Life of influential scientific illustrator explored in new OSU web exhibit


CORVALLIS, Ore. – The remarkable story of scientific illustrator Roger Hayward's life and work is the subject of Oregon State University Special Collections & Archives Research Center's newest web release, “Roger Hayward: Renaissance Man.”

Hayward collaborated for many years with both Linus Pauling and Scientific American magazine.

Born in New England in 1899, Hayward attended the Masschusetts Institute of Technology, where he graduated with honors in architecture. In the late 1920s he became chief designer at the Los Angeles-based Cram & Ferguson architecture firm. When the Great Depression hit, Hayward was forced to expand his skill set in order to make ends meet. His solutions to this dilemma ranged from crafting puppets and performing puppet shows in his home to building looms for his wife, who then sold her textiles at local markets.

Hayward worked on behalf of the United States government during World War II and became an expert on the subject of optics. He is now believed to have been a key contributor to the development of the Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope.

Following the war, Hayward built a reputation as a scientific illustrator of great importance, providing visuals for Scientific American's "Amateur Scientist" column for nearly 25 years and collaborating with Pauling on numerous publications including 1964's The Architecture of Molecules, for which Hayward served as co-author.

Roger Hayward: Renaissance Man recounts Hayward's story through a detailed narrative and more than 450 illustrations. A number of students worked to bring Hayward’s journey to life, including Christy Turner, Regina Pimental and recent alum Will Clark. The process not only gave them experience in documenting an important university collection, but also provided insight into a unique life.

“When you read about or research the life of Roger Hayward and others from the era, you learn that average struggles from a century ago are fundamentally similar to the struggles we experience today,” said Clark. “Seeing how real people successfully dealt with these struggles not only connects one more intimately to the formative past, but provides a sort of guidebook for approaching such difficulties in the present and future."

Turner, a fine arts major, was inspired by Hayward’s work.

“As an art student, it was deeply inspiring to me to see Hayward utilizing his artistic talent in so many aspects of professional life,” she said. “His success seems due in part to his refusal to limit himself to a single field or specialty--he used his talents to create opportunities for himself in a wide range of fields both artistic and technical, and the sheer scope of his career is astounding.

It was Hayward’s flexibility in the face of adversity that most impressed Pimental.

“(Hayward’s) unrelenting motivation provides us with a resolve to reach out of our comfort zone and explore something new whenever opportunity presents itself,” she said.

Included on the new site are two galleries of original pastel drawings created by Hayward for use in The Architecture of Molecules. Most of the pastels presented on the website were not used in the book and are now freely available for the first time.

Roger Hayward: Renaissance Man relies heavily upon materials held in the Roger Hayward Papers, one of the center's many history of science collections. The site is available at http://osulibrary.oregonstate.edu/specialcollections/omeka/exhibits/show/hayward