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Biographical Memoirs: Volume 63
ALBERT BAIRD HASTINGS
November 20, 1895–September 24, 1987
BY HALVOR N. CHRISTENSEN
A. BAIRD HASTINGS was born in Dayton, Kentucky. When he was six years old, his family moved to Indianapolis, where he lived until he entered college. His father died of tuberculosis while Baird was in his second year of high school. No special interest in science was uncovered in Baird's study at Shortridge High School, where he liked Greek and Latin and aspired to become a classics teacher.
Upon the death of his father, Baird prepared to leave high school to help support his family. The teacher who had profoundly inspired him, Ella Marthens, urged otherwise, however, and she helped to arrange an assistantship in biology for him, given only that he should take a course in zoology. Subsequently, mathematics through solid geometry and physics, but no chemistry, supplemented that obliged biology study. Baird remarked how frequently career success is attributed to the influence of a superior high school teacher rather than to college teachers.
Baird told of a notable evening in his senior year at the home of Marthens and a teaching colleague, attended by Baird's favorite crony and classmate, Alan Boyd, at which a group decision was to be reached about Baird's college attendance. Baird insisted that it be at Michigan, where two cousins, James and Charles Baird, had attended and