Journal of the History of Biology

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 421-438

First online:

Living with Your Biographical Subject: Special Problems of Distance, Privacy and Trust in the Biography of G. Ledyard Stebbins Jr.

  • Vassiliki Betty SmocovitisAffiliated withDepartment History, University of Florida

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This paper explores the special problems encountered by the biographer of a living scientific subject. Inparticular, it explores the complex of problems that emerges from the intense interpersonal dynamic involving issues of distance, privacy and trust. It alsoexplores methodological problems having to do with oral history interviews and other supporting documentation. It draws on the personal experience ofthe author and the biographical subject of G. Ledyard Stebbins Jr., the botanist, geneticist and evolutionist. It also offers prescriptives and recommendations for future research.

science biography recent science Stebbins G. Ledyard Jr. oral history historiography of biology