Oral History Transcript — Harriett Greene
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Harriett Greene; August 2, 1997
ABSTRACT: Born Sept. 22, 1925 in Bristol, CT; discusses family life and childhood. Undergraduate education at Smith College interrupted by marriage to Roger Bassett in 1944. Discusses her three children with Roger: Ellen, Martha and Paul. Obtains a secretarial position at Lamont under Arnold Finck in the mid-1950s. Assigned to help organize and handle administrative duties for Maurice Ewing. Recollects her impressions of a number of different people at Lamont and her perceptions of their activities, especially Joe Worzel. Comments on the difficult transition of Ewing to the oceanography building. Describes she and Ewingís activities in securing the Doherty funding; discusses her developing relationship with Maurice Ewing that resulted in their marriage. Comments on Ewingís talents and his views on instrument design. Comments on memories of Charles Drake; discusses the connections between Ewing, Lamont and the NASA space missions. Comments on various international visitors to Lamont: Russian, Argentinean, Japanese and others. Explains Ewingís and her own views on the Alaskan pipeline and politics at Lamont. Discusses the transition in funding and expenditures at Lamont; comments on the tension between research and teaching. Describes Ewingís confrontations with Bruce Heezen; describes the qualities of a good chief scientist at Lamont. Recalls her role in fund raising activities, especially Industrial Associates. Discusses the process of finding a new director to replace Ewing; describes the transition to Texas for her and Ewing. Recalls Ewingís excitement at his discovery of oil deposits in the Gulf of Mexico. Describes the events following Ewingís death and her volunteer activities.
Session I | Session II
Doel:And say that this is Ron Doel and this is a continuing interview with Harriet Greene. Weíre making this recording on the second day of August, 1997, in Ozona, Florida. And a moment ago, off tape, you were telling me something that I hadnít been aware of. That Maurice [W. Maurice Ewing] had started to dictate the beginning of his autobiography.
Greene:Yes. He had some wonderful stories, and he loved to tell them. And finally he sat down and he dictated a few. I tried to transcribe them later. I found them in the closet in my office at Lamont. And I tried to transcribe them, and in some places the sound was very bad. And itís a very, very old fashioned dictaphone so I had trouble finding one. But I did transcribe quite a lot. Particularly the story of when he was at Rice and persuaded his father to let him buy a motorcycle for whatever the train fare would have been from Lockney to Houston. His adventures all along the way. Itís a wonderful story.
Doel:Right. And thatís the one thatís actually recorded in Teddy [Sir Edward C.] Bullardís account of Mauriceís life. Were there stories that youíre thinking about that havenít appeared in print that youíre aware of.
Greene:I donít know if theyíd be exactly stories. But he remembered things from when he was a baby and was in a carriage on the porch on the very small place where they lived. He remembered a lot of things.
Doel:Thatís interesting. What sort of things did he tell you about?
Greene:I canít remember. I wish Iíd written them down. The kind of thing that you think youíll never forget, what your children say or what other people close to you say. But I did, I forgot. But I was astounded at all the things he could remember.
Doel:And at what age he would remember.
Greene:Yes. He remembered going to the revival meetings when he was a boy, and a lot of, lot of amazing stories.
Doel:It would be good if some more of these are actually recovered as part of the record.
Greene:Iíll try to remember some of them.
Doel:You mentioned also a few things off tape about Chuck [Charles L.] Drake, of course, who died very recently. Iím wondering if that brought back any memories, additional memories of the time that you had.
Greene:For a long time, until the oceanography building was built, Chuckís office was right down the hall from mine. The next one in fact. So I saw Chuck a lot and followed what he was doing. And I always enjoyed being with him. He was a good person to work with. He was funny and he was smart, and he was rather sophisticated in his mind. And, but one thing that always reminds me of Chuck is I kept a picture he gave me of the Vema going around Cape Horn under sail. And that was a thrilling picture.
Doel:I may know which one. That one in which thereís quite a bit of plume.
Greene:You donít see much of the ship, but you see the bottom of the sail and the mast. I loved to hear him tell about the times when he was chief scientist. When heíd come back, he would tell all about it. He had wonderful adventures and was great at relating them, a thoroughly nice person. He will be greatly missed; Iím sure.
Doel:Iím wondering what sort of role Chuck Drake played in terms of the way that Lamont ran. Was he seen as someone as who might take on more administrative responsibilities at Lamont?
Greene:I think he could have if he wanted to. I donít think he really wanted to do much in that way. He liked to tend to his work as most of the people did. But he was always very efficient about contracts. As you know, we, even as long ago as I was there, had to raise upwards of nine million dollars a year in contracts and grants to keep the work going. And Chuck was always very efficient. He always knew which people would support what, and how to phrase a proposal. You know he was very good at that.
Greene:And heís good at administration.
Doel:But he was a resource for those who were writing grants in terms of advising and —
Greene:I think that the normal procedure at Lamont would be that the scientists would write what they wanted to do. And then youíd fix it up with the budget by asking Arnold and things like that. I donít think you had to feed Chuck information for a proposal. He would write what he wanted.
Doel:No, indeed, I meant as far as a resource for others. In terms of, I was curious if he was, indeed, advising others about particular —
Greene:Oh yes. He could do that.
Doel:— funds that he thought were available.
Greene:And he could support his own people. And he would tell you, ďÖ well, you know, NOBSR, is supporting this this year but theyíre not supporting that.Ē So youíd know who to ask and what to ask them for. He was good at that.
Doel:How well did you get to know Wally [Wallace S.] Broecker during —?
Greene:Not very well because Wally was in another building, right from the start. And you wouldnít normally go from building to building and see people. So I saw Wally only when he came over to see Maurice, or I donít think I really went over there much. Sometimes Iíd go over. When I needed to find out something, to answer a letter. Or maybe a reporter had called and asked something, and I didnít know if we had that kind of information or not, sometimes Iíd go over and talk to the people. And that way I kept acquainted somewhat, but not very well. Wally was always very helpful if you had a question about some matter. Was a certain kind of data reliable or wasnít it? and who had it? Heíd know things like that.
Doel:What was his relationship like with Maurice?
Greene:Maurice liked him. And Wally was a, is, cause I know heís still very active, heís a very charming person. I hate to say this, but Larry [J. Laurence] Kulp who also was a very charming, capable person left almost all the running of geochemistry to Wally. And yet, Larry was the senior person and was supposed to be advising all these students, but Wally Broecker did all the work. And one year he got awfully sick of that — I guess he was in a suit about something — and he came over and talked to Maurice for hours about how Larry shouldnít be a tenured professor because he wasnít doing his job. He was really in private business. And Maurice should do something about it. So Maurice called Dean [Jacques] Barzun and said, you know, we really have to do something. This is a very serious situation and an important part of the observatory. When the president — I donít know if it was the president or Dean Barzun — called. Oh, when Maurice talked to whoever it was he was talking to, he told them the situation and then that same person, I think it was Dean Barzun, called Wally and Wally, said, ďWhat? Who me?Ē I never did that. After that Maurice was annoyed, you might even say angry at first, but then we sort of got a laugh out of it. And after that we learned from it. Anyone who would come in with really serious complaints about somebody else at the observatory, and insisted, ďYou have to do something about thisĒ, heíd say, write me a note. [Laughter] Cause heíd been a little bit burned.
Greene:Iím sure Wally was sincere at the time. And was really a good team player, but it just caught him at a bad time and he couldnít let go of it. And Maurice took it very, very seriously and followed up on it, and then was left high and dry.
Doel:It wasnít too long afterwards that Larry Kulp did leave Lamont.
Greene:He did. Thatís true. I think that he, himself, realized that he couldnít do both. Larry Kulp too was also forthcoming if you needed information and very helpful. I have no criticism of him except that he probably kept his post too long hoping he could do both. Couldnít.
Doel:Did you come to know others who were, who didnít stay long at Lamont but still became influential later, like Karl Turekian.
Greene:Yes, I knew Karl. Karl was great. The one who went to Yale? Karl kept in touch. And he and Maurice did some work together. And Karl was always very friendly and helpful.
Doel:Who are some of the other people, who were still early in their careers, at that time you were at Lamont? Arnold Gordon, for instance, and Jim [James] Dorman.
Greene:Well, we kept in touch. I didnít know Arnold as well. I knew Arnold at, you know, just sort of as a friend, and he was always good company. But Arnoldís work was the layers of water, and that wasnít something that I knew anything about. I didnít know much about anything until I worked for Maurice, but I did learn about the things he was working on. But I never learned much about what Dr. [Georg] Wust and Arnold Gordon were doing. So, I canít comment. Karl Turekian, after he left, one of the things he did, he was editor of a really good book. And he, I think he got a lot of people from Lamont to contribute, and he was very helpful. Maurice was awfully slow about getting manuscripts in, because heíd agree to anything. Anything that really interested him, heíd agree to do.
Doel:He would agree to do it.
Greene:He would agree to do it, and he would really want to do it. But he just had too much. And Karl, I remember Karl being so patient. I felt it was very nice. Had I been the editor, Iíd have said, look, I told you when the deadline is. You missed it. But he didnít do that.
Doel:How did Maurice make decisions when he was faced with such multiple deadlines, about which matter to attend to first?
Greene:My opinion, as someone who worked for him, he didnít make his decisions.
Doel:Thatís actually something that I recall you did mention in the first interview.
Greene:He wanted to do everything and he was, he could, he made a big contribution to everything he worked on. The person who could get around that, several of them, notably Frank Press. When Frank came to work for the summer, Frank — this is while he was at Cal Tech — Frank kept a very firm work schedule, and he wouldnít let anybody do anything while he was working. Which is probably the right way to do it. Bill [William] Donn also was — well a lot of them were very persevering — Bill Donnís method would be to come just about closing time and stay and work when it was quiet. And that worked too. Who else was really good at that? John Quo was really good about that. John would work very long and patiently, and do a lot of the ground work all by himself. Most of the people Maurice worked with understood this problem he had about agreeing to do anything. And Iím not saying Maurice wasnít a hard worker, he was. He was just working on many times what any person could do. And most of the people who worked with him would, kind of bail him out on the details of things.
Doel:Jim Dorman was someone, of course, who also went eventually to Texas.
Doel:How well did you come to know Jim Dorman?
Greene:Pretty well. Because we used to go to their house when they lived in Clear Lake, you know, down with the astronauts. To see him and Sally quite often. And I got to know Jim very well. Both of them.
Doel:He was acting as one of the assistant directors for seismology at Lamont.
Greene:Was he? I donít remember. Oh thatís right, he and Jack Oliver. Well at the time that we left for Galveston, Jimís interest had more or less turned to the space sciences. So when — oh, I can see him, but I canít think of his name.
Greene:Gary. When Gary Latham decided to move, Jim thought he might as well go too. Because thatís where his interest lay. Jim, and we too, spent a lot of time at NASA. That was thrilling. Frank Press did me the greatest favor. I was down there along with Billie [Press] and Maurice, and we were having such a good time. And while Neil Armstrong was on the moon setting up our seismograph, for a brief period of time we were getting real time data in. And Frank loaned me his pass to Mission Control so I could go up and see it.
Doel:Is that right?
Greene:It was great. Just for a few minutes. Iíll never forget it.
Greene:Watching the waves come in from the moon in real time. How about that? That was great!
Doel:Iíd imagine that was quite an experience.
Doel:And Maurice was down during that, the Apollo event, wasnít he?
Greene:A lot. Oh yes, we were there.
Doel:Yes. Yes. Do you feel that Columbia understood the significance of what Maurice was doing well enough? Did they — Iím thinking in terms of the publicity that was done or recognition.
Greene:I donít remember. I never had any reason to think that they didnít know it was important. And the news office at Columbia was very good. Very good. Consistently. I never felt they slighted us in any way. That is, the publicity people. The administration would go to the mat on a lot of issues.
Doel:Indeed. And thatís something we certainly need to cover in greater detail. But when you were down at Houston for the Apollo work, did you get to meet any of the astronauts who had actually placed the Lamont instruments on the moon?
Greene:Not at that time. We met and saw a couple of times Neil Armstrongís wife, Janet. Because she lived right across the street from the man who was running our contract for NASA. You know, the one who made sure you got your reports in on time, that you had the equipment you needed. He lived right across the street so we knew him. And Janet came over while we were having a barbecue one night, and was a very charming woman. And she was saying that Neil had talked to her while he was on the moon, and said something about, how is the dog, something like that. She said, I know what he really meant. He meant did I sweep out the garage.
Doel:This was the code.
Greene:Yes. That that was what he had been fretting about before he left. Afterwards we did meet Neil Armstrong a couple of times. One time we were at a Geological Society meeting in Atlantic City, and he, Neil Armstrong, was one of the guests of honor. And we were to escort him, which was a great honor. He is a nice fellow. I wouldnít say I know him, but, you know, we spent a few minutes together.
Doel:Thatís interesting. Had Maurice thought about expanding planetary science research at Lamont? Or did he feel that those particular instrumental opportunities that he had — the heat flow that Mark Langseth did, and the lunar seismology — were the main areas to concentrate on?
Greene:He had some other ideas. Iím trying to think. Most of the time he was at Lamont, he was worrying about those experiments. You know, the heat flow that was so slow to get Markís instruments going right, and all that. That was pretty big. But when we got down to Galveston and spent more time at NASA, he had some other ideas that were pretty good. One that I thought that was very promising (one he really wanted to do) was to mount — I guess it would be laser instruments that could get very accurately the distance to the moon and back — and mount them in places like — oh, those mountains north of Montreal — the Laurentians. And thereís a couple of other extremely stable places, like some in Australia. And you might even be able to absolutely measure continental drift that way. Why not?
Doel:He was thinking about that?
Greene:Oh, my, yes. And he was also very interested in looking at the craters on the moon to try to estimate the sequence of the planetary events. But I remember particularly, he was really excited about working on something even using the moon as a place to bounce off accurate measurements so you can really measure anything as small as continental drift accurately. I thought it was a great idea. Iím surprised no oneís done it, maybe they have.
Doel:Since then, itís been done by other means, but in the late 60s, early 70s that was an intriguing technique. Did he come to know people like Gene [Eugene] Shoemaker, who, Shoemaker of course had focused on the lunar stratigraphy?
Greene:I donít know how well he knew him. When I was down there, I met him. And we had our pictures taken together. He was very cordial and always eager to show what he was doing. I remember him showing us the mock-up of what they thought the surface of the moon was going to be like. Telling us why they thought this and that. He was very friendly. Maurice probably knew him a lot better than I did. I was only down there briefly, and only twice I think, before going to Galveston. But he knew Gene Shoemaker. I knew him a little.
Doel:Yes. Gene Shoemaker died last month in an automobile accident. Quite tragic.
Greene:Iím glad they named that comet for him and his wife.
Doel:It was a combination between Caroline and Gene and Shoemaker-Levy from a few years ago. One thing I didnít ask you in the last interview, how well did you get to know Mark [Marcus] Langseth?
Greene:Well, I knew Mark and Lillian quite well. Yes. In fact, I remember when Mark came back from wherever he was. I hadnít met him then. But I remember scurrying around, I was pretty new there at that time, scurrying around to try to find support for him. Because, you know, we couldnít just take someone. We had to know what problem they could work on and how the money could be raised and if he needed a fellowship, and that sort of thing. I remember him right from the time he came back.
Doel:Thatís really interesting. So one of your tasks at Lamont was to try to see what long-term funding would be available for the very junior.
Greene:I never really had any assigned task to do anything.
Doel:Thatís clear. Shall I say responsibilities?
Greene:You see a problem, and you think maybe you could help, and you try to do it. Thatís all.
Doel:And that was one of those such things.
Greene:Yes. If there was a letter, I mean, if someone, anyone, who wanted to join the staff, well, you need to know two things. Is he wanted? Will there be a place for him? If so, how we will support him? So I could plunge into that. It was just a matter of gathering the information. So things I could do, I did do.
Doel:I was curious how well you came to know Manik Talwani?
Greene:I knew Manik pretty well. And respected his work. And I remember him particularly during the times when he — I think it was Manik, and Joe [J. Lamar] Worzel — but between them, they got from the Navy the first computer navigation system. And that was really quite a wonderful thing to have. I remember Captain [Henry] Kohler saying that it was the first time heíd ever had to radio back to the States to find out where he was. [Laughter] He was just kidding, but you know, he kept the usual celestial navigation, but had to radio back to get a fix from the satellite navigation program. You had to do that at that time. Later, you didnít have to. But it was Manik, I think, who worked up that program.
Doel:What sort of person was Manik?
Greene:He was. I donít know. He was a little bit shy in some ways. And a little bit standoffish in some ways. A little uncertain. But he was very, very good at his work.
Doel:Did you sense that was his personality or that his Indian background?
Greene:I donít know. I really donít know. It might have been his Indian background. I donít know. Iíve never been to India, but I guess they have a very stratified society, and if youíre one of the upper class people, you are somehow different. I donít know.
Doel:Iím also curious about which visitors, international visitors, that seemed particularly memorable for you during the time that you were?
Greene:The Russians were very friendly and jolly.
Doel:Who are you thinking of in particular? Was Gleb Udintsev one?
Greene:Udintsev was a nice fellow. A young man. Very, very nice. He sort of fit in easily. I canít remember the name of the man Iím thinking of. Because we never did really work with him. He was in New York on an official tour of our scientific institutions or something. He was the head of the Geological Institute in Russia. And in fact Maurice wasnít home. I think it was Marshall Kay who brought him out. And so Marshall Kay and I took this man out and toured him around. He was very friendly and nice. Then I saw him again at the IUGG [International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics] in Montreal, and he gave me the most beautiful amber necklace. Just as kind of a thank you. I thought that was really nice. He was a very outgoing, friendly person. Another time one of their research ships came into New York, and they asked if they could come out to Lamont. There were a lot of people. So we organized a picnic for them. And they came out for the day. I had a very good impression of the friendliness of the Russians.
Doel:Do you remember roughly when that happened? Was this in the 1960s or later?
Greene:Must have been. It was during the time when there was sort of a tit for tat. The Russians would tell our State Department that Americans werenít allowed beyond a certain radius of Moscow and to retaliate our State Department would not allow Russians in corresponding U.S. places.
Doel:Certainly that was in place the late 1950s where Soviet visitors couldnít go outside of, into the restricted areas.
Greene:It was during that time.
Doel:Thatís interesting. That was quite early.
Greene:Might have been 60s. I donít know. [Interruption to get some water]
Doel:Weíre resuming after just a very brief interruption. You were telling me some of the visit of the Soviet ship to New York harbor. Was Lamont considered in a restricted area by the State Department?
Greene:It depended on the number of miles they were working with at that point in the Cold War. But I think they did have to be careful. They had to have permission to come out. And I think they had to have escorts. But when the ship was in, I donít know how they got permission. But there wasnít any big deal.
Doel:Iím just curious if you were aware of any pressure that came from the State Department or the CIA with regard to any of the Russian scientists who were visiting.
Greene:Well. I know it was true of Maurice and it was probably true of any others who were traveling a lot. He would always be interviewed before a trip, and then heíd be debriefed afterwards. And he never had any objection to that. And I always thought it was good thing too. I have never thought that a lack of information is a good thing. I think the more everybody knows the better.
Doel:Did he feel, and you did you both feel, that the people who were interviewing you were competent in the earth sciences?
Greene:Yes. Well, I wasnít interviewed. Maybe a couple, once or twice, when I was going with him or something. But, it didnít affect me. And I wouldnít be in on it when he was interviewed. And he never told me what they asked about. But I assumed theyíd asked him about different people, and who was important and who wasnít, and what they were doing.
Doel:Sure. I was just curious if he gave you the impression that he felt confident in the abilities of those who were concerned —
Greene:He did. As far as I know, he did. If he hadnít he probably would have complained, even if he didnít tell me details. He never complained.
Doel:You mentioned the one Soviet visitor and Udintsev. Who else comes to mind when you think about those who were memorable of the overseas?
Greene:The one that I knew the best and saw the most of, was Inge Lehman, the great Danish seismologist. She was wonderful. We were very good friends.
Doel:What was she like?
Greene:She was quiet, very soft voice. And gentle spoken. And she was really very funny. She was just a wonderful person to be with, sort of woman to woman. I really liked her. We were good friends.
Doel:Did she talk about the comparisons between Lamont and British geophysics?
Greene:No. Not that I remember. I know she worked with Bullard and so did Maurice. So they both knew the differences. She used to tell me things about Denmark that were different from the States in terms of daily living. You know, they were much earlier than we in taking care of elderly people, by providing them homes and enough attention so they could live independently. Things like that. Sheíd tell me about her sister. Inge is the one I knew the best and the longest. She spent a lot of time at Lamont.
Doel:How much time did she spend at Lamont?
Greene:I think more than a year.
Doel:Is that right?
Greene:Thatís when we made guest quarters out in the old machine shop, which was then turned into an administration building- cafeteria kind of thing. Anyway, we finally had guest quarters so we could invite people to stay.
Doel:When was that decision made roughly? Was that the early or mid-1960s?
Greene:Iím trying to think where the quarters were. There was a new administration building where Arnold is and all of that. And then there was another building, right near us. Between it and the machine shop.
Doel:Is this what became known as the Butler Building?
Greene:No, the Butler Building was the administration building. This is one of the older buildings. I canít remember how it came about. But we finally had a little space and made it into guest rooms.
Doel:But that was the first time that there were guest rooms actually out at Lamont?
Greene:Yes. You couldnít ask people to stay because we had no place to put them up, and we had no cafeteria. They would have no place to get their meals. So we were kind of up a tree that way.
Doel:Was that recognized as a problem at Lamont earlier on?
Greene:Yes. Well, it was by me. And I think by a lot of other people. And there were, as youíve probably seen Palisades. Thereíre no hotels or motels.
Doel:Iím thinking, itís quite isolated.
Greene:Thereís no place for a stranger to stay. And that was a problem. Because sometimes people would come from a distance, and there was really very little you could do for them. That was a problem. That and commuting to New York. But that was solved by the jitney service, and that was good.
Doel:That again was a, it came in the late 1960s or early 1970ís.
Greene:Yes. And that, the decision there depended on whether the university would let us use the government contract overhead for that expense. Because we had no other way to do it. You couldnít pinpoint who was riding to any particular contract. So you couldnít put it in a budget. It had to come out of overhead. Thatís the only source we had for things like that.
Doel:And those were the things that become increasingly contentious.
Greene:More and more of them became contentious. Because we couldnít run things the way we thought they needed to be run, because there was no way to pay for them on direct charges to a contract. And that was a problem when you think that a whole nine million dollar budget is all on specific projects, how are you going to do things like tend to the library, and transportation, and guest rooms. You canít do it.
Doel:Which is another ramification of the switch from the major block grants that had fueled facilities like Lamont earlier in the Cold War.
Greene:I donít remember. We didnít ever have block grants that you could use anyway you wanted to.
Doel:Even those you felt were restricted when the large ONR grants.
Greene:Well, thereíd be two parts to every contract. Thereíd be the direct part, the people actually working on it. And the actual supplies that they needed, and the actual travel expenses, and the rest was all administered by the Government Contract Division in the form of overhead. And we didnít have that in our budget. So that was the start of the big troubles.
Doel:How important was the Mansfield Amendment? Was that singularly significant or was it just?
Greene:I donít even know what it is.
Doel:When the restrictions came on.
Greene:Oh. Thatís when they began accusing people, other universities of using too much overhead in funny ways. We never did that.
Doel:And keeping funding restricted, military funding for directly applicable projects as opposed to broader research.
Greene:As far as I know, we never did anything that wasnít strictly according to the contracts. And thatís probably one our limitations. We didnít know any fancy maneuvers, and we didnít use any. I think that Arnold Finck ran everything very, very well in that regard. And the Government Contract Division did what they were supposed to do according to the Columbia administration. But we never did anything extravagant or wild with their money. Never.
Doel:Did the contracts become more restrictive through the 1960s, or was it simply the climate of funding that began to change? Iím wondering when you look back on it, what you perceive as the big shifts in —?
Greene:The contract people we worked with as far as I know were always very agreeable. Partly because we didnít waste money. We were strict about that. I didnít know anything about any problems. What could influence the funding at Lamont, would be the decisions in Washington about what to fund and not to fund. And the decisions from Congress on what agencies to give the money to. So sometimes you could say, well NOBSR, for instance, tailed off. But that isnít necessarily because they wanted to. They didnít have the money to give out for that particular kind of work. You canít blame the contracting office for that. I always thought we had pretty good relations with our contractors, particularly the Office of Naval Research.
Doel:One of the things I wanted to ask you about too was those times, particularly after your marriage to Maurice, that you began to travel and see in more parts of the world, where you went to meetings and attended —
Greene:That was wonderful.
Doel:Which ones come particularly to mind?
Greene:Oh we had some great times. Well, I went to some meetings before we were married, meetings that were in Manhattan or nearby. And I always enjoyed the meetings.
Doel:Which kind of meetings were these?
Greene:Well it could be the Geological Society of America. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists has great meetings. The Society of Exploration Geophysicists [SEG]. Of course, the American Geophysical Union [AGUI. They had very interesting meetings. Definitely very interesting.
Doel:And you were going in part. Iím curious what you would do when you would go to say an AGU or an SEG meeting? What task you took on, what roles you were playing.
Greene:Well, Iíd just go. Iíd go to the sessions I was interested in. And if they conflicted with something that Maurice was going to do, weíd decide who would go to what.
Doel:Thatís what I was thinking probably happened.
Greene:Yes, thatís the kind of thing. Before people got to know me very well, it was always kind of curious to me. Iíd hear people talking about Maurice and about Lamont. And they didnít know who I was. So I would just kind of listen in and be a nice little lady there. Pick up a lot of odd things. [Laughter]
Doel:What sort of things do you remember hearing?
Greene:Oh just silly little things. Well, sometimes Iíd hear things about Mauriceís opinions about very scientific stuff, and well, this didnít last very long because Iíd make myself known.
Doel:It was as you say, itís an anomalous position to be in for that period of time.
Greene:I always felt very comfortable at the meetings, I really did. Theyíre very friendly people.
Doel:Iím just curious. Did you feel that what people were reporting about Maurice that you overheard in those earlier years, was accurate? Or did people have a very —?
Greene:They were just trivial things. In fact, he was much admired. I knew that. And people were very nice. In fact, there was kind of let down to me. I had always been sort of the belle of the ball all my life, and then weíd go somewhere and these people were swarming up to Maurice as though I werenít even there.
Doel:That must have been an unusual feeling. [Laughter]
Greene:But he was very, very well liked and very popular. And good company.
Doel:When you and Maurice were married, how often would you get to the overseas meetings? How often did you travel to the more distant meetings with him?
Greene:Not really very often. I think the first time we ever went to a big meeting, an overseas meeting, together, was when the Australian government invited him to Australia for six weeks. And that was fantastic. We had fairly recently been married, and heíd been at sea a lot since then, and I wasnít complaining. I thought it was really very nice of Maurice. He told the man on the phone, in my presence, that he didnít really want to leave his wife that long. And they said, ďwell, weíll buy you a first class ticket and send it to you. You do as you pleaseĒ. So we turned in the first-class ticket and went tourist. And had a great time. And they had arranged everything for me in the same way that they arranged Mauriceís schedule. They gave me a little booklet. And it had every morning, afternoon, and evening in it. Morning, meet so and so at ten oíclock. Be driven here. Lunch with that person. That lecture at night. We each had our own schedules. It was wonderful. We saw so much in Australia. We really loved it.
Doel:Clearly things were very well choreographed throughout the time that you were staying.
Greene:Oh definitely. Yes, they did a super job.
Doel:Did you get to travel to the Soviet Union?
Greene:Never. Iíve never been there yet. On most trips I couldnít go. When I was working at Lamont, we couldnít both leave things for that long. Unless it was something really extraordinary like that Australian opportunity.
Doel:Then in essence when Maurice was gone, it fell on you to.
Greene:Iíd take care of the home front as best I could. At least pass things through to the people who could decide. Or get their answers and write them, that sort of thing.
Doel:You had mentioned off tape in the first interview, the one trip that you did recall was going with Maurice to the University of Alaska when he was on the advisory committee.
Doel:What do you recall from that trip? What was that like?
Greene:Well, that was a wonderful trip. They had it in connection with the dedication of their geophysics building. They had a conference on the Bering Straits land bridge. So there were Japanese and Russians and Americans mainly. And the papers werenít as interesting as I would have thought they might be. But mainly because I couldnít understand a word of it. The Japanese were speaking in their own brand of English, and very shyly and quietly. And I couldnít understand what they were saying. And I might not have understood the material anyway. But they were fun to be with. And the campus was nice. Thatís the first time that I had seen the kind of dormitories they had. Theyíre on a hill, and they are kind of piled up trailers for dormitories. I thought that was quite innovative and looks pretty good too. I liked the campus. I remember that huge brown bear in the museum. You come in the door, and you donít even think about it. And you turn around, and thereís this huge bear about to eat you up. That was interesting. And then after the meeting, a bunch of us went on a bus tour, a geological field trip. It must have been four or five days, maybe more. And the guides were the two men from the Geological Survey who had done the survey of that area. And so, you can imagine how wonderful it was. They knew every stick, stone and flower. Wonderful people to go with. So interesting. And we ended up taking a train, a series of cabooses, along a railroad which hadnít quite been finished, but was going to be. And went to the big park and took a bus tour to the end of the road.
Doel:This is Denali National Park?
Greene:Denali. Thatís right. We were in this huge bus, full of geologists. And weíre going around hair pm turns, and I said something to the bus driver about, oh, well, I suppose youíre used to this. The only thing that made it tolerable was that I thought theyíve done this thousands of times and havenít lost people yet. He replied ďOh, Iíve never been here. They donít let buses up this road. This is specialĒ. [laughter]
Doel:That must have been quite a start.
Greene:Thrilling scenery. Just amazing. And during the conference there was a trip to Point Barrow. We flew up to the North Slope on the Arctic Ocean and saw the Discovery Well and toured those facilities. A lot of Russians were on that trip. They were all wanting to take my picture with them, all smiling. It was a great trip. The University of Alaska did a good job on that meeting.
Doel:Was Maurice particularly interested in that question of opening up Alaska for petroleum drilling?
Doel:Did he express comments to you?
Greene:Yes. I heard him repeat to friends many times, my comments. We were flying up from Fairbanks, over the Brooks Range, and hours and hours to get to the North Slope. And I said to him, ďHow wide is that pipe?Ē It was just thousands of miles of wilderness. Absolutely nothing. And they were talking, what, about a forty-eight inch pipe. You just wonder what all the fuss is about.
Doel:Iím curious too whether — Did Maurice talk about relative strengths and weaknesses of other geophysical institutions that Alaska Institute is what Iím thinking about. Do you recall his opinion?
Greene:Not much. Heíd talk about programs he thought were good or programs he thought were silly. But not on an institutional basis. But he thought that there were really unnecessary obstacles in the way of the Alaska pipeline, that really, environmentally it wasnít going to do any harm at all, when you look at the scale of things.
Doel:And that was your point of view also?
Greene:Yes. When you actually see it, I didnít really see what the problem was. You can compare it with things you done during World War II. It has something to do with the Dohertys. They built the pipeline all the way up the east coast in just a matter of months because they needed it. And now when you think of the years and years and wasted time and effort by so many knowledgeable people, you just wonder why.
Doel:Iím curious that in a general way, did politics ever become a big issue at Lamont? Were politics talked about much?
Doel:Iím thinking particularly in the 1960s when certainly things were —
Greene:Oh, well, of course, at Columbia. It was very alarming when the students occupied the presidentís office. To that extent it affected all of us because we thought that, at least the faculty and I, thought that was a terrible thing to do. President Kirk was a very nice man. The one thing that affected us in politics was Columbiaís not wishing any longer to take secret contracts. Many contracts were classified secret for reasons which had nothing to do with politics, really. NASA contracts were classified because people werenít supposed to know the exact time frame they were aiming for. And yet, we werenít supposed to take that contract, even though we were deeply interested and among the leaders in that kind of work. Also the contracts for the sound station in Bermuda were classified. And there for classified reasons. But that was a contract that had been in effect since the early 40s. And to throw all those people out of work and stop important work. It just seemed unreasonable.
Doel:And thatís of course when the separate company was created to handle the contracts that were —
Greene:Thatís when, yes, it had to be that or weíd have to stop work. And again, I have never seen any particular virtue in re-inventing the wheel because you werenít allowed to read in secret documents that somebody had already invented it.
Doel:Did Maurice feel then, did you feel that there was excessive security levels of classification for the work?
Greene:I donít know. I had no way to know whether these things should be secret or not. If it was a secret document and I was typing some part of it, I did what I should. And I didnít know people werenít supposed to know that. But there might have been reasons. And so I canít comment on whether the government security regulations were tighter than they needed to be. They had very little effect on me.
Doel:You were saying before the tape ran down, that the big concern was what Columbia University did with regard to the contracts.
Greene:Yes. Because we were not really much affected by the security restrictions imposed by government agencies. And in my case, I didnít even know why some of them were secret. Itís just if they were, I didnít say anything about it. But we were very much affected by Columbia University wishing us to drop contracts and when I say contracts, Iím talking about dropping scientific research which had been underway for many years. Just because for reasons, for government reasons, the contracts are classified. It didnít seem right.
Doel:As you look back on it, was there much difference of opinion on those matters at Lamont? Or did most people feel similarly about? [Cross talk]
Greene:I thought most people felt similarly. Because who would want to stop the NASA contracts or the Bermuda thing. I just donít know. Maybe there were other opinions. I donít know.
Doel:I was curious if either your recollections of differences about some of these things.
Greene:I donít. I think some of the geochemistry contracts were classified too because of having to do with the AEC [Atomic Energy Commission] and with radiation.
Doel:I believe many of those were indeed subject to.
Greene:But that doesnít mean work should stop on those problems.
Doel:That raises another interesting matter of earlier classified work, since Lamont did classified work, that Maurice was involved in with the atmospheric sound channel work. Some of which was done in New Mexico and Area 51, thatís become known as the Roswell at the time. Did he talk to you about that work at all?
Greene:No. I donít know anything about it.
Doel:Clearly he was involved in flying a number of the balloons that had mentioned in —
Greene:Oh, the Bill Donn kind. I donít really know.
Doel:And it was also to discover.
Greene:The layers in the atmosphere?
Doel:Indeed. And see parallel structures there to the SOFAR [Sound Fixing and Ranging] channel studies.
Greene:Yes. Probably wave guides and a lot of different layers and a lot of different things.
Doel:Indeed. I was just curious if he had ever spoken to you about that, given that the Roswell matter.
Greene:I had a philosophy, if I happened to know something because I was filing things or working on a paper or typing things, I never discussed it with him and he never discussed secret things with me. We had lots of other things to talk about; we didnít need to titillate ourselves with secrets. I didnít know he was involved in Roswell.
Doel:This other even prior to Lamont that was back very, very soon after World War II — Ď46, Ď47.
Greene:Yes, I know some of that from seeing technical reports.
Doel:One thing I heard from Frank Press was that he regarded himself as one of the more liberal voices in what to him had seemed to be a more conservative political attitudes of people at Lamont. Was there anyone at the time that were you were there, who seemed to be, or, and then Iím just curious, if when you think back, that most people seemed to share the philosophy that Maurice had.
Greene:I thought they seemed to share his philosophy. Truthfully, there wasnít very much discussion of politics that I remember. Maybe there was in other parts, but not in anything that I knew much about. Maurice didnít have much to say about politics.
Doel:Is that fair to say that his views were conservative?
Doel:His general political.
Greene:Yes. You could put it in a nutshell. He was a child of that most severe depression. And when youíre brought up that way, you are conservative. There were very, very poor and lived under difficult conditions when he was a child. He father and his mother were both very, very bright and hard working and wonderful and intellectual people, but there was nothing for anybody at that time at least in West Texas. Very hard times. Maurice and his sisters were picking cotton and climbing up windmills to oil them. They really worked very hard when they were children. They knew what it was to need money.
Doel:How did he feel about working with Soviet scientists? Clearly this was a brighter window in the Cold War, by the late SOs, 1960s and 70s, but relationships were somewhat difficult.
Greene:I remember his first trip to Russia. It was some meeting. I donít remember which one. But that was during that long period, when one was met by an Intourist guide everywhere and escorted to wherever you were going. And you never got away from your keeper. But the Intourist guide was showing him the Kremlin, and he said, in as loud a voice as he could muster up, he said, ďis this where Napoleon stabled his horses?Ē And she screamed, ďItís a lie! Itís a lie!Ē [Laughter] So he liked to sort of tweak them that way. Thatís about as far into politics as he got.
Doel:It brings to mind the work that a number of people at Lamont, like Jack [E.] Oliver and later Lynn Sykes did in the nuclear test ban treaty. How did Maurice feel about that sort of work? About scientists being involved.
Greene:Good. Everybody wanted a test ban treaty. You had to know what you were talking about.
Doel:Maurice felt that.
Greene:The same old thing. Who gains what by not knowing?
Doel:Iím just wondering if he had spoken with you about that question of verification. Whether he felt that a treaty like that was —
Greene:He felt that we needed verification and it was a good thing we could help with it. And Lynn Sykes and Jack Oliver, I think both of them, were very forthcoming in explaining how you know when the envelope indicates an earthquake and when an explosion. It was very interesting. And I think it was very important work.
Doel:Was that something that Maurice was paying particular attention to as that work progressed?
Greene:I wouldnít know because it was secret. And if he were working closely with Jack on that sort of thing, it would have been not in my presence.
Doel:Iím thinking of later after the time Jack Oliver left, for Cornell and after you and Maurice were married.
Greene:I donít know. I donít know. The sonabuoys and that sort of thing. I never was in on that sort of thing. I just knew roughly what was happening.
Doel:Iím curious how well you came to know Sam [Robert D.] Gerard during those years?
Greene:I was very fond of Sam and his wonderful family.
Doel:What sorts of things do you remember about Sam?
Greene:Sam had a great affinity for wanting to, and he was good at it, thinking up initials of programs, you know —
Doel:Acronyms and things like that.
Greene:Acronyms for everything. Sam was good at that. And I always liked Samís way of speaking. I liked Sam. He had a very, very nice wife. His wifeís sister worked for me one summer. She was a dear, lovely person. One of the Haagensen girls. And what I remember about Karen is that she was newly married and pregnant at the time. She was typing for me. And one day I saw her just sitting at her typewriter with a really blissful smile.
Doel:Youíre drawing a very broad grin on your face.
Greene:I asked, ďKaren, what happened?Ē She said, ďI typed my first perfect pageĒ. [Laughter] I thought that was so charming. Sam had a very nice family, and it showed in everything he did. He was a wonderful man.
Doel:What was his relationship like with Maurice?
Greene:Maurice thought he was a bit of a light weight, here and there, but I never knew why. I always thought Sam did fine work. I donít know. He liked him. Sam was a very good chief scientist.
Doel:He certainly sailed quite a bit.
Greene:Yes. When I say he was a good one, chief scientist, I mean he would send in the data in the right form, the telegraphs, so people could understand them. And he would, you know, get the supplies he needed. He was good.
Doel:How well did you know Denny [Dennis E.] Hayes during those years?
Greene:I always liked Denny, and I knew him fairly well.
Greene:Well, I knew his first wife who was a very sweet woman. And I liked Denny. In fact, I liked Denny so much that when I moved from Cornwall to Middlebury — a short move but it was moving from a different kind of house — I gave Mauriceís old desk to Denny. And asked him would be please pass it on when he, if he ever left Lamont, to whomever he thought was his successor as the best chief — scientist.
Doel:Thatís very interesting. Clearly you had come to know him rather well if you feel comfortable with —
Greene:Yes. Dennis was a person who, well I always felt good with Dennis. And he was always so sincerely helpful with everything. I had great respect for him. A kind person.
Doel:Heíd known Maurice, of course, fairly well.
Greene:Yes. Dennis was always very supportive, I felt.
Doel:Was he one of the ones you would see socially more than other people at Lamont?
Greene:We usually didnít see people socially much. Not very often. No. But we didnít have much of a social life. It was, just, he wasnít that kind of a person. Maurice was not that kind of a person.
Doel:Yes. Iím well aware that —
Greene:He wouldnít go out in the evenings. He was tired.
Doel:Did it seem, Iím just thinking of some of the people that would tend to drop by late at night. John Ewing would be one, John and Betty Ewing.
Greene:We saw the Ewings a lot. Yes. That was very nice.
Doel:Do you know if Maurice relied on Johnís opinions, his point of view of what was happening at Lamont? Was it that kind of a relationship with him?
Greene:I donít know. Just everything. Weíd talk about family, houses, anything. Maybe he talked to John about things but I donít know about that.
Doel:You would see John and Betty quite often?
Greene:Yes. We had a very close and cordial relationship.
Doel:One of the things I meant to ask you in the last interview was whether you ever had a chance to sail even for a short period on any of Lamontís ships.
Greene:I never did it until he retired. Our mode of operation was that somebody had to be at the office all the time.
Doel:As you were saying a moment before.
Greene:I was that person. But after he retired, I went for a month on the Conrad from St. Thomas to Brooklyn. Quite an experience.
Greene:It was wonderful to finally see all these things. I didnít know how to do anything. Iím not very good with mechanical things. But I had the job of catching the satellites and running the tape that would — Iím sure itís much different now, in fact I know itís more efficient now because Iíve seen the ship ďMaurice EwingĒ — but anyway, so then youíd catch the satellite when you thought it was right, and youíd get all this information and feed it through and come out with some positions. It was fun.
Greene:Anybody could have done it. It only happened a few times a day, I didnít have a real job. But I loved being there. We were in the chief scientistís cabin.
Doel:You and Maurice were?
Greene:Yes. And heíd get up at any time of the night when we were fairly near an area of interest, and heíd call the bridge, and heíd say, ďyou know, if you steer this course and go so many miles, and do all this and that, I think we might come to that same ravine that we saw ten years ago on Vema somethingĒ. He knew exactly where he was at all times. Back in Rockland County we had a bought a house for when he retired, and he couldnít find it. He would mutter, ďthatís a hell of a thing when you own a house and canít even find itĒ. Iíd always have to show him the way. And at sea, he knew canyons heíd seen ten years ago. He knew just where they were. And would decide where they should take a station on the basis of that sort of thing.
Doel:Very interesting. And clearly you came to know the sorts of things like that that he would remember so well and the things that he probably wouldnít remember.
Greene:Another thing I learned on the ship. Thereís very little reading material. And I had nothing much to do. I spent a lot of time looking at the Encyclopedia Britannica they had. And since then I bought myself an old set, and itís true you could spend the rest of your life reading it.
Doel:So you spent time on the ship reading the Encyclopedia while you were out in the Sargasso Sea?
Greene:Reading. And watching people. And another thing that struck me, I always knew the oceanic depths. I knew they are very deep. But when you see that winch going at an incredible speed — itís a very dangerous beast — youíd see the cable going down at that incredible speed for hours to get to the bottom of the ocean. It makes the great depths very vivid in your mind.
Greene:Oh, and you could have asked me and I could have figured out how long it would take, but it was just a whole different thing to realize that thatís where the bottom is. Thatís a long way. And we went swimming off the ship.
Greene:We were in the Sargasso Sea for quite a long time, and itís very beautiful. Itís a crystal clear and sapphire blue and has bright gold seaweed. And it was really fantastic. So the scientists were asking the captain if we could have a swim session. He finally agreed. But he posted — I couldnít help noticing — he posted watches all over, on each deck and lowered a little rope ladder. And we went down and swam. It was quite a jolt to realize that there you are and thereís nothing but ocean around you for thousands of miles, because we were well off the shipping lanes, and we were in great swells which would rhythmically conceal the ship. It was beautiful. But then one night, itís a little scary, because if there were a shark.
Doel:I was gonna ask you.
Greene:Thereís only this one ladder. And itís this funny little rope ladder. I didnít realize how dangerous it was. But I did know they posted a watch. And then one night I saw sharks coming after a bag of garbage. So fast, so incredibly fast and strong, and I was talking to Maurice about it and he said you know, the Sargasso Sea is the desert of the North Atlantic. If you see any fish there, you see hungry fish. Itís like a polar bear. Theyíre always hungry; thereís nothing there.
Doel:Maurice was swimming with you in?
Greene:No. He wouldnít go in. And he wouldnít go in our swimming pool in Galveston.
Doel:Is that right?
Greene:He said ďI took my swimming test and I passed. Iím not going in againĒ.
Doel:Thinking back to the incident off the Vema.
Greene:Oh yes. That time he nearly drowned. No, he wouldnít go in.
Doel:Did he like to swim at all after that or did he try to?
Greene:No. I donít think he ever went in the pool with me, never.
Doel:But you [cross talk] of course?
Greene:Yes. That was the first time I lived in a warm climate, so I wanted a pool. So we had a pool built. And we enjoyed it. He enjoyed sitting around it. I donít think he ever went in even to cool off.
Doel:When did you buy the house for retirement in Palisades?
Greene:I have the records, but Iíve forgotten. It was well before he was sixty-five. So I guess it was when he was about sixty. And we didnít buy it for ourselves. It wasnít a house we wanted. It was just the idea of having some money in real estate there, so that when we did want to retire, we could sell it and buy a house we wanted.
Doel:That makes sense. That makes sense.
Greene:Yes. So that was just a, it was an income producer. It had three places you could rent. House, little house, and littler house. Iíve forgotten when that was. It was before there was any serious talk of leaving Lamont. And I was very sorry when there was.
Doel:When did it first start becoming clear that there would not be a way of remaining at Lamont? Did that decision when it came, come suddenly when you look back or was it gradual build up over the late 60s, early 70s?
Greene:It was a gradual build up. I was always against it. Because heíd worked so hard to get all this data, and he loved working on it. Why shouldnít he just stay there and work with the people he liked on the things he liked to work on? And I thought he should just forget other problems. But he couldnít. So to me it became inevitable when he was just wrapped up in this problem, day and night, and couldnít do anything else or couldnít think of anything else. Then thereís no point in staying. It was all spoiled for him.
Doel:Did you have discussions with him about the possible relocation of what had been at Lamont to Sterling Forest?
Greene:Oh, I remember that well. And I had been out there with him a couple of times, talking to (Iíve forgotten their names), the people who were developing it. And that would have been a good idea, except, in my opinion, which I had expressed to Maurice a number of times, you would lose Lamont as a place for graduate students. Because it was too far. And at that time we didnít have any jitney service. But even if we did, it was too far. Otherwise, it was perfect. Because they would have built the buildings and rented them back to us on government contracts, and plenty of housing for the senior staff. They could build houses. Everything was good, but you had to face the fact that doing that there was no longer a place for graduate students.
Doel:That would have severed ties with Columbia to have gone to Sterling Forest, wouldnít it?
Greene:I donít know. It wouldnít necessarily have had to do that. It could still be in the government contract division. It just would be unrealistic to think youíd have students in all different disciplines. People who needed the engineering department, or physics department, or couldnít get their graduate work done there —
Doel:It was over an hour away from New York City.
Greene:Yes. So, I liked everything about it, but that. And I thought that was very serious.
Doel:What did Maurice think of it?
Greene:It was attractive to him because it would have solved a lot of problems about buildings. But I think in the end, he came around because of the graduate students as a serious drawback.
Doel:Do you have any idea what others at Lamont felt about the possibility of relocating to Sterling Forest?
Greene:I donít remember. I know people had opinions. I kind of think Jim Dorman was for it. But I donít really remember. And I think Joe was for it. I donít remember that for sure either. I believe Jack Nafe felt the way I did. It would have been a very positive thing not to have to worry about the space. And I donít know how a consensus was reached on the other. But I just remember my two cents worth that I kept sticking in whenever I could that it would kill Lamont as a graduate institution. It would be a good research institute, but thatís two different things.
Doel:That was, of course, becoming a tension in the late 60s, with Lamont as a research institution and the integration within teaching function of the department of geology at Columbia. Were there, Iím wondering what you recall in discussions with Maurice about that issue? It seems that was another point of contention between the university and Lamont.
Greene:I donít know. Iím trying to think the form it might have taken.
Doel:Say in decisions to hire particular people for research versus for teaching.
Greene:Oh. Well, that was always a problem mainly because of the funding. Because if a person came and wanted to be a tenured professor, thereís no way we could offer that unless a department at Columbia wanted that person as a tenured professor. Because we didnít have permanent funds. And there was that aspect of it. So per as I know, others at the university liked to have people who were teaching at Lamont. It wasnít any philosophical thing, just how could you get them if you didnít have the money.
Doel:Of course, that was one of the things the Doherty gift was intended to try and improve.
Greene:That was the main thing that it was intended to do. Our senior people had the rank of Senior Scientist, which was the only thing we could do, with funding that by its very nature was temporary, or could be temporary. That was the only thing we could do. Because we didnít have actual posts. And, of course, a lot of people justifiably wanted to have permanent posts. And the government contract division, (I guess because they had to, legally), if your contract was about to expire within a certain time, would write these senior people letters saying that their contract was expiring and they couldnít guarantee any further employment at Columbia. Theyíd be horrified. Of course, anybody would be. And you canít say, yes, thatís fine, but the contractís coming in again.
Doel:I imagine that you had to deal with quite a few of these people that would get worried about this.
Greene:Yes. Arnold Finck did too. Everybody did. All of the people who relied strictly on contract support would get these letters. I suppose that government contracts division had to do it legally. I donít know. It was a big problem not to be able to have permanent posts for at least the top senior scientists. But it never happened.
Doel:Did Maurice or you feel that you lost any particular people at Lamont because of this difficulty?
Greene:I canít think of anyone we lost because of that difficulty. There were certain people we didnít get because of that difficulty.
Doel:Iím curious which people you recall.
Greene:I donít remember. Because theyíd be mainly people with whom we corresponded and I didnít know them very well. People who would have liked to come. I think Bob Jastrow would have liked to be out at Lamont. He couldnít because he had to stick with NASA.
Doel:Of course, he was still in the circle.
Greene:We tried to get him an Adjunct Professor, but an adjunct is just a title. Jim Hertzler was entitled to an academic post and couldnít have one. That sort of thing.
Doel:Well, he would still have been at Lamont when you were first there, then he went to direct the, direct the Hudson Labs. Did those close down fairly soon after he had actually taken over the post as I recall.
Greene:I didnít know.
Doel:One thing I wanted to ask you in the last interview too, did you sense that as the tensions grew between Maurice and Bruce Heezen, was that damaging to Lamont as a whole, did you feel? To its reputation in the broader field.
Greene:I donít know. It probably was. Well, the basic problem was Maurice had a lot of complaints about Bruce in the sense that, you see, Bruce controlled the track. The plotting of the track and the depth. And any time anybody needed that for something he was doing, Bruce would get into the act, whether he was really in it or not. And some of the graduate students complained that they couldnít get any information without making him a senior author or something like that. And that was a problem. And then, furthermore, Marie did a lot of the work at home, so there were many times when you needed a track, you couldnít get it until a few days later, heíd bring it back from Marie. So, Bruce kept that under very tight control and was very reluctant to share it with anyone. And that got to be a problem. For a lot of people. And then students complained. I think Jim Hays said he couldnít get his thesis approved because Bruce wanted to be a senior author and he had not had much to do with it. That kind of thing. That was one of the tensions. Big.
Doel:How did you feel about? How well did you know Bruce?
Greene:I knew Bruce and Marie. And Bruce was the kind of person who liked to tell you things. I mean that in a good sense. If you needed to know something, he would like to tell you in a way you understood and refer you to a book. He was very good. And Marie was a very sweet and imaginative person. I liked them both. But, when Bruce got to the point where he wouldnít do anything and that was a real big problem and was causing a lot of trouble.
Doel:How did you handle that situation as it worsened?
Greene:Badly. Well, when Marie finally wrote to Maurice — Iíve forgotten what the issue was even. Something that Bruce needed backing for something, and Marie wrote and said, well, if you could do this and that, then you (Maurice) could be a co-author of this paper or something. And that was pretty bad, a sort of unethical quid pro quo offer.
Doel:You mean it was something that irked you or troubled you when you were reading what Marie proposed?
Greene:Yes. I thought that was very bad, and that Maurice should have nothing to do with it.
Doel:During the time that Heezen was actually under suspension, what was done about his property that was at Lamont, the office things that he controlled? Was that something that you had to?
Greene:He was asked to move to a — I think it was one floor lower. Oh, it was to one of the areas. You know, that the oceanography building was set up so that some of the work would be in the middle and then the private offices around it.
Greene:He was asked to move to an area like that and he wouldnít. He said he would.
Doel:Into the middle area as opposed to one of the offices.
Greene:Something like that. He said he would, and then at the last minute he didnít. And Buildings and Grounds called and said, well, what are we going to do now? Because theyíd set aside the day to do it. I said, just do it. Move him. And that was bad.
Doel:And the stuff was then put right into the — His office space was then relocated to the middle area.
Greene:Yes. And that was not the right thing to do, and I realize that. But I just get so fed up. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. Finally, there was a direct instruction, and he was told to do it, and he said he would do it, and then at the last minute, he wouldnít. So, I got fed up.
Doel:Was that characteristic of the relationship?
Greene:Yes. It had come to be. Which was a great pity.
Doel:Did you feel that you were put in the middle between that?
Greene:I was. I felt very badly that Maurice was devoting so much time and aggravation to this problem. And I felt sorry for Bruce that he was kind in the middle of it too. It wasnít right. But I think, I really believe that Bruce was the one who was wrong. There was no reason. He was doing enough other things. And he was imaginative enough that he did not need to keep the tracks such a big secret from everybody else who needed them. Thatís a very basic thing, position and the depth at all times.
Doel:Did he talk to you or others about why he did feel so proprietary about?
Doel:Weíre resuming after a very quick pause. You were saying about things, that you were remembering.
Greene:The kind of thing that made other scientists hostile to Bruce was, that scientist might be talking to his friends about some piece of data or something that they were thinking about — some wonderful idea. The next thing you know, Bruce was at a meeting and had submitted an abstract with that very idea. He did that time and time again. Heíd present abstracts at a meeting, some distance away, using something that someone had been talking to him about, one of their projects. And people got very upset about that. Because ever after, once it was published as an abstract, it would be his idea. This was not a good way to do it.
Doel:Iím thinking that sort of issue came up after the Second International Oceanographic Congress, the Moscow meeting, from 1966. I was wondering if you recall that matter particularly?
Greene:I donít. I probably knew about it. What was that about?
Doel:A case in which Heezen had reported results, and there was controversy over whether he had given adequate credit to the ideas of others when he made this report.
Greene:I donít remember that. But I donít doubt it happened.
Doel:A brief report on the meeting was carried in Time Magazine, which mentioned Heezen —
Doel:— but didnít mention others.
Greene:Yes, thatís right. That can happen. Usually, if itís in the form of just talking, and it gets in the papers. That can happen to anybody. But if itís in the form of an abstract submitted to a meeting, itís in the scientific literature and itís gone.
Doel:Yes. No, thatís a very important point.
Greene:So a lot of people from time to time would get credited in the newspapers for things in which they werenít really the principal. But you canít really take offense at that because, you know, if youíre talking to someone and they tell you something, well, naturally, you cite that person.
Doel:But that raises to my mind, how well did you come to know Walter Sullivan from the New York Times?
Greene:Oh, Walter Sullivan was really wonderful. Sometimes, particularly if I went to a meeting about the layers in the water — or to a meeting of mineralogists, where they show you these triangles and stuff. I had no idea what they were talking about. And I would read the Times and then I would find out, because Walter Sullivan explained it so clearly. And heíd always, when he reported on anything he got from us, it was always accurate and crystal clear. He was a real gentleman. He came out to the office many times. I remember two things, especially, well, a lot of things about Walter. But two particularly kind things. When he wrote — heís written a number of books, but he wrote a biggish one, you know coffee table size — and he sent me a copy and inscribed it.
Doel:Is that right? Thatís very interesting.
Greene:That was so nice of him. And another time I was walking down the street in Manhattan, and this was after Maurice died, and he hailed me over and talked to me. I thought that was so friendly and nice. I really admired Walter and I still do. A very knowledgeable man and very nice. I knew him pretty well too, because when Walter came, I donít know why, but I was always comfortable with him, and Maurice was comfortable with him. So if weíd just sit around talking, the three of us. So I did get to know him. A lot of people didnít know, well naturally, they wouldnít know that we were working rather closely together. And theyíd kind of wave at me and shoo me out of the room. Thatís all right. But it wasnít that way with Walter. And Earl Ubell was another one I liked very much. Walter still more because I saw more of him. But Earl Ubell was with the Herald Tribune. He was a very smart fellow. Very nice.
Doel:Were there any other reporters who you felt anywhere near as comfortable with as?
Greene:Well, of course, Bill Wertenbaker, but he wasnít exactly a reporter. Nor was Leonard Engel, whom Maurice and I both knew well and admired very much. Leonard wrote books and magazine pieces.
Doel:Right. The writer who did —
Greene:No, those are the main ones. I canít think of others. What more do you need if you have the New York Times and the Herald Tribune?
Doel:Walter Sullivan would come down and meet the Vema once it came back to harbor, didnít he?
Greene:I think so. Yes.
Doel:When you say you were, would you ever see him, say at dinner, or would it be more when he would come out to Lamont?
Greene:I saw him more when he came out to Lamont. I think he did go to some of the same dinners we did, like the American Geographical Society, and Iíd see him there. I think I saw him there. You know, heís friendly.
Doel:Those kinds of contacts.
Greene:Yes, I got to know him more when he would come out.
Doel:Did other scientists at Lamont feel comfortable dealing with Sullivan?
Greene:I would imagine so. I donít know. Everybody admired him.
Doel:There wasnít any reason necessarily you would know. I was just curious if you recall.
Greene:I think everyone liked him. And he always got everything right.
Doel:He certainly had a very high reputation among the science communities. Iím sorry.
Greene:Well, as I said, when I would go to a meeting and hear something, if I didnít understand it, Iíd just read what he said about it. Heíd tell you why it was important and what was what.
Doel:When we were talking a few moments ago about some of the foreign contacts, I wonder if you recall any of those that Maurice had cultivated in Latin America, Alberto Lonardi, for instance. Was he someone you came to know?
Greene:Oh, I knew Alberto very well. Because Alberto worked closely, I mean in close vicinity. He worked in the next room. Did endless work on the physiographic map of the South Atlantic. Alberto was very quiet.
Doel:Is that right?
Greene:Yes. And so I knew him and his wife. He was married, met his wife, anyway. Alberto was very, a very faithful worker. It was very troublesome about that book on the South Atlantic, because every time, there was a deadline on it, Alberto would come up with something more he wanted in it. And another map. And thereíd be another six months. And it ended up, if youíve seen that book, with fold in maps at the back, an enormous number. And thatís not a good idea. It makes it very difficult to publish. It makes it very difficult to read. It doesnít stand up well in libraries. I was always thinking of that. Get off the dime and publish it.
Doel:Was Maurice feeling the same way?
Greene:No. He too, was very bad about deadlines.
Doel:As weíve mentioned.
Greene:I didnít know anything about the work, but I was just getting irritated about the whole thing. Why didnít they just do it?
Doel:Did you come to know others who were visiting from Latin America?
Greene:Capurro, Lee Capurro. And Nestor, Nestor?
Greene:Granelli. It was Nestorís wedding I went to. I knew his wife pretty well too. She was Chilean. Nestor was a very jolly person. Alberto was very, very quiet. You know once, there was a fire in the house next to where he was living, and somehow I knew about it. It was on the radio or something. And I asked Alberto, and he said, oh, he had not noticed it. He lived in a world all of his own.
Doel:Is that right? Thatís an interesting observation.
Greene:It was something quite spectacular that happened right where he was and he didnít even know it. Very quiet.
Doel:Did he talk to you about the differences between work at his home institution and at Lamont? Did you get to know him on that kind of basis?
Greene:No, not talking, but it was pretty evident. I went to Argentina with Maurice.
Doel:I wasnít aware of that. You flew to a meeting in?
Greene:Well, we went on a tour of South America. We were going to a meeting on Antarctic submarine geology in Santiago. When the navy people heard about that, they asked him if he would go other places. So it ended up being kind of a navy tour. Which was wonderful. They told us that weíd be traveling with flag rank, and that didnít mean anything to me. I mean, good, thatís fine. I didnít know what it meant. What it meant was youíre met by a chauffeur at every port. And housed in the best hotels. It was fantastic. But anyway, that was good. But after we were in Chile, we went to Argentina. And it was quite evident, which we knew anyway, theyíre all chiefs and no indians. We went down to the docks and thereíd be the simplest things that were broken and had been for ten years. And thatís kind of the way the Argentines worked, I must say. They didnít like the nitty, gritty stuff.
Doel:You felt that from visiting the country, or your experiences with having those who were visiting?
Greene:Both. They fit together. That the Argentines, now this isnít a prejudice and very general, but they like to be in charge of everything. They donít like to grub.
Doel:And was that also the pattern of those who visited from Argentina?
Greene:Yes, I would say so. Thereís an exception. I forgot his name. Another geologist who was looking at things about the continental shelf, off Argentina. He was a very hard worker.
Doel:Did that attitude conflict? Iím wondering what kind of problems that caused given the attitudes that were very characteristic at Lamont, namely, one did pitch in to do these sorts of things.
Greene:I donít know that it really caused any problems. Because everyone who was there was there for a reason. Oh, I know that trouble arose. When Alberto was working there, they made a wonderful map, a physiographic diagram of the South Atlantic, like the maps Bruce and Marie made of the North Atlantic.
Greene:Well, there was a similar map of the South Atlantic, and Alberto and Maurice both had worked long and hard on that. They would not, the Argentines that is, would not agree to calling the Falklands the Falklands. They had to be the Malvinas. And because of that, that perfectly wonderful map that should have been a U.S. Hydrographic Office publication, could not be published, with the support of any of our government contract work, because that would have implied a government decision. And the Argentines would not backtrack one inch. So we had these beautiful maps printed, and really there was no adequate distribution at all. Because they would have had to be distributed through the Navy and the Hydrographic Office or the National Science Foundation, and they couldnít touch it.
Doel:And none of them could touch it. Thatís really interesting.
Greene:It was a pity.
Doel:Did you feel that Lonardi?
Greene:I used to have a lot of those maps. Gradually I gave them away. They were beautiful maps.
Doel:How did Lonardi feel about that? Clearly he was under —
Greene:I donít know. I donít know how he thought about anything really. He was a very quiet person.
Doel:Thinking about international visitors at Lamont, what about the time Xavier Le Pichon was there?
Greene:Yes. He worked a lot more with John Ewing than with Maurice, but he was a fine person.
Doel:What do you recall about him in particular?
Greene:Oh he was influential in getting programs for using the Archimed, the French submersible. And very sound and important work he did.
Doel:Did he talk much about his upbringing, his own background?
Greene:Not to me.
Doel:Did you come to know him?
Greene:I didnít know him that well. I forgot, what was Stefanís name, German. Stefan was only a ten-year old boy during World War II or something, and yet he was made into a Nazi and made to put on a uniform. He talked a little bit about his background. But I donít remember Xavier talking about much of his, it. Xavierís wife was a pianist. I remember talking to Xavier about that. She was a very superior pianist. I heard her play a program, — she played piano and Denny Hayesí wife played the flute. Both were superb.
Doel:And given your own musical interest at the time, I can imagine that would.
Greene:Yes. I was very interested. No, she was, you know, far beyond what I could do musically.
Doel:Another German who came through perhaps a little bit earlier was Karl Hince.
Greene:I donít know him.
Doel:I donít know if that.
Greene:Doesnít even ring a bell. Must have been early.
Doel:It may well have been. During your time at Lamont, do you remember any of the Japanese visitors, particularly?
Greene:Oh yes. Yasuo Sato we saw a lot of. Fine man. Maurice always thought he was a genius. Iím not in a position to judge.
Doel:What was it that Maurice felt that he was doing made him so outstanding?
Greene:I donít really remember.
Doel:But clearly Maurice had a very high opinion of him.
Greene:Very high opinion. And of several of the other Japanese. I think the Japanese liked Maurice, well I know they did, but he said one reason was that when he and Frank and, who was the other, Jardetsky —
Greene:When they did that book, ďElastic Waves in Layered MediaĒ, they very heavily referenced the Japanese work in earthquake seismology. They were about the first people who paid them any attention, and the Japanese had done a lot of fine work. The same with the Russians. Thatís one reason we had such good relations with Beloussov and some of the others, because they did use a lot of their work, and took it very seriously. And thatís the first time theyíd been taken seriously internationally. So, we had a good start with the Japanese and with the Russians. The Japanese were doing work different from ours because their earthquakes were so gigantic. The, you know, the waves that come later and are much more subtle, they didnít work with because it didnít happen there.
Doel:They were right at the epicenter.
Doel:In many cases quite.
Greene:You had to really change the gain when youíre dealing with those. But anyway, he had the greatest respect for both the Japanese and the Russians, and they knew it. So they had good relations with them.
Doel:You felt that you were, at Lamont were out ahead of say Scripps and other Earth sciences places?
Greene:In earth sciences, probably not in some of the oceanographic work, but in other sciences, yes, definitely.
Doel:Marine geophysics, seismology.
Greene:Oh definitely. Oh definitely. Because of all the seismic refraction work and the innumerable cores. We were miles ahead. If it were a race. But then not to run down their work, they were doing different things. And Deitz and whatís his name at Scripps were much respected?
Doel:Yes. Bob [Robert] Dietz.
Greene:Yes, that was great. They did some wonderful work. And, of course, at Woods Hole, Maurice was at Woods Hole. Regarding the overall structure of the earth as a planet, I think, we were in the forefront no doubt.
Doel:A moment ago, I wanted to just check with you on this. Had Maurice seen drafts of the book that Bill Wartenbacker was putting together? Had he, cause it came out I believe in, just after his death.
Greene:Oh no, heíd seen the proofs. He had even been through galley proofs.
Doel:Tell me what he thought of the way that Wartenbacker conceptualized Lamont and how he had reported it? Was this generally?
Greene:He liked Bill. And Bill, went everywhere with Maurice. He went to the meetings, he went out on the ship for months. Oh, I think that Maurice felt very grateful that someone would go to all that trouble to write about his work and what he was doing.
Doel:Relations were, became fairly close?
Greene:Oh very close, yes. He liked Bill. And Bill, as you saw in the book, went around and talked to all Mauriceís friends and family from way, way back. And thatís a wonderful thing to have done for you.
Doel:There was something of a start of autobiographical material.
Greene:It certainly was. Yes, he was very thankful for that. And so was I. It was a nice thing for him to do, I mean, well, the New Yorker did it. Earlier, the New Yorker had sent out someone else, two years before that, and he did a little interviewing and a little poking around a few times, but he never produced anything. So then Bill was assigned to it later.
Doel:Well, it sounds like you came to know Wartenbacker and the family all fairly well.
Greene:Yes, a lot of us knew Bill Wartenbacker, cause he stayed around so long. He went to all the seminars. He went to all the meetings. He did everything. Just like a family member to everyone at Lamont. It was years he was doing that. You have to respect that kind of dedication. I always wonder what happened to him. Do you know?
Doel:Iím not sure.
Greene:I donít know either. The last I heard was a long time ago. I think he was living in Connecticut. Every once in a while Iíd check the New Yorker masthead to see if he was on there, but he isnít.
Doel:Another reporter from the [New York] Times who was interested in aspects of Lamont, was, from the Saturday Review, John Lehr.
Greene:Oh yes. Yes. He did one piece on Lamont. It was a good one.
Doel:Did you come to know him at all?
Greene:No. Not at all. I donít think I ever met him. Of course, Betty Friedan wrote a piece for one of the papers about the Ewing-Donn theory of ice ages.
Greene:That was something. Smart lady. Overwhelming lady.
Doel:I got that impression from our first interview. She was very hard to work with.
Greene:I think anyone will tell you that.
Doel:Yes. Her powerful personality.
Doel:One other thing I meant to ask you about too was Mauriceís feeling about the biological work that had gone on at Lamont, but certainly not as strongly as the physics based programs.
Greene:I forget who tried it at first. But he had a long series of disappointments with people who were doing biological things. Somehow it never worked and they never really got, took hold on anything. Bob Menzies did on that. And later Dr. Burkholder. Bob Menzies apparently wasnít the best chief scientist and that was a very important thing at Lamont, you know, to be able to handle it.
Doel:Thatís very interesting. Those who werenít able to fill that role on the ship, then tended to lose.
Greene:Yes, theyíd lose a lot of prestige.
Doel:Thatís interesting. Not only in terms of doing the science, but the prestige.
Greene:Thatís right. You had to have a shabby rope belt, and dungarees, and be good at manning the ship. Tough.
Doel:Youíre putting your fist in the air. As being able to handle that kind of thing. Thatís very interesting that that was very much part of the culture at Lamont. And those who didnít, werenít able to demonstrate that, were —
Greene:Of course, some could make it even without that. But it was definitely a prestige thing too. To be admired.
Doel:And I realize you werenít on the ships as much as some of the scientists themselves.
Greene:Not at all.
Doel:And the one voyage that you had. But from hearing people talk about it and from you vantage point, what made a good chief scientist? Or conversely what made one not a good chief scientist?
Greene:Well, I guess. First, of course, you have to do your housekeeping right, and you have to go where you were supposed to go. You have to do your stations at the right place. You have to keep everything working. You have to get all your data and your reports right. Thatís not easy. And get along with the captain. But more than that, you have to be a person who recognizes an opportunity or a golden find when you have it. You have to have that excitement and that intuition and knowledge, and be able to keep things running, which is hard enough.
Doel:Indeed. And those who werenít able to do that well would either not get the logs quite right or couldnít command the respect of other scientists. Those were the sorts of things.
Greene:Not to say they couldnít do other things. But people who were very good at it, were very good. Mark Langseth was very good, Chuck Drake outstanding. Denny Hayes was a great chief scientist. Also, itís a hard thing for some of them. You get, they get a lot of complaints from their families. You canít go away over Christmas. My god, Easterís coming up. You know how things like that. That doesnít go down too well; crybaby aspect. Though I can understand that happens.
Doel:Those are the factors that take.
Greene:Sort of a macho thing I guess.
Doel:For family relations it can be hard.
Greene:Well, that was just part of it.
Doel:Indeed. And that was part of work at Lamont. One thing clearly you were involved in and thinking a great deal about was the fund raising work going on at Lamont. How deeply involved did you become in Industrial Associates?
Greene:Iím proud to say Iím one of the ones who thought of it.
Doel:I thought that might have been the case.
Greene:But after that, I had nothing much to do with it. I knew a lot of the oil company people. And they needed this service, and we werenít allowed to give it to them under most circumstances because people would be working. The people who understood the data and had gathered the data were people who were working on direct contracts, and they were very busy. They couldnít take three days a week off to show people their data in detail. They were willing, but you canít do that. I mean, when you have your own work. The oil companies were perfectly willing to pay. They needed the information. The informationís available to the public. We were glad to give it to them. And we just needed a liaison, and it worked out fine. Bob Leydon ran that. I really didnít know anything about it once it started. I just knew they wanted to come and see the records. They wanted copies of certain parts that would be of interest. And thatís about it.
Doel:Were there other fund raising ideas that you felt were particularly worth pursuing that werenít done at Lamont? Or other efforts in which you were involved in that did succeed?
Greene:I donít think of any that I thought of that werenít done, or that I thought of that were done. There was a great breakthrough when Columbia started its thirty three million dollar, or something like that. And they had professional fund raisers. And then it finally dawned on me how it was done, and I tried to communicate it to Maurice. What the professional fund raisers do is try to make a good match between the foundations and individual donors and various programs at Columbia. And once they had made that recognition, they would assign a Columbia person to raise money, to contact so and so to ask him for so much. They did the ground work. So it wasnít what youíd call a cold call. These were people who were known to be interested in giving money, and interested in your projects. So it put a whole different face on things.
Doel:And this was, this had not gone on previously?
Greene:This had not gone on before. You might have someone who seemed interested and whom you knew had a lot of money, but you donít know whether you should ask or not. You know, that kind of thing was very uncomfortable. And Maurice didnít like to do that. I think none of us did. Nobody did. So you just didnít ask. But now, you knew you should ask and you did. And we made friends that way. So after that, after these people had been identified, and weíd been asked to call on them, we called on a number of them. And I found it very interesting and instructive. Of course, the Doherty Foundation is the one that made the big grant. But we learned a lot by calling on these people we were told to call on. One thing I learned is it isnít really all so wonderful to be so very rich. We were calling on a very nice lady on the north shore of Long Island. She had a beautiful big estate, and fountains and courtyards. And we got there. She couldnít have been nicer. But she was elderly and tired, and she had just brought the maids to church, and then we had to have TV dinners for lunch because the maids were busy that day. And then she had to go get the maids.
Doel:One wondered who was running the?
Greene:Yes. Whoís running what? Itís like running a corporation to be that rich. So it didnít look like all that much fun.
Doel:Thatís very interesting that you and Maurice were going out making these kinds of calls on people.
Greene:Yes, when we went to that meeting in Chile, we were told that a letter of introduction had been written to the Errazurez family. And so, we, they called on us and we called on them. And that was wonderful. A really wonderful family. And they took us to this beautiful place. I learned more about Chile from Mrs. Errazurez, who was a very civic minded person. Very interesting. I donít know if they ever gave money to Columbia. It wasnít for our own purposes that we called on them. They werenít particularly interested in our work, except that their son might have wanted to work there when he went to college. And I donít know if he ever did or not. But it was just sort of a good will thing, and it was very good. I liked it. I liked that aspect of it once we knew what we were supposed to do.
Doel:And you feel that program worked rather well once it got started?
Greene:Yes. To have a letter of introduction and to be told why, thatís very, then you donít feel youíre imposing on people. That this is something that they think will be mutually interesting. And it was. I think I learned a lot from those fund raisers. What youíre really trying to do is make a good match. The person running a foundation wants to do something the trustees are pleased with. And the trustees want to support something that they can point to with pride. You said you were interested in this, you were interested in it, and you did it. Thatís great. Everybody is happy.
Doel:Indeed. Yes. Itís clear that kind of matchmaking is fundamental.
Greene:So to me that changed everything. It put a whole new light on everything. Even dinner parties that Columbia would organize. Youíd see who was invited, and youíd immediately catch on to your role. Better introduce so and so to so and so, because theyíll hit it off.
Doel:And you recall those being from about the mid-1960s?
Greene:Itís whenever it was Columbia had their big campaign.
Doel:Their big campaign.
Greene:I donít remember what year. But it was very well run.
Doel:And that continued through the time you were at Columbia?
Greene:Yes. I think that particular campaign was over, but that sort of smoothed the way to a lot.
Doel:You mentioned in an earlier interview, for instance, the relationships that developed with you and Maurice and the Newlins and the Browns and the Vetlesen Foundation and then the Doherty.
Greene:I went to see Dode Brown just a couple years ago. Sheís been a widow for years and married somebody else and a widow again. I had no particular purpose. We were glad to see each other again.
Doel:Thatís interesting after the time that you have stayed in touch with.
Greene:Yes. She was always so very comfortable to be with; very nice woman.
Doel:One of the things that I also wanted to ask you about was what became the JOIDES [Joint Oceanographic Institutions for Deep Earth Sampling] operation, the deep sea drilling work. How involved were you in those, in that development at Lamont?
Greene:Not very. I think that most of the credit for the deep drilling program being established goes to Hollis Hedburg. And some to Maurice, because Maurice and Hollis used to talk about it. And Maurice thought that what they were planning for the International Geophysical Year EIGYJ, (they were going to try to drill down into the Mohororicio continuity). And Maurice thought that was absolute nonsense. That to try something like that with no idea of where to drill or why and such a major undertaking. With as much coring as heíd done and drilling as the oil companies, we still would have no idea what you were after if we were doing that. It would be a huge waste of money, and probably wouldnít succeed. And it was his idea, and Mauriceís idea where you to begin exploring by taking these deep cores everywhere. And Hollis Hedburg was very strongly behind it. And Hollis was a man who knew how to convince the right people in Washington and he did. I think the program was wonderful.
Doel:What sort of person was Hollis Hedburg?
Greene:Great. Heís a very intelligent, professor type. Was he at Mobil Oil? I think itís Mobil.
Doel:Could well be.
Greene:He lived in Princeton in a beautiful house on Library Street. He had a wonderful wife. They had a summer home in Woods Hole. Several nice children. Two of them were involved in working for in the middle east in the oil business. They were a very nice family. We went down to Princeton to see them quite a lot. And the Creighton Burkes. Creighton Burke is much younger than Hollis, but Creighton and Hollis worked together on this. Hollis was a very good geologist and very good at sort of summing up the basics of things. And personally a very nice, a wonderful man to be with. And his wife, Iíve forgotten her name, but, when weíd come to Princeton, sheíd make these wonderful dinners for us. I remember they had a parrot who was a real character. And a beautiful house. Princeton is such a wonderful place to live. Itís always a pleasure to be with the Hedburgs, and I think that he gets a lot of credit for that whole program. I donít think it would have been part of the IGY if he hadnít been active.
Doel:It later became the international decade of ocean exploration.
Greene:Yes thatís it. Yes. Yes. Hollis helped with all that. Yes, the first International Geophysical Year thing we did was Vema 12. Chuck Drake was chief scientist for a lot of that. They went both to the Arctic and the Antarctic.
Doel:So the first extended, long Vema cruise.
Greene:The first really extended one. It was wonderful. After it was done that way. I think Chuck Drake had a lot to do with that.
Doel:Of course, in the meantime, when you were at Lamont after that. But how, when you look back, how important was the IGY for later Lamont development?
Greene:Having an extensive voyage was very important. It was the way of operating ever after. Previously you would get funding for only a little bit. Youíd go out and do that; then youíd have to come back. And after that, I donít know how precisely, but they put together the funding for long voyages. Then there was the world wide uniform seismograph network, which was important, very important. Also tide gauge measurements. With the same instruments all over the world. It made the records much easier to work with. I remember when Maurice and Frank Press were working on something — Iíve forgotten what. Theyíd write and ask for seismograph records for the same event, from different institutions. Every one, when youíd get it thereíd be a letter, ďwell, on this one a bug walked across the thing, and on this one the gain was wrong, and this one was from a different kind of instrument which we never did get straightened outĒ. And you could see from that how you couldnít work easily without uniform instrumentation.
Doel:Very interesting. That drove it home.
Greene:There was always something. There was never anything so you could compare two records.
Doel:Thatís a very good illustration.
Greene:And Iím sure it was the same with the tide gauges, but I never heard Bill Donn complain about it. There was always a long history you had to hear before you could know what the records meant.
Doel:You know, Iím thinking too, in the mid-1960s there were efforts being made as I recall from Texas A&M University to bring Maurice down.
Doel:1964, Earl Brother, president of Texas A&M had been interested. How seriously do you feel Maurice considered those early offers prior to the?
Greene:Just a little bit tempting, but not very. Because of the ships and the seismograph stations we had at Lamont for so many years. You canít recreate that by having some money. No, it wasnít very tempting.
Doel:When did it began to look pretty clear, that Maurice would not get a delay in his retirement until age sixty-eight. Iím curious how quickly it was that you came to realize that that option just wasnít going to be open?
Greene:I didnít realize it was. Because I knew they wanted him to leave, but they were perfectly willing that he be Emeritus. So that would have been fine.
Doel:Right. Iím thinking just in terms of holding on to the directorís.
Greene:Oh, he didnít particularly want to hold on to the directorship.
Doel:You didnít feel that he did?
Greene:No. He would have been glad to have somebody else take it over. I think there was definitely a problem. I donít know if youíve heard it from other people or not. But Joe Worzel was hard to get along with.
Doel:Itís clear that some didnít regard him as the next director.
Greene:Maurice could not break that almost lifelong tie with Joe, whoíd had a sort of right to consider himself the heir apparent. And that, I think, delayed things somewhat. But Maurice knew there would have to be a different director. He just didnít know how to arrange it. It wasnít left to him to arrange. But that wasnít anything that would cause him to leave. He could have stayed at Columbia. Columbia was very nice to him. You know, we never imagined (at least, I never imagined) that we would keep that house forever. We knew, that eventually weíd move on. Thatís why we took the precaution of buying some real estate. We wanted to stay around and work at Lamont. And I never had any feeling that wouldnít be perfectly welcome to Maurice. So maybe Columbia felt more strongly about it than Maurice knew, but I never thought weíd have to leave. I just thought he wouldnít be director.
Doel:No. The question was indeed one of holding on to the directorís title after.
Greene:No. We didnít care about that. Not that I know of. I think I would have known.
Doel:Iím thinking too of —
Greene:Again, on the matter of Columbia and his retirement. Columbia, I think they mishandled this. I really do. Because he was not reluctant to give up all the responsibilities of directorship, and the title didnít mean anything to him. But you have to remember, he was the founder and he was the person who built Lamont up. And that Columbia did not, to my knowledge, have very serious talks with him about who would be the next director and under what structure.
Doel:Thatís what I was particularly interested in.
Greene:Youíd think that the natural thing to do would be to talk with him about this. That you know, who was going to accept your wonderful child, now that the child is older. I mean, itís a serious matter. I think that perhaps they didnít because Joe was kind of the stumbling block. That Maurice would have felt he had to say Joe, and I donít think it would have worked. I really donít.
Doel:Do you remember discussions with Maurice about outside candidates in the sense of people who were out, by then outside of the?
Greene:No. We talked about some people.
Doel:Do you recall who, which people were under consideration?
Doel:I think Frank Press was considered.
Greene:Frank Press, we thought would be wonderful. But I donít think Frank was ever interested. I think in fact he talked to Frank about it, but he didnít want to push it. I know he would have liked Frank to be director. I think he thought Art Maxwell [?] would be good. He always thought Art was a good administrator. I donít know. Munk was considered. And Munk was very good.
Doel:Munk had come out for an interview hadnít he? Or at least come out to meet Maurice and talk to him?
Greene:No. He was invited by the administration of Columbia University. And Maurice was not even told he was coming.
Doel:Is that right?
Greene:And he found out. And of course he invited him to Lamont. But, you see, thatís the way Columbia handled it. They were doing a lot of things like that. And you do that a few times, and you begin to think, well, what are they up to. And probably they wanted a good director too, but nobody had the good sense to talk to him about it.
Doel:That must have been quite difficult to hear that Munk had been invited out and not —
Greene:Yes. And see this was on top of — I think I mentioned before — when Columbia was considering applying for a sea grant, instead of going to Lamont, had a couple of lawyer types on the main campus they wanted to do it. Then you hear theyíre interviewing people for Mauriceís job. Not that he would have minded giving up the job, but just to sort of inherit this thing which Maurice had created without even consulting him. Or informing him. That was not good. That was [William J.] McGill.
Greene:Bill McGill. Playing mind games.
Doel:How well did you come to know McGill through this period?
Greene:Not at all.
Doel:Had you met him?
Greene:No. Maybe I met him at some function, but if I did it was just a handshake. I didnít know him at all. Iíll tell you, I own stock. And the first time I saw him nominated for a director of some company, you know how you have the option of excluding, I excluded him. I never did that to anyone else in my whole life. But he caused too much trouble to me personally by making everybody I knew angry.
Doel:Did you see any way out of that difficulty, any, as it began to, the tensions over Lamontís administration?
Greene:The only thing that I could see to do, would be just forget about the administration. Let them do whatever they please. Get a house locally, keep working at Lamont. But Maurice couldnít do that. He couldnít release it from his mind.
Doel:That sounds clear, at least to me, as you say that, thatís the option that you saw as being optimal for you and Maurice.
Doel:And you mentioned in the last interview that you felt that Joe Worzel had played a role in keeping, or at least maintaining the issue as one, that was important.
Greene:I think he did. I think Joe did do that. He had a way of egging Maurice on. Also about Bruce Heezen. Egging him on about Bruce did this, Bruce did that. And egging him on about the administration chiseling us out of overhead all the time. Very unhelpful. Maurice was a person who could get obsessed about a lot of things. And you werenít doing him any favor to encourage it.
Doel:How did you get him to not obsess over something? Was there a technique that you came to learn?
Greene:No. I just opted out. I ceased to listen to it. But he did sometimes. Heíd just get a hold of something and he couldnít let go.
Doel:Clear these were two of the major events, developments in the mid-60s early 70s.
Greene:Well, he took up the cause of a physician, Perry.
Greene:Perry Hudson. He took that up and wasted so much time on it, so much time and effort and made so many enemies. For what, I donít know. But people could do that to him. They could persuade him of something, and he would stick to it.
Doel:I believe that from letters that I read, that he later felt that this had not been an appropriate investment of his time with Perry Hudson.
Greene:I think so too. Perry Hudson Iím sure was a fine man. But he just kept trying to get Maurice to intervene in all his problems, over and over, hour after hour. It was not useful. And the overhead got to be the same kind of issue. It was no longer useful. But he couldnít let go. And I thought Galveston was really, (although I loved life down there), a very poor choice of where to go.
Doel:Were there any other choices?
Greene:I think there could have been. I canít think what. But they really put the pressure on for Galveston. And hardly left him alone. I think he could have been nearly anywhere else, as a sort of visiting professor on the sidelines of something.
Doel:Without having the task and the responsibility of building up a new Lamont-type institution?
Greene:Thatís right. I think he would have accepted that. Anyway they persuaded him to go to Galveston.
Doel:Who were you dealing with principally in Galveston? Who were the main contacts, the people that stand out in your mind?
Greene:The ones that wanted him to get down there. Oh, I forgot his name. I can still see him. Andy Suttle.
Doel:Well, we can always add the names to the transcript later.
Greene:Andy something or other. And he was clearly sort of just the promoter for the school. And heíd come up and talk and he said, Maurice could have anything he wanted. He could bring his whole staff. There wouldnít be any problem transferring all the contracts. They would see to that. They could transfer the ship. They could do anything. And Joe Worzel egged him on. But they actually had nothing down there that would interest him. But life was wonderful in Galveston so it worked out fine. But I thought it was not a very wise decision. They did everything they said theyíd do, and they couldnít have been nicer to Maurice or to me. Wonderful people in Galveston.
Doel:Iím wondering if they, how that had worked once you were down there. Since clearly you were not connected directly to the main campus of University of Texas at Galveston.
Greene:But they were working on that. I think that was promising. You see, Lamont could take graduate students from many disciplines. That was one of its strengths. It was just a research facility where anything, any of the pure sciences could be applied. We could do the same thing in Texas, by having students at Port Aransas, in Austin. And one of the places was really good in sedimentology — Iíve forgotten which one. But anyway, so their vision at the university, on the university level, was that graduate students could do their research in Galveston, their academic work at other parts of it. And that Maurice and other people who needed to, could visit all these places because theyíd have the use of the university plane. That was in the works. And they were going to divide it into two divisions, with the space people being in one division, and the other people in our group in another division. And we even got so far as to make a tentative list of which division various scientists would be in. And who would be the directors and the assistant directors. I probably told you this but it was very striking to me. When Maurice said something to President Blocker about the building we were in not being right, the president said, ďOh, you want a new building? I didnít know that. Iíll send the architect over tomorrowĒ. He did. And itís a beautiful building.
Doel:I remember, it may have been off tape, but I do recall you having said just how remarkably different you felt the relationship was with the administration.
Greene:The atmosphere. Amazing. Because they have all that money. They were very nice to us. And the people in Galveston were very nice people.
Doel:You felt personally comfortable in the environment.
Greene:More than comfortable. I really liked it.
Doel:How happy were the, how happy was Maurice once he got there?
Greene:He liked Galveston too. We had a wonderful time in Galveston. We really did. Weíd work and we were usually one of the last to leave. And on our way home, weíd stop and have a nice oyster dinner at our favorite restaurant. And go back home and ride our bikes around. A nice life. We belonged to the Artillery Club. So sometimes weíd go to dinner there. We had a lot of nice friends, notably the Harris Kempers. We enjoyed life in Texas.
Doel:Did Maurice work as hard once he was down there at Galveston at he had at Lamont?
Greene:There wasnít as much after-hours work. You know, living right on the premises and having such a big group of people, there were always people he needed to see who were eager to go and work in the evening and at night.
Doel:You really didnít find that quite as much?
Greene:No. No. This was a much smaller group, and we lived much farther away from the office.
Doel:And were the weekends freer as well?
Greene:Yes. Although we always had pretty good times on the weekends. When we were at Lamont. See I was brought up in Connecticut, and he was brought up in the panhandle of Texas. So weíd say, well letís go out and get the newspaper. So weíd go out, just to Tappan to buy one. Well, letís keep going. And weíd go for hours. And heíd say, well what county did you say this was now? Well, weíre in another state. We had a lot of good times on weekends. We just kind of go here and there.
Doel:I remember you mentioning that. And it seemed that that was different. That Maurice hadnít allowed himself that kind of time, even on Sunday, previously to do that.
Greene:Apparently. Thatís what other people told me. That he finally could relax and be happy. But I donít know how much that had to do with me, or how much it was just that particular time in life when his children were grown up, and he had a companion, and it just worked out fine. And working with him, I knew what was on his mind. So it was good that way. I think he and Midge got along fine when they were working together. I donít know for sure.
Doel:Was it clear to you that once you married Maurice that you were going to remain on as his personal assistant?
Greene:He wouldnít do it any other way. [Interruption to talk to someone] He told me once ďthe day you quit is the day I quitĒ.
Doel:Is that right?
Greene:Every once in a while, Iíd get in a snit about something. And Iíd say, ďIím not going to put up with this any longerĒ. But it was a good time of his life. You know, when your children have grown up and you donít have so many cares.
Doel:Iím wondering who particularly Maurice wanted to bring down with him from Lamont to Texas. Did you and he talk about which of the Lamont staff members he wanted?
Greene:I think he would have been thrilled to have any of them.
Doel:Did he expect more people to go down than actually did?
Greene:Joe lead him to think they would. I took the opposite view. You know, youíre asking people to give up their lives. To start all over again. Theyíre not going to do it. I tried to bring him to reality on that subject.
Doel:It must have been a difficult thing.
Doel:If you were concerned, indeed, there werenít going to be that many.
Greene:And worse yet. Joe had told — I donít know if it was Walter Sullivan, it may have been somebody else from the Times — that he was going to leave Lamont and take the Vema and the Conrad. It was nonsense.
Doel:I remember seeing that report in the newspaper.
Greene:Oh. I was furious that Joe could have given anyone that impression. I think Joe actually believed it.
Doel:And youíre convinced it was Joe who provided that information.
Greene:Oh yes. I know it was. It had to be.
Doel:How did Maurice feel on reading that?
Greene:He believed it too I think. But in the nature of things, thatís not going to happen.
Doel:Who did Maurice try to convince to go down? Did he talk with them one on one to make the decision?
Greene:I think he did. Yes. I think he did. And I donít know who would initiate it. Whether theyíd come in and decide, try to decide. Some knew right off they couldnít possibly do that, people with deep roots. Thatís all a little vague to me. Matters like that, I wasnít always involved in. Some, couldnít possibly, and others wouldnít want to. Gary Latham, of course, had good reasons to think it would be nice to be right near NASA, and that did work well for him. And Jim Dorman the same. Because their principal interests were right near there.
Doel:Do you think Maurice really felt disappointed that it was that small a number of people who actually left?
Greene:He didnít say so, but he probably did. He just sort of carried on.
Doel:John and Betty Ewing also made a decision to stay at Lamont rather than —
Greene:Yes That. Of course, he was sorry that John didnít come. Of course. More than anything, he thought John might like it down there, to be back in Texas again. But he didnít. So that was very, very, very disappointing to us. But he had to understand and he did, that John just didnít want to do it.
Doel:Do you have a feeling what it was that convinced John to stay at Lamont or —?
Greene:I donít know if John ever said. But it just seemed to me, well, why wouldnít he want to stay? He had a very nice home, and three children in school there. And ties to the community. Why on earth would he want to start up in a new place without anything? It just seemed to be that the question would be, why would anyone want to move to Galveston. Not why would anyone want to stay at Lamont.
Doel:Rather than in the way that it was, the alternative way that it was being put, that this was a tremendous opportunity to begin developing a Lamont-type institution.
Greene:I think developing an institution is not something that appeals to most people. Youíre content with your own work and interested in your own research. What do you want to do starting something up? As you can see, I never thought it was a good idea. But it had to be. He had to do something. He couldnít just fret day and night.
Doel:Of course Maurice was already in his sixties. A large undertaking.
Greene:He was over sixty-five because I remember that there was a sixty-fifth birthday party. But he didnít leave because he was disappointed that he couldnít be director forever. I think he faced that years before. He knew he wasnít the worldís best administrator.
Doel:Iím curious how Maurice felt about Manik Talwani becoming director.
Greene:I think he thought Manik was a good choice. Manik was very very smart as you know. And heíd written many wonderful papers.
Doel:Did he stay in touch, close contact with Manik during the transition?
Greene:Pretty well. I donít think a lot was clone. I think rather superficial things. But, yes, Manik wrote to him and he wrote to Manik. And he went back to Lamont a few times, and was treated very well.
Doel:What occasions brought you back to Lamont?
Greene:We went back one summer. What was he working on? Iíve forgotten. He was working on a specific thing with some people at Lamont. Iím sure itís all in the letters. Iíve just forgotten what the project was. So we went back there and lived in his old office which was a nice apartment, and worked there. So he kept up with some of his colleagues there when they had specific projects to work on.
Doel:Who was he particularly close to at Lamont in those years.
Greene:Itís all very vague. I think maybe it was Denny.
Doel:You were saying a moment ago when the tape was running out that you thought it might have been Denny [Hayes] that he was seeingí particularly.
Greene:I just plain donít remember. If I saw some of the correspondence it would probably all come back to me, but it was just working with somebody at Lamont.
Doel:Unfortunately, we donít have that correspondence in front of us or that might be a way of stimulating some response.
Greene:I donít remember.
Doel:Did Oswald Roels come to Texas during the time that you were there?
Greene:Yes. Oswald started a University of Texas lab down in Port Aransas. We went down there a number of times. He was a real go-getter.
Doel:What sort of person was he?
Greene:He was very quick acting. And quick speaking. I remember very definitely that once some reporter called and had a question about something. For part of the answer, I needed specific figures from their group, and within five minutes he had somebody over with it all written down. He was very quick. And he got off to a very fast start down in Port Aransas. He also had a new research station in the Virgin Islands. We went out at the time that that was inaugurated. He was very much an active person.
Doel:What was the relationship like between he and Maurice?
Greene:They were in completely different fields of work, but they liked each other.
Doel:And Maurice thought that what Roels was doing, fit in well within the context of Lamont?
Greene:Yes. Well, he was using deep upwelling for practical purposes. For shrimp culturing.
Doel:Production, yes as a food source. Also as a source of energy production, I think was contemplated as well.
Greene:Yes. Thatís right. Had a lot of good ideas.
Doel:One of the other things that you had mentioned in the first interview, that you didnít notice any obvious signs of health problems with Maurice during the time that you were in Texas.
Greene:No. He had a bad heart for a long time. Maynard Gertler in New York was his cardiologist. So I knew he had some heart problems. And a tendency to high blood pressure. But it seemed to be under good control, and he was always feeling well.
Doel:The stroke must have been a terrible and awful —.
Greene:It really was. Did I tell you how nice to me they were in Galveston?
Doel:You started to tell me, but I believe much of that was told off tape, over lunch.
Greene:Well, he was unconscious in the house, and he never regained consciousness. So all this is just what happened to me. What happened to him was that they took very good care of him, and they kept him in a room at the hospital. I remember it as a biggish room, very mechanically equipped, on a thing that breathed for him. And he had tubes everywhere, and temperature controls. And they gave me my own room at the hospital, and President Blocker told the hospital staff that I could go anywhere I wanted to. And I was like a zombie. Iíd wander around. Iíd go down to see him at night. And they always had him perfectly shaved, and he just, just looked like he was asleep. But they were so nice to me. And then his doctor would come in to talk to me every day. And say, ďthereís no electrical activity in the brain stemĒ. And I knew what he was saying, but I couldnít. It wouldnít come into my head. And finally I went home and they disconnected him. But they were so kind to me. So kind. They did everything. Friends of mine arranged the funeral, the Kempners. And they got the flowers. I was just not functioning well. The presidentís wife brought me to the funeral home. Midge Ewing came, and she took care of my granddaughter for me and helped me with a lot of things.
Doel:This is already.
Greene:Everyone in Galveston was so nice to me. The president said that if I wanted to stay, but I didnít want to stay with Mauriceís group, I could work for him. Itís just, from top to bottom, they couldnít have been nicer. Iím very grateful to them. I still have a book of poetry that Mrs. Blocker wrote. She was very good, I think.
Doel:Did you, Iím sorry, you were about to say something.
Greene:Well, I saved her book. I saved very few books on the last move in 1996. I got rid of all my books when we moved down to Florida. I just am not going to move them again. I miss them. But I kept the little book of poetry.
Doel:You did feel you wanted to stay involved in the work that you were doing at Galveston then after Maurice died?
Doel:You didnít think?
Greene:No. I tried. But it was all the same people and all the same circumstances, and everyone was so nice to me. But Iíd look around and heíd be the only one missing. That just broke my heart. Couldnít do it. So I left.
Doel:How long did you try to stay?
Greene:Oh, I left very quickly. Because I started going to graduate school that very summer. He died in May.
Doel:He died in May, yes.
Greene:And I went to graduate school that summer. Not graduate school. I was an undergraduate then because I didnít have the right credits in accounting and all this stuff. I could see it wasnít going to work in Galveston. I certainly didnít want to work with Joe. And I knew he wouldnít want me to work with him. There might have been some reason for staying on, but not really much. If it had been Lamont, I might well have stayed on, because I knew so many of the people and worked so comfortably with them. But it wasnít that. I liked them all in Galveston. But at that point Joe would have been in charge, and I donít think he would have liked me to work with him and I wouldnít like to work for him. He was a strong man, and helpful in some places, but just, he was really a misogynist.
Doel:You really had felt that particularly?
Greene:Oh, I always knew that, -the way he treated his wife and the way he treated the women who worked with him. Not for me.
Doel:Of course, after Maurice died, he was in a still more powerful position.
Greene:But he wouldnít have been if the division that was in the works at the time had been carried out.
Doel:Did you see some hope in that happening after Maurice?
Greene:Sure did. I certainly did. And another thing they did at the university, at Texas, they took me a little more seriously because they got to know me and it was a smaller group. I was the one who divided up who should be in what group, and ranked them. Maurice could have done it, but itís not the kind of thing he does.
Doel:He was involved, again, in the research and other things.
Greene:Yes. Thatís right. He wasnít a person who would get down to the nitty gritty on a list of things and who should do what. Wasnít his forte.
Doel:Thatís very interesting. So you had done that and helped to usher that along.
Greene:Well, it didnít happen. Because he died. But it would have happened and it would have worked. I think.
Doel:Did you think that even after Maurice died that there might have been a hope that that it would continue on at work, or did it really depend that much on?
Greene:Not really. I hoped very much that Gary Lathamís group would continue on and work well. And that some of the work they were doing on the research vessel Ida Greene was good, and I hoped that could continue. But it probably could have been under some other wing at the University of Texas, as there are many divisions. And that was good. But I didnít think it had much future right there in Galveston. Just because they didnít have a built in strong leader. Except Gary. Gary was a very, very good administrator. I think Jim Dorman would agree with that. They were both very good. Gary could do his own work and he could keep things going right.
Doel:I wanted to make sure we spoke a little bit was that Maurice Ewing was buried in fact in New York, not too far from Lamont.
Doel:Had he spoken to you clearly about that before he died, that this was his wish?
Greene:You know, I donít remember. But we used to go walking up there. We had beautiful walks up there. And we used to take our dog Sniffy and go for walks. So I knew it was a place he liked, and it was overlooking the Hudson. I donít remember if we ever talked about it or not. But there was no question in my mind that he would have liked that.
Doel:As opposed to being buried somewhere in Texas.
Greene:Yes. Now his parents are buried in Texas, in the pioneer section of a certain cemetery whose name I donít remember. So he couldnít have been there anyway. It was his parents who were eligible as ďpioneersĒ, not Maurice.
Doel:Right. Clearly his connections.
Greene:And I thought Lamont. [Interruption to speak to someone] I knew he would have been happy with.
Doel:You were just saying a moment ago when we paused that you were comfortable with that decision and you knew he would be.
Greene:Yes. We went up there many times with Sniffy, go for walks. Itís a beautiful spot with a view of the Hudson.
Doel:What kind of dog was Sniffy?
Greene:Sniffy? Good old Sniffy.
Doel:What kind of dog was he?
Greene:A mongrel. She looked like a hound on long legs.
Doel:Was Maurice particularly fond of pets?
Greene:Yes. He liked, well, they all loved Sniffy. His children had Sniffy and then when they left, Sniffy remained. So she was an old dog by the time I knew her. I remember Sniffy, the first time I was at Lamont. I was parking in front of the big Lamont Hall, you know, which is so busy now. There never was any trouble getting a parking place there, but you had to steer around Sniffy. She peacefully slept on the asphalt, where it was warm all day. If she did that now, sheíd be killed. But it was so peaceful and unbusy then. Later we had a terrible dog named Rastus, a big dog. Curly black hair, very big And Rastus was literally crazy. He bit everybody, a very big dog. Bit the guards. Terrified. We were trying to get a new secretary, and Rastus was in the office. That poor girl fled and never came back. But he liked Rastus and heíd bring him to the office. But you couldnít trust Rastus. When I finally realized that you just canít trust this dog, we were sitting on the couch in the living room, with a fire in the fireplace, and Joe Worzel came over. So we put the dog on a rope so that thereíd be no trouble, and he was asleep by the fireplace. All of a sudden Rastus just stood up and bit Joe right on the leg. Nobody had said or done anything unusual. He just gave him a bite. Another incident occurred when my mother visited. She was then a very elderly woman, nearly blind, totally deaf. She walked down our little back hallway and Rastus came to meet her, this huge dog, and she reached out, saying, ďAll dogs like meĒ. And sure enough, she was right, Rastus liked her. But she could have been killed. When his granddaughter came to visit, Rastus bit the buttons off her pajamas. Finally, he had to face the fact that Rastus wasnít going to change and had him euthanized. Then we learned that was the last puppy of that litter, and all the others had been crazy, had been long gone. Everybody at Lamont hated Rastus, except Maurice. I liked Rastus. He was nice to me.
Doel:You didnít have any problems?
Greene:No. No. All dogs like me. [Laughter]
Doel:One thing I meant to ask you about. Weíve discussed it off tape. Was the satisfaction that you and Maurice had felt when he was in fact able to locate the oil deposits in the Gulf of Mexico.
Doel:How did that work come about? He was finding the echo, the profile soundings of what seemed to be the salt domes.
Greene:Long ago, before I knew him, he had made seismic refraction recordings in the deepest part of the Gulf. And seismic refraction recordings on the continental shelf and the slope, he, and I think John too.
Greene:Yes, John Ewing. They had figured out that even at oceanic depths on the Sigsbee Knolls in the Gulf, those were salt domes that they were seeing. They believed that for other reasons too, which I donít know. He wrote about it several times along with John. And so their first site on the deep sea drilling expedition, one of the first ones, was to drill on the Sigsbee Knolls. And that was exciting. That he could follow it for so many years and then go out and check it out.
Doel:And as you say, the cores came up with oil in them.
Greene:Smelling of oil.
Doel:Smelling of oil. Literally when the casing was opened.
Greene:Thereís a picture showing him and Joe standing there, holding a big core.
Doel:You have your hands out, the two of them holding this —
Greene:Well, and thatís the one they said just reeked of oil. So that proved. What did it prove? That they were salt domes, and that there would be oil in some of the deep ocean basins.
Doel:Rather important clue —
Greene:Well, off shore oil was one thing he was pushing early. Thatís why the oil companies liked him so much, because he was right about that.
Doel:Was he ever asked to publicly comment on policy issues of that sort? Or was that something that?
Greene:Not that I recall. Once in a while they would call him to comment on something or other, but it would be like a platform being blown over or a ship sinking.
Doel:One of the things that I, short of having the chance to review some documents with you directly including the extensive collection that you brought to the University of Texas, I wanted to ask you if thereís any events, major or just those that you find particularly significant, that we havenít covered in the two discussions so far.
Greene:I think you have not mentioned his relationship with Chan Newlin at the Doherty Foundation. Did we talk about that?
Doel:We did talk about that in the first interview. And that was clearly a critical and important.
Greene:That was a turning point in several ways.
Doel:In fact, you gave a very good description of the way in which the relationship developed both with him and with his wife.
Greene:She died just last year. I canít think of anything else. We covered a lot of territory. Iím sure thereís a lot more at Lamont. But I donít remember without being stimulated as to what we talked about and what we didnít.
Doel:One question I wanted to ask you, whether there is any important, a philosophical or point of principle that you feel has been very important to you throughout your life, when you think back?
Greene:Thatís a good question. Iíve changed throughout my life. And in recent years, I have as much money as I need. I donít have any worries in that way. I have my annuities. I donít work. So now I think about myself and the kind of person I am. And I didnít really have time to think about a lot of other things, with a family and a job and things that Maurice and I were trying to get done, — and trying to straighten myself out after he died. I donít have any of those now, and I think more and more about trying to be a good person. I really think about it a lot. And Iím trying to steer that way. I donít do much, but I try to do things that I think of as being morally right. Not a rigid standard, but just things that help other people. And I havenít done as much as I want to. But thatís my focus.
Doel:What sort of things are you thinking you would like to do?
Greene:Well, when I first came down here to Florida, I volunteered at the Red Cross. And the first thing they had me doing was sorting through other peopleís junk, getting ready for a tag sale. It wasnít very stimulating. Now Iíve joined the Disaster Assistance Team. Here we get a lot of training. If thereís a fire and someone needs help, we go. But we donít have many fires around here. I go to more and more of those. Right now, Iím editing one of their newsletters, doing that sort of thing. Itís not getting right down and helping people. But Iíd like to do that. I want to do things like that. I did a lot at the church in Middlebury. That too is good for the community.
Doel:Am I correct in recalling that you were working for a science center in Middlebury?
Greene:No, I wasnít working for them. Well, I had this grant from the University of Texas, to sort Mauriceís papers. The chairman of the Geology Department, asked him if I could rent an office in that building. And instead of that, he gave me an office, one of his own offices. So I didnít work for the college, I worked at the college, and they were very nice to me.
Doel:Yes. I was curious if any of those jobs that you had had subsequent to leaving to Texas, involved science?
Greene:No. None. I taught at Castleton State College, and I worked for the Counseling Service of Addison County, just doing some business work. Nothing scientific. Iím really out of the loop. I can see the importance of the kind of structure that we had at Lamont, where you talk with other people all the time about your projects. And you learn about theirs. And that if I made myself get very serious and read the geophysical journals, I wouldnít be much wiser.
Doel:The communication that was very important.
Greene:Yes. Thatís right. Once youíre out of it, youíre out of it.
Doel:Until you get back in.
Greene:Well, Iíd still like to, I like to keep up on whatís happening as much as I can. But I donít take it very seriously. Because Iím just a has-been, a fringe element. Thatís all right.
Doel:Youíve clearly moved out into other realms and into other places. And I do want to thank you again very, very much for this session. Itís probably a good point to bring this part of it to a close. But again, you will be getting the transcripts from Columbia University, and at that point, weíll be very glad to make any additions of any other materials.
Greene:All right. I look forward to reading it.
Thank you very, very much for this long session.
Session I | Session II