Photo Album
  His Life

Writings by William L. Duren, Jr.


Descriptions are by David Duren, adapted from the cover sheet for the packet of writings that was distributed at the 100th Birthday Party.


Birthday Letters


Age90 - What It's Like to Be Ninety. This was the first of the series of birthday letters to "Friends at Cardiac Rehab," but also to family. It contains the story of the cat he drafted to be a jet airplane pilot.


Age 91 - More About Being Ninety. This one is the longest. But as with all the others, there are some good stories interspersed. This one has the one about the mule that sat on the radiator.


Age 92 - Ninety Two and Hurrying. Here the annual letters started to concentrate on one topic at a time. This one is on education.


Age 93 - There really was no letter that year. Actually, Age 92 was delayed because of Mary's final illness, and was written just before 93 was due. For 93, he chose to write his magnum opus, a prescription for overhauling education in America, proposing a new "Doctor of Arts & Sciences" degree. There was a preliminary version in "Friends at Cardiac Rehab" format, but a final form of that essay was circulated only in his 98th year, with the title Afterthoughts on College Education.


Age 94 - Bob's Huckleberry Jam. Bob was his uncle on his mother's side.


Age 95 - Memories of New Orleans. This one contains "The Wedding of Beulah and Harvey" and "Miss Creevy's Chinaman."


Age 96 - Eastern Europe at Age 96. A revised version of his account of a trip to Prague and East Germany, with some factual errors corrected.


Age 97 - Cholesterol and All That. Contains his recipe for "Beet Greens Durenaise."


Age 98 - Language in the Twentieth Century. This one is about the spread of big scientific ideas in the 20th Century.


Age 101 - What Is It Like To Be 101?.



Serious Essays and Publications


A Career as a Scientific Generalist Based in Mathematics. This is the best summary of what Dad's professional career was all about, namely a series of short, distinct undertakings rather than one continuous progression. He often points out that many people know him from one or two of these undertakings, but don't know about the totality of them - a sort of "blind men and the elephant" situation. This article is an expanded version of the Colloquium talk he gave to the Mathematics Department at the University of Virginia on his 100th birthday.


Afterthoughts on College Education


A Graduate Student at Chicago in the Twenties, published in the American Mathematical Monthly in April, 1976.


In addition, there are many published writings that were strictly for mathematicians. Two of these, listed at the end of A Career as a Scientific Generalist Based in Mathematics, discuss his career in mathematics and the organization of the profession, and are of more general appeal.


About his career as dean at U.Va., there is Colgate Darden - Educator, subtitled Restoration of the College 1955-1962, and there is also University of Virginia in 1992, subtitled A Darden-Style Policy for Today.


His Faulkner Letter to Washington Post tells the story of William Faulkner's visit to U.Va. as writer-in-residence.


About his career working for the Army Air Force, he said the best account was classified secret and is now stored somewhere in the bowels of an Air Force archive in Montgomery, Alabama. That one was written nearly contemporaneously. He wrote another account around 1982 - Operations Analyst US Army Air Force in World War II.