On Fri, 29 May 1998, Mathew Forstater wrote:
> Were there two Liebhafskys? What was their relation? What were there
> respective specialities/interests?
Yes. Herbert Hugo (a'la UTX) and his brother E.E. (apologies, I never
met him but he was at Missouri for years, then at Houston -- he died
sometime in the past year). Both were born'n'reared in Shiner, TX (home
of the Spoetzl Brewery) and had more Central Texas "hard-scrabble" in
their young lives than Lyndon-Fuckin'-Johnson. I don't know about EE,
but HH got his undergrad degree in Accounting at TAMU, then went to Law
School and earned his J.D. Unsatisfied with being a lawyer ("the only
reason to study law is to avoid being deceived by lawyers"), he went on
to get his Ph.D in Economics. In the early '50s, HH was employed by the
State Department (John Foster Dulles was Secretary) and did sensitive
intelligence work (he was very guarded about the fact that he may also
have had JFD's brother's Allen's ear). The McCarthy era ensued and back
in Texas, the right-wing Governor (Allan Shivers, I think) fired the
entire UT Economics Department as a hot-bed of communist radicals. HH
waited a month for his "above top secret" (or whatever the highest
security rating was at the time), then immediately resigned from State.
The mass firings in '53 or '54 (I'm doing this from memory, not
research) had occurred and HH was appointed to the Department because,
after all, no one with that clearance could be "suspect.". It was, I
imagine, all very surreal -- and as if Clarence Ayres hadn't gotten his
Ph.D. at Chicago -- with Frank Knight(?). Ayres, as best I recall from
the stories, was immediately re-appointed because of the political
firestorm from the farmers and ranchers and even the awl-men.
There was, at the same time, a very meek and mild-mannered young
professor, a Korean War combat veteran (Purple Heart, as I recall) who
was part of the en-masse firings. He was not cowed and started looking
into the strange quirks of Texas law-at-the-time and, sure enough, there
was one which mandated that any KW veteran was entitled to any position
working for the State of Texas. That lad was Wendell Gordon, and he
quietly sued-their-collective-asses in Court and won -- not only his
reappointment, but a monetary (bad choice of words 8<)= judgement. Of
these things, he never spoke to students when I was there in the late
'70s. He did, however, always sponsor and pay for the "fall-soiree" at
Zilker Park and provided beaucoups of Shiner (Light and Dark). He
taught Production Theory (I guess that's what we now call Grad-Micro-2)
at 8:00am MWF in the spring, and his undergrad International course. I
have no memory of what he taught in fall or summer.
I was an impertinent student with one leg planted firmly in the camp of
the Institutionalists, one leg planted firmly in the camp of the
Econometricians, and one leg almost-planted in the Marxist camp (Harry
Cleaver was but a pup, then). BTW, if that sounds like "three" legs,
you will have to ask Ronnie Phillips or Jim Peach or Ken Nowotny or
Kathy Brooke or Patsy Malin how I was able to do that. 8<)=
Truman only wanted a one-armed economist...
Wendell and I did not get along personally. Among other indiscretions,
I was having to ride the TEI-monopoly buses to campus that semester and
I would invariably show up five minutes late for class -- having to duck
under and disturb his "screen" upon which he projected his overheads.
Except, of course, on exam days when I was 25 minutes early. One day,
as I'd done my usual "thing" and taken my seat, Dr. Gordon asked, very
politely, "Mr. Moore, is there any particular reason that you come to
class *late* (steely stare as only he could do) every day?" "Dr.
Gordon," I replied, "It's the damn bus schedule -- it gets me to campus
at 7:55 and I have to drop things off in my office, grab a cup of that
gawdawful machine coffee, then get down here to the dungeon."
He drew himself up into his finest high-dudgeonry stance, looked me
squarely in the face and inquired, "Did you ever think of taking an
earlier bus?" To which I replied simply, "Not really." (I'll spare
y'all for now the interchange which occurred when he said "model
builders don't know what-the-hell they're doing.) The world's oldest
grad student is gettin' a bit garrulous...
Bill the Cat in the History Is Written By The Survivors Hat