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:

This three-way interview, between Tibby, Judith Swazey and me, took place in Tibby's home. In the days before this interview, I had interviewed many Jax personnel whose reminiscences had "primed" me for this meeting with one of the most colorful, distinctive and beloved old-time Jax scientists. Tibby has had a remarkable impact on Jax, both in terms of substantial science and also in a human, personal way, as a friend, mentor and colleague to many of the summer students, later to be lab scientists and administrators. Where she could have spoken at length of C.C. Little and the earliest years at the Lab, she chose here to range widely over her 49 years at the Lab, recalling the fire, the Hoxie party, the various Directors, and notable changes in the Lab. This tape is vintage Tibby: Here is seen the fascinating circularity of her thought, her absent-mindedness, her exuberance and robust sense of humor, her sensitivity and compassion. The value of this tape lies more in its anecdote than in any deep analysis or evaluation. Tibby is not by nature critical, although she can fly her colors as a committed mouse geneticist with the best of them, and she alludes ever so obliquely to her run-ins with the non-geneticists (whom she lumps together as "biochemists") on this tape. Comparison with Andy Kandutsch's tape will reveal the mutual perceptions of the two "camps." Everything here is supported or elaborated on other tapes, e.g. those of Fay Lawson, Kandutsch, Snell, Coleman, Salisbury. While Tibby's mind can wander, her memory is sharp and clear, and highly reliable.