Shillinglaw ’73 featured in Smithsonian Magazine

Susan Shillinglaw ’73, a leading Steinbeck scholar, is a prominent source in the Smithsonian Magazine article, “John Steinbeck’s Epic Ocean Voyage Rewrote the Rules of Ecology.”

The article details the friendship between John Steinbeck and the pioneering marine biologist Ed Ricketts. The two took a trip on a ship called the Western Flyer in 1940, which lead to Steinback’s book, “The Log from the Sea of Cortez.” Ricketts was also the model for a character in Steinbeck’s 1945 novel, “Cannery Row.”

In the article, Shillinglaw explains that there’s a lab on Cannery Row, a street in Monterey, California, where Ricketts prepared his biological specimens. 

“Most tourists come here because of Steinbeck and the book, and they walk right past the lab,” Shillinglaw told Smithsonian Magazine. “They don’t know that this is the lab in the book, or how important it was to Steinbeck’s life and work. Ed Ricketts shaped his thinking more than anyone.”