Willys Silver

Document Type

Response or Comment

Publication Date



Interview, Jackson Laboratory, History, Scientists, Transcript, Susan Mehrtens

JAX Location

The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine

JAX Source

The Jackson Laboratory Historical Archives


Susan Mehrtens' Note:

Both Will Silvers and I enjoyed this interview, despite the hot, stuffy room we had at the Lab (in which the wind seemed to howl incessantly, through some pinhole crack somewhere, as is audible on tape). Initially at a loss as to what to expect in this process, Silvers soon moved into high gear and his verve and excitement are obvious. Perhaps more than anyone else included in this project, Silvers spans the constituencies ~f the Lab, as summer student, employee, summer investigator, and finally BSO member. He is forthcoming about all these roles, giving us a vivid picture of Jax from these many perspectives. He was also very close to Tibby, and provides several good glimpses of her in operation, and her effect on the lives of persons she fostered in science. As we neared the end of our taping, having noticed Silvers' outline for our interview covered with his notes, I asked him to address those issues we hadn't mentioned and, seemingly to his surprise and delight, I had painlessly "relieved ll him of every topic he had planned to bring up. Value this tape for its insights into Tibby, its views from a scientist familiar with Jax from both inside and out, and for its colorful, vivid account. While Silvers is not as incisive as, e.g. Petschek, or as thoughtfully criticial as, e.g. Harrison, he has a multi-faceted perspective that is both unique and valuable.