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My uncle Sam

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My mother
Eugene Garfield Scientist
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She was an incredible reader. I, I never could understand how she could read so fast. She had... I remember my first wife had the same talent. My mother could look at a page and, and have it, you know, practically... she’d read a book so quick, I’d say that, I said, tell me what... was the book about, and she knew it, you know. I couldn’t believe it. So... but... and she also had a... wrote... had a very, very, very large handwriting, and wrote, wrote very, scribbled almost very quickly. So my mother was a speed demon in everything she did. Things that we used to remember about it, if we sat down... and, my mother, by the way, became an extremely good cook. She, she was taught by a pro. Even my sister is, but... and my mother could prepare, you know, incredible meals but if you were having dinner with, say, eight people for dinner, she’d be standing up, she’d serve, and as soon as your plate was done she would take the plate, take the dishes and the dishes were washed and ready for the next meal by the time you got through with the meal. So, you know, we get in the habit. When I, when I get finished eating I’d immediately take, take a plate to the sink and I would wash it out before... because if you let it dry to have work three times as hard to clean them up, you know, people let the dishes pile up and then it’s, it’s a huge, huge job, so... those, those kinds of things that she... and she could knit. I have an afghan that my mother knitted, not for me, but I inherited it from my, my daughter and she could sit and talk to you and knit, you know, and she made all kinds of sweaters. She was incredible, talented woman. Later on when my mother got older and... I had already started ISI, you know, we were doing... I was making a reasonable living. I certainly was not poor by then. She started to work - she had, had a job as a cashier in a movie theatre. There was a movie theatre in the, in the Bronx called, it was called The David Marcus Theater. It was named after a war hero. And, she was the cashier in that place and she worked for that, for them for several years and never made a mistake. You know, she handled all that money and always had things in perfect order. But then the boss decided to let her go because his wife wanted the job. And, that began a very sad period. My mother eventually, you know, died of, died in a State mental hospital here in Pennsylvania, but she... was a... I think she might have been somewhat manic depressive early on because when I was a kid I can always remember that at certain hours of the day she, you know, she was very, very agitated, but extremely affectionate. My mother was a very loving mother, you know, she’d constantly praise us and never, never once hit us. And... but, when she... after she lost that job she became very, got into a very depressed state and... but she, she started, she joined a community centre where they, where she started to paint, and it turned out she was fairly talented. I used to have some of her paintings here. I, I’ve got them at home. And, so she was a fairly creative person and I always, always felt that if she had been educated she could’ve done a lot. That, and her being married to a man who had absolutely no interest in things like that, you know, who... his, his favourite pastime was sitting in front of the TV watching wrestling matches, you know, and, and, not the real wrestling it was the phoney ones, you know. So, this is Ralph’s father, and you know my brother, Ralph. Yeah, he’s a very smart guy with... Ralph has got certain personality characteristics just like his father. He’s, kind of, a guy that can put off till tomorrow what could be done today, you know, nothing is, nothing is urgent.

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: 5 minutes, 41 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2007

Date story went live: 23 June 2009