In Response to: The Darwin of Guyot Hall

Thanks for W. Barksdale Maynard ’88’s fine article, “The Darwin of Guyot Hall” (feature, Feb. 11).  

On the evening of Feb. 25, 1949, I walked from my dormitory to Broadmead. In one of my courses, Economics 326, the instructor had prepared a survey and told me to choose any house on the west side of Broad-mead, interview the occupant, and get answers to the survey questions. At the first two houses I went to, company was expected and I couldn’t get an interview. At the third house I tried, Edwin Grant Conklin came to the door, graciously invited me inside, and answered the questions on the survey.

Then, in response to my personal questions, he talked to me about his career. I stayed an hour and a half, fascinated by the wide scope of his accomplishments. He said he was 85 and that in every college at which he’d taught, he had always been a full professor and head of the department.

He was drawn to Princeton by Woodrow Wilson [1879]. He showed me some books he’d written and gave me copies of two articles he’d recently published, “Biology at Princeton” (October 1948) and “How Much Truth is There in Darwin?” (December 1948). He said he felt he had had a rich life and, although he hadn’t made money, he had made friends. I was charmed by his friendliness, intrigued by his stories, and flattered that he would share them with me.

James D. Sheppard ’50