American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

William Spencer Child, 1909-1985

  • In Memoriam
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1986



Bill Child was bom in Boston July 23, 1909, but grew up in Philadelphia, where his father was a famous professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania. Bill went to Haverford School and to the University of Pennsylvania, where he joined the English Department. Several years later he became the assistant dean of the college. After World War II service in the Navy, he began administrative work at Ursinus College, but left it to work for the government in Washington. He was there until his retirement.

Bill was a delightful companion, always good humored and ready to take part in something new. He loved the outdoors and spent many summers in the White Mountains. His mountaineering was not extensive, but he climbed in the Alps and the Pyrenees as a young man and took part in an expedition to Mount Crillon in the Fairweather Range of Alaska in 1933. He also helped to test mountain and winter warfare equipment for the U.S. Army. He was Editor of the American Alpine Journal from 1952 to 1955.

Bill was married for about 50 years to Elizabeth Sidney, formerly of Philadelphia, but now of Vero Beach, Florida, where they lived for many years after his retirement. Their daughter, Elizabeth Judson Child, lives in Falls Church, Virginia.

Robert H. Bates

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