OF REDLANDS, CALIFORNIA  - Founded 24 January 1895

MEETING # 1585

4:00 P.M.

MARCH 27, 1997

A Biographical Sketch of
S. Stillman Berry Ph.D.

by Harold M. Hill M.D.

Assembly Room, A. K. Smiley Public Library


Harold Hill is a third generation Redlander on both sides of his family. His paternal grandparents, Dr. Merrill Washington and Ella Hill, arrived here in 1887 and his maternal grandparents Peter and Elizabeth Arth, arrived here in 1889. He is understandably interested in local history, both human history and natural history.

Dr. Hill is a graduate of Redlands public schools, the University of Redlands, Stanford University for his medical degree and the University of Michigan for medical specialty training. He returned to Redlands to practice with his father and brother, specializing in internal medicine. He practiced here for thirty seven years, retiring in 1984. He is a fourth generation physician, third generation in Redlands. He has two sons living in Redlands and two daughters, one living in Running Springs, California and the other in Ithaca, New York. He and his wife Marjorie regularly attend the First Baptist Church where they are coordinators of the Questers Sunday School Class. Marjorie is prominent in volunteer, civic organizations.

His avocation is natural history, especially ornithology. He has published several papers in this field and on other natural history subjects. He was one of the founders of the San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society chapter, and a lecturer on National Audubon Screen Tours. He has been a Commissioner of the San Bernardino County Museum and is presently a member of the Board of Directors of the Museum Association. He also served on the Foundation Board of Redlands Community Hospital. He has been a member of the Redlands City Parks Commission and the citrus committee that manages the City's groves. He was instrumental in organizing and coordinating the planting of Caroline Park. Other interests have include ranch management in connection with the Stillman Berry Ranch in Montana and management of a hunting club for waterfowl in the San Jacinto Valley. He was named "Redlands' Man of the Year" in 1990.

A Biographical Sketch of S. Stillman Berry Ph.D.

by Harold M. Hill M.D.



S. Stillman Berry Ph.D. (1887-1984) A Biographical Sketch

Fortnightly Papers of S. Stillman Berry Ph.D.


This paper was written essentially as a chapter in a forthcoming book entitled "Winnecook Ranch on the Musselshell." This ranch is usually referred to by folks in Redlands as Stillman Berry's Montana ranch. The chapter title in the forthcoming book is "A Biographical Sketch of S. Stillman Berry". It has been amplified for Fortnightly Club to include his association with Fortnightly and a brief review of his Fortnightly papers, at least those which are available. My last Fortnightly paper, entitled, "Ralph and Evie Berry, Founders of the Winnecook", (they were Stillman's parents) was also originally written to be a chapter in the Winnecook book.

Stillman Berry had a very long association with Fortnightly. He joined in 1914 and was apparently still a member in 1984 when he died 70 years later at the age of 97, surely a club record. He presented papers from 1915 to 1963, a period of 48 years, probably contributing 24 papers during this period. However, there are only 20 titles recorded and only 10 papers preserved in the Heritage Room. He contributed his last paper in 1963 at the age of 76, but continued attending, at least occasionally, as I can recall his attending a meeting in 1979 when I joined Fortnightly. There is no record that he ever resigned. It is my recollection that he and Paul Allen sponsored my membership in Fortnightly.

Stillman's Fortnightly papers contributed significantly to this biographical sketch. They will be discussed later in the paper.

As a background for Stillman's biography one needs to know something about the Winnecook Ranch which was much a part of his life. The Winnecook Ranch is an approximately 50,000 acre Montana livestock ranch of deeded land, except for a few sections of state school-land leases. It lies nine miles east of Harlowton, the county seat of Wheatland County, in south central Montana.

The ranch terrain is semi-arid (approximately 14 inches of variable precipitation) short-grass prairie of rolling hills, coulees and a little rim rock. It is bisected by the shallow Musselshell Valley, about one-quarter of a mile wide, which has a verdant river bottom of cottonwood and willow thickets interspersed with meadows and a permanent stream, the Musselshell River, which is used extensively for irrigation of hay meadows.

The native prairie grasses have been extensively replaced by "improved pasture", largely crested wheat grass, and strip farming of grain, predominantly winter wheat. However, this area is marginal dry-farming grain land in view of the limited rainfall, in spite of the land-promotion name of Wheatland County.

This is both sheep and cattle country, the ranch being predominantly sheep during the first half of its existence and predominantly cattle the last half, which has been essentially a cow-calf operation.

The ranch was essentially Ralph Berry's ranch from homesteading in 1880 until 1906, then a ranch corporation controlled by the Berry Family from 1906 to 1992, and then sold to its present owner, the Farm Management Company of the Mormon Church.


One cannot discuss Winnecook Ranch without including S. Stillman Berry, its principal owner and president of the corporation from 1917 until his death in 1984, a period of 67 years.
My relationship with Stillman is pertinent to this personal biographical sketch. I made occasional visits to Stillman's home in Redlands, California from the time I was in elementary school until his death, in later years as his physician as well as personal friend, covering a period of nearly 60 years. I also made several trips from Redlands to Winnecook with him by automobile, starting in 1935 when I was a high school boy, and later when I was on the ranch board of directors. These were fascinating and educational experiences because of his knowledge, which he shared, of the geography and history of the land We collected land snails for his studies while camping along the way, on the boyhood trips.
Visits to Stillman's home were always fascinating. His knowledge of natural history never ceased to amaze and delight me when I was a fledgling naturalist sitting at his feet, so to speak. One felt that Stillman lived and enjoyed every day of his life and his enthusiasm was contagious. One always came away from a visit wishing that he could have stayed longer. He inspired many
A Biographical Sketch of S. Stillman Berry Ph.D. Page 2 of 21
young men who shared his interests in natural history. He later told me it was too bad that I had gone into medicine because I would have made such a good naturalist.
Dr. Berry, as he was generally known, was a most remarkable man in addition to his dedicated stewardship of the Winnecook Ranch for 67 years. He was a man of great intellect and scholarship which encompassed most disciplines of his time. He was sometimes referred to as a "modern renaissance man," "an eclectic intellectual" with "the mind of a genius." But he also possessed a delightful and engaging personality, adding wit to his wisdom and good humor to any conversation.
He was a great raconteur, being very articulate with a phenomenal "photographic memory" and a love for story telling. He was adept at meshing his scientific adventures, whether occurring in the field, his garden, or in his study, with human interest stories. He always had a twinkle in his eye and a Puckish sense of humor. His shrill little laugh frequently punctuated his stories, as when he told me that he knew of me before I knew of him, as my mother had visited him and told him that she was pregnant before I was born. His humor included a store of "Little Willie" limericks from his college days. Because of his great knowledge and memory of those things he was inclined to discuss, he always won an argument. Once when 1 jokingly accused him of always being right, he replied with a straight face, "yes, and it's embarrassing, but I just can't help it."
Beneath all this, he was philosophically a "dyed in the wool" Maine Yankee- shrewd, frugal and conservative. An anecdote revealing this aspect of his personality relates that he successfully chose financial investments on the basis of the character and integrity of the president of a company in which he might wish to invest.
However, he lived very little of his life in Maine, only his first two years and later occasional summer visits to relatives in Unity. But his outlook on life was shaped by his mother from Maine, whom he adored. Because of Stillman's fragile health and being an only child, she was his constant and devoted companion throughout her life, except when he was away for university degrees. She gave him much of his elementary schooling at home and they lived together until her death when he was 53. He never married.
It is of interest to note that Stillman's significant physical impairments only spurred him on to better utilize his remaining capabilities. As well as being red and green color blind, often
troubled with eye discomfort and problems with glasses, he read avidly, and described his taxonomic specimens in great detail of structure and color.

Stillman had considerable hearing impairment due to chronic ear and mastoid infections, requiring use of a hearing aid or cupping his ear with his hand for conversation. In spite of this, he developed great facility for recognizing dialects. He delighted in telling someone what state or region they were from by their speech. He thrilled to classical music and I can recall seeing him sitting in front of his wind-up Victrola beaming with pleasure listening to his favorite aria or symphony.

In addition to his auditory and visual impairment, his general health was never robust. He was troubled with periods of lassitude and his flat feet could be troublesome. However, when energized, he took long hikes, including a trip to the top of Mount San Gorgonio, the highest peak in southern California, and herded sheep to the knife ridge atop the Snowy Mountains in Montana.

Stillman was excited by all aspects of nature and wanted to share his pleasure and knowledge with others. He wrote to his mother of a hail storm while tending sheep camp on the Snowies, "the camp stoves had been set up and the grub was cooking, along boomed a dreadfully black and dark cloud and it began to hail-stones the size of pigeon eggs at first, but gradually getting smaller until toward the end they were only size of buckshot. Storms had risen by then over the Crazies and the Castles and were sweeping down the valley—a most magnificent scene from up where we were. Our hail moved on to the eastward making a white swath like a piece of ribbon along the base of the mountains and eventually out on the prairie toward Roundup as far as the eye could see."

A description of the aurora borealis of August, 1916, " spectacularly magnificent over all the northern portion of the continent" with its flickering and flashing mystical lights was published in the magazine Science. He studied an extensive beaver canal system near ranch headquarters and published a classic paper for the Smithsonian Institute.

The early childhood period of Stillman Berry's life with: his health problems and the accounts of his precocious intellect are included in my previous Fortnightly paper, entitled "Ralph and Evelyn Berry, Founders of the Winnecook." The Berry family dynamics revolved about Stillman's boyhood health concerns and his inability to tolerate Montana winters and ranch life.

Stillman never lived on the ranch and never visited there until a trip with his parents when he was 22 years old. On returning to Montana at age two from his birth place in Unity, Maine, he lived in White Sulphur Springs, a small town 60 miles east of the ranch, but usually wintered with his mother in southern California at Pasadena or Los Angeles. At age 11 Stillman and his mother moved permanently to the Southwest, first to Phoenix, Arizona, and then to Redlands, California, where he spent the remainder of his life.

The Phoenix year is revealed by "The Phoenix Letters,"- a packet of twenty letters from Evie in Phoenix to husband Ralph, mostly at Hotel Nicolet in Minneapolis, Minnesota. These letters were dated 1898-99 when Stillman was 11 years old. They are particularly revealing of the relationships of wife, Evie, and son, Stillman, to Ralph.

It is worth noting that letter writing nearly one hundred years ago was a much more important means of communication than today. This is fortunate for us, for if this communication had been by telephone, E-mail or FAX as today, little of it probably would have been preserved.

The always distant relationship of Stillman with his father must have been influenced by his mother's relationship with father Ralph to some degree, since Stillman and his mother were inseparable. However, it is not evident from the following correspondence that Evie bore any resentment of Ralph's life style, Throughout her life she appeared to adjust to any circumstances and made the best of them without complaint except as indicated in these letters, for loneliness. Ralph was a loner and apparently had no other emotional attachments than to his immediate and extended family, but put his compulsive business concerns above everything else.

Evie's letters to Ralph were always respectful and affectionate with no apparent resentment of his complete devotion to his livestock business while living in a hotel in Minneapolis that year, feeding and marketing sheep and trading in wool. During this eight month period in Phoenix, letters from Evie to Ralph averaged one a week and all were addressed to Hotel Nicolet, Minneapolis except a few to Billings or the Hunter Hot Springs ranch near Big Timber in Montana. From remarks in Evie’s letters, she apparently received about six letters in return.

Stillman, now age 11, did well in the desert climate and his hearing improved though his ear continued to drain. However, in the extreme summer heat Evie considered visiting Prescott, Arizona, though Stillman wanted to go to Redlands, California via the Grand Canyon. Evie was greatly concerned for Stillman in regard to a smallpox epidemic and was reluctant to have him vaccinated for fear of a severe reaction, though it was eventually done without adverse consequences. Stillman was not alone as Evie was raising two nieces, Charlotte and Evelyn Kelly Evie rented the best furnished house available in Phoenix, though without electricity or sewer, engaged a cook and a tutor for Stillman and cousin Charlotte.

Evie, her usual ebullient self, adapted to wherever she was and wrote to Ralph, "My only regret is that you are not here, when do you think you may come down? There is so much to see and learn about." The family made trips to the local hospital, capitol buildings, the Pima Indian reservation, and a picnic in the Camelback Mountains. Evie also went to hear the famous Mr. Moody preach, and to the legislature for a speech on women's suffrage.

Regarding Evie's personal relationship with Ralph, it appeared as good as possible with a largely absentee husband. There was mention of only one brief visit by Ralph to the family in Phoenix, and much disappointment that he did not come for Christmas. Evie's letters always started with "My Darling Husband" and closed "with lots of love and kisses." She wrote, " . . . I assure you, my dear, that you have not for one minute been forgotten." Again, "My mind has been constantly with you and I hope that you may join us soon."

At Christmas time Evie wrote to Ralph, "I keep Evelyn with me for company [in my bed]." "It is so lonesome without you. I feel almost like packing up and going to California," where Ralph was spending Christmas, apparently for business reasons. In February she wrote to him in Minnesota, "And if I should tell you every day how much we miss you, and how lonely we are, and how we wish you were here—am afraid you would than" your business' and start to come down on snowshoes."

Regarding correspondence between Stillman and his father which might reflect on their relationship, there is almost nothing available except for the college years correspondence subsequently reviewed. However, there are two letters from Stillman to his father prior to those from Stanford University. One when living in White Sulphur Springs at age eight and one written from Phoenix at age 11. From White Sulphur Springs, Montana dated May 28, 1895 at age 8: "Dear Papa, I think it is so strange that you have not written to me. I am so sorry school is all over. . . We went out to Lovely Dale and I laid on my stomach and drank out of a creek. We got lots of [wild] flowers. That's the only time I have been out riding since you went away."

From Phoenix at age 11, "January 1, 1899. Happy New Year Papa! Thank you ever so much for that watch and chain. It is the prettiest silver watch I ever saw and is going to be a splendid time keeper. I put it in front of me while I practice and Miss Wood [my tutor] says that I practice ever so much better since I got the watch.... From your loving son, Stillman." Most of the rest of the letter was devoted to describing his Christmas presents from other family members. While this letter suggests a good relationship with his father, a letter twelve days before from Evie to his father indicated Ralph had written he would not come for Christmas and Stillman, on hearing the news, "cried some on the way home Mon. night, but now comforts himself with anticipation of the delights of a watch." It appears that all through his childhood, Stillman longed for a fathers presence.

Stillman's high school years were spent in Redlands, California following which his education was greatly enhanced by a prolonged European trip with his mother, especially to the historical and cultural sites of Europe. This trip was initiated by referral to an international ear specialist in Basel, Switzerland, Prof. Dr. Siebenmann, who advised a mastoid operation and the use of one of his metal ear trumpets for hearing.

During his college years, Stillman majored in zoology, obtaining a bachelor's degree from Stanford, a masters degree from Harvard, and returned to Stanford for his doctorate with a thesis in marine zoology (cephalopods).
Stillman's European trip and especially his Stanford years are brought to light by a packet of 37 letters from Stillman to his father covering a period of six years from 1904 to 1910 when Stillman was 17 to 23 years of age. These letters give much insight into the formative years of his adult life and the relationship with his parents.

Stillman wrote five letters to his father from Europe, covering the 14 months preceding the Stanford years. They were from Florence, Lucerne, Venice, Munich and Rome. This extended visit to Europe was certainly a major part of his education, especially with the enthusiasm and awe he had for everything he saw and shared with his very observant and intelligent mother, his dearest companion. With his "photographic" memory, reinforced by a diary and his voluminous correspondence to relatives and friends back home, he could recall every detail of this great European adventure for the rest of his life.

A poignant letter from Venice was as follows: "My Dear Father, "[My diary] will afford you some pleasure from the trip since you unfortunately did not find it possible to come with us. It is too bad you aren't along for 1 think that you and we would enjoy our selves mightily.... Hoping this letter pleases you in both length and substance, I remain as ever, Your loving son."

From Lucerne he wrote his father a detailed and enthusiastic description of the Matterhorn and the Jungfrau and closed with "Please write a long letter to your loving son, SSB."

From Rome, Stillman wrote, "We are getting a good look at St. Peter's [Basilica], the old ruins of the Forum, and the Capitoline Museum. I am still smuggling along with my Greek. If I were not so anxious to enter Stanford on full instead of on partial standing, nothing would induce me to continue it.

"A short time ago we went to see that great vastness which goes by the name of St. Peter's. We were enabled to enjoy a magnificent approach through the splendid square to the very steps of the great church, and to gain an excellent impression of the facade, which might be beautiful, were it not constructed along those atrocious architectural lines called the Renaissance. However, that does not spoil its being grand, and the same may be said of the yet more colossal interior whose enormous proportions and perfect symmetry render it what it is—one of the most wonderful edifices of the world. Yet, as I said before, it is too brilliantly and typically Renaissance to suit my Gothic-loving eye, and I am far fonder of the more somber, more dignified, impressive cathedrals of the Northern nations with their high, pointed arches and their marvelous naves. It is quite impossible for me to realize that the great bronze canopy over the altar is two or three times the height of an ordinary house! Its top is ninety-five feet above the pavement, and beyond it opens up the stupendous dome, the grandest part of the entire cathedral."

Can you imagine a 1 7-year-old high school boy of today with impaired hearing and visual problems writing the above architectural description of St. Peters Cathedral in Rome with such a vocabulary, not to mention studying Greek while traveling abroad?

Stillman's letters written during his University years consist of 29 epistles from Stanford plus three subsequent letters to his father during his post-graduate study years. He also corresponded weekly with his mother during those years, but those letters have not come to light. The Stanford letters are revealing not only of Stillman's activities and thoughts but also, through the envelope
addresses, of his father's lifestyle. It appears that Ralph lived almost entirely in hotels in Minneapolis and Chicago while feeding and marketing livestock. and occasionally visited his ranches in Montana. As best as can be determined, he only occasionally visited his family in Redlands for short periods. It is notable that the frequency of letters from Stillman at Stanford to his father diminished over time as his father infrequently responded, and almost never visited him. There were twelve letters the first college year, eight the second, three the third, and six during his senior year as graduation approached.

Stillman fell in love with Stanford University and was ever loyal in later years, giving her shares of stock in the Winnecook Ranch Corporation, extensive mineral rights which had been split off before incorporation, and a large bequest in his will. He wanted to leave his large scientific collection of snail shells, marine invertebrates and scientific literature to Stanford, but other institutions were better equipped to house and utilize them. He turned to Stanford for technical and legal advice on ranch matters. It has been said that Stanford was his second mother.

The Stanford years were probably the most exciting and rewarding years of Stillman's life in several respects. With his perceptive mind and scholarly bent he was excited about his studies and found his professional direction in zoology. About his studies, he wrote to his father: ". . . my hearing is not much of a handicap in anything but Latin but I get along in that. In my examinations I got A in Zoology, Chemistry and German and B in Latin and Physics. There will be another set of examinations before long and I hope this time I can get A in everything. I like Zoology better than any subject I have ever had. Next comes Chemistry so I guess I am going to be a scientist sure enough.... I have not heard from you for a very long time but suppose you are too busy to write." Later he also took courses in contracts and politics. He was elected to the Prestigious Phi Beta Kappa honorary scholastic fraternity, one of only six in his class: and to Sigma Xi, the national scientific fraternity.

Stillman enjoyed all aspects of college life including his studies, the social activities of the campus, the excitement and pageantry of football games, and the camaraderie of his classmates, especially Sanford and Kenneth Dole whom he came to regard as family. He participated in dances, sometimes taking his cousin Charlotte, but apparently never dating.

Stillman’s health was remarkably good at that time. He played tennis, made three mile cross country runs and took long rambles in the surrounding hills, one day making a 35-mile hike with his pal Sanford Dole. He experienced only minimal difficulty with his hearing.
Stillman repeatedly pleaded with his father to visit him and see the campus. "We are much disappointed that you are not coming back via Palo Alto (Stanford). We had hoped that we would not have to wait until [Christmas] vacation before seeing you, and I have been anxious that you should see the University." As far as I could determine from correspondence and family photos, Ralph visited the campus only once or twice during the four years.

The first mention of the Montana ranch in correspondence to his father was in 1906 when Stillman was a freshman and the year that the ranch corporation was formed to sell the ranch. Stillman wrote: "Did you sell the ranch? I sort of hoped the deal would fall through. The ranch is always there and is bound to increase in value, especially if the new railroad is built." The next year he admonished his father, "About the time you come home and settle down, it will be time for me to be out and hustling instead." In 1909 on going to Harvard for his Masters degree he wrote, "don't forget to write me all about the ranch affairs These were the only three ranch references in the entire 36 letters.

When Stillman was 23, Ralph apparently started to involve him in business affairs. This was about a year before Ralph's unexpected death. A letter from Stillman on July 8, 1910 stated, ". . . it occurred to me I had best write to you at Billings first about the riches that you are so determined to load me up with. I hope I shall not prove unworthy of the burden. From this distance, not knowing all the conditions involved, I think your judgment should be infinitely better than mine as to which investment might be preferable. One thing is certain, however—I don't want any stock in the ranch without some assurance that either it won't be sold right from under my nose or that you and mother between you can regain a controlling interest, or also you alone. You can plainly see that I am a Berry in that I like to cut my own pie and not depend on interested parties outside the family. So, all in all considered please use your own judgment, although I think that except for the above proviso I prefer the ranch stock to the mortgage note, despite the larger income from the latter."

Stillman developed a strong attachment for the Dole Family of Riverside, California stemming from his college association with Sanford and Kenneth Dole when at Stanford University. Sanford Dole married Charlotte Kelley, a cousin who was raised with Stillman, and after her death married another cousin, Ruth Berry. Stillman became particularly close to Elwyn Dole, a younger brother of the Doles who were his chums at Stanford. Stillman always considered the Doles to be family. In the course of time Sanford was put on the Winnecook Ranch Corporation board of directors by Stillman, Elwyn was employed by the ranch, eventually becoming manager, and Kenneth obtained stock in the ranch and became Stillman's physician.

After Stillman finished his academic work at Stanford in December 1912, he led the life of an affluent young bachelor of education and culture with the Hartford Pope family car (referred to as the Pope) and Frank Loge, the chauffeur, at his disposal. He enjoyed picnics, hikes, dances, involvement in community politics at times, participation at the Congregational Church, and gardening.
On returning to Redlands after his post-graduate studies, Stillman accepted a position as librarian at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at La Jolla, California near San Diego, to which he commuted weekly by train at times, though often working at home. He was apparently in charge of organizing and expanding the Scripps research library and continuing with his own research in malacology. After three and a half years he terminated his regular employment at the Scripps library with the commuting from Redlands, "a matter of physical strength." However, he continued an academic relationship with Scripps. He then devoted more time to his gardening and his own malacological research plus increasing involvement with Winnecook Ranch affairs, joining the corporation board in 1913 at the age of 26.
Stillman was an avid reader and collector of books availing himself of libraries and book stores as circumstances permitted. In his five year diary (1911-1915) he frequently mentioned the books he was reading. An incomplete listing of titles or authors amounted to over 50. The majority were related to the natural sciences, but others were eclectic including classics of English and American literature, popular novels of the time, politics and current affairs including "Germany and the Next War." He reread the classics and at times when on the ranch read aloud to his chums Elwyn Dole and Robert Wellington, son of the ranch manager.

At the back of the diary are several of Stillman's favorite quotations gleaned from the classics, which give some insight into his philosophy of life. From Darwin, "The safest conclusion seems to me that the whole subject [of ultimate questions] is beyond the scope of man's intellect; but man can do his duty." (Life and letters, V. 1, p.307.) From Hawthorne, "The act of the passing generation is the germ which may and must produce good or evil fruit in a far distant time; that together with the seed of the merely temporary crop which mortals term expediency, they inevitably sow the acorns of a more enduring growth, which may darkly overshadow their posterity." (The House of the Seven Gables, Ch. I.) From Goldsmith, "He now, therefore, found that such friends as benefits had gathered round him were little estimable: he now found that a man's own heart must ever be given to gain that of another." (The Vicar of Wakefleld, Ch. III.) There were also quotations from Montaigne and Lincoln.

In the five year diary I found mention only three times of Stillman's father and this was in the months before Ralph Berry's death in 1911 when he was staying with the family in Redlands. There is note of an automobile trip "with father and mother to look at an orange grove (presumably for possible purchase) then out to Yucaipa City," a new settlement nearby. The next comment or mention of his father was 15 days before Ralph's death when he wrote, "father is quite ill with his ear and neuralgia." Thirteen days later and the day before Ralph Berry's death he noted that his father was delirious and lapsed into coma, developed a fever of 106 and quietly passed away, reportedly with diabetic coma. Though Ralph Berry was not a known diabetic, a brother and sister of his were so afflicted. Stillman's only comments were that he had attended to "all the business" of the funeral and that "father looked "Oh so peaceful and natural" in the casket. Mother was "brave and exhausted." There was no hint of any personal emotion by Stillman.

While Ralph Berry was very concerned about Stillman as a child and proud of his scholastic achievements, there was never any apparent rapport between father and son as Stillman matured. In all of my lifetime contact with Stillman I cannot recall his voluntarily mentioning his father. When I would ask about his father, he would only say that father was always away due to ranch matters. He seemed to have a deep-seated resentment of his father which he didn't wish to discuss, as I have mentioned before.

James Vickery, a second cousin in Maine who knew Stillman, said that Stillman's father thought Stillman was a "sissy." I do not know just what connotation "sissy" may have had 100 years ago, but I doubt that Ralph would have expressed a somewhat derogatory remark about his son in any event. As a physician I suspect that Stillman may have had a congenital (from birth) hormonal deficiency.. He had little body hair and shaved infrequently. His voice and laugh were shrill. His musculature and bodily habitue were somewhat eunuchoid. I recall that he had a developmental abnormality of his upper genito-urinary tract. There was never a suggestion of romantic involvement with women. Perhaps Ralph sensed some of this, but I doubt that this was the main factor in Ralph's perception of his son as he was an absent father both geographically and emotionally, even in Stillman's childhood, due to his devotion to his business interests.

Phillip Livoni, a friend of Stillman's who had access to the family correspondence and papers while disposing of the contents of Stillman's home which he purchased after Stillman's death, said Stillman had indicated that he didn't approve of his father's ruthless business practices, though this was the first I had heard of that either from Stillman or in his mother's correspondence. My initial feeling, before having access to the family letters and diary, was that, since Stillman was so attached to and fond of his mother, he resented that Ralph had neglected her in some respects, but it appears the problem was mainly that Stillman resented his father always placing business concerns above his son's need for a sharing and nurturing father.

It is evident that Ralph and his son Stillman were very different people. Ralph was a robust and healthy pioneer with an aggressive entrepreneurial disposition, tuned to surviving the harsh Montana blizzards and dedicated to exploiting ranching and livestock business opportunities. Stillman was not physically strong with somewhat impaired hearing, a chronically infected ear, eye problems including color blindness, and spells of lassitude. Stillman was an intellectual, a lover and preserver of nature and culture, with a gentle and almost effeminate manner. He longed for a father figure to share the excitement and joy of his world. Two more different persons could hardly be found and they apparently never developed a very compatible relationship. Evie, however, was apparently compatible with Ralph and his ways and if she was resentful of his long absences from home or his business methods it was never evident in her correspondence, except for loneliness.

Among the most interesting parts of the diary is Stillman's first real exposure to the Winnecook Ranch at the age of 24 after his father's death, his delight in what he saw, and then his gradual involvement in corporation management as Evie groomed him to be a Board member and then President of WRC.

The diary relates that following Ralph Berry's death in June 1911 his casket was shipped to Maine for burial, accompanied by Evie and Stillman. About a month later they returned west by way of the Montana ranch. First they stopped in Billings to visit the Yellowstone National Bank to see the banker "and to get such of father's papers as were stored there." Stillman spent the morning examining, sorting and cataloguing these papers. The next day they arrived in Harlowton and were met by Mr. Wellington, the ranch manager, and were taken to the ranch. The following day Stillman "studied up on the ranch [corporation] affairs as well as I could, finding it—often peculiar and somewhat involved." Consideration was given to the Berrys' buying out the corporation. After touring the ranch Stillman wrote "Oh, if things can only pan out all right! And they certainly should; the ranch is such a fine property.", showing early-on his affection for the ranch.

A few days later Evie and Stillman traveled to Helena for the annual stockholders meeting of the Winnecook Ranch Corporation, always held the first Monday in August, in the office of Mr. Penwell, the promoter of the corporation. With Ralph Berry's death, Evie and Stillman were elected to the Winnecook Board of Directors. Other board members elected were Claire Wellington (ranch manager), Dr. Horsky, Mr. Davis, Mel Stevens and Ben Stevens. The day was spent chiefly in "momentous discussions." An offer for purchase of the ranch was considered. The Berrys then returned to Redlands and Stillman left for Stanford to complete his Ph.D. studies.

The following year, 1912, Evie and Stillman went to Montana for the annual meeting in August, arriving about three weeks ahead of time. While his mother was preoccupied with ranch affairs, Stillman spent considerable time roaming the ranch finding fossils, "prairie chickens," and a buffalo skull. He also read much of the time and corresponded, only occasionally involving himself with the sheep operation. At the annual meeting, the Board remained the same. It was voted to move the corporation's legal office to Harlowton. Evie bought 100 shares of company stock from Mr. Davis, to gain more control over the ranch board.

In the summer of 1913 Stillman spent six weeks at the ranch. The ranch operation was going nicely and prospects were for a good year. Elwyn Dole, Stillman's closest friend, arrived for a visit and they "bummed" about the ranch for a few days. Stillman wrote, "He is surely a splendid fellow and very lovable. I wish he were my brother though we're pretty close anyway." Stillman implied that he was making plans for Elwyn to become involved in the ranch. The Berrys had now acquired controlling interest in the ranch, but at the annual meeting. board President Mel Stevens was apparently questioning their authority. Stillman wrote, "we were forced to talk with him pretty plainly. He is certainly thick-headed and lacks nicety of perception between right and wrong."

When Stillman arrived at the ranch in June 1914, Elwyn Dole who had been attending Cornell studying agriculture, was already employed as a ranch hand and was planning to stay for a year. Stillman worked alongside Elwyn to enjoy his companionship, herding and dipping sheep, weighing wool, etc.—probably his first real immersion m the work of sheep ranching. He was not too happy working the sheep and wrote "would be miserable if Elwyn were not here."

At the 1914 annual meeting Dr. Dye succeeded Mel Stevens as President of the Board and Evie Berry was elected Vice President. Mel Stevens and manager Wellington were anxious to sell the ranch but the Berrys were not sure it was the wisest choice. After the meeting Elwyn was given a week's vacation, apparently to spend with Stillman who wrote, "It's great to have a chum like Elwyn along."

In October it appeared that Manager Wellington was not too happy with Elwyn, and Stillman wrote, "Elwyn is having a hard row to hoe."

In the summer of 1915 Stillman spent two and a half months at the ranch. Elwyn was still employed as a ranch hand and Stillman spent much of his time with him and again assisted with the sheepherding. Stillman's ear was abscessed and he often did not feel well. When not with Elwyn he spent his time mostly reading and corresponding, but also spent some time observing ranch operations and considering corporation matters. Penwell was apparently still trying to manipulate the corporation. Stillman wrote, "Spent most of the day trying to compose a letter to the stockholders to counteract that wretched stuff of Penwell's. It is hard to say just enough, just the right things, and refrain from being personal." A new bunkhouse known as the lodge was finished. The annual corporation meeting was uneventful.

On returning to Redlands in 1915, Stillman discontinued his regular employment at Scripps Institute and resumed his gardening, scientific studies with mollusks, and many other interests. He was largely sedentary during his later adult life in Redlands, though making occasional trips to Maine or to the sea coasts of California and lower California, Mexico with friends to collect scientific specimens. He continued annual summer trips to his beloved Winnecook to preside at annual meetings of the corporation until age 90 when he became too feeble to make the trip.

In extolling Stillman's adult activities and accomplishment, I have drawn principally on two extensive interviews recorded during his 95th year: The Redlands Daily Facts, March 16, 1982 and The Stanford Observer, April 1982, plus a feature article by Jerry Miller in The Times-Clarion of February 5, 1976.

The Redlands Daily Facts interview was appropriately headed, "The sort of person the world comes to see." As a world-renowned marine zoologist (especially mollusks), conchologist (especially land snails), horticulturist and genealogist, he had frequent visitors and correspondence with scientists from around the world. The crown prince of Japan and the prime minister of Sweden visited him. On an occasion when he was entertaining a French scientist, he was having a little trouble with his French, so the conversation was switched to Latin. In order to facilitate his world-wide scientific research, Stillman was said to have had a working knowledge of Latin, Greek, German, French, and some capability of Japanese and Norwegian.

Not only scientists from home and abroad came to his door, but also many students of natural history from the U. S. The students he encouraged and counseled, including myself. To some he gave room and board to assist their education. Some he employed to assist him in his research, doing detailed drawings on new species of snails or cephalopods he was describing for the scientific literature or he employed them on the ranch. His home was occasionally referred to as the S. Stillman Berry University. It is said that over 90 young men were encouraged or helped, and many became notable scholars and scientists.

To assist in his scientific research and because of his eclectic interests, Stillman amassed large collections of scientific and historical literature and a world-class shell collection. He had a half dozen libraries in his large home, said to contain 32,000 entry cards. He was particularly proud of his collection of the works of Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist who established the binomial system of scientific nomenclature in the 1700's. He also had a signed letter by Charles Darwin. His shell collection filled several rooms of his home and contained over 1,200,000 specimens. From 1907 to 1971, during 64 years of active research, he had 28 species and genera of mollusks named for him and 168 new species and genera described by him. He published his own series of periodicals on research in malacology. He received many honors from scientific societies in the United States and abroad, including Honorary Life President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

In addition to his extensive research in marine mollusks and land snails, he also acquired a reputation in horticulture. He is said to have hybridized over 1,000 varieties of iris and daffodils, many becoming named varieties. He was sought after as a flower show and sea shell judge in the U.S. and Hawaii.

As Stillman was a bachelor, had no siblings, and outlived all his close relatives, he had no heirs. Being of visionary and charitable disposition he left his estate, which included the Winnecook Ranch Corporation and substantial investments in equities, to a testamentary charitable foundation which he called the Goodly Heritage Foundation. This was to benefit charitable institutions in the areas to which he particularly related, namely, Redlands, California; Stanford University; Harlowton, Montana; and Unity, Maine. Paul Allen, the neighbor whom he involved in Winnecook Ranch Corporation and also his personal affairs in later years, participated in the trust. The will specified that the Allen family would be represented by two trustee positions on the foundation, the maximum number allowed by law. The three major institutional beneficiaries would be represented as the other three of the five trustees. Allen was also designated executor of the Berry estate.

In spite of Stillman's best intentions and the legal assistance of a Stanford lawyer, the trust did not pass muster with the Internal Revenue Service, so the main corpus of the estate, including the Winnecook Ranch corporation stock, was distributed one-third to each of the trust's major beneficiaries, eventually amounting to approximately $900,000 each to Stanford University, the Redlands Community Hospital and the A. K. Smiley Library in Redlands, California.

From a baby who barely survived his birth (his twin did not), who was color blind, developed severely impaired hearing from chronic ear and mastoid infections, was always in frail health, and sustained severe heart attacks in his later years, he lived nearly a century to become an intellectual giant and a legend in his own time plus leaving a large legacy to charitable and scientific institutions.


Stillman's Fortnightly papers are an important part of his legacy. While he wrote voluminously in the scientific literature, particularly regarding mollusks and occasionally other scientific subjects, the only non-scientific, i.e. historical, philosophical, or personal writing that I am aware of, is found in his Fortnightly papers.

With much historical knowledge and being an accomplished raconteur, he was given to oral history. Fortunately the oral history that pertained to the Winnecook ranch was recorded from time to time by Mary Dole Smith, a close friend and secretary of the Winnecook Ranch Corporation for many years. Also considerable ranch and Berry Family history was recorded in 1976 when a Fortnightly member, George Ide, tape-recorded conversations with Stillman during a train trip to the Montana ranch. George Ide was a railroad buff and arranged through the Southern California Railroad Museum in Perris, California to take a deluxe private railroad car trip from Redlands to the Montana ranch with Stillman and a group of his Redlands friends. I was invited along but thought I was too busy with my medical practice, which, of course, I have long regretted. George Ide wrote a Fortnightly paper on the trip, entitled "To Montana and Back Aboard a Mansion of the Rails." It is surprising that Paul Allen, a professor of western U. S. history, and Stillman's closest friend in later years and executor of his estate never recorded any of Stillman's personal, family, or ranch history.

Since Stillman was an outstanding scholar of his day, very widely read, and precisely articulate, one would hope to find insightful writing of outstanding clarity and wisdom in his Fortnightly papers. I was not disappointed.

Of Stillman's probably 24 Fortnightly papers written over 48 years, the clubs files show 20 titles but, unfortunately, only 10 papers are present. However, there is some hope for the missing papers. as Phillip Livoni. who retained the Berry family correspondences and papers that did not go to the Smithsonian, recalls reading some of the missing papers and is searching for them in the voluminous Berry Family material which he ahs stored but not yet fully organized.

Classifying the ten papers and ten "titles only" indicates that nine are related more or less to Mollusks, six to personal experiences or adventures (travels, hikes, earthquakes, etc.), two with national and international politics, and two with science-metaphysics-religion relationships.

There is not time to discuss or even summarize all of these papers at this time, but two or three of the more outstanding ones deserve some comment as well as demonstrating his style of writing.

From his paper "Treasure Trove From a New England Attic", listen to this beautiful and haunting description of his experience of finding several generations of family correspondence in the old family home in Maine. "An old house stirs memories, and no part of its realms more poignantly than the attic -- the spiriti of the attic is almost wholly of the past. The shadows of all the life of the years in the realms below seem to congregate and quaver in the dimness of its recesses. It was a glorious place to rummage and many were the happy hours spent there."

Stillman had an amazing vocabulary and it was necessary for me to keep a dictionary handy, though the context and the root of the word usually gave me clues. In describing a voluminous reference book on the history and etymology of the octopus, he refers to it "as a volume of no mean pagination". In a short time I added several words to my vocabulary, e.g. embowered, to be covered or surround with foliage; forfend, to defend or protect; deliquescence, to melt away in the course of decay. The word-checker in my word processor did not include any of these words.

One of the most profound and scholarly of his papers, written in 1918 before I was born, is entitled "Quod Victor Vult" which interprets, "what the victor wills". The first part is a discussion of relationships of the physical sciences, philosophy, and religion, by far the most detailed and reasoned discussion I have encountered. Two of his main points are that our sensory perception is so limited for the spectra of light, sound, and feeling that we have a very narrow window through which to view and understand the world and the cosmos, and that science, metaphysics and religion should be complementary, not in conflict. This brings him to a discussion of ethics and bridges over to the second part of this paper entitled, "Some Practical Consequence of a Materialistic Attitude."

This second part leads into a discussion of the ethics and morality of rampant German materialism leading to World War I. Stillman sees this not as simple as democracy versus autocracy, but a powerful materialism to smother and subdue all other cultures for centuries to come, leading to the disappearance of the world civilization as we know it. Hence Quod Victor Vult, what the victor wills. In Stillman's words, "Monumental conceit for German civilization and a moral sense blunted to accept any deed which would help that civilization, these are the keys to the interior situation in Germany. They unlock the heart and reveal its depths of spiritual degradation." Stillman's observations are even more applicable to World War II with its almost unimaginable German atrocities.

On a lighter note he wrote a paper entitled, "Some Quaint By-Paths of Research or Sentimentality in Science,." This is an account of how as a boy he happened to begin his various scientific collections, hence sentimentality. Then he relates the coincidences and serendipity that chanced to bring certain historic objects into his collections including such things as a sea shell collected by Robert Louis Stevenson, a note from Theodore Roosevelt, and an original letter written by Charles Darwin.

In closing, I will quote Clyde Roper, a fellow scientist associated with the Smithsonian Institute, "[Stillman Berry] was one of the last great independent [i.e. non-institutional] multidisciplinary scholars of the twentieth century."

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