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BIOLOGY AS A CAREER FRANK ALEXANDER HARTMAN* A Welshman who conducted Sunday religious services on occasion and a German woman who could shoot squirrels for the table and handle tools as well as a man brought up a family in Illinois in the early days. They were parents of my father. Two children of English extraction grew up on the shores ofLake Sunapee, New Hampshire—one a girl ofa family of thirteen, and the other a boy belonging to the Sprague clan. Upon maturity they were married and migrated west finally settling as farmers in Gibbon, Nebraska. These were the parents ofmy mother. It was in Gibbon my father and mother met and were married, and I was born there December 4, 1883. During the early years of my life we moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, and I entered grammar school at nine years ofage. My mother, having been a teacher, taught me previously. My summers were spent with my grandparents in Gibbon until I was in my teens. These were among the happiest times ofmy life. I fished for bull heads and sunfish in Wood River, roamed the prairies, and hunted for birds' nests along the Platte River. A neighbor taught me to stuffbirds and mammals, so I proceeded to make a collection. I keptlivehawks, owls, ground squirrels, and lizards, thereby learning much about their habits. With regretI returned each autumn to the city and was struck by its smoke and drabness. On the farm I also learned the nature ofhard work by cultivating corn, haying or stacking bundles, and threshing grain tenhours a day. However, there was still time to explore the countryside. My grandmother in Gibbon grew many flowering plants in a large outdoor garden and in a bay window indoors. These plants were ofgreat interest, showing a variety which supplemented the wild forms in the field. * Research Professor Emeritus, Department ofPhysiology, Ohio State University, Columbus io, Ohio. 280 Frank Alexander Hartman · Biology as a Career Perspectives in Biology and Medicine · Spring 1963 During the depression of1893 my father became a railway postal clerk, and in 1894 we moved to Kansas City. The Missouri and Kaw Rivers and their bluffs and bottomland gave new vistas for roaming and seeking specimens during my spare time, although the summers in Nebraska continued to be as thrilling as ever. I became increasingly devoted to biology, reading all the books available on natural history and collecting birds and other specimens. Books like Bates's NaturalHistory ofthe Amazon were especially stimulating. I also learned the use oftools in my father's carpenter shop. When I entered high school I took Latin and Greek as well as all the sciences offered, influenced by my father, who, although never able to finish college, had sound ideas on education and had read a great deal. Participation in the activities ofthe science club confirmed my determination to follow some field ofscience. Excursions to investigate the invertebrate fossils in the limestone outcroppings around Kansas City introduced me to paleontology. I helped the chemistry instructor prepare material for class, thus gaining the opportunity oflearning more than theaverage member ofthe class. By filling all my vacant periods with extra subjects, I was able to finish in three and one-halfyears. Early in my high school course my parents suggested that I should teach country school after graduation before going on to college. However, I wished to continue immediately in college. In order to make this possible I carried the Kansas City Star during the last two years ofhigh school and was able to save $300 toward my college expenses. In the autumn of1902 I entered the University of Kansas, at Lawrence. Another student and I rented a small cottage two miles away in the country and set up housekeeping . In order to save expense I had canned 100 quarts of tomatoes during the summer. As a freshman I enrolled in an evolution course forjuniors and seniors given by Professor Francis Huntington Snow, who had recently retired from the chancellorship of the university. He asked me, "What is your game?" since I would receive no credit. Naturally I wanted to take the course because of his reputation in biology; credit was...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-8795
Print ISSN
0031-5982
Pages
pp. 280-290
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-07
Open Access
No
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