Ed was first my teacher, then my colleague, always my mentor. If I were to write a full tribute to Ed as I knew him, it would be longer than anyone would want to read. So I will have to leave out the experiment with IBM punch cards and the thing about smoking cigars in the seminar on ancient science. I'll also skip the story about the arrival of the advance copies of "Physical Science in the Middle Ages" with a picture of a telescope on the cover. Just a few memories, then.
Among the many things I learned from Ed was how to read texts, especially but not exclusively those in the Aristotelian tradition. It turned out there was no trick: He rolled up his sleeves and worked away at it, shoulder to shoulder with the member of his seminars. But there was a premise: The authors we were reading were not stupid, lazy or children. They were to be taken seriously; we were to take no shortcuts. Anyone who has read or, lacking either courage or time, perused his erudite editions, translations, annotations and interpretations of the works of Nicole Oresme will know what I mean.
Ed taught me not only how to be a scholar but also how to be a professional. He guided me and others in the arts of obtaining funding. ("Not for nothing is he called 'Mr. Grant,'" we said.) He made sure I participated in meetings of the Midwest Junto and the History of Science Society and even found a way to get me included in a fancy, exclusive international gathering of senior scholars in the Boston area. His general courses were models of effective and engaging–models of good pedagogy. Like Sam Westfall's, Ed's lectures were beautifully structured and timed but whereas Sam conveyed the calm certainty of someone who had always known his subject matter, Ed spoke with the excitement and enthusiasm of someone who was, at that very moment, discovering the material–even if he had not only taught it before but had written articles about it.
Neither he nor I was a feminist in 1967-71. As the only woman in my history of science cohort with no courses from women professors, I was strengthened, launched and, over the years sustained by his unprejudiced and encouraging dealings with me as a student and colleague. And in the early years of my academic career, I was reassured by Ed's example that a professor could have, indeed, celebrate a family and a home life--by the joy he took in his life with Syd and then Robyn and then Marshall and then Jonathan and later grandchildren.
Although the German concept of a Doktorvater smacks too much of authority and hierarchy to apply to a man who never condescended to me, it invokes one of the gifts Ed gave me, that of a scholarly family. Through his intellectual and personal affection for them, he made Marshall Claggett my academic grandfather, John Murdoch my uncle and Dave Lindberg my brother. He had me read their work, introduced me to them and, when I was finishing my degree, he used the Old Boys Network (in 1971–the bad old days) to get me my first job, at Harvard, where John was Chair. In fact, he cleverly deployed a sense of family obligation by telling me I had to finish my dissertation before arriving in Cambridge, because he had given John his word I would.
Reflecting over the fifty-three years I knew Ed, I have noticed for the first time a pattern in our relationship that reflects something profound about his intellectual and personal character. He never quite approved of the direction of my work. My desire to write a dissertation about life sciences in the Middle Ages made no sense to him. He nevertheless pointed me in the direction of texts I could use and commented in helpful detail at every stage of the project. When, in the 1980s, I started teaching and then writing about women and gender in medieval science, he was skeptical that there was anything there to see but he asked (quizzed, grilled) me about it on multiple occasions, genuinely interested in and open to my findings. And when, in the 1990s, I started teaching and writing about sexuality and later about science and sodomy he expressed a similar skepticism. But then, after reading an article of mine on the subject, he sent me an e-mail with a series of engaged and engaging questions and suggestions. In short, he was a person of limitless intellectual curiosity, boundless energy for collegial exchange, and a generous warmth that made the world of IU HPS a wonderful place to be and to have come from.