The Manhattan Project

George Warren Reed's Interview (2006)

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George Warren Reed (1920-2015) was a chemist at the Chicago Met Lab during World War II. He primarily researched fission yields of uranium and thorium to determine their viability for a nuclear chain reaction. Reed was one of the few African American scientists to work on the Manhattan Project. In this interview, Reed talks with his son Mark Morrison-Reed about family life, sabbatical, the riots after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., work on the Manhattan Project, retirement, and his positions at Fermilab and Argonne National Laboratory.
Manhattan Project Location(s): 
Date of Interview: 
November 11th, 2006
Location of the Interview: 
Chicago
Transcript: 

Mark Morrison-Reed: How would you describe your mother, grandmother, Mary Elizabeth?

George Warren Reed: She was a tough cookie. Nobody crossed her. She ran a tight ship. Never held back. She always gave.

Mark: What was Sarah like in comparison? Were they similar, different? What was Sarah like?

George: I wasn’t around Sarah, but, you know, a couple of months during the summer.

Mark: Right.

George: It’s hard to say what she was really like, because in the summer mostly you spent all your time outside. You’re not where she could supervise you, or anybody else could supervise you. You were farming, basically.

It’s hard to say what she was really like. She ran a tight ship, though. She had that store down there and it survived. She must’ve been a pretty good businesswoman.

Mark: How would you describe your mother?

George: That’s hard. I don’t know.

Mark: How would you describe Irene, then?

George: Irene was one who always embraced the family. Whenever anything happened, she was there. She came to Chicago when you all were born, and I think she came to Chicago when Lee had her ovarian surgery, too. Irene was always there for anybody and everybody, and she was very generous. Anything she had, you could have.

Mark: How would you describe your relationship to her? It always seemed kind of special to me.

George: Well, that’s what I’m saying. That was my relationship with her.

Mark: And your mother then, she was different than Irene?

George: She was different. She had survived three kids and a husband; which Irene didn’t have to deal with.

Mark: Right.

George: She ran a tight ship.

Mark: She did. Women, they ran tight ships, all of them?

George: Yeah, all of them. They took after their mother.

Mark: There’s a story that Grandma tells about—I’m sure you didn’t know about it—Sarah asking George for money. And him not knowing what to do, because they didn’t have any money since they raised three kids. She could tell something was wrong. Then she finally confronted him, and he told her that his mother was asking for money. She wrote her a letter telling, “Don’t you ever, ever put George in that situation again.”

George: I don’t know anything about that.

Mark: You don’t know anything about that. She would tell that story.

George: Oh, you mean my mother [Eleanor Belle Newman Reed]?

Mark: Oh, yeah. With steel in her eye, because I don’t think she and Sarah, I assume, didn’t—

George: They weren’t weren’t the best of friends.

Mark: Right. That was my impression—not just from her, but from Harry, too. He said they both wanted to run things, and that couldn’t be.

George: That’s right. That makes sense.

Mark: Okay. What else was I going to ask—let me see here. I think I’ve got some of Carole [Reed]s birth in there, but what about Lauren [A. Reed]’s birth? What do you remember about that? Anything?

George: Not really. See, when Carole was born, your mother was in the hospital. There was this back and forth on the phone, especially with Philip [A. Reed] wanting to know, saying, “Mommy and the baby’s home.” When Lauren came along, that was much later, so I don’t recall any of that.

Mark: Your mother came to town every June. What was that about?

George: Yeah. For her Christian Science Association meeting. There was woman named Knight, who was the teacher. Mom would come for her association meetings.

Mark: Okay. Explain more. Which association?

George: Christian Science Association.

Mark: Why here?

George: Because that’s where Mrs. Knight lived.

Mark: Who was Mrs. Knight?

George: She was the teacher. She taught the class—not that class—but many classes on Christian Science.

Mark: Okay. Your mother, by then was she already--

George: A practitioner?

Mark: —a practitioner?

George: I don’t know.

Mark: Because I just remember every June, they’d arrive on the train. Is that right?

George: That makes sense, and I can imagine her coming every June.

Mark: Okay. She came every June, and Harry would come in the winter or sometime for the national livestock thing. He did that for quite a few years.

George: He lived in Chicago.

Mark: Harry did?

George: When that was going on. No, he lived in Washington, that’s right. He’d come with the agriculture department.

Mark: Right.

George: No, that’s right. He would come with the agriculture department.

Mark: Okay. That was a routine I kind of remember.

George: Yeah. He was their information officer.

Mark: Okay. He [Harry] would come once a year, she [George’s Mother] would come once a year, and then we would go every other Christmas and every summer. That was the routine, it seemed to me.

George: That sounds about right.

Mark: Okay. IVI, explain about the—

George: That’s the Independent Voters of Illinois. I wouldn’t call it a chapter there. A few of us used to get together, and we would promote whomever we thought was a good candidate for whatever office they were running.

We were an integrated group. Some of us came from the white community, some of us came from the black community. There weren’t a lot of us, maybe six or seven.

Mark: All together, at IVI?

George: No, in our particular little group.

Mark: Which encompassed—

George: Which encompassed Chatham Avalon and maybe some of Englewood.

Mark: Okay. What would you do, besides—

George: We would interview the candidates and decide who we were going to support. Then we’d go out and ring doorbells to try to get people to vote for the candidates that we were in favor of.

Mark: Okay. You remember what happened to me?

George: No.

Mark: You don’t remember sending me out to do flyers?

George: I don’t remember doing that, but I’m not surprised.

Mark: I got bit by a dog. We spent the rest of the day in the hospital.

George: I don’t remember that, but I don’t doubt it.

Mark: Okay. That’s what happened to me on Prairie. I remember quite—

George: Quite vividly.

Mark: —vividly what happened.

George: Okay. I don’t remember that.

Mark: What other political involvement did you have?

George: That’s all.

Mark: Okay. Then we got the CA, the Chatham Avalon [Park Community Council].

George: Oh, Chatham, the community conference, but that wasn’t political.

Mark: Were there other neighborhood things you did?

George: No, that was enough.

Mark: Those two.

George: Yeah. Because, after all, I was working full time.

Mark: Right.

George: And overtime.

Mark: Right. Mother?

George: She was working for United Cherokees [Nation] or Illinois Children’s Home & Aid or the University of Chicago.  

Mark: Did she do political stuff?

George: Yes, she did some political stuff. I remember she went to a rally in Oakland, which is just north of Kenwood. I remember being a little annoyed, because she was only getting in. I didn’t know what was going on or what could’ve happened, if she was okay or not. I can vaguely remember that.

Mark: Okay. How about your first trip to Europe?

George: Of course, I don’t remember that.

Mark: You don’t?

George: No.

Mark: Well, it was ’58. Did you go to England, or was it something else? 

Mark: I remember you brought back slides and those little tin soldiers, and I can’t remember what else.

George: It could’ve been England, but I can’t even imagine what I went there for except for some sort of conference.

Mark: What was the conference you went to in New Hampshire? What was that?

George: Oh, they still hold those conferences. What was the name of it?

Mark: Gordon?

George: Gordon [Research] Conference. I used to go to that, maybe once a year.

Mark: Okay. That was in where?

George: In New Hampshire.

Mark: Randolph?

George: Where in New Hampshire?

Mark: Yeah.

George: I don’t remember.

Mark: Okay. I think it was in Randolph. You’d go there, and who would be there? Do you remember anything?

George: Oh, my coworkers—not from the lab, but from other labs. All the people working in the same field, which was at that time—at first, it was nuclear chemistry, then later on it was the space studies.

Mark: Is that where you met Howdermiss [PH] [Inaudible] or just where you knew Guise [PH] and them from, or were those mostly like LIPS [PH]?

George: I may have met them at the Gordon conference. It could be. I don’t remember exactly, but it could be, because I can’t imagine any place else other than at meetings, where there’d be a meeting sponsored by the Geochemical Society or the [American] Nuclear Society, or something like that. And these people were at those meetings.

Guise and Eberhart [PH] actually worked for Harry Urey for a while at the University of Chicago.

Mark: Oh.

George: So, I got to know them there.

Mark: Okay. Well, how about sabbatical, how did that happen? Do you remember trips at all? So, you remember Russia? What trips did you—do you have any idea how many times you went to Europe and what different things at all?

George: I know I went to Russia, and that was a Meteoritical Society meeting. On the way back, I stopped in Budapest and I stopped in London, and then I came on back.

Mark: Okay. Do you have any idea how many times you were in London?

George: Maybe a couple of times. I can’t remember whether I went to any conferences in England or not, Meteoritical Society conferences. In Switzerland, yes, in Bern.

Mark: At a different time?

George: At a different time.

Mark: Before or after sabbatical?

George: Before.

Mark: You’ve been to Bern once? Well, I’m sure you were in London, or England, because I know you brought back those tin soldiers. You had them in a box.

George: Yeah.

Mark: I know if I went through your slide collection, I’d find pictures, because I remember watching them.

George: Okay.

Mark: Japan, was that business?

George: No, that was a meeting. It wasn’t a Meteoritical Society meeting, but it was a meeting of Planetary Sciences or something like that. My name was suggested by Sherry Roan [PH] and I was invited to come to that meeting, and that was in Japan.

Mark: You don’t remember where or when?

George: It was in Tokyo, the meeting was in [inaudible]. It was a nice meeting.

Mark: But never Africa?

George: Never Africa.

Mark: Or South America?

George: Never South America. Never India.

Mark: Okay. Did you like traveling?

George: Well, sure, I didn’t mind.

Mark: You remember anything about the first time? Were you used to it or did it seem strange when you think about—

George: Oh, we were always traveling back and forth to Washington, and places like that. So, traveling wasn’t a big deal.

Mark: Okay. I just remember the first time we went on an airplane. I think it was a [Vickers] Viscount? 

George: Could be.

Mark: It was a prop, and plane travel wasn’t that ordinary back then.

George: No. But we used to go to Gordon conferences, and we’d fly on [Douglas] DC-3s. So, some place in New Hampshire.

Mark: Or Boston?

George: Probably Boston, then we’d take a limousine the rest of the way.

Mark: Were there lots of black people on these planes?

George: No, there were never any black people.

Mark: You usually, on these trips, you were—

George: I was the ink spot.

Mark: Okay. That didn’t—

George: That didn’t bother me, because everything I did, that was the case. There were no other blacks in nuclear chemistry. There were no other blacks in the air.

Mark: That was the norm for you.

George: That was the norm.

Mark: How did the sabbatical come about?

George: I don’t recall what initiated it. I know I got the opportunity to go, and I went.

Mark: You had a conversation with Hottermans, it seemed to me.

George: Yeah. They told me I’d be welcome to come to Switzerland. I applied to the National Resource Council or the AEC [Atomic Energy Commission], one of them, and got funded to make the trip.

Mark: What do you remember about that whole thing?

George: That was sabbatical. You all were with me. I remember we got to Switzerland, we were on a train. I guess a train from Paris—or no, the train was from Zurich. We got to a certain place in the Swiss mountains, and they were changing engines, which meant that the people could get off. I guess I must’ve gotten off for some reason, but they were hooking up a new engine or whatever it was they were doing, and the train started moving.

Your mother went crazy. She said, “My man, my man.” Because, I was out. I wasn’t on the train with her at that point, or with you all. Actually, the train didn’t move very far. They just were hooking it on the new engine for the mountain trip.

Mark: Do you remember other stuff, like mushroom punch or the night you went out to see “Our Man in Havana?”

George: I remember that very vividly, yeah. This movie, “Our Man in Havana,” was in downtown Bern. I went there, and then the lights all went out. Then we were stuck there, because they were having an air raid drill. I was confused, because I didn’t know what was going on. Eventually, of course, the lights came back on and people started moving around. But for a while there, it was just in darkness and you didn’t know what was going on, unless you were Swiss and you’d already been appraised of what was about to happen.

Mark: Do you remember other things from that year?

George: That was the most dramatic thing. Otherwise, everything was fairly routine. We did all the things that tourists would do. We went to Zermatt, we went [inaudible], and we of course went to Zurich. I guess we just sort of hit all the high spots.

Mark: Venice?

George: Yeah, we took a trip and we went to Italy. While we were in Italy, we went to Venice. We went to Rome for a short time and went to Venice, and other places that we went.

Mark: Florence?

George: Yeah, Florence, we went to Florence.

Mark: Pisa?

George: Yeah, we went to Pisa, because I remember the leaning tower. I think you and Philip climbed the stairs of the leaning tower. San Gimignano was another place we went to. It was all on that trip.

Mark: Did you do any other trips like that?

George: Not that I can recall.

Mark: We’ve got lots of pictures of you, and I don’t even know where they are anymore. I think they’re in another file somewhere. Seems you and the other people, the fellows that year—someone was in Italy, someone was in England. The other people that at the National Science [Foundation]. Let me let me go find that. 

Mark: Picture, who are those people?

George: I see Carole and Laurie. That’s what’s his name, I forget his name. I forgot these people’s names, too. Your mother’s there and I’m there.

Mark: Right. Are those the other people who got the NSF [National Science Foundation] things that year, and everybody got together?

George: Could be that they were there.

Mark: Because it seems to me one of them was in Italy. This guy who had the daughters was in Italy.

George: Yeah.

Mark: One of the guys was in Cambridge. I think we went up there to see—I don’t know if we did. I know we went to Cambridge.

George: Yeah.

Mark: They were down near Rome. I remember we went and got some marble, Carrara marble.

George: Conn Kahn [PH], that was his name.

Mark: Which one?

George: This one, and he and his wife.

Mark: Right.

George: When we had all the riots and what-not were occurring here because of the Civil Rights thing, she called me up and said, “Would you like to come out and stay out here where it’s safe?”

Mark: Oh.

George:  They lived in Downers Grove [Illinois].

Mark: Oh. Okay. He was at Argonne [National Laboratory], or where was he?

George: He was at Argonne.

Mark: Okay.

George: Don Conn was his name.

Mark: Don? Okay. Obviously, it’s some sort of meeting. I wasn’t there, so I wouldn’t remember it. I know it was something.

George: Philip’s not there either.

Mark: No. I expect we were in school. Do you remember receiving this telegram?

George: Yeah.

Mark: Okay. Tell us what that was about.

George: It was supposed to [inaudible]. But I didn’t take it.

Mark: Well, how did it come about and--

George: It came about because of Louis Martin. Louis Martin was NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People], but he was also in the State Department. He knew me. He recommended me for this position.

Mark: This happened while you were over there?

George: Yeah.

Mark: Who was Louis Martin again?

George: He was with the State Department.

Mark: Did he have anything to do with the Defender, Chicago Defender?

George: He might have.

Mark: Was he a columnist later?

George: He may have been, yeah.

Mark: Did he live in Chicago later?

George: Yeah.

Mark: Okay. So, that’s how that happened. It just happened to happen. Why didn’t you take the position?

George: Because I wanted to do my research, and that was a bureaucratic job.

Mark: Did it take you long to make the decision?

George: Not too long.

Mark: Was that a lot of money back then, or not particularly? 

George: I guess it was pretty good money.

Mark: Okay. So, instead, you came back to Chicago?

George: Um-hmm.

Mark: Okay. What do you remember about [Martin Luther] King’s death?

George: Nothing but shock.

Mark: What happened with Mother?

George: Oh, that’s the political action I was thinking about. That’s when she went to [inaudible] Oakland, which is just north of Hyde Park, Kenwood. She went to some political meeting that was related to King’s death, and all of the stuff that was going on at the time. That was the thing to do back then.

Mark: Trying to what, stop it or do something?

George: Yeah. Well, people were rioting. They were burning down the west side in the city and all sorts of stuff like that.

Mark: Right. So, that’s what she went out to?

George: Um-hmm.

Mark: Okay. Do you remember her speaking?

George: I don’t recall.

Mark: At Rockefeller [Memorial] Chapel?

George: Oh, yeah, she did speak at Rockefeller Chapel, about King’s death.

We were coworkers at Argonne National Laboratory.

George: Stanka Jovanovic.

Mark: Okay.

George: We were a group, just the two of us. We did mostly meteoritic work, on meteorites. That’s what we studied.

Mark: Right. How long did you work together?

George: A number of years. I don’t know how many years, but many years.

Mark: You each had a lab together?

George: Yeah. We had a lab. We had an office.

Mark: When did you meet her?

George: I met her at the university. She was working with someone in the analytical department at the [Enrico] Fermi Institute. That’s where we met.

Mark: When would that have been?

George: I don’t know dates ever.

Mark: Well, you arrived in ’44, ’45.

George: Yeah, but what you’re talking about now was much more recent than that.

Mark: But when did—

George: That’s the thing, I don’t remember. It could’ve been in the ‘50s.

Mark: Could’ve been the ‘50s.

George: Yeah. We could tell from her—

Mark: Did you know Drasko [Jovanovic]?

George: No, I didn’t know Drasko. He was in physics.

Mark: Okay. That’s her husband?

George: Yeah.

Mark: He would’ve been here?

George: He was here. That’s how come she was here.

Mark: Oh, she followed him?

George: Yeah. We could tell from her writeup about her, about her experience in Chicago, that will tell you the exact dates. Probably near the exact dates, because she probably knows the dates pretty well.

Mark: What, unlike you?

When did you first meet Stanka?

George: I don’t know when, but it was at the University of Chicago, probably in the ‘50s. 

Mark: Well, ’56 she got here.

George:  Oh, maybe in the ‘60s then.

Mark: Tell me about Forest Beach. What was it?

George: Forest Beach was a YWCA camp. They had girls there the first part of the summer, and then they had a family camp towards the end of the summer. We always we went for family camp.

Mark: When did you buy the place in Union Pier, and how did you do that?

George: We bought that from Beckman Robbins.

Mark: Robbins, right.

George: Robbins, yeah. I don’t remember what year it was.

Mark: 1964.

George: 1964, okay.

Mark: Well, how did it happen? Do you remember anything?

George: They had this place up there, and we used to like to go and visit them. We told them we liked the place and we’d be interested in it if they got rid of it. Then they found this place that they bought, which was much bigger. So they sold us their place.

Mark: How did you get the place in—

George: Philip and I built that from scratch.

Mark: Okay. Where is it?

George: In Tetonia, Idaho.

Mark: How did that come about?

George: Well, Drossman had gone out and he had climbed the Tetons. They had gone out and they liked it out there. They had bought a place out there, Drossman and Snogle.

I went out there to Argonne-West, which is another lab. She said, “Well, why don’t you go by Driggs, [Idaho] and stay at our place, see what you think about it.”

I said, “Okay.” I left the meeting I was at and went to Driggs, and they wanted me to stay in their house. Well, Tom Knight was the real estate agent, said that they hadn’t been in the house. I said, “Well, I’m not going to stay in it. I’m not going to be the first one to stay in their house.” I don’t remember where I stayed, but I didn’t stay in their house.

I liked it out there, so I called up Philip and Carole and told them to come out and take a look, because Philip had had an experience with living in the country. They came on out, and they looked the place over, looked the area over. Tom Knight showed us this lot, and we bought the lot. It was 40 acres. The next year we started building, and we built the house that you see in the picture.

George: Well, they called everybody down.

Mark: Down where?

George: They were talking about something, which I didn’t know what the heck they were talking about.

Mark: Who called you there?

George: The [audio dropout].

Mark: Of?

George: SAM.

Unidentified Female: What’s SAM?

George: Special Alloy Metals, that’s—

Mark: Atom bomb.

George: —the atom bomb program in New York. They were talking about something and it turns out later on that probably what they were talking about—and I wasn’t aware of at the time—was the atom bomb and whether or not to use it. At any rate, at that time, I was totally in the dark.

Mark: You didn’t know what you were working on?

George: No.

Mark: Not a clue.

George: Not a clue. I knew I was working on uranium and whatever it was, the uranium had something to do with it.

Mark: But, you didn’t know what it was for?

George: No.

Mark: Oh, okay. I didn’t realize that. But you knew you were sworn to secrecy—you weren’t supposed to talk to anybody.

George: That’s right.

Mark: What did they tell you about that, about talking?

George: You didn’t even talk to the people in the lab next to you.

Mark: They told you that?

George: Yeah.

Mark: What did they say?

George: You just don’t talk. But I’m sure there was a lot of talk going on.

Mark: Okay.

How old were you when you retired? Do you remember?

George: I was about 80.

Mark: Okay. You retired in ’89, didn’t you?

What do you do in retirement?

George: Nothing. I wrote up stuff.

Mark: What stuff did you write up?

George: Some of the stuff that had been sitting on the back burner for a while, and I wrote papers.

Mark: Papers.

George: Yeah.

Mark: Research papers?

George: Um-hmm.

Mark: Okay. Did you do anything else?

George: No.

Mark: Well, what’s this?

George: Oh, that’s genealogy.

Mark: Did you do any genealogy?

George: I must’ve done some genealogy, yeah.

Mark: A lot of genealogy?

George: A lot of it, quite a lot of it.

Mark: What did you find out that was interesting?

George: I found out something about the Reed people.

Mark: The Gregorys?

George: And the Carr family and the Ashleys. The Carr family actually were--

George: Joe Gregory was my grandfather’s father.

Mark: Did you always know about Joe Gregory?

George: I’m sort of sure I did. I’m not sure.

Mark: Like when you were a kid or later?

George: No, certainly not when I was a kid. Later.

Mark: You knew about Joe Gregory?

George: Yeah.

Mark: Okay. Then you figured out how he was related—

George: To the Carrs.

Mark: —to the Carrs.

George: Right.

Mark: Okay. So, you finished some research papers, you did genealogy. Anything else you did?

George: No, that’s enough.

Mark: That was enough.

George: Um-hmm.

Mark: Okay. What else? Oh, I came across some stuff—it seemed that when you graduated with your PhD, that Hampton Institute [University], Morehouse College, Howard [University], Morgan State [University], North Carolina Technical [College], Wilberforce [University], and Tallulah Colleges all tried to get you on their faculties. Do you remember that?

George: No. I don’t remember any of that.

Mark: You don’t remember any of that. You don’t remember Benjamin Mays approaching you?

George: Mmm-mmm, although he could have.

Mark: I know he did. You got more letters from him upstairs than anybody else.

George: Okay.

Mark: He was rather persistent.

George: Yeah.

Mark: You don’t remember that.

George: I don’t remember that.

Mark: Okay. Mother, did you have some names you called her? Just in terms of endearment?

George: Boo, I guess.

Mark: Boo, okay. Any other ones? Or that’s the one that sticks out?

George: That’s the one that sticks out.

Mark: Okay. Anything else I have missed?

George: I don’t know.

Mark: Okay. How’s this growing old stuff? Is it difficult?

George: Not particularly.

Mark: Okay. Any special challenges?

George: No. Just do what you want to do.

Mark: Okay. Any other memories that have come up that I have missed? I have done my best, but—

George: Not that I know of.

Mark: Not that you know of. Okay. The Carr stuff we got. Any big surprises in the genealogy stuff?

George: Not particularly.

Mark: Not particularly.

George: No. Because you were just finding out new stuff all the time. But not a surprise, it was just new.

Mark: What was the thing we found out about where your grandmother, Mary Elizabeth’s side of the family, that they came from Sierra Leone? We got the blood, the swab, the DNA test.

George: Yeah. But the Sierra Leone story preceded that. They were able to trace back their lineage to—

Mark: Right. Mother’s side did, right?

George: Yeah.

Mark: But, were you surprised to find yours came from the same place?

George: Well, no, I didn’t know that.

Mark: Okay. There we go.

Anything about Stanka? What was working with Stanka like?

George: It was fun. She’s a [inaudible]. She was my lab partner, and she was a hard worker. Clear thinker.

 

Mark: This was around 40 [years old], ’52 you wrote.

George: Oh. Eighth Church of Christ Science was all black. That was the one down around 43rd and Michigan, and it was all black. There weren’t any white people in that church. Maybe that’s why I wrote the letter.

Mark: Okay. Did you go to Eighth?

George: Yeah, I went to church. I must have [inaudible].

Mark: And you went to the other one here, too, or primarily Eight?

George: I just went to Eight.

Mark: Okay. But the one time we went, I remember—what was the one at—

George: Eight was the one—

Mark: What was the one at Harper or Blackstone, in ’57?

George: Yeah, that was another one. I think that was Tenth.

Mark: Because I remember you taking us there. I don’t remember Eighth.

George: I took you to Sunday School at Eight.

Mark: Oh, you did?

George: Yeah. And your mother didn’t like it.

Mark: Okay.

George: Their respective classes, probably two or three—six or so, six or seven students. There would be a white class, there’d be a black class. All the teachers were white, if I recall right, although there may have been one colored teacher. But most of the teachers were white.

Mark: And, it’d be in one big room in little circles?

George: Big room—one big room, little circles.

Mark: Okay. What was the adult service like?

George: I don’t know, because we never went to the adult service.

Mark: But you assume they all sat together.

George: Yeah.

Mark: Okay. Who else was a Christian Scientist? Do we have another cousin—

George: Well, Greg and Francis, that I know of, were Christian Scientists.

Mark: But there was somebody here or somebody in Philadelphia?

George: Yeah, the [inaudible] cousins in Chicago who were Christian Scientists.

November 11th, 2006 interview with George Reed. What’s on there? Like, these things you’ve never mentioned. What’s this about? What’s that say? This one here.

George: National Honor Society.

Mark: What’s that?

George: That was high school honor society.

Mark: What did you have to do to get that?

George: It was a grade-point average.

Mark: Do you remember what it was?

George: Probably a B average.

Mark: Okay. That was for high school?

George: Um-hmm.

Mark: Okay. What’s the next thing I’ve got? What’s this here?

George: Master’s thesis published [inaudible].

Mark: What’s that about?

George: Journal of American Chemical Society. I think it was 1946.

Mark: That was your Master’s thesis, was published?

George: Um-hmm.

Mark: And, what was it about? 

George: Directional Enolization of p-Methoxybenzoylmesitoylmethane.

Mark: Say that again.

George: Direction of enolization.

Mark: The direction of—

George: Enolization.

Mark: Enolization.

George: Yeah.

Mark: What’s that?

George: That’s hard to describe. 

Mark: Okay. It’s hard to describe. How do you spell enolization?

George: E-n-o-l-i-z-a-t-i-o-n.

Mark: That was your Master’s thesis was published. Was that your first publication?

George: Um-hmm.

Mark: Okay.

George: Phi Beta Kappa.

Mark: I think we’ve got all of these things. What’s this?

George: Service fellowship.

Mark: What’s, this seems early, but what’s these two here?

George: [inaudible].

Mark: Yeah. When was that?

George: 1962.

Mark: It started that early?

George: Yeah. That was when we started working on it.

Mark: That’s when you start working on it.

George: We were working on meteorites, doing samples.

Mark: Okay. What’s this here?

George: MESA.

Mark: What’s that?

George: That’s a committee that oversaw the parceling out of lunar samples, and I was on that committee.

Mark: You were on that committee. Okay. What’s it stand for?

George: Analysis Sample [Extraterrestrial Sample Analysis?].

Mark: Is there something else we don’t have? What’s the difference between here that—were these two different things?

George: Yeah.

Mark: Okay.

George: One was [inaudible] Chicago.

Mark: Okay.

George: And the other was [inaudible].

Mark: Was Chatham Avalon.

George: Chatham Avalon.

Mark: Okay. They were similar, same, overlapped?

George: No, one was, one was for the local committee named for Chatham Avalon.

Mark: Okay.

George: The other was city-wide.

Mark: You were chair of which one?

George: I was chair of Chatham Avalon, our community council.

Mark: Were they going on at the same time? Or one preceded the other?

George: I don’t know, I don’t remember.

Mark: You don’t remember. Okay. And, what’s, what’s below that?

George: Board of Trustees of Adler.

Mark: Of what? Adler?

George: Planetarium.

Mark: Planetarium. You were on that?

George: Um-hmm. Still am.

Mark: You still am. Okay.

George: On the Board of Trustees of Chicago Children’s Choir.

Mark: Also?

George: Yeah.

Mark: Okay. That’s all stuff on there. Okay. Then I have other questions. Oh, what was Putz’s first wife’s name?

George: Laura.

Mark: Lauren.

George: Laura.

Mark: Laura. Okay. That’s who you knew?

George: Yeah.

Mark: Okay.

George: I didn’t know he had a second wife.

Mark: You didn’t know her. Okay. What was [Dr. Harold C.] Urey like?

George: Remote.

Mark: Remote.

You used to tell stories that you used to have to babysit, or take care of Lloyd and—

George: Phyllis.

Mark: —Phyllis.

George: I don’t remember that.

Mark: You don’t remember that. You weren’t home, kind of had to take care of them, and they didn’t do anything anyhow, because they just stayed home reading.

George: Yeah. When they were young, we were all young.

Mark: Right. You didn’t remember being left in charge of them?

George: No. Except [inaudible] and me and Grandma, and not letting her in the house.

Mark: Oh, and thoughts about Daley. What was with Richard J. Daley?

George: Nothing.

Mark: What do you mean, nothing? Did you campaign for him, against him? Did you want to get rid of him, the machine?

George: Probably wanted to get rid of him, but I don’t know who was running against him, unless it was [inaudible] Washington.

Mark: Right. IVI [Independent Voters of Illinois] never supported him?

George: May have.

Mark: Okay. Do you remember anything about Paris in particular?

George: Nothing special.

Mark: Nothing special.

Anything else we should’ve talked about that we haven’t? I got a lot of stuff there, but anything else that occurs to you?

George: Not offhand.

Mark: Not offhand.

When would you go out to the cabin, out to Idaho? How many times a year?

George: Once a year.

Mark: Just once a year.

George: Um-hmm.

Mark: Okay. Just in the middle of the summer?

George: Yeah. We went out there one time in late spring or early fall, because there was snow on the ground.

Mark: Okay. You’d usually go in the middle of summer, for 4th of July?

George: Yeah. When I went out there, I usually also stopped in Salt Lake City, at the Mormon Library.

Mark: Okay. To do research?

George: Um-hmm.

Mark: How did you come to start doing the Seder with—

George: [inaudible]

Mark: Right. Lassers.

George: The Lassers rented the Jacoby’s house when the Jacoby’s went to Europe. That’s when we began to make connections. Then when they bought their own house, they started having Seders at their house. That’s what I remember.

Mark: Okay. Any idea what year we’re talking about?

George: No, not really. We got back from Europe and the Jacoby’s went to Europe, so after that. Then that’s when the Lassers started renting the Jacoby’s place.

Mark: Okay. Then when did you start having them to Thanksgiving?

George: We never had anybody for Thanksgiving.

Mark: You didn’t have the Lassers? I thought they came here, and you went there.

George: Not that I can recall, did we have anybody for Thanksgiving.

Mark: Oh, we always had people for Thanksgiving.

George: We did?

Mark: Oh, yeah. You don’t remember? Because we’d go to the Rockefeller Chapel in the morning, because we were singing. Then you’d always have a dinner with all kinds of people.

George: I don’t remember.

Mark: I don’t remember them being here when I was here, but I had the impression that after I was gone, you’d go there for Seder and they would come here for Thanksgiving.

George: No.

Mark: You don’t remember that?

George: I don’t remember that.

Mark: Okay. And you did the Seder thing until—

George: Until last year.

Mark: Oh, so you’ve been going the whole time?

George: The whole time.

Mark: Okay. After Liesel—after they both died, even?

George: Even after Liesel died.

Mark: Right.

George: They still had a Seder, but then last year we didn’t go.

Mark: Okay. She just died?

George: Yeah.

Mark: Was it a surprise, difficult?

George: Well, you know, we’ve been going back and forth and she was in the hospital.

Mark: Right.

George: Just a matter of time, I guess.