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William Sidis Biographical Research Links




"Johansen, Bruce,  "William James Sidis' Tribes and States: An Unpublished Exploration of Native American Contributions to Democracy." Northeast Indian Quarterly Spring/Summer 1989, pp. 16-20. "In 1914, the child prodigy William James Sidis became he youngest person (at age 16) to graduate from Harvard. Much later press coverage of Sidis' life stresses the theme that he failed to fulfill his childhood promise. Sidis loathed publicity, and kept secret the fact that he was writing an 800-page history of the United States through the eyes of its original inhabitants. The second half of this unpublished manuscript has been lost, but the first half survives. Done without standard scholarly annotation, Sidis' history describes native forms of governance at length, and argues that the natives of New England (in particular the Penacook Confederacy) were more democratic than the Iroquois, whom Sidis describes as oligarchic."


"Ironically, Sidis' unpublished ms. was found in Ipswich, Mass., home of Gambit, although neither Johansen nor Lovell Thompson, owner of Gambit, knew of it when Forgotten Founders was published there."

[In 1981, as per Helena Sidis's instruction, I located "The Tribes and the States" in a suitcase belonging to her in the attic of the Mandel's home in Brookline, MA. A year later, I gave Prof. Johansen a photocopy of it in Boston, having traveled down there from Ipswich where I lived.- Dan Mahony]



From NASA: "...no astronomer is even remotely suggesting that big-bang cosmology is incorrect..."



"Selected works for more than 20 eminent persons...."


"The collection also contains material about William James Sidis. Sidis corresponded and worked with Eichel during World War II and the years preceding that war. This series includes many periodicals edited by Sidis for small organizations he started during this period, as well as articles about Sidis written after his death in 1944. Before and during World War II, Julius Eichel carried on a lengthy correspondence with fellow absolutist conscientious objector, William James Sidis (1899-1944). Sidis and Eichel attempted unsuccessfully to establish the Volunteer Urban Self-Supporting Project (VUSP). The VUSP was intended to provide an alternative to Civilian Public Service, which they considered to be war-related, and therefore unacceptable. Neither man would condone any action that abrogated a citizen's freedoms under the Bill of Rights.

"Almost one third of the Eichel papers is correspondence (1917-1980). There is family correspondence between Eichel, his brother David, and their parents when both young men were imprisoned during World War I. The collection also contains material about William James Sidis. Sidis corresponded and worked with Eichel during World War II and the years preceding that war. This series includes many periodicals edited by Sidis for small organizations he started during this period, as well as articles about Sidis written after his death in 1944."



"There was a time when all precocious children were thought to burn out the same way that Sidis did. The man most responsible for changing this belief was Lewis M. Terman. Between 1900 and 1920 he was able to carry out a study of about a hundred gifted children, and his observations convinced him that many of the traditional beliefs about the gifted were little more than superstitions. To confirm these observations, he obtained a grant from the Commonwealth Fund in 1922, and used it to sift a population of more than a quarter of a million children, selecting out all those with IQs above 140 for further study. That group has been monitored continuously ever since. Many of the previously held beliefs about the gifted did indeed turn out to be false. The gifted are not weak or sickly, and although the incidence of myopia is greater among them, they are generally thought to be better looking than their contemporaries: They are not nerds."



Stanfield's site has complete Animate and Inanimate. "My place has a bookstore, physics stuff, libertarian stuff, Ayn Rand stuff, individualist feminist stuff, news resources, and guns!"



Mensa, Tops, Cerebrals, Oaths, Glia, Prometheus, Mega Foundation,


Translation into French of Sidis's "Unconscious Intelligence." 



"I agree that Sidis might be the most intelligent man that ever lived, but his intelligence had more freak show appeal than it did create any lasting contributions to human psychology. In fact, Sidis is all but forgotten among the general public...At any rate, using isomorphism to disallow the divisions of the psyche is a reductionist, if not an irrelevant, argument in modern psychotherapy. -Id"


Renselle, Doug  Review of  THE PRODIGY by Amy Wallace, EP Dutton, 1986.   quantonics.com  




"One such prodigy was William James Sidis. In her biography Amy Wallace describes William James (Billy) as the world's greatest child prodigy. His father Boris was extremely influential in his upbringing, and he believed in teaching people to reason rather than to memorise, and to think of learning as play. His advice was simple: ‘Don’t try to memorise. Just try to understand, and then you can’t help remembering. Boris Sidis was an inspirational father and one might be forgiven for thinking that the father figure is vital in developing giftedness."..



"In 1910, William Sidis, a child prodigy, was a public figure. Many years after he became a recluse, a reporter for The New Yorker located Sidis in 1937 and wrote an article that described in detail Sidis' current activities. Sidis sued the publisher for invasion of privacy, what would now be called "unreasonable intrusion on seclusion". The Court of Appeals held that Sidis' life was still of public interest, therefore The New Yorker could publish an article about him. Sidis v. F-R Pub. Corp., 113 F.2d 806 (2d Cir. 1940). This famous case is typical of many subsequent decisions: journalists have the right to report anything that is arguably of interest to their readers. Courts do not want to get involved in evaluating whether the reader's interest is in good taste, socially decent, etc. Still, I am concerned that Sidis' right to solitude — his right to be let alone — was violated because of a nosy public's curiosity about Sidis as a freak. Sidis had done nothing around 1937 that would make his personal life a legitimate public issue: he had not asked for donations of money from the public, he was not a politician who was asking for votes, he had not made any recent publications, he had not harmed anyone.

"Courts do not always protect the press. A newspaper in Alabama published a photograph of a woman whose dress was lifted by jets of air at a Fun House at a county fair. The court ruled that the photograph, which showed her panties, had no "legitimate news interest to the public" and upheld an award of $ 4166 to plaintiff, for invasion of her privacy. Daily Times Democrat v. Graham, 162 So.2d 474 (Ala. 1964). The facts are mentioned in the Restatement (Second) of Torts at  652B, illustration 7, but without a cite to the actual case.

"There are several television programs in the USA that show paramedics or firemen rescuing people. When someone calls for emergency assistance and a television camera crew also appears and enters their house, the victim is in no condition for either consent or protest to this invasion of his/her privacy. There have been several reported cases in which the victim later sued the television program for invasion of privacy.
Shulman v. Group W Productions, 59 Cal. Rptr.2d 434 (1997);
Miller v. NBC, 232 Cal.Rptr. 668 (1986);
Anderson v. Fisher Broadcasting, 712 P.2d 803 (Or. 1986)..."



"William Sidis was a mathematical genius who graduated from Harvard at sixteen and received a great deal of local and national publicity. Twenty years after his graduation from Harvard, a magazine ran a story about Sidis and other people who were touted as being geniuses as children. The article contained a cartoon with the caption "Where Are They Now?" and "April Fool." The article related how Sidis now lived in a shabby rented apartment, worked in a routine clerical job, and as a hobby studied the history of American Indians. Sidis sued the magazine for invasion of privacy. The magazine owners maintained that Sidis was a public figure and , as such, they had the right to write about his life. No false information was in the article. Was Sidis deprived of his right to privacy? Did the magazine have the right to publish such an article? Assume you are a judge. How would you vote? Explain in your own words the above situation to your classmates and discuss the decision you would make and the reasons for it."


Barnstein, Fred J. "Right of Privacy Protection Against Publication of Newsworthy Information." Washington and Lee Law Review, 2:133-41, Fall 1940. B8 Sidis v. F- R Publishing Co. (1940).



"William James Sidis could speak five languages and read Plato in original Greek by the age of five. At eight he passed the entrance for Harvard but had to wait three years to be admitted. Even so he became Harvard’s youngest scholar and graduate in 1914 at the age of sixteen. Frequently featured in ‘Ripley’s Believe it or Not’, Sidis made the front page of ‘The New York Times’ nineteen times. The story defies all conventional norms and may even sound like a joke if you found out that Sidis was born on April 1, 1898. But to the best of our judgement this is a true story*. But then if he was such an amazing character, how come no one knows of him? Whatever happened to him? Nothing! If one were to believe a 1937 New Yorker story titled ‘April fool’. Apparently the ‘Boy Wonder’ after graduating from Harvard, pursued his own obscure and seemingly meaningless interests. When he died in 1944, obituaries called him ‘a prodigious failure’ and ‘a burnt-out genius’ who never achieved anything of significance despite his talents. Interestingly the story doesn’t end here! Cathie Slater Spence’s Yankee magazine story ‘In Search of April fool’ tells us that Dan Mahony of Massachusetts, intrigued by the Sidis story, spent many years looking into the work of this failed wonder boy. And he discovered some manuscripts, one of which was described by a recognized ‘eccentric genius’ Buckminster Fuller as ‘a fine cosmological piece’ that astoundingly predicts the existence  of black holes – in 1925! Mahony also unearthed a science fiction novel, economic and political writings, and eighty-nine- weekly newspaper columns that Sidis wrote under a pen name."



"New York Public Library Center for the Humanities Manuscripts and Archives Division

The New Yorker Records, c.1924-1984 GREENBAUM, WOLFF &

 ERNST (Law Firm) (Cont.) 4 Court Cases - Rita Ross vs. The New Yorker,

 1938-1943 5-6 Court Cases -William James Sidis vs. The New Yorker ,




[College Class study quiz re US Supreme Court case]



NASA re Big Bang Theory



[From Lila, by Robert Pirsig..."Phdrus thought about William James Sidis, the prodigy who could read five languages when he was five years old. After discovering what Sidis had said about Indians, Phdrus had read a full biography of him and found that when Sidis was a teenager he announced he would refuse to have anything to do with sex for the rest of his life. It seemed as though in order [p.239] to sustain a satisfactory intellectual life he felt he had to cut himself off from social and biological domination except where they were absolutely necessary. This vow of ancient priests and ascetics was once considered a high form of..."



"Macaulay c th‹ vi‰t Th‰ Gii S lc va 6 tui, lm sao William James Sidis †c v vi‰t rnh ti‰ng Anh lc mi ln 2 v ni ܮc ti‰ng Php, Anh, c v cht t ti‰ng La Tinh, Hy Lp khi ln 8, lm sao Mozart c th‹ vi‰t nhng bn nhc bt h lc ln 6. Cho nn nguyn nhn s pht tri‹n khc thܩng y nht nh l do NghiŒp qu kh.  This document is written in Vietnamese, with VPS-Times font."




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