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Oral history interview with Churchhill Lathrop, 1982 Feb. 25-1983 Jan. 26

Lathrop, Churchill P., 1900-1995

Art historian, Gallery director


Collection Information

Size: 10 sound files, digital, wav file; 121 Pages, Transcript

Format: Originally recorded on 5 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 10 digital wav files. Duration is 7 hrs., 17 min.

Summary: An interview with Churchill Lathrop conducted 1982 Feb. 25-1983 Jan. 26, by Robert Brown, for the Archives of American Art.
Lathrop discusses his childhood in Montclair, N.J.; college at Rutgers; various jobs in the 1920s; attending Princeton University where he received his M.A. in art history and his teachers there, including Charles Rufus Morey and Frank Jewett Mather. He reviews his tenure at Dartmouth, discussing work with Artemas Packard, involvement with Dartmouth alumnus Nelson Rockefeller and his mother, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller in building a collection of modern art at Dartmouth, visiting artist José Clemente Orozco and his mural painted for Baker Library, his directorship of the Dartmouth art galleries and work in planning the Hopkins Art Center, and Mrs. Aileen Osborn Webb's attempts to establish a graduate level design school at Dartmouth in the 1940s. He recalls acquaintances and colleagues, including Alfred Stieglitz, Adelbert Ames, A. Conger Goodyear, Dorothy Miller, Alfred Barr, Jr. and others at the Museum of Modern Art, and Hilla Rebay and others involved in the Guggenheim Museum of Non-Objective Paintings.

Biographical/Historical Note

Churchill P. Lathrop (1900-1995) was an art historian at Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H. Full name Churchill Pierce Lathrop, but often known as Jerry Lathrop. Lathrop joined the Art Department at Dartmouth in 1928, serving as chair 1932-1936, 1940-1948, and 1962-1965, before retiring in 1966. In addition to teaching, Lathrop was director of the college's art galleries, custodian of Dartmouth's art collections, and founder of its Sherman Art Library.


This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.

Language Note

English .


Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.



The following oral history transcript is the result of a recorded interview with Churchill P. Lathrop on February 25 and  June 16, 1982, and January 26, 1983. The interview took place in Hanover, Massachusetts and was conducted by Robert F. Brown for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

The Archives of American Art has reviewed the transcript and has made corrections and emendations. This transcript has been lightly edited for readability by the Archives of American Art. The reader should bear in mind that they are reading a transcript of spoken, rather than written, prose.


CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Am I close enough?

[Audio Break.]

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  You didn't see the—

[Audio Break.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  We're beginning an interview with Churchill Lathrop in Hanover, Massachusetts. Bob Brown interviewing. This is February 25, 1982. Perhaps we could begin with your thinking back to childhood. You were born in New Jersey, in—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  In New York.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Moved to New Jersey.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You moved to New Jersey. Were there things—what kind of childhood do you think you had in general? Your young years. Anything you can—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, I had a very happy childhood. I was the firstborn, but on the other hand, I soon had brothers and sisters. Early in New York, I don't remember very much about that, but I did go to Horace Mann Kindergarten, which was considered very good educational start.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  It was quite an advanced school at the time.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes, it was. And then—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Your father and mother, were they professionals, or your father?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  My mother had been a teacher. My father was the treasurer at the Charles Francis Press, printing company. That's where I got my first job as an errand boy later on. [They laugh.] Learned a lot about New York and Brooklyn. They were both New Englanders. My father's father had been a mining prospector, before and after the Civil War. Managed a whole group of gold mines in Colorado, Central City, Blackhawk. My father was born in Blackhawk, but the family came back to New England, where they were originally from. My grandfather was sort of a retired gentleman farmer in Attleboro. [00:02:01] Had a real show place. Was also active in education. He was head of the school board for many years, and superintendent of school, and things like that. So teaching was in my family background. My father's sister, my aunt, was a graduate of Cornell, and was a teacher of French, and world traveler, and that was an influence on me, too.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You knew her—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I've traveled a great deal since I—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And you knew her fairly well as a child?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes. She lived next-door to us in Montclair, New Jersey, where she was head of the French department for Montclair High School.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was your father—did he—an avid reader, or what were his particular interests?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, yes. He went to Exeter. He never went to college, because he had eye trouble. So he went from Exeter into business. He read a lot, yes. But I wouldn't necessarily call him intellectual. He was a very sweet man, a very quiet man, a very good father. I think he was a very good businessman. My mother's mother—my mother's father was a Civil War solider. Ran away from home when he was 16 to enlist in the Union Army. They brought him back once, but then he—after a few more months, he [laughs] rejoined. That time, it stuck. He came out a captain. I remember him briefly, because I was still very small when he died. [00:04:04] I remember sitting on his lap and hearing about the Civil War, being fascinated by a hole he had in his ankle, which he claimed was a bullet hole. [Laughs.] Whether it was or not, I don't know. But anyway, it was a good story. His wife, my mother's mother, raised four children, and then she was a Nantucketer. That's an area of great independence for women. In the great whaling days, most of the men were away anywhere from a few months to four or five years on their whaling voyages, so the women ran the island. They ran all the stores. They ran the sheep-rearing and the wool industry, and things like that. So my grandma decided it was about time she had a career. When—my mother was the youngest. When she was young enough to go with—the other three, I think, were married by that time. Anyway, my grandmother went out to Cleveland, Case Western Reserve, and got her medical degree. One of the early women doctors. That's that side of—feminine independence. I was always brought up to feel strongly that women were equal to men, and had the same career potentials that—very happily—I'm very happily married to a woman who was a career woman. Had a good career in the arts and in business. That's all part of the background, I think.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Well, in your home life as a child in Montclair, were the—I know in Montclair, there were a number of people—writers, artists, businessmen as well—in that suburb. [00:06:00]

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, my mother always claims that she took me to George Inness's studio, which was in Montclair. George Inness was no longer alive. A good landscape painter. Frederick Waugh was in the studio at the time. Years later, when I get involved in the arts, my mother always claimed [laughs] that she took me to George Inness's studio. [Laughs.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  It could have been, if you happened to talk to Waugh. Did you?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, sure, yes. Of course, I was young, and I don't remember anything about it. Later on, I had a one-man show for him here at—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did you?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  —Dartmouth. Yes.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What do you remember of Waugh when you were a child? What was he like? He was a successful artist.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I just remember a fairly burly man who painted seascapes. That's what impressed me [laughs].

ROBERT F. BROWN:  In Montclair.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I had spent so many summers going down to Nantucket and back. In fact, one year, 19[0]9—I would have been eight years old—there was a whooping cough epidemic in Montclair, and my mother heard me cough. She promptly shipped me down to Nantucket to be with my doc—with my grandmother, who was a doctor. She was then practicing on Nantucket. I no sooner got to Nantucket than I stopped coughing. [They laugh.] So I had a wonderful spring in Nantucket, out of school. They were laying the track—re-laying the track on the Nantucket Central Railroad, which was a 10-mile narrow gauge railroad. I'd take some of my grandmother's cookies or fudge down to the dock, where the work crew went out in the morning and laid track out on the moors, with another boy. We'd be invited to join the work train, and we'd spend most of the day out there. When they completed this great transcontinental line, all 10 miles of it, they brought down a lot of dignitaries from Massachusetts, from the continent, they say, or from America. [00:08:08]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did they really say those things?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yes. Nantucket was an extremely independent—actually, at one time, they did belong to New York state, but more years, of course, to Massachusetts. In any case, the president of the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad was there, and many important people. Special train. The engine, coal car, the [laughs] one baggage car, and one passenger car, all decked up with bunting. They went out on the moors to lay the golden spike, drive the last golden spike that completed the transcontinental. [They laugh.] I was—I went out in the cab with the engineer. That was another very important boyhood memory.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So those were very happy days?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I say I had a very happy childhood.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What about schooling itself in Montclair?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, that was excellent. That's one reason why my parents had left New York. We had lived in various parts of New York. I was born right near Columbia, Morningside Park. Then, for a while, they lived in, oh, 120-something Street. Then they moved up to Fort Wadsworth Avenue, quite further north, in Manhattan Island. I recall that. I have a memory of riding a tricycle on—I think it's 123th Street, it was. But I think that's largely because I've seen the picture that was taken rather than actually doing it. [00:10:00] My wife laughs when I tell her that another boyhood memory I have is going to the butcher shop, when I was so high, and was met by a large Great Dane on his way out with a bone. He put his paw right in my eye and knocked me flat. [Laughs.] That's of no consequence. Then, we moved briefly out to Stamford, Connecticut, but my father didn't like commuting from there, so—and as I said, his sister was a teacher at Montclair, and she thought very highly of the Montclair schools. It was about the same distance, commuting, as Stamford had, but the schools were considered better, so we moved out there. By that time, I had a sister and a baby brother. I started in the second grade in Montclair.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What were you particularly interested in in school, do you remember?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, the thing I remember was the arts and crafts, because this was a rather advanced aspect of Montclair schooling at the time. You had pottery and woodworking and things like that, in addition to the normal three R's and so forth.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  How were they taught, the arts and crafts? Do you recall?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  In labs. You made your—made things. I still have—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did you work to imitate things? Would you look at photographs or other examples? Were you given pretty—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  No, you were encouraged to be original. Of course, you couldn't be very original at that age, but you made pottery vessels of different shapes and kinds, and you learned how to use jigsaws and ordinary tools, and put together things out of wood, when you were still very young. [00:12:13] I suppose that was an art influence in the long run. In the fifth grade, I had a teacher who had just come back from Greece and Italy, and showed us lots of pictures and regaled us with stories about ancient art and travel. I think that was highly influential. In high school, I took both Latin and Greek. I had two years of Greek, as well as Latin, in high school. I remember being in a Greek play. [Laughs.] I don't remember a word of Greek now, but—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did you enjoy languages then?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yes, but only one that's really been important to me has been French. I had to pass a German exam in graduate school, but I'm not very fluent in German. Although I've been to Mexico and had Spanish in college, I'm pretty bashful in Spanish, too. I've been to France many times, and can get along in French. And of course, in—anybody that goes to graduate school gets a lot of contact with languages, even languages that they don't really know. I remember a professor at Princeton graduate school handing me a small book once and told me to write a report on it a week or so later. I opened it up, and it was in Cyrillic, and it was a book in Russian. I said, "I can't read Russian." He said, "Get a dictionary." [Laughs.] That's how they were rough for graduate schools. I wouldn't want to have to do that very often.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But you came out of high school, then, knowing somewhat what you wanted to do? [00:14:02]


ROBERT F. BROWN:  You had a pretty general education, rather rigorous, and—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did that arts and crafts instruction continue into high school?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  No. No, it didn't. It didn't, no. I don't remember anything like that in high school. In high school, I was writing a lot, and I was active in various parts of the high school. I even did some—we ran a little bank in the high school. I was a—I learned a little bit about banking as an extracurricular activity in high school. I was a librarian at one time, as an extracurricular activity.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So you were a pretty careful, fairly serious student?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah, but not—I was a good student, but I was not in the top five percent or anything like that. I was probably a B+/A- student. I was in various plays in high school. We had an outside—outdoor theater. It had been given to the high school. We always put on outdoor pageants, like a little Greek theater. You know, seats going up, like operating [ph] theater. I know—I was a great bicycle rider. I loved that. Took a lot of long trips on my bicycle. But that's got nothing to do with education.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What was—was Montclair very bucolic, or a very nice, pleasant town at that time?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  It was then, yes. It's—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And behind it—nearby were woods and rural countryside?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yes, yes. Lots of places in the woods where you could go to have picnics and camp out, and swimming holes and that sort of thing. Very—it was quite rural. At the same time, it was a short trolley ride to Newark, New Jersey, and less than an hour into New York City. [00:16:08] We were at the end of the line of the Montclair branch of the Lackawanna— Delaware, Lackawanna Western Railroad, and the Erie Railroad ran also through Montclair. Actually, our house was only about three blocks from these two railroad stations. My father could commute on either one of them into New York. That Greenwood Lake—that branch of the Erie Railroad went to Greenwood Lake. Later on, I went to camp in that area, and Camp Wawayanda.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  That place, you got to know pretty well? Greenwood Lake?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. Well, long before I went to camp, when I was still younger, I had friends whose parents had camps, or hunting lodges, things like that, up on Greenwood Lake, so I'd often visited the larger lake before I went to the camp, which was on a smaller lake somewhat beyond Greenwood Lake. But you went to Greenwood Lake first, and then you went over the hills in a horse and wagon to get to Camp Wawayanda.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Well, that was an area once frequented by artists, wasn't it?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  That's where I was lamplighter. [Laughs.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Artists used to—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Painting shop.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  —go up to those islands.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes, yes. Yes. I don't know how much I was aware of the artists who painted that part of northern New Jersey. Very vaguely, probably, not consciously. Anyway—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Had Montclair's art museum been established then, or was that a little later?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  It's a little bit later. The—what was I going to say? Oh. [00:18:00] As I was going through high school, approaching college, I—my aunt wanted me to go to Harvard, but I was a New Yorker, and I looked down my [laughs] nose at my country cousins up in Massachusetts. I really wasn't very keen about Harvard. But I heard, by accident really, of New Jersey state scholarships that were available for a land-grant college at Rutgers. A boy the same age, who lived across the street from me, we talked about it, and we said, "Let's take those exams." We took half of them at the end of our junior year in high school, and much to our surprise, we did very well in them. So we repeated it the next year, and we both got scholarships. Well, I had a scholarship to Rutgers I got entirely on my own, without any help from anybody. I insisted on going there, and I think I got a very good education there.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Now, did your—what did your family think? Did they still—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, they were delighted, because—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  —pulling for Harvard?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I was the oldest—well, yes, I think so. Although, you see, neither my mother or father had gone to college, so they weren't overly conscious of the ranking of colleges. They did think highly of Harvard, though, because they had had friends who had gone to Harvard. I think the important thing was that we were not a wealthy family by any means, and there had been some business reverses, not serious, but I think economically, they were very pleased that I was really, largely, owning my own way, because I was the oldest of four, and there were going to be three others to send to college. My next brother came to Dartmouth, and my sister went to Vassar. [00:20:03] She was in between. So it was a great help, probably, to the family to have me not be an economic drain on them. Heaven help people today who have three or four children, and it's—our trustees here have just raised our tuition 14 percent—$11,400 one year at Dartmouth now. [Laughs.] Anyway, I—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You graduated about what year from Montclair?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Nineteen eighteen. Another important thing, which I did indicate in that resume, is that the war—I was always a great history reader. In fact, this aunt that I spoke of had taken me, when I was 12 years old, on a trip up through New England to show me all the family places, and introduce me to the other branches of the family. Much to her surprise, I knew all about—every place we went, would tell her all about it. "This is where such-and-such a battle happened, and this is where Henry Longfellow lived" and so forth. I read that sort of book from childhood. I enjoyed that kind of book. I suppose originally from my mother and father's library, and then we had a very good Carnegie library in Montclair, with a wonderful children's department, and I was a great reader. So was my brothers and sisters. They were, too. But any case, that interest in history was very strong. When I went to college, I had in mind the Foreign Service. I had already read a great deal of American history, and in college I took constitutional law, I took international law. I took all the economics courses, because I thought, well, I'll start out as a consult, and that's [laughs] what I'll be in the beginning. I better have an economic background. [00:22:01]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did you thrive on these courses, economics and law?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah, I got good grades.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  How did you find Rutgers to be? Was it a pleasant place to—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, wonderful, and the most important thing of all is I took two art history courses at Rutgers.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Oh, you did.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I don't know how I happened to do that, really. There wasn't any special reason to, but—and they were with good people. The first one was with an established, older art historian/critic, John C. Van Dyke, who was a very—had written quite a bit about art.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Had he been trained in Europe? Because there wasn't much art history here yet, was there?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  It was coming. It was coming now.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But he might have been trained—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, I think so.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Probably traveled.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  He traveled a lot, yes. Henry Van Dyke was his brother, was known as a writer, you know. But John C. Van Dyke was a very well-thought-of early art historian. Then he had a young assistant—I took another course with him—Ernest DeWald, who later on became quite prominent on the Princeton art faculty, and was the director of the Princeton Art Gallery for many years. Later on, when I was also director of an art gallery, he, as one of my earliest teachers, we always got together and had lots of pow-wows at College Art Association meetings.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What sort of courses were these that they taught? Can you perhaps describe them a bit, and how they taught them?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  No, I probably can't, because—well, I do remember the second one, with DeWald, was probably a better-structured course. Being a second course, it was more narrow. The first one was an introduction to the arts, the history of art. It dealt with—well, the one lecture I remember most vividly is the one on Hogarth and the line of beauty, that sinuous double curved line, a beauty. [00:24:09] I can remember this just as clearly as the—of course, the idea of a line of beauty was astounding to most sophomores in college. [Laughs.] And I was—my reputation in that course was not too serious, because years later, when I went back to a Rutgers reunion, by that time, I was established up here as an art teacher and art administrator, and I got quite a ribbing from my old classmates. They said, "We remember you in that art course. When the room was darkened for the lantern slides, you were the first guy out of the room on your hands and knees. You didn't wait to see the lantern slides." [They laugh.] So you never can tell.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Is that possibly true?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  It could be true, I suppose. I might have done it once. It's true that, in the beginning, I wasn't taking the course seriously. It was a dessert. It was a change of pace from the more laborious and dull economics courses.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But dull they might be, you wanted—this is preparation, so you went through them anyway.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yes. Oh, I had to. I was serious about this Foreign Service thing. I had gotten to know the New Jersey senators. I knew that you had to be recommended by the senator to get into the Foreign Service. I had a good relationship with Senator Frelinghuysen. When I graduated, I went to Washington, and I could have gotten in all right, but they warned me right away that—they said that, "Without a private income, you are not going to get very high up the ladder." And this is 1922. [00:26:00] "You'll probably stay at a consular service the rest of your life and win your own private income." As I told you before, my father had—by that time, he had a daughter at Vassar, and a boy coming along, was going to go to—two other boys were going to go to college. So I abandoned the idea on my own, and came back and looked around for another job. I had a number of interviews. None of them panned out too well. Well, I could have joined the Public Service Corporation of New Jersey, but that didn't really appeal to me, rapid transit and electric power and that sort of thing. But I wrote a letter to the Melville Shoe Corporation.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  How did you know of them?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, they'd had a representative, had come around to Rutgers to sell shoes to college boys. I liked their shoes. They had a very interesting kind of advertising. They used simplified spelling, and for that time, very simple and strong layout. I thought, you know, that'd be an interesting job. I'd travel all around and see colleges. So I wrote to—I guess I found the name of the man who was in charge of that department, and I wrote to him, and he called me in for an interview, and I got the job, and I became a junior executive. I would come up here to the shoe factories, and then see how shoes were made, in New Hampshire. I worked in the retail stores. I was sent out on the road. [00:28:01] Went all over the Middle West, selling shoes. Once sold 100 pairs of shoes in one day, at University of Wisconsin.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Yeah. So you were a pretty good salesman, huh?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, I was an excellent sales—I had had some sales experience before that. The end of my freshman year at Rutgers, I heard, or saw on a bulletin board, a request for a salesman for the Weir [ph] Aluminum Company for the summer, so I got in touch. They were going to have a course, class, train you to do this. One of the other people in the class was a famous athlete, Paul Robeson. We—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  At that point, he was simply an athlete? He wasn't known for—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  He was graduating that year, and he was going to sell Weir aluminum that summer before he went to Columbia Law School. He was a very popular member of the Rutgers student body. He was Phi Beta Kappa. He was first-class athlete. A first-class student, too. First-class person. I enjoyed getting to know him much better during that little training period. Then I went out. What we did, we would organize—we'd go to women's groups. I had northern New Jersey as a territory. We would tell them we'd like to have a meeting of their group, and let the salesman—I would demonstrate Weir aluminum cooking utensils, and would actually prepare a meal, and serve it to them. Each person who came got a little souvenir, small aluminum pan. [00:30:00] That worked very well.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Could you cook?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  [Laughs.] My wife sometimes wonder why I'm not cooking here, but I'm not. I had a set meal. A pot roast was the main course.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  That would take quite a while.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  No, no, no, it didn't. You have your big aluminum roasting kettle, and you—we were taught how to prepare this, how to season it. Of course, each person only got a tiny bit. You didn't give them a whole meal, of course. You ended up with some crepes, sorta—Crepes Suzette thing, you know, that was small but tasty. You frequently got large orders, because some of these women had daughters about to get married, and they would get a whole trousseau of aluminum utensils.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  This had a novelty factor, did it, at that time, aluminum?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes, it was. It was. It was an interesting job, and it annoyed—it allowed me to promote [ph] an automobile for myself, which was unheard of before. My parents didn't have an automobile. But I had to really get around, you see, all around northern New Jersey, so I bought a secondhand Maxwell Runabout, 1916 car. Oh, boy, was a beauty. Fire-engine red, beautiful brass fittings, you know. Acetylene tank on the running board for the lights. The gas ran the lights. It was quite worthwhile for the summer, but then I wasn't allowed to take it to college, and storage was ruining me. I eventually had to sell it, because I couldn't pay storage on it. [They laugh.] That was an interesting experience, too.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So you were pretty astute at selling, talking to people, and convincing them?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  This was a great—in fact, I got rid of any shyness I might have had around—it's one thing to sell to men. It's even—it's quite different, even, to sell to women, and women who are much older than you are. [00:32:00] But it was very good experience. So I prospered, and later on, as a salesman of various kinds, with the Melville Shoe Corporation and the—I ran their mailing-order business one year. We sold shoes all over the world. We used to ship shoes to South Africa, Australia. I was active in their advertising department. Here again, what surprised me in the advertising, I didn't use a thing I had learned in economics anywhere in the business. All the things I learned in economics were sort of abstract, and they didn't apply to something that was new and different. One of the major things we did when I was with Melville Shoe Corporation, we pioneered a whole new chain of inexpensive shoes, three and four-dollar shoes, called Thom McAn. They're still extant today. But I was Thom McAn. [Laughs.] We didn't—it wasn't that—well, we got the name Thom McAn from a book of Scotch golf professionals. A major line of shoes—this corporation had a number of lines of shoes, different price ranges and different kinds of shoes. A very fine shoe that they sold in the colleges was John Ward, and John Ward—each letter—each name has four letters. John Ward was the son of Mr. Melville. John Ward Melville. He later became the head of the concern. That had been very successful, and they wanted another good name, and memorable name, with four letters in each first and last part of the name. Thom was T-H-O-M, and McAn was M-C-A-N. That sounded thrifty and good, and we wanted—we hoped to have a really good, but very inexpensive, shoe. [00:34:04] So right away, the advertising was personalized, and letters began to come in, and who was going to answer them? Well, I was picked to answer—to be Thom McAn and handle all this personal correspondence. [They laugh.] Another aspect of the shoe business that I liked was that it was possible to take a leave of absence in the summer. I didn't do it every summer, but two of the summers I was with them, I took a leave of absence without pay. The shoe business, in those days at least, was—that was the quiet season. The first time, I worked my way to Europe on a cattle boat, and that was '24. That was when—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  How did you get that, just through friends that knew about it?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  How did I get back?

ROBERT F. BROWN:  How did you get that job?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, get the job—oh, well, I guess, again, I just heard about it somewhere. It was a possibility for college-aged people—and I was just out of college—to get to Europe and get paid—well, actually, we didn't get paid. You got to Europe without having to pay your passage. You worked like a dog going over, but on the other hand, you could stay as long as you wanted, and you came back with no work at all. You were supercargo coming home.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What were—were you taking cattle to Europe—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —or England?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  What I learned was you go up to Montreal, Canada, and you go to an employment agent there. Somehow or other, I got a line on where to go. I started out with another boy to go together. He, unfortunately, backed out at the last minute, probably wisely, because he had stomach pains, and it turned out he had appendicitis, and if he'd gone on the ship, it would have been murder, because there was a veterinarian on the ship, but he'd never saved a single steer that got sick. [00:36:11] They all died of pneumonia and were thrown overboard. But anyway, the economics of this is that, in the decade after World War I, English housewives would pay a higher price for what was called English-killed beef, beef that was brought over on the hoof from this hemisphere, mostly from Texas. The cattle were brought up in trains from the South and West, and then loaded on shipboard. We had 900 horn Texas steers, 50 prize bulls, and 50 breeding heifers—1,000 cattle all together. We got the job, and we were told to report down to the dock at 5:00 a.m., at the cattle trains over there. They said, "The first thing you have to do is help unload the cattle onto the ship." None of us had been very close to a milk cow, let alone a steer, you know. Well, not everybody on the cattle crew. About half of the crew were college boys, or young American adventurers. The other half were real tough old Limeys who were going back to England after being around the world in various ways.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  They weren't seamen? They were just drifters or whatever?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  More or less. Of course, there were some professional seamen. Our bosses were professionals who went back and forth. Well, this rather amusing anecdote. We decided, we were going to have to be down there at five o'clock, we might as well go out on the town the night before. Why bother to sleep? [00:38:00] There were four or five of us by this time that had met each other at the employment agency. They warned us, they said, "You're not going to like the food on the cattle boat. We advise you to take lots of canned goods and some oranges, things like that." Well, we didn't take that very seriously. We did buy a couple of cans of spaghetti, and a couple cans of baked beans, and we did take along a few oranges, but nowhere near enough. We just didn't realize food existed that you couldn't eat.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Because you'd always had big appetites—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  That's right.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  —as young men.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Anyway, we—I don't know whether you want all of this on the tape or not, but we got dressed up in our tuxedos, which we were taking to Europe with us, because in those days you dressed up—you couldn't go to the opera without dressing up. We were in our tux, and we went around to various nightclubs in Montreal. Five o'clock, we got in taxis and went down to the dock, very quickly changed into our work clothes, and then we were told to go right in there with these horn cattle, and [laughs] each one had to be tied up. Each one had to have a rope put around his neck, and he had to be tied to a stanchion. It's with an old—had been an ocean liner before World War I, SS Colonian, Leyland Line. It had been a troop ship during World War I, and then had never been put back in passenger service. They gutted it, and they had long passageways with room for cattle on either side of the passageway, one port and one starboard. These cattle, kind of restless from their long trip up in the cattle car, they were feeling melrose, and yet we had to get that rope around their neck and get it into a hold in the stanchion. [00:40:05] Each one is uniformly placed, you see, and spaced so they could be fed and watered from this passageway. Well, we got a lot of bruises doing that, but we survived it.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Are these big, scrawny steers, or were they pretty well-finished?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  The animals. Were they—were these—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, no, no. Oh, no, they were good—in fact, we were supposed to fatten them up as much as we could. They would be fattened up more when they got to England, before they were killed. This is in early June. We go down to Saint Lawrence. We go north of Belle Isle, right through the whole iceberg area of North Atlantic, and come in north of Ireland. I remember seeing the Giant's Causeway as we went into the Irish Channel there. We docked at Birkenhead, across from Liverpool, and unloaded our cattle. Then we were through after that. We could—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You had to help unload them, too, did you?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yeah, we helped—well, there was no problem there, really. By that time, we were buddy-buddy with them. [Laughs.] There was quite excitement, though, because we first unloaded the 50 prize heifers who were going to be used for breeding purposes, and they were supposed to be taken off the dock immediately by the ground crew, the cattle companies. But then we unloaded—we released and let out the 50 prize bulls. The heifers hadn't yet left the dock, and you never saw such excitement as—they were all mated right then and there. [They laugh.] So they got their prize breeding ahead of time. Then we unloaded the other cattle, the beef cattle. [00:42:03] Then we were free, and we went right over to Liverpool, and we never thought about a cow again for many years. [They laugh.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You had, then, how much more time after that, after you docked in Liverpool?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, we had all summer.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What did you do? Did you have sort of a plan of what you wanted to see?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yes. Oh, yes. We—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Were you going to look at art, or were you still interested in that?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes, definitely, that was in the plan, but perhaps number one on the plan was the Olympic Games in Paris, in 1924. Another high item on the list was the British Empire Exhibition, which was at Wembley in 1924.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You were interested in seeing these sporting events?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  That's right. Oh, yes. I had—I played lacrosse. I got a letter in lacrosse at Dartmouth—at Rutgers. [Laughs.] I had a very abortive [ph] experience with football in high school. I weighed about 135 pounds, and I went out for football, and of course they didn't put me on the varsity, even to practice. I had the equipment, but I just couldn't take it. Even a lightweight junior team—I just was not an athlete. Well, I've always liked athletics, and I did get a letter in lacrosse, which is also a pretty rugged game, but not quite as bad as football, or hockey today. But anyway—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  The Olympics, then. You went to Paris primarily to see them. Had you ever been there before? You hadn't, had you?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  No, no, this is my first trip, but I was—I had read a lot, I'd heard a lot. I'd seen a lot of pictures, of course. [00:44:00] I know I should tell you more about that food on the boat. It really was impossible. We each took a bottle of whiskey on and gave it to the steward. That had been advised by the employment agent: be sure you get in good graces with the cook. All of us each gave him a bottle. Didn't do a bit of good. The first morning, we went up for—we got up at four o'clock. The workday began at 4:00 a.m. The cattle boss would—we slept in three-tiered booths—bunks, right on the wood. Very skimpy pair of blankets. I think we rolled up a shirt for a pillow. Four o'clock in the morning, banging on the—"Come on, me lads. Get up now." Later on, I remember one morning, "Get up now. There's a bull loose." We had to get this loose bull back in [laughs] protective custody. Some days, as I said earlier, we had barrel details of getting a corpse up on deck and overboard. Well, we went to the galley, and we were divided up into groups of three. One guy had a knife, one guy had a fork, one guy had a spoon. Cheap tin pieces. Each group of three was given an old coal scuttle. We said, "What's that for?" He said, "You're going to get your porridge in that," and he put in a lot of gooey, ice-cold oatmeal porridge. We said, "We can't eat that. [00:46:00] It isn't even warm." He said, "There are steam pipes all around this ship. Go run some steam through it and that will heat it up." So we did [laughs] and we took turns with the knife and fork and spoon, you know. It was terrible stuff, but at least it had some nourishment. Well, then the regular meal came around, and the meat was absolutely rotten. You couldn't eat it. It was rotten meat.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  It smelled and all?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. He was saving a lot of money on us. I suppose the regular—ship's officers and the regular crew probably got decent food, but there wasn't—

[END OF TRACK lathro82_1of5_cass_SideA_r.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  —so you had rotten meat, and then what? Tiny potatoes?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. They bought a lot of potatoes that normally would have been thrown away, probably. They were anywhere from a half-inch to perhaps three-quarter of an inch in diameter, with the skins on, of course. He had an enormous cauldron, and he filled it up with these potatoes, and water, and he boiled them. At first, they weren't too bad. There was some nourishment in the skin as well as in the potato. But there was—that same cauldron of potatoes was reheated, day after day, for the whole 12 days of the trip. That wasn't very nourishing after a while. Then he had a kid, imagine 12 to 13-year-old, an English boy from Limehouse, who was an inveterate smoker. He made the bread, and all the ashes, all of the butts, all the burnt matches, went in the bread, so you rarely got a piece of bread that didn't have a few little souvenirs of his smoking habit. [Laughs.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So it was horrible, the taste and the—huh.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, we survived by sharing our baked beans and our Franco-American spaghetti, and occasional orange, but it was rough. We were really exhausted. See, we were up at 4:00 a.m. We had to get a great deal of bale hay out of the hold, and up on winches, and stacked on two different decks where the cattle were. Then we had to open these bales and distribute the hay waist-high, in the passageways, for the cows to eat. Actually, before they ate, we watered them. [00:01:59] Each steer was to be given all the water he would drink, and that meant innumerable lines of passing buckets of water.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  They were really fattening them, watering them?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah, that's right. That was done twice a day, that feeding and watering. The rest of the day, you were working very hard on getting more hay out of the hole for the following day. So by seven in the evening, we were very happy to get into those bunks again, because we'd been—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  By the time you got to England, you were really tuckered.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Of course. We saw icebergs and—we were right out in the bowel of the ship, thinking—the last thing you'd think of before you went off to sleep was the sinking of the Titanic. [Laughs.] I remember that vividly, because that was in the spring of 1912, and I was in grammar school. I had read a lot about the building of the ship, and going into New York often with my father, and crossing the Hudson, from the Jersey side to the New York side—his office was in downtown New York. We saw all the ocean liners and the docks, coming in and going out, and I was very much—and I'd been reading about the building of the Titanic. Unsinkable ship, you know. Then another—the Oceanic had run down the—that had preceded the Titanic, and had the speed record of the Atlantic, around 1910. She had run down the Nantucket lightship off Nantucket. As a beachcomber as a boy at that time, I had found a life preserver of the Oceanic that they had thrown out to the sailors who had jumped in the—had to jump into the water and be rescued when the lightship was sunk. [00:04:03]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So you had some pretty vivid memories of disaster at sea.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I come out of grammar school that day, and there were the newsboys, hawking the extras. The Titanic had been sunk, with great loss of life. I couldn't believe it. So that—that's it.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  When you were in the bowel of the ship, looking at icebergs, it was frightening?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, we were fatalistic, too, but again, that's part of growing up, the kind of toughening experiences you get. But when we got to England, as I say, I teamed up with another boy. The boy I intended to travel with, you see, never went, so I was all alone, and I had to make new friends entirely on the ship. This boy was from the University of Michigan. I met a number of Dartmouth connections at that time, that remained quite lengthy. Oh. [Laughs.] She found some picture—

[Audio Break.]

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  —lakes. Because we were interested in English literature and English poetry, and we were—Keswick, Windermere, Ambleside, Scafell [Pike], all—very picturesque part of England associated with—largely with 18th, 19th-century English literature.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So you were able quickly to resume your intellectual interest? To recover from the trip.


ROBERT F. BROWN:  What did you have, what—would you stay with local people, bed-and-breakfast places, that kind of thing?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes. Yes. Occasionally, a hotel.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did you have something of an allowance you could—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —that you could use on this trip?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  We had a budget of three dollars a day. A dollar for lodging, a dollar for food, and a dollar for hell-raising. [They laugh.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And could you do a bit of that?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. Oh, sure. Especially in Paris. How could you be in Paris and not for the first time? [00:06:00]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So you finally went—you went, then, from the Lake District to Paris, eventually?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. Went from the Lake District to London, then we took the cheapest crossing, cheapest and longest crossing, the roughest crossing, from the channel. Stayed a couple days in Normandy, around Rouen, and then Paris. We got to see quite a lot of the art and history of Paris before the Olympic Games started.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You were interested in the art and history?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, absolutely. Oh, sure. After all, I'd had those two art courses at Rutgers, and I had realized how important they were already in the job I had. See, I was just on leave from the job temporarily for this cattle-boat summer.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  How would you come to realize it through your job with the shoe company?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, maybe I missed that earlier. I did say that I had—I didn't use anything from economics. I did use a lot from the art courses. It was the art courses that opened my mind to proportion, to how things were related to each other, to an understanding of what color was, and the effect of color, and what colors went together and what colors didn't go together. In layout, in advertising, in planning advertising layout, in display, in their retail stores. There were so many ways that I consciously thought back to something I'd had in an art course, and this astounded me. In the traveling all through the Middle West, for example, I never missed an art museum wherever I was. I went to athletic events, too, but I could just walk down the street in Chicago and, gee, the buildings—each building meant something, and how they went together. I'd learned about the architect Louis Sullivan. I'd heard of Frank Lloyd Wright. Those things—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So these courses at Rutgers had brought you up into the 20th century? [00:08:03]

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, just beginning.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Just barely.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Just beginning, yeah. They required a lot more reading on my own, and looking at what it was—the instinct had been aroused, and the interest had been aroused.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  When you were in Europe, it was mainly looking at the past, I suppose?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did you bring any interest in looking at what was going on in contemporary painting?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Not at first, no. No, I wasn't much aware of that. I hadn't gotten into the—in the 20th century yet. It became an interest quite shortly, but not that first year. '26 it did, but not '24. Out at the Olympic Games, we met some of our other cattle men, and through them we met other young Americans. A boy I had known at Rutgers, I ran into, a fellow named Trevell [ph], Mack [ph] Trevell. I had known that he had left Rutgers after two years and gone to Dartmouth for two years. We had many mutual friends, and he was on leave from a job he had. When he got through Dartmouth, he had gone down to New York to look for a job, and he went to the National City Bank, which is now City Corp, and they told him that, well, they did have an interesting job for a young man. It paid very well, but it had a certain amount of danger involved in it. He said, "Well, what is it?" They said, "We have a large loan out to the Republic of Liberia, and it's partly covered by our supervising the collection of their internal revenue. Your job would be to go over to Liberia. We'll give you a little training here first. [00:10:01] You go over there, and periodically, you go out in the bush. You'll be carried in a sedan chair. You'll have a lot of bearers and guards. You go around to the local chiefs, and you tell them that the taxes are due. He pays up, and you take it back to"—I forgot the name of the capital now.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Monrovia.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. "It's very exciting, it's very interesting, and it's dangerous. And you'll—but your entire salary will be banked to you. All your expenses are paid. You'll get something like six weeks' vacation every summer to do whatever you want with in Europe." He was on his first six weeks' vacation in Paris.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  How had he fared?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah, and he was alive. [Laughs.] And quite chipper. He said, "You guys are all paying too much for your lodging." We'd had various leads from parents or other adults. Most of us were living around the periphery of Paris and having to come in every day by transportation of one kind or another. He said, "I know a place where you can live far more cheaply." He said, "A little hotel on the Left Bank called La Ville Colombia. It's on this street, La Ville Colombia. The rooms are 30 cents a night. Two guys a room. That's 15 cents a night for lodging." You practically saved your whole dollar budget in lodging. So we all moved over there. We just practically took over that hotel. Wonderful old French landlady, and she insisted that the three musketeers had lived there. [Laughs.] Out of literature. It was reasonably clean. [00:11:59] The toilet facilities were just two raised marble pieces in the floor, with a drain, and you squatted down in those two little raised marble foot elements, and crouched, and performed your, uh, chore. But it was adequate, and it gave us a lot more leeway to do other things. Of course, we had been brought up under Prohibition, so we were sampling the whole range of alcoholic choices. We didn't become overly intoxicated. We had a really good time. We went out to—we helped celebrate the 14 of July, which was a great occasion in Paris, you know. We [laughs] we went out to see a great military display at Longchamp, and I guess from over indulgence, we all fell asleep in the underbrush somewhere. We were awakened, finally, by the volleys of cannon and the military show, which we might otherwise have missed entirely. Well, then when the games were over, we did some more serious things. Two Dartmouth boys and I rented bicycles, and we toured all the Western Front of World War I, the old battlefields. We went to Belleau Wood, where the American Marines had first fought. Much to our surprise, really, nothing was changed. You could tell exactly where the different placements had been. The trenches were still the—as—there were bits of uniforms around, still weapons. [00:14:03] We foolishly were throwing around some of the hand grenades, which we probably shouldn't have—the German hand grenades looked like a potato masher, and we were tossing those things around. [Laughs.] I made quite a collection, at the time, of insignia from military uniforms.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So much of that there.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah, and we could have had a lot of helmets, but we didn't want to bother to carry helmets on our bicycles [laughs]. Anyway, we did that. We got back to Paris with those, and then we made a serious trip to the museums of Belgium and Holland. We did all the art museums. Brussels, Bourget [ph]—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What were you looking at, anything in particularly, or just generally wanting—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  No, this was all relatively new to us—well, you know what I said, the idea had been introduced to us, but we were really teaching ourselves. We weren't following up—we'd never had a detailed course in—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And in New York, you'd never—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP: in Northern Renaissance.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  —spent much time at the Metropolitan or anything?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, I—oh, my parents had taken me to the Metropolitan, sure.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You'd been there?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yes. That happened early. But that wasn't much different, and not as exciting as being taken to the old Hippodrome, or to see Peter Pan with an excellent cast. My mother was—I should have said, my mother was a great devotee of the theater, and she had scrapbooks of all the actors and actresses of the 1890s and early 20th century. She had been an amateur actress. We had an actor's colony in Nantucket, too. In the summers, many Broadway actors came to Nantucket. Before air conditioning, there wasn't much summer theater in New York, and it was a vacation time for actors, and there was a whole colony of actors in Sconset, the part of Nantucket where we had our summer home. [00:16:10] I'd seen actors and been interested in the drama, partly through my mother and partly through personal experience. So we went to the theater, and we went to the opera, and things like that.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And you did some of that in Europe as well?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, sure. Yeah.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  That first summer, 1924, Europe was a very rich experience.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Very. Then I went back to England in time to go to the British Empire Exhibition in late August, before coming back to go back to Melville Shoe Corporation.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  That was more track and field?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  That was a small world's fair, you know.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Oh, exhibition.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. It was—oh, yeah, it was really an empire fair. Actually, it was the waning of the British Empire. They didn't know it at the time, but it was. They never really recovered from World War I, and World War II finished it off.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was that quite stunning? Was that very interesting to you?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes, it was. It was stunning.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What about it was so—was exciting to you?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, to see things from India, from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa. All the parts of the empire were represented, with the native peoples and some of their art, their products. There were a lot of military displays. The symbol of the exhibit was a quite rampant, stylized lion. There were interesting ideas of display, and by that time, you see, I was interested in advertising and layout and display. I think that was a very fruitful experience.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You then—when you came back, you had two more years with Melville Shoe. [00:18:02] Did you just simply continue doing what you had been?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  The whole summer of 1925, I lived in an apartment in Greenwich Village, and was—that's the year—the time I was running the mail-order business for them. That—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did you get involved at all with the art community in the village?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Quite a lot. They had a lot of theater going then. I still wasn't into art very deeply at that time. It still hadn't occurred to me that I ever would teach art, and would be involved in art museums myself, but I went to them and was interested in them. At that time, I was still perhaps more interested in history than in art, and more interested in drama than in the visual art, and literature. I was interested in poetry. I wrote some poetry.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What was it that led you to leave Melville Shoe in 1926?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  The second summer, I decided to take a leave of absence without pay, the summer of '26. This time, I decided to get a cheap passage to Europe, not work my way over again. I'd had enough of the cattle boat. I'm not even sure it was as easy to do it a second time. The Argentine frozen beef was putting the cattle transport across the Atlantic out of business. So anyway, I went student third-class on the Holland America Line, which was a wonderful way of getting to Europe, at a rock-bottom price. [00:20:05] It was one big house party all the way over. Again, it was slow. The fast boats did it in five or six days. You took—I guess we were 10 days. The cattle boat had been 12.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did you have a purpose in mind in going to Europe this time?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yeah. This time, I was much more interested in art than I had been the first time. I was already thinking about, did I want to stay with the Melville Shoe Corporation the rest of my life? I had learned the entire business, and I could see that I was going to be pigeon-holed in one of these departments, and I wasn't quite sure which one. Although I'd enjoyed learning about all of them, it was nothing that I wanted to accept as a life career. I was having very definite doubts about a business career.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was management tightly held by family or other owners?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  No. I don't think I would have had any trouble getting high up, but—it was a very well-run company, a very democratically run company, and I knew most of the top officials by that time, and knew them quite well. It wasn't for—it wasn't that I was dissatisfied with the job as such, but it was just, isn't there something better? Then, for the first time, I began to think of the possibility of teaching. My parents had suggested that, you know, when I was at Rutgers. They said, "Wouldn't you like to be a teacher?" and I said, "Oh, no, that's for the birds." [Laughs.] I don't know what that was. That's, I guess, another picture. I began to realize that I really had some background in teaching, and as I got to know more, I was more anxious to share it. [00:22:04] At first, I thought of English literature, English and American literature, and I might go back to graduate school and get a higher degree and be an English teacher, or maybe a history teacher. They were almost neck-and-neck. Actually, the idea of being an art teacher was probably fairly far down the list. It just hadn't seemed that important to me yet. But on this trip to Europe, I met my wife on the ninth day out on that ship, and she was—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Close call. You barely met her. [Laughs.]

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah, barely met her.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  The next-to-last day.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  That's right, the very—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What was she doing?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  —the very last day. She was going on to the end of the line. I was getting off at Boulogne-sur-Mer. The first port of call was Plymouth, England, and about half of our crowd got off there, and I met her right after that. I was traveling with another boy, a boy that I had met out of the University of Indiana. He was just graduating the University of Indiana, and he wanted to go to Europe, and I'd already been to Europe, but I wanted to go to a lot of places I hadn't been to the first time. I particularly wanted to go to Spain. I wanted to see a lot more of France. I had never been to Italy. I wanted to go there. So we ganged up together and planned a very extensive grand tour of Europe. When we got on the ship, I was so anxious to get all the maritime aspect of New York Harbor that I insisted on staying up in the bowel of the ship as we went down through the lower harbor, past Ambrose lightship and out past Sandy Hook, you know, into the ocean. [00:24:04] By doing that, we missed out on getting our table reservations, and it turned out that we couldn't both sit at the same sitting or the same table. So he took the first sitting, and I took the second sitting. And I was assigned to a table where there were a group from a college in Georgia. An instructor in French there was taking this group of Georgia girls over. I was very busy with those Georgia girls on the whole trip—most of the trip.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  [Laughs.] They required a lot of attention?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  This friend of mine, Hal, that I was traveling with, he said, "I'm at a table with four art students from Philadelphia, and you ought to meet them. You'd like them. There's one in particular I think you'd like very much." I said, "I can't be bothered. I'm too busy." [Laughs.] Are you listening, Dot? No, she's not.

DOROTHY LATHROP:  [Inaudible.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  [They laugh.] We want the truth.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  You want the truth? Okay. This is the honest truth. Makes a good story, but it's also true. At Plymouth, as I said, half the crowd got off, in the middle of the night, and we all stayed up to see them off. They went off in a lighter. We didn't actually dock. We were out in the harbor. Then, along about midnight, it was dark, and it was very misty, almost raining, and we began to chug up the channel. Those of us who had not gotten off were too tired, and too excited perhaps, to think of going back down to bed, so we were up on the upper deck. Then, for the first time, I ran into this boy, Hal, and he introduced me to Dorothy. [00:26:04] I didn't even catch her name at first, and she didn't catch mine. The first thing I said to her was, "You look terrible." We were all bedraggled, you know. Wet. We had these blankets around us, and they were soaking wet. As I say, we were tired, and kind of groggy, and a lot of them were congregated up there, sitting around, and probably some music was being—some of the boys were—had guitars and banjos. But anyway, I said, "You look terrible," and she said, "You don't look so good yourself," which was true. But she made an impression on me, even in the dark. [Laughs.] So the next morning, I was out wandering around the ship, looking for her. Well, I didn't find her for quite a while, and then we met on a staircase, and I promptly arranged for a date, what was called tea dancing in those days. There was a student orchestra, and it played for tea dancing on deck every afternoon. So we had our date. My first impression was very much intensified that this was a very nice girl, and a good dancing partner, and so I promptly tried to make a date for the evening. Well, she had a date with Jerry the banjo player. She was drawing something on the end of his banjo. She was an art student, or just out of art school, actually, and she was a practicing artist in Philadelphia. Had her own studio. I said—well, I wasn't going to be turned off. I said, "All right, how about after you've had your date with Jerry the banjo player?" [Laughs.] So that turned out. I appeared for that very late date with a platter of sandwiches and a bottle of wine, and she got the false idea I was a good provider. [Laughs.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Pretty elegant young man. [00:28:00]

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. Well, I was to get off the next morning at 6:00 a.m., in Boulogne-sur-Mer. She promised she'd be up to see me off. She only liked me a little by that time. She overslept, and she didn't show, and Hal and I got off. Very small group got off at Boulogne-sur-Mer. Most of them were going—by that—the ones that were left were going on to Rotterdam. But she had made a big impression on me, so I told Hal as we were going through the railway station in Boulogne-sur-Mer, I said, "I'm certainly glad you finally got that girl introduced to me." I said, "I think I'm going to marry her." It really was love at first sight. Of course, that was a remark off the top of my head, because I don't even know why I said it. I had no way of knowing whether I'd ever see her again, really. I wrote her a letter from Paris. I guess she'd probably given me an address in Paris—oh, no, we always got mail through the American Express. So I left a letter for her with the American Express office in Paris that I had written in Paris. She was still up in Holland and Belgium. Hal and I were going down through southwestern France. Well, first we went out to Mont-Saint-Michel, and we had some real adventures there.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did you?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  You want to hear that? This is going to be much too long, I'm afraid.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  First you went out there, what, to see the great church?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah, and just to show you how we were—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Had you read Henry Adams beforehand?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yes. We knew that you don't just walk up to a great monument like that. [00:30:01] You approach it with proper respect. So we went to—damned if I can remember the name of the town now. It's on the mainland. It's a few miles from Mont-Saint-Michel. And there you spend the night, and then, at dawn, you take a carriage, and you go out across the sand, when the tide is out, so that you can really see the approach to this great medieval fortress and monastery, and we did that. We got lodging. We saw the place. Then, at the next outage of the tide, when the sand is dry, we decided we would go around it on foot. That was a mistake. The tide is not that long. We hadn't got halfway around when we noticed that the sand was wet. Pretty soon it was up to our ankles, and it was up to our knees, it was up to our waist. We weren't going to make it. So we had to climb up on the back side, the outer side, of—which is very rough and rocky, and some grass. We thought we would be marooned there for—was it 12 hours to the next tide? We were really all wet, and feeling pretty sheepish about this whole thing. That side, the fortifications above, looked absolutely solid stone, but then we heard something, and we looked very carefully, and we found there was a little postian [ph] door up there, and there was somebody waving and hollering at us. With great difficulty, we climbed up to it, and then we got a real Dutch-uncle lecture from this monastery official. [00:32:02] He said we were lucky to be alive. He said, "Don't you know that that's quicksand out there? You could have disappeared altogether. Nobody is allowed to go around this place on foot." We didn't even know that. Well, we were very properly—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  —abashed?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, we felt guilty, and we felt that we had made a mistake, and we were very grateful to him for—otherwise, we would have been out there a long while in our wet clothes. I have a vivid memory of that. It's a great place to see, a great place to be. We went on down to Spain, and we planned a very extensive trip through Spain.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Mainly to see museums, or to see castles?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Everything. Everything. All the museums, all the art that we had heard about, a lot we didn't know existed.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was it fairly easy for an American student to do this? Were people generally pretty friendly in the '20s?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes, because we had a smattering of Spanish. Oh, incidentally, we had fourth-class railroad tickets. We had a kilometrico [ph] ticket that was good for a time period, like the rail pass today, Eurail pass. This was good for six weeks. We actually stayed in Spain somewhat—a little less than that. But it was good for unlimited travel, fourth-class. The Spanish railroads were the only ones left in the world, I guess, that had fourth-class cars. That meant we rode on all the slow trains, you see. We didn't ride on any expresses. We rode with all the peasants and the hoi polloi, who were traveling, often, with their goats and sheep and other things. We learned a lot of Spanish that way. In the compartment, hard wooden benches. They'd get out their cheese and their wine. They had these leather drinking vessels, you know, where you squirt the wine into your mouth. [00:34:05] We'd offer them some of our food, and they'd offer some of theirs. Of course, they'd have great fun at first in offering us those wine bottles. We'd get it all over our faces and down our necks and so forth, until we learned how to get it in the mouth and swallow it properly without choking.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And they thought that was pretty funny, I suppose.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, that was very interesting. We started out with northern Spain, and we saw Visigothic things there. Burgos is a big city there. Then we went on down, of course, over the Guadarrama Mountains, to Madrid and Segovia, and all the outlying areas around—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did you have any introductions anywhere, or did you—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  All our own, really. Neither of us had been to Spain before.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  As a guide, did you take Baedeker along?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yeah, we had all the guides, and we had read a lot that we didn't carry with us. We had Baedeker with us. We had something else with us, too. I've forgotten now. I guess it was a Bru [ph] guide.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Were the people pretty—at the museums and all, were they pretty interested to talk to you, or were they obliging, in the churches and all?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, they were obliging.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  There weren't all that many tourists in those days, were there?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  There weren't so many tourist then, no. There were military everywhere. It was a Spanish dictator then.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Primo de Rivera, I think.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah, that's right. That's right. Primo de Rivera. He was fighting in Morocco, and so we ran into quite a few of the soldiers, who didn't like to be sent off to Morocco, but they were going to be. Then the Guardia Civil, the militarized police, they were all over everywhere. We got a healthy antipathy to dictatorship then. [00:36:03] This is before—later on, we saw Mussolini's Italy and Hitler's Germany, but—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What is it that you didn't like about it?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, the obvious repression, and how people were ordered around. We were able to talk to some of the conscript soldiers and realize what a really tough thing the whole—we could see how nasty the police were, especially the military police. But we saw all the Moorish things in the south. The Alhambra, of course Cordoba [ph] and Seville. We went to Cadiz, and we took an ordinary, everyday bus that carried the peasants from Cadiz down the Atlantic coast, and around through—to Gibraltar. Then, from Gibraltar, we went across to Spanish Morocco We were in Spanish Morocco a while, in and out of Tangier. That was quite an experience. That's the first time—experience we would have with—[inaudible]. We had to get guides, of course, youngsters, mostly, for guides, that would take us to the Kasbah, and then the marketplaces and things like that. We saw the rope trick and all sorts of fantastic goings-on in the market, without the tourists around, just the local people.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Were you taking notes or anything at this time?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I wrote home, but I don't—I'm sure my mother kept the letters, and they probably are in some suitcase up in my attic, but—

DOROTHY LATHROP:  I think we have boxes of letters up in the attic [inaudible].

ROBERT F. BROWN:  This was a whole summer, though? Yet another whole summer?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. Oh, yeah.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You came back, when, in August or something? [00:38:00]

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Came back early September. The—just in time to resign from [laughs] Melville Shoe Corporation.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Then you decided that—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  That's right. Because, uh, we went—after we had been to Spanish Morocco, we came back and went up the Mediterranean coast of Spain, and I guess we went to Zaragoza for a bullfight. We had seen bullfights in Madrid. We didn't particularly care for them, but we wanted to see more than one. Then we were in Barcelona, and, oh, a lot of good art in Barcelona. That's where I really got to, for the first time, love 12th-century Catalonian art. Murals, for example, which I knew nothing about.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Were they also in the museums by then?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  You were discovering things, you see. We weren't art historians. We didn't even consider ourselves headed in that way. We just were trying to civilize ourselves and broaden our experience. This came as a surprise to us that there had been that beautiful 12th-century painting in Catalonia.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So you went to museums because you wanted to see certain things?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  Not just out of any duty?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, no, no. Oh, no. Oh, no, no, no. We were hooked on museums.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You were?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. Oh, yeah. We enjoyed them. That's right. Well, then we took a little train up into the Pyrenees, Spanish Pyrenees, to the end of the line, Puigcerda, right near Andorra. That was the end of our Spanish rail ticket. Then we walked a mile or so into France, Mont-Louis, and then from there, we went down on the French side of the Pyrenees to Toulouse, Carcassonne, some Roman ruins in southern France, and then Marseilles. [00:40:08] In Marseilles, in the American Express, who do I run into but Dorothy. Meanwhile, she had written me a very nice letter that I got in Madrid. So we had exchanged letters. In Marseilles, I found out that she was leaving that very same day for Nice. I promptly changed our itinerary, and I left for Nice, too. Hal had his mind set on going along the shore by car. The train went somewhat inland. He said he wasn't going to give that up, but he would come and join me in Nice the next day. But I got to Nice in time to have dinner and an evening date with Dorothy in Nice. We hired a carriage. We went up and down the Promenade des Anglais. We dined out at the casino out over the water. We clinched the idea, mutually, that we liked each other, and from then on, my itinerary pretty much followed her. Not entirely, because we made some diversions here and there, but we pretty much spent the rest of the day—the rest of that summer together. Her mother heard back in Philadelphia that some man was chasing the daughter around Europe. [Laughs.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What did that do? Did that—

DOROTHY LATHROP:  Tell him the part when you went to Italy. [Inaudible].

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, we went—Hal and I more or less joined her party of four girls traveling together, all the same age, and all being quite independent. They'd been up in the Pyrenees on their own, too.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But they stayed—they were in a group, though. In those days, girls, particularly, stayed in groups, didn't they? [00:42:02]

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah, but very few groups without an older person along as kind of a chaperone.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  It was exceptional.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  It was exceptional to travel that way. In fact, her parents were a little cautious about letting her do it at—originally, she was going to go to Europe with an art teacher, but that was only for England and Ireland, and France I guess. But anyway, one of her uncles said, "You're an artist and you're not going to go to Italy? You're crazy." And said, "Well, the teacher is not going to Italy." "Well, aren't you old enough to go on your own?" That started her off, and then she got some other girls, and they went on their own. They had wonderful adventures. I was in on a few of them, but they had plenty of others, too, before—when we weren't together. But anyway, we had a lot of fun in Rome.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You spent most of your time in Italy and Rome?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes. Well, no. We stopped off in Pisa, of course, on the way down to Rome. Then, in Rome, we did everything in and around Rome. I took her one night to the Colosseum. We climbed up in the Colosseum late at night. There was a moon, and we were sort of reliving the days of the great events in the Colosseum, and all of a sudden, there's a blare of popular American music. It was the University of Virginia orchestra, and they had come in, and they started to play. [Laughs.] She was from Virginia originally. But anyway—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  I've got to—

[Audio Break. The rest of this file is part of a different interview.]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER:  —knew him, of course, but I—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  No more than you did other colleagues?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was he a less imperious sort than Gropius?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER:  I would say so, yeah. Yeah. Oh, yes. [00:44:00] Yeah. That's the way he affected me, anyway. They were—I remember, we—the—what was the big movie? The—all right?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER:  Gone with the Wind. That was a big one, and I went to see it at the theater in Cambridge there. They—I went to—as I say, I went to see the Gone with the Wind at the Cambridge theater, and Wagner was in there. As we came out, I said, "Well, Professor Wagner, what did you think of it?" "Ah," he said, "not art." And of course, this was the thing. This was the attitude.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Rather precious?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER:  Well, "It is not art." Who was he to say that this movie is not art?

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So they could be rather dogmatic?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  Narrow-minded.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER:  If it had been—well, I just find that sort of thing hard to swallow. If it had been one of the German directors, it would have been art. What is art in that context? But that wiped it right out. [00:46:00] I think that was—I think that—I'm sorry to say that I think that was very much the attitude with—they were bringing, they were bringing, they were bringing art and things of a serious and meaningful nature to this young bunch of hoodlums over here on the other side of the ocean.

[END OF TRACK lathro82_1of5_cass_SideB_r.]

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  —with the—here at Dartmouth, my very good friend, Artemas Packard, who was chairman of the department, he and I both had excellent ideas, and both—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  He'd come in a little ahead of you, or just—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes, he was here ahead of me. He came down to Princeton when they wanted to recruit a new man for the new building. He and I talked. He was a maverick, too. He was an English—he had done graduate work in English at Harvard, and he joined the English department at Dartmouth. But he was an amateur painter, and he was interested in art. He had been in both World War I and in the occupation of Germany right after World War I, Rhineland. He was four years older than I was. President Hopkins wanted to revitalize the art department at Dartmouth, and use the new building to its most effective tempo, and make art far more central and active in the Dartmouth—not only in the curriculum, but also in the whole campus experience. So he had picked Packard and took him out of the English department, and made him chairman of the art department. The older men were about to retire anyway. They were good people, but they just were a little hidebound. Packard had come down to—had visited all the graduate schools here in the East, and he and I had hit it off very well. As I say, we both were unconventional in many ways. We both showed a strong bent toward contemporary. [00:02:00] So he had recommended me at Dartmouth, and then he had gone off to Europe on a sabbatical. I came up here and was also liked by the rest of the department, and as I told you earlier, I got personally hired by Hopkins, so—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  We'll get to that.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  —Packard and Hopkins had hand-picked me, really. Well, I'm the one who brought up the idea of murals, and I'm the one who first strongly advocated the Orozco, but I didn't do it on an especially personal point of view. I was throwing out ideas. Packard agreed right away that murals were a great idea for the new building, and forgetting public attention and student attention. But later on—being chairman, he had to carry the ball, and he deserves an enormous amount of credit for this. But he often forgot to—who first brought up the idea. That's the point—and then we were both involved with teaching Nelson Rockefeller as a—and this is a whole different story.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Yeah, we'll get to that in more detail later. Did he again take credit for that more?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, he should have, because he had more—he had even more contact with Nelson than I did. But my contact with Nelson was important, almost as important as his I'd say, which he sometimes forgot later on. We were both involved in the idea of a museum of modern art, and we were both in on the very beginning of it, with Nelson's mother. Then, later on, Artemas was given a year's leave of absence from Dartmouth, and went to New York, and he wrote a report on how to expand and develop the Museum of Modern Art, and it's full of my ideas, although he has good ones, too. [00:04:04] I'm not—don't misunderstand me. I have no intention to take any credit away from him. I'm just adding a little belated credit that I probably didn't get at the time because I was a little too modest.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  On this subject, this began at graduate school, you were suggesting? Some of your classmates at Princeton.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I was interested in modern long before I even came through—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  They were also capable of taking credit. Taking some of your ideas and running with them. You began to see that happening?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  A little less so. It happened with Francis Taylor, because I wrote a thesis at Princeton on diabolism.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  This medieval subject?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Related primarily to Hieronymus Bosch. But as I suggested earlier, from what I learned—I guess it was for Professor Friend [ph]—I used a lot of philosophy I learned from him, and a lot more than I learned on my own, about the tensions and strains of medieval religion and the new humanism and new interest in nature. Well, I read that paper aloud to Francis Henry Taylor, and I lent it to him for a while, and a few years later on, it came out as an article under his name.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Oh my. Maybe I could ask for a minute what some of your classmates were like. What was Taylor like as a student?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Very jolly. Interesting guy. Very cosmopolitan.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What was his background? Had he—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, I think he was—he had a very plush social background in the Philadelphia area. [00:06:07] He had traveled quite a lot as a youngster. He had been—he had taught English in the lycée at Chartres in France. He had been in Paris and gotten to know a good many of the expatriates who were the Lost Generation. One of my best memories of Francis Taylor is sitting in his room in the graduate school in Paris—at Princeton, with the other graduate students of our particular group, generation. Taylor had a manuscript copy of Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises. It hadn't been published yet. He had the manuscript copy—a manuscript copy. He read it aloud to us. Of course, we were tremendously impressed with this, at that time, unheard-of new American writer, Hemingway. We were very much interested in modern literature as well as modern visual art and architecture. I would say that the whole group were modernly minded, and in that sense we were sparking off from the lack of that instruction in the classroom.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Who were some of the others you could comment on? You've mentioned—was Hugh Morrison there about that same time?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes, he was there.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Then he later came to Dartmouth.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  He had come down from Dartmouth. He had been an undergraduate at Dartmouth. He and I—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What was he like?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  He and I were roommates the second year. The whole second year, we were roommates in the graduate school. He was very serious young man, very factually minded, and a very good scholar. [00:08:03] He had a wonderful factual memory. He could—he usually got top marks in any examination because of that. He had been a botany major originally at Dartmouth, and had transferred, in midstream, to be an art major. His ability to remember every single little item about botany came in good stead in remembering all the factual details. Later on, when he was a teacher here, the students called him Facts Morrison. He demanded the return of a great many facts that had been handed out in the classroom or in the reading. [They laugh.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Wasn't there one Englishman in your class?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yes, indeed. Yes. He became quite well-known later. Waterhouse.


CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Ellis P. Waterhouse.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What was his preparation? What had his been before he got—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  He had the advantage of an English university background, and so, again, he was quite cosmopolitan, but very open and very friendly. He adapted quickly to America, and we all liked him very much. We used to kid him a lot. We never called him Waterhouse. We called him Wouse [ph]. We said, "Obviously, if Madavin [ph] becomes maudlin, then Waterhouse must become Wouse." [They laugh.] He took it very well. He was—he taught us quite a lot, as well as learning from the rest of us. He taught us a lot about the importance of authenticity. He was writing about Rembrandt, and—now, wait a minute. [00:10:02] I'm not too sure about that. It could have been El Greco. It was one of those controversial artists that had often been faked, you know. He made a point while he was here of seeing as many American collections as possible, to see their—I'm not quite sure whether it's Rembrandt or El Greco.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But to see their purported—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  In either case—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Genuine.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  —many of them were fakes, or were exceptionally good copies. Of course, it's also true—in part, I think, I learned that from him—that there is more than one original, that an artist often did the same thing a number of times, and although one may be the better one of the group of three or four, this doesn't mean that they're not by the artist's hand. And especially in the older ones, where there were workshops. An artist was just the boss of an atelier with a number of assistants. Of course, this is obvious with the Mona Lisa. This is another story. We had a copy of the Mona Lisa here in Hanover, and I used to exhibit in our art galleries. It was brought to this country at the time of the French Revolution. It was given to Vernon, a young man who was the son of a prominent Newport shipping magnate, who spent quite a bit of time in Paris as a young man. The legend is that it was given to him personally by Marie Antoinette. In any case, he brought it here at the time of the French Revolution, with a number of other artworks that he had collected. They were once shown at the Athenaeum in Boston. [00:12:00] The collection was eventually put up for auction, but he kept the Mona Lisa, had it in his bedroom. He never sold that. It is still in the Vernon family today, and a Dr. Vernon, who taught philosophy here at Dartmouth, had it in his possession, though it was owned by all the family members of each generation. It comes up in the press every—it's been in the press recently. It was lent to the Louvre when their Mona Lisa was stolen. It's a little different from Leonardo's—from the one in—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But it is probably early 16th century?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  While he was here in Hanover, we had it X-rayed and looked at the Fogg, at Harvard, at their conservation lab, and they thought it was by Luini. They thought, possibly, some of it was Leonardo's own hand. It's definitely from the workshop. It's slightly different. It's not an exact copy. I think the big mistake the Vernon family made was that they were never willing to either donate it or to properly approach a leading museum with it. They always got it in the hands of some promoter, who tried to make a multi-million-dollar thing out of it, with an enormous cut for himself. He always eliminated all the possible buyers, it seemed to me.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Hmm. But you did exhibit it here in this—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  Your willingness to do this—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  We exhibited it a number of times here—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  —stems from—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  —with all the factual knowledge we knew about it, including this—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  —stems from what Waterhouse said, that there could be variations on the [inaudible]—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Of course, there were other Mona Lisas around. [00:14:00] There's one in Madrid, you know. Leonardo kept that in his possession, the original one, probably the one in the Louvre, but he had all of his best pupils work on similar pictures, and make variations of it, possibly, and there's no reason why he might not have done it more than once. With that in mind, I think that's when it first came to me. That had never come up in any course that I had taken. We had always dealt with works that were supposedly fully authenticated, not necessarily so in the long run, but—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So this is an invaluable, sort of outside-of-the-classroom insight and training you were getting, informally. The other classmate you've mentioned, a man named Hayes.


ROBERT F. BROWN:  What was his name?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  He was a year ahead of us, so I knew him the first year of graduate school.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  This was W.C. Hayes?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  William Christopher Hayes, yes. He was, as I said, a typical Scott Fitzgerald char—again, a boy with a very protected background. Very wealthy family, I guess. Certainly he had a very wealthy grandmother, who indulged him very much. He was an excellent scholar, very fine student, and became a very excellent Egyptologist eventually. I knew him quite well the first year in graduate school. Then he got a job after he got his master's degree. He was hired by the Metropolitan Museum. He was assigned to go with their Egyptologist, whose name is well-known but I can't think of this minute, out to Luxor, where they had a dig. [00:16:00] He was to spend—I guess it would be the winter in Egypt, and then he was to spend the summer in London, the British Museum, working on what had been—especially pottery—that had been excavated the winter before. Then he was—of course, he was being trained for the Egyptology department of the Met, and he'd be back and forth to New York, but all in between those two larger segments of time at Egypt and England. When we went abroad on our honeymoon in '28, he was already in London, and we spent some time with him and his wife. He had just gotten married. Aspect of his Scott Fitzgerald character is that, when I first knew him at Princeton, he carried marriage certificates for three different girls. He couldn't decide which one he wanted to marry, but he had the certificate for all three, and the license, marriage license. He eventually married one of them. It was not normal to go as far as getting a license for three different girls at the same time. [They laugh.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did you feel you'd made the right decision to go into art history?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. I never once regretted it.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  It was a very broad kind of thing.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  It was like catching a fortune at the flood. Everything swooped forward—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And Princeton, though conservative, had opened many doors, or at least gave you many insights as well. [00:18:01]

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes. Our graduate student club was the interchange with others, and a presentation of papers to your peers, and to travel. We visited Harvard quite often. We'd go up and have joint meeting with the graduate students at Harvard, or they'd come down to Princeton.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What sort of meetings would these be?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, to exchange ideas, find out what they were doing, and then—and of course, I got much more into the museum side of it when I was visiting in Cambridge. That was all—that all added up, because I hadn't been here very long before—it was a tradition at Dartmouth, whoever happened to be chairman of the art department, to be the director of exhibitions. Exhibitions were shown—see, when the art department didn't have a building of its own—we had quarters in other buildings—and you had to have an exhibition wherever you had a hall, and it might not be in the art building at all. It might be totally on the other side of the campus. But exhibitions were put on, and borrowed—things were borrowed from dealers or collectors or other museums occasionally, but only occasionally. There weren't—it wasn't a regular program. The college occasionally acquired a picture, and that would be exhibited. Might be a small exhibition. But the idea of a college collection was still to be developed at Dartmouth, and it came very shortly after I got here. See, for the first time, we really had galleries. We had seven beautiful galleries, with beautiful lighting, and air conditioning, and things like that. But we didn't have anything to put in them, and we had to borrow. [00:20:01] We borrowed from alumni. We borrowed from Mrs. Rockefeller. One of the first exhibits we had was her very fine collection of Whistler etchings.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Her son was in college at the time.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  That's right, he was an undergraduate.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  I'd like to—maybe we—

[Audio Break.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  —June 16, 1982. We were last discussing your first coming to Dartmouth. Perhaps you could tell the story of how you came to be hired here. How did that come about?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, I was finishing up my second year at Princeton Graduate School in art history, and looking around, getting offers of jobs. I'd had two or three other ones, and then I got one from Dartmouth, and I think I have said—told earlier about Artemas Packard coming to Princeton and interviewing me in the spring of '28.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  He was head of the art department?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  He was the chairman-elect. He wasn't actually chairman yet. He had—he was a very interesting man, and someone you must look up more later.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  In what respect?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Artemas Packard.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  In what respect had he been?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Beg your pardon?

ROBERT F. BROWN:  In what respect does he bear further looking at?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, he becomes chairman of the art department, and he becomes a leader of the art department in promoting the Orozco mural. He was a Harvard graduate who was originally in the English department here at Dartmouth, and was an amateur painter, and was quite interested in the arts. He had traveled a good deal. He had been an aviator in World War I. Personally, Hopkins liked him as a person, and thought he had a lot of leadership qualities. And so when the older men in the art department were nearing retirement, Hopkins wanted to revitalize the art department, and he had received the money for a new building, an art building, the first art building, per se, that the college had ever had. [00:22:13] That was under construction. So Hopkins took Packard out of the English department and put him in the art department, with the promise that he would be chairman. So he had a sabbatical to look around, to go to various graduate schools and find a good, young assistant for the art department. That turned out to be me. Well, after he had interviewed me and recommended me to the art department here at Dartmouth, he went off to Europe. So he was not actually here when I was hired. But I came up, and was interviewed here by the various members of the art department. It was all worked out, what I was to teach, and everything was fine. The decisive thing in hiring a new man was a personal interview with the president. In those days, President Hopkins personally hired every new member of the faculty.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was he fairly well-known to you, in general, in education at that time?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  He was—oh, yes. I didn't know him personally, but—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  He was quite a prominent figure?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, absolutely, yeah. He was a well-known educator. My brother was at Dartmouth, as a student. My brother was in the class of '28, so when I came up here, I naturally got in touch with my brother. I had been here two, three times visiting during my brother's four years at Dartmouth. He was about to graduate in '28. He was the class of '28. So I knew of Hopkins, and admired him very much as an educator. When I got to meet him, I liked him right off the bat, and we had a very interesting interview, and everything was fine until the question of salary came up. [00:24:03] I had been warned down at Princeton by my principal mentor there, Charles Rufus Morey, that all the Ivy League thought it was such an honor to teach for them that they offered you a pittance. So he said, "Don't sell yourself too cheaply." Dorothy and I had been going together for two years, and now that I was going to have a job, I wanted to get married, and so I had that in mind also. A good reason for getting a decent salary, if not a princely one. When Hopkins offered me—as I remember now, it was $1,800—I said, "I'm very sorry, President Hopkins, but that's not enough." I said, "I've had a lot of experience, both in education and travel and in the business world, and I plan to be married, and that's just not enough." Well, he—cloud went over his face, and he said, "Well, young man, what do you think you're worth?" I upped him by $700, which was a lot of money in the '20s. He immediately said, "The interview is concluded." So I thought I had blown it. Then we shook hands and I left, and I told my brother that, well, I guess Dartmouth was out. I'd probably have to take one of the other offers I had. But I was to stay one more night at the Hanover Inn as a guest of the college, and take a day train down back to Princeton. First thing in the morning, President Hopkins—the executive secretary, Bob Strong, Robert C. Strong, for whom the craft building here in Hanover is named, he was on the phone. He said, "I want to have breakfast with you." [00:26:00] I said fine. He said, "You made a good impression on President Hopkins." I said, "I did?" I thought quite the contrary. So we had breakfast, and he said, "President Hopkins has been looking all around, and he's decided that he can tap an archeology budget as well as the art budget, and he will meet your figure." So I started off very well. My spunk had appealed to the president. Actually, of course, I didn't prosper by it too much, because the very next year, the Depression came, and all through the '30s we were getting very meager raises, if at all. Sometimes we got a salary cut. I may have mentioned before that, in one salary cut, announced by the president, the faculty applauded. It was a 10 percent cut, and we applauded. Only a 10 percent cut? That's great. We were thinking we might get a 30 or 40 percent cut. [Laughs.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Of course, expenses went down also in the '30s, didn't they?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, that was a good thing, yes. For those who had jobs, living got a little easier all the time, because the prices did come down. But there was an awful lot of unemployment. Unemployment got up to 25 percent, and it was very serious.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was President Hopkins quite a spunky person himself?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  Very outspoken?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yes. Very fine person, and very energetic person. A person of very wide interests. Had had a strong business background as well as a lifetime interest in education. He had worked earlier as an assistant to a previous president of Dartmouth, so he not only had gone to Dartmouth, but he had been here as a Dartmouth administrator before going into business, and he'd been in business quite a while. [00:28:00] Then when he was called back, he had a real broad educational background, much broader than most administrators have, I think. He was interested in breaking the conventional patterns. Keep what's good, but don't think you can't innovate and find better ways to do things, and bring in more aspects of education than have been the pattern in the past.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was this important to do at Dartmouth at that time? Was it tending to be conservative otherwise?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Not really. There's always a tendency to be conservative, and to keep doing what you have done. But his—the predecessor that he had worked for—there was one in between the two—had been a very strong president. His name was Tucker. He—I think, working under him, Hopkins had learned about expanding and broadening the base of American education, at the same time that he was increasing the enrollment and increasing the outreach from Dartmouth. In the beginning, Dartmouth was almost all local New Hampshire, Vermont boys. It expanded in New England as such. Tucker began to get it outside of New England, and during Hopkins's rule, directorship, we began to get people from all over the United States, and Europe, too, for that matter. Today, the enrollment is very, very varied. It covers the whole globe, really.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You then came in. Mr. Packard was still gone your first fall?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  He was in Europe. By chance, we met in Europe, because after I got the job, I went back to Princeton and went up to Philadelphia and told Dorothy I had the job, let's get married. [00:30:07] A little bit to my surprise, she pulled back a little. [Laughs.] I was pushing her. But we did get married. We went to Europe on our honeymoon. I took along a lot of books that I would be refreshing myself with before my first real teaching in the fall. Because in graduate school, you didn't do any teaching. Your teaching background was really entirely what you had picked up by osmosis from watching the people that taught you. I know a lot of young graduates were terrified when they—they're going to have to stand up before a class and actually teach. We had stood up before a class and given papers and things like that, but I remember talking to some of my instructors at Princeton. "What will I do?" They said, "Well, you do it your own way, but use what you thought—feel was good in the people that taught you. Something that people that taught you, you thought was bad, leave that out." I know when I first began to teach, I talked too rapidly and tried to say too much in too little time. But those things, you adjust quickly.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You weren't to be alone? You had at least two colleagues were here when you came in the fall?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, the department existed. We didn't start the art department. The art department goes right back to the beginning of the college. The older men in the art department were either about to retire or were going to retire very soon. There was very good older men in the department. The current chairman was an older man who had come back to Dartmouth, after having been director of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. His name was Arthur Fairbanks. [00:32:00] I worked directly with him at first, in Roman art, and some Greek art. Then there was a very fine older man, who retired shortly to that, George Breed Zug, Z-U-G. He's a remarkable person, who had been at the University of Chicago before he came to Dartmouth. He had been a close friend of Berenson, the Italian art historian and great expert on art. His expertise was used a great deal for his own financial gain by auction houses and prominent dealers.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  There was no conflict here at Dartmouth between teaching and doing that? Or this preceded—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, Berenson wasn't here.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Oh, I thought you meant Zug.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  No, not Zug. No, not Zug.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Oh, Berenson.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, no, no, Zug—but Zug was interested in what he called modern art, which was—and American art, too, which was unusual at that time. At Chicago, he had developed a reputation of being interested in contemporary American painters. That's the group that would have been in the Cornish Colony here. He used to have exhibits of the Cornish Colony painters.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You mean Parrish and—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes. Well, a whole group of them. They don't come to mind immediately, but—they weren't all painters. Percy MacKaye was there, for example, and—was a very good landscape architect whose name slips my mind at the moment. Sculptor, of course—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Saint-Gaudens?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Saint-Gaudens was a leader, probably, in terms of national reputation. [00:34:00]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So Zug's idea—he was interested in contemporary or near-contemporary, but they were by no means avant-garde?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, no, no. No, these were—see, he was old now. These were the people that he had felt akin to when he was a young instructor at the University of Chicago. I just recently ran across the fact that he gave a course at the University of Chicago in mural painting, and he included lectures on American mural painting. This is back in, oh, 19[0]8, something like that. He helped us, even as an older man, in promoting mural painting here at Dartmouth. He was also influential in helping us get Orozco—well, back into our project of Orozco here. He didn't approve of Orozco's kind of painting, and that was not what he meant by mural painting. He meant more decorative, things like Abbey's murals, you know, in Boston, and Sargent, that generation. Anyway, as I said before—one other interesting older man was George Lord. He turned out—he was the father-in-law of Packard. Packard had married Lord's daughter. He also was a classicist, Greek and Roman. That was the strong part of the department right there at that time, but those older men were leaving. We recruited younger men shortly thereafter. The next man who came in, three years after me, was Hugh Morrison, who had been at graduate school with me, actually. [00:36:00] We had roomed together at Princeton Graduate School, but he had gone from Princeton to Chicago, and then Packard and I brought him back here, especially because he was so strong in architectural history, and he was beginning to work on his Sullivan book.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What were you to teach in that fall of '28?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I was to teach medieval art. That was my specialty at Princeton. They also wanted me to teach a course in Renaissance art. They also wanted me to assist these older men in Greek and Roman art. I wasn't teaching those courses; I was an assistant. They let me have a seminar of my own choosing, which I may have mentioned before. It turned out to be a seminar in 20th-century art.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  By which you mean right up to the present?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Right up-to-date. I began with the Post-Impressionists and came right on up to Picasso, and Matisse, and Dufy, and the Fauve, and the early Cubists., at a time when there was very little written about them, or very little known about them. But I had gotten excited about contemporary art at Princeton, because it was never mentioned, and did a little research on my own, and I traveled. I had been to Europe twice. I spent two long summers in Europe. So I had seen a lot, as well as having read what little was available in the magazines. There were no books at all to speak of at that time.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Were they subscribing here at the college to contemporary European art publications?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, I also became library officer, so I was buying. I had a great good fortune of—this again came through President Hopkins. We got a grant from the Carnegie Corporation for $50,000 to build up a good undergraduate art library. [00:38:03] You could buy an awful lot of books in those years for $50,000. We spread it out, the spending of it, over five years, but we laid a tremendous foundation, which we've kept up, and we have one of the best undergraduate art libraries, probably, in the entire country, maybe in the world. A lot of people, a lot of graduates who come here, are astounded at what they can find here. There are probably better art libraries at Harvard and Yale and Princeton, but—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Of course, that's graduates.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  They're primarily—they started a lot earlier, and they are key even more to the graduate study than to undergraduate. We try to key it primarily to undergraduate study. We've got a lot of pretty sound material in there.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You, particularly, among other things, did collect contemporary?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes. Oh, yes. I built that up at a time when no one else was collecting it at all.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did you feel a bit daring doing this?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah, we were purposely daring. We were consciously daring, yes. And we had the backing of a president who also believed in moving out into areas that had not been explored.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  How did you—how did that course go? What sort of student would be attracted to that?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  It began slowly, with three or four students, but in quite a quick—quite a fast period, it got a large enrollment. That became the largest course in the art department. When I retired, I had about 300 students taking for credit, and another 2[00] or 300 auditing the course, and had to give it in the biggest auditorium in the college, Spaulding Auditorium, which seats 900, I believe, but looked full. Looked pretty full. A lot of adults used to come, too, faculty wives, and even faculty members. [00:40:03]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What sort of boy was, in '28, taking art? Was it fairly sophisticated students?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Another thing that came with me was—well, I don't take credit for this, because it was put through, again, by President Hopkins and the older men. For the first time, Dartmouth got faculty permission to have a major. We had also had courses, but they had been elective courses and were not in a major program. Starting with the class of '29, we had a major program. There were three majors. In '79, all three came back for their 50th reunion, and they had a dinner for Dot and myself, and we had a grand old time reminiscing. They all took that seminar in contemporary 20th-century art.

[END OF TRACK lathro82_2of5_cass_SideA_r.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  —two. So the Virginia band played, and that completed your evening?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  That evening, yeah. Hal and I had originally planned to go to Sicily in order to see Greek ruins, because we knew we weren't going to get to Greece, but we knew that there were a lot of interesting Swiss—uh, Greek temples, and other architectural remains in Sicily. So we left the girls and went down to Naples. We stayed in some little boarding house, rooming house, in the slums of Naples, actually.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  That was fairly wild, wasn't it?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes, it was fairly wild, but we wanted to see how the real Neapolitans lived, you know, with all the laundry hanging out across the street, narrow streets. The landlady said that an acquaintance of hers, young man about our age, knew of a very interesting place that we ought to see near Pozzuoli, which was the other side of Naples from Pompeii and Herculaneum, Vesuvius, but a very—well, the whole area, of course, is volcanic. She said, "You must go out and see Lake Avernus." We vaguely knew that it had been mentioned by Dadi, and that it had—there was literature about the interest of the underworld in that area of southern Italy. [00:02:07] So we said fine, and this young man appeared.

[Audio Break.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Why did those three take it, do you suppose? Were they especially serious?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, I think they were intrigued by the idea that it was a new thing. I think there was one previous course, given at Wellesley, a year or so earlier, by Alfred Barr. He also got the idea at Princeton, in contrast to what Princeton was actually teaching. Other words, we stemmed off from a very good, thorough, conventional background, into expanding it closer to the present. No, you go ahead. It's all right.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Okay. Well, the—do you suppose there were some—but was Morey, for example, at Princeton, receptive to modern art? He didn't condemn it or—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, no, he didn't condemn it.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But he didn't speak of it? You said earlier it was by omission.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  They had a course at Princeton called Modern Art, but it ended in 1850. It began in 1700. It really was just post-Renaissance. That's what it really was. After the Renaissance, the rather dubious experiments with Mannerism, Baroque, Rococo, and the Neo-Classic revivals of the early 19th century. That was considered modern art, because it was after the great period of the Renaissance. But to look on modern art as something really different, they didn't recognize a difference, really. The real merit of Baroque, they tend to look down on that as being too emotional. They thought that—they gave you good, solid background in Baroque and Rococo, but there were undercurrents that, after all, it was a decline from the great high Renaissance. [00:04:10] The marriage revivals in the 19th century, Neoclassic and Neo-Gothic, they were still sort of art in decline. The more wild the expressions that followed—Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, and Cubism—they—I once asked an instructor at Princeton, who had given that modern art course, why we didn't deal with contemporary living artists, and he quite frankly said it would take a couple hundred years to know whether living art was going to last or not. They couldn't take a chance. You had to wait. You had to wait a long time to find out. I said, "Well, the teachers and patrons of the Renaissance didn't wait any couple hundred years before they patronized their living artists. Wouldn't it be important to have at least a minority of people that they would try to understand and try to support the avant-garde artists of their day? Isn't that what makes a renaissance?" My generation at Princeton caught that bug, I think. Alfred Barr certainly did wonders with it at the Museum of Modern Art. I was closely connected with the Museum of Modern Art, and so was Packard. We fed ideas to them, as well as their helping us. I think we were influential here at Dartmouth in getting them to include photography and posters and things like that, whereas Barr was primarily interested in painting and sculpture. We got—Packard actually spent a whole year down there, writing a report for them on what to do. [00:06:02] When I had a show up here later, which I put on for the president of the college, just for the seniors—we had a course here called Great Issues, and it was for the whole senior class. A lot of them had not taken the advantage of art history courses, and didn't have much background in art. In one week, I was asked to have an exhibit that would introduce them to the various aspects of modern art: where they came from, where they were going, how they affected every citizen's life. I'd have a very fine group of original works in the gallery here, borrowed from other museums and collectors, and a great deal from the Museum of Modern Art. But then I'd also have a preliminary orientation room, where, with various reproductions, I outline two of them in fairly chronological order, the principal points of view of the 20th-century artist, starting with mid-19th-century Naturalism, because they were very radical at the time, and how there had been previous aspects of Naturalism, going all the way back to Roman art, and that that had led into what was more or less conventional applied art of advertising in much of this century, and certainly had been developed in photography. Photography was developed in a way of catching that realistic record that had been laboriously done with a pencil or paintbrush. [00:08:02] Then, from that, you moved into the more radical movement in 19th-century Impressionism. Again, by some very concise text and some very well-chosen pictures, I explained the point of view of Impressionism. The much more momentary aspect of the scene, the quicker, more exciting view of nature, with the dancing, ever-shifting nature of light on the experience. Light meant color. The beam of light contains the whole spectrum of color. So that that had both a scientific and a psychological aspect. It's broadening the artist's and the public's aspect—knowledge of reality. Then that moved into Post-Impressionism, where each artist took a somewhat different, and more personal, and more psychological interpretation of reality. Renoir's Joie de Vivre, for example, as opposed to Gauguin's feeling for exoticism, Cézanne's feeling for the underlying structure of nature. Then, from Post-Impressionism, you move into, quite easily and naturally, into a further study of personalized psychology of color and the Fauves, and that emotional reaction comes out of Gauguin. Cubism comes out of Cézanne, the greater understanding of not only the structure—a static structure, but a multiplicity of structures. The simultaneity idea of seeing a lot of different things at once in a new configuration, which is the key to Cubism. [00:10:00] Then I think I ended up with Surrealism, and the infamous Freud, the subconscious reality. Well, I was able to explain those things simply enough, and clearly enough, so that the students got a big kick out of that, and we go and look at the realistic—I mean, at the fine, actual paintings. Even without taking a course, that was a very successful thing. That coincided with—I think it was the 10th or 20th anniversary of the Museum of Modern Art. They sent officials up here to look at that show, and they planned their whole year of celebrating the anniversary of the Hopkins Center by expanding on the idea of that one exhibition here at Dartmouth.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  This would have been the late '40s?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  When you came, the new galleries had been planned here, hadn't they?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  The galleries were actually under construction.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  I think you said that Arthur Fairbanks had been chiefly involved in the planning.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  He was a chairman, but he had a set-to [ph] with the business manager of the college, and backed out of it, unfortunately. There were some bad mistakes made because there wasn't enough art department supervision in the final plans and construction of that building. Fairbanks, as a director at Boston, had a strong feeling that the best galleries were top-floor galleries with natural sky-lighting, and the business manager of the college, who had a lot of experience with—the treasurer of the college, actually, it was—who had had a lot of experience with snow problems and ice problems on roofs here, was dead against that. [00:12:03] Our previous art gallery had been in Wilson Hall, which was the library before Baker Library was built, and the gallery was on a top floor with skylights, and they'd always leaked, and there had always been problems. As I say, these two men came to a parting of the ways. They did—Edgerton [ph], the treasurer, kept the galleries on the top floor, but with no skylights, with a very expensive internal lighting system that simulated sky-lighting, and was too complex to properly maintain, really, over a long period of time. So that—if the younger men had had their say, we would have had the galleries on the ground floor, with most easy access. But it always was a handicap in that building, and still is. The galleries are still there, as a matter of fact, and they're very fine galleries, but you have to climb up all the way to the top of the building. There's a freight elevator, but there's no passenger elevator.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So you were—you came into nearing completion in some galleries, about which you would have—you had some question about the quality, or the—and yet there was a lot of space, wasn't there?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I wasn't any expert on galleries then, and it didn't occur to me until later what a handicap it was not to have the galleries on the ground floor. If Packard and I had had our say, they would have been, but we were so happy to have a building. The building was an excellent building in many ways, far better than we're going to build today, I think. It had space luxuries that are no longer feasible. [00:14:00] Every one of our offices had its own adjoining seminar room, which was exclusive—for the exclusive use of that particular professor, so that you could put up displays in your seminar room and keep them there, or change them whenever you felt like it, but you weren't sharing that seminar room with half a dozen other people. That kind of luxury doesn't exist anymore.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Not at all.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Even there are areas today where instructors don't have an office of their own. They share an office with somebody else.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  When the gallery is opened in 1929—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Opened at commencement.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What was shown in them?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  We didn't have any art collection to speak of.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Oh, you didn't? The college really didn't?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  No. We had collect—there had been various times when people had collected some pictures, but they weren't—they were usually portraits. We had a lot of portraits of Daniel Webster, for example. We had portraits of some of the early trustees of the college. We had portraits of people involved in the famous Dartmouth College case, other than Webster. Here and there, we had a landscape. We had one Remington, for example. But these came, more or less, by chance, and there was no cohesion, no planning. No breadth of a collection that could be used in art history instruction, anyway. So we borrowed for the opening. There was an alumnus who had a good collection of Old Masters in Manchester, a man named Jackson, and he lent us those, and we had those from Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., whose son was here in college. [00:16:07] Nelson was in college at the time. She was interested in art. She was about to open the Museum of Modern Art. She lent us her sort of etching collection. That was beautiful. Again, we had some other things. Those were the two major exhibits in the gallery.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Her son, was he a pupil of yours at one point?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes. Her son, Nelson, was an economics major, and a very good all-around student. He had good grades, although it took him twice as long to study as his roommate, because he had—Dyslexia, is it, that eye problem?

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Dyslexia, yeah. Images would get confused.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. He had to really exert himself a lot more in studying, take a lot more time than most students did, but he achieved. He was well-liked on the campus. He was a good athlete. He was on the soccer team. He was a good student photographer, almost professional status. He was the editor of a pictorial magazine the students put out called the Dartmouth Pictorial, photographic magazine.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  His last year, he spent a lot of time in your department, did he?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah, I'm coming to that. He also was the president of an organization of students called The Arts, which was interested in literature—well, in all the arts—and which brought advice and consent of the various departments in the humanities division, including the art department. This student organization was able to bring a lot more people here than the department budgets themselves would have allowed for. [00:18:04] Although we were very lucky in the art department. We had a more substantial lecture budget than most departments did, and this is because we were eager to use it effectively, and so the president backed us up. Between the Arts student organization and the art department lecture budget, we had a lot of prominent people in the arts come to Dartmouth, right from the moment I was here. I don't know how much had preceded that. But I found that out immediately when I got here. I first met Nelson in relation to bringing lecturers to the college. He was still an EC [ph] major then. President Hopkins inaugurated something that year, starting in the year '29–'30. He inaugurated a program called Senior Fellowship. He had decided that, in any given senior class—any given junior class, we'll say—there must be five or six boys—they were all boys then, no girls—who were mature enough, who had already demonstrated their abilities and their maturity, and who could be treated, really, as graduate students, who could spend their senior year, under tutorial guidance, with some specific program that they had thought up and been advised about, and were able to carry out. That first year, there were five people chosen, and one of them was Nelson, and he elected to spend his entire year in the art department. This was because his father had been a collector of Oriental art, and his mother was very active and interested in contemporary art, and so he decided he ought to know more about it. [00:20:00] Although he hadn't had any formal instruction before, he had that family background in the arts, and he was interested, as I said, in his junior—I guess sophomore and junior year, he was active in this arts organization, and they'd been bringing prominent people here. We literally tutored him from the very beginning of art history, back in cave painting, right up to current day. Of course, he was impressed. We came up to the current day, and that tied in with what his mother was interested in. So it was a very happy relationship. We had him working in the studio, too. We had him drawing and painting. A very important feature of the new art building was that we had studios. We had studio spaces. We had an inner studio for an artist-in-residence. At that time, our idea was to have many artists-in-residence for relatively short periods of time. We, later on, tried with longer periods of time, and we continue that today in the Hopkins Center with an artist each term, four artists a year. With Orozco, we kept him here two years, you see. We had a Canadian artist, a very fine one, it turns out, Lawren Harris. We had him here in the mid-'30s. He followed Orozco. He was here—he was artist-in-residence for at least three, maybe four years. He was in Hanover four years, but I'm not positive now whether he worked in the studio and coached our students who wanted that kind of instruction for all four years he was in Hanover. Probably not, but at least two years, maybe three.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  In terms of effect on the students, how would you compare, say, the very short stints that the artists came for initially with the longer ones later on? [00:22:06]

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  They both have some plusses and some minuses. It's stimulating to have a number of different artists for short periods, but you lose a sense of continuity, and the ones who stayed a weekend or a week, there wasn't enough buildup. What they had to offer the students couldn't be carried through. I think the present system now of an artist every 10 weeks is probably the best of the lot.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Maybe this begs the question of what, at that time, were the boys taking studio work up to?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  It was all extracurricular. You couldn't get the faculty to agree to give them credit for it. We got around that gradually by saying that we would give—that the art department itself would give tutorial credit for an art major who was in the very high elevations of the marking system. There's a term for that, which slips my mind at the moment. An honors student. Honors work. We were allowed to do it as honors work later on. But then, with the Hopkins Center, we broke the ice and—well, I guess before the Hopkins Center. In the '50s, we finally achieved academic credit for studio work, and now it's a very important part of the curriculum, and it's carried over into music and drama. We were the first ones to break that ice.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You, by the—were you living here in Hanover? Was that—or did you live in Norwich, Vermont?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  The first 14 years, I lived in Norwich, in a little farmhouse. I felt very superior about it.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What do you mean? [00:23:59]

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, we had both been brought up in cities, and so we had a very romantic love for the real countryside, and Hanover was a little too citified. We felt great in crossing that covered bridge over to the wilds of Vermont, back to nature. [Laughs.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And it still was a pretty young, sophisticated, little rural town, Norwich was?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yes. After I got the job from President Hopkins, I said to my brother, "Dorothy and I will be married, and I better look around for a house to rent." He said, "Oh, you'll never find anything in Hanover." This is 1928. He said, "Hanover is very built-up. It's very scarce, very expensive." But he said, "I've heard of one daring faculty family that went across the river into the wilds of Vermont." He said, "It's not far away. Norwich is only two miles from here." He said, "There isn't a paved road in the whole state. They don't bother to plow that much in the winter. They let nature take its course, because they've all got sleighs and barges on runners. They don't want a dry road bed in the winter." He also said, "In the spring, they have no bottom at all. The mud season, they're impassable. And in the fall, they get kind of washboard-y. But except for that, they're all right." Well, I wasn't going to be thrown off, so I said, "Let's go over there and see." He borrowed a car from his fraternity house and we drove over. We saw some impossible places, with no light, no heat, no plumbing, even, sometimes. Then the country store over there—which still exists today, Dan & Whit's. Have you ever been over there?

ROBERT F. BROWN:  I don't think so.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, Dan and Whit were two small boys, working for an owner at that time, named Liam [ph] Merrill. The post office was in the store. [00:26:00] Great, big potbelly stove that heated the store. It's still heated by wood today. But it was a very extensive country store. Almost anything you could think of that would be needed in country living. We met Mr. Merrill, and turned out—we became very close friends. He suggested that I look up a recent alumnus that moved to Norwich, retired, still quite relatively young, from the insurance business out in Ohio. He said, "I think Mr. Hills has bought a second house. I think he bought the old Grinell farm. He might rent it to you." So I looked him up, and met him and his wife. She had been collecting Shaker antiques. She'd been going to all the Shaker auctions around the country. Was a big Shaker colony over here in Enfield, which was breaking up. Sure enough, he had this little farmhouse. He'd put a hot-air furnace under the living room, which was the only room that had a cellar. He had put in a septic tank, so there was plumbing, and he put in electricity. It was small, but it was somewhat isolated, up on a hill. Lots of privacy, and comfortable. We didn't mind the primitive hot-air heat, which came out the one big radiator, and it found its way around the rest of the house by itself. So it meant the upstairs were relatively cool. But on the other hand, it was very picturesque, and he had made it look very attractive, so I rented right off the bat for, as I remember, $40 a month. Dorothy loved it when she saw it, and we stayed there 14 years, and really loved it. We did a lot of entertaining with students. [00:28:00] We weren't much older than the students, so we got along very well with the art majors, and very often we'd have six or a dozen of them over at once. The class of '31 that was here last year for their 50th, they reminded us that they loved to come over to Hungry Hill. We said, "Hungry Hill?" They said, "Yes, whenever we got hungry, we came over to your house, and we called it Hungry Hill." [They laugh.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  A great treat for them.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Was a very good cook, and they—we had lots of fun with them. Later on, when Orozco was here, in—well, that was in '32 to '34—we frequently had him over with Dartmouth art majors. One of the good stories I have about him is that we had landscaped the front of the house quite well, but in the back of the house, it was kind of a tangle of underbrush and sloping land, and a big rock assortment. The second floor of our house moved right out onto the hillside, over a carriage shed. We had floored that over and put in a skylight, and it was Dorothy's studio. She painted and drew there, and she was doing a lot of work for Bonwit Teller, for Peck and Peck in New York. Quite a bit of it she could do up here. She didn't have to be in New York all the time. When she was in New York, I came down there weekends, and when I was—when she had to be in New York, she'd come up here weekends. We managed to—that helped us all through the Depression, because we had two incomes, and shared interests that fitted together quite well. I guess I've told you before, we were able to go to Europe almost every summer during the Depression, every summer in the '30s.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  As a result of the—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  ­—joint salary?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I was doing research in art history, but she was—and I did some work for Bonwit Teller, too, but she was the—she was very important to them. [00:30:05] She was to attend the Paris fashion openings, and then she was to advise them about fashion trends, trends in color, design, so forth. Then she ran a ski shop for them, so that she was to be sent with me to various parts of Europe different summers to collect ski material and ski clothing, ski ideas, for the shop the following winter. You must get her on sometime.


CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  That's a very interesting story.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So you really were, and you always have been, only partly in Hanover, teaching, and then you lived elsewhere, plus you could travel a lot.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  We traveled a great deal.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  By 1932, you were chairman of the department for the first time.


ROBERT F. BROWN:  How did that come about so rapidly after your arrival, and then—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  After I arrived, Artemus was chairman, and he's the one who really led us into the mural program, although it was my idea to bring Orozco here. The minute we had the new building, and the new major program in art, and the cue from President Hopkins to make art a more central part of the college life, we expanded the artist-in-residence idea. We expanded the program of gallery activities very rapidly. All of it really borrowed, you see, because we really didn't have much of anything locally. So that meant close relationships with many dealers, with many other museums, with many potential donors and lenders. [00:32:06] We used that very effective lecture budget. We tried there, again, bringing people there for one lecture, bringing here for a whole weekend of lectures and interviews, bringing them here for a whole week. We found Lewis Mumford so effective that we brought him here for a month at a time, and frequently.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  He was very good at talking to the students?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  He became a regular member of the art department. He was a regular member of the staff, although he was primarily a writer. He was writing the art column for the New Yorker magazine, and he had written a number of effective books on art and design. He's a great guy. He still is a great guy.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was his special effect in very informal discussions or in lectures?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  We used him in all sorts of ways. We used him in discussions with small groups. We used him as a formal lecturer in a large lecture hall. We'd have him as a guest lecturer in as many courses as possible. Not only in the art department, but we let—he lectured in the English department, he lectured in the history, sociology. It was a tremendous success. In fact, Harvard took up the idea 10 years later, and they took him down there in the same way. But we had him in the more creative period of the '30s.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Very early. So you were—this leads, somehow, to your being made chairman so early?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  No, the idea, the idea—this, again, is President Hopkins. He wanted to avoid something he had seen earlier, where a chairman who stays on any length of time becomes an empire-builder and takes on bureaucratic qualities that Hopkins felt were not desirable. [00:34:14] Hopkins's idea was to appoint a chairman for two years only. If he's good at it, give him one renewal for two years, and that's it. Then there must be another young—another chairman. A rotating chairmanship idea. He deflated it somewhat as an authority figure by limiting the amount of time you could be chairman. Also, it was done without extra compensation, so it was a chore, as well as an honor. It's true that some people were very poor at the job, and wouldn't get reappointed, or might not even last the one, two-year period.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What did the job consist of mainly? Being liaison between administration—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, it's a very important job. It's a job—recruiting new faculty, helping to recruit new faculty, planning and leading any curriculum changes, assigning the different jobs that come up in different ways, different parts of the faculty, contact with the rest of the college faculty outside of your department. Dartmouth has three divisions: a division of the humanities, a division of the social sciences, and division of the natural sciences. But we all—we have full faculty meetings, and we also have divisional faculty meetings, and so there's quite a bit of paperwork. The relationship between the department and the registrar, and all the enrollment problems. [00:36:01]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Process of things, yeah.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  And then the relationship with the administrative officials, the dean of freshmen, dean of the college, dean of the faculty. There was quite a bit of work. It's even more so today, because things are far more complicated now. The administration is three times as large as it used to be, and the faculty, of course, is large, and the student body is large. The biggest proliferation, I think, numerically, is in the administration. It's very top-heavy, I think. The new president, I think, is going to do quite a lot of weeding-out. There are just too many assistant deans. I guess that's been inevitable most places. It's true in our business world. Most of our businesses are top-heavy in administrators. That's one of the problems, I think, in our economic system.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Say in the case of the college bringing more of the administration back down to the individual teacher-student relationship?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].  We were lucky in the art department, because although we had good enrollment—we had a number of courses of over 100—we also always had our seminars that were kept under 20, and sometimes only five or six students. We were always allowed to have a variety of seminars.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  As you came up to 1932 to be chairman, there had already been a mural program?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, from the very beginning, the minute I got here, with the new building under construction, we knew we were going to have wall spaces in the corridors and in the lobbies and the stairwell, that we thought suggested, very clearly, murals. [00:38:00] We were all aware of the revival of mural painting in Mexico. We were conscious of Puvis de Chavannes and other mural painters abroad, and of course Sargent and various mural painters in this country, although they hadn't amounted to a great deal up to that time. But anyhow, we had—we got a list of mural painters together in our early department meetings and talked about it, and I pushed strongly for fresco, which was the traditional method, the longest-lasting method. A man who had mastered that method is going to be much better than an easel painter of canvas who merely enlarges the canvas to wall size. Something gets lost there. So I pushed hard for Orozco. It was a time when the murals seemed quite eminent and impossible. Rivera's name was brought up as more famous than Orozco, and I led the fight against that.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did you feel his work wasn't up to the quality of Orozco?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. Yeah, really.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Had anyone come to do murals here prior to Orozco, since you'd had the building then for three years before—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  No, because we were going to have Orozco start a mural there in '29. We didn't have any summer school, so after we opened the building, the whole faculty and college dispersed, and then we came back in September. Before we could get started in September, really, the market crash came, and the banks failed and closed. [00:40:02] We realized very quickly that we were not going to go out and promote any extra money for a mural, and we couldn't ask the trustees for extra money for a mural, so it was put on the back burner for a while. We didn't think the Depression would last very long. Everybody thought the Depression would last a year or so at the most. We were keeping in touch with Orozco and his dealer. We followed him very closely, what he was doing out of Pomona. Then, when he came back to New York to do the New School murals, we were in close touch with him then.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  By we, you mean you and Packard?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes, we went to a dozen different exhibitions of his work in Philadelphia and New York, mostly in New York. There was a very fine one at the Art Students League that really put him across, I think. His first showings in New York, no one went to, and they didn't get any publicity at all. They weren't ever reviewed. But we had learned about them in advance, and we had gotten to know Alma Reed. The first one was at Marie Sterner's, I think, and then we went to one at—and there was one over at Philadelphia. That one was reviewed very well, very favorably, by a woman critic, newspaper critic. Anyhow, we kept in close touch. When—it became apparent, by the spring of '32, the winter of '31–'32, that the Depression was going to go on for a long while. This is when it was reaching its bottom, really. It's worse for—this is when, as I said, the unemployment was at least 25 percent. Some people say it was even more than that. That's when we had that brainstorm of an idea that, well, why not use this lecture budget that had been so effective in bringing them here for a couple of weeks for a lecture demonstration of mural painting? [00:42:13] That turned out to be such a tremendous success with the student body—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  That was something new, had never been tried?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  No, not around here.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Not with your budget, at least.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I think there had been times—oh, we had Tom Benton here as an artist-in-residence, and it seems to me that he did have a little demonstration of how he started a painting. That was—he was only here one weekend as I remember, maybe three or four days.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So by no means—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  And that was very different from a two-week planning and actually painting a mural on a wall.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You partly intended to have Orozco leave something behind?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yes. Oh, he did. It exists today.

[Audio Break.]

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  They were leaders, and you were only a follower. In many respects, it was the other way around. Not always, but—I've always been very free in expressing my thoughts and ideas to other people, and I—

[END OF TRACK lathro82_2of5_cass_SideB_r.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  —third tape. I could ask, why were you following Orozco? What was it that you and Mr. Packard saw in him that made him such an attractive possibility to bring to Dartmouth?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I had become aware of the revival of mural painting, fresco painting, in Mexico. I had first learned of Orozco when I was browsing on lower Fourth Avenue in New York, in the old bookstalls there, and ran across a secondhand, old, battered Mexican art magazine, and there was an article about Orozco. And I was fascinated by it. I saw connections with Toulouse-Lautrec in his early watercolor work. Then, having studied a lot of medieval wall painting, and then gone on into Renaissance wall painting, I could see how rapidly he had acquired a real technical mastery of the best features of fresco painting. So I pushed strongly for Orozco as number one on our list. We weren't thinking of only one mural painter. We were brash enough, in the euphoria of the 1920s before the crash, we thought the world was going to get richer and richer and better and better, and we would start a program where every generation of four years for any student class, within a four-year period, there always would be a mural project underway. We underestimated how controversial mural projects are, and also the lack of available wall spaces in contemporary architecture for such things. [00:02:07] Anyway, I think Artemus agreed with me very strongly that it should be some—we should get the best technique, and the oldest technique, to start with, and we better get a really good practitioner of it. There wasn't a single United States artist that knew a darn thing about fresco, and we weren't just cavalierly leaving out contemporary painters of merit. If we'd been able to go on, we would have probably had Tom Benton do a canvas mural, such as he had done at the Whitney—downtown Whitney.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  The Americans were doing canvas?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  Because I know at Yale, there was considerable teaching of mural painting, but it was, for the most part, on canvas.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  That's right. That's right. Well, we admired Benton's canvas murals, and we might have—if we had been able to go on with it in the later '30s, we might very well have had him here. We might have even tried to get some good European. But that didn't materialize. As I mentioned earlier, when the chance of really getting a mural immediately came along, then the question was, well, should we stick with Orozco or shall we try for Rivera? There were people—Artemus himself, temporarily, was tempted by Rivera, because he was more famous, and he had been closely connected with the Morrow family, you know, in Mexico, and the Rockefeller family. [00:04:00] But fortunately, we didn't, and I think we got a masterpiece that we never would have gotten from Rivera.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  How much did the potential message count? Because you knew there would be some considerable and striking content, didn't you?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I should have mentioned this first, probably. I mentioned what seemed the more practical reason. I strongly felt that Orozco had more to say, or more universal value, and had greater personal integrity, than Rivera.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You mean you felt that Rivera was compromising here and there?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. Rivera was more of an operator, a promoter. He had a long history of playing up to very wealthy people, and then enjoying biting the hand that fed him, and he had caused a lot of dissension and trouble in Mexico. He personally really broke up the syndicate of Mexican artists by demanding all the best walls for himself, and being very nasty, really, anybody he thought was a rival. There was a strong rivalry, of course, between Orozco and Rivera. Rivera always had the advantage of being more politically astute, and Orozco was far more—had far more serious integrity, and was more interested in the work itself. Was at a disadvantage in all this political in-fighting. That was—I was well aware of that, and that was one strong reason for my pushing hard for Orozco. When, of course, when we all got to know him personally from his long stay here, we were always so happy, so reassured. [00:06:01] He was a delightful person. Highly intelligent. Very much aware of what was going on in the world, very intuitively aware of potential dangers. He was one of, of course, many others, but very much aware of the impending Second World War, and the horrendous effect of appeasing dictators. Mussolini, Hitler, primarily, of course, but even Stalin, who of course we had to use as an ally against Hitler. Orozco was not taken in by Stalin. He was just as anti-dictatorship from the left as he was from the right. He also loved young people. The very happy—it was apparent immediately, when he was here on that lecture demonstration.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  He came—was that in the fall of '32, he came? Or the spring?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  He came in the spring of '32. We first got him to actually come to Hanover in March, just to look around and to talk about this possibility of a small mural demonstration, called a lecture demonstration, somewhere in Carpenter Hall, hopefully to be followed by a larger mural, more extensive mural, also in Carpenter Hall. We weren't thinking of any other place but Carpenter Hall.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Your new art building with all the rooms.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  That's right. Sure. He came up in March and he looked around. Much to our surprise, he picked a piece of wall that was adjoining Baker Library. It was a corridor that went from Carpenter to Baker. It was part of Carpenter, but it led right into Baker. [00:08:01] He couldn't have gotten closer to Baker, possibly, than he did, but it was still in Carpenter Hall, and he planned other murals in that same corridor. He didn't like the stairwell, which really surprised us. That's what we thought he would like, and he didn't.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Do you recall why?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, they were broken-up, vertical panels. He wanted more horizontal panels. He wanted to do a series of murals. We were thinking then of a mural he had suggested, again, on a Greek myth. He had done the Prometheus myth, you know, at Pomona, and he suggested the Daedalus myth for us, Daedalus and Icarus story, with modern interpretation of the labyrinth that Daedalus escaped from was the trap of, in modern terms, the trap of too close of bonding between mining aspect of the industrial world. The man has become a slave of his machines when he ought to be the master of them. Orozco felt, in interpreting that myth, that man had built a labyrinth, and then he had to escape from it. We had to free our hands and our creative faculties from the bonds of machinery, especially military machinery. It's very true today. So we went—we thought that was a good idea. He did the final panel first, and never did get to do the other Daedalus panels, because his much grander scheme of an epic of American civilization from prehistoric times to the 1930s was such a much more universal theme that he proposed, and we enthusiastically accepted for the present. [00:10:18]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was that during his first visit?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  The first visit.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Spring of '32?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  During the first visit at the—while he was, uh—while he was working this corridor, he wanted to go to a lecture that was in 105 Dartmouth Hall. To get over to Dartmouth Hall from Carpenter Hall, the shortcut was to go through the basement of Baker Library. So Packard and I picked him up there. Our offices were in Carpenter. We watched him through Baker to go to the lecture. I can't pin that down, who that lecturer was. I think it was Buckminster Fuller. But any case, the minute we got in that hall, which was a study hall, where the students got their reserve-desk books and read them right there, the assignments—the walls were just plain, blank concrete, and Orozco stopped right in the entrance to the hall, and looked at the walls, and he said, "What a place for a mural." These were big, long, horizontal walls, you see. We had never even thought of a mural in Baker, and we weren't sure that Baker would want a mural, actually. But he was so enthusiastic, and at the time, we just sort of shrugged it off, "Oh, yeah, someday that would be great," thinking that maybe after he had finished the mural in Carpenter and that was successful, he might go on into Baker. [00:12:09] But when he went back to New York the next day, it suddenly hit us that, gee, he really wanted to paint here, and this is a far bigger, better place than anything we have in Carpenter Hall. He even suggested that he had something he thought was a major theme that he had always hoped to paint someday, and he had said a little bit about the sweep of culture in this hemisphere, and how much of it, and how important a part of it, preceded any European—any—long before Columbus. The more we thought of that, we realized we should follow up on that right away. Then we had this campaign, both to prepare the way here in Hanover, and to get him to come again and present this new idea to the top college officials, to President Hopkins and the administration. So he came back just before he was going to do the painting in Carpenter. That was all set. We had that money, and we could offer him the—it was a $500 fee. He was going to stay two weeks and do this, which he eventually did. But in the meantime, we got the college librarian on our side. We went to see him and told him about this possibility, that Orozco had a great idea of the sweep of American civilization. [00:14:00] Although he didn't like contemporary art, and we knew perfectly well he wouldn't like Orozco's way of painting—he had never even heard of him before, I guess—but he was an educator. In other words, here again, I think Orozco—I mean, President Hopkins—had picked him because he was a man of breadth of thought, not just personal prejudices. So he agreed to support it, even though he knew it would be much more jarring and controversial than the nice, Neo-Georgian décor upstairs. Then we went to the college architect who had designed the building, and he was a little ashamed that the money had run out and he hadn't done anything on that downstairs corridor. It was just a basement, really. So he said he'd back us in promoting him, and he carried weight with the president and trustees. Then we had Orozco come up and outline what he had in mind, with a few sketches, and his halting but effective English presentation. He made a tremendous impression right away. No doubt about his sincerity. There was no doubt about the importance of this. He made a clear point that although there was a great deal of Pre-Columbian literature on this Quetzalcoatl myth, that he wanted to paint his version of it. This was going to be a new, contemporary version of the Quetzalcoatl myth, tying it in more completely with what has happened since Cortés than the myth itself could possibly do.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And the college deemed a Mexican subject appropriate? Or they saw that there were parallels here in North America? [00:16:00]

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. The modern wing was to be the entire hemisphere. Of course, Pre-Columbian is primarily the civilized part of Pre-Colombian art or culture. The highest culture in Pre-Columbian times was in the valley of Mexico and in Yucatán, the Maya, Toltec, Aztec sequence. He could have done something with the Incas and Peru, but that would have thrown it off a little. He could have done something with the Plains Indians and the Forest Indians in North America, with the Northwest coast.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Well, that's why I asked the question whether the Dartmouth people thought that he should do something with Woodland Indians.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  It was brought up, but Orozco backed out of it, intelligently. He said it wouldn't be very convincing. We were going to have one final scene that showed the founding of Dartmouth College with Indians, and with Eleazar Wheelock, but again, Orozco backed out of that. In place of that, he gave us what is an epilogue to the main mural on industrial man, really on labor relations, which works very well. But—oh, a lot of things were suggested. There was—a lot of U.S. history was suggested, and was potentially possible at one stage. The important thing was that we gave Orozco a free hand, and we made lots of suggestions. Sometimes he made suggestions. He was interested in the Founding Fathers of the United States. He was very interested in the fact that Dartmouth preceded the U.S. Constitution and the United States, that we were a colonial college. [00:18:03] He thought that was important. At one time, he thought of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, you know, Jefferson, Webster, and so forth, but eventually he backed out of all of them, and very intelligently so, because they would have—they wouldn't have come across strongly and effectively. He thought it much better to deal with a figure that epitomized the intellectual strength of America, educationally and politically, and the schoolteacher figure, and to juxtapose to that the individual, the rebel, that has saved Latin America, far too many times unfortunately, from dictatorship. He suggests both plus and minus qualities in those two fine figures. I think they—we couldn't have done better. Individual personalities would have been too complex, and had too much literary verbiage around them to have worked.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So you got something with a great impact.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, tremendous.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You avoided the kind of—say, the founding of Dartmouth, sort of a pictorial record.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  We were very wise in having one cook. If we had all kibitzed on it—he had made it very clear that he would accept all sorts of suggestions, but he wouldn't guarantee to use them, and that's what really happened. He listened over and over again to ideas that came from Dartmouth faculty or Dartmouth students, members of the art department, but rarely did he use them, and wisely so, because he had such a strong, burning feeling of what he ought to do and what he wanted to do, and we were very wise to let him do it. [00:20:02]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So it was a very helpful and healthy discussion for you people here as well, wasn't it?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  An exercise—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  This was the whole purpose. This is why President Hopkins was so keen about it himself. Once he got to know Orozco—and of course, he also had great confidence in the young art department, and if we were for something, he was already three-quarters in agreement with us. When we got the library authorities on our side, the college architect on our side, and when he got to know Orozco personally, he could see that this was a man of deep thought, very sensitive, very knowledgeable, and with great personal integrity, who was just looking for a chance to paint. He had painted for nothing out at Pomona. The students fed him. They put him up—the students put him up in a dormitory room. The faculty raised a little money to feed him. He got nothing out of that except his expenses. I think, if worst had come to worst, he would have done the same at Dartmouth. Fortunately, we wouldn't stoop that low, and we were able—we thought—the caution of President Hopkins was that, in the depth of the Depression, he just couldn't go to the trustees and ask for more money. He knew that, although they might have wanted to help us, that they shouldn't, and might very well have turned us down cold. So he was delighted when we came up with a reasonable out for him and the trustees. [00:22:00] We knew that he had a fund, from which our lecture budget had come, that had been given to him anonymously—we know today came from the Rockefellers—that this fund, which was fairly substantial, was to be used for strictly educational purposes of a non-traditional sort. I think this is where the money came later for Dean Bill's frills. We had used the lecture budget so effectively, and now we had demonstrated that we could work that into a small mural panel effectively. Tremendous student interest. There were hundreds of students watching him paint, and he got along so well with youngsters. After a day's work, he'd drop into a dormitory, just to talk to young people, or he'd drop into a fraternity house, and they liked him, and they learned a lot from him. The local college newspaper ran editorials about how interesting and important this was. We came up with this idea at the crucial moment, when it had to be either accepted or turned down. Hopkins was very reluctant to go to the trustees, and we said, "Well, this is an educational activity. It's proved itself to be very effective. Why can't we give him an appointment in the art department, a faculty appointment? We don't even have to mention a mural. He's going to be a temporary adjunct member of the art department. Two-year appointment. It will relate to mural painting, obviously. But as a faculty member, he could merely talk, or he could paint." I said, "Once you get him here, you couldn't stop him from painting with 12 horses." [00:24:01] So there wasn't any mural contract, actually. The treasurer did—after he started to paint the mural, the treasurer worked out an agreement with him about the materials, and the cost, and the time element, that he would finish this within two years and so forth. But it was a faculty appointment. He had the rank of assistant professor, which was a good rank then. There wasn't any—we didn't have any associate professorship. You went from instructor to assistant, and then from assistant directly to full professor. So he was getting an assistant professor's salary at the top level of that. He was getting approximately $5,000 a year for two years. Greatest economic backing he ever had in his life. It enabled him to go to Europe that first summer, which he had never been able to do before. We urged him to go, because we knew that he was mature enough not to copy anything he saw in Europe, but that he would learn a lot there, which would be digested and would appear, not in any duplicative way, in our mural. Our mural does have a cohesion, symphonic unity, of the whole parts to the whole, that his earlier Mexican work did not. His later Mexican work did, but not his earlier Mexican work. It was more disjointed.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And that's largely attributable, you think, to his seeing great work in Europe?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  When we told President Hopkins that he could use this tutorial fund to hire a man for the art department for two years instead of—we'd been hiring Mumford for a month at a time, over more than a two-year period—but his face broke into smiles when he realized that he could do this, he could support this without having to ask the trustees for more money in the depth of the Depression. [00:26:08]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But this European jaunt is what accounts for the—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, I'm sure it does.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  —integrity, you think, and symphonic—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  The unity of it, and the interrelationship. It moves from one idea to another. In other words, it marches, and it builds up to a real climax, and there are—it starts with—the mural starts with a physical migration of human bodies. It ends with a clarion call to a spiritual migration of the mind. The very second panel of the mural relates to the prostitution of physical force into a worship of force, into militarism. The next-to-the-last panel is a modern reinterpretation of that same thing. Many of the events on the long wall, the one that deals with Pre-Columbian America, deals with the beginnings, the Golden Age climax, and the decline of a great cultural cycle over a matter of probably 2[000] or 3,000 years, dealing with a contemporary world of post-Columbus, post-Cortés. He deals with a variety of problems that he saw as being current in the early '30s, and suggesting potentials and dangers in those problems. He's got unity in both areas, but a different kind of unity. In the older panel, he has—of the long wall—he has a rather geometric, unifying pattern. It starts and builds up to a high level in the center, and then sets, like an arc of rising zenith setting. [00:28:11] In the new one, where he admitted, quite frankly, in talking about this—he talked about all these things publicly. There would be two weeks of drawing for each panel, and talking about it, and taking suggestions from students or faculty, so that he often would say something about what he was planning to do and why he was planning to do it. The compositional quality of the modern wing is not a simple geometric pattern. That wall has many smaller elements, a multiplicity of more elements and more colors, and there's a vibration. It's a unity of a vibrating experience, which doesn't have—or doesn't relate directly to a beginning and an end. In other words, it's flux. He said, quite frankly, "I don't know whether we're still at the beginning of our cycle of civilization in this hemisphere since the Europeans arrived, or whether we're at the apex of it, or whether we're already on the downhill side." He said, "Time alone can tell that." But he said, "I'm going to present the problems and the qualities that I see in modern civilization, the dangers, and time will have to tell the answers."

ROBERT F. BROWN:  He achieves this partly by his composition and color, the vibration.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  That's right.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Since he was here for most of two years, you must have seen him a good deal apart from his—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —only in terms you've just spoken.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Frequently entertained him, socially. We frequently had him in discussion groups with students. [00:30:02] Lots of amusing stories. We tried to give him a Mexican dinner once at Professor Packard's house. We were all involved in it. The ladies pored through what few Mexican cookbooks they could find. Artemas and I tried to invent a pseudo-tequila. You couldn't buy tequila in those days.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  It was still Prohibition, too, there, wasn't it?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  That's right, it was still Prohibition. That's right. A good story about that election in fall of 1932, when he was actively here working. We spent that at our house. But before that, this Mexican dinner we put on. The whole art department was there, and some other guests, and of course the Orozco family, Senora Orozco and the three little children. Everybody liked it. We didn't say much about the cuisine while we were eating it. It was all supposed to be a surprise for the Orozcos. Then there was good conversation later, and this false [laughs] tequila, probably very outlandish margarita cocktails. When the Orozcos left, they thanked everyone profusely, and then [laughs] he said to Packard, Mrs. Packard—it was in their house—"What cuisine was this?" In other words, they never had recognized it at all. But it was—the dinner was a success, but it was not a success in Mexican cooking. [They laugh.] Then, when he got back from Europe in the late summer, the first thing he wanted to paint—see, he didn't do the mural in the sequences you see it now. [00:32:05] He jumped around and did the panel he just felt like doing next. Coming back by boat, of course, from Europe. No possibility of flying the Atlantic in 1932. He started right off where he had the water, the departure of Quetzalcoatl in his raft of Caribbean surface, out into the east, into the Caribbean Sea. He wanted to paint those waves. Well, then, a little bit later that fall, of course, came the election, and Dorothy and I had an election-night party to listen to the returns and socialize in our farmhouse in Norwich, and of course we had Orozco there, and we had lots of other people there. Not only the art department, but our other friends in the faculty. Most people would listen at the radio—no TV in those days—periodically, and then go in the other rooms and converse, eat, and drink. Orozco sat right down by the radio receiver, and he never budged the whole evening. He had his ear glued to that thing. Of course, the returns came in, and it was obvious after a while that the Democrats were going to win. Although Hoover had been a great man, he'd been a poor president. It was the end of a long dynasty of Republican rule, going all the way back to Taft and Roosevelt—well, following after Wilson—Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover. [00:34:00] He heard the final results. He heard Hoover's very gracious conceding of the election. He heard the equally gracious announcements of Roosevelt. I came into the room, and he turned to me and he said, "Where are the casualty reports? Somebody must have been killed. You can't have a major turnover of power without some bloodshed." We said, "Well, fortunately, that doesn't happen." The fact that we had a major turnover of power in a time of great economic crisis, without bloodshed, without rough stuff, made a tremendous impression on him. I think that's why, in the center of the wall of the modern era, the place of modern, he has the schoolteacher and her docile pupils, and then the very quiet, peaceable town meeting, where questions can be—where an accepted body of knowledge can be passed on from one generation to another, and agreed upon, and where political decisions can be made without unnecessary violence. Of course, he also admitted and said that there are some questions, probably, that require a more heated discussion, and there may, at times—if you ever had a dictatorship, you'd have to have violence. If violence is opposed from the top, there's got to be counter-violence. You can read into that panel that perhaps, in the town meeting, people are a little too passive and docile. [00:35:58] Then he juxtaposed that with the rebel, who has had no interest in politics, no real interest in education, and hadn't gotten very much, the Latin American peasant, and who gets exploited, not only by foreigners, but by all his own landowners and military, to a point where he can't take it anymore, and then you have him—you have this violent uprising, usually to be misled by a new group of potential dictators. Orozco is suggesting that this man may be heroic, but he also has been rather stupid. If he had demanded a better education and taken advantage of it, if he had been more politically aware and had practiced political awareness, he wouldn't have been—he wouldn't have opened himself to that kind of exploitation.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  This was all pretty heady stuff for your undergraduates, wasn't it?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah, but they loved it. [Laughs.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did they come from a fairly—ever-broadening spectrum of backgrounds by the '30s?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah, we're very lucky. We have an application pool eight to 10 times the size of any one class that can be admitted.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And that was true in the '30s, too?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yes. It's built up. This was a great success of Hopkins. He made Dartmouth a major Ivy League school. It's true of the other Ivies, too. I think we've been very fortunate in being able to choose the cream of the applicants. We've had the advantage of not overly developing the graduate school side of Dartmouth. We've always had some graduate work here from the very beginning. [00:37:59] We insist on the designation Dartmouth College, but that's because, when an earlier president, at the very beginning of the 19th century, tried to call it a university and make it a university, and put it under the political authority of New Hampshire state—he tried to make a state university out of it. Actually, our founder's son, John Wheelock. He was a very dictatorial sort of person. The college—he tried to take the college away from the private trustees and put it under the aegis of the state, and call it Dartmouth University. Well, it was Daniel Webster, a very recent graduate, who took that all the way to the Supreme Court, and won the right of a private institution to remain private. So "university" has been a bad name around here, although, in terms of reality, we've been a university from the very beginning. We had one of the very first graduate schools of medicine in the country. That goes back to—in fact, the medical building was built in 1810, the first medical school building. Unfortunately, the present medical school didn't appreciate it enough to keep it. They let it be torn down a few years ago when the new medical school was built. It was a big loss, but—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Under Hopkins, this tradition continued of—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes, Hopkins continued to put all the major emphasis on the undergraduates.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Yes. Allowing—as with Orozco—allowing broad spectrum of thought and outside influence.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yes, he was all for that.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Your department was in pretty good shape—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  We were very fortunate—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  —by the time Orozco had done his work. Weren't you?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes, because—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Pretty influential—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  It spread the reputation of Dartmouth all over the world. There was—you undoubtedly know there was a great controversy over it. We were put on a blacklist of American—by the more conservative American artists. [00:40:01] There were many violent letters and newspapers and art magazines that—the Art Digest, with Boswell, was bitterly opposed to the mural, largely on the grounds that we were taking bread out of the mouths of unemployed American painters. But our program here of supporting a mural project as a cultural and educational venture is the forerunner, the actual real forerunner, of the PWA. I have letters from people involved in the Treasury Department in getting Roosevelt's backing for art commissions in post offices and public buildings. This grew directly out of the success of our mural.


CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  There isn't any doubt about it. We precede the whole PWA program, and the people involved in that were very much—I've got letters, both to myself and to President Hopkins.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  People like Ned Bruce?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes, Ned Bruce is particularly one.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did you help advise them as they got that program going?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes, but not too successfully, because they couldn't allow their artists the same freedom that we could allow Orozco. They got into hot water with Congress, and they had to support the local political authorities who didn't want such-and-such on a post office wall, which they should have permitted. See, we could give Orozco a free hand, and they ran into all sorts of political roadblocks that they really couldn't surmount. [00:42:07] Ned Bruce had to allow some censorship that he didn't really want to allow. He said the whole program could have been wrecked if he hadn't gone along with the more conservative elements, who wouldn't let the artists have his complete own say.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Well, you were director of the gallery, the art gallery, beginning the same year, 1932.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, this was by accident. We had galleries, but we had no college collection. So running the gallery was an administrative job of finding ways to borrow works of art, having a very meager staff to put up the exhibitions, make the labels, get out a little publicity. So this chore was handed to whoever was chairman at the moment. Artemus started it. My brother, who had graduated in '28, came back in the early '30s to do some work at Tuck School, and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  The business school.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. Artemus gave him the job of the physical letter-writing and mounting of exhibitions, although Packard did the preliminary planning and made the contacts with potential lenders. Of course, we all—we used to have wonderful train service in New York, and we had better communication with New York than we have today. Six or more trains to New York every day, and it was wonderful. Equal number to Boston. [00:44:01] You could always get on the train, get in the chair car, do all your work on the way down. If necessary, you could come back the same day, or you could come back on an overnight train. You'd get on a train at Grand Central at midnight, get into a nice lower bunk, and then the porter would bring you a cup of coffee and a sandwich on the way up the Connecticut Valley here in Vermont, and you were in White River Junction, oh, eleven o'clock in the morning, and you'd had a leisurely ride and a good night's sleep. It was very, very convenient. Now you have a terrible hassle getting a reservation on a plane, and then you land out in LaGuardia, Marine Airport. It's a hassle to get into city. You never know when the flight is going to be canceled coming back. The trains always run, whatever the weather was.

[END OF TRACK lathro82_3of5_cass_SideA_r.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  —second side. Running the gallery, then, you had pretty good luck borrowing, because you could conveniently get in and out of the city.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah, and we began to get a collection.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You did?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  As fast as we put on good exhibits, we began to get gifts.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  I know you put on some, actually, of Orozco before he did the mural, hadn't you?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Had three exhibits of Orozco. We got those largely through his dealer in New York.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Alma Reed?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Alma Reed and the Delphic Gallery. We showed his drawings, we showed his mural sketches, we showed his lithographs and prints.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did they, in any case, lead to gifts, or was it mainly through some other things that you showed?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  We bought a lithograph from him before he came here to paint. We didn't have any real purchase funds. We weren't allowed to have friends of the art galleries, because Dartmouth has a very active alumni annual giving program. The Baker Library was allowed to have friends of the library, but they didn't want any multiplying of that idea, because they wanted gifts and pledges in cash, without any strings attached, every year to make up the budget—the deficit.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  The general operating funds.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  It costs—everybody knows that tuition only pays about half of what it costs to educate a young man. Through endowment funds, endowment income plus annual giving, that has to be made up every year. [00:01:58] Well, I got to know quite well the man who ran the friends of Baker Library, and I would tell him that art and books are—there is no sharp dividing line between art and books. We began to use some of our library money. Some of that $50,000, we began to use to buy good, large portfolios of original graphic work, original etchings, original lithographs.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So you had, obviously, a good relationship with the library?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, you had to have. I became gallery—I became library officer, again, more or less by chance, because with this big, new gift, I had a much closer and more immediate knowledge of art bibliography, being the youngest one, just out of graduate school, and knowing very well the excellent art library of Princeton, and having—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You're speaking now of this Carnegie gift?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. We also used that as leverage to get an increasing annual gift from the Dartmouth Library funds. We were lucky in being able to have a separate library place. Before that, there had been art books, but they had been lost in the big area of the general library. That was true of medical books, too, for a long while, until the medical school finally got its own medical library. We were the first, I think, library, separate library, from the main library, although we were adjoining it. The buildings were connected, and we had expanded—we could expand our stack space into the main part of the library just by rearranging a sea of walls in there. [00:04:06] But anyway, I managed to collect quite a few so-called books that were full of original art material, and I began to collect photographs, too, at a time when no one else was interested in photography. Everybody was—everybody in the art world looked down on photography as a mechanical reproductive process. But there again, stemming, I think, out of our somewhat bad-boy attitude of young Turks, we felt that here's another art form. I think probably Professor Morey got me started on that, because I remember once I was having a midnight snack in an all-night restaurant in Princeton and sat down with Morey, who also happened to be in there at midnight. We were talking, and I asked him what contemporary kind of art he thought was probably the longest-lasting. In certain areas in the past, sculpture was dominant. In other areas—parts of the past, painting was the dominant art medium. Much to my surprise, he said, "The motion picture." That astounded me, because in class he would never mention anything contemporary. The fact that, in a little private talk with a graduate student, he would come out with such a surprising statement as "Perhaps the motion picture"—and this would have been 1926 or '27. "May be"—he didn't say it was—"may be the major art of the first half of the 20th century." Of course, that was photography, and that—I was an aficionado of movies. [00:06:01] I'd gone to movies since I could get into a theater. I was first weaned on Charlie Chaplin two-reelers. I was brought up in Montclair, New Jersey, and the parents of youngsters in Montclair—the women's club and other various adult groups—put a great deal of pressure on the local movie theater not to show any of those vulgar comedies. All the kids had to get on their bicycles and ride down to Bloomfield, which was an adjoining town, to—we never missed Charlie Chaplin, but we couldn't see it in our own town. [Laughs.] We learned about censorship, and also we learned about basic American humor. Of course, that led us into much more elaborate motion pictures. I still remember the excitement of the first real feature films, and especially the fantastic qualities of Griffith's 1915—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  —The Birth of a Nation?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Birth of a Nation, yeah. And then the follow-ups, you know, of his great films, like Intolerance and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So to you, the film had always been one of the most graphic art forms?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. I felt that photography obviously—and photography was developed and invented by the same kind of people. Daguerre was a painter. All the print media were developed as a way of enlarging the fine art of drawing and painting. The copper engraving, of course, was to be able to produce more than one of a drawing, and then the etching made it a little bit easier, and then the aquatint, and then of course, most of all, the lithograph, which was so much more facile and easy to use. [00:08:15] It seemed to me that photography is a new, and obviously, a medium of great potential.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So did you give it some promise in the art gallery here, too? Did you begin to have photography shows?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yeah, we began to show photography. We began to have photographers come here. I persuaded the—I didn't have enough money myself, so I persuaded the head librarian to buy a complete set of camerawork, and I reviewed it for the library publication that came out periodically here at Dartmouth That's a great asset now, because that's full of fine photographs and fine articles about photography. Stieglitz and Steichen and everybody else. Then there was an undergraduate here who had just recently graduated—I think class of '21, maybe '24—Ralph Steiner. Have you got in touch with him?

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Oh, yes.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Because he's very important. Well, while he was—I think either while he was a senior, or when he maybe had just graduated, the Dartmouth bookstore arranged for him to do a series of Dartmouth/Hanover photographs, which they published, his very first book. I became aware of that quite quickly. I bought some—I bought a group of them that were being sold off as remainders. I think I paid 25 cents each for them. I've sold a couple of them since for $100 each [laughs] but that's—I was interested in Steiner, and many other photographers. [00:10:04] Of course, in the '30s, with the—I had always loved the old pictorial magazines that were full of wood engravings. I collected them wholesale from an early age, because my original interest was history, and history led into social history, that led into art, and so on. I've always had very catholic interests, and have been interested in all the applied arts, and advertising, and commercial art, because I soon found out that Homer began as a commercial artist, as so many of our other artists have, too. And Leonardo and Michelangelo did commercial work. They didn't turn their nose up at decorating a building with bunting, with putting up snow statues when it snowed in Florence.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So you had none of the prejudices that many other people in fine arts did?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  No. In fact, the other way around. If I had prejudices, it would have been against leaving anything out. I was for the whole web of cultural civilization, as expressed through all the arts. I've never been very good at music. I sang as a boy soprano in the Episcopal choir, but when my voice changed, my whole sense of tone changed. I went out for the glee club in high school, when I was a freshman, I guess, shortly after my voice had changed, and I was so humiliated and embarrassed when the teacher told me that I could better use that hour in study hall. [Laughs.] That ended my personal potential to be creative in music, but I was always interested in music, and of course still am. [00:12:01]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You had your chance when you—in running the gallery here, as well as making purchase, to give vent to some of this breadth of interest.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes. Applied arts. One of the early lecturers we had here was Albers, before he went to Black Mountain. He was just here, just come in as a refugee from Europe. He came up, and of course he talked about industrial design. We had a Dutchman here who showed all kinds of everyday objects, glass tumblers and ashtrays and things, and would show how the good ones really related to fine art. His name began with a W. I've forgotten it now. I know I helped him, I helped him clarify his English in a paper he was going to publish. His first name was J-A-N. I can't remember his name. I think it began with a W. But anyway, we were—we went across the whole spectrum, and we began to collect and were interested in posters right away.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Were you being given some things by—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  We were very impressed with the revival of—or the development of color in advertising, and of course Cheret and Toulouse-Lautrec in Europe. But [inaudible] earlier posters in black and white that were good. Wonderful one of a cat on a rooftop in Montmartre. Then the great renaissance of the poster, development of the poster, in 1890s in this country, in Philadelphia and New York and Boston, and I began to collect those from antique dealers, both for the college and for myself. [00:14:00] Then, getting back to the college collection and gifts, we got a major gift in 1935 from Mrs. Rockefeller. She was giving up her townhouse on 54th Street, and she was giving the best things to the Museum of Modern Art. She gave second pick to Dartmouth, and we got a hundred items. That was the beginning of the real modern art Dartmouth art collection.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did you go down to work with her—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes, Artemus and I both went down a number of times to sort and pick out things. Sometimes John D., Jr. would drop in, and would joke with us that—he'd usually say, "I'm so happy to see you picking this art for Dartmouth. I'm happy to have it go to Dartmouth, but I'm very—even happier to get it out of my house." [Laughs.] He never saw eye-to-eye with her. He liked the beautiful old Chinese porcelains, you know. But he was very tolerant. A very fine person. Of course, she was magnificent.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was she?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Once when we went down, she was indisposed, and we first were told we couldn't see her, but we were, again, picking out things. One thing that bothered us a good deal was some of the things we'd picked out, after the Museum of Modern Art had not picked them, then they would have second thoughts. "Oh, gee, Dartmouth likes that? Maybe we ought to have it." We lost some good things that way, because they got a second or third chance. But anyway, while we were there that day, we got word that she was feeling better, and she was sitting up in bed, and she would receive us in her bedroom, which she did. We joked with her. Of course, we had the common ground of teaching Nelson. This was after he graduated. He graduated in 1930. [00:16:00] Of course, they were here for his graduation. He got a good job with them right away, in helping to sell—to rent the space in Rockefeller Center. I still remember one day, Dorothy and I were coming up Fifth Avenue, and some of the buildings were finished, but I think the block where the International Building is was just a great big hole in the ground, and there was a fence there with peepholes, and we were looking down at these great machines way down, chopping up bedrock. There was a tap on our shoulders, and we turned around, and there was Nelson, and he said, "Want to buy it?" [They laugh.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  They were having doubts, huh? [Laughs.] It was very easy to get along with him? Did his mother demonstrate a considerable knowledge—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yes. Oh, yeah, she was very knowledgeable. She preferred decorative things. She collected Orozco and Rivera, both, but she really preferred the more decorative Rivera pieces, the more sentimental children, Mexican children, that he did. Orozco was a little stark for her.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did you gather, however, European things as well, I assume, for the collection here?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. Most of the things—oh, we were—yes, we were trying to collect—see, we went to Europe every summer, so although we had very little money, we could pick up something here and there. I especially enriched the book collection from Europe. I always bought art books in Europe.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  I meant from Mrs. Rockefeller. Did you select a number of European things from her collection?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Uh, no. I think probably everything she gave us was American. We got a wonderful Eakins from her. It's a big Eakins—or "Eekins." I was brought up with "Eekins," but now most people say "Eakins." [00:18:00] A big show on in Philadelphia now, which is going to come to Boston later, I think. Those tremendous medical paintings of his, The Gross Clinic and Agnew Clinic. They're tremendous American paintings.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So hers was mostly an American—or the things you selected?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  The things—yeah. Well, that can't be right, because one of the prize things we lost was a Renoir that we had—were drooling over. It was set aside for us, and then the Museum of Modern Art got it on the second or third time around, which we felt was very unfair, but we didn't say anything, because we were getting a hundred items. We got some good folk art at that same time, and a very fine bronze weathervane, General McClellan on horseback. We also got a very fine woodcarving of a baseball player that was like a cigar store Indian, except it stood out in front of a sporting goods store, at a time when baseball was the sport, before the development of football and basketball and hockey.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So following her gift, you had a suddenly—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, it's true that the more—those who have get. As it got around that we had a collection, it grew much more rapidly. We had more alumni donors and more strange, unexpected donors. A man named Preston Harrison came through here one summer. He lived in lower California, Los Angeles area, and he liked what he saw in the gallery, and had quite a bit of modern—I always had some modern exhibit on. He was surprised to find contemporary French painting in a college art gallery. [00:20:04] So he wrote me a long letter, and I replied, and we got to know each other. He came other summers. I wouldn't have been here in the summer, but it would have been probably spring or fall. Anyway, he began to give us things by School of Paris people. Each year, the quality got a little better. He had been—he was a director of—a trustee of the Los Angeles County Art Museum, and he wanted to give them modern things, and they wouldn't accept them. They thought it was a temporary aberration, and they hated it. But unfortunately for us, just as he was reaching a point where this first-class stuff was going to come to Dartmouth, he died quite suddenly. He had a brother, Carter Harrison, who had been mayor of Chicago. Was a very prominent Chicagoan. He promptly usurped the rest of the collection for himself. But we got a dozen or so good things. Nothing of a major—no Matisse or Picasso, but we got a number of lesser moderns that were good. Names don't just pop into my mind at the moment.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  During the '30s, were you—some of the exhibitions you staged, were they getting fairly broad press, or was the publicity mainly within the college community?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  We always had trouble with the New York press, even when, even when the executive head of the New York Times was a Dartmouth graduate. [00:22:11] When we opened the Hopkins Center, for example, with tremendously good art on display, wonderful Impressionist collection, and a lot of very fine German Expressionist experts and these things, and a big, major show of Hans Hofmann's in the modern era, and yet we couldn't get the art—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  The Times?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  —director up here. [Orville] Dreyfus He was—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You couldn't get the review—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  He was here himself, and I said, "How come we can't get a review, and why won't the New York Times art man even come up here as an invited guest?"

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Orville Dreyfus you asked?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. He said, "Well, I don't really have that kind of authority over them. I had to give them their independence." He said, "If he would go to New Haven, he'd probably go to Hartford, but he considers Hanover beyond the Arctic Circle. He won't come up." Even though we've had lots of good lecturers come, we have had real trouble getting the press to give us a decent break. We've had shows here that would have gotten a lot of publicity if they had been in New Haven or Princeton, but because it's way off here, we don't get it. There was a time, of course, when some of the editors and sub-editors had the widely held feeling that Dartmouth was strictly a he-man's physical college. Football and heavy drinking. Of course, we still suffer from that reputation. [00:24:00] A movie like Animal House comes out, and because one of the three authors had gone to Dartmouth, the whole thing is laid on Dartmouth's shoulders.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Why do you suppose that reputation lingered, despite what had begun, at least under President Hopkins, of bringing first-class faculty—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  It's because the general population, and certainly the mentality of sub-editors, is no ton a very high intellectual plane. They read the scandalous stories, and the disasters, and things like that, but they're not very conscious of the accomplishments. The intellectual world understands it, sure. We get lots of people from Europe who come to Dartmouth because of the reputation of Dartmouth and the arts. We had a program here for a number of years, the early days of the Hopkins Center, called the Convocation of the Arts. We had top composers from all over the world, from Latin America, from behind the Iron Curtain, from Hungary, from Scandinavia, from France, of course, and England, and all the top contemporary American composers. We've got a tremendous music reputation. Unfortunately, the success of a thing like that increases the cost of it, and very foolishly, I think, the college decided, in the periodic pressure for economizing, that not enough of our undergraduate students were profiting from this. A lot of this took place in the summer, when we didn't have a full-scale summer term. We had some students here in the summer, but not the same quantity, quality, as in the three terms. [00:26:00] It's partly the fault of the director of the program, who didn't want to cut back as drastically as the college wanted him to cut back. He got mad and left. A lot depends on who's running things, you know, and the rest of the music department wasn't anywhere nearly as committed as he'd been to this kind of a program, and so we lost it. I don't think the current art department is as much on the ball as they ought to be. They're doing very well, but they're not as innovative as they might be. They don't have the enrollment that we had 15, 20 years ago.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Do you suppose you always labor by, let's say, from the New York or Boston mentality of being perceived as being way out, way up in the hills?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  And secondly, your environs around. I mean, the states of Vermont and New Hampshire are fairly much devoid of intellectual interest. There are many pockets of people who, as we know, settle here, and you don't want to pander to the lower common denominator tastes.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  No. We try to be a leader. The general level of intellectual activity is much higher now, though, than it used to be, because the population is much more urban and much more sophisticated than it used to be, with all the recreational homes. Many prominent people have retired. Well, just in fact that Saul Sanison [ph] in Vermont. George Seldes is in Vermont, in his 90s now. He's getting a lot of publicity now, and he was one of the great movers and shakers at one time.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You mean Gilbert Seldes?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  No, no, George Seldes. A much more radical person than Gilbert. [00:28:00] I guess they are related, but Gilbert is the one who attacked—used to attack the New York Times for its inaccuracies, and not printing all the news that's fit to print. A real preppy radical.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  How did you—were you involved—maybe I could ask now—in the fact that the—Mrs. Vanderbilt Webb established her new idea for a craft school here? How did that come about?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I wasn't one of their prime movers, but I supported it, and I knew her, and I knew people who were involved here, some of the artists who were here. There were some good artists here. The college was unable to commit itself, in terms of space and financial support, to the degree that she wanted them to. She liked it here, I think, but she wanted an area where she could expand more.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What did she envision, as you recall? What was her concept?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, I think she wanted a major school, sort of like a graduate school of design, which our administration was not willing to do. We had—earlier than that, the art department had pushed for a graduate school of architecture here at Dartmouth. Money was once left for it. Our Thayer School of Engineering was supposed to also be a school of architecture, and we wanted to revive that. We had a good undergraduate program here in architecture, and we were sending our students to the best architecture schools. Our C-students were admitted with full credit at places like the Harvard Graduate School of Architecture, Penn, Yale, because they demonstrated that they could handle it. [00:30:14] They hadn't had as many courses in architecture. They hadn't had as many drafting courses in architectural designing, but they had a liberal—a real liberal education. They had a real knowledge of the history of architecture, and so they excelled. I had a boy here who was a good enough student, but he also was captain of the ski team, and was very much all-around involved in college life, so that he came out, finally, with a C+ average, and Harvard was reluctant to take him at first. But I wrote a very strong letter recommending him, and I said I was very sure that if they would take him on an even trial basis, that he would demonstrate the ability to hold his own with boys that had four years of undergraduate architectural training. So they did, and he turned out to be their top man, their top man, in the two or three years he was there at Harvard. That was very fortunate for the students that followed him.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So, despite this background of success and exhibiting, collecting, the effect of your teaching in art, when the crafts school idea came around, the administration did not want to really fully back it.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  No, they were in favor of it as existing at Dartmouth, with a loose association with Dartmouth, but they were not willing to commit themselves to taking on the major overhead of it.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Okay. This runs analogous to their unwillingness to—[00:32:01]

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  That's why they left for [inaudible]—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  —have a school of architecture, for example.


ROBERT F. BROWN:  What did they—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  They said, "We are a liberal arts college, and we want to put the—we don't want to—we want to be very careful to avoid professional training, either of a graduate school nature or a professional training in art or design or architecture. We think that that's better in an urban setting. We want to put our emphasis on the undergraduate liberal arts, open up as many windows as possible. Don't over-specialize too soon." That's the basic theory, or philosophy, of Hopkins, and of Dickey, and a little less so but I think still it was true of Kemeny. Kemeny, being a scientist and having worked with Einstein, and to help pioneer the computer, he did feel that the graduate work in the sciences should be expanded, and he probably was right.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Undergraduate?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Under—no, no, more graduate work in the sciences. More graduate work in math, more graduate work in—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But on the other hand, beginning under Hopkins, your artist-in-residence program was giving students firsthand exposure to professional-level work and—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, we've never been opposed to exposure. What we've been opposed to is bucking down to a very serious, in-depth study of an area that is really professional. Open it up, yes, but let the professional work follow the preliminary liberal arts base. I think our present president is going to reemphasize that. I don't think we'll see much expansion. Our medical program now is a four-year medical school, but it won't go any further than that, and we're sharing that somewhat with Brown. [00:34:00] We're doing some of our—the early medical work is being done at Brown, and then the later work is being done up here. It's very costly, for one thing, and too many of your faculty get too deeply involved in that, and then they neglect the undergraduate. I have tremendous personal attachment to many of my former students, and it's because I could give them the time to get to know them, and they could get to feel that whatever I offered them was of lifetime value to them. Sometimes the talk would have nothing to do with art whatsoever. I think that the faculty, years ago, did a lot of the things of their own volition, that now they have all kinds of psychologists and advisors, counselors, who are professionals. I don't doubt that they do a good job, but I think that a lot of the more amateur counseling that was done with a student in an office, or sitting under a tree, with a professor that he liked and would open up to—I think that did him a great deal of psychological good. I know they loved to come over and get quick suppers that Dot would cook up for them. [Laughs] Then we'd go out in the pasture and play some kind of softball game, you know. At our 10th wedding anniversary, this farmhouse was quite secluded, and you came up a little woodland road to an open area in front of the house. You couldn't be seen from any neighboring house or roadway. [00:36:00] All around the lawn, we had little tables and cafe chairs, like an outdoor French dining hall, dancehall, cafe, and we had big French posters put on the outside of the house. The first couple that arrived, we had them drive their cars to the top of the hill, just to the brow of the hill, and put their headlights on, and that floodlighted the front of the house. It was a very gay, sort of [speaks French] situation, you know. [Laughs.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  The small scale of this community, and the involvement you could get with high-quality students and teachers, plus the visitors—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. And of course, the students were from all over.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  —is what's really [inaudible]—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Some boys might be from Texas, and some others from Wyoming, and a number from Maine or Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey. They were from all over, with different accents and different interests, but they all became very friendly. Partly, I think, it's the location of Dartmouth, and the variety of activities here. They become lifelong, loyal alumni. You certainly know that their percentage in giving to the college is way ahead of any other institution. The total isn't in the same bracket with Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, but the number of alumni involved in the giving is much greater.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  That's what's made you very loyal about it, hasn't it? Similar fact that you're all—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yeah. I didn't go here.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  —involved within the community. You have to be, practically.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I first got a feeling for Dartmouth, as I say, visiting my brother here. Then when I got a job here—see, I've been here [laughs] 54 years. My brother was here four years. [00:38:00]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But you've become very loyal.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, I'm more loyal to Dartmouth than I am to either Rutgers or Princeton, although I'm loyal to them, too, of course. I got an excellent education at both places. I had wonderful teaching in law, constitutional law and international law, at Rutgers, and I had my first two art history courses at Rutgers. One under the very able Jack Van Dyke, and the other one under a young instructor that he had brought as an assistant, Ernest DeWald, who later on became the director of the Princeton Art Museum. Then I was director at Dartmouth. He'd been one of my first teachers. And of course I was extremely loyal to Charles Rufus Morey. I was an admirer of—well, the entire Princeton faculty. I had good Oriental art with George Rowley, and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But it's up here that you—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  —still [inaudible] Burt Friend [ph]. See, I specialized in the Middle Ages. Burt Friend with medieval manuscripts. He was great.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But your real loyalty gradually developed here? I mean, your strongest.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, absolutely. Yeah, sure.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You're glad you went into teaching, you decided to go into teaching?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Dartmouth has allowed to give me such a wide-ranging role here, first just as a teacher, and then as an administrator. I probably—during my time as an actual faculty member, I probably put in more years being chairman than any other member of the faculty. I also am the real man who built Dartmouth College collection to its present, quite critical state. I also built up the Dartmouth College Art Library to its present, very valuable state. [00:40:00] But it was because the college gave me these opportunities. The funny part of it is—or rather ironic, looking back—I did all of this on one salary. I was sometimes doing three full-time jobs on one salary, but I enjoyed it. [Laughs.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You had a real sense of what needed to be done, don't you think?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, yes. We were loyal, and there's a great deal of satisfaction in seeing something grow, and it tied in with our personal lives. Dorothy was just as much involved in it as I was. We've always been a team.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  She helped you a great deal in the selection of—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —in all of this. Were you involved—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  But of course, today, she'd be getting a full salary, too. Today there are many faculty members, and the faculty wife is also getting a large salary, either as a teacher herself, or in some other administrative capacity in the college. But President Hopkins didn't believe in that. He didn't want any wives working in the same departments as their husbands. Again, psychologic—in those days, that was a reasonable conclusion.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Because there might have been a domineering tendency if there were two of you?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. He had sensed that kind of trouble in other places. May have had some of it here himself, I don't know. He felt that you were avoiding trouble by not doing it. [Laughs.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So you're pretty glad you went on, decided to go on, to teaching?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, very glad. Oh, yes, indeed.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  It's not simply—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Of course, in some ways, it was a natural development. My mother had been a teacher, briefly, before she married. My father's sister was a very prominent teacher. She had taught French at Cornell. [00:42:00] She was the head of the French department at a very fine high school, Montclair, New Jersey High School. She had traveled a great deal. My grandfather had been a superintendent of a board of education. He retired into educational supervision. So it came fairly naturally. In fact, my parents had suggested teaching when I first went to college, but I thought that was for the birds at that time.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But you got experience—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I told you, the Foreign Service is what I really wanted to do, but it didn't turn out that way. But I'm sure that I used my—whatever diplomatic talents I had, I have used right up to the hilt at Dartmouth. I've been most successful in dealing with people. That's how you get things done.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Absolutely.

[END OF TRACK lathro82_3of5_cass_SideB_r.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  —our continuing interview. This is January 26, 1983, in Hanover, New Hampshire. Before we talk about post-World War II, I'd like to go back. You've mentioned, in passing, several courses that were remarkable for their earliness or for their character that were done here at Dartmouth, I guess in the late '20s or '30s. You first mentioned a pioneer course in city planning that was begun by a Professor Zug, I guess Z-U-G.




ROBERT F. BROWN:  Do you remember his first name?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes, George Breed Zug.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What was—and this was an undergraduate course in city planning. Wasn't that in itself rather remarkable?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  We thought—we believed, and I think truly, that it was the first undergraduate course in city planning in any American institution, and perhaps in the world, actually. City planning had come into graduate schools, but it was not available as an undergraduate study. Zug was very good at it, and it was a popular course. Well, he had other pioneering aspects, too. He had come to us from the University of Chicago, and when he was a very young man, he had met Berenson, and was becoming a friend of Mr. and Mrs. Berenson. I think he had visited with them in Florence. I remember he had quite a bit of correspondence with Berenson. He was interested in Italian art, Renaissance art, as Berenson of course was, but he also was interested in American art, which was much less common at the time. [00:02:03] When I got to know him in the late '20s, he had been running whatever exhibition program there was at Dartmouth It wasn't very much, because Dartmouth had not had a real art building. It was under construction in '28, when I was hired, and it opened in commencement '29. That was the first time that we had gallery space. But there was another college building, Robinson Hall, that had a combination room that could be used as a theater, with a little stage at one end, or it could be used for dancing, or it could be used, with all the chairs removed, for setting up a temporary exhibition, on screens usually. Zug had had some good exhibitions there, which he had to borrow, largely, through cajoling dealers. There was really no money for that sort of thing. He had—back, I think, in 1916, he had had an exhibition of the Cornish Colony of artists here, south of here, which included a lot of good people. Every once in a while, maybe two or three times a year, he was able to put on this sort of thing, and he was the only member of the department, I think, that had that interest in living artists, in contemporary artists, as well as in bringing in some things he could borrow from other museums on a short-term basis.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did you get to know him quite well when you came, after you came here?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yes. Yes, I got to know him quite well. Of course, he was getting along. He was getting near retirement, actually, and he became famous as an example of the absentminded professor. [00:04:00] There were more amusing stories about him as the absentminded professor, which clouded his earlier accomplishments. In his last years, although the students still liked him and attended his classes, and I'm sure they got quite a bit out of them, they also, I think, looked on him as kind of a fuddy-duddy, as was often the tradition with the elderly faculty and young, obstreperous [ph] students. I can tell a lot of amusing stories about him, if and when you want to hear them.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Well, sure. Let's hear one, at least.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, I think one of the most amusing ones relates to his city planning course, because he was a member of the City Club in New York, and he often lectured to them about art, on Fifth Avenue. He was to give a lecture on city planning, and we had good train service to New York in those days. Good overnight pullman service, and good chair cars. If you took a day train, you could relax in the chair car very comfortably. Well, this particular day, he hadn't had time to mount the photographs that he was going to use in his lecture and was going to pass around at the lecture to the adult members of the club that he was talking to about New York city planning. So he got a chair car, and when he—the train started in White River, so the chair car was empty when he got on, practically, and he put his cardboards and his photographs—some would be vertical and some would be horizontal—on the cardboard, and he arranged them around on these empty chairs. [00:06:02] Well, as the train went down the river, it picked up some customers, and he began to have to move these, and eventually decided that he really couldn't do it in the chair car itself, so he went to the lounge, the men's lounge, which was at one end of the car. There was a women's lounge at the other end. He went in there, and much more cramped quarters, and by this time, he was actually pasting, or trying to paste, the photographs onto the cardboard. While he was busy at this, and it seemed to be rather frustrating, he went—they weren't sticking the way they should, and a couple of salesmen came in and sat down in the lounge. Out of the corner of his eye, one of the salesmen was watching Professor Zug, and finally he said, "Hey, bub, you'd have a lot better luck if you used library paste instead of toothpaste." [They laugh.] That's a true story.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So he was a very preoccupied man, was he?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  That's right.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  How effective was his course? What was—did he—what did he teach in terms of city planning?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  He taught Renaissance art and did it very well, I think.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But city planning was—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  But city planning was his own personal love. Oh, another thing I want to mention—he didn't do this at Dartmouth, but I found out about it later. When he'd been a young instructor at University of Chicago, he had taught a course in mural painting. He was active when we were planning murals for the new art building here, and had been supportive. He was one of the most supportive of the older men on our faculty in art. Professor Packard and I, the young Turks, we were gung-ho for murals in this new building, but we had support from Zug. [00:08:06] I found a little pamphlet about that later, where—the syllabus of this course he gave in mural painting, and one of the lectures, one of the last lectures on it, was on contemporary American mural painting. This is 1916, I think it was. So you can see he was interested in modern art, as well as the background. Of course, city planning was a very practical thing to be interested in.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Now, in terms of city planning, was he—you had mentioned the New York Planning Association. He was part of that group that was developing the regional planning association, some of that? He was involved with them?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes, he was—yes. He would have been interested in housing developments, and better urban transportation, and regulating the height of buildings, worried about downtown New York getting to narrow dark canyons, that sort of thing. I think he kept pretty well up-to-date in that, even in his late years.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  How effective was his course?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, the students liked it, but they also, I think, decided, or thought he was kind of a funny person. Something I remember very well was a student phrase that—we were quite friendly ourselves with the young students. We weren't much older than they were, and we lived in a farmhouse in Vermont, and we frequently had art majors or art students over for a home-cooked meal, or entertaining them and joking with them, and playing games outdoors with them and so forth. [00:10:03] One of their phrases they would use was, "And nobody blame Mrs. Zug." This was sort of a non sequitur. So we inquired about what was so funny about that. They said that one day, Professor Zug was lecturing with the slides. He was running the slides himself in the back of the room. All of a sudden, just out of the blue, and having no relation whatsoever to what he had been talking about, or the subject of that lecture, he said, "And no one blame Mrs. Zug." They thought that was so surprising and so funny. His mind had wandered, you see, and he was thinking about something else and [laughs] this came out. So this became a catchword that the students used as a—whenever, whenever there was a dull moment, they'd say, "And nobody blame Mrs. Zug," and everybody would break down and laugh their head off, you see. [They laugh.] He was also supposed to have been so absentminded that sometimes he gave a lecture that didn't go with that particular box of slides. You see, he had been failing, but in earlier times, I'm sure, he had not been. My brother, who had been here, who graduated the year I came—so he'd been here four years earlier, and he'd had a couple of courses with Zug and thought they were very stimulating, very interesting.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did any of his students here go on into city planning that you can recall? Was that a very interesting topic?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I'm not sure whether they would have been his students now, or whether they would have been Kurt Behrendt's students, or finally, that same course—courses—there were two of them—one was city planning, one was called urban studies. Hugh Morrison also taught that at the end. Then, eventually, the course was—when Hugh Morrison was nearing retirement himself, he didn't want to give the course anymore and it was turned over to the sociology department. [00:12:02] The art department has lost it now. I don't know just what sociology has done with it. It was an important aspect of the art curriculum that I think was a very valid extension of our interest in architecture, and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  As you say, it was probably unique in undergraduate curriculum. How was Hugh Morrison as a successor to Zug? You've described he was—the students called him Facts Morrison, because he was very heavy on details.


ROBERT F. BROWN:  How effective was he?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, he was good. He was good in his way, and the students—he was always a very popular—even though considered—not austere, but demanding. You didn't take Hugh Morrison's course for a free ride. Nor Zug's either, for that matter. I think the art department actually had a reputation of being fairly strict.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was this course taught into the '50s or '60s by the art department?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes, at least through the '50s, and probably into the early '60s. I think Hugh Morrison gave it up just around '60.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did he, as far as you know, keep up-to-date—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, absolutely. Of course, I'm not sure how—I never sat in on Zug's course, although I did help him with some proofreading once, and it seemed—for some article he was publishing. I would have said it was okay and up-to-date. Hugh, of course, was very up-to-date, and so—Hugh took over Behrendt's courses, and Behrendt, having been a city planner in Berlin, and a student of urban architecture from his early manhood, he had a tremendously valuable course. [00:13:59] I think Hugh took that over and kept a high standard, and probably added American aspects to it, as well as world aspects.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  When did Behrendt come to Dartmouth?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Behrendt was one of the gifts of Hitler to America.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Mid-'30s or so?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. He came to Dartmouth in the mid-'30s, before he published his book here in this country.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was Zug still teaching when he first came?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I think Zug retired just about the time that Behrendt arrived. We were able to take Behrendt as a refugee scholar, because we could use him right away, to continue these—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did he have a reputation as a teacher in Germany, or mainly as a planner?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  No, mainly as a planner, but I think he turned out to be a good teacher. The students liked him very much. He had a coterie of almost disciples, who liked him both as a person and as a teacher. I'm sure some of them went on into city planning. In fact, I think, after the war, he was invited to be the city planner of Buffalo. I think it was through some of his students who had gone to Buffalo and had gotten involved in the municipal government of Buffalo that he was offered that job. Then he came back. He came back to Dartmouth during World War II, and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Oh, he was in Buffalo just before, and then—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  He had been in Buffalo for a year or so. What he couldn't take in Buffalo was the political in-fighting. He didn't really like that, so he returned to teaching. He built a beautiful house at Norwich, which he himself designed. [00:16:04]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was his emphasis mainly on the design aspects of planning, or did he also treat the economic and—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, no, he was interested in this—all the economic and social aspects of it, too, and political. But having gone through the political harassment of Nazi Germany, he couldn't take the political in-fighting in Buffalo between the different factions. During the latter part of the war, he and Morrison both taught map-making at Dartmouth. I taught physics. [Laughs.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You've mentioned that. That was under special circumstances, though, wasn't it?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. We had this enormous school of young Navy—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  —cadets?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  —cadets who were going to be ensigns, and they all had to have elementary physics, and I guess they all had to have elementary map-making, too.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What was Behrendt like as a person?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, very fine person. His wife was a very fine musician, and she became a member of the Dartmouth faculty, and later, after Kurt had died, she became a regular piano—teacher of piano. In the same way that we hadn't been allowed to give academic credit for work in drawing or painting or sculpting, the music people hadn't been able to give any academic credit for creative practice work with any instrument, or even in choral work. It was all the history of music, and the rest of it was strictly entertainment or extracurricular play. The same was even true with drama. You read a play, and that was very important, but you only actually put on a play for fun. [00:18:03] All the creative work in the arts was like sand pile. It didn't have any academic standing.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  This was all through Hopkins's tenure?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah, but Hopkins was working against that, but he couldn't override the faculty as a whole. He encouraged the action of—activity of drama. He encouraged the art department to have more studio potential, even though it wasn't for academic credit at first. He favored its becoming an activity that was given credit for. I think the art department were the first one that broke that barrier, and then shortly after that, music did. Drama turned out to be the last, I think, to—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  When were you able to break the barrier? After World War II or—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  So it was a long while. Did you have, quite occasionally then, some run-ins with fellow faculty who—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  We found various ways of getting around them.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But it must have left a nasty taste in your mouth, because you—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —probably wanted—advocated having performing and creative arts as fully academic.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, absolutely. It was naturally—although you could get some students who were willing and wanted to do it, and could afford to do it, as they used their time, we knew that it would be much more intensive, and we would have more people involved in it if it could be done on a comparable basis with any other course. And uh—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Do you think, looking back, that some of them feared you'd drain off certain of their people and makers [ph]?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, I think so. They didn't say that, but I think there was always an undercurrent of, well, everybody will jump into that, and our department will lose enrollment. [00:20:05] Which is not really the case in actuality. There is that—Plato looked down, you know, on the practicing arts. Anything where you got your hands dirty, that wasn't real education. There was always that conflict.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But Hopkins himself would have gone for it?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  He had the majority vote.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  That's right. He wasn't a hidebound kind of mission at all.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was he quite political? Would he try to maneuver things in faculty?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  No. He was, I would say, a very psychologically sound man. He eventually got his way, probably, but he always did it with the minimum amount of confrontation, the minimum amount of confusion. He always felt that it was much better to bring something about without confrontation. I think he usually succeeded. He wasn't trying to be in a hurry about things. He realized that some things had to develop slowly.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  He also—another thing that just came up was, if a department had small enrollments, that didn't mean that Hopkins advocated its decline?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  No, no, he wouldn't—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  He would support them?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Some deans would feel that you must have a bigger enrollment, and the college couldn't afford to have too many very small courses, because they were expensive, but I don't think Hopkins felt that it was necessary, and I think he was opposed to unnecessarily big courses that became too inhuman that way. [00:22:02] There wasn't—Hopkins believed very strongly in the personal interchange between the instructor and the student. In fact, he often used to say that the ideal education was the scholar on one end of the log, and then Mark Hopkins, who was a great earlier educator at the other end of the log. That personal interchange between master and apprentice, which is very important—I've had dedicated students who felt they got started in understanding art, or collecting art, or museum work, from whatever personal interchange they had with me. Of course, Ray Nash had it with many of his students, where it was, in their case, actually using their hands in printing and typography and layouts.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  When did Ray Nash begin teaching here?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, we had a dean of the faculty named Bill. That was his last name, Dean Bill.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You've talked about Bill's frills.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes. I've already told you that story.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Well, not the whole story of Ray Nash.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Ray Nash was really one of Bill's frills. We proposed it originally. Ray Nash retired up here from Boston, where I think he had some business relationships, as well as his interest in printing. He suggested to the art department that—would we sponsor a print shop? We had a course in the history of the book and in the development of printing that one of the librarians of Baker Library, who was also a member of the art department—he gave a two-semester course. [00:24:15] You didn't have to take both of them. You started out with the history of books, manuscripts and books—The Art of the Book, it was called.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was this in the 1930s or '40s that Ray Nash came?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Ray Nash came again in the second half of the '30s, I think. He suggested this to the art department, that he was an amateur printer, and was very much interested in printing, that he had some inheritance and some business activity that could be handled from up here, as well as in Boston, and would the art department and Baker Library be interested? Well, we got space for him in Baker Library, and—Rugg, Harold Rugg, was the teacher of these courses. He was reaching retirement age, again, and so—as Zug had been earlier—and so he was willing to relinquish his two courses, as he was either actually was retiring, or he was about to retire. That, again—the timing was right. Dean Bill was all for this, because here was another activity that would enrich the life of the student body.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And he was very keen on these—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  That's right.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  —traditionally non-academic—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. As a matter of fact, I think that he had agreed to Nash having printing space in Baker, even before we actually gave him the courses to teach. [00:26:06] I was chairman when I got this through the faculty, that this outsider, who didn't have the normal academic credentials, could become a member of our staff and teach. Later on, I got him real professorial standing. That wasn't easy at first, but that was, again, an entering wedge to get recognition and credit for things that weren't just reading and writing.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What was Bill's background? What was his first name, by the way?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  E. Gordon Bill. He was called Gordon, but I think his first name was probably Earl.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What was his background that led him to be—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  He was a mathematician. He had been chairman of the math department when President Hopkins made him dean of freshmen at first. We'd never had a dean of freshmen before. We just had a college dean. There was one dean. There were no other deans. To make it a little easier for the dean, Hopkins added a dean of freshmen, that just overlooked the activities of the freshmen class, as the college was getting larger. That really began after World War I. Then the president himself, who had been dean of the faculty, then he established the dean of the faculty, and Bill moved up from dean of freshmen to be dean of the faculty, and another, younger man was brought in to be dean of freshmen. Now they've got a hundred deans in the administration building. Every dean has two or three assistant deans. [Laughs.] But the college ran very well with three or four deans. [00:28:00]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Do you think they really need what they've got now, or is it just—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, I don't really know. There's an awful lot more paperwork, all the aspects of grants, and now all the counseling and so forth. Psychological, psychiatric counseling was all done by individual faculty members of individual students. Now it all has to be organized.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was Bill himself—what was he like as a person? What was his personality?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Great, big, buff guy. Hardboiled exterior, but a very soft heart of gold behind that buff exterior.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What do you think made him so interested in experimenting or new things here, innovation?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I think, in a way, he was following a clue from President Hopkins, actually. I'm not sure to what extent it was originally his idea. He did go into it wholeheartedly and help. He brought a college naturalist here. He brought—he helped us make the idea of artist-in-residence. We had been doing it informally when we opened the Carpenter Galleries in '29. We were able to get a recent graduate, who was a Guatemalan, and had been doing graduate work in architecture at Yale, and was a good artist, was a good painter and draftsman as well as a potential architect. We were able to get him back, because he wanted to stay around New England and not go back to Guatemala, and we were able to get him, at a very lovely small fee, as the artist coach for the students who wanted to work in these new studio spaces that we had. [00:30:01]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You described how President Hopkins would find funds for these things.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes, he would.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What was his name, this Guatemalan?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Uh. Come to me in a minute. Carlos Sanchez. He became—because he was fluent, of course, in Spanish, he became a close friend and part-time assistant to Orozco. He was still here in '32, when Orozco came. Only the first year, then he did go back to Guatemala.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Even when Orozco came, you didn't really have a formal artist-in-residence program, did you?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, no, no, and we didn't call him artist-in-residence. We gave him a faculty appointment.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You described how he came about with that.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  But actually, of course, he was an artist-in-residence, as this earlier man, Sanchez, had been. Sanchez had been very well-received by the students. He got along well with them, because he was only a few years older than they were. He gave instruction in the studios, in drawing and painting. I don't think he did printmaking, because we got etching presses and things like that a little bit later.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did you get to know him fairly well?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Sanchez? Oh, yes, very well.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What was he like?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, he was a fine person. He was torn between the arts and religion. He felt, at first, that the arts would be of civilizing value to the natives in Guatemala, the Indians, and he went back there and taught art. But then he felt that religion was even more important for them, and so he became a priest. He finally had to leave, because the moneybags, the elite that wanted to sit on top of the pile, and were brutal to the Indians—as is happening right now. [00:32:08] Many churchmen are being hounded, and even murdered, in Latin America right now, especially in Central America. Anyway, at the present time, he's in a monastery in Louisiana, and combines his interest in art with his religious teaching. He's been back a number of times. I had a nice, long session with him not too long ago, reminiscing about the days in Carpenter when he was the instructor there, in the studio, available for any help that any student wanted, and also his helping out with the mural, with Orozco. In fact, there's a head in the mural that began as a Greek head. It was [ph] to be a classic head. Carlos was sitting on the scaffolding up there with Orozco, and he noticed that every once in a while Orozco—Orozco had a drawing of this classic head. He kept turning over and looking at Carlos. Well, the head came out to be a portrait of Carlos. There's nothing Greek about it at all in the finished painting. [Laughs.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did Sanchez—has he kept up, occasionally, painting and—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes. Oh, he's kept up his painting. Of course, we helped him along in his painting here. We exhibited some of his work here. I think he had other exhibits around the country at the time.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  How did he—I've asked this question about—regarding other people before, but how did he, as an outsider and a foreigner—did he feel comfortable here? [00:34:07] He didn't stay too long, did he?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, he graduated from Dartmouth.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Yes, that's right.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  He had graduated from Dartmouth, and then he had gone to Yale for graduate work, and then he came back to Dartmouth. I don't know what degree he got at Yale, but he certainly had a couple of years of architectural work. He must have gotten some kind of degree.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And then sort of felt the call, so to speak, to go back to his homeland?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  Almost a missionary—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  That's right. He had that—he came from a well-to-do family in Guatemala, but he was very humanistically minded, and he wanted to do something for his own people, although I don't think he had any Indian blood in him, but he might have. He was a very well-spoken, well-adjusted person.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did Orozco ever think of settling in here? Because he was here quite a—how long?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Two years. I don't really know. He loved Dartmouth, and he liked it, certainly, but—and he—I guess I told you before that he had left Mexico in 1926, I think it was, disillusioned with the way the arts were being treated in Mexico. He had come to this country not on a visitor's visa. It actually was his second visit to America. He had come first as a visitor, back in 1917, I think, and had a very bad experience then. That's when they took away a lot of his drawings at the Texas border and destroyed them, because they said they were pornographic. He never had—being a Mexican, they didn't give him any redress at all. [00:36:02] They just destroyed the drawings right off the bat.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  The American border officials?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes. El Paso, I guess it was. At that time, I think he stayed mostly on the West Coast, but—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So he had pretty bitter, mixed feelings, or earlier he had—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  He had bitter—yeah, bitter. He hated America at first. Thought it was an outrageous place. Barbaric. But then, because of the extreme left domination of the arts in Mexico, after the first blooming of the arts in the early '20s, he felt that the whole thing had been so politicized that there wasn't going to be any chance for real creative work, and he came here on an immigration visa. The controversy, and the excitement, the publicity, over the Dartmouth mural, and so much that was good that was written about it, along with all the attacks on it, both here and in Europe, the Mexican government invited him back and offered him a very fine wall in the Palace of Fine Arts, right in Mexico City. I think, with that invitation, Orozco had no choice but to go back as a hero to the country that had originally rejected him. From then on, his career was highly successful in Mexico. But he had been very depressed and disillusioned after his early work in Mexico.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  When he came up here, you got to know him pretty well.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, very well.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What was he—what was his mood and personality like on arrival here? Was he still rather down or—?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  No, no, because you see, he had, he had been, he had been successful in this country in every way except financially. [00:38:06] That's the paperboy, I think—yeah. The Art Students League had given him a very fine exhibition. John Sloan had been involved in that. He had a success of esteem. His mural at Pomona had been very well-received, although he got nothing for it. He did it for nothing, really. He had been invited out there by a Spanish professor, who had suggested that it was going to bring him a high fee, but when he got there, he found out that there was no money at all, that he wasn't even sure that the college would allow him to paint a mural. But he said, "At least you have a wall, don't you?" and they said yes. Here again, the students, and some of the faculty, had chipped in. The students gave him a room in the dormitory, and the faculty chipped in for his meals and the cost of his paints, but he never got a nickel out of it personally. The New School for Social Research in New York had treated him very well, and—although there was a controversy there over the portrait of Lenin and Gandhi. He—that had—they had stayed with him, although they later—they censored it later, though, during the McCarthy era. I think he felt, by this time, that he had a home in America, and he had a chance to be recognized in America. The two years here were very happy years. [00:40:02] He really liked it here.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did he live over in Norwich, where you were?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  No, no. He—at first, he didn't have his family with him. At first, he lived in a little hotel that doesn't exist anymore called the Green Lantern, that was right here on Main Street, a couple of blocks south of where we ate today. Then when he could bring his family here, he had a college house. Number one Valley Road, it was. He had his three small children here, and Senora Orozco. The children went to school, and they were all very well-accepted, and they liked everything. The children loved the snow. He didn't. Orozco himself found it pretty cold here in the winter. He had to make a snowman every time there was a new snowstorm.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  He was a good papa, was he? A loving papa?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  He was a very good papa. He liked the students, he liked the young people. Very often, after a day's work, he'd drop around in a dormitory or a fraternity house, just to talk to young people, and they liked him. And the faculty liked him.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was that fairly unusual among the faculty, to drop in on the students?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yes. Oh, it was quite unusual. Well, Dartmouth has a tradition of rather happy interchange between students and faculty, not having many graduate programs. Today there are a lot of graduate programs in the sciences and social sciences, but none in the humanities, and so, at least in the humanities faculty, there's still time for the faculty to be open with the students, and to socialize with them and invite them to their homes, and get to know them. Always be available for advice or consultation, office hours. [00:42:02] It's true, though, that nowadays, under the pressure of every faculty member being a Ph.D., and potential tenure resting on how much he publishes, it's hard for the faculty to have the time to be available. They have to rush home to finish that article that they've got to get published. In a way, that's too bad. But I still think that we're better off than most American institutions.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Orozco, you said he did work long, hard. But in some of his free time, he would—what would he talk to the students about, as far as you know?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, anything. He was—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What were some of his interests when he was around you, for example?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  He was a very well-educated and fairly well-traveled man. We had urged him—after we gave him the appointment here in the spring of '32, and he'd started on the big mural in Baker Library, he had the opportunity, through that same friend—no, I guess it was a different—I'm not sure if it was the same man who had gotten him out to Pomona or not, but another Spaniard. He had the chance to travel in Europe with this man, and we urged him to do it. We said, "Yes, by all means, go to Europe, and see the great murals that you've only known through reading and reproductions." And he did, and I think that had something to do with the greater maturity of our mural over the previous murals he'd done. We knew that he was old enough so he wasn't going to come back and copy anything he'd seen, but he would just increase his experience of how a whole series of mural panels can be planned together into a symphonic whole, and I think that worked very well. [00:44:02] You've got a flashing light. Does that mean anything?

[END OF TRACK lathro82_4of5_cass_SideA_r.]

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  —he was a very—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So you got to know Orozco so well?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  —very trendy man. You could talk to him about almost any subject. He was very well-read. He had traveled in Europe. He liked young people. He liked people to be committed to things when it was their hobby or their profession, just to be committed to civilization, humanity. Young people liked to talk to him. When he had finished the mural here, in the spring of '34, it was the student body that got together and planned a banquet for him at the Hanover Inn, and arranged to invite important people up here. The students themselves had a gold watch prepared, and engraved to him from the students at Dartmouth College. They were more understanding of the meaning and the value of the mural, I think, than the Dartmouth faculty was. The faculty was—more of them tended to be perturbed by the mural than probably exhilarated by it. I think that affinity that young people had for him, or he had for young people, was a very good sign of his basic humanity. Now, his grandson is here in college right now. I guess I told you that. He's a sophomore now.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You felt his accomplishment was very fine? The mural turned out very well?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, absolutely.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  How did he himself talk about it? How did he think it was going as he neared the end of doing it?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, the one thing he would not talk about, really, was his own painting. [00:02:04] He would say, "The painting is another language, and our talking about it is all translation." He would want us to get our own meanings out of it. I think he was satisfied with it. I can remember when the scaffold was removed from the Christ panel, for example, which is one of the last—not the last, but it's the last panel in the main sequence of panels. The final work he did was the work of the reclining workman, with the book, and the architectural elements. He was trained partly as an architect himself, and he was fascinated by the steelwork going up in New York in the '20s. That background of industrial architecture, or architecture in process, and then the industrial man, the worker, resting, and showing respect for a book—he was very pleased with that. I think he was ple—what I remember about removing the scaffold was that there was always a group of students around watching him, and any faculty member happened to be going through. He didn't advertise that the panel would be finished that day, and the scaffold would be removed, but it happened fairly frequently. Usually, each panel took about two weeks to paint. Some of the loyal students who were there almost every day, they would take the initiative, and other students would help, and this big scaffolding would be moved away., and everybody would stand and look at the finished panel, with one eye on the panel and one eye on Orozco to see what he—and quite a bit of time would go by, and he wouldn't—he'd just be looking. [00:04:18] No expression on his face. And finally, he would break into a smile. The phrase I remember in particular is that he would say, "Not bad. Not bad." [Laughs.] So I think he was, I think he was satisfied with his work. I don't mean by that that he had any unnecessary self-satisfaction. He just felt that he succeeded in doing pretty much what he wanted to do. There's a lot of improvisation goes on in real fresco painting. Unlike Rivera, and some earlier artists, he didn't make a finished, full-size cartoon, which he would—with Rivera, he would trace that cartoon onto the wall, and then really reproduce it, bit by bit. Orozco, not at all. He'd have sketches of the general panel as a whole, but without any really specific detail. Then he would have a whole sheaf of sketches about different parts of the panel that had come from realistic drawings in the beginning, and would become more or less abstract as he wanted to reinterpret them. Then all that would be up on the scaffold with him, but I'm sure that a lot developed during the painting that he wouldn't have been able to articulate, even in a drawing, in advance. I think that's one of the things he liked about mural painting, that it was always a challenge. [00:06:00] The thing developed in process. I mentioned a little bit earlier about the—what started out to be a classic Greek head turned out to be the head of his friend, Carlos Sanchez. [Laughs.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  How was this—you mentioned some of the—much of the faculty didn't care much for it. Perhaps their idea—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, I think a lot of the faculty—which would be true of academicians even today, but perhaps was more so back in the early '30s—they were illiterate as far as the arts were concerned. They were so wrapped up in their own discipline, which was strictly verbal, that they were not literate visually. Not all of them, of course. Many of them had traveled. But many of them that thought they knew about art were interested in the art that they had become accustomed to through travel or through reading, and it tended to be the art of a past era. They—and most of them were totally ignorant about wall painting, about mural painting. The fact that mural painting was political and public, that it was public speaking and not conversation—they would attack it because they'd say it's too strong, it's too bold, it's too harsh. It's not soothing. Well, public speaking isn't supposed to be soothing. That was one trouble with Reagan last night. He was too soothing. It was full of very fine sentiment, but he wasn't offering much beyond hope. [Laughs.] I think that's why the faculty was not as open-minded about it as the youngsters were. [00:08:02] The youngsters like the avant-garde. They over—in fact, they go overboard for it, almost any avant-gardist, no matter how bad it may be. They like innovation, usually. Also, they like to be different from their elders. In terms of a college setup, the student journalists are always anti-establishment. Otherwise, they don't think their decent journalists. So that might have been one reason. But then, I think, primarily, the student body was more open-minded, and were in some ways more aware of the real difficulties of the Depression. The faculty hadn't suffered during the Depression very much. We took salary cuts, yes, but we weren't really worried about losing our jobs. Colleges were failing, some of the smaller colleges, but we had a great deal of confidence in Dartmouth as an institution that would survive the Depression. Of course, none of us realized how long the Depression was going to last in the beginning.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But it did have endowment, and did have—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  We had a pretty good endowment. Yes.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  —generous alumni.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  We had generous alumni. We had a very cautious and able business manager of the college.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  How did—now, Dean Bill, who is very interested in having such people as Orozco, how did he and President Hopkins react to—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  They were all for it. Of course, we had arranged that. Packard and I were a little Machiavellian ourselves, and we—in order to get Orozco here, we had arranged that earlier lecture demonstration business, and one reason we wanted that especially was we wanted the powers that be here to meet Orozco. [00:10:09] We knew that he was such a genuine person that President Hopkins would have no trouble in realizing that he was not a faker, that he wasn't out to put something over on the college. The faculty weren't too sure about that. They didn't get to know him the way the deans and the administration—particularly President Hopkins. We had arranged for the two men to get to know each other, and they did become close friends, and that, in addition to the intellectual integrity of the project, I think, encouraged Hopkins to defend him vigorously. He had a lot of trouble. He had a lot of the crusty old alumni threaten to take Dartmouth out of their wills. They were never going to contribute another penny to the college with that wild and crazy foreigner desecrating this wonderful old Georgian building, which was only a few years old, but they thought of it as an 18th-century building, you see. The worst criticism we got over and over again was that it was inappropriate for Dartmouth that we should be exploiting our wonderful colonial heritage. Of course, we'd say, "My goodness, are we only supposed to have 18th-century books that were published in New Hampshire in this library?" [Laughs.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  That would be more provincial than it was to begin with.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah, you're right. Well, anyway.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  How did—maybe you've indicated before—how did you and Artemus Packard first meet Orozco? Was this in New York?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. [00:12:00] I think I've told you before how we met. We were following Orozco's career, and we learned who his—what gallery was—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  That's right, you have told us already. Delphic Galleries.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. I'd had exhibits here through the Delphic Gallery. We exhibited his work at least twice, and I think probably three times, before he painted the mural. We had shown his mural drawings. We'd shown some of his oils, and we'd shown quite a few of his early prints.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  That's right. Well, then I'm repeating. I forgot. Did you have his dealer, Alma Reed, come up at all? Did she come to look at the mural, or did any New York critics come up to look at it?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yeah, after it was done. Well, Orozco was here without her at first. We had got to know Orozco at some of the exhibits in New York. We'd met him, I guess, either at the—I think I first met him at the Delphic Gallery. Both Packard and I went to the show he had at the Art Students League. There was another—another gallery showed his work in New York, before—actually before Alma Reed opened her gallery. Another woman. But she didn't promote him at all, and that show didn't get any publicity. It was Alma Reed who really put him on the map as far as the New York art world was concerned. She was very tenacious. Of course, the family thinks, today, that she exploited him financially, that she didn't give him all he was really entitled to. She was always badgering him for more things to sell. [00:14:00] She kept him fairly poor. I don't think on purpose, but he—it wasn't until he got back to Mexico that he began to really prosper. A lot is made of the fact that he was underpaid here at Dartmouth, but it was the most he'd ever got in his life, and it was the most he could have gotten in any college at the time, and most colleges wouldn't have dared to have any kind of a mural project. The salary he got as a visiting professor enabled him to take that European trip, to bring his family here—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Orozco felt it was a just—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —salary—arrangement?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I think Senora Orozco felt that perhaps he would get an additional financial stipend after it was all over, and he probably should have, but the Depression was in a terrible state, and we couldn't find any more money at that time.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did President Hopkins and Dean Bill and yourselves tend to keep—or stay steadily in touch with him after he had finished the project?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Oh, sure.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Would he come back here periodically?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  No. He got back to New York, but he didn't get back here. He was too busy, really. He came to some conventions in New York. He was here doing the dive bomber mural for the Museum of Modern Art. It's a portable mural in three panels. It can be rearranged in three different ways. I think that was probably done during, actually during, the war, in the '40s. We wrote to him, and he would send us photographs and prints. [00:16:00] I remember he sent us the print of The Masses. Do you know that one? That big crowd of faceless people in Oaxaca [ph]—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But he wasn't interested in returning as an artist-in-residence again?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  No. No. He was too busy. He was far too—he got more work than he could possibly handle in Mexico.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But the college was—or at least the president and you all were very pleased, and you fairly quickly went on with another artist-in-residence?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  When did—was the next person the Canadian painter?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  Lawren Harris?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  —there again, it wasn't something that we had to spend a lot of money on. We had a professor here, a Canadian professor, who was related to Lawren Harris, and Lawren Harris had gone through a divorce and married one of his younger pupils, in the same way that John Sloan did—no, John Sloan wasn't divorced, but this was a case of a new marriage. The fact that Lawren had divorced his first wife made him a pariah in Toronto. Toronto was a very straight-laced Canadian city. They—Lawren and his new wife were not going to be socially accepted in Toronto. So his—William K. Stewart, W.K. Stewart, was—there was an uncle-nephew relationship, but it was one of those things where the nephew was older than the uncle. But anyway—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Stewart was on your faculty here?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. Stewart suggested to Lawren that Hanover is a very friendly community, and they don't give a damn whether a man's been divorced or not, so why don't you come down here until the so-called scandal—the only scandal was that they'd had to be divorced because he'd fallen in love with his pupil. [00:18:11] Anyway, they came down here just for a little change in climate, and a place where they would be socially accepted, and then they liked it here so much that they stayed four years. When I found out that this good Canadian painter was here—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You were familiar with his work? Or did you know a little bit of it?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Not too much. I had—in the same way that I was interested in contemporary American painting, I was interested in contemporary Canadian painting, and contemporary Mexican painting, for the same reason, that this was all part of the 20th century, and that was my enthusiasm. I quickly became friendly with him. We had the studio space, and both Sanchez and Orozco had departed, so I suggested to Lawren that he could use the—there was a private studio, as well as a public studio, on the top floor of Carpenter Hall, and the private studio was to be for whoever would coach and instruct, informally, the students that wanted instruction. So I asked Lawren if—we would let him have that studio space for his own personal work, and then, at his own convenience, would he help out, encourage, and give critiques to any of the students that wanted to use his studio facilities?

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You'd presumably gotten to know his work pretty well by then, had you?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yes. [00:20:00]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And you admired it? You thought it was very good?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I had heard of him, of course. I knew this Group of Seven in Canada. I knew their work. I knew how they were interested in Canadian subject matter, and expressing the outdoors, the environmental ruggedness of Canada, its masculine qualities of environment. So I was sympathetic to that, sure. I soon found out that Lawren was a good teacher, and he got along well with students, and they liked him. Then we got to know him quite well. He was a very interesting person. He was another big man, who was interested in yoga. Oh, he could stand on his head in the morning for a half an hour or so. They were into natural foods, you know, long before the great interest in non-adulterated foods today. One of the things Canadian television people were very interested in was we frequently—we'd go over there for Sunday breakfast at the Harris's, and Lawren would fix up a very bountiful porridge, really—

DOROTHY LATHROP:  Dr. Jackson's Roman Meal.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah, which he called Dr. Jackson's Roman Meal. We assumed, for years, that there was such a thing you could buy, Dr. Jackson's Roman Meal, but the Canadians—the director of this show said, "There's an in-joke there that you didn't appreciate. [00:21:59] A.Y. Jackson was the older man in the Group of Seven, and on their extensive camping trips into the north of Canada, it was Jackson that did the cooking, and this undoubtedly was Jackson's Roman porridge that Lawren was referring to." If you went to buy it, you just bought Roman Meal, but he always called it Dr. Jackson's Roman Meal, because I think Jackson was the oldest member of the group, and he was also the cook on all their safaris into the frozen north.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You're speaking of this recent televising by Canadian Broadcasting on Lawren Harris, where they came and interviewed you?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was he—now, he was a pariah in Toronto, but he was admired by Canadians even then, wasn't he?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was he self-consciously Canadian when he comes over across the border to the big, the huge brother to the south? What was his attitude toward—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  No, he didn't have any chip on his shoulder. Undoubtedly, he was a strong Canadian in the sense that they feel necessity for their nationalism, both as opposed to Britain, as well as the colossus to the south here, the United States. But no, he wasn't too self-conscious about that. We never had any problem with that.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What kind of work was he doing, or what was the nature of his painting at the time—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I would call it a bold simplification of nature. The college is about to acquire a painting that I remember of his that was intended for Dartmouth eventually, and it's just about to come to Dartmouth now, of Mount Washington. It's that rugged geometry of the mountain, a little like Cézanne, but a little more—perhaps a little more Courbet than Cézanne, but also Lawren Harris, of course. [00:24:03] His Lake Superior pictures are that way, a simplification of the rocks, the island, the water. Even the clouds are somewhat patternized. It's very strongly realistic. Now, he was beginning to shift—that abstraction was becoming more abstract, and gradually it was approaching a point where it was no longer going to be a realistic picture at all. We used—I'm not sure I personally introduced him to Kandinsky, but I called his attention to the material we had on Kandinsky here in our library. I was the library officer, and had built up—I had the great advantage—President Hopkins had gotten a grant from the Carnegie Corporation, $50,000, to lay the foundation of a first-class undergraduate art library, and you could buy an awful lot of books for $50,000 in the 1930s. I think it took me about five years to spend that money, but I bought a lot of—and of course, being oriented and enthusiastic toward 20th-centurty art, I bought everything that looked lasting. I introduced Lawren to Kandinsky's writing on the spiritual in art, you know. He had, he had that same feeling himself. He felt that there was a strong spiritual aspect to art. He flirted with a branch of religion that emphasizes the immateriality of reality. [00:26:02] I can't think of the proper word for it. Theosophy? I think that was it. Yeah. I think that helped push him into abstract arrangements of shapes and colors. I also called his attention to the Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Non-Objective Art, in New York, and he saw a big show of that, not in New York, actually, but a road show, I guess, that Hilla Rebay had put on, and he saw it down, I believe, in Atlanta, Georgia, or someplace in the South. I have a letter from him. It's enthusiastic about Kandinsky and Paul Klee. I don't know whether Moreau was in that show or not.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  The ones that were in the Guggenheim?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I have some interesting letters from him.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was he quite effective with the students at Dartmouth?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, you see, we didn't have any—he didn't have to give any courses as such. This was all extracurricular coaching. What we did do to get around that prohibition of no formal courses for college credit, if we had a good student who had shown ability and interest in working in the studio entirely on his own, and if he was majoring in art, we could put him on honors status. We could say, look, this boy is a good student. He has this good academic record. As a major, we want to give him an honors course, which we were going to take him out of the normal pattern all together, and we're going to apprentice him to this professional artist that we have in the studio. Later on, we did it more frequently with Paul Sample. But we began that, I think, with Lawren Harris. [00:28:03] I don't—we had a lot of people up here on short-range basis. We had—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You mentioned before—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  We had Tom Benton here for a week or so at a time. We had O'Hara, the watercolor—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Eliot O'Hara.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  We had a good old-timer, Woodbury, from Boston, which went a great—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Charles Woodbury.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes. They were all stimulating to the students. They didn't have to take any attendance. They didn't have to give any grades.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was someone like—was Harris on a stipend from the school?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  No, he got this free studio, and that's all he wanted. He was a wealthy man, I should add. His family was the Massey-Harris family of the great pioneering, engineering—especially agricultural machinery. So he didn't have any financial worries. He had the finest hi-fi set for the '30s of anybody in the United States, probably. Every piece was beautifully chrome-finished, and like the youngsters today, he liked to play the music so loud that it probably blew you out of the room.

DOROTHY LATHROP:  He was very wealthy.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  In character, was he very ebullient and—or was he—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah, jovial, and yes, ebullient. I mentioned his yoga activities. Gymnastic and great one for outdoor exercise, and this love for very hi-fidelity music, with the latest possible machinery to operate it. His neighbors sometimes would complain because of this tremendously—of course, beautiful music. He liked classic music—classical music.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So did you become quite close to him? [00:30:01] He was here four years.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes, I had a fair amount of correspondence with him. Yeah. Then he—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But I mean, while he was here, did you become fairly close?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  From here, he went down to Santa Fe, and he didn't stay there very long. Then he went to Vancouver, where he spent the latter part of his life.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But I mean, while he was here, the four years here, were you fairly close, acquainted with him?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yes. Oh, yes, we saw them two or three times a week.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What was—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Because he—see, my office was in the same building where his studio was, and we met frequently in relation to the activities of Carpenter Hall. We'd meet in the art library. I would get his advice on building up books on Canadian art for the—and I would show him all the new books that came in of European art, or American art.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Could I ask you a moment about that? Some of the great European series of art, like some of the German series, were they—could they be had for $5 a volume or so, even hardcover books?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  Such as the—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Five, 10, 15, maybe.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  The whole—there was a Blass Bougha [ph] series, for example.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yeah. Oh, they were very cheap. Oh, yes.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And yet they're substantial. They're the size, practically, of a Pelican series today.


ROBERT F. BROWN:  And you could buy those—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  We had all those. We had a lot of quite important books, too. Now, Kandinsky, for example, he—I've forgotten the title now. He put out—or a publisher put out a portfolio, which had a group of very fine color etchings, and a group of black-and-white, all originals, and a limited edition. [00:32:02] I bought that book for $75, and it's worth thousands today. Every plate in it is worth—even the least important black-and-white plate is worth more than I paid for the whole book. [Laughs.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  That was the grant that enabled you to do something there was no question you could do with ordinary budget?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, the grant, the grant I used as leverage. As the grant was waning, I'd keep going back to the college librarian and say, "Look, we've got momentum here we can't lose. We've got to maintain this momentum."

ROBERT F. BROWN:  They understood that, or he did.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yes. There again, the college librarian was an authentic educator, I think, because although his own tastes were very prissy, almost—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You described his reaction initially to Orozco.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  That's right. That's right. But he was open-minded. For instance, I subscribed right away to a very fine art magazine called Minotaure, that came out in the '30s and was considered very avant-garde and psychologically motivated on a Freudian direction. The girls working in the order room, where these new things come in and are cataloged, they went to the librarian, complaining that the art department is buying obscene magazines. [Laughs.] He called me over, laughing, you know. So I explained, this is an important new direction in art. The surreal—it's leading this new movement. Surrealism comes out of the Dada movement, which had shocked everybody. I told him about the Dada exhibit in Zurich, where they had a little girl dressed in her First Communion dress, that every person coming to the exhibit had to go by her at the entrance, and she was reciting obscene poetry in her little Communion dress, you see. [00:34:15] Well, that was outrageous. But I said, "This is a way of shocking people, and of opening up the whole world of the subconscious mind, and the sexual relationships. It's important, and it's going to last. I'm sure that there were—part of it is overdone and is childish and will be forgotten, but it's educationally valuable." Of course, he backed me 100 percent. This was a time when photography was still being looked down upon as a mechanical art that could never have the stature of drawing and painting. I went to him one day and said, "Look, there's a chance here to buy a whole set of camerawork, very fine publication of a very fine photographer, Stieglitz, and it has a great deal of first-class documentation on the photographers of the 1890s and right up to the present day, in the 1930s. It's expensive, but it's going to be very—it's a very good buy. We should get it." It was more than I could use my budget for, but he—we got it. I reviewed it for the Dartmouth bull—for the library bulletin. I've gone back and read that little review. It's quite interesting. I'm praising it for the very reasons that a lot of people at the time were probably condemning it.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What were you praising it for?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, that photography is a serious art, and the good photographers, like Stieglitz, see the connection. Stieglitz, in his 291 Gallery, of course, was showing—he was the first one to show Cézanne. He was the first one to show Matisse and Picasso. [00:36:01] He also, of course, was interested in contemporary American artists, too, and the relationship—I said, this is just another media, that's all—another medium. Whether you're using a copper plate and some sharp pushing tools, or whether you're using a pencil and a piece of paper, or a lithographic stone, or whether you're using film and a camera and a lens, you're making pictures. You're recording a visual and intellectual experience.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Do you suppose the opposition to that attitude at that time was that most people associated photography simply with workman-like, pedestrian uses?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  That's right, sure.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  To illustrate or—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  They used the worst kind of amateur snapshot to condemn the whole medium. It couldn't be art, because it was mechanical, and most of it was of no lasting value.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did you find there was opposition here in the school as well?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yes. What photographic books the college had in the library were under the jurisdiction of the physics department.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And largely thought of as a technical manual?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  It was technical and scientific, and it was—you could be interested in photography for the chemicals used—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  It just might be useful to a scientist.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  —in the processing, or you could be interested in the physical aspects of the lenses, but you—a photograph couldn't possibly be a work of art. But the art department, again, pioneered that here. We used photographs in our classes. We pointed out to our students that Eakins was interested in photography, and helped to develop, probably, the motion picture. [00:38:05] Degas used photography.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Probably the young—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Leonardo da Vinci was interested in photography. He actually had, he had a real camera, a full-sized room. The word "camera," of course, means "room." Leonardo was aware of the fact that, in a square room, you put a little hole in one wall and let the light come in on the opposite wall, and you get a picture. The camera obscura, which precedes actual photography, was developed to help artists who wanted to be realistic, who wanted to record their environment. There's a long tradition of photography before we actually have it as we know it today.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  They could project images. They'd figured out—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  Through mirrors and the like.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah, the phenomenon.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  They simply lacked the sensitized surface for—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  The mirror merely straightens it out, so that you see it in the way your two eyes actually see it. Because the image that comes through the little lens, or the little hole, is reversed on the opposite wall.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  After—say, by '36, when Lawren Harris had been here four years, was the administration still favorable to bringing on an artist, to have somebody in residence who wouldn't have to teach, but would be on tap?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes, and that's why we got Paul Sample, who was actually hired, and paid.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So he's the first formally hired?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. He was a paid teacher.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So though this is still the depth of the Depression. President Hopkins was impressed enough by—to formalize the relationship with an artist, to bring someone onboard formally? [00:40:01]

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes, but he took such an awful lot of flak over the mural that, although he was sympathetic to our continuing a mural—we originally wanted to have a mural every four years, but he said that, "Until this damn Depression is over, I just can't take all that unhappy publicity." Because it did hurt the college financially on a short-range basis, probably.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But by the time Lawren Harris had been here, who cost him nothing, Hopkins approved, liked the idea of having an artist staying?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  So he was—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Of course, if Harris had painted a big, abstract mural, there would have been probably a lot of negative flak on that, too.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So the air had cleared. People had begun to forget by '36.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yes. Of course, the whole idea of art was less worrisome by that time. Even the alumni had gotten used to the idea of an American college having an active art program, and of being interested in contemporary art as well as ancient art. A lot of that battle had been fought and won.

[END OF TRACK lathro82_4of5_cass_SideB_r.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Uh, Paul Sample, of course. You had an alumnus.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  He came in '37, you see, right after—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Yeah, but you had someone much more familiar, and perhaps acceptable, to the middle-of-the-road, or even the conservative, element here and among the alumni, didn't you? Because he was painting rather conventional landscapes and—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —he had an old Dartmouth connection.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  It wasn't entirely conventional. You could put him with the Regionalists. One body of art in the '30s was American subject matter, regional America.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And was that not particularly conventional, at least to conservatives?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Tom Benton and Grant Wood—Grant Wood, perhaps, is the biggest example of that. A lot of them were from the Middle West. We—Paul Sample had gone to Dartmouth. He was a big, husky guy. He was the heavyweight boxing champion of the college. He had founded the most effective jazz orchestra the college had, which still continues today. It was known as the Barbary Coast. Then he had caught tuberculosis, and he had to spend some years at Saranac. He had done some drawing as an undergraduate, and he had taken art courses at Dartmouth, art history courses, but the last thing he probably ever expected to be as an undergraduate was an artist, a painter. While he was recuperating from tuberculosis in Saranac, he—when he was ambulatory, he was able to visit the studio nearby Saranac, of Jonas Lie.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Yes, a Norwegian-born painter.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah, and more and more, became involved in taking up a career as a painter. [00:02:03] Then he had gone out to the West Coast, in lower California—Southern California—and he had prospered out there as a teacher, as well as a painter, and he had done a lot of interesting scenes in the Arizona desert and California. But he remembered his New England days with considerable pleasure and nostalgia, and then he married a girl whose father lived up here in the Burlington area, and she wanted to come back to Vermont, and he was anxious to come back to Vermont. I guess Dean Bill heard first about it. We had admired his work. Actually, he had gone to see Orozco paint at Pomona, and he was excited about our having Orozco here. He let Dean Bill know that he would like to come back to this area, and Dean Bill said, "Well, let me get in touch with the art department." We said, "Great. We couldn't have a better artist-in-residence. We want somebody that the students will look up to, will admire as a person, as well as a painter. Here's a man who obviously has done teaching, who we believe to be a credible American painter." We were very happy about it, and it turned out to be a very pleasant relationship.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So you didn't seek to get a—maybe there weren't such, but a celebrity American painter? Were there such people at that time among American painters?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Not that would have left the marketplace, I don't think, to come up here. We were still off the beaten path. [00:04:00] We could get people to come, and we had been getting people to come—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Briefly.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  —for a short time.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But were there, in fact, celebrities who wouldn't leave New York, as there are today, who are of a class that they—their success is so self-generated, and such momentum, that they wouldn't think of making a commitment to, say, teach?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  We might have been able to get Stuart Davis here. We might have been able to get—oh, the man who did the burlesque dancers and the—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Reg Lamar [ph]

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah, yeah. We had exhibitions of those men. We knew those men.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So there wasn't the degree of celebrity-ism—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  What I'm trying to say is, they weren't the superstars made rich by their own work, for whom to come and teach, or have a commitment as faculty, would be out of the question? In those days, among Americans, at least, the great stars were in Europe at that time, weren't they, by and large? I mean, the ones—the people who are—when you subscribed to Minotaure, for example, they weren't writing about—so much about Americans, but about a Picasso, or about Surrealism, right?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  You still looked across the water, didn't you, to the latest—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, no, we were looking across the water, but in terms of having an artist-in-residence here, we would have liked to have had a man like Stuart Davis or Fredrick March or many other contemporary New York artists of the time, but most of them would not have left New York to come up here, which they would have thought would be practically going up to the Arctic Circle. [Laughs.] I don't think that would have been practical. We could get them on short trips, yes, and we did, but—in fact, we wouldn't have thought of having a permanent artist-in-residence, except if it happened by accident. [00:06:00] We did keep Paul Sample here until he retired, but we still kept having visitors come. We found that it was advantageous to have someone here all the time, and by this time, we were being able to get academic credit more and more, through having more people take honors work with the artists-in-residence. So it worked out very well. Now, of course, now we do it on a basis of a different artist-in-residence every 10 weeks. We're on a quarter system. So every quarter, we have an artist, and it's usually an artist of some prominence, and we can vary the media, and vary the kind of personality. What we're always looking for is an authentic artist, not a faker or a joker or a flash in the pan.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But on the other hand, as with Sample, you still have the steady—the full-time faculty at Dartmouth, the artist faculty. And that—with Sample, was he probationary, so to speak, in the beginning, to see whether it would be a good idea to have a studious [ph] person there?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, I'm sure he wasn't appointed for life at the beginning, no. He probably originally got a two or three-year appointment. But—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did you all have doubts whether it would be wise to have an artist, the same artist, there for years and years?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Only if that precluded our having other artists. I brought that question up with Dean Bill—does this mean we can't have visiting artists come for shorter periods, as we had been having? He said, "Oh, no." No, we thought it was a good idea to have somebody here all the time. Could have different kinds of classes, that could be a part of the whole community. Having been an athlete, Paul Sample served on the advisory committee to athletics at Dartmouth. [00:08:00]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  He was a terrific advertisement for art, was he?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  For once and all, it killed the stigma that art was effeminate. We had to worry about that in the beginning. One of the great pleasures we had with Nelson Rockefeller was that he was an all-around guy. He was active in sports. He was on the soccer team. He was active in all kinds of activities. He was the head of the local student photographic magazine. He was a first-class photographer himself, really. He was head of the student organization called The Arts. Of course, he graduated in 1930, but there was that same organization of the arts that he had helped pioneer, that helped to bring student attention to Orozco, and to back the art department in the many things that we did in relation to artists that came to visit. It was a good thing. That helped to break down any idea that art was, in any way, not masculine. Then, having Paul here all the time as an artist just clinched that.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  His background, I mean, his having—being a big man and a former boxer.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  And a big outdoor man. Been very active in—outdoor activities are very important at Dartmouth. The Dartmouth Outing Club is a great institution. The cabins and trails, and camping and hunting and fishing and canoeing all over the White Mountains. This has been a long tradition at Dartmouth.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Of course. That's one of the things it's—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Paul tied right in with that.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  —known for. But on the other hand—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  He was a great horseback rider, too.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So he was a good adverti—but you had a certain group here who were cultured and sophisticated in background, who might steer toward the arts anyway? [00:10:07] Sample simply brought in some more from beyond that frame.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  That's right.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Would you say it was a minority of the students here who came, as Rockefeller did, from a culturally urbane family, sufficient to be interested from the beginning in art? Or were they—was there a pretty high percentage?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  There always were some students that had had some previous family background in relation to the arts. It might be painting, it might be drama, it might be music. It was one of our educational aims and goals, was to increase that number rapidly during any four years that a student was here. Of course, a lot of the boys had no contact with the arts at home at all. They came from a rural environment, or from a small-town environment. But the potential of interest in art was always great, and so President Hopkins was urging us to feed that, and we did. We had very large enrollments in our courses, and we played an active role in student activities. We pioneered the film society course. We were the first ones to—through the Museum of Modern Art. In fact, we had a lot to do with developing the Museum of Modern Art, because of what we had done for Rockefeller. He passed along a lot of those ideas to the Museum of Modern Art. Our interest in photography, which became—which was also his personal interest in photography—that's why photography became an important adjunct to the Museum of Modern Art. It wouldn't normally have been. Many museums of modern art have done nothing with photography, but—and we also emphasized the value of all the so-called applied arts. [00:12:00] The design of ordinary household utensils, the importance of first-class commercial art, the importance of the poster as a form of art. All those things, we were doing here, and then the Museum of Modern Art took them up. In fact, Packard was given a year's leave of absence from Dartmouth to write a report for the Museum of Modern Art on all the things they might do, or should do, and he used all these things that we had developed here as the basis of that report.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was this just early '30s or so? Pretty early on?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  This would have still been in the '30s. Later on, when—what's his name? Um.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Rene d'Harnoncourt?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Rene d'Harnoncourt, yeah. When Rene d'Harnoncourt was the director—in fact, all the museum people came up here all the time, and Dot and I frequently crossed the Atlantic with them, and had contact with them in Europe as well as here. d'Harnoncourt was here once, at the time that they were planning their—one of their big anniversaries. I don't know whether it would have been the 50th anniversary or the 20th anniversary of the museum. They opened in '29. '39 would have been their first 10 years, then '49—it might have been '49, right after World War II. Anyway, I had an exhibit that I put on annually in our Carpenter Galleries to introduce the—those people who had not taken art courses, especially the senior class. [00:14:00] President Dickey had finally had a course here just for seniors called Great Issues. You've heard of this, perhaps? He brought important people from all over the world to come and lecture on current issues of economic, political, social importance. In the spring of each senior year, he would deal with the arts, and of course he had the full cooperation of the various departments. As far as the visual arts were concerned, he asked me to lecture to them, and to have the galleries so arranged that people who were not normally gallery-goers, or who hadn't done much with the arts in their college careers—where they could either brush up or get a head start in what they would do with art after they graduated, or in the few remaining months they might have. We had done other things for freshmen and beginners. Anyway, I put on an exhibit in which I borrowed good works of art from all around the country, including quite a bit from Museum of Modern Art. Those originals were in all rooms except one. In one of the larger rooms, I put on a strictly teaching exhibition that dealt with the major art movements of the modern period, starting with the Naturalism of the mid-19th-century, which, of course, was considered extremely radical at the time. Courbet was terribly condemned—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  I thought you meant in 1949. [Laughs.]

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  No, no. In order to make sense of '49, I went back to a century, to show what the whole modern movement was like. [00:16:06] Breaking away from the Renaissance, breaking away from Classicism, breaking away, even, from Romanticism. The real—the reestablishment of first objective, realistic point of view, then carrying that over into light and animation, the momentary vision of Impressionism, which was still meant to be more scientific and less personal. It was meant to be a momentary catching of the reality of the animated world, and then how that gradually shifted into a more personal interpretation of what had been seen in the different Post-Impressionists.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What did you show—what was your didactic method?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I would do it with a little verbal, highly simplified, forthright statement about the essential nature of that movement, and then I would use reproductions to point out the exact leading aspects of that movement, and some of the major things that it produced. Then I'd go back and say that even the most advanced modern movement has antecedents in the past. In Naturalism, for example, I'd go all the way back to Pompeii, and show them some early Roman Naturalism.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Would you show them—have some real original work right there, too, eventually?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  In the other rooms, I had all originals, yes. Then, after Post-Impressionism, I had Cubism, and then the complete abstraction, and then Surrealism. [00:18:00] Each one of those was very briefly, but concisely, presented to them, and shown that, although modern as it might be, and confusing it might be, it, too, had antecedents in the past. Hieronymus Bosch is a far earlier Surrealist. Well, anyway—and then I showed them adaptations in the everyday world from these innovative points of view, how quickly it gets into advertising, into display, into fashions. How Matisse's and the Fauve color experimentations, how they changed the whole fashion world of Paris. Well, this exhibit was seen and studied by d'Harnoncourt, and he broke it up into a whole year series of exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, but he quite frankly said, "I got it all from my visit to Dartmouth College." [Laughs.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  How did he happen to come up?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, he came up more or less frequently, because, after all, he was a good friend of the Rockefellers. Through the Rockefellers, he had met John Dickey, and John Dickey—Dartmouth, in some areas—not in many, but in some areas, especially the Museum of Modern Art—Dartmouth was highly admired and looked up to. Perhaps the only other area where we had been properly appreciated. Dartmouth, even today, is very underappreciated in many of the things it does, and I'm not talking just about the arts now. I'm talking about the institute as a whole. We still are hurt by the Animal House image, you know.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You've talked about that before. That's why—in fact, though—I mean to get back to Sample, but it was necessary in the '30s—but that's a long time ago—to make art more palatable to more students, because they did come partly for outdoor activities. [00:20:11] Well, this is, I don't think, unusual, though, among some small—still fairly small—and chiefly undergraduate courses—or colleges. They are underappreciated, even though there may be very solid work, innovative work, being done in many areas. D'Harnoncourt did make a point of coming up, at least through the '40s, did he? Did you get to know him pretty well?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yeah, sure.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was he an approachable person? What was he like?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yeah. Another great, big guy. It's funny. Most of these people turned out to be big fellows. He had a good sense of humor, and of course he was very urbane. He traveled a lot. We had lots of interesting meetings and conversations. We were once—the Inn [ph] terrace here—you know, there's an outdoor terrace where you can dine in the late spring and summer. We were dining there on the outdoor terrace, and he had just come back from a trip to Europe where he was to persuade Picasso to have another big exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. I think it was to be 75 years of Picasso. They'd had 50 years of Picasso, and they'd had 40 years of Picasso, and so forth. This was to be a continuation of that, more contemporary. In between, they'd had a big Matisse show, between the 50 years of Picasso and the 75 years of Picasso. D'Harnoncourt went to Paris, but he couldn't get to see Picasso. Picasso—every time he wanted to see him, Picasso had run down to the riviera and was down at—I forget where his home was now. Vallauris, I guess it was. So d'Harnoncourt was cooling his heels and getting more and more upset because he couldn't talk this over personally with Picasso. [00:22:06] Well, finally, Picasso invited him to come down to Vallauris, and he went down. He got to see Picasso, and he explained that this was to be a really big exhibit, and how much they'd done with Picasso in the past, and how exciting it would be, and so forth. Then he suddenly realized that Picasso had an object in each hand, and he kept going like this.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Like a juggler, practically.


ROBERT F. BROWN:  Like a juggler, practically.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. So d'Harnoncourt stopped his selling program to pay attention to what this was all about. In one hand was the last catalog of the Museum of Modern Art of Picasso. In the other hand was the last catalog of Matisse at the Museum of Modern Art, which was a bigger book. Then he caught the idea. He said, "Oh, yes, we'll have a big catalog. Even bigger than Matisse's." After that, everything went smoothly. [Laughs.] In telling this—he, again, had a somewhat booming voice—we suddenly realized that the entire assemblage there on the terrace, their various dining tables, they were all agog. They were all listening. This was just one of a whole series of amusing stories that d'Harnoncourt was telling. Dot and I were in stitches.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  When he was director at the Modern, would they regularly loan things, send things up?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, we've always been able to borrow from them. Just a couple years ago—well, we borrow—still borrow from them. In—I guess it was just—it was '80, I guess, when we showed the 40 drawings that related to the mural. [00:24:01] We borrowed from the Orozco family. This was—no, this was only a year ago. It was '81—'80—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And you made borrowings from the Museum of Modern Art?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. They have a very fine head that—they had a Quetzalcoatl; which Orozco's son gave to the museum. Normally, they don't lend it, but we were able to borrow without any problem.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You have a special relationship. Even—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I used to borrow, oh, a dozen things at a time from them.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Because years ago, they really cut down with their policy of lending.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  They had a specially planned series of loan exhibitions, which they planned to lend out, and we were in on that on the ground floor.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  They began in the '30s?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Not that early, I think.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Forties?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Maybe right after World War—well, they might have. I'm not sure. They were lending, they were lending out movies in the '30s, because I borrowed and showed them up here. Showing these older movies, the history of the movies, is what—sponsored by the art department here originally, then was taken over by the students, and became what is still today one of the most popular activities. The Student Film Society is one of the big activities of the Hopkins Center today.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What is your earlier memories of the Museum of Modern Art? Were you, in some degree, in on planning it, or only as Nelson Rockefeller had learned from you all here, and then your acquaintance with his mother? Ore were you more directly involved?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  No, I don't think we were more directly involved. We kept close attention. Originally, you know, it was in the Heckscher Building, and I attended those first exhibitions there. [00:26:03] Nelson was in school here at the time. That was '29. Then we were aware of, and we had some input, I think, in the planning of the building on 33rd Street—53rd Street—and later on, on some of the additions to it.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  How did that come about, that you were involved, to some extent, with the planning for the building? Did you know Howe or Lescaze?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, George Howe was—and Lescaze, both, had close connections with Dartmouth. I had them up here lecturing. Dot's brother worked for George Howe. He worked on the Philadelphia Savings Fund Society building. We thought very highly of George Howe. I would think there was—not formal. I don't want to overemphasize this. I think it was just in terms of occasionally giving an architect's name, or when they were thinking about should they or shouldn't they do this, we might suggest something, or they might ask us something. It was not—no formal relationship whatsoever. Of course, we did know—through Nelson, we got to know his mother and father, and they were close friends with President Hopkins, because they had summer homes up on Mount Desert in Maine.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What were some of the things that, when they were planning a new building for the Museum of Modern Art, they might have learned from the experience here at Dartmouth? Or from Dartmouth. The way to display things, maybe, or the—[00:28:00]

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, no, except that we called their attention to the fact that you shouldn't isolate—you shouldn't think only of a museum in terms of painting, or in terms of sculpture. That you need this overview of the relationship of painting, sculpture, and the pictorial arts to the whole social environment. What I mentioned a moment ago about being interested in the design of utensils, and how innovations in one aspect of art are modified and adapted in other aspects of art, and that there's no hard and fast line between fine art and commercial art. No matter how many times the good artists approve that, the general public always wants to establish that barrier again. "Oh, he's only a commercial artist." They could apply that to Leonardo or Michelangelo, for that matter.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You mentioned—discussed this with me earlier. And yet people today still sometimes press their—say, an earlier commercial art background. How did that originate with the Modern, their display of design in commercial art? Good examples. Do you recall how they began their interest in that?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I think we were the ones that suggested it first.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  How did that come about?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  One of the early people we had up here was Albers, before he went to Black Mountain. We had him lecturing up here at Dartmouth when he first came over, and long before he went to Yale. I think it was maybe through Albers that we had a Dutchman—I can't think of his name now. [00:30:00]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was he a painter or a designer?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  No, no, he was, he was interested in industrial design, and he gave a very effective lecture for us in Carpenter Hall. We were so impressed by it that we bought everything he had with him. Beautiful glassware from Vienna, for example. The architect, Hoffmann, had also designed some extremely fine goblets and things.

[Audio Break.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Yes, here's an example of the Dutchman—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  An architect who—and commercial designer—who amuses himself by picking up some scrap metal and making something out of it.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  This is the work of the Dutchman?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  No, this is the work of the Austrian architect, Hoffmann.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Hoffmann, sure. Hoffmann, yeah.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  But we bought it from the Dutchman, who had a whole series of things, some of them very industrial and very every day, and others that were highly individual and personal. His point of view was that there's a strain of imagination and creativity and practicality, in various combinations, that runs through every aspect of life. We started—we were interested in that, and bringing that into our teaching and exhibition programs, starting in the early '30s, the very early '30s.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  This, you reckon, was picked up by some of the personnel at the Modern?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  That's right. Well, we suggested it to them, and they, of course—they had to be open-minded to start with. In the beginning, it was just Mrs. Rockefeller and the other woman who worked with her—and don't forget Alfred Barr. Alfred Barr, who was another Princeton product, as Morrison and I were. [00:32:00] He was moving in the same direction himself. But I—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  He was on staff by then, wasn't—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes, he was the young director. But he was more interested in the more formal aspects. These informal aspects, I think, come far more directly from Dartmouth than the formal side of modern art, which would have originated in Alfred's reaction to the lack of modernity at Princeton. Princeton is responsible for this. There were a couple of the younger instructors at Princeton that probably put bugs in our ears, but we were reacting from the totality of the Princeton program, into a real free dive, like the Mexicans driving off the cliffs into the Pacific. We took that dive into modernity. Alfred was very good with painting and sculpture, but I think that the more applied aspects, the things like industrial products, and like posters, and perhaps even like photography, I think that that came more directly from Dartmouth.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Just for a moment, your reaction to that predominance of older art at Princeton was a gentle one. Was his also? Or did he react a little more determinedly in—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I think he was able to—the first time he got a chance to teach was at Wellesley.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Yeah, where he taught contemporary subject, I believe.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes, he did, and I think his course preceded mine, but not by much.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But he didn't entirely reject the—well, I mean, Morey was the great figure there. Medieval art.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, neither did I. Oh—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  I know you didn't. I'm asking what—did you keep in touch with Barr through all those years? [00:34:04]

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yes, sure. Oh, yes. In fact, Barr used to have a summer home up here in the White Mountains, so he'd always drop in here on his way up or back.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What was he like when you knew him as director when he was starting at the Modern?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  He's a little cooler and more reserved, but—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You mean than you, or than you'd known him as a student?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  No, to everybody. Barr's personality is a more reserved one. He had some blind spots He couldn't see the Mexicans. We thought he was foolish in that respect. He did put on a Mexican art show, but he put it on primarily because of the social importance of Rivera. He wasn't, he wasn't too keen on murals. He wasn't too keen, at first, on Orozco. And there have been some others. Hans Hofmann was another one of his blind spots for a long while. But on the whole, he was a very knowledgeable, and very sensitive, and very important person. Maybe the most important creative person in the museum world in this century, I think. I don't think that—when you think of how many museum of modern art there are—I mean, of that nature. They're all over the world today. I suppose you could go back to the Luxembourg in Paris as a museum of modern art, but it had long since degenerated. The thing about Museum of Modern Art is it had a tremendous influence on the whole world, and it's due largely to Alfred Barr, although he was—he didn't have the original idea. [00:36:06] He was hired by the Rockefellers, and supported by them, but his taste was—and his ability to express it verbally, the books he wrote, those catalogs for the museum shows, have been very important educationally. Fortunately, he lived long enough to get a good deal of acclaim for what he did.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  At that time, he didn't always, did he? Could he be—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, he was attacked from both sides. He was attacked for being too modern, and then later on he was attacked for not being modern enough. You can never satisfy the whole art world. As I say, he had some blind spots

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You've mentioned this now twice. Where he did have a blind spot, did he argue vehemently against the things that he didn't care for?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, I'm not, I'm not too sure. I can't think of any examples. He was usually attacked for ignoring things, and of course a lot of what he was attacked for basically was economic. It would make an artist if they had a one-man show, or even in a group show, at the Museum of Modern Art.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  A good deal was envy—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Of course, Dorothy Miller picked most of those group shows of young American moderns, and she was very good taste, too, I thought, very—when the museum was attacked, it was always Alfred that got attacked, not Dorothy Miller. She's a remarkable person in her own right.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Why do you suppose it was he who was attacked?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, he was the head. [00:38:00] He was the person that stood out, and so if they attacked him in the press, that got a lot of publicity.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What sort of things, in general, would you and Alfred Barr talk about when he'd come and visit or you'd see—I suppose you'd look in on him in New York, too, would you?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, contemporary things. I remember talking about Picasso with him at some length. Was Picasso better than Matisse or not? I always supported Matisse more than Alfred did. Alfred felt that, of the two, Picasso was probably the greater figure. They're two great figures, of course, but I always had a feeling that Matisse was somewhat underappreciated. He's more subtle than Picasso. Of course, Alfred was attacked for helping to make Vincent van Gogh a household word after the big van Gogh show. Of course, a lot of people felt that was—why are you giving all this publicity to a crazy guy that cut off his ear? [Laughs.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And also someone who had been dead two generations, too.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  As intelligent a man as Francis Taylor, the director at the Met, he was never able to bring himself to like Picasso. He thought Picasso was a flash in the pan. I remember long arguments with him about Picasso. He said, "This man is just living on publicity." I said, "Sure. There's a lot of that, but he is a creative figure, very deeply, strongly creative figure." There are a lot of bad Picassos, but fortunately, if there weren't some bad Picassos, you wouldn't have had the good ones. [00:40:00]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Do you suppose one thing that—problem some people had with Picasso was he would shift every few years? He was leaving behind so many—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes, yes. He was always inventing something new. Of course, actually, people didn't know him well enough. The emphasis would be on some new variation or deviation, but he had continued the other ones, too. He was still doing beautiful classical drawing, and he was still having some of the kind of dreamy introspection that's in the Blue Period. He's still doing that much later in some other things. Of course, there's a Spanish energy there, a Spanish theatricality. But look at how inventive Matisse still was at the end there. In his 80s, he was still doing those magnificent drawings, and the cutouts, the colored cutout paper. Fantastic.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Do you think you like him a bit better, or more sympathetic—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, that's what I say. He was the underdog, so I would argue in favor of Matisse. But no, I'm a great admirer of both of them.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What about—you mentioned Dorothy Miller. Could we—did you get to know her? Have you known her quite well?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  How did that come about? Just through the connections with the museum?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Among the—as the Museum of Modern Art developed in the new building on 53rd Street, they hired a lot of young people. Henry Russell Hitchcock was involved, of course, in those early exhibits of architecture. One of the curators of architecture was Ernestine Fantl, who was recently out of an American college—I'm not sure now whether it was Wellesley or Vassar—and so was Dorothy Miller. [00:42:07] Dorothy Miller was helping with painting, under Arthur, and then she married a man who worked in folk art, had been a help to Mrs. Rockefeller in her folk art collection at Williamsburg.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Is this Holger Cahill?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes, Holger Cahill. He was—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Who became well-known in the WPA program.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  That's right. Well, we got to know them all. This leads up to this European trip on the Normandie. We had been on the return voyage of the maiden voyage in '35, in tourist class, so we had gotten to know the ship then. The next year, '36, we were able to get the intermediate-class cabin, I guess it was called, between tourist and first-class. The local travel bureau here got us a first-class cabin, a beautiful one with a big foyer, and—like a studio apartment. We had access to first class. We also knew where the doors were down in the tourist class, which were always locked on the upper side, and we could open them from the upper side and let people—our friends in from tourist class.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But they couldn't come up on their own? Right.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah, that's right.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Standard procedure.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  They couldn't get up on their own, but you could get them up as a guest. Well, somewhat to our surprise, when the ship sailed and everything was wide open, we found out that this whole delegation from the Museum of Modern Art was aboard, but they were going tourist-class. [00:44:08] Henry Russell Hitchcock, Ernestine Fantl, and Dorothy Miller, and there may have been one or two others. They're the ones I particularly remember, because we said, "Well, now, there are a lot of good nightclubs up here in first class, and we can have a lot of fun, and we can have parties in our big state room," which was three times the size of theirs. We said, "After supper"—see, we could look down on them from the upper deck, and we could talk—we could shout down to them. "At the appointed hour, we'll unlock the door, you come up in our class, and then we'll do the social things at night." So we did that the first night or so. We established a wonderful routine, because Dorothy has mentioned earlier that Henry Hitchcock was quite an imposing figure—Henry Russell Hitchcock.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  In what way?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, in looks. He was fairly large, stocky. He wore these—he had a full beard, which most—very few bearded men at the time, and he had this full, impressive, Edwardian sort of beard, and very expensive and well-tailored, but at the same time, somewhat loud, dress, especially jacket.

[END OF TRACK lathro82_5of5_cass_SideA_r.]

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  So the very first night we did this, we went up to the major nightclub. There were two or three of them, actually. We were ushered to our table, and we sat down, and there was music and dancing, and something of a floor show. Hitchcock takes out his cigarette container, and it was a beautiful metal one, in gold, and it had scarlet letters, quite the size of letters, H-R-H, for Henry Russell Hitchcock. Just out of habit, he takes it out, and a cigarette, and taps it, puts the case down on the table. Well, we were quite surprised after that at how good the service was. And the next night, we got a ringside table, and we were given a real impressive, A-number-1 treatment, and it eventually dawned on us that he was considered "His Royal Highness." [They laugh.] He looked the part, more or less, except that he wasn't too Slavic-looking for a Balkan prince. Anyway—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Maybe a Western prince.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  We had very fine attention. We had a lot of fun on that trip. Well, then we all met in London, and that's when we got to know the Becken [ph] group.

DOROTHY LATHROP:  We were in the Canadian hotel. They asked us to move.

[Audio Break.]

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  —we had gotten to know all these young architects, and gone to see their zoo buildings, both in London and outside of London.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You had met them just on this trip? [00:02:00]


ROBERT F. BROWN:  Once you went to England? Who were these young architects? This was—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Let's see now if I can remember their names. It was so far back.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was this the so-called Tecton?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Tecton, yes. T-E-C-T-O-N.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What was the purpose of your trip? You were just going over to keep abreast of things?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I went every summer as an art historian, but Dot was going on a lucrative trip for Bonwit Teller. She had—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  That's why you were in the big state room.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  That's right. By that time, I was doing some ghostwriting for the president of Bonwit Teller, too, so I wasn't paid an additional fee, but in a way, I was working, too, and we got along very well with Bill Holmes.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What did the Tecton people—what was your interest in going to see them? Did you go alone with the—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I was always looking for modern architecture. I taught modern architecture here. I included—in my 20th-century course, I included architecture along with the other arts. In fact, Hugh Morrison and I occasionally had crossed swords over that, because he taught a course entirely on modern architecture. I brought modern architecture into a course in modern art, because I felt that all the arts ought to be associated together. I wasn't trying to steal his thunder, and his enrollment was always just as good as mine, and the same boys took both courses. But I felt that, when you were talking about stained-glass design, or mural painting, they should realize that these other artists had friends who were architects, and there is a modern point of view and a modern spirit that runs all the way through.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  He was more interested in architecture as architecture?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  He went much more deeply and factually into the details of modern architecture. [00:04:00] Anyway, we got to know these young people, and entertain them and their friends. Some of them were from the fashion world that Dot knew, and some of them were from the art world. Mostly architecture that particular summer. We were staying at a Canadian hotel that had been recommended to us by this Professor Stewart I spoke of before, who was the relative of Lawren Harris. This was a very sedate hotel, near the Marble Arch. So sedate, as a matter of fact, that we were worried at dinner whether the waiter was going to make it to the table, he was so elderly [they laugh] and he tired so with this big tray of food. The inclination was to get up and help him, you know. After we had been about a week at that hotel, I guess it was Russell Hitchcock said, "We're over near Harrods, in a place called"—what was the name of that place, Dot?

DOROTHY LATHROP:  Beaufort Gardens.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Beaufort Garden. He said, "We have small rooms, but there's a big suite on the ground floor that just became available. Why don't you move over?" Well, we promptly did. I guess they thought that because we'd had the big state room on [laughs] the ship—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Continue in the same style.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  —we could afford to have a big suite. Well, we did, so then we were able to entertain, and we could entertain and have parties. I remember the first big one we had, we had a lot of people.

DOROTHY LATHROP:  The Tecton group.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah, and how about—

DOROTHY LATHROP:  Oh, Elizabeth Bowen.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Bubbles Dawson.

DOROTHY LATHROP:  And Elizabeth Bowen, the writer.   

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Elizabeth Bowen. [00:06:00]

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah, the novelist. What was Bubbles Dawson?

DOROTHY LATHROP:  She was an antique dealer, or a—I don't know.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  [Laughs.] So you were really quite the magnets by having that—


DOROTHY LATHROP:  We had this wonderful place. But I [inaudible].

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Some of the people who came to this—this was a cocktail party, but some of them were going on to the opera or something in the evening. It was the first time we'd seen full-dress evening clothes that weren't black. They were purple.

DOROTHY LATHROP:  Navy blue. Midnight blue.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  So that it would look blacker at night, under artificial light. In the daylight, it looked, it looked most garish. It was the fashion.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  It was a very elegant and fashion-conscious group you were with.

DOROTHY LATHROP:  Well, they were going out to the opera, and Bubbles Dawson's husband had a midnight blue dinner jacket or a full set of tails, I don't remember. And she had copper paint on her eyelids.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So you provided the Museum of Modern Art people, then, a pretty nice evening life, did you?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  We took trips out of London.

DOROTHY LATHROP:  But you were at the party. I couldn't get home from [inaudible] until later.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yes, yes. I was to get the canapes for the party. Dot was busy, and was going to have to arrive late. I was to set up the food, and Russell was supposed to get the liquor. Well, I got the food set up, and no sign of Russell, and the guests were imminent. Any minute, they would be arriving. He comes rushing in with his arms full of flowers for the apartment. He'd forgotten all about the liquor. But fortunately, Harrods was only a few steps away, so I rushed over to Harrods and got the liquor. The party went very well, but I've never forgotten the sense of impending disaster with a lot of prominent people coming and no liquor whatsoever. [Laughs.] [00:08:00] Anyway—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What was Hitchcock like then? You'd known him several years before that, but was he—could you describe him?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  When he got older, he got a little like Professor Zug. He got a little forgetful.

DOROTHY LATHROP:  He was kind of bumbly. He was round and big.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes, he was a little bumbling.

DOROTHY LATHROP:  A little bumbly is what I would say.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Bumbly. And yet surely you could detect his brilliance, too. I mean, a man—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yes. He wasn't a stimulating lecturer, but if you listened carefully, he had a lot to say, and later on, his lecture would read well, but he didn't have a good theatrical presentation.

DOROTHY LATHROP:  I think he was always overweight.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Yes. What was he doing for the Modern over there?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  He was at least a temporary architectural curator.

DOROTHY LATHROP:  Well, what was [inaudible]?

ROBERT F. BROWN:  His job was to—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  They were planning one of those early modern exhibitions. That's why he was getting in touch with these young architects, and then we would meet them through him. We took various trips. We went out to Bexhill to see Chermayeff's pavilion, for example, which was quite impressive monument. At the same time, we went to Brighton to see the old pavilion, you know, of Romanticism at the time of William IV. I guess I told you earlier that Russell became very much enamored of this girl architect, Margaret Church.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  In England?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  In England, yes. Well, now, after that—see, we were about a month in London, and then we were going—Dot and I were going to Scandinavia. It turned out that Ernestine Fantl wanted to go to Scandinavia, too.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What was her position? What did she do at the Modern?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  She was an actual curator of architecture. I think he was a—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  —an adjunct or a temporary?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. [00:10:00]

DOROTHY LATHROP:  For the exhibition.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What was her job, to go look at modern design and—


DOROTHY LATHROP:  And to see the—some of the—and see some of the architects.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  She wanted to visit architects, and then she wanted to see the newer buildings, and she especially wanted to see the new things in Sweden. So we didn't see her in Norway, did he?


CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  But she'd been with us in London, and she'd been with us on the ship. We arranged that we'd meet again in Stockholm. Then Dot and I took a ship across the North Sea to Bergen and Stavanger, and then we went over the Norwegian mountains and came down the other side to Oslo.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was this just some sightseeing, or did you have reasons for it?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  No, no, Dot was—see, Dot was running a ski shop for Bonwit Teller, as well as being a—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And getting ideas, and contracting?

DOROTHY LATHROP:  Design them and have them made. Or else, if I saw things at their office—they had offices everywhere—just buying. [Inaudible.]

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I had been a medieval specialist at Princeton, and I was teaching a course here on medieval art, and so I was looking for all the Viking material, and studying that. Anyway, we eventually got to Stockholm, and sure enough, we met Ernestine again. She and I went out to the home of a very fine man, Swedish architect.


CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Markelius. He showed us a lot of the things he'd done. He had one of these vertical fireplaces, where you burn the logs that stand up vertically, like a teepee in the fireplace. We saw other things by him in other parts of Sweden. Then we went back—did she go all the way back to Paris with us?

DOROTHY LATHROP:  We were saving her from somebody.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yes, there was some, there was some man chasing her, and she was scared to death of him, and we became her protectors. [00:12:04]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What was—she quite young?

DOROTHY LATHROP:  She was cute.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  She was young and cute, yeah.

DOROTHY LATHROP:  She was little.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Just out of college. Very attractive. She had majored in art and architecture.

DOROTHY LATHROP:  She was very slim and small.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  She was very knowledgeable, and open to learn very rapidly.

DOROTHY LATHROP:  She was much more outgoing than Dorothy Miller. Dorothy was very quiet and reserved.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You had to—she was really pioneering. She was bringing back information—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  That's right.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  —and helping to—and for your part, you were learning of architects that you'd probably hardly heard of here, had you? Or in the current magazines, you would see work?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I was strongly interested in modern architecture, but I was also interested more in the past than she would have been. She wouldn't have been interested in Scandinavian medieval art, but I was interested in both.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You met several architects. What was Markelius like?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, very fine person.

DOROTHY LATHROP:  We went out to have breakfast with Markelius. We had to take a little boat, I remember.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes, in his own home.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What was he like? Was he very interested that Americans were interested in his work?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes, he was appreciative, and—

DOROTHY LATHROP:  He was young.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  —pleasant, open, helpful. We liked him very much as a person. We especially liked his work. It was great.

DOROTHY LATHROP:  We loved his house. It was—[inaudible].

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Very clean and simple. It wasn't—it was less Cubistic, less austere, than Le Corbusier, for example. But later on, in Paris, Ernestine and I had an appointment with Le Corbusier. He was personally going to show us the Savoye Villa. We showed up at his office on time, at the appointed day, and we could tell right away that he was quite frustrated, or quite excited, and he greeted us and said, "Oh, I'm very sorry. I've got to rush off to Rio. My friend in Rio"—the big Brazilian architect—[00:14:03]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Niemeyer, maybe.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah, Oscar Niemeyer. I wrote something—I wrote an encyclopedia article about him, so I should remember his name. But anyway, he was having some architectural problem. I guess it was in the early stages of Brasília, and he had desperately called for Corbu to come right—fly right down. "Take the Zeppelin, take the Graf Zeppelin, come right down to help me out with this problem." Corbu says, "My assistant here will take you to the Savoye Villa and show it to you. By this year, the family is living there. But I can't do that." He said, "But why don't you come out to Orly [ph] with me and see me off on the Graf Zeppelin?" So we did.

DOROTHY LATHROP:  I had to work that day.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Dot always regrets she wasn't along that day.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But was he fairly open and kind to you and Ernestine?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yes. Yes. Yes, he was. We went out in a taxi with him to Orly, and he got his luggage on this great, big, cigar-shaped thing, you know, and sure enough, it rises up and disappears, and went off to Rio. Then this office assistant of his—I can't remember his name now. But anyway, he took us out to the—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  —Villa Savoye.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  —the villa. If you hadn't seen it in this setting, you never could have properly appreciated it, because—you've seen models of it, and photographs, but in the setting, you leave the main highway, and you go in through some woods, and you come into this open field, really. It's a big, open field, with woods on three sides, as a background to quite a bit of openness, and then on the other side is a beautiful view down the [inaudible] valley. [00:16:09] That was cut so you get that view. Then, in the middle of this field, was sort of hay growing. It's fairly sizable. It's bigger than most people realize from a model or a photograph. The platform. You drive right up under it, and the driveway goes right around underneath the little—the concrete columns, and the big platform above, and the curtain wall, some which is open, and some of which is glazed. As we drove up, there were children playing, in under the overhang of the house, in an area that wasn't really paved. It was gravel, nice, clean gravel. There was a garage element, but of course we didn't go into the garage element. We got out and we talked and played a little with the children, and then we entered the house at the curve, at the center of the curve, underneath the rectangular, overall dimension of the house. Then we had a choice of the ramp or of stairs. I've forgotten which we took now. I think we took the stairs in, and we took the ramp up to the third level later. But then the whole house itself, the living quarters, are all on what we would call the second floor, what they call the first floor. Part of it is open to the sky, and part of it is semi-open, and part of it is quite private, the bedrooms and the kitchen, and a large living room. [00:18:04] We met the family, and we sat down, talked with them, and they were pleasant and helpful. Then they said, "Would you like to see the sundeck, the observation deck?" Which is protected by a curved windscreen, and which has this beautiful view down the valley. So they took us up the ramp to that, and there were the grandparents. We saw three generations using this house, which most people think of as more of a monument or a piece of sculpture than they do of a living piece of architecture.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And they really seem to be settled into it?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yes. Yes. They were very happy there. The old folks were in sort of a version of deck chairs, and this beautiful view, and quiet, and pleasant. You wouldn't have known that you were in a highly built-up part of France.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You and Ernestine came there thinking it was a rather abstract, rather very formal thing, and then you saw these people living in it? Did you discuss with them how they liked it? Simply—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  We were thinking of it in terms of a beautiful piece of modern sculpture, in a way, and then we saw how practical it really was.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did you ask—discuss with them how they accommodated to it?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yeah. Oh, sure.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What did they say? Did they seem to be perfectly typical bourgeois?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  No, no, they were quite open-minded about it. I think they'd had some problems with the kitchen, which probably weren't necessarily the fault of the architect. I seem to remember something about serving from the kitchen, either to the dining area, or maybe it was out to the terrace. They ate a lot out on the open part. It didn't have a roof. I think perhaps there was some inconvenience in getting the food out there. [00:20:00] That's the only criticism I remember.


[Audio Break.]

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  —well, later on, we went to all of Corbu's buildings, but the exiting thing then was the personal contact with him. Even though we didn't get to know him too well, that little trip out to Orly and seeing him off in the Zeppelin was something.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What did it make you think? Here's the perfectly modern man, who can go from one place to another, just like that?


DOROTHY LATHROP:  [Inaudible].

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  He hadn't had any, really any—much of any advance notice. I don't know whether he had known the day before or not, but he was in a great dither, and of course being very apologetic to us. Wasn't important to him whether he showed us that house or not. He was doing us a big favor. Except, of course, that he did appreciate the Museum of Modern Art, and the fact that they were helping to explain him and introduce him to the whole world. But he certainly was pleasant and nice to us.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did it show—did you and Ernestine have visions that—or Corbusier—these ideas of certainly applicable to modern life, or, I mean—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  His critics, of course, were saying that it was preposterous to live in these sterile boxes, but we were open-minded, and we wanted to see for sure. This particular case, we didn't find it sterile at all.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You mentioned the Swiss students' quarters. Was that another one that was favorable?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  That one I had seen earlier. That was the first one I had seen. I liked that one, too. The one I was a little less sure about, and less favorably reacted to, was the housing project at Marseilles. [00:22:00] It is kind of boxy, and I could see that there wasn't really much privacy. Of course, there isn't any privacy in any big housing project, for that matter. I liked the colors, you know. He used the abstract Mondrian colors in differentiating the different balconies and the different apartment areas.

DOROTHY LATHROP:  Always the approaches to Corbusier buildings that we do up to them. It was just like at Ronchamp. If you'd just seen it, it wouldn't have meant so much. But that going up the hill—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  You've got to, you've got to see it in the setting.

DOROTHY LATHROP:  —and suddenly coming on it. It was exciting.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Didn't you find that to be the case with much—well, much architecture, period?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  It's particularly important—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Critics frequently sound off when they know something only from photographs. They haven't bothered to see it in reality, or to see it in a living situation.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Isn't it very difficult to make sound judgment on architecture if you haven't seen it?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I think so, but there are plenty of PhDs who don't bother about it. [They laugh.]

DOROTHY LATHROP:  I think this Ronchamp thing was different, but it had—there was something that was so exciting.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  A lot of people condemn Ronchamp, because they compare it to a normal church or a cathedral. They don't start with the reality that it's a pilgrimage site. It's not an everyday church or site of a bishopric. And it's at the top of a mountain. It's a memorial—

DOROTHY LATHROP:  We saw it first in a train, right up.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. It's a memorial—

DOROTHY LATHROP:  It was like seeing Stonehenge.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  —to conflict which has destroyed a shrine on that site in every major war between the Germans and the French, going all the way back to Charlemagne's grandfather, I think. [00:24:00] Every time the Germans and the French have fought over that territory, that particular pilgrimage shrine got destroyed. The last time, of course, was World War II. And it's always been rebuilt, but this time it was rebuilt by a very modern architect, and in a very different way from before. But if you actually trudge up that mountain on foot, as we did, and see it as a pilgrim would see it, you get different views of it as you're approaching it, and then when you finally get there and see how beautifully he's fixed that site, then you can look back down the great valley below, in the Vosges. And the orchestration of space and of different kinds of penetration into that concrete wall, the different degrees and shapes of those windows, and the great sweep of the—

DOROTHY LATHROP:  The Guggenheim did that, the museum. Remember when we were there? Those great sills, and light was—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But did you tempt—after this visit, did you have any showings of architect's drawings and models—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, very often.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  —here at the college?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes. One of our students made a beautiful model of that Savoye Villa, which we would—we have our students who are especially interested in architecture, we would often have them, in their senior year, do a really exact, effective model of the building.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But this must have enhanced your teaching much, a great deal, the actual visit and meeting with the people who lived in it?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, that makes a tremendous difference.

DOROTHY LATHROP:  We're used to slides always.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  But we had lots of architectural exhibitions, including models.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Back to that trip—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  One of the very first, one of the very first shows of modern architecture at the Museum of Modern Art was sent on tour, and that would have been '29 or '30. [00:26:09]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Well before this trip.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Fall of '29, I think. We had it here at Dartmouth. They recently have had some kind of a do down at Harvard, referring back to that.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Oh, yeah, the international—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Seminal exhibition.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  —thing—style.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Of course, today, it's fashionable to knock it.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Well, it has been, for some people.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  The Post-Modernists, of course, are trying to push themselves up by pushing the earlier modern movement down. There were mistakes made. Some early modern was too closely related to Cubism. Some of it was too closely related, perhaps, to industrial architecture, or too interested in just being different. But any good movement has to have some hangers-on, and some imitators, and some experiments have to be failures, but on the whole, the creativeness of that modern movement of architecture that began in the '20s and continued right down through into the '60s, I think when that's renewed again in the next creative period, we'll build very strongly on that foundation. I think we're marking time now. We're sort of regretting our breath before another creative advance. But I think it's kind of silly to put a Chippendale top on a skyscraper. It's up now, you know. I saw it the other day. It looks ridiculous. They hadn't put the urn in there yet, but [laughs].

ROBERT F. BROWN:  It will come. Yeah. [00:28:00] Well, in the '30s, then, modern architecture was a very powerful means of getting across to students and the public modern ideas, wasn't it?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  New concepts.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  We had many of the architects here themselves. Of course, eventually, after much argument and confrontation, we got some modern buildings at Dartmouth, but I think perhaps the Nervy [ph] ones are the best, but I think Hopkins Center is a very good building, too. That's underestimated, I think, architecturally.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  I want to talk about that later. Dorothy Miller. Can you say a little bit about her as you knew her in the '30s? You've said she was a bit more reserved than some of—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  She was more reserved person, but a very talented person, and a very sure eye for merit in painting. I think she's been a stalwart pillar of the Museum of Modern Art. I think a lot of the things that she did in painting, perhaps under Alfred Barr, but still, there was a lot of creative input of her own, but Barr got most of the praise. She often—well, he also got most of the blame, too, when things—when he was attacked. But in her quiet way, she was very effective, and a very fine person, a very creative person. She's retired, too, now. I think her—she will be more and more valued and appreciated as time goes on.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did you know them and know her husband when he was with the government art program?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I didn't know him well. He was a lot older than she was. I didn't take to him as I did to Alfred. He was a good person. He and Alfred did some good things together. He was active, as you said, in the Depression help for artists. I think I probably mentioned earlier that a lot of the WPA aspects were helping artists, and the mural projects stemmed out of our Orozco mural. [00:30:09] Ours precedes all of those, you know, in time.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What do you mean by stems—the program stems out of the Orozco mural?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  The effect of an institution giving an artist a place to express himself, and paying him for it, that it's of great cultural value as well as keeping the artists from starving. That was—

DOROTHY LATHROP:  Didn't Ned Bruce come in—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Bruce, yeah. Ned Bruce, who was the right-hand man in getting the Treasury Department first into it, and then later on the larger WPA projects, he personally had correspondence with me and with President Hopkins, and was well-aware of our project here, and the educational value it had. He used that in promoting the idea with secretary of the Treasury, and with Roosevelt—Mrs. Roosevelt, and Roosevelt himself. There is correspondence that will prove that, where he says that.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  I should go read it. We have tons.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I can show you letters like that.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did he ever himself come up and look at these murals?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Not while they were being done.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But later, did Ned Bruce get up here?


DOROTHY LATHROP:  Wasn't he lame, or didn't he—wasn't he incapacitated?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Eleanor Roosevelt here—was here, too, but damn it, I was away. I looked through all her travel diaries to see if she ever mentioned it, but I can't—haven't been able to find anything in print. [00:32:01] She spent some time looking at it, I know, but I wasn't here at the time, and so I can't prove anything she may or may not have said.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You don't know whether—she was certainly interested in housing and things, and here were two or three of you teaching housing and city planning. It would be interesting to know, wouldn't it?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. Of course, we had Alvar Aalto here, too, you know.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  In the '30s?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yes. He gave, he gave some good lectures, and we—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  How did he happen to be over here that time?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  I don't know how we happened to—we heard he was here, and we got him up. We heard he was in this country, and we got him up here. It would have been, it would have been before the World's Fair, so it must have been in the early or mid-'30s. I remember his building, later on, at the World's Fair.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What was he like up here, do you recall?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Well, again, he was—he didn't have a perfect command of English, and it required close attention in listening to him. Some of the things he said were quite comic.

DOROTHY LATHROP:  We were talking about a house. He came to your house—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  He was talking—this was in a public lecture, and he was telling the audience, especially the students, that they must always, they must always build in a wally on the southern sloop, the southern sloop of the wally.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  [Laughs.] Did he do any demonstration, or anything beyond his lecture here?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  No, I don't think so. He was—afterward, of course, he did a dorm at MIT.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Yeah, after the war.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  But that was—[inaudible].

ROBERT F. BROWN:  How would you have known of him? He was in the literature and the things you were seeing in Europe, or had you gone to Finland? [00:34:00]

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  No, that's one thing we regret. From Stockholm, we thought of going to Finland, but we were in kind of a hurry to get back to Paris, and we didn't. There were things that we wanted to see by Markelius in southern Sweden. So we didn't go to Finland. I've often regretted that.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did you also, while you were in Scandinavia, that time or other times in the '30s, look in on Scandinavian design, which—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, sure. Oh, yes.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  —after the war, became quite important? Were there some specific interests?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Dot was looking for all kinds of skiwear. Ski mittens, and ski caps, and the parka, and all that.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What about furniture, though, and silver and—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Oh, yes. Oh, yes.

DOROTHY LATHROP:  [Inaudible]. Tell him that.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  A major department store in Stockholm is Nordiska. Dot had been told by the Paris office of Bonwit's that she should look at that store very carefully, and might be ideas there that she could use, or that she could pass on to other departments at Bonwit's. So she had a letter of introduction, and she went, and she was graciously received, and examined the store very carefully. Then they asked her if she would give an American report on the store for them. What an American person who was familiar with department stores would—so she wrote the report for them. Well, was it just last summer, or the summer before—

DOROTHY LATHROP:  Two summers ago.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yeah. We have a Dartmouth institute here in the summer that is put on for business executives. They're not the top executives, usually—well, sometimes they are the top, but they're usually—[00:36:00]

DOROTHY LATHROP:  Or the vice presidents.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  —upper echelon, but not necessarily the very top people. They come with their wives, and they stay a month, I guess, and they take some regular courses. They found it very exciting and very—and it's been continued, and has become very popular. It usually includes European businesspeople as well as American. This particular year, we were told fairly early that there was a Swedish director of a big department store, and Dot said, "You couldn't, by chance, be the Nordiska Company, would it?" Oh, yes, it was. At one of the social breaks, I lectured to them about the Orozco mural.

DOROTHY LATHROP:  Was that at dinner?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Was it at dinner? She sat next to this gentleman, so she told him about having been there, and he got very excited, and he said, "I was four years old at the time." [Laughs.]

DOROTHY LATHROP:  But he knew the man.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  We still have literature from the store.

DOROTHY LATHROP:  I had the letter.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  And the letter. At another meeting, she brought those to show them—

DOROTHY LATHROP:  He was the head of it.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  He was the head of it today, yes. He was the—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  In its time, was that very innovative? Was that avant-garde?

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  Yes. Yes, it was.

DOROTHY LATHROP:  It still is.


DOROTHY LATHROP:  Beautiful furniture. Beautiful.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did you happen to go to Georg Jensen in Copenhagen, or did you look in on things of that sort?


DOROTHY LATHROP:  Yes, but that was for ourselves, for fun, because we always looked at everything.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  We had Jensen—well, I used to show Jensen's silver in class.

DOROTHY LATHROP:  You had mine that you showed.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And you were more interested in the innovative side of Jensen?

DOROTHY LATHROP:  No, just a beautiful side, and if we could—

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  We were into display, and we were interested—

DOROTHY LATHROP:  And usable things.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  —of course, in the actual design, and in the way they present themselves to the community, which you might call the public relations, or their advertising. [00:38:10]

DOROTHY LATHROP:  Yeah, that whole thing.

CHURCHILL P. LATHROP:  See, my course in modern art, which dealt with the major figures of modern art and architecture, sculptors, painters, but included the applied arts, too. I would have art in industry as a topic, and I would show various objects of design. Practical design, like a ball bearing, or a bicycle wheel, or a beautiful vase, or cutlery. Jensen knives and forks, for example. The students, at first, would be flabbergasted, and then they'd become very interested in—these are referred to as the "gadget lecture." [Laughs.]

DOROTHY LATHROP:  Things in the gadget lecture. But he always brought everything home for the kitchen, and the interesting thing was that I was reading something in the New York Times—there was an article about French chefs and where they got their cooking utensils, and especially some made in Tournus. I said to Jerry, "I think that's the name on the bottom of my—some of my saucepans, but I'll have to scour everything to find out." And sure enough, they were. But I had all of my things in the basement, small depart—like a small section of Macy's department store, or maybe it's Filene's. Some things you could have never found [inaudible] I'll show you. People used to say—somebody from here would say [inaudible] this boy who taught economics [inaudible] was going to Paris. He said, "What can I bring you back, Dot?" and I said, "A pan lid." He said, "A pan lid?" And I said, "Yes, I'll show you [inaudible] can't get them anywhere else in the world." [00:40:02] So sure enough, I got—

[END OF TRACK lathro82_5of5_cass_SideB_r.]


How to Use This Collection

Transcript is available on the Archives of American Art's website.

Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Churchhill Lathrop, 1982 Feb. 25-1983 Jan. 26. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.