Earl E. Green

Document Type

Response or Comment

Publication Date



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

JAX Location

The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine

JAX Source

The Jackson Laboratory Historical Archives


Susan Mehrtens' Note:

This remarkable interview is just what one would expect from the Jackson Lab Director whose conscientious (compulsive?) attention to detail and careful planning are legendary. When I arrived (at 7:50AM), Dr. Green was ready, with his 21+ pages of notes, in outline form, on every aspect of my outline that he wished to discuss. I could tell we were going to have a long interview! In fact, we talked for most of eight hours, although only c. four of those hours are represented on the tapes. What is provided here are the recollections, drawn carefully beforehand from his personal records, of the Lab's most methodical and organized Director. Green's nineteen year "reign" left an indelible mark on Jax and its employees, from scientists to sanitation workers, as many of the other interviews in this collection attest, in their numerous references to Green. Green is not a light-hearted soul, and his tapes are not conspicuous for funny anecdotes, but he does include interesting stories, which flesh out incidents mentioned elsewhere, e.g. Harrison's and Coleman's allusio~s to the IRS investigation, and Kendall Young's tax suit. Green also provides some vivid detail of the Lab staff moving the library in one festive "party-like" day. Because he knew precisely what he wanted to say, the order in which he wanted to present things, and what topics he wanted to avoid, this interview is really a monologue .. By day's end, I had mangaged to pose but a few of the more pointed questions my earlier interviews had provoked me to try to pose. I could see Green would not take readily to much debate, or verbal sparring, so there is little of that here. Green's term at the Lab was a critical period, during which the Lab became institutionalized in structure and style (some would claim too much so). As we parted, discussing the current status of the Lab (off tape), Green said he felt it was vital to the Lab's spirit that scientists be the administrators, and that, in recent years, their refusal to take the time to do administration part-time would have a pernicious effect in the long-term. History will be the jUdge of this. Value this tape as the most thorough of presentations, by one of the narrators with very complete and detailed records from which to draw his facts.