The Depression and War years found the young man pursuing both academic and dramatic careers, along with various other activities, including a stint in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). In addition to serious academic study during these years, Reynolds nurtured a passion for both acting in, and writing for, local theater.
No stranger to the exciting life of performers, the summer of 1937, for example, found him acting on a showboat cruising the Mississippi River between Memphis and his old home town of Vicksburg.
The following years, however, led to a life centered more securely in academia. A very driven young man, Reynolds had by 1944 completed Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Anthropology at the University of Chicago by, as well as a Ph.D. from University of Wisconsin. By then he had also met and married his first wife, Barbara Leonard Reynolds (1915 - 1990), with whom he had two sons, Tim (born 1936) and Ted (born 1938), and a daughter Jessica (born 1944).
Between the years of 1943 and 1951, directly upon graduating from the University of Wisconsin, the young Dr. Reynolds was immersed in carrying out the duties of an associate professor of Anthropology at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. He became chairman of the Department of Human Growth in the Fels Research Institute for the Study of Human Development, and attained the vice presidency of Ohio Academy of Science.