and particularly troubling discussion with Freeman, who sometimes met the Paulings for dinner, Linus reflected on the current state of the company, noting that “Bill and Verne damaged it, neglected it, and [devoted] their energy to fighting each other.” Though he was sympathetic to Freeman’s situation and deeply concerned about his friend, Pauling believed that there was no justification for the damage that Freeman was causing to the company.


Stanley Schaefer also wanted to help and offered to buy Freeman’s stock. When Freeman declined, Schaefer suggested that Scientific American could purchase the shares. Freeman felt that this was not a realistic solution either. He did, however, agree to not sell his stock to a competing company. When Freeman subsequently took a job at Addison-Wesley’s western office, signing a contract that would allow the company to purchase his Freeman & Co. shares, he effectively broke this promise.

When Pauling asked Freeman why he had done this, Freeman confessed that he was too dissatisfied with the present management at Freeman & Co. to consider associating with it anymore. Scientific American stepped in at this point and made an offer for Freeman’s stock that Addison-Wesley could not match. Ava Helen Pauling, who remained a confidant for Freeman, advised him to sell his stock to the magazine publisher. Doing so, she reasoned, could secure a stable future for his children while also providing an avenue for Freeman to leave his old company gracefully.

Freeman reluctantly agreed and Gerald Piel, the president of Scientific American, put the money from this transaction into a trust fund. Trustees “in whose rationality and integrity” the company had confidence would vote at a later date on the matter of what to do with the proceeds. Meanwhile, once Freeman had become associated with Freeman & Co. in name only, Verne also lost interest and refocused her energies on her legal career. She eventually remarried and went on to challenge discriminatory policies at law firms in Connecticut, where she practiced law for several years.

Some time later, having relocated and newly married to his former secretary, Margaret Cooper, Freeman reached out to Ava Helen to explain his behavior. In his letter, he confided

For old times’ sake, I will say to you that I had no alternatives – financial ones possibly, but professional or personal ones, absolutely none…As I’ve said to Linus, until the future speaks, I trust that we can each of us respect the other’s right to act in accordance with his convictions.