Director of the Museum of Comparative Zoology3 19611970

When, at the time that Alfred S. Romer was to retire as director of the MCZ, Dr. Nathan M. Pusey, President of Harvard University, offered Ernst Mayr the directorship of the museum, he at first declined, because he was so immersed in his research that he did not want to be bothered with administration. However, in the end, Pusey simply told him that on July 1,1961, he would be the new director. Mayr

2 Other students and close associates in the field of the history of science include

R. W. Burkhardt, Jr., F.J. Sulloway, M. Winsor, S.J. Gould, F.B. Churchill, and G.E. Allen.

3 Today the Harvard Museum of Natural History.

served with distinction until June 30,1970, when Alfred W. Crompton succeeded him.

For every year of his directorship, Mayr published a detailed annual report summarizing new developments and the respective status of the institution, the turnover of staff, teaching and facilities, discussing future plans and the research and publications of staff members and visiting scientists. Other topics mentioned include expeditions and travel, new exhibitions, increase of the collections and of the main library as well as exchanges with and loans to other museums. Mar-jorie Sturm, Mayr's administrative assistant, recalled: "The annual report was his baby. He wanted that every year and he really put his heart and soul into the annual reports; they were down to the last publication of each professor or curator. A description of what each department had done for that year and he worked on it."

There were five to six Alexander Agassiz Professors at the MCZ and 12 additional research zoologists on the curatorial staff as well as a varying number of administrative personnel. 30-50 graduate students were working in the museum or under direct guidance of staff members.

From the start ofhis directorship Mayr pursued vigorously two major objectives: (1) Construction of a laboratory wing or an "experimental wing" of the MCZ and (2) Acquisition of a tract of relatively undisturbed land to establish a field research station fairly close to Harvard University. He pointed out that the modern museum naturalist increasingly studies the diversity of living nature in all of its aspects which he investigates in the museum, in the laboratory, and in the field. Behavior, competition, distribution, niche occupation, population structure, environmental physiology, and all aspects of evolution, genetics and ecology are the concern of the systematist in his study of biodiversity. As a naturalist Mayr appreciated the study of live animals and the ten summers at Cold Spring Harbor had taught him the necessity to be acquainted with adjacent fields of research. The new "experimental wing" should be devoted to the integration between classical taxonomy and modern evolutionary biology. It would provide laboratory facilities for the researchers and house aquaria, insectaria and aviaries for maintenance of live animals. Before the end ofhis term as director Mayr had raised the funds but by the time the actual construction of the building began in 1970, his successor had taken over. He invited Mayr to give the opening speech on "Museums and biological laboratories" when the new wing was inaugurated (Mayr 1973k). Henceforth, the presence of specialists in behavior, population biology, and biochemical evolution enriched the intellectual atmosphere of the museum.

Mayr had acquired for the MCZ about 700 acres of lovely woodlands, the Es-tabrook Woods in Concord, about 35 min driving from Harvard, and, in 1966, established headquarters with field laboratories nearby at Bedford, Massachusetts. Estabrook Woods comprise mixed woodland with streams, wooded swamps, and ponds. Mayr's further plan to raise the endowment for a professorship in Environmental and Conservation Biology was not pursued by his successor and, to his great regret, nothing was done with respect to this final step in the creation of a Department of Environmental and Conservation Biology at the MCZ (or to the establishment of an ongoing field program at Estabrook Woods).

In his last Annual Report (for 1968-69) Mayr gave an overall view of the years of his directorship which have been a period of transition in many respects. He pointed out that in his opinion, the MCZ had changed in three major ways: (1) The staff had become more professional, resulting in higher scientific standards; (2) Teachinghad received greater emphasis, and (3) Research had been increasingly directed toward the study of living animals, although straight taxonomic work (monographs, revisions, description of new species) remained basic requirements. On this occasion, he also acknowledged the work of Marjorie Sturm who took a large portion of administrative burden off his shoulders (see her reminiscences of Ernst Mayr as the Director on page 289).

While living in New York, Mayr corresponded with numerous ornithologists in the United States and in many other countries of the world. From the 1940s onward, he communicated increasingly also with other zoologists and geneticists with an interest in evolution and speciation. All incoming letters and carbon copies of his answers are preserved in Harvard Archives (Pusey Library, Papers of Ernst Mayr) and listed in a computerized inventory. These letters document Mayr's public and professional life at the AMNH and at Harvard's MCZ. Some correspondence and other historical material is also filed in the archives of the AMNH, Department of Ornithology, and of the MCZ, Ernst Mayr Library. I reviewed in some detail the above inventory of his correspondence for the 1960s, while he was the director of the MCZ, and the contents of selected letters. In the second half of this decade he exchanged numerous letters with Philip Handler and with W. C. Steere in conjunction with the work on several committees during the preparation of the "Handler Report" on the status of biology among the sciences (p. 312). Genetical problems were discussed in many letters with E. B. Ford, I. M. Lerner, J. B. S. Haldane, R. Lewontin and M.J.D. White, evolution and adaptation with G. G. Simpson, V.E. Grant, and C.H. Waddington. Of course, close communication continued during the 1960s with Mayr's fellow ornithologists Amadon, Deignan, Delacour, Eisenmann, Friedmann, Gilliard, Grenewalt, Lack, Miller, Moreau, Phelps, Rip-ley, Salomonsen, Selander, Serventy, Sibley, and Vaurie. German colleagues with whom he exchanged many letters included his friend Erwin Stresemann, and also Niethammer, Immelmann, Rensch, Stein, and Sick, the latter in Brazil since 1939. Numerous letters were exchanged with his former or current PhD students W. Bock, W. Coleman, C. W. Helms, T. H. Hamilton, A. Keast, A. J. Meyerriecks, M. Moynihan, I. Rubinoff, W. J. Smith, and R. MacArthur (although the latter was not one of his graduate students). Corresponding post-doc fellows during those years included A. J. Cain, M. T. Ghiselin, and G. von Wahlert. The letters frequently included detailed technical discussions and left Mayr's office on a daily basis despite his busy schedule. Even at an age of over 90 years he regularly exchanged letters with numerous people, often only one or two letters per year but with many colleagues he corresponded on a monthly basis; a total of 230 names were on his list. A careful study of this correspondence would be very interesting.

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