The Garrett Hardin Society

Updated 9 June, 2003

Garrett Hardin Oral History Project

Tape 4

RUSSELL: In reviewing the tape of the last session, I noticed we failed to cover Professor Allee's work on population. Although you referred to it, I wonder if you would like to comment further on how it influenced your later work?

HARDIN: There are two things here: one is his lectures in class on population; and the other is the work he and his students were doing. Now, the lectures in his class I would describe as standard Malthusian theory. And when I use the word, "Malthusian," I do not use it in a derogatory sense. I regard this as high praise. I regard the Malthusians as primarily right. He told us about the work of Raymond Pearl and others following him, on the influence of the culture medium in stopping population growth. This was all standard stuff; nothing unique there. As a matter of fact, he was proposing to have me repeat some of this work when I started my graduate career; you know, to see if something would bud off from that.

That is what I would have done had I stayed in Chicago, but since I ducked out at the last minute, I never did. As far as Allee's own orientation was concerned, it was clearly influenced, in a very deep and proper way I think, by his own religion. He was a Quaker, a very earnest Quaker, a man of personal courage. He lost his position during the First World War because he spoke out against militarism, in keeping with Quaker principles. And it was an education to me to see how he handled the matter of militarism during the time I was at the U. of C. You see, this was '32 to '36, and the thirties were a time of considerable radical student activity, somewhat like the sixties, later. From time to time, student groups would try to get his blessing, say to sign a petition against war. He was very cautious and very proper and sat down and talked to them very seriously and usually ended up by not doing it, because he was concerned, as all good Quakers are, with the total motivation, and not just with "the bottom line." Was the proposed action a sound one? He usually concluded it was not, and I think he was right, because most of the student radicals that I knew were a very unsound bunch of people. He had no hesitation in refusing.

In respect to how his religion influenced his own research--being a Quaker and impressed with the importance of cooperation between people, and so on--he was, in a sense, looking for human behavior among the lower animals. He was interested in what you might call proto-sociology: for the first evidences of organisms influencing each other in a favorable way, instead of just strictly competing. And so, he and his students did a lot of work with all sorts of organisms. I think they did some work with pill bugs. They worked with goldfish showing how they were favorably influenced by a small amount of crowding. You see, this is the other end of the Malthusian story, and really is needed for a complete story. In other words, at very low population levels, there may be a positive gain from population numbers. Whereas, when you get too great a concentration, increased numbers bring losses. Allee was concerned with the lower end. He did quite a lot of experiments of that sort and wrote a book called Animal Aggregations. He didn't call the simplest groups "animal societies," but "animal aggregations," the most primitive ones he could find. He had quite an influence on research in the field.

RUSSELL: Did you take exception to any of his work? Finding that you felt it was nonproductive?

HARDIN: Well, I wasn't too impressed with this because it seemed to me, although the experiments were interesting, I did not see how they could lead to anything of direct application to the human situation. For example, in the goldfish, he found that if he had goldfish in a bowl and then added a poison--a mercuric salt--that five goldfish would survive better than two or one. Well, so there's an animal aggregation gaining positive benefit from it. But, when you trace it down, as he did, what's the mechanism? You find that the mechanism is one of precipitation of the mercuric salt by the mucus on the gills of the goldfish. And, of course, the more goldfish, the more mucus, the more precipitation and the better off the fish are. It's interesting, but I just couldn't see that this led, by any meaningful sequence, to increased understanding of the human situation. Allee found a number of things like that which seemed to me were just too far from human sociological problems to be of use. I didn't warm up to that approach; and I felt that he was doing this kind of work because he was a Quaker. Not that he ever did anything that was scientifically incorrect. He was a very careful, very honest man. It just seemed to me a little remote.

RUSSELL: Well, that satisfies that question. At this point, I thought we could cover a few questions concerning your early recollections about UCSB, like who interviewed you? And, what were your first impressions of the campus?

HARDIN: Well, I came down here probably in late January of 1946. It might have been early February, but I think it was late January. And, as often happens, the weather was absolutely magical. This, of course, is Santa Barbara's downfall. People come here from Minnesota or some other such forbidding place in January or February, when we often have some of the year's best weather, and are overcome by it. And then they promptly want to come back here, thus increasing the crowding and driving up the real estate prices. Well, that's when I came here. And that campus up on the hill! Like a dream out of a Hollywood movie of campus life. In fact, I believe the Riviera campus was used a time or two for movies to depict the small college, because it's just beautiful. Wisteria was growing on the trellises at the front of the Quad. Marvelous.

Well, Fred Addicott, whom I had known at Stanford--he was several years before me in the graduate train--was the one who brought me down. When I wrote to him he replied, "Sure, come on down." That was my entry. I was interviewed by Hazel Severy, who was Head of the Science Department. I was introduced to all the other people in the Science Department and I think I had it pointed out to me that Elmer Noble was a very important one, because it was probable that, come fall, the Science Department would split into two--Biological and Physical Sciences--and that Elmer Noble would be Chairman of Biological Sciences. So I was interviewed by both those people, with a pro forma interview by the Provost, Clarence L. Phelps. Well, that was purely pro forma--couldn't make anything of it. He verified that I did not have two heads and that was it. But actually, I don't know if any interview was terribly important except Elmer Noble's. Miss Severy, however, still had the power.

RUSSELL: Were you impressed by them?

HARDIN: Well, yes, favorably impressed by Noble and Severy in utterly different ways. Noble is a sound scientist and a very likable person. As for Miss Severy, I had very affectionate feelings toward her: mixed feelings, because she was not a person of much scientific competence--very limited. I'll tell you more about that in a moment. But she was clearly a person of personal integrity and rather keen at sizing up people. She probably sized me up pretty well, though I have no way of knowing that. But she had had a lot of experience. She was the wise old grandmother sort of person.

I should say something about her, things I came to know later after I was here teaching. For example, for awhile I taught a course in bacteriology; my students had to have a year of chemistry to get in the course. There were quite a lot of the students who were pre-nursing; we had the pre-nursing students then for Knapp College. I was appalled at their ignorance of chemistry. Once, to my incredulity, when I had asked something about the elements, one of the girls wrote down--apparently quite seriously--earth, air, fire and water. I never thought I would get that. Just incredible. The ignorance was fantastic. They had all taken Miss Severy's course. Apparently, her course in chemistry was not good (though I am sure there was no earth, air, fire and water in it). I suppose she gave a little history and that's all that stuck in the girl's mind. Her ex-students certainly were not prepared as they should have been.

Well, Miss Severy had only a bachelor's degree in chemistry. Her doctor's degree was an honorary one, from an optometry school where she taught for one year. I suspect it was given to her partially in lieu of salary. But, as a result of that, she was one of the few people on campus who was called "Doctor."

Well, she was no great shakes professionally, Lord knows, but she was really a fine person: one of those work horses that are so important in any good organization and certainly in a small college. Her teaching--about thirty contact hours a week--was augmented with a heavy administrative load. She couldn't see why we young faculty were complaining about teaching sixteen contact hours a week. She was teaching twice that and she was chairman of the department. In addition to that, she was sponsor for several student organizations, whose meetings she dutifully attended.

Moreover, she wrote the time and room schedule for the entire campus by herself. Now, it's true it was a smaller campus then--1800 students--and we had far fewer rooms. But still, she did all this by herself. She was the only one who knew all the ins and outs, such as that in such and such room. In the Home Economics Department, you should not schedule a class between 9 and 10 because the garbage men rattling the garbage cans made it unbearable at that time. All the particularities of rooms and people were in her head; she did the whole schedule by herself. She was an old maid, and as often happens, she was married to her job, from morning to night. I later learned that she was also very active in church. No surprise! Service around the clock. She was a fine person; not very well educated, but very fair.

RUSSELL: This gets me to my next question. And that is that you had come from a research organization and you had been at the Carnegie Lab. And now you come into what had been a normal school--what was your teaching load like? How many classes did they expect you to teach?

HARDIN: Well, I had usually two or three classes a semester, both semesters. We younger faculty, we got the load beat down from sixteen contact hours to twelve; that was the best we managed to do for a number of years. One of our problems in science--and this is often true on college campuses--the scientists really have to kick up a storm to get contact hours in the laboratory accepted the same as contact hours in lecture. Our colleagues on the other side of campus can't quite see it, they think you don't do anything in lab. They don't allow for the tremendous amount of preparation you have to do, preparation that has to be done over again every year. On a campus where you have very little technical help in the way of dish washing, making up media, and all that, the professor does it all. But we science faculty stood firm, and won reluctant agreement to the new accounting.

RUSSELL: That must have helped out quite a bit.

HARDIN: That helped out quite a bit because otherwise, if three hours of lab gives the faculty only one unit of credit as teaching load, he is behind the eight ball.

RUSSELL: Literally. How did you assess the impact of the veteran in the post-war years? Was that a "golden age" from a teaching perspective?

HARDIN: In some respects it was very good because the veterans were serious. They knew what they were here for and there was no mistake about that. They were one of the very best groups we ever had. Of course, it was a little embarrassing sometimes when the professor was younger than the student. But I had some very good students then--awfully bright, sharp, and motivated in a good way. That lasted well through the early fifties, and then I guess later we started getting the Korea vets, too. Somehow they weren't as noticeable--the proportion was smaller. But the ones from World War II were first rate.

RUSSELL: The next question that I wanted to ask--and these are all in reference to your early recollections--and that is the attitude that Professor Kelley has in his book, and I have given you a quote as to how he viewed the goals of the campus. Would you agree with that?

HARDIN: Well, I agree with that. It was my perception when I came here. One of the things that attracted me was that it was small, about 1800 students at that time. It ballooned up to 2700 and then dropped back to about 1600, and then went back up and grew forever more after that. What I wanted was a campus that had a small number of students; I thought a small liberal arts college would suit me just fine. Not only that, but there were--oh, all together--maybe two dozen of us on campus, out of about eighty, who really wanted it to be a small campus. About eight or ten of us worked very hard to keep it that way. We had night strategy meetings, we issued pronouncements. We tried very hard to keep it a small liberal arts college.

RUSSELL: Do you remember some of the other faculty members who were involved?

HARDIN: Sure. George Hand, English, from Berkeley. Douwe Stuurman, who had been here before the war--he had come to Santa Barbara from Reed just before the interruption of the war. Joe Foladare. Those were the three principals; then myself. We four together were, I guess, the principal activists. But there was also Ken Simpson in Philosophy (though he was trained in physics). And Harry Girvetz in Philosophy, Bob Robinson in English. Maybe a dozen, all told, who worked really hard.

But we had opposition. The opposition didn't develop right away. But, of course, that's always true. Once you start making progress the opposition develops. One of the persons who was most effective in opposing us, who really knew his way around, who was more canny politically by far than any of us, was Bob Webb. You see, Bob Webb came here from UCLA with just exactly the opposite aim--he was going to turn UCSB into a new UCLA. (We weren't called UCSB at that time.) He wanted us to repeat the experience of UCLA. Webb had had many years of experience politicking at UCLA. He didn't talk much in public; he went around behind the scenes like the good politician he was and lined up support. He spotted the people who would be most threatened by a genuine liberal arts college. He got them to speak out in opposition.

Bob Webb, more that anyone else, kept this from becoming a liberal arts college. However, it has to be said that, perhaps more important than personalities, were certain objective facts. When the Regents accepted the 480 acres on Coal Oil Point as a gift from the government--sale price, one dollar--I remember Bill Kennedy and several others immediately said, "Well, that's it. There goes our liberal arts college, right down the tubes. You can't have a liberal arts college with 480 vacant acres tempting the Regents to expand." That was the objective fact that put an end to our dream. We were planning for the fourteen acres on the Riviera. We might move over to the Mesa, above the Yacht Harbor; in fact, we were scheduled to move there. I don't remember the exact acreage, but it isn't very much, and it's broken up. Maybe it's sixty acres or something of that sort. Our dream of a liberal arts college was torpedoed by two things: the personal thing (the opposition led by Bob Webb), and the objective fact of hundreds of vacant acres.

RUSSELL: Did you find yourself torn between these two positions? Here you loved teaching. And you were in a liberal arts school where you could really teach. At the same time, how well equipped was the school at that time for your research needs?

HARDIN: Oh, it was miserable! It was just incredibly bad. For one thing, if it was going to be a liberal arts college on the Riviera campus, it should have been no more than, say, 500 students. It was already vastly overcrowded with 1800. I intended to continue with research. I came here bringing a number of cultures of various protozoa. These were unique cultures that I had developed. I was going to investigate them. But all I could do was keep them transferred; they had to be transferred every two or three weeks to fresh media. That meant sterilizing, starting up, so forth and so on. I tried to do some research but the difficulties were horrendous. Though what I was doing required very little in the way of space and not much in the way of equipment, even so, the facilities were inadequate. I was teaching during the daytime, going home at evening for supper, then coming back up the hill to do research at about seven o'clock and working through until 10 or 11. Well, I had to get all my apparatus and cultures out: that took maybe an hour. Then do whatever I was going to do, and then take another hour to put everything away, because a class was going to be using the desk space the next morning. Nothing could be left out.

There is a curious story from that time.... A report came to me from Miss Severy, which had come to her from Provost Phelps, which had come to him from the head of the police, and that was delivered to him by one of his subordinates, that something suspicious was going on in one of the labs at night. In truth, I was all alone in the lab, but this super-courageous campus policeman didn't have the nerve to come into a lighted room to see what was happening. Instead, he reported it to the Chief of Police who reported it to the Provost who reported it to a department chairman, who reported back to me.

RUSSELL: Was the library closed, too?

HARDIN: The library closed at five o'clock for good.

RUSSELL: It was a small liberal arts college!

HARDIN: And it closed up tighter than a barrel on the weekends. So there wasn't any research going on. Well, that was discouraging. I tried for several months, but here I had a family, two children, soon to be three, then four. And my wife wanted to see me now and then.

Then Bill Freeman came to see me. He had been a bookman (as they called them) for years, but had quit Macmillan to form his own book company--W. H. Freeman and Company. He got in touch with me beforehand and asked if I would be willing to see him when he came through Santa Barbara? For some reason, the only time available was an hour at the railroad station, sitting on a bench. He wanted to know if I would be willing to write an elementary textbook of biology. I had been recommended by two of the three editors of the series. (The third editor didn't know me.)

I decided that's for me. Under the existing conditions, research was the bunk until we could get to a new campus. But I could write at home. Now letting the research go for a few years was a calculated risk because plainly, as the campus was evolving, research would be important for advancement now that the campus was part of the University of California. I was gambling in several ways: that I would finish the book in good time; that it would be a successful and respected book; and that I could coast on my past research record until I established a new basis for advancement. (I came to Santa Barbara with about a dozen research papers to my credit, which was not a bad number.)

RUSSELL: Were these a product of your experience at the Carnegie lab?

HARDIN: Yes, they were published while I was there. And my record was better than anyone else's in the department, except for Elmer Noble, who had been plugging away for a good many years. I gambled that I would be able to survive.

RUSSELL: Where did you meet Bill Freeman? Was he from the University of Chicago?

HARDIN: No, this is the first time that I had ever met him. I had been recommended to him, so he got in touch with me. Like most bookmen, he was not from the sciences, though he had a minor, I believe, in geology. He went to Hamilton College in New York, which is primarily for the sons of businessmen. That was his training.

RUSSELL: He was doing what he was supposed to be doing.

HARDIN: Doing what he was supposed to be doing, and magnificently. For one thing, at Hamilton College, they take public speaking for four years. They really know what they are doing. They are training these young people to step into their father's shoes. Public speaking for four years. Besides that, his personality was such that he could have sold refrigerators to the Eskimos. It was almost impossible to say "No" to Bill Freeman.

So I said I would do the book in two years, and I completed the manuscript in twenty-five months. I think that's something of a record in the writing trade. But I had to run fast because I knew that it was now or never. Because, if this thing dragged on while I did no research, I could easily get bounced out of the University.

RUSSELL: What level was the text intended for?

HARDIN: Elementary, first year. And it was a success; it was well-received, professionally. As soon as it was published, I was dissatisfied with it, so I started on the revision. I got the revision out in another two years, which is an unusually short time for a revision. There were many things I didn't like, having done it so hastily.

The book changed the course of my life. I was soon advanced to Associate Professor. That gave me tenure. I decided I wasn't going to worry about my rate of further advancement: I would just go ahead and do what I wanted to. I decided I liked the writing, and I felt I had more gifts for writing than I did for laboratory research. So I settled on writing. It was financially a good thing; it enabled us to survive the expense of having four children, and it financed a large home for us.

RUSSELL: Since you have already discussed the members of the Biology Department, I thought there might be other faculty members you would like to mention. Perhaps we could start with the Deans, if you would like to, or any other individual I haven't included that you would like to talk about.

HARDIN: I'll tell you a little bit, not too informative perhaps. Let's take up Helen Sweet, first, the Dean of Women. She got her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. When I began hearing tales about her teaching, I wondered how did she ever got a degree from so good an institution. When I talked to people at Chicago about this, I found the answer. Everyone there had thought that she wouldn't pass her Ph.D. orals, but she was very canny. She delayed and she delayed and she delayed until, finally, all the really tough professors were out of residence. Then she took her orals and she passed.

Oh, the stories about Helen that would come back to me from the students! She was almost as ignorant as Hazel Severy, in spite of having an earned Ph.D. from a good institution. She was Dean of Women when I came here, and had been for many years. Then one year the administration decided to get rid of her as Dean. That meant that she would have to go back to teaching in her original department. To its horror, the Biology Department realized that was our department. She returned to teaching public health, about which her misconceptions were monumental. We tried to close our ears to what we heard.

Then there was Paul Jones, Dean of Men. He was a bag of hot air. I think he was reasonably satisfactory as Dean of Men. I am not sure Helen Sweet was even satisfactory as Dean of Women; she was a silly old maid. When we moved to the new campus, stories that got around that she was going out at night with a flashlight looking in the bushes for young couples. Of course, you understand the whole sexual picture was vastly different in 1955 than it is now. Even so, Helen's behavior excited amused comment!

HARDIN: Willum (William) Ashworth, as he was called, was another silly ass. To him, English literature meant culture. And really, that's all he cared about. But I don't think he really knew anything about English literature. I remember one story George Hand told. Shortly after George came here with his wife Lucy, they were invited to dinner at the Ashworths'. Early on, Willum was struck with this thought; "You know, this is the first time we have eaten at home alone in four months." Willum considered just one other couple not really company. The Ashworths apparently either had a large group in for supper, or they ate out, every night. That gives you some idea of Ashworth's devotion to scholarly life. He was a real silly ass.

Charlie (Charles L.) Jacobs. He was a very little man, and pugnacious, as little men often are. He was one of the leaders of the politics of the campus. He was the brains of the Applied Arts Division. You see, the Applied Arts Division was fighting for its survival and, in the end, it didn't survive. But it had been the strength of the old campus. The waning of power must have been a bitter pill for them to swallow when the University took over. Charlie Jacobs was in education, and education worked together with the various applied arts. He was the brains; he was the political leader. He fought like a Boston politician, not only behind the scenes, but from the podium as well. A very shrewd little guy. You had to admire him, even when you wanted to kick him in the pants, because he knew what the score was. He was vigorous and stayed vigorous until quite old age; well into his eighties, he was still singing with a Unitarian choir and playing bridge with his cronies. Quite vigorous. He didn't fail until, I think, late in his eighties.

RUSSELL: Before continuing with the science faculty, I wonder if you would like to comment on individuals like Russell Buchanan?

HARDIN: Well, Russell Buchanan was a nice guy. A sort of stuffed shirt, but a nice guy. I didn't care for him, but, on the other hand, he never did me any harm.

RUSSELL: Douwe Stuurman?

HARDIN: Well, he's one of a kind. He was one of the spearheads of the movement to keep this a small liberal arts campus. He was, as you know, at Oxford--a Rhodes Scholar--and very much a lover of humanities in a traditional sense. I don't know how one could summarize him. You know plenty about him anyway. He's quite unusual.

RUSSELL: Well, I guess that brings us to your bailiwick, the sciences faculty. We have already talked about some of them, but I thought you might want to comment on them in greater depth.

HARDIN: Well, this will be very brief. Fred Addicott, who brought me here, let me know that he would be leaving. He was already scheduled to leave; he had been working for years to get out of here, because it wasn't big enough for him, he felt. And he had finally pulled all the strings and moved to UCLA just when we were taken over by the University. Before the move was complete, it was apparent that he was regretting it, but it was too late. So he left at the end of spring, 1946, and went to UCLA. I saw him several times after that and I detected a little note of bitterness that he would like to be here. But, of course, when he started this, he didn't know the University was going to take over. Later, he went up to Davis, where he was much happier than he was at UCLA. He was a plant physiologist; not conspicuously good, but he did useful work.

Ernie (Ernest) Bickerdike, chemist, a dull person; I am sure a dull teacher, from all I hear, but a solid and reliable friend.

Mary Erickson, sort of a gentle old maid, who did some early work on the birds that's still cited in the literature. Some good work in ornithology.

Willard McRary, in chemistry, was one of the more amusing members. A nervous, pudgy little fellow. And a great worry wart. Very precise about everything. I remember being amused when he came in one day to borrow a stamp from me. So I gave him a stamp and, by God, if he didn't bring it back the next day. Really. One doesn't expect a stamp, one stamp--which I suppose then was a five-cent stamp--to be returned. You can't fault him for that; it's just amusing. That's the way he was about everything. He was such a penny pincher that he could waste dollars trying to save pennies--and he sometimes did.

Elmer Noble was clearly the leader of all that bunch, in terms of character and scientific research record. We were very pleased that we had him for our first chairman, because he was a most equable and fair man.

Harrington Wells, called "Pop" Wells, was another one of our incompetents. It's amazing how many incompetent people can find a refuge in a small college. Ours wasn't exceptional. Pop's conception of biology was bizarre, to put it mildly. He had written a textbook for high schools, I think. No, maybe not. He wrote a textbook on fishing for students. Fishing, of all things. And he had many of the defense mechanisms that characterize a person who knows he's incompetent, which means he was hard to work with. He was sensitive. He knew he was no good, but he wouldn't admit it. Fortunately, I never had to work with him. Elmer Noble had to teach a course with him once and it practically drove him up the wall. Elmer would be the person most likely to be able to survive this thing, but he just couldn't stand it. Pop's lectures were so awful. Pop Wells had a son, who went through school here and then went on up to, I guess it was Stanford, for graduate work in biology, where he earned his Ph.D. A good kid. Pop was pleased that his son followed in his footsteps.

RUSSELL: You have already mentioned the research conditions, but we failed to actually go into your writing in depth.

HARDIN: I wrote intensively from '47 to '49, writing that book. Then presently started off revising it, as I said, very soon; and wrote articles and other books after that.

RUSSELL: When did they move the University over to the new campus?

HARDIN: I think it was about '54 or '55? I am a little obscure on that. I don't remember when. We built our house here in 1951, at which time it was half way between the old campus and the new. No matter what they did, we figured we were set. And it was several years after that, I think it was '54 or '55, when we moved into the new campus.

RUSSELL: What input did the science faculty have in reference to the design of the new science labs and the building itself?

HARDIN: I don't want to comment on that because I was not active in that; I was consciously keeping myself outside. I was really gambling on the one thing--writing, rather than research. I burned my bridges behind me, so to speak, simply because there are only twenty-four hours in the day. It isn't that I dislike research; I like it. But you really can't do both.

I was made aware of that the summer of '48, when I went back up to Stanford to teach Beadle's course in genetics. He didn't want to teach it, and so I said I would be willing to teach it, and so I did. And I lived in a cottage, sort of a guest cottage behind Wallace Stegner's house. Stegner was actually away for the summer, but I rented this from him. He rented the house in front to someone else who was there to write. I had an ideal teaching situation, because I had good teaching assistants who had worked with Beadle before. I only had to give four lectures a week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, at 8 o'clock. Got on my bicycle at 9 o'clock, bicycled back to my cottage, and wrote all day long. I knew the genetics well enough so that preparation was no problem. I did a tremendous amount of writing that one summer, away from the family and away from everything. It was an ideal writing situation.

To get to the point, the Carnegie Lab where I used to work, had a new director, Stacy French. (By the way, we had breakfast with Stacy French just two weeks ago.) I hadn't really known Stacy. I knew he was the director, and went around to see friends at the lab. He was very warm in wanting me to work at the lab: any lab space, anything I needed, I could have it for the summer. The offer made me really think what I was going to do with my life. I decided I just couldn't accept the offer. I said, "If I come here, I'll get interested in what I am doing and I won't get my writing done. This has to be a summer for writing." So, I turned down the offer.

RUSSELL: Were you working on the revision of your text at that time?

HARDIN: No, this was the first edition. I was working on the original edition. And I was determined to finish it in those two years. I didn't dare get tempted into the laboratory. That's the way it is with laboratory work; you get on to a good problem and you ask some really interesting questions, and you want to be there late into the night--which means you can't be writing.

RUSSELL: I want to reserve a whole session for the genesis of your ideas, as far as writing versus population. So I thought, maybe to conclude this tape, we might go over your social life at this time. When did you get involved with the Santa Barbara Symphony, and what were you doing outside, as far as other pursuits were concerned?

HARDIN: Oh, well, let's see. The Santa Barbara Symphony began as an offshoot of the university, when it was still up on the Riviera campus. And I cannot think of the man who was the first director of it--he was a good cellist; he was a Belgian. Ah! Adolph Frezin; he has since died. But I only went for a few times. It was just starting up, of course, and, of course, anything starting up isn't very good. I didn't expect it to be; I'm not very good, either. But it was immediately obvious that Frezin had not the qualities of a good conductor. I had previously played in the Stanford Symphony, under Popper--can't remember his first name, but he's since gone to UCLA; he's in the Music Department there; very charming Hungarian: the Hungarians seem to know, better than anybody else, how to be charming. A marvelous director with an expressive face, expressive hands. You knew what he wanted, and you really tried for him. Whereas Frezin did not have the gifts for a conductor. You know, all a man has to do is pick up the baton, and you immediately realize, "You'll never make it; you'll never make it." It's awful. So I quit. I wasn't going to sit through that. Later, they got good conductors, but I quit with the first one. And then, much later, I got involved in playing in a string quartet, which is much more fun than an orchestra.

RUSSELL: How about the family at this time? How many children? We haven't really even discussed them at all.

HARDIN: The children were born in '42, '44, '47, and '49. So the fourth child was born in the fall of the year that my book came out in the spring thereof, if that's a sentence. And we moved out here in '51, being very crowded in the small house we had up on the Riviera. We have a nice place here for children to grow up in. I've always enjoyed family life.

RUSSELL: So everything has worked out, as far as the home and everything. Did you design this yourself?

HARDIN: My wife designed it, and she did a good job. She designed it and then turned her design over to a draftsman--she couldn't do that--who turned it into finished drawings that builders could build from. There are not many things that she would want to have otherwise now. We wanted to build a house as soon as we could, but for several years couldn't. All that time she was working on the plans, getting ideas from people.

RUSSELL: This goes back to the co-op that you had there at Stanford?

HARDIN: Not so much there, as just here in Santa Barbara. For quite a while after the Second World War, one couldn't get the building materials. When we began to build it was still very hard. Ours is really a house built for a family to live in, not for resale as a generalized house. It's been great.

The only thing that we didn't do well was build me an adequate study at the first. One does what one can afford to do. One of the back rooms was designed as a study, but I soon discovered that a study in the house isn't insulated very well from family affairs. Crises occur. So, ten years later, in 1960, we built this separate building as a study, which gave me the ideal situation. In 1970, we built the swimming pool.

RUSSELL: And that was definitely an asset, to have that for your swimming and exercise.

HARDIN: Yes. So this has been a very good, very comfortable place to live.

RUSSELL: It's beautiful. It's almost like being out in the country. I listened to the tape and said, "I know that's a rooster."

HARDIN: Right. Well, you're a very knowledgeable young man, if you know a rooster when you hear one.

RUSSELL: There's probably a few minutes left on the tape. Maybe we could discuss how you would like to set up--and this will be for my own reference, as far as taking a verbal note down--how you would like to view your writing. And, if you give me some context of things that you might like to discuss in the area that you'd like to go here, because I'd like to take the next session to deal with the genesis of your ideas.

HARDIN: I think the UCSB library has an account of how I happened to write The Tragedy of the Commons. I'm perfectly willing to go over that again, but I don't know, do you want to or not?

RUSSELL: What I would like to do in this regard, is that I would like you to be able to do things that would not be in writing, but maybe statements that you would like to make about it: your personal feelings about it; how you felt it was received; things that would be a contribution to the actual trouble that you had, maybe, in putting it together.

HARDIN: Yes. And the reception since then. Yes, I can do that. Yes, that would be good.

RUSSELL: And, maybe even getting to the point... I would like to title your biography as "Conversations with Garrett Hardin; Return to the Commons." And maybe how you feel it's weathered the storm of criticism that it has actually caused.

HARDIN: Yes. Yes, I'd be glad to do that.

RUSSELL: I thought we could go with that. Is there any major article that I should maybe read or become acquainted with before--that maybe lead up to the Commons?


RUSSELL: So, we'll do it that way, then. We can more or less trace the genesis of the idea, and deal with a whole section on that.

HARDIN: Yes. That would be fine.

RUSSELL: I guess we'll let it go at that this time.


Continue reading

previous            Section            next
1      2      3       4       5       6       7
8      9      10     11     12     13     14