Things Academic 199
ging badly, the gas and plumbing systems leaking, and the electric
wiring inadequate.
James B. Cook, Jr., a chemistry major who was later to be asso-
ciated with the college administration, once wrote of his student days
(1940-44): "Lea Laboratory even at that time was an antiquated
facility," he said. "Yet the attraction and fascination of the world of
chemistry, encouraged and stimulated by Drs. Black, Isbell, and
Wyatt, was always present there, and we did not realize that we were
working in surroundings with equipment which was far from what
could be found in many other schools. The faculty always took a
genuine personal interest in students and particularly those students
who showed an interest in and aptitude for chemistry." 3
The departure in 1940 of Dr. Isbell to the air corps, of Dr. Black in
1942 to the Army Chemical Corps, and of Dr. Wyatt in 1943 to the
National Bureau of Standards left the department staffed by John A.
Freeman and James B. Cook, Jr. Only the general chemistry,
analytical chemistry, and organic chemistry courses were offered-
sufficient to meet the needs of the premedical students who were
about the only ones taking chemistry.
Professor Black returned from the army in 1945 and resumed his
duties as chairman, and John W. Nowell, Jr., whose deceased father
had been a Wake Forest chemistry professor, joined the department in
that same year. Professor Isbell was not to return until 1957, having
chosen to remain in the air force until the military-retirement rules
were satisfied. Professor Wyatt was not to return to Wake Forest at
all. Prof. Harry B. Miller, whose undergraduate and graduate work
had been completed at the University of North Carolina, came to the
department in the fall of 1947.
The years 1945 to 1956 were very busy and often hectic, especially
1947 to 1952, when the influx of World War II veterans brought
teaching loads that were exceedingly heavy, true even in summer
school―nine weeks without air conditioning.
No history of chemistry at Wake Forest would be complete without
mention of Allen Jeffreys, who was hired in the twenties to be the
janitor and custodian of Lea Laboratory. James B. Cook recalls that
Jeffreys was "the administrative assistant, stockroom manager,
building custodian and generally took care of affairs except actual
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