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ANTONJ. CARLSON: A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH DWIGHTJ. INGLE* He was a colorful character. He was a self-made man who selected noble goals and practiced those virtues for which he wanted to be known. Many students, teachers, scientists, physicians, and friends respected and admired him. Some were blind to his foibles or pretended that they did not exist. A few detractors spoke only of his faults and errors. Science was his God, war the greatest evil, and he taught that most of man's problems can be reduced or solved by truth, honesty, and application of the methods of science. Lester R. Dragstedt [1, 2] has given delightful accounts of the life of Anton J. Carlson, his friend and teacher. I write of some happenings and aspects of his life that are not generally known. The rigors of his early life are described by the following excerpts from an autobiographical paper [3]. I have omitted the equally interesting account ofhis childhood interest in nature. The chronology of the tale is 1882-1885. The shepherd is a lad, age 7 to 9. The scene is the Swedish countryside, about midway between Gothenborg and Oslo, and some five miles inland from the thousand little islands and the indented shores of the North Sea. . . . The small patches of fertile soil are cut up into little farms, owned and cultivated by the individual farm family. . . . These peasants are preponderantly industrious folks. AU masters ofthe three R's, fatalists at heart, and Lutheran Protestants by tradition. They read the Bible, know their catechism, love their liquor and stick mainly by their own individual wives. Above aU, they work. They have to do that to live. To be sure, they pray to the God of the Christians: "Give us this day our daily bread," but they go out after this bread themselves, on land and sea. . . . Shortly before father died of pneumonia, at the early age of forty-three, he had lost his little farm. ... At the time of father's death, this lad was five, but there were six more chUdren in the family [two of the nine children had died earlier—DJI], ranging in age from 15 years to minus three months. These youngsters, like all healthy children, were always hungry, and always rough on clothes. Mother had a hard time to provide, but somehow she did, by superhuman labor and management, until each youngster was old enough, that is about seven years, to earn his food and clothes, by helping with the duties on more»Dwight Ingle died July 28, 1978.© 1979 by The University of Chicago. 0031-5982/79/2222-0007$01.00 Sl 14 I DwightJ. Ingle ¦ AntonJ. Carbon prosperous farms, where the fates had decreed a shortage oflittle boys and girls. So this lad, age 7, became a herder of sheep for the summer of 1882, on a farm some four mues from mother's home. . . . Sheep and shepherd left the farm yard about six in the morning, and returned about the same hour in the evening. The lad carried no watch but soon learned to gauge the return hour fairly accurately by the height of the sun and the intensity of his hunger. . . . The lad was provided with lunch in the form ofa few slices of rye bread, with butter or cheese. This provender was usually consumed by ten or eleven in the morning, and by two or three in the afternoon the stomach began to growl. In the early summer, a few wild strawberries could be found, and later, an abundance of wild raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and linden. These helped a little. But persistent hunger is one of the definite memories from that summer with the sheep. . . . By mother's direction as well as by the dictum of the farm matron, the lad carried with him every day a worn copy of the Lutheran catechism, which was to be learned by heart, that is, to recite from memory rather than from understanding . A small slate was sometimes carried for practice in writing and simple arithmetic. Mother had started the lad in the art ofreading somewhere at the age of four or five—so early, in fact, that the lad...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-8795
Print ISSN
0031-5982
Pages
pp. S114-S137
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-07
Open Access
No
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