Oral history interview with Everett Gee Jackson, 1964 July 31

Jackson, Everett Gee , b. 1900 d. 1995
Painter
Active in San Diego, Calif.

Size: Sound recording: 1 sound tape reel ; 5 in.
Transcript: 16 p.

Format: An interview of Belle Baranceanu and Hilda Preibisius conducted by B. Hoag is also on this tape.

Collection Summary: An interview of Everett Gee Jackson conducted by Betty Hoag on 1964 July 31 for the Archives of American Art.

Biographical/Historical Note: Everett Gee Jackson (1900-1995) was a painter and illustrator from San Diego, Calif.

Conducted as part of the Archives of American Art's New Deal and the Arts project, which includes over 400 interviews of artists, administrators, historians, and others involved with the federal government's art programs and the activities of the Farm Security Administration in the 1930s and early 1940s.

How to Use this Interview

  • A transcript of this interview appears below.
  • The transcript of this interview is in the public domain and may be used without permission. Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Everett Gee Jackson, 1964 July 31, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
  • For more information on using the Archives’ resources, see the FAQ or Ask Us.

Interview Transcript

This transcript is in the public domain and may be used without permission. Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Everett Gee Jackson, 1964 July 31, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Interview with Everett Gee Jackson
Conducted by Betty Hoag
1964 July 31

Preface

The following oral history transcript is the result of a tape-recorded interview with Everett Gee Jackson on July 31, 1964. The interview was conducted by Betty Hoag for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

The reader should bear in mind that he or she is reading a transcript of spoken, rather than written, prose. This is a rough transcription that may include typographical errors.

Interview

BETTY HOAG: Mr. Jackson, in 1934 the California Arts and Architecture magazine said that you were "contributing talent to the foundation of the Federal Arts Project without credit". But before we start talking about the Project period, I want to ask you a little about your own life, if I may. Will you tell us when and where you were born?

EVERETT JACKSON: Yes. I am told that I was born in Mexia, Texas, October 8, 1900.

MS. HOAG: And did you have your schooling in Texas?

MR. JACKSON: I went through high school in Mexia and then went to Texas A. and M. for two years. From there I transferred to the Chicago Art Institute where I was perhaps a part of two years. From there I went to Mexico with Lowell Houser to paint and to loaf. We were down there for a year and half or two years I guess. Then I came back here and spent a short period of time and was married. My wife was going to the University of Arizona. We went back to Mexico where we spent another year. In the meantime Mr. Houser went with the Carnegie Institution to work in the Mayan ruins at Pete'n [phonetic] in Mexico. At the end of that year I came back to California and got a BA degree at San Diego State College.

MS. HOAG: Excuse me, what year was that?

MR. JACKSON: That was about 1929, I believe. Then I was offered a job teaching in a college in Texas, Silross State Teachers' College, and I had been there only a short period of time when I was offered a job in the State College of San Diego. I preferred that. I came back to San Diego and took that position in 1930. In the meantime, in the summers, I went to the University of Southern California until I got a Master's Degree in Art History. My BA Degree, incidently, was in Mathematics.

MS. HOAG: Oh, that's quite a difference!

MR. JACKSON: I taught at San Diego State College and was in charge of the Art Department there until last year, when I retired.

MS. HOAG: I didn't know you had retired.

MR. JACKSON: Yes. I didn't have to retire for another eight years but I had always wanted to devote all my time to painting, so that is one of the main reasons I decided to retire before I was thrown out.

MS. HOAG: Which of your teachers (at the Chicago Art Institute, for instance) do you feel were the greatest influence on your own painting? Or was there more influence on you from living in Mexico? So much of your subject matter is Mexican. I noticed as early as 1930 you had a "Zapatoecas" reproduced in one of the magazines.

MR. JACKSON: Oh yes.

MS. HOAG: Many of your works seem to have subject matter from Mexico.

MR. JACKSON: I think perhaps the greatest influence or benefit I received from going to school at the Chicago Art Institute came from looking at the paintings in galleries. Although I remember studying with a number of teachers, it doesn't seem to me that they taught me anything. I did a lot of drawing, but being there, where I could go in the galleries and look at works of art; that seemed to me to be more important than anything else during my stay in Chicago. Wouldn't you agree with me, Lowell?

LOWELL HOUSER: Yes.

MS. HOAG: I have one question I want to ask you. When you came to San Diego, or shortly after you'd come here, in 1934, the Los Angeles Times discussed you and your painting and called you "the town's art rebel". I've been very curious about what they meant.

MR. JACKSON: Isn't that amazing? Honestly!

MS. HOAG: Would you explain it?

MR. JACKSON: Yes. It is very interesting now that this is 1964. I think that when I came here in 1930 people liked ME a lot better than they did my painting. They considered that I was really a rebel in art. I was really "way out". Today, I'm sure I'm considered an "old hat".

MS. HOAG: Why? Were they only used to things that were very realistic, detailed and academic?

MR. JACKSON: Yes. The kind of painting that was being made around here then was related to Impressionism. The subject matter was mostly trees, and mostly Eucalyptus trees.

MS. HOAG: In fact, some people have called it the "Eucalyptus School".

MR. JACKSON: Yes. Did you know that, Lowell?

I came here after having been some time in Mexico where I had seen the work of the Mexican painters. But actually Mr. Houser and I were living in a village and we had not seen much work by the Mexicans. I think we developed our rather unusual way of painting simply because of what we were looking at. I don't think we were very much influenced by the Mexicans.

MR. HOUSER: We saw it later.

MR. JACKSON: Yes. Later on we saw the work of the Mexicans and found that the way we were painting was somewhat the way they were painting.

MS. HOAG: Isn't that interesting? The country itself influenced you that much?

MR. JACKSON: I believe that it did. We developed a way of working which turned out to be somewhat Mexican before we saw any Mexican art.

MR. HOUSER: Except for folk art.

MR. JACKSON: Yes, folk art. We did see folk art.

MS. HOAG: But, geologically and geographically speaking, the impact of the country is so strong that what one paints is similar to what the native Mexicans paint?

MS. HOUSER: Yes.

MR. JACKSON: The first time I went to Mexico City, after having lived in the villages for quite a while, I saw Diego Rivera's work and I didn't like it. Mr. Houser liked it. Then a year or so later when I went back I found that I did like it. I don't know what had happened to change my taste.

MR. HOUSER: Is that right?

MR. JACKSON: That's right.

MS. HOAG: You know, when I was looking through some of the magazines that told about you I found a California Arts and Architecture of 1931, which had reproduced one of your oils called Spring San Diego. My instant reaction to it was, "very like Orozco". I didn't know that you had lived in Mexico or been influenced by it.

MR. JACKSON: Well, I made that painting, if I remember correctly, when I was living In Coyoacan outside of Mexico City. I certainly had seen a lot of the Mexican art at that time, but I think the reason that that looks the way it does is rather that that's about the only way I can figure out to make a figure - - to build one by simply drawing shapes and sort of letting the color change in value as it goes around the form, to correspond with changes of direction on the form itself, you see. It is just a very simple way of working.

MS. HOAG: Something about it has the Mexican feeling. It reminds me of yesterday when I was talking to Mr. Hord, (not on the tape) about what had influenced him as far as the country went. He has spent so much time in the country hunting for Indian relics [!!} in California and again in Mexico. He said that when he first visited New York City he felt much more a stranger than he did in Mexico City.

MR. JACKSON: Who said that?

MS. HOAG: Donal Hord.

MR. JACKSON: Oh yes.

MS. HOAG: I was so interested. He said that there is a feeling about the whole Southwest that is closer to Mexico than our Eastern United States.

MR. JACKSON: Yes.

MS. HOAG: Do you both feel that?

MR. JACKSON: Oh, I think so.

MS. HOAG: I have never been there. I have never experienced this.

MR. JACKSON: Yes, I think that is probably true. I still feel closer to Mexican artists.

MS. HOAG: You do?

MR. JACKSON: By far! And I'm sort of glad I do.

MS. HOAG: I know that you weren't on the Project officially, Mr. Jackson but you certainly have had a great influence on all the artists of this area because so many of them studied with you at San Diego State. That's why I particularly wanted to know a little about your own painting. Can you remember anything of interest about any of the artists who were your students at the time of the Project?

MR. JACKSON: I've had so many students over the last 33 years, it is difficult -

MS. HOAG: I would have to give you their names?

MR. JACKSON: That is right.

MS. HOAG: We'll do that at the end of the tape because I must look them up.

MR. JACKSON: Yes.

MS. HOAG: In 1934 you were contributing to the Project without credit. Do you remember whether you gave them any paintings for it or whether it was just helping in the organization of the committee?

MR. JACKSON: Oh! I don't remember just exactly what was involved in it. But I do remember that we were given the opportunity to contribute a painting in connection with this Art Project. And I remember that I was asked if I would contribute a painting to the Los Angeles County Museum.

MS. HOAG: Oh really? Do you remember what you contributed?

MR. JACKSON: Yes, I do. I remember I gave the Los Angeles Museum a painting, and it was a picture of two sailors who were mailmen going to the post office to get the mail for the Navy. These two fellows, dressed in their Navy uniforms with the little white caps on their heads, had on their backs big mail pouches, and they were standing in front of a window. I'd like to see that painting again.

MS. HOAG: What has happened to it, do you know?

MR. JACKSON: I don't know. I remember that it was exhibited up there first, and Arthur Millier [PHONETIC] wrote about it in the paper, making some rather nice comments about it. Later I was asked if I would give it to the Los Angeles Museum, so as far as I know they still have it.

MS. HOAG: I'll check and see. You know all of the paintings done under the Project were given to public buildings.

MR. JACKSON: I see.

MS. HOAG: Yesterday I read in an old newspaper that in San Diego at least, this could be done if people paid $4 for the cost of materials. Many of those things have just disappeared. For instance, the Ames and Goodwin murals in the Civic Center, which I'd looked forward to seeing because I had seen reproductions of them. Agriculture, they were called -

MR. JACKSON: What happened to them?

MS. HOAG: They were rolled up and stashed away in some room. No one knows. I couldn't find them. I went from room to room.

MR. JACKSON: I see.

MS. HOAG: And in other public buildings - - every time they repainted rooms some of the paintings came down. Some of them went into peoples' houses. They are just all over.

MR. JACKSON: Well I think the fact is that the interior decorators got "into the saddle", and they would prefer to have a nicely decorated wall without ANY paintings on it.

MS. HOAG: Yes, stark!

MR. JACKSON: The fact of the matter is, I think a lot of painting has gone in the direction of decoration since those days, don't you?

MS. HOAG: Yes.

MR. JACKSON: So many artists, in making a painting now, think, "What kind of a color spot will this make? Will it make a nice color spot on a wall?" If it will, then it must be art.

MS. HOAG: I'll tell you a funny story. Do you know the actor, Sterling Holloway? He is a collector of modern paintings. Last summer some friends of his who have a gallery, the Roblles[phonetic] Gallery, were going on their vacation so Sterling offered to "baby-sit" the gallery for a week. He did, and he tells many amazing stories because he has a wonderful wit. One of them was about a woman who came in and wanted a painting to go in her green living room. Sterling said, "Well you'll have to tell me the size you want too - 4x6'? Is this the size you want, 4x6? You sit here, and I'll go get a green painting; but you have to promise not to move". He went into the back room and went through their whole stable and came out with every painting that was 4x6' and contained any green color. He made that woman sit there for about two hours. He'd go over each one and say, "This would be the wrong color green, but it's the right size, you know". Or, "This is the right green, but it's not quite 4x6'". By the time he got through she felt like an idiot. But he was SO upset that anyone would come in with such an attitude.

MR. JACKSON: Well, nevertheless that is the attitude of so many of the people who buy art. And I think it has become the attitude of those who make it. "Will this look good on somebody's wall?"

MS. HOAG: I hope someone hunts for all the lost Project works. Most of the artists don't know where their paintings are.

MR. JACKSON: Yes, that's very interesting. So many of the paintings that were made - - and some of them I think probably were very vital works - - have been rolled up and stacked away because someone prefers to have a plain white wall, or an off-grey-green wall, or something.

MS. HOAG: Or like Mr. Reiffel's murals -

MR. JACKSON: I was thinking of Mr. Reiffel!

MS. HOAG: In a high school they were replaced by velvet curtains or something.

MR. JACKSON: They are down of course.

MS. HOAG: At Russ Auditorium.

MR. JACKSON: Yes, in the Russ Auditorium.

MS. HOAG: Although I think that is for acoustical reasons.

MR. JACKSON: Perhaps.

MR. HOUSER: They should find some other place to hang them.

MS. HOAG: But I think that it is too bad.

Well, at the same time that you did the painting that you were talking about, you did another one of sailors called Sailors Painting a Smoke Stack which was exhibited around. Do you remember that one?

MR. JACKSON: Oh yes. Reginald Poland owns that. He was director of the Fine Arts Gallery [in San Diego - in Balboa Park] for a long time and later became the director of the Atlanta High Museum. That is his personal property.

MS. HOAG: I see. He was on the Project at the time that you were helping with it I believe, under Mr. Partridge, wasn't he?

MR. JACKSON: Probably. Are you speaking of Mr. Roy Partridge?

MS. HOAG: No, Nelson H. Partridge.

MR. JACKSON: I don't remember. I knew Roy very well.

MS. HOAG: You were of course at the San Diego State College at the time the Aztec was made by Mr. Hord.

MR. JACKSON: Yes. As a matter of fact, I think I may have had something to do with Mr. Hord's doing that. I think I suggested it.

MS. HOAG: Oh really? I know you were there when it was dedicated.

MR. JACKSON: At that time I remember we had 1500 students at State College. I found out that if somebody would buy a block of stone and pay for it, and pay for the tools, that the Treasury Department would pay the artist to carve a statue. So, I brought it up with the students and got them interested in it. They decided to make it a student project. They put out posters, and so forth, asking every student in the college to give a dime. And you know they collected 1500 dimes!

MS. HOAG: Why isn't that wonderful?

MR. JACKSON: They got a 100 percent contribution, so they own that statue. With those 1500 dimes, they bought a $150 block of stone out at Escondido and had it carried to Mr. Hord's shop. I don't remember just where we got the money to sharpen his tools, because they had to be sharpened. But maybe we got some more money later. Anyway, that's the way that thing came about. And I can tell you, the students really felt that that statue belonged to them.

MS. HOAG: I've seen news clippings of the time when it was going to be exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art -

MR. JACKSON: Yes -

MS. HOAG: It was going to leave the campus and the students just had a fit. It showed the girls kissing it goodbye and the boys sitting on it threatening anyone who came near it.

MR. JACKSON: Yes, they didn't want it to go. That's right.

MS. HOAG: Do they still feel very friendly toward it?

MR. JACKSON: Oh yes, it is THE symbol of the State College. It is supposed to be a seated Aztec.

MS. HOAG: Yes.

MR. JACKSON: Donal Hord and Homer Dana worked on that, you know.

MS. HOAG: They had a very big celebration when it was dedicated.

MR. JACKSON: That's right. That was the time when Mr. S. McDonald-Wright came down. Would you like me to tell you about that?

MS. HOAG: Very much.

MR. JACKSON: Mr. McDonald-Wright, who was head of the Art Project for Southern California, came down. There was a platform built on the quad, and the president of the college, and Donal Hord, and S. McDonald-Wright, and perhaps even the mayor of the city, were out there. And all the students were around for this unveiling of the statue. The president of the student body, a young man, got up to introduce Mr. S. McDonald-Wright. He told how fortunate we were "to have with us today this very, very famous artist whom everyone knew so well, who is internationally known in fact. He invented a certain movement in art called 'Synchromism'," and he went on and on. Finally he said, "My friends, I'm so happy to be able to introduce to you this famous man, Mr. S. McDonald-Smith!" It was really shocking, especially, I think, to Mr. Wright.

MS. HOAG: [laughter] If I know Mr. Wright -

MR. JACKSON: So we hollered, "Not Smith, his name is Wright. This man whom everyone knows."

MS. HOAG: Everyone called out what it was? Mr. Wright is so gracious, I'm sure he was able to pass it off.

MR. JACKSON: Oh sure, you bet he was.

MS. HOAG: He probably made one of his wonderful quips.

MR. JACKSON: Anyway, that statue is very important as a symbol to the students. Also, I think it is a very important work of art.

MS. HOAG: Yes, beautiful. In general, what do you feel the Project was worth to the artists of the area? Would you like to generalize from what you remember?

MR. JACKSON: Well, I rather believe that the Project really gave the artist a feeling that there was a real purpose in his work. I think it gave him a reason for working. I think it gave him a feeling of importance and a feeling that he belonged to something. I've often thought that if the artist could continue to have that sort of stimulation, we'd probably have a lot better art. That was the main importance of it. Of course, it also helped him to live.

MS. HOAG: Yes.

MR. JACKSON: Because some of them were in pretty bad straits financially. But the wonderful thing about it was that they suddenly felt that people recognized what they stood for and what they were trying to do. They weren't working in a vacuum. They were making something that somebody wanted, you see.

MS. HOAG: Apparently, here in San Diego, it was a regular renaissance for the craftsmen, and I think largely due to Mr. Field from what I've read. It was he who had suggested the mosaic and other work.

MR. JACKSON: Yes.

MS. HOAG: Mr. Houser, I don't know if you know about that?

MR. HOUSER: No, I didn't know.

MS. HOAG: He suggested having the weavers homemake tapestries.

MR. HOUSER: Yes, I remember those people working.

MS. HOAG: Really?

MS. HOUSER: Yes, I surely do.

MS. HOAG: Some of them have gone on.

MR. JACKSON: Mr. Field was a very, very important person in this whole thing. He was really a moving power.

MR. HOUSER: Was he a decorator?

MR. JACKSON: No! He's not a decorator.

MS. HOAG: He seems to be a kind of organizer.

MR. JACKSON: Yes.

MS. HOAG: He is able to work with many people. He is a craftsman himself. I think he designed a fountain for the Project which was not built. He's done a lot of metal work. I imagine that is what he is doing in his present aviation work. His forte is working with people.

MR. JACKSON: Well, there were a number of craftsmen in weaving, and so forth, who were working along anyway. Then suddenly they found they were working, making something that somebody WANTED. That's what it amounted to. They were going to do it anyhow. But now they were doing it and somebody WANTED it.

MS. HOAG: And the community was happy about it. They had many, many exhibits.

MR. JACKSON: The community was happy about it, of course they were. I have often thought too, that there were some things made in those days which could not have been made had it not been for that Project. For instance, in this community you could not have found any patron who could or would have paid what it cost to make the statue that Mr. Hord made, you see. Because it took a long time, and he was paid, I think, by the month. In the end it cost a lot of money. And I can't imagine anybody would have bought it or would have said, "Go, carve this statue and I'll pay you for it."

MS. HOAG: You're speaking of the Aztec?

MR. JACKSON: Yes, I'm speaking of the Aztec.

MS. HOAG: It was insured for $10,000 shortly after it was finished, which was all out of proportions to what it had cost.

MR. JACKSON: Had it not been for this Project that never would have come about. There would have been nobody in this community who would have said, "Mr. Hord, I'll pay you $10,000 to go carve me a statue."

MS. HOAG: No Medicis existing anymore?

MR. JACKSON: No Medicis around. That's true.

MS. HOAG: Then, of course, the whole city owns the Guardian of Waters.

MR. JACKSON: Yes. I didn't remember how that was purchased.

MS. HOAG: It was the same thing, a Federal Arts Project work.

MR. JACKSON: Was it? Probably Donal Hord told you this story about how that statue might have been a lot larger than it is?

MS. HOAG: No, he hasn't. Couldn't they find a larger block?

MR. JACKSON: The point is, they did have a large block and he had some helpers there with him. He would tell those helpers to "drill in to here and don't drill any further." One day one of the helpers "drilled in to here" instead of "to here". As a result, Donal had to cut off three or four tons of rock in order to make his figure fit in. So, it would have been a larger figure had it not been for that.

MS. HOAG: Isn't that amazing! [Laughter]

MR. JACKSON: Donal told me that story.

MS. HOAG: Well, it is still a very large statue.

MR. JACKSON: It is still a very large statue, but it was to have been larger.

MS. HOAG: Did you have anything, or see anything, or know anything about the Curriculum Project with the city schools here in San Diego?

MR. JACKSON: Really not. I do recall there was such a Project but I don't think I had anything to do with it.

MS. HOAG: It was a very interesting joint project for the elementary schools done by the school board and the Project workers. These books are still some of the most beautiful books that I've seen.

MR. JACKSON: Is that so?

MS. HOAG: They wouldn't get to the college level where you might have seen them.

MS. HOUSER: They were text books?

MS. HOAG: They were text books, done on the industries that were of interest to the children and their families - - tuna fishing, the citrus industry, and so forth. They are wonderfully researched, written and illustrated with beautiful woodblocks on the covers. It is a shame they can't be used all over the country. But the government tied that up because they own part of it.

MR. JACKSON: Did you run across a person by the name of James Clarke?

MS. HOAG: I have been there to see him, had a wonderful day, and I'm going there for lunch again.

MR. JACKSON: Are you really?

MS. HOAG: Yes.

MR. JACKSON: Well, give him by best, will you?

MS. HOAG: I certainly will.

MR. JACKSON: Oh yes. He was very important, I think, in connection with that. He is a wonderful person. Well, I'm glad to hear he is around. I'd like to see him. I haven't seen him in some time.

MS. HOAG: They live on Dana Point.

MR. JACKSON: Oh yes. I know where that is. He still lives there?

MS. HOAG: Yes.

MR. JACKSON: He's been there quite a while.

MS. HOAG: One other thing I wanted to ask you about. You mentioned the Spanish Village a while ago -

MR. JACKSON: Yes.

MS. HOAG: Is that still in existence?

MR. JACKSON: Yes. It may not be called the Spanish Village, but it is still there and artists have studios there.

MS. HOAG: Some of the artists I've been trying to find, who were on the Project, live in that area. They have no telephones and it sounds a little as if it were a bohemian section within Old Town. Is it?

MR. JACKSON: No, it's in Balboa Park, just a little beyond the zoo.

MS. HOAG: Oh, then we're not talking about the same thing! What I'm talking about is in Old Town. There are a lot of the artists down there who are still working -

MR. JACKSON: Oh yes, there are some down there too. But the Spanish Village is a place over here in Balboa Park.

MS. HOAG: Is it a kind of Disneyland?

MR. JACKSON: No, there is an area in the Park where buildings have been set aside for the use of artists and craftsmen. It has been there for years. Originally it was called the Spanish Village, but now it may have a different name. All of those rooms over there are still used as studios by different artists and craftsmen. And they have a central place where they exhibit their work. A person who could tell you all about it is the head of a little art organization there. (I don't know what it is called.) His name is Mr. William Bowne. He is on the faculty of the Art Department at State College and formerly he was head of the Art Department at UCLA. He lives here now and has been in the Art Department for several years. As a matter of fact, I hired him. He's a wonderful artist. Anyway, he is in charge of that. Or at least he was, and he knows all about it.

MS. HOAG: I wonder if Spanish Village is an offshoot of something that was started during the Project; crafts-demonstration classes in Balboa Park for the public. I was reading about it last night.

MR. JACKSON: It may be. I remember many years ago when I was on a committee with Millard Sheets and several other artists in Southern California. We had to look over the applications of different artists who wanted to have studios in that Village. We had to pass on their qualifications. Now, that was years ago and it might have been about the Project time.

MS. HOAG: It was 1937 that these classes were going on. Millard Sheets, of course, was exhibiting here at that time. And Marion Kendall, who is over here now -

MR. JACKSON: Marion Kendall - - she was a weaver?

MS. HOAG: Yes, I haven't had a chance to see her.

MR. JACKSON: Is she still over there?

MS. HOAG: Donal Hord gave that address to look her up. She is doing some work there right now.

MR. JACKSON: Well, what do you know!?

MS. HOAG: I thought I'd go over this afternoon to see if I could find her.

MR. JACKSON: I haven't seen her in years, but I remember she was doing weaving on this WPA Project.

MS. HOAG: She was part of the tapestry revival, which was similar to what was being done at Aubusson in Europe, wasn't she? It is rather interesting because last week I interviewed Buckley Mac-Gurrin whom you probably knew too.

MR. JACKSON: You did! How's Buckley?

MS. HOAG: He is fine. He just did a painting which was a cartoon for a tapestry which has been done and exhibited at Stendahl Gallery, along with those of twenty-one leading artists of the whole world!

MR. JACKSON: Buckley Mac-Gurrin! I always thought he was a very creative artist.

MS. HOAG: Yes, he is. And he is still working all the time.

MR. JACKSON: Well, good for him. I haven't seen him for a long time. We used to see him here. He was a great friend of Mernif Minser.

MS. HOAG: Was he a Project person?

MR. JACKSON: No, he wasn't; but he was a great friend of all the artists. He was a writer. He used to write for The Saturday Evening Post a lot.

MS. HOAG: I'll be seeing Buckley again next month when I return some of his things and I'll tell him about seeing you. Speaking of writing, there is just one more thing I wanted to ask you - - but I don't want to take your whole morning.

MR. JACKSON: Yes, you'll still want to talk to Mr. Houser.

MS. HOAG: I wanted you to tell me about a book you illustrated in 1937 called Mexico Around Me, written by Max Miller. Is that correct?

MR. JACKSON: Yes, that's right.

MS. HOAG: Will you tell me about it?

MR. JACKSON: For several years I gave a lot of time to illustrating books. Louis Untermeyer, for instance, rewrote the stories of Paul Bunyan, and I illustrated those.

MS. HOAG: Really? I own that book and did not know who illustrated it! I'm a little embarrassed. I'll go home and look at it.

MR. JACKSON: I illustrated a retranslation of The Ugly Duckling, by Jean Hersholt! Do you remember Jean Hersholt?

MS. HOAG: Oh, a movie director, wasn't he?

MR. JACKSON: Yes. Well, he is a Dane, and he retranslated Anderson's Fairy Tales, one of which was The Ugly Duckling, and I illustrated that.

MS. HOAG: That must have been fun to do.

MR. JACKSON: Let's see, what else? There is one right there which I illustrated, that one. [He indicates it.]

MS. HOAG: The Book of the People?

MR. JACKSON: Yes. It is a Mayan Manuscript.

MS. HOAG: How interesting! Do you know the woman who wrote and illustrated a book of Mayan fairy stories on the Curriculum. Eneracia de Rosado was her name.

MR. JACKSON: I think perhaps I knew her. Another book I illustrated not so long ago was the old romantic novel by Helen Hunt Jackson -

MS. HOAG: Ramona?

MR. JACKSON: Ramona.

MS. HOAG: Oh really!

MR. JACKSON: I also illustrated The Conquest of Peru by William H. Prescott.

MS. HOAG: Which edition is that?

MR. JACKSON: Most of the things I did were Limited Editions Club and Heritage Press Publications. That is a Limited Edition Club book there.

MS. HOAG: Would it be in a public library? Because I want to get such things to have them microfilmed, you see.

MR. JACKSON: Probably. I have them all here.

MS. HOAG: Well, there is no point in borrowing yours if I can get them out of the library.

MR. JACKSON: For a few years I was sort of shunted off painting into book illustration, but I'm determined not to do any more of it.

MS. HOAG: Good. Back to the painting full time?

MR. JACKSON: I prefer it.

MS. HOAG: I certainly thank you for this interview. I appreciate so much being able to talk to you.

MR. JACKSON: Now, Mr. Houser knows more about this Project than I do. He was actually ON it.

MS. HOAG: I will turn the recorder off and catch my breath a minute before we begin talking to him.

[END OF INTERVIEW WITH EVERETT JACKSON]


This transcript is in the public domain and may be used without permission. Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Everett Gee Jackson, 1964 July 31, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.