William Phillips Talbot, who later shortened his name to Phillips ("Phil") Talbot, was the admitted black sheep of an engineering and construction family. From early on, his interests pointed him in other directions.
"My growing-up years came mostly while our family was living in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin," Phil says. "Rather than to math and science, I was attracted to social studies and the school newspaper. When Grandfather nevertheless invited me to live with him for student years at the University of Illinois, I enrolled in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Ultimately I took bachelor degrees in political science and in journalism -- with never a course in engineering.
"I was active here as a student, class of 1936, on the Daily Illini and various other things, ultimately was cadet colonel of the ROTC, and then went to work for the Chicago Daily News, wanting to be a foreign correspondent. They told me I was too young and too green, but after a couple of years, a fellowship opportunity came to study about and in India. I had never really known anything about India, but this was a way I could get overseas -- which I urgently wanted to do, having at the age of 23 not even seen salt water. After that fellowship, which gave me a year in England and two years in India, I have spent much of the rest of my life trying to follow events in South Asia and other parts of Asia."
During World War II Phil served for four years in India and China as a U.S. Naval liaison officer and attache. "Afterwards I went back to the Chicago Daily News and was assigned as its correspondent in South Asia to cover the 1947 transfer of power from Britain to the partitioned India and its new sibling Pakistan. I also traveled in Southeast Asia and wrote on the rise of young nationalist movements there."
In the 1950s Phil directed an inter-university program devoted to the study of lesser known foreign areas -- mostly what we now call the Third World. He earned a doctorate in international relations from the University of Chicago in 1954, and has held visiting academic appointments at the University of Chicago, Columbia University, and the University of Hawaii. He was also awarded a Doctor of Laws degree from Mills College in 1963. The University of Illinois bestowed its Alumni Award on him in 1967.
"To my surprise the Kennedy administration invited me to become Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs in 1961. In 1965 President Johnson appointed me US. Ambassador to Greece. In 1970, having returned to the private sector, I became president of The Asia Society, a nonprofit institution founded and chaired by John D. Rockefeller 3rd to strengthen American knowledge and understanding of Asia. Since my official retirement in 1981 I have continued to be involved primarily with Asia-related affairs." Phil edited South Asia in the World Today (Univ. of Chicago,1950), and co-authored India and America (Council on Foreign Relations,1958); and he has written numerous professional articles and other publications, such as the Foreign Policy Association's headline book, India in the 1980s. He has been a trustee of the United States-Japan Foundation, the China Institute * n America, the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia, and the Aspen Institute, for which he has developed and moderated executive seminars on a variety of Asian topics.
Phil's wife, Mildred Aleen Fisher, also a member of the UIUC Class of 1936, was president of the campus Women's League, which in those days was "the top student job on the women's side." That position made her a member of the Student Senate, where she met Cadet Colonel Phillips Talbot in 1935. Neither of them could have imagined that eight years later they would marry in Calcutta, India. After her graduation Mildred stayed on the campus as Assistant to the Dean of Women for two and a half years. Then in 1939 she opened and directed the University of Illinois' first alumni office in Chicago. In World War II she took leave from that position for overseas service with the American Red Goss, which sent her to India and thus made possible the Fisher-Talbot wedding in August 1943.
In her undergraduate years Mildred's friends had teasingly called her "Women's Rights" Fisher. Her later experiences in almost seven years' residence in Asia plus eight years in diplomatic life triggered her active involvement in various women's organizations. She served as president of the National Council of Women in the U.S.A. from 1974 to 1976, and later as president of Elder Craftsmen, Inc., of New York City, from 1978 to 1980. For almost two decades, she has been a non-government representative (NGO) at the United Nations, on behalf of the Asia Society, then the Associated Country Women of the World, and currently Population Communications International. She attended the 1975, 1980 and 1985 United Nations international women's conferences.
Phil and Mildred reside in New York City. They have three children -- Susan, Nancy and Bruce.
Susan Talbot Jacox was born in 1945 in Washington, D.C., and graduated in 1967 from Harvard, her Radcliffe class being the first to be awarded a Harvard diploma. True to her "A.N.T. genes", she says, she chose a combined honors major in biology and history of science. Susan's first career was marketing new innovations in medical and surgical equipment. After becoming a mother she established her own management consulting practice, helping guide the planning and communication processes in organizations and universities. Her husband, Mark Franklin Jacox, a graduate of Williams College, with master's degrees from Syracuse University and the Sloan School of Management at M.I.T., is vice president for operations for the River Blindness Foundation, whose focus is the eradication of this disease in the Third World. They live in Houston with their son, David Franklin Jacox, born in 1982. David is Phil and Mildred's only grandchild.
Nancy Talbot was born in Chicago in 1949. In her senior year in anthropology at the University of Michigan, she received an NSF grant to join an excavation in Dezful, Iran. With the birth of the new women's movement, however, 'Women's Rights' Fisher's daughter" pined and volunteered at a women's crisis center, then moved to Boston to work in a women's health clinic. She then earned her master's in social work from Boston University, and entered the public housing field. In 1984 Nancy became director of community relations for the Alexandria (Va.) Redevelopment and Housing Authority, helping to raise $5 million to fund empowerment programs, and designing a $10 million physical improvement plan. Currently, she is a consultant for President Clinton's new Corporation for National Service, where she reviews grant applications and works with the US. Department of Housing and Urban Development in the area of community service programs. She is also active in the alumni association of Boston University's School of Social Work, having served as secretary (199>92) and as president (199294). Like he parents, Nancy has chosen to work in diverse settings and build relationships across races. She is currently a board member of Women of All Colors, a national network of women of all ages, races and ethnicities who work on women's and family issues; and she has served on a number of community boards.
Bruce Kenneth Talbot, born in Bronxville, N.Y., in 1952, is the only great-grandson of Arthur Newell Talbot who bears the surname Talbot. With a B.A. degree with honors in accounting from Michigan State University he was formerly in the hotel business in Michigan and North Carolina. He is currently a supplier of environmental control systems and lives in Greensboro, N.C.
Kenneth Hammet Talbot's children --
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