Autobiographical Writings
of Sylvanus Griswold (Small) Morley

One Life
A Non-Transcendental Autobiography
Sylvanus Griswold Morley



I set down these memories purely for my own pleasure (the process affords me an escape from the present). Therefore in them I dwell with more affection on mere human happenings: research, writing, teaching, even thinking are a way of filling days, an intellectual need, a means of livelihood, but, after all, no more than embroideries upon existence.

My children could learn from these pages—if they could. Does one ever learn from the experience of another? At many a moment in my life I have said to myself: "Now I see how to play the game, I will follow duplicity. I will say what ought to be said, not what my impulse drives me to say. I will do what the courteous man of the world would do under like circumstances." But those moments passed; and I have gone on saying and doing often the wrong thing, only to attempt, too late a prey to regret, to repair the damage done. With every effort, we can force our natures only to a certain point. My children were born with given body and glands, and brain. They had a happy childhood. They will read this too late to advantage them.

The most which they could learn out of these pages would be this: with poor tools, under adverse conditions, one can accomplish something. A life such as this should be written as this is, on perishable paper in impermanent ink.

Begun at Avery, California June 23, 1935.

Includes a hand-written script begun June 23, 1935 and typewritten material of 1958 and 1965.
This copy made in 1997 under the direction of Thomas Morley.

Copyright © 1997 Thomas Morley.