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Biographical Memoirs: Volume 89
much of his adult life he worked as a lumberyard manager. The family spent the first 10 years of Dewey’s life in Lomax, a small town on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River between Burlington, Illinois, and Fort Madison, Iowa. After short stays in Yates City and Brereton, Illinois, and a trip to South Dakota, the family settled in Freeport, Illinois, where the children graduated from the local high school (Jenona in 1929 and Dewey in 1930). In a privately published memoir (L. M. Neff, 1969) their father commented on the fact that the children attended schools in many different towns: “I always thought [this] was good for them. They learned to meet strangers and adapt themselves to changing conditions.”
Dewey entered the University of Illinois in 1930 with the intention of becoming an architect. In those depression years he had to work his way through college, including spending one year working full time. As a result, it took him six years to complete his undergraduate education.
THE GRADUATE YEARS
During his undergraduate years, Dewey came under the influence of Elmer A. Culler, a professor of psychology, who persuaded him to continue as a graduate student in experimental psychology. Culler was a well-known physiological psychologist, whose research combined studies of animal learning and hearing. When Culler moved from Illinois to the University of Rochester, he persuaded Dewey to move with him. During his stay at Rochester, Dewey made lasting friendships with fellow graduate students Karl Kryter and J. C. R. Licklider, both of whom went on to distinguished careers of their own.
When Dewey began his graduate work, the dominant question facing hearing researchers was how tonal frequen-