Lucile Pauling (1904-1992)

Francis Lucile Pauling, 1923.

Francis Lucile Pauling, 1923.

Less is known of the youngest Pauling sibling than is the case with Linus and Pauline Pauling. What can be said is that, of Herman and Belle Pauling’s children, Lucile—quiet, shy, and warmhearted—was the least hardheaded of the three. Always unsettled when trouble arose between family members, she often took on the role of peacekeeper in the Pauling family.

Frances Lucile Pauling, known to everyone as “Lucile,” (and named after one of her mother’s favorite poems, “Lucile” by Owen Meredith) was born in Oswego, Oregon on New Years Day, 1904. Though both her brother and sister remained rather skeptical of their upbringing, Lucile would always remember a happier, more normal childhood – despite circumstances that might suggest otherwise.

Following Herman’s death in 1910, Belle Pauling, overwhelmed by the prospect of raising three children without financial support, opened a boardinghouse with the hopes of providing a living for herself and her children. After both Linus and Pauline left home when they were just teenagers, Lucile stayed behind to care for her mother and help look after the boardinghouse. Belle, whose pernicious anemia often kept her bedridden for long periods at a time, had relied heavily on her children to help make ends meet.

Lucile, Linus, Belle and Pauline Pauling, 1922.

Lucile, Linus, Belle and Pauline Pauling, 1922.

From an early age, Lucile devoted herself to her music. An accomplished pianist, she studied and taught music lessons when she wasn’t helping her mother.

In 1926, Belle, her health deteriorating, sold her boardinghouse for the amount of ten dollars. The buyer and new owner, at least on paper, was Lucile. After renting out the boardinghouse, Lucile and her mother moved to a nearby apartment, where Belle’s pernicious anemia intensified following the move. Her symptoms became so severe that Lucile could no longer care for her. In turn, Belle’s sister, Goldie, was called upon for help.

Pauline (second from left) and Lucile Pauling on a camping excursion with two friends, ca. 1920s.

Pauline (second from left) and Lucile Pauling on a camping excursion with two friends, ca. 1920s.

As a result, Belle was admitted to the state hospital for the insane. Upon visiting for the first time, Lucile was so overwhelmed by the sight of her mother in the mental ward that she tearfully begged that Belle be removed. Unfortunately, Lucile’s request could not be fulfilled and Belle, at the age of forty-five, died just weeks after being admitted. Later, burdened with disappointment, Lucile wrote to her brother, “I left decisions, [Belle’s] care, everything, up to others, being absolutely immature and irresponsible, and easily led.” She would always regret not knowing how to better care for her mother.

In the late 1930s, while working as a secretary in Portland, Lucile married Lemual Lawrence Jenkins (known as “Jenks”). Their son Donald was born soon after and the family settled in Estacada, Oregon. Lucile cared for the family home while continuing her music studies, teaching lessons and accompanying local musicians on the piano. Due to Jenks’s “restlessness,” the couple moved eight times in Estacada, finally finding the right place just before his death in 1965.

The Pauling and Jenkins families: in back, Linda Pauling, Don Jenkins, Crellin and Peter Pauling; in front, Linus and Ava Helen Pauling, Lemual and Lucile Jenkins. 1948.

The Pauling and Jenkins families: in back, Linda Pauling, Don Jenkins, Crellin and Peter Pauling; in front, Linus and Ava Helen Pauling, Lemual and Lucile Jenkins. 1948.

Though she was keenly interested in her family genealogy, scant documentation of Lucile’s own golden years remains extant. She did not remarry and was plagued by chronic health problems – little else is recorded in the Pauling collection.

A sufferer of heart disease, Lucile died on January 19, 1992 of ventricular fibrillation. At eighty-eight years, her life was the shortest of the three Pauling children – Linus lived to 93 and Pauline to 101 – a remarkable fact given the short life-spans of Herman and Belle Pauling, who lived to ages 33 and and 45 respectively.

Linda, Linus, Pauline and Lucile Pauling at the grave of Linus Wilson Darling, Condon, Oregon, 1988.  In retirement, Lucile maintained a keen interest in her family geneology.

Linda, Linus, Pauline and Lucile Pauling at the grave of Linus Wilson Darling, Condon, Oregon, 1988. In retirement, Lucile maintained a keen interest in her family genealogy.

For more on Linus Pauling’s relationship with Oregon and its inhabitants (including his other sister Pauline) please see our year-long blog series commemorating the Oregon150 celebration.

Oregon 150

Pauline Pauling (1902-2003)

Pauline Pauling with her sister Lucile, 1916.

Pauline Pauling with her sister Lucile, 1916.

My name is Pauline Darling Pauling Stockton Ney Dunbar Emmett, and you can see I’ve had an interesting life…

-Pauline Pauling Emmett, 1994.

The sister of one distinguished scientist and later the wife of another, Pauline Darling Pauling, the second oldest of the Herman and Belle Pauling’s children, led a long and eventful life. Once a record-breaking typist, a famous women’s athletic director, and a successful designer and businesswoman, Pauline found success in a plethora of careers and hobbies. Although she remained close to her Nobel Prize-winning brother over his lifetime, Pauline harbored more artistic aspirations than scientific ones. In addition to her professional success, she was a seamstress, quilter, painter, and coin and doll collector.

Pauline Pauling was born in Portland, Oregon on August 2, 1902. She remembers her childhood in Condon as “very stark,” remarking that “it was a wonder [the family] survived.” Following her father’s death in 1910 and the family’s ensuing financial trouble, her mother, Belle Darling Pauling, opened a boardinghouse to support the family. Linus, Pauline, and their younger sister, Lucile, were responsible for the many domestic duties of the boardinghouse as their mother, suffering from a general weakness (later diagnosed as pernicious anemia), had become increasingly dependent on the help of her children.

Pauline Pauling on a hiking excursion in the Oregon forest, 1921.

Pauline Pauling on a hiking excursion in the Oregon forest, 1921.

Pauline, an extrovert by nature, couldn’t wait to escape the small-town life of Condon. An energetic and pretty girl, Pauline became something of a socialite as a teenager.

She dated a string of boys, frequently attended swimming and singing events, and often arranged social get-togethers. As a student at Franklin High School in Portland, Pauline dropped out for a year to attend the Behnke-Walker Business School. There she learned Pitman shorthand and the touch system of typing. She would later become known for her speed typing, breaking the world record on a manual typewriter in an unofficial test.

Pauline Pauling participating in a filmed athletics demonstration, Los Angeles, 1920s.

Pauline Pauling participating in a filmed athletics demonstration, Los Angeles, 1920s.

She met her first husband, Wallace Stockton, while working as a secretary for the Elks Club in Portland. The couple later moved to Los Angeles, where Pauline worked as the Women’s Athletic Director for the Club. Known as the “Elkettes,” the women’s group, attracting some of Hollywood’s most famous stars, gained much publicity for its numerous activities and events. Pauline and Wallace Stockton divorced in the late-1920s.

On October 6, 1932, Pauline married Thomas Ney. After living in Santa Monica, the two moved to Inglewood, California, where their son, Michael Ney, was born on December 23, 1934.

Pauline Pauling, posing for a Paddies, Inc. promotional photograph, 1940s.

Pauline Pauling, posing for a Paddies, Inc. promotional photograph, 1940s.

It was around this time that Pauline took notice of a men’s slipper in an issue of Vogue. Using the pattern, Pauline refined the design to create a women’s slipper. Soon after impressing her friends with the prototype, Pauline began making the slippers and selling them from her home. Subsequently, her initially-modest business (Paddies, Inc.) grew rapidly. She began marketing the “Paddy” slipper to upscale department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, and I. Magnin. Unfortunately, Japanese manufacturers were able to copy her design and thus flooded the market with a cheaper model. Pauline lost her big accounts and, as a result, decided to sell the company.

In 1950, Pauline and Thomas Ney divorced. After returning to Santa Monica, California, Pauline became interested in numismatics, eventually opening her own coin shop in 1960. It was during this time that Pauline became acquainted with Charles “Slim” Dunbar, a coin shop owner from Inglewood. The two were married on August 25, 1973. Sadly, Slim, in ill health, died just 23 months after their wedding.

Pauline Pauling, Paul Emmett, Lucile Pauling, Ava Helen and Linus Pauling, 1976.

Pauline Pauling, Paul Emmett, Lucile Pauling, Ava Helen and Linus Pauling, 1976.

Following Slim’s death, Pauline returned to Oregon. It was there that an old friend, Dr. Paul Emmett, re-entered her life. Dr. Emmett, a prominent catalysis scientist, was a longtime friend and colleague of her brother. Emmett was, as Pauline recalls, “underfoot every minute until [she] accepted his proposal.” The two were married on May 22, 1976.

Pauline Pauling with her big brother Linus, 1993.

Pauline Pauling with her big brother Linus, 1993.

Pauline, lively even in her later years, cared for Dr. Emmett (who suffered from Parkinson’s disease) until his death in 1985. Following her husband’s passing, Pauline continued to live in the Portland area until her death on October 19, 2003. She was 101 years old.

Check back next week when we’ll discuss the life of the youngest Pauling sibling, Lucile. For more stories of Linus Pauling’s connection to his home state, please see our growing Oregon150 series.

Oregon 150

Working in Oregon: The Blue Collar Adolescence of Linus Pauling

The Pauling family, 1916.

The Pauling family, 1916.

Interviewer: Have you in the past, or do you now smoke?

LP: When I was about your age or younger, I thought that it was proper, something wrong if I didn’t smoke cigarettes; so I smoked a few cigarettes.  But fortunately I was so poor that I didn’t have money enough to buy them, so I got through the danger period as a result of poverty.  It was a fortunate thing; I might well have developed this drug addiction, as the fellows call it.

-“Aging and Death,” April 8, 1960.

As a famed scientist, activist, and Nobel laureate, Linus Pauling had the opportunity to travel all over the world, acting as guest to some of the 20th century’s most distinguished intellectuals. Despite spending much of his adult life as a world traveler, jetting from one laboratory to the next, we here at the Pauling Blog like to think that he reserved a special place in his heart for Oregon. Born and raised an Oregonian, Pauling met and overcame many of the hurdles of adolescence here in our green state. For Pauling, memories of his education and work always seemed to mark his time in the beaver state. Today, we’d like to honor the famously industrious chemist with a look at his role as a blue collar worker and member of the Oregon labor force.

After the death of Linus’ father, Herman, in 1910, the Pauling family fell on hard times. Belle, Linus’ mother, sold Herman’s drugstore in Portland and purchased a home with the proceeds. There, she opened a boardinghouse and used the income from renters to support her family. Unfortunately, the boardinghouse didn’t bring in enough money and Linus, the man of the house, was sent to work.

When Pauling turned thirteen, his mother purchased a bicycle for him so that he could work as a delivery boy. He found jobs delivering milk, newspapers, and even special delivery packages for the postal service. While the delivery work did offer Pauling a chance to tour Portland and gave him plenty of exercise, it was dull and, by and large, he resented it. By now, he had discovered an interest in the sciences and the deliveries kept him away from his homemade laboratory. On top of it all, he wasn’t allowed to keep his earnings but was instead compelled to hand them over to Belle.

In the summer of 1914, the Pauling family took a vacation. Belle suffered from pernicious anemia, which kept her bedridden much of the time. In order to help alleviate the symptoms, her doctor suggested a trip to the Oregon coast, where she could get away from the stress of the boardinghouse and benefit from the sea air. Unfortunately for Linus, the summer at the coast was not to be one of uninterrupted relaxation. Upon arrival at their vacationing spot, young Pauling was sent out in search of employment. He soon found a job at a local bowling alley and spent his summer setting pins for other tourists.

After returning to Portland in the fall of 1914, Pauling was again required to find a job. This time, he was hired on at a local movie theater where he worked as a projectionist, switching out reels and monitoring the film. Pauling, who was too poor to attend the cinema as a paying customer, enjoyed the work because he was able to watch all the newest films. Unfortunately, work as a projectionist soon lost its novelty. Moreover, the Paulings were sliding further into debt and Linus was expected to contribute increasing amounts to the household income.

Salary and expenditures data, January 1920.

Salary and expenditures data, January 1920.

By this time, Pauling had aspirations of becoming a corporate chemist. It was well known that companies across the nation were paying high salaries to trained chemists capable of developing saleable products. In a fit of ambition, Pauling and his friend, Lloyd Simon, decided to put their own knowledge of the sciences to work:  the two teenagers opened a photo developing business, purchasing expired materials at bargain prices from a local supplier. Next, the two boys began going door-to-door in search of clients. A few kindly shop owners in the neighborhood agreed to send their business to the two young entrepreneurs. Unfortunately for the boys, prosperity was not to be achieved so easily. Between their lack of experience and the poor quality of the materials they had purchased, the developed photos were unusable. The business venture was a disaster and, even worse, both boys had sunk most of their own savings into it. Linus was poorer than ever.

In 1917, frustrated with his high school administrators, Pauling dropped out. He had earned enough credits to attend Oregon Agricultural College, so he decided to work instead of continue on with his high school education. For the remainder of the winter and spring, he worked odd jobs, including a brief stint at People’s Market and then Apple’s Meat Market, making eight dollars a week. Both stores were floundering though, and Pauling was soon laid off due to lack of business.

Desperate to earn money for school in the fall, Pauling took a job as an apprentice machinist under Mr. Schwiezerhoft, owner of the Pacific Scale & Supply Co. Pauling began work at $40.00 per month. He quickly proved to be a capable worker and, at the end of his first week, was given a five dollar per month raise. By the end of the month, he was making $50.00. Over the course of the summer, Schwiezerhoft began relying more and more on Pauling’s skills. The salary raises continued and, by late August, Pauling was earning $100 per month – approximately $1600 dollars in today’s economy.  Schwiezerhoft did his best to convince Pauling to stay with the company rather than venturing off to Oregon Agricultural College. He even went so far as to offer Pauling a 50% salary increase. Alas, despite the promise of a living wage and his mother’s pleas, Pauling chose to leave for OAC at the end of the summer.

Linus puts his finely honed wood-chopping skills to use. 1927.

Linus puts his finely honed wood-chopping skills to use. 1927.

By the time Pauling reached Corvallis, he was almost broke. His family had absorbed most of his earnings, and supplies and living expenses had eaten up the rest. In order to cover the cost of room and board, Pauling took on employment with OAC. He was assigned a long series of odd jobs including janitorial work, chopping wood, and butchering meat for a girls’ dormitory. The work was dull, hard, and time consuming. To make matters worse, Pauling only made $0.25 an hour and worked one-hundred hours each month. In a 1960 letter from Pauling to his son, Peter, he hints at the difficulty of this time.

I have decided that I have a little neurosis resembling the one that affected W. C. Fields. He had had such a hard time in his youth that after he got old and rich he still had trouble to keep from worrying about money. I have decided that the bad three months that I had just after my seventeenth birthday, when I was doing pretty hard physical work but not getting enough to eat because of lack of money still bothers me to some extent. Of course, Mama and I had some trouble during the first couple of years after we were married, but nothing quite so bad as this earlier three months for me.

It is easy to see how Pauling may have been dogged by his early money woes. During his freshman year in Corvallis, he was in almost constant transition between boarding houses, never having enough cash to make rent. His time was consumed by school and work without much opportunity for sleep, and he was perpetually hungry. For the rest of his life he would possess a small, irrational fear of returning to that poverty.

During the summer of 1918, Pauling was employed at a Tillamook shipyard where he worked on the construction of a 4,000-ton ship. The work was labor intensive, but Pauling earned enough to meet his living expenses. At the beginning of the following school year, he was hired on with the chemistry department as a stockroom employee, charged with maintaining inventories of supplies and mixing compounds for student use. The work was easy and allowed him to interact with members of the chemistry department, something that would prove valuable later on.

Linus Pauling working as a pavement tester. 1926.

Linus Pauling working as a pavement tester. 1922.

Pauling’s chemistry skills again came into play during the summer of 1919. Instead of returning to the shipyards, he found a position as a pavement tester with the Oregon Department of Transportation. For three months, he and his fellow workers travelled through Oregon, repairing and building new roads. Pauling’s job was to analyze the quality of the pavement being applied, making sure that the material would hold together under heavy use. Despite months of sleeping outdoors and spending his days with a group of rough, experienced, blue-collar laborers, Pauling never lost his academic persona. In true Pauling fashion, during the evenings while the other workers gambled and told stories, he studied chemistry and physics.

Though Pauling made good money working as a pavement tester, Belle was getting desperate. The boardinghouse wasn’t bringing in enough cash and Belle’s debts, including her medical expenses, were becoming unmanageable. In an attempt to make Linus responsible for providing for the family, she forbade him from returning to OAC for the 1919-1920 school year. Out of options, Pauling decided to keep his job with the Department of Transportation. Fortunately, his luck was about to turn.

In the late autumn of 1919, Pauling received a telegram from the OAC chemistry department. A member of their faculty was unable to teach during the following term and they needed a replacement. Pauling was offered a full-time position as an assistant professor of chemistry. Though it meant a $25 per month pay cut, Pauling accepted immediately. That winter, he taught Quantitative Analysis to eighty freshmen. The department was so pleased with his work that he was assigned two more classes for the following term.

That summer, he returned to his pavement testing job and in the fall, he took up a position as assistant to Samuel H. Graf, the school’s professor of mechanics. The job paid well enough that Pauling was able to meet all of his living expenses and send the remainder back to his mother. During the summer of 1922, he again worked with the road crew, zig-zagging across Oregon. By now, he had established seniority and was bringing in good money. And in the process, he had become a sort of kid brother to the rest of the crew, who admired his intelligence and seemed to enjoy his company.

Pauling returned to OAC in 1922 as a senior. At first, he started back as Graf’s assistant but was soon approached with a better offer. The chemistry staff was once again in need of another professor, and asked that Pauling teach Chemistry for Home Economics Majors. Pauling accepted and it was here, in the winter of 1923, that he met his future wife Ava Helen Miller.

That spring, Linus graduated. The next few years would be lean, with he and Ava Helen carefully monitoring their spending. But before long Pauling would find himself to be a successful and, in time, wealthy individual. Even so, as evidenced by his letter to Peter, the memory of hunger and the stress of poverty would always be with him.

For more information about Linus Pauling, please visit the Linus Pauling Online portal or check out our Oregon 150 series.

Oregon 150

Portland, OR: Pauling’s Teenage Years

Lucile, Linus, Belle, and Pauline Pauling, 1916.

Lucile, Linus, Belle, and Pauline Pauling, Portland, Oregon, 1916.

“This activist loves Oregon more than he loves life.”
– Tom McCall

Portland, the largest city in Oregon, sits at the convergence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers on Oregon’s northern border. Known for its microbreweries, environmentalists, and growing nightlife, Portland is nationally recognized as an epicenter of West Coast progressive culture. However, a century ago, the city held a very different position in the national consciousness.

As a part of the great West, early 20th century Portland was largely seen as an untamed and uncivilized part of the continent, full of opportunities and dangers. Aside from an impoverished and rather seedy Japan Town (located in the same area as Portland’s modern Chinatown) and a thriving red light district, the city was an industrial center and little else. Due to its convenient access to Oregon’s primary rivers, which in turn provided a direct line to the Pacific Ocean, Portland became a hub for the state’s shipbuilding and logging sectors. Oregon’s booming timber industry single-handedly supported much of the state’s economy, providing work in mills, producing lumber for shipbuilders and helping stoke the fires of Portland’s fledgling steel industry.

It was in this young industrial center that Linus Pauling spent his teenage years, immersed in a culture of blue-collar labor and near-poverty. He spent his youth in pursuits appropriate to his surroundings; dreaming up get-rich-quick schemes and fantasizing about life as a successful corporate chemist. Pauling was the product of his environment – bright, industrious, and a capitalist to the core.

Though born in Portland, Pauling was not always an enterprising city boy in a smog-choked factory town. In 1905, his family moved to Condon, Oregon, a small watering hole in north central Oregon frequented by cowboys and nomadic Native American tribes, a veritable Wild West to the young Linus. Here, he spent his early years playing on the expansive prairie, climbing trees and wading through creeks. When his father’s drugstore was sold out from underneath the family, however, the Paulings were forced to leave Condon and return to Portland.

Shortly after moving back to the city, Pauling’s father, Herman, died suddenly and unexpectedly. Linus, his two sisters, and his mother, Belle, were left to fend for themselves. Belle sold the drugstore Herman had just opened in Portland and purchased a house with the proceeds. Unfortunately, she had no practical business skill and grossly overpaid for the six bedroom home. In an attempt to keep her family afloat, she took on boarders, though even with the revenue from her tenets, Belle’s income was not enough to support herself and the children. Moreover, the shock of Herman’s death and the added stress of her difficult financial situation pushed Belle into a state of deep depression which was worsened by pernicious anemia, a blood disease which sapped her strength and left her bedridden.

By the time he had turned thirteen, Linus and his sisters had taken over many of the duties of the boarding house. At his mother’s encouragement, he began working outside jobs for extra income. He sold meat in a butcher shop, tended reels in a movie theater, delivered milk in a horse drawn wagon, and transported special delivery packages for the Portland postal service. The money he earned went straight to his mother, who in turn used it to purchase necessities for the family. Unsurprisingly, Pauling disliked having to give up his hard-earned wages and, in the years to come, disagreements over finances would prove to be a continuing source of friction between Linus and his mother.

Linus’ chief respite from the grim realities of his family life was his intellect. At the age of thirteen, Pauling was first introduced to chemistry by his best friend, Lloyd Jeffress. After watching Lloyd demonstrate a few small chemical reactions with a homemade chemistry set, his own course was set. Linus  had previously built a small room in the basement of his mother’s boardinghouse to house his mineral collection – this space quickly became his laboratory. Soon he was collecting chemicals and supplies with which to conduct his own “experiments.”

Indeed, academic pursuits often served as Pauling’s escape from his difficult adolescence. At the age of sixteen, he chose to formally pursue an academic career and leave Portland altogether. He moved to Corvallis, Oregon in the fall of 1917 where he enrolled at Oregon Agricultural College. There, he embarked on a course that would eventually earn him two Nobel prizes and worldwide acclaim. It should be remembered, however, that Pauling’s life in Portland shaped much of who he was as a scientist and an activist. His difficult youth instilled in him a work ethic and sense of determination that characterized his career and led to some of the most important scientific developments of the 20th century.

For more information about Linus Pauling and his life in Oregon, visit the Linus Pauling Online portal or check out the other posts in our Oregon 150 series.

Oregon 150

Herman Pauling’s Condon Pharmacy

Obituary of Herman W. Pauling, 1910.

Obituary of Herman W. Pauling, 1910.

Linus Pauling harbored many fond memories of his short time in the small town of Condon, Oregon. Of these memories, a number of them involve his father Herman and his drugstore.

Herman Pauling, born in 1876, began his career in pharmacy as the apprentice of an Oswego druggist. Before long, he was working his way through the ranks of a large Portland pharmacy, and was soon asked to manage a store in Condon. In the summer of 1899, Herman, then only 22 years old, arrived in the small wild-west town. The residents of Condon were overjoyed to have a registered pharmacist, and Herman quickly began to develop a reputation as a skilled and honest druggist.

Unfortunately, his success was short-lived. The investors providing the backing for the store sold out, and Herman was not asked to stay on. Despite his search for another job in Condon and the surrounding area, he and his new bride, the former Lucy Isabelle Darling, were forced to return to Portland in the summer of 1900. It was in Portland that Linus Carl Pauling was born on February 28, 1901.

Despite the early set-backs, Herman’s desire to run his own drugstore was far from gone. He worked hard in the Portland area to save money, and in March of 1905 he returned to Condon, where competition was scarce and economic conditions were improving. When he arrived, he was literally given half a store as well as money to buy supplies by his brother-in-law, Herbert Stephenson. Understandably, this was exciting to Herman and it wasn’t long before Belle and the children had joined him.

A monthly billing statement issued by the Herman Pauling drugstore.

A monthly billing statement issued by the Herman Pauling drugstore.

Herman was very dedicated to creating a successful pharmacy, and it wasn’t long before his hard work began to pay off. Calling himself a “manufacturing pharmacist,” he, like many other pharmacists of the time, created his own pills or solutions to treat various ailments. His store was also founded on a “No Cure, No Pay” policy – that is, if the cure didn’t work for you, you were refunded in full. Fortunately for Herman, his products seemed to do the trick. In 1907, Herman partnered with a young jeweler and opened an improved and expanded store in a prime location of town.

Although Herman’s primary concern was manufacturing drugs, he also had a knack for advertising, which he quickly put to use in full force. His advertisements could be seen on billboards, flyers, painted benches around town, and weekly notices in the newspaper. The advertisements typically consisted of simple announcements of new products, testimonials from loyal customers, and sometimes even poetry written by Herman himself. For example, he promoted his Almond and Cucumber Cream by writing:

When sweet Marie was sweet sixteen / She used Pauling’s Almond and Cucumber Cream / Tho’ many winters since she’s seen, / She still remains just sweet sixteen.

Other products created by Herman included “Pauling’s Pink Pills for Pain,”  “Pauling’s Improved Blood Purifier,”  “Pauling’s Mixture for the Blood, Liver, and Kidneys,” and “Pauling’s Barb Wire Cure.” A few of these products can be seen in the advertisements shown below.

Assorted advertisements for Herman Pauling's drugstore as well as "Pauling & Keene Watchmakers, Jewelers, Opticians"

Assorted advertisements for Herman Pauling's drugstore as well as "Pauling & Keene Watchmakers, Jewelers, Opticians"

An advertisement (center-top) for Herman Pauling's drugstore.

An advertisement (center-top) for Herman Pauling's drugstore.

As his father’s business matured, so too was Linus becoming a curious and intelligent child. While he and his cousin Mervyn Stephenson played together often, young Linus frequently took an interest in the more grown-up world of his father’s drugstore. Linus would, for example, sometimes sit in the back room of the store, watching his father combine various mysterious ingredients into a single medicinal compound. Herman was essentially doing simple chemistry, and although Linus’ interest in chemistry wasn’t fully piqued until later, his time spent in the drugstore could have easily played a role.

In 1908, Herman decided to overtake the jewelry business after his partner’s sudden death from pneumonia. He also imported an optician from Portland and the partnership continued to grow and prosper. Herman’s profile in the community was likewise still on the rise, to the point where he was put in charge of Condon’s Fourth of July celebration for 1908.

Unfortunately, this success would once again not endure. Soon after the Fourth of July festivities, a competing jeweler issued a minor verbal attack against Herman. Herman took the remarks personally and initiated a heated debate in the newspaper that lasted for three weeks with no resolution. From this incident, Herman’s reputation as a pharmacist was tarnished. Not long after, he was arrested on false bootlegging charges and a fire destroyed a portion of the stock in his store.

Herman had finally had enough of Condon. He collected insurance on the store, sold his share of the company, and moved his family back to Portland where he immediately began to work on opening yet another drugstore. Tragically, in June of 1910, only a few months after returning to Portland, Herman Pauling suddenly became very ill and died within twenty-four hours of feeling sick. The official cause of his death was gastritis, but Herman often complained of what he called his “tummick ake”. Linus later contributed his father’s death to a likely cause of this pain, a perforating ulcer – to which stress from his constant hard work could have been a major contributing factor.

For more stories of Pauling in Oregon, see our growing series of posts celebrating Oregon150 or visit the Linus Pauling Online portal.

Oregon 150

Snapshots of Pauling’s Childhood in Condon

[Ed Note: The Pauling Blog wears a black armband today for the Oregon Historical Society Library and the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, both of which have been forced to close due to budget considerations.  The state of Oregon is little more than two weeks removed from its sesquicentennial celebration and it is our sincere hope that these two cultural institutions, both of which are fundamental to our understanding of what it means to be an Oregonian, are soon able to re-open to the public and continue celebrating the state’s 150th birthday.]

Linus Pauling, posing in his buffalo-skin chaps, 1906.

Linus Pauling, posing in his buffalo-skin chaps, 1906.

Linus Pauling is well known for his brilliance, wit, drive, and determination. Even at a young age, he showed a remarkable interest in academics and a surprising level of self-motivation. His native intelligence can perhaps be attributed to biology, but his penchant for learning and his commitment to work are products of his experience. Pauling’s biographers have devoted years to unlocking the secrets of  just what made him so unique, picking apart his life experiences and teasing out distant memories. Even so, much about Pauling – especially the young Pauling – remains a mystery.

In the spirit of psychological discovery, The Pauling Blog would like to take a moment to explore Pauling’s childhood in Condon as described by those who have made a career of recording his life. In his introduction to Linus Pauling: Scientist and Peacemaker, Tom Hager sets the stage for an in-depth look at Pauling’s childhood.

What forces created Linus Pauling? Even after all this time and study, I cannot say. But I can provide some clues. The first come from his early years. I think it significant that Pauling was born and raised in the Western U.S., in a place and at a time when the pioneer virtues of bravery, perseverance, and hard work were extolled; where people were valued for the work they did, not the name they carried; and where egalitarianism and openness were valued.

– Hager, Thomas. “The Roots of Genius,” in Linus Pauling: Scientist and Peacemaker. Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 2001, 3-4.

Pauling has often been called odd, eccentric, and sometimes even crazy. His dedication to the fight for peace was seen as courageous by some, and ludicrous by others. Whatever the case, Pauling’s Condon relatives did have a peculiar family history.

His father’s family was of sober and hard-working German immigrant stock; his mother’s was somewhat more eccentric. On his mother’s side, the Darling family, he had a grandfather who practiced law without a degree; a great uncle who communed with an Indian spirit; an aunt who toured the state as a safecracker (legally; she practiced her skills for a safe company); and a mother whose chronic anemia kept her bedridden for long stretches.

– Hager, 4.

In an unpublished manuscript, Robert Paradowski, a biographer who worked closely with Pauling over multiple decades, describes the individuals that Pauling encountered during his time in Condon. Some of them, Pauling remembered in his later years, even helped shape his thinking.

“He spent his early years in Condon, an arid Western town in the interior of Oregon, where his father owned a drugstore and where young Linus encountered both cowboys, one of whom showed him the proper way to sharpen a pencil with a knife, and Indians, one of whom showed him how to dig for edible roots. These two thing impressed him deeply: that there was correct technique for doing things and that there were people who had useful knowledge of nature.”

– Paradowski, Robert J.: Typescripts. LP Correspondence Box #306.1

Many of Pauling’s memories of his childhood focused on Herman Pauling, his father and Condon’s local pharmacist. When interviewed about his relationship with his father, Pauling recalled a kind and caring man who protected his family, even at cost to himself.

“When he was about seven years old, Linus remembered, he and his cousin were caught while exploring a half-finished building by a burly workman. Linus tried to wriggle out a window but the workman caught him by his pants, dragged him back inside, and beat him with a piece of lath. Linus ran home sobbing. He tearfully told his story to Herman, who listened carefully, then led his son by the hand through Condon’s streets in search of the workman. They found the fellow eating lunch in the crowded dining room of the town’s largest hotel. Herman asked him if he had beaten his son. When the man answered yes, Linus recalled, Herman knocked the fellow to the floor – and was subsequently arrested and tried for assault.”

– Hager, Thomas. Force of Nature: The Life of Linus Pauling. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995, 30

It should be noted that Pauling’s memory was at least partially incorrect and that, in reality, Herman was not arrested for assault. Instead, he was tried for bootlegging, an accusation that proved to be false.

Finally, we must remember that Pauling, though he grew up to be a highly-respected scientist, was once mischievous. In an interview with Victor and Mildred Goertzel, he recalled one of his youthful (and occasionally disastrous) misadventures.

“When he was about five, he had a bitter experience. He had a new little wagon with a wooden body, which he and his playmates put in a five gallon tin can to make it into a steam roller. They built a fire in it, and the new wagon was badly charred. He hid the wagon and succeeded – or thinks he did – in keeping his father from knowing what happened.”

– Goertzel, Victor and Mildred Goertzel. “Notes on Interview with Pauling (First Interview),” 1965.  LP Biographical Box 5.011.1

Though these anecdotes cannot decode Pauling, they offer us a rare glimpse at events that shaped him and his role in the world. In considering his childhood we are reminded that, despite his later achievements, he was once a little boy much like any other.

Learn more at Linus Pauling Online.

Oregon 150

Happy (Almost) Birthday Linus Pauling!

Cross-posted at Ether Wave Propaganda

Pauline, Linus and Lucile Pauling, 1908.

Pauline, Linus and Lucile Pauling, 1908.

Linus Pauling was born in Portland, Oregon on February 28, 1901, meaning that this coming Saturday will mark the 108th anniversary of his birth. (He died on August 19, 1994 at the age of 93)

Over the years, one of our annual habits around here has been to reflect back upon Pauling’s life at the time of his birthday anniversary, usually by highlighting his activities 100, 75, 50 and 25 years ago.

Looking back in segments of twenty-five years is admittedly rather an arbitrary observance, but it can oftentimes prove to be very revealing. By choosing to study the effectively-random dates of, in this instance, 1909, 1934, 1959 and 1984, one is compelled to sample a broad period of time in Pauling’s life and, in the process, gain a sense of his remarkably-wide variety of interests. It is our belief that, as much as anything else, these broad horizons define Pauling’s legacy.

1909: Age 8

The Pauling family begins this year in Condon, Oregon, a small and isolated farming community some 150 miles east of Portland. Four years previous, Linus’s father, Herman, had moved the family to the dry side of the state in search of business opportunities. A drug store operator, Herman has been able to make a living meeting the pharmaceutical needs of the region’s farmers, ranchers and cowboys.

Neither Herman nor his wife, Belle, particularly care for the area, and in September, following a fire that guts the Condon store, the family decides to return to Portland. By the time the family settles, Linus has transferred into his third fourth-grade class of the term. A rather withdrawn little boy, by 1909 Linus has already developed keen interests in the scientific world. He is particularly enamored of insects and minerals, and will soon develop and classify collections of both. He is also a voracious reader with a particular taste for ancient history.

1934: Age 33

Dr. Linus Pauling is a full professor at the California Institute of Technology, a recipient of the A.C. Langmuir Prize (awarded by the American Chemical Society to the best young chemist in the nation) and a married father of three. He has already published a set of papers that revolutionized the modern understanding of structural chemistry and is now turning his attentions to biological topics, including the structure of hemoglobin. The hemoglobin work will prove to be of major importance and will eventually receive hundreds of thousands of dollars of funding support from the Rockefeller Foundation.

Jack Sherman and Linus Pauling, 1935.

Jack Sherman and Linus Pauling, 1935.

Pauling has not, however, lost his passion for more traditional structure determinations. In 1934 he and Maurice L. Huggins publish an important paper on the atomic characteristics of crystals containing electron-pair bonds. Pauling also supervises investigations of enargite, binnite and calcium boride. His collaborator in the calcium boride work is a young Ph.D. named Sidney Weinbaum who, sixteen years later, will be imprisoned for having perjured himself during a loyalty hearing.

1959: Age 58

He does not know it yet, but Pauling is nearing the end of his long association with the California Institute of Technology. The recipient of the 1954 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, Pauling has made a decision to devote roughly half of his time to the world peace movement, a trend that proves increasingly troublesome to the Caltech regents.

In 1959 he delivers dozens of speeches on the perils of nuclear testing, the social ramifications of Cold War hysteria and the great immorality of war. He and his wife, Ava Helen, also spend the year traveling widely. They visit Dr. Albert Schweitzer at his medical compound in French Equitorial Africa; they contribute to the Fourth Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs in Baden, Austria; and they help draft the “Hiroshima Appeal,” issued in Japan by the Fifth World Conference Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs.

Linus and Ava Helen Pauling working on the United Nations Bomb Test Petition, 1957.

Linus and Ava Helen Pauling working on the United Nations Bomb Test Petition, 1957.

Pauling’s first love is and always shall be science, and amidst his flurry of peace activism he is still able to make time for work in the laboratory. One of his more novel pursuits is a theory of anesthesia, which he begins researching in April 1959. Running a series of experiments that involve goldfish, among other subjects, Pauling theorizes that anesthetic agents form hydrate “cages” with properties similar to ice crystals. Owing to the nature of their molecular structure these “cages” serve to impede electrical impulses in the brain, thus leading to unconsciousness.

1984: Age 83

Pauling’s fascination with vitamin C is in full bloom and by now he has written and lectured on the subject widely — one of his seventeen publications issued in 1984 is a book chapter on the topic of vitamin C and pregnancy.

Two years removed, Pauling likewise continues to struggle with the death of Ava Helen, his wife of fifty-eight years. Increasingly he turns to highly theoretical scientific pursuits as a method for occupying his mind and coping with his grief. In tandem with his orthomolecular work, publication titles the likes of “Evidence from bond lengths and bond angles for enneacovalence of cobalt, rhodium, iridium, iron, ruthenium, and osmium in compounds with elements of medium electronegativity” come to dominate his curriculum vitae.

In 1984 Pauling receives the American Chemical Society’s most prestigious award, the Joseph Priestley Medal. That same year he and three other Nobel laureates (Adolfo Perez Esquivel, George Wald and Betty Williams) sail to Nicaragua to promote peace and democracy in Central America. Never one to mince words, Pauling tells an interviewer aboard the “Peace Ship” that “the people of the United States need to know what great immorality the Reagan government has been committing, through the CIA and by direct subsidy of the forces that are trying to overthrow the government of Nicaragua by force and violence.”

Linus Pauling in Nicaragua, 1984.

Linus Pauling in Nicaragua, 1984.

Celebrate Pauling’s 108th birthday by visiting the Linus Pauling Online portal.