Mangile’s Pigeon Pages
American Pigeon Journal
March 1991, page 32.
Who Is The Man Called 'DOC'...
by Robert J. Mangile
[Willard Fisher Hollander, born April 15, 1913, died January 5, 2004, at the age of 90.]
Pigeon fanciers are probably unaware of the number of fanciers in our hobby that have doctorate degrees. We may know a few of them and refer to them as Dr. Smith, or Dr. Jones or Dr. 'somebody.'
For the newcomers in the pigeon fancy, these Doctors can get confusing. For instance, one might be a bystander and hear someone say that he was 'talking with Doc.' Later, they hear that 'Doc just left for lunch' or that 'Doc brought a box of birds.' Never a last name ...just 'Doc' How does anyone know which Doc they are talking about?
After a while, you cannot avoid wondering about this 'Doc' fellow without a last name! 'I wrote to Doc' or 'I visited with Doc' or 'Doc don't think so.' , ...keeps popping out of pigeon fanciers' faces. Is 'Doc' a real person or a mythical figure? Just who is the Man called 'Doc'?
Gradually, you gather that Doc is indeed a real person. But, why don't these guys ever say his name when chatting? Is he not well known? Is his last name hard to say? Or, perhaps he don't mess around with pigeons and they don't feel it's necessary to actually say his last name?
Occasionally, we meet a fancier at a pigeon show that we've never met before, and sure as the World goes around, they'll invariably mention this 'Doc' fellow. Somehow everyone seems to know about Doc and they assume that everyone else does, too. Well, the truth of the matter is that almost everyone knows Doc, or knows of him. (I'd bet that even Bo Jackson knows Doc?!) Most know his last name, too! So..., why do we use the name Doc for only one of many Doc's? Allow me to explain?
When you hear the word 'sandwich,' you don't need to be reminded that it includes two pieces of bread?! Everyone knows what a sandwich is and what it's all about. Mention Doc among pigeon fanciers and they just plain ole know who he is and what he's all about.
He can explain a complicated subject to the average fancier in every day language. Ask him a serious question and he'll give you a reply you can understand. He can answer more than one question with a few words. A fancier once told me that Doc is unique because he can talk in both scientific terms as well as 'pigeoneese.'
His hand writing is clear as his thoughts; and both are complimented by his accurate sketches and drawings. His keen eyes often see what others miss. Ask him to edit something you've written, in the remote chance that he may find an error or two, and it comes back looking like someone spilled a bucket of red paint on it! He's mean with a pencil'!
His inventive abilities challenge Leonardo DaVinci? He is always experimenting; designing cages, feed and watering devices, nesting facilities, etc., for pigeons, ducks, chickens; things in the garden; for lab animals, etc. Always with a scientific inquiry the backdrop.
He asks funny questions for you to ponder. Answers questions with other questions. Occasionally, slaps you in the face only to direct you into the right direction.
He confesses to keeping too many books and old papers, being slow at typing and wished he was a muscle-man?? He claims that his mind ain't as good as it used to be but he can find a 'mis-spelt' word at 20 paces or recall details from old works of science off the top of his head. He is especially intolerant when incorrect information is given pigeon fanciers.
Among seasoned pigeon fanciers his name is not needed for his identity. 'Doc' ... that's all you gotta say; we know who it is. He is a learner and a teacher. If you have scientific inclinations and keep pigeons or poultry, he's the kind of a Man you wish you had for a neighbor. He's the kind of a Man you wish for as teacher or as your child's teacher or even more importantly, a teachers' teacher!
During a conversation, I once referred to him as Willard? I received scornful response for the mere implication that I was I disrespectful. You just don't refer to him as 'Willard' among his fans! You call him Dr. Hollander or just plain ole... 'Doc.'.
If you've been raising pigeons for quite a while and had to reach the end of this article to learn that the Man called 'Doc' is Willard F. Hollander; you might consider keeping it a personal secret! But you should be informed that this guy called 'Doc has been involved in a life long mission to assist fanciers toward a more scientific understanding of all the aspects of pigeon keeping.
My guess is, that many truths you hold about your pigeons are the result of his direct or indirect efforts. It is doubtful anyone would object to this expression of appreciation for his efforts to advance our knowledge of the bird we fancy.