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My family and my relationship with my father


Family history
Eugene Garfield Scientist
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My grandparents were, were orthodox but my grandmother - I don’t ever remember my grandmother saying one word about anything religious. My grandfather was a - you know, he went to synagogue several times a week, I think, and... although he was not a very well educated man. He was... when I... years, many years later when he and I were travelling together on a trip in an automobile with my uncle down to, to Florida, which was a, kind of, important year in my life because that caused me missing, I, I missed a half... I had a, I flunked a course in school because I’d gone to Florida and I had to make up the course, and that meant that I had to go to summer school, so in summer school I took up make, make-up courses and... but I, I found out from my grandfather, when we were travelling, that he had done two things when he was - he was brought up in what was then Lithuania part of the Russian Tsarist empire. And, we were travelling across a river in Georgia somewhere and he sees there are two guys that are standing on this raft or log, loggers, you know, pushing logs around, and he says to me, 'That’s what I used to do in the Old Country'. And, I said, 'But I thought you were a tailor', you know, because he... when he came to New York that’s how he made his living and he made pants and sold them on Canarsie Street in New York. And, he said, 'Yeah, but that was, that was only in the winter time, in the summer time I worked, you know, as a, as a logger'. And, but he... he could write, as I understand it, he could write Hebrew [sic] but my... grandmother’s youngest sister who came to live with us when I was about 4 years old and with whom I actually shared the bed with for, for several years until, until she found her own place, she came over in 1929, that was, you know, that was some year to be coming over to New York. And, she was extremely well educated because what happened was when my grandmother was born - no. When my great aunt was born my grand, my great grandmother died in childbirth, and so the two- my grandmother and her sister, Ida, were given to two... put out, put in... so to speak, foster homes. One, my aunt went to live with a very well educated family, I don’t know what they did, business, but she learned to read, and my grandmother never learned to read, but she became a fantastic cook because she used to have to take care of this huge family and prepare meals for parties and so forth. So, they were not, you know, very highly literate people but I can remember not believing that my mother, grandmother couldn’t read, because I was sitting in the kitchen with her and, and I pointed to calendar, can you read those numbers? And she said, 'Yeah, I can read numbers'. So she read the numbers on the calendar. But, I, I couldn’t, kind of, grasp the idea that she could not read English, you know. Many years later my, my youngest uncle who is only 6 years older than I am and still alive, he started to teach her - tried to teach her to read but unfortunately she died relatively young. She died of cancer, breast cancer when she was 58.

Eugene Garfield (1925-2017) was an American scientist and publisher. In 1960 Garfield set up the Institute for Scientific Information which produced, among many other things, the Science Citation Index and fulfilled his dream of a multidisciplinary citation index. The impact of this is incalculable: without Garfield’s pioneering work, the field of scientometrics would have a very different landscape, and the study of scholarly communication would be considerably poorer.

Listeners: Henry Small

Henry Small is currently serving part-time as a research scientist at Thomson Reuters. He was formerly the director of research services and chief scientist. He received a joint PhD in chemistry and the history of science from the University of Wisconsin. He began his career as a historian of science at the American Institute of Physics' Center for History and Philosophy of Physics where he served as interim director until joining ISI (now Thomson Reuters) in 1972. He has published over 100 papers and book chapters on topics in citation analysis and the mapping of science. Dr Small is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an Honorary Fellow of the National Federation of Abstracting and Information Services, and past president of the International Society for Scientometrics and Infometrics. His current research interests include the use of co-citation contexts to understand the nature of inter-disciplinary versus intra-disciplinary science as revealed by science mapping.

Duration: 4 minutes, 14 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2007

Date story went live: 23 June 2009