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Aquarium Facility

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In 1983, the National Science foundation  awarded $80,000 towards a new Sea Water System and $60,000 towards a set of new outdoor holding tanks. In both cases was the requirement  to establish "matching" funds. The University provided the matching $80,000 for the new Sea Water System (total cost $160,000) and a generous gift from Laidlaw and Abbie-Lou Bosworth Williams has provided the matching money for the building of the Aquarium facility.

In April 1986 the Aquarium facility (an outdoor roofed concrete structure located between Loeb and Agassiz Building) was completed.

This facility was constructed with a bequest from the estate of Abbie-Lou Bosworth and Laidlaw Williams and with a grant from the National Science Foundation


Among the friends whose name frequently appears amongst the list of social gatherings in the Carmel Pine Cone, that also included Edward F. Ricketts were Laidlaw and Abbie-Lou Williams.

Abbie-Lou Bosworth attended Mount Holyoke College in New England. Following her graduation, she went to the Boston Museum School of Art and then to the Art Students League in New York to study painting with Kenneth Hayes Miller and wood engraving with Alan Lewis. The following year was spent painting in Norway, after which she returned to Carmel to join her family. Carmel's only gallery in 1932 was that of Dene Denny and Hazel Watrous, who exhibited her Norwegian paintings. After her show there, she was invited to join the group which had recently formed the Carmel Art Association.

Laidlaw Willliams, born in New York City in 1904 first attended Princeton University. After coming to California, he attended the University of California at Berkeley, where he took zoology courses with Joseph Grinnell. Laidlaw’s long-standing interest was in ornithology. He joined the Cooper Ornithological Society in 1925. Laidlaw soon became the leading authority on the birds of the Monterey Bay area. He came to Carmel in the mid-1920's and in 1937 married Abbie Lou Bosworth, a prominent painter of the Carmel school.

Below are several descriptions of gatherings in Carmel that included Ed Ricketts and Mr. and Mrs. Williams that were printed in the local newspaper, the Carmel Pine Cone.

Betty Ballantine has moved into a little studio tucked away on Carmelo street near Santa Lucia and on Saturday evening she officially opened her new home with a housewarming when among those present were Mr. and Mrs. Ritchie Lovejoy, Edith Frisbee, Mr. and Mrs. Elwood Graham, Mr. and Mrs. Laidlaw Williams, Dr. Evelyn Ott, Edward Ricketts, Beth Ingels, Peggy Carroll and Mr. and Mrs. Fred Strong. (Carmel Pine Cone 1941-01-17)

Dr. Ott Entertains. For Ed Rickets who was inducted into the Army last week. Dr. Evelyn Ott was hostess at a party Saturday evening. Guests included Mr. and Mrs. James Fitzgerald, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Strong, Betty Ballantine, Mr, and Mrs. Elwood Graham, Tony Jackson, Marie Short, Mr. and Mrs. Laidlaw Williams, Mr. and Mrs. Gustav Lannestock and Mr. and Mrs. Jonco Varda. (Carmel Pine Cone 1942-10-16)

Pre-Christmas Celebration: Mr. and Mrs. John Ney pre inviting friends to start off holiday festivities with an eggnogg gathering at their home next Sunday afternoon at four o’clock. Their guests will be Messrs, and Mesdames Laidlaw Williams, Jean Varda, Toby Streets, Ed Ricketts, Frank Lloyd, John Upton. Elwood Graham, Jack Geisen, and Mrs. Jean Martin, Mrs. Ruth McElroy, Mrs. Marie Short, son Bill, Miss Zoe Kernick, and Sam Colburn. The Vardas will also be week end guests of the Neys. ("Carmel Pine Cone 1944-12-22")

Years later, Laidlaw and Abbie Williams became the close friends of Don and Izzie Abbott.

The following obituary for Laidlaw Williams was published in the Journal, The Auk Vol. 95, No. 2, Apr., 1978, page 438.

LAIDLAW WILLIAMS, an Elective Member of the Union, was killed in an automobile accident in Carmel, California on 12 October 1976. He was born in New York City on 9 June 1904 but spent his early years in Princeton, New Jersey. His father, Jesse Lynch Williams, founded the Princeton Weekly and in 1918 received the first Pulitzer Prize for drama. Laidlaw attended Princeton University and was ex-Class of 1928. He came to Carmel in the mid-1920's and in 1937 married Abbie Lou Bosworth, a prominent painter of the Carmel school. Laidlaw’s long-standing interest in ornithology is evidenced by his joining the AOU as a teenager in 1919. After coming to California, he attended the University of California at Berkeley, where he took zoology courses with Joseph Grinnell. He joined the Cooper Ornithological Society in 1925. Laidlaw soon became the leading authority on the birds of the Monterey Bay area. He was interested primarily in bird behavior and published a number of papers on that subject. Most notable were lengthy papers on display and sexual behavior of the Brandt's Cormorant (Condor, 1942), illustrated with drawings by his wife, and on tile breeding behavior of the Brewer's Blackbird (Condor, 1952). Recently he and Michael MacRoberts collaborated on analysis of song variation in tile Dark-eyed Junco. Two joint papers resulted, one appearing in the Condor in 1977 and the other currently in press in that journal.

In addition to his behavioral work, Laidlaw published on the distribution and seasonal occurrence of the birds of the Monterey Peninsula area. He spent much time in tile field and kept careful records over the years. His files of notebooks contain a wealth of information that he shared freely with any interested ornithologist. Any question on local birds was always answered in depth, either from his extensive knowledge from carefully recorded data. His library and notebook files have been given to the Hastings Natural History Reservation by Abbie Lou. In 1943 he founded the Monterey Peninsula Audubon Society and served as its first president. He also founded the Society's Check-list Committee and served as its chairman until his death, overseeing the publication of five editions of tile "List of the Birds of the Monterey Peninsula Region" between 1946 and 1974.Laidlaw and Abbie Lou moved from Carmel to Carmel Highlands in 1943 and their delightful home, situated on an extensive pine-forested hillside, soon became a mecca for local and visiting ornithologists. No visitor with a serious interest in birds failed to call on, or stay with, the Williamses when in the Peninsula area. In the late 1940's Laidlaw, and especially Abbie Lou, forwarded many packages of food, clothing, and other necessities to European ornithologists who had been hard hit by tile war. This together with Laidlaw's publications and related correspondence made them acquainted with a host of European workers, many of whom they met personally when they attended tile 11th International Ornithological Congress in Basel in 1954.

In addition to his interest in ornithology, Laidlaw was an ardent conservationist He did much of the "behind tile scenes" work that led to the establishment of the Carmel River State Beach. In later years he was prominent in the effort to preserve Elkhorn Slough, a locality in northern Monterey County famous for its estuarine and mudflat birds, and his will contained a substantial bequest to the Nature Conservancy toward that end.

Laidlaw was one of the least pretentious men I have ever known, in dress, speech, and manner, and a thoroughly comfortable man to be with. A few days after his death his family and friends gathered in the patio of the William's home. Here, Laidlaw's friends share their reminiscences of him, a  young flutist played some of his favorite music, and the whole occasion was completely in keeping with the spirit of this gentle and unassuming man.

Laidlaw Williams is survived by his wife, Abbie Lou, a daughter, Alice, and a son, Laidlaw Bosworth.