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Oral history interview with Henry E. Scott, 1980 May 30-June 23

Scott, Henry Edwards, 1900-1990

Painter, Educator


Collection Information

Size: 4 sound files (3 hours, 33 min.), digital, wav file; 59 Pages, Transcript

Format: Originally recorded on 2 tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 4 sound files. Duration is 3 hr., 33 min.

Summary: An interview with Henry E. Scott conducted 1980 May 30-June 23, by Robert F. Brown, for the Archives of American Art. Scott speaks of his childhood; his education at Harvard and in Italy under Edward Waldo Forbes; his teaching positions at Harvard, the University of Pittsburgh, Amherst College, and the University of Kansas; teaching aircraft identification during World War II; and his research on New England architecture.

Biographical/Historical Note

Henry E. Scott (1900-1990) was a painter and educator from Massachusetts and California.


These interviews are 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 others.

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 Henry Edwards Scott on May 30 and June 23, 1980, and February 24, 1981. The interview took place in Chilmark, Massachusetts, and was conducted by Robert 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.


ROBERT BROWN:  This is an interview with Henry Scott, in Chilmark, Massachusetts, May 30, 1980. Right?


[Audio Break.]

ROBERT BROWN:  You were born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1900. Was your father teaching there then, or why were you—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  He was either teaching, or editing the Harvard catalog at that time.

ROBERT BROWN:  The Harvard catalog?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. He had taught at Harvard. He had previously, after he graduated in 1881, gone to Germany for three years. In those days, of course, you didn't come back in the summers. You stayed through. At any rate—

ROBERT BROWN:  So it was a family of—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  So I appeared on the scene, in August of 1900, together with my twin sister.

ROBERT BROWN:  And you had an older brother and sister?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I already had an older brother and sister, right.

ROBERT BROWN:  But yours was a family, then—a fairly learned family? Your mother and your father?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes, I would say so. Yes.

ROBERT BROWN:  As a small child, was that sort of the atmosphere of the household? Lots of books and discussion?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Well, father was teaching, and he would bring home papers that had to be graded. He was very fond of Latin, and so when I got to the point of high school, and was—or school—and was doing Latin, I would take the translations to him, which were difficult for me, knowing very well he'd get so interested in them that he would—before he knew it, he was translating the whole thing for me. [They laugh.] Which wasn't quite tricky for them. [00:02:00]

ROBERT BROWN:  Did you have a great deal of interest, as a child, in study and reading?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes, I think it was in the family. Reading and music, and drawing and painting, too.

ROBERT BROWN:  You were encouraged in all of these things?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes. My mother was quite a musician. Very fine pianist. My older sister played the piano very well, and so it goes. My brother was very scholarly in his way, and he went to the Harvard Law School. He and my father really stimulated my interest in the Harvard Yard. He'd take me over there, introduce me to his roommate, and his classmates, and well, it became a natural thing. Yes, of course I'd go to Harvard. It was a little touch and go when it came to the entrance examinations, but somehow or other, with the new method they had at that time—what do they call that? The new type of exams, anyhow. I did pass all right. So I entered.

ROBERT BROWN:  You hadn't a very strong record in high school?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes, I had a good record. I had a good record. I was, on the whole, an A-student. I didn't uphold that all the way through college. I did in some subjects, but not in others.

ROBERT BROWN:  The interest in music—as a child, did you take lessons? Did you learn—


ROBERT BROWN:  —instruments?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  My mother made sure that I studied the piano, and then I wasn't practicing very well, so eventually she tried another instrument. That was first the cello, and then the violin. I was about 12 years old when I started the violin, and it's been with me ever since.

ROBERT BROWN:  Did you like it from the beginning?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Evidently did. [00:04:00] I played in high school orchestras, and subsequently with college orchestras. We even started a band of our own, and so on.

ROBERT BROWN:  Really? You didn't mind practicing, evidently? The violin.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Eventually, I changed method, and—which was a very good method. The Loeffler method. You spoke of Medfield a while ago. I believe he lived there. My cousin and my teacher studied with him.

ROBERT BROWN:  Was this Charles Loeffler, who was—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes, Charles Loeffler, composer and violinist, right.

ROBERT BROWN:  Did you ever know him?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I never had the good fortune to meet him, but I heard a lot about him.

ROBERT BROWN:  You were also encouraged, before college age, in drawing and painting?


ROBERT BROWN:  When would you do that? During summers?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  My older sister was studying with someone in Wiscasset, Maine. I was interested in what she was doing, and she encouraged me to draw. First thing I knew, I was drawing pictures of different members of the family, and even—do you remember St. Nicholas Magazine?


HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Which was a famous children's magazine in our day. They used to have—people would send in drawings, children, and so I sent one there, and I got a little prize one time, and that was very nice. Wiscasset, I mentioned—I have to go back. May I?


HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Because that was—I consider that the old family homestead, on High Street. [00:06:00] That was—that house was built by my grandfather—great-grandfather—Clark, and eventually bought by my grandfather, Sea Captain Jonathan Edward Scott, and then descended half of the house to my father, and the other half to his half-sister. Between—what I can remember—say 1902 or [190]3, and 1913, I believe it was, when he sold the house to his niece, a lot of my childhood memories are in that house. In fact, a lot of my dreams, I can still see the rooms and the corridors in that house. As I was saying to you a while ago, it had none of the modern improvements. It was a big house, but it had no bathrooms in the  modern sense, no running water, only what my older brother would pump into a tank every morning. There were no water closets, only a privy at the end of the house, a four-holer, incidentally, two big and two little. At night, before going to bed, we would make a final trip, with candles in hand, down these long corridors and back stairs, and through kitchen and laundry and woodshed, where the shadows were very eerie, to the private room at the very end of the house. Having completed everything, we retreated upstairs, and often there would be a brick wrapped in flannel, a hot brick, to warm the bed, because often it was pretty cold in that big old house there. [00:08:03]

ROBERT BROWN:  You lived there year-round at one time?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  When we were very young. Must have been over the winter, when my father went West, teaching, and couldn't take the whole family with him. It must have been quite a strain on my mother. The house was so big, and many, many steps, and up and down stairs, and the pair of twins. Young, mischievous, troublesome twins, you know. But she did have help. In those days, we had servants. It would be some young girl from Wiscasset, or when we moved to Medford, a girl from Prince Edward Island, an Irish girl, and so on. So usually, there was help. But that house was wonderful. As I say, it's still in my memories.

ROBERT BROWN:  More so than, say, your house in Medford or—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Oh, yes. Yes. Medford house was ordinary by comparison, and it was convenient to Boston. By then, my father became associated with the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and was editor of its publications for some 25 years. Every summer, we would go back to Wiscasset, until—well, even after he sold the house, we would go back and stay at the hotel there. It meant a lot to us. That's where I learned to swim. Imagine learning to swim in Maine water. [00:10:01] Usually it wasn't that cold, where it came in over mudflats, and was somewhat tempered by the sun on the mud.

ROBERT BROWN:  Do you suppose you most remember, or more remember, Wiscasset than your other places because it was summer most of the time, and it was pleasant?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I think you're right. All of those things. The schools in Medford were very good at that time. And they still taught Latin. It was Mr. Gilky, who was both a Latin teacher, and he led the orchestra, the school orchestra. He played the flute himself. That was an education, musical education, unto itself. Furthermore, I sang with the Grace Church choir. Then, after I went to college, I joined up for the Harvard Glee Club, under Archie Davison. And that—of course, years later, I was one of the, you might say, charter members of the new type of music being sung by the glee club, not the old Frog on the Bank type of thing, college song, but good music by Bach, Palestrina, Brahms, and so on.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm. That was a change that came about, about the time you were there?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes. And then I just kept on with my music. I was playing the violin, and they had, in my sophomore year, an audition for a soloist for the glee club, so that they could vary the programs a bit, from the singing of the whole group to another item on the program. And to my great surprise, I won the contest [laughs]. [00:12:00] So I played violin solos on trips to Philadelphia, Washington, Atlanta [ph], Cleveland, Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis, and so on.

ROBERT BROWN:  Did you have quite a repertoire by that time on the violin?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  A fair repertoire. Since then, it has been improved considerably, and I have become very interested in chamber music, because I played a lot with orchestras. When we were at Amherst, I played with the Smith College symphony orchestra. When we were in Kansas City, I played with the university string orchestra. We've kept a group going here, a musical group, these 10 or so years we've been living here year-round, in Chilmark.

ROBERT BROWN:  What do you suppose it was about the violin and chamber music that particularly interested you, and still does?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Oh, just that music becomes a part of you. It's ingrown, and you can't dispose of it. You can't set it aside. As I've told my wife sometime, it's going through my head all the time. I want to get rid of it sometimes, but I can't. It's there. It might be a Brahms symphony. It might be a Mozart string quartet we've been playing. It might be a Bach, cantata of Handel. Handel and Vivaldi, I'm very fond of. So on.

ROBERT BROWN:  So this was a—your musical life was one of the most prominent parts of your college life? [00:14:00]

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  A big part. Yeah. Not only college, but as I came to graduation from Harvard, and I realized I had to decide what I was going to do. I seriously considered following music, but most of the reports about professional musicians were very discouraging.

ROBERT BROWN:  In what way?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  The life of a musician and so on. If you went into solo work, you had to be really tops, and I felt I hadn't started early enough for that. I wasn't a child prodigy by any means. But I was already, then, a pretty good violinist.

ROBERT BROWN:  Did you consult with your parents about that decision, or with teachers, particularly?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Oh, yeah, friends, parents, this person and that. Then, eventually, I went back as a graduate student to Harvard, in the fine arts.

ROBERT BROWN:  But your undergraduate—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  It was by my soph—by junior year, I had become interested in the courses in the division of fine arts.

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, you had?


ROBERT BROWN:  Although your degree was in engineering?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  It was because of World War I, and you had to choose a branch of the service. I entered college, and the U.S. Army, and the SATC, training program they had at the colleges—I did that at the same time. You were serving two masters. It wasn't good.

ROBERT BROWN:  And so that's why you have a degree in engineering?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  That's why. I just carried on with that, until my junior year, and then I had completed everything for the engineering science major, or concentration, as we called it, and I was able to take up literature courses, and music, and art, and even landscape architecture. [00:16:06] I took a course in that school one year. Very lovely. So then—yes, I suppose all those banging doors will record.

[Audio Break.]

ROBERT BROWN:  This is a second interview with Henry Scott. This is June 23, 1980, in Chilmark, Massachusetts. Robert Brown, the interviewer.

[Audio Break.]

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  —to say a little more about my graduate work at Harvard.

ROBERT BROWN:  Yes, and even undergraduate.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  And undergraduate.

ROBERT BROWN:  You took some art history as an undergraduate?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  That is right, yes. I would have to sit down and think carefully about that, but some of the courses were in—studio courses, with Martin Moore. I think Arthur Pope was away on sabbatical leave that first year, but I had more to do with him later on.

ROBERT BROWN:  But Martin Moore? You took, what, drawing courses from him?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Drawing and painting courses.

ROBERT BROWN:  Was he a good teacher?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes, he was, in many ways. Yes. Very interesting person.

ROBERT BROWN:  Really, in what way?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  He was a little inarticulate. He had a way of saying, "Ooh. Aah. Uh." He couldn't quite put it into words. But he was a fine person.

ROBERT BROWN:  But he could convey his meaning?


ROBERT BROWN:  Even though he merely grunted.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  So then I began taking art history courses, too, and I had the wonderful survey course with—first with George Chase, and then the second semester with George Edgell.

ROBERT BROWN:  This was when you were still an undergraduate?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I was still an undergraduate, yes.

ROBERT BROWN:  What were they like as teachers? [00:18:01] First, what about Chase? What was he like?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Well, he was a very nice, very polished, very quiet, and very methodical. And I was to have more to do with him later on, because he was chairman of the division, later on, when I became head tutor. Edgell, of course, was a grand lecturer. He had this walrus mustache. He stood up there, had command of the English language like nothing at all. He had his students in the palm of his hand. Great. I think I've mentioned that in a little skit that I've written. Isn't it in here?

ROBERT BROWN:  Yes, you have. Yes. Did you feel he was—you learned quite a lot from him?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Oh, yes, and inspired. He was inspiring. Everyone spoke of him. My wife had courses with him, too.

ROBERT BROWN:  What aspects of art history did he stress? Painting or—more than anything else? Would you talk about architecture and sculpture?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  They brought in everything. Architecture, sculpture, painting. They didn't do anything, really, with the minor arts, what we call the minor arts. I'm trying to think what other courses I had when I was an undergraduate. It isn't clear in my head right now. When I came back in the fall of '22, then I—

ROBERT BROWN:  You graduated in June of '22?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  That is right.

ROBERT BROWN:  What did you do that summer? You didn't do any particular study that summer?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  No. I think I went to Vermont and visited relatives there, in Middlebury, and perhaps to Maine, too. [00:20:04] I think I did, yes. Took part in a wedding. Classmate of mine married a cousin of mine in Wiscasset, that I've spoken to you about before.

ROBERT BROWN:  Yes. But you came back in the fall of '22? Then you enrolled at Harvard—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes, as a graduate student.

ROBERT BROWN:  —in art history?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  The division of fine arts. What we call today.

ROBERT BROWN:  Who was it that advised you at that point? Did you pretty well know what you wanted to do?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. I think it was that time I took the courses with Moore, Martin Moore. I'd have to look this up to be sure, the precise courses and order of events. Yes, I took a course on Sienese painting with George Edgell, detailed one, of Italian art. Then Paul Sachs, on French painting.

ROBERT BROWN:  That was all that first term?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  First semester, yes.

ROBERT BROWN:  What was Sachs like as a teacher? Much like Edgell?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  No, quite different. He uses notes. He was well-prepared. Well, not that Edgell wasn't prepared. He was. But you didn't feel he was confined to his notes so much. With Sachs, you felt that he was reading off the notes that he already had.

ROBERT BROWN:  As a graduate student, was there a difference from being an undergraduate? Did you have more close conferences with the teachers?


ROBERT BROWN:  Were both—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  You came to know your professors more intimately, more closely. [00:22:01] They would have you—a party for Sachs at Shady Hill. Had lovely dinner parties.

ROBERT BROWN:  Was the subject art there, too? Was the discussion—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes. He had that collection of drawings, and a lot of them were just on the walls of the rooms of the old Shady Hill house. That's a famous house in Cambridge. I bet you know something about it. Then I went abroad, in February that year.

ROBERT BROWN:  Would that break up your graduate study? Was this a special thing you were going to do?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  This is something I did on my own. I was sort of feeling my way, what direction I wanted to take, and this was an opportunity that opened up, so I went, going first to Paris, and then eventually on to Florence.

ROBERT BROWN:  Just looking at museums? Through Sachs, did you have introductions to private collections?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes, more especially later on. He gave me lots of cards and so on. Later on, I had what we call a dago dazzler. [Laughs.]

ROBERT BROWN:  What's that?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  That is a letter from the president of Harvard, with the gold seal on it, you see. That came later. That came about '25, when I was on scholarship.

ROBERT BROWN:  This first trip, you were much more—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  First trip, I was on my own. However, in Florence, the boy I was traveling with, Ed Thaxter, got jaundice. It turned out that his cousins, the Forbeses, the Forbeses of Marchan and Cambridge, were there, and had rented the Villa Curonia from Mabel Dodge, the one who later married the Indian, Luhan, and lived in Taos, New Mexico. [00:24:06] But at that time, her name was Dodge. This was a superb villa, on a hill outside the Porta Romana. The Forbes family had rented it from her, so we were asked out there. At the villa, at the same time, was Dan Thompson. A later visit was Edie [Edith] Simonds, who later became—well, at one time, Leopold Mannes's wife, and then Tom Moore's wife. They come here to Martha's Vineyard now, have a house at Menemsha. But in the wintertime, they're in New York. All right, uh—

ROBERT BROWN:  What did you do there? Did you use that as a base?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  The villa was a base for many things. We hadn't been there but a few days when Alice Longfellow, who was then in Florence, and had her Rolls-Royce there, she asked Dan and me if we would go with—her chauffeur was from East Somerville and didn't speak any Italian—if we would go in the Rolls-Royce. Peggy—

PEGGY:  What?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I'm talking about the Rolls-Royce. I'm taping, so don't interrupt. To—across the Italian frontier to France, to bring it back in. You see, the six months she was allowed without having to pay duty was nearly up, so that was the trick to get it back.

ROBERT BROWN:  [Laughs.] So you just had to cross the border and turn around?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I had to make up my mind. I didn't want to go at first. [00:26:01] But I woke up one beautiful morning, looking out over the hills there, and I said, yes, I'm going. So we set out, in this open touring car, all along the Riviera, to Ventimiglia, and across the frontier to Monte Carlo and Nice. But at the frontier, I took pictures of the Italian customs officials and the French customs officials, which were to prove useful to Alice Longfellow later on, when, after we came back and the car was in Italy for, say, another six months—I'm not sure how long—she was able to show these pictures to the officials, and they were delighted, you see. Everything went very smoothly for her. No trouble getting the car out.

ROBERT BROWN:  Did you get to know her a bit?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Oh, yes. Some there, but later on in Cambridge, and I went to her house many times there. That would have been in those subsequent years. I don't think she lived much more than 1926. I've forgotten when she died. I went there to dinner, and I played my fiddle there with her—I guess it was her niece or granddaughter, one of the Thorp girls, who played the piano.

ROBERT BROWN:  Was Alice Longfellow one of the social leaders of Cambridge?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I suppose, in a sense, yes. She lived the good life there in the old house, and came to know that house very well.

ROBERT BROWN:  But back at the Villa Curonia, did Mr. Forbes—did he sort of direct you a bit? [00:28:02]

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Well, yes. He was, after all, in a sense, a leader. He would set it up so that each morning we'd set out in this open Italian Fiat touring car, with a chauffeur named Raffaello. We would all go, the whole family, and I'm speaking of the Forbes children, too, who now, of course, are grown up, have lives of their own, but the five children. I can name those if you want me to, but I won't take time. We would go in. It might be to the Uffizi. It might be to the Church of the Annunziata. It might be the cathedral, the Baptistery, Santa Croce, so on. Let's see. Oh, yes, one day, we even went to the studio of Nicholas Lochoff. He was a Russian copyist. He was, at that time, making a copy of Simone Martini's Annunciation, famous Annunciation, which was in the Uffizi Gallery at that time.

ROBERT BROWN:  So you were learning—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  We spent perhaps a month there, and toward the end of the time, he said, "Now"—late one afternoon, he said, "Now, we're going to do a fresco tomorrow, at the garden. Plaster the wall of the olive grove. The first coat of plaster. So get your cartoons, your drawings, ready, and we'll set to in the morning." So I was put to it. Have I told you this story?

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-mm [negative]. [00:30:00]

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I had a postcard of a Botticelli angel in the Annunciation that's in the Uffizi, so I enlarged that, a quick drawing on a piece of wrapping paper, two by four feet—roughly that. The next morning, we got out in the garden, and there was the rough plaster on the wall. Dan Thompson was there. He was doing a fresco. Edie Simonds was there. She was doing one. So we set to, and we had instruction of both Mr. Forbes and Dan Thompson, who were doing a lot with these Italian techniques. Tempera on panel, frescoes, and so on. It meant that we had, first, to put on a coat—the final coat of plaster, and smooth it. We put our cartoon over that, the drawing, and had little holes punched in it. We dabbed umber through those holes, so that when we pulled the paper away, there was the outline of our idea. I'm not sure whether that was by that punch-hole method, or just sort of engraving, cutting through the paper a bit. I've forgot. There were two methods of doing it. It doesn't matter, as long as you get the cartoon transferred. Then we had mixed up the paint in little dishes. Earth pigments, mostly, with water, and no medium, because the medium was the lime and the plaster, which crystalized as it dried. The paint would sink into the plaster. [00:32:00] I'm not going into the technical details of that now. It would take too long. But I have it all down in my notes on the techniques of painting, if you want to consult that sometime.

ROBERT BROWN:  This was your first attempt?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  This was my first fresco. After it was all done—we had to do it at one sitting, so we stuck right with it. I think we had lunch right there, maybe a beer and a sandwich. By then, in the afternoon, the plaster was beginning to get a little too dry to work on, but I did finish it. Then I went away, on the rest of my tour, to Siena, Rome, Naples, so forth and so on.

ROBERT BROWN:  Looking at museums, mainly?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes. Well, the usual tour. Seeing things, yes. Then, eventually, back to Paris. That's another story. I did some work there. I copied a painting. That's the one you've seen in the dining room here. Copy of a Fragonard. When I was working on that, Mr. Sachs came along, took a look at it, incidentally. So—

ROBERT BROWN:  What did he say? Did he have much to say about your work?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Oh, he was very interested, yes, in what I was doing then.

ROBERT BROWN:  Was this typical of a Harvard graduate student at that time, to do that much exploration of techniques, of fresco and oil painting?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  No, no. I think I had a rather unique training, a lot of it self-taught. I never took any course with Edward Forbes. It was just the personal contact with him, which was wonderful.

ROBERT BROWN:  Was he a very good teacher, very demonstrative? [00:34:03]

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Again, he had trouble in talking. He would sort of stutter a bit, and then pull his hair a little bit, but he was a delightful person. Very warm person. His wife, Margaret, was a sparkling personality. Then all the five children. But again, I won't take time—

ROBERT BROWN:  In Paris, then, you copied in the Louvre?


ROBERT BROWN:  And Mr. Sachs came in, and you saw him?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  He came along, too.

ROBERT BROWN:  What else did you do in Paris?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I'm a little confused right now whether I did that copy that summer, or whether it was another summer, of '25. At any rate, back in Cambridge, in September, Mr. Forbes asked me up to his house at Gerry's Landing for lunch one day, and Dan Thompson was there, too. He said, "I've got a picture I want to show you. I think it belongs to the school of Botticelli. I'd like your opinion about it." I was very flattered at that. As we got up from the table, he said, "Dan, run up and get that picture, will you?" We went into the living room, and presently Dan came down, set it there. Was in a gold frame. I looked. My goodness, it was the angel that I had done on the wall of the olive grove at the Villa Curonia the previous spring. It was Dan's first trial at transferring a painting. You know, you can transfer it from a plaster surface to another plaster, or to canvas, or to wood, what have you. This is well-known by conservators in the museums today. [00:36:04] It's a special trick to be able to do it. He had done it, anyhow, and in the course of doing it, some of the paint chipped off, and he folded it and got it in his trunk. There was a crease there, but he got it in, past the customs officials, all right. This was the painting, and it really looked old. Mr. Forbes took it to the museum, and set it up in his little office on the second floor, where he usually put pictures which were for consideration for the museum, and brought in different members of the faculty, who made their comments on it. "Oh, yes, yes, yes, it really is a Botticelli." Or someone said, "No. No, it couldn't be. Look at the way that is," and so on. At any rate—

ROBERT BROWN:  He had some fun with it?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  He had a lot of fun with it. Then, only a short time later, Burlington House in London was putting on an exhibition of fakes, forgeries, and restored paintings. They sent this picture, my copy, along with a—was a painting by Botticelli, as I remember it, that had been restored, and there was a Giovanni Bellini, which had been blistered and flaked. The paint had flaked off. It had been in a fire somewhere or other. Those pictures were sent, and mine. Then it came back, there was a problem. Whose picture was it, anyhow? Was it Dan Thompson's? Was it mine? Did it belong to the Villa Curonia, Edward Forbes, or who? [00:38:00] Dan and I got together one day. We decided that we would magnanimously give the picture to Fogg Museum for its study collection, and that's where it has been. It has traveled about some, with various exhibitions that the Fogg has put together, but basically it's part of their study collection. Now what else do we want?

ROBERT BROWN:  This was—then, in the fall of '23, you came back and you began, then, working on the staff. You became an assistant to Arthur Pope.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes. Just before I went on my trip, he had me up to supper one night, and he said, "When you come back, would you like to assist me in my basic course?" I said, "Yes, but I haven't really taken the course." He said, "That doesn't matter. You just attend the lectures and keep ahead of the class." [They laugh.] So that's what happened. I became an assistant. It was the fall of '23. Oliver Larkin was assistant also, in the same basic drawing, painting, and design course. It's a nice thing that Harvard did, and this division of fine arts, which was not done later on in other art departments over the country. They had a beautiful integration of art history, along with attention to technique, to studio work, coming to know what it was to draw. Any—we call them majors, or we called them those who concentrated—in art history, those people also had to take this basic course, and actually doing studio work, drawing and painting and so on, wrestling with the problem. [00:40:17] So that terms like "chiaroscuro" or "plastic" or—what's that other thing that means three dimensions? At any rate, terms that Berenson and other writers have used so many, many times, they had real meaning. They were not just words. Students who often take art history alone have a certain pattern of vocabulary, of words and adjectives, but they don't know, really, what they mean. However, if they do it themselves, there can be real meaning to it.

ROBERT BROWN:  Did Mr. Pope teach them to work from still life and from models, or did you also look at historical work?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes, we did both, and we copied. Sometimes it was copies from masters. That was good. It might have been overdone a little bit, but basically, it was very sound.

ROBERT BROWN:  Why do you think it was overdone? It didn't give that much expression?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Possibly a little too much copying at times in the basic course. Many, many people who went out from Fogg Museum took that course, whether it was a Johnny Walker, or whether it was an Alfred Barr, or whether it was a Henry-Russell Hitchcock Jr., Charlie Morgan, or myself.

ROBERT BROWN:  Those of you in graduate school, were some of you heading toward the Ph.D., and others toward some other program? [00:42:05]


ROBERT BROWN:  What would other programs have been? Or was it basically that one thing?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Basically, it was graduate work, and some went on and carried through toward a Ph.D. Charlie Morgan was one of them. Others did not. I don't think Johnny Walker ever got a Ph.D., did he?

ROBERT BROWN:  I don't think so.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Don't think so. It was very interesting. I think I've described it in my little article, about the group right outside the lecture hall, waiting to go in for their lecture, whether it was Paul Sachs, or whether it was George Edgell, or anybody else. Now, when I came back, I did that, and I took courses at the same time, and some with Arthur Pope.

ROBERT BROWN:  What did you think of him as a teacher? Was he quite good?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  He was not really inspiring, but he was methodical, and good, and sincere, and I admired him greatly, and I liked his family. I was taking one course that met—we did life class up at his house. He had a studio at the rear of the house, a nice studio. It was in the—do you want me to go on with any of this or not?


HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  All right. I'm going to jump to the following year, the fall of 1924. I'd hardly gotten started when, first of all, Alan Priest wanted to go off to China. [00:44:08] He was one of the assistants. He, and I think it was Leonard Opdyke. They were the principle assistants, especially for the big course that was given by Chase and Edgell. And so, they said, "You've got to do the tutorial work." In other words, be the head tutor. They had just started only a short while before with the tutorial system at Harvard.

ROBERT BROWN:  And how was that—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Without too much of an historical background myself, I took this on.

ROBERT BROWN:  This was working with undergraduates?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  This was working with undergraduates, who became tutees in their junior year. They would have meetings with a tutor those last two years. I think I can name the tutors at that time. Dan Thompson was one. Henry-Russell Hitchcock, George Cates, Charlie Morgan, Charlie Kuhn. Have I left anyone out? There might be, on that list that I have there. I have it. At any rate, it was an interesting group, and we would have tutors' meetings in the—oh, yes, I forgot to tell you that I think that was the year—no, it wasn't. This was—the last year I was there, '25, '26, they gave me a room in Massachusetts Hall, which had been made over, so we had our meetings there, and that's where I met my tutees. [00:46:03] Among my tutees that last year of teaching were two people who became quite famous later on. One of them was Jim Rorimer.


HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  And Robert Treat Paine Jr. Very scholarly, very dignified. He went with the Boston Museum. Wasn't he the curator of the print collection there?

ROBERT BROWN:  Well, of the Asiatic as well.


ROBERT BROWN:  Was Rorimer a very personable person, or was he very different from Paine?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Very different. Completely. Very precocious, a little arrogant. But engaging in his way, yes.

ROBERT BROWN:  What would you do as a tutor? Would they write essays for you, or you would just discuss what they would have been doing in their courses?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Find out what material, or what phase, perhaps, they were weak on, and did they need to do more work in that. It might be Byzantine art, it might be Venetian art.

ROBERT BROWN:  And you would set them to readings?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes. They would report to me and so on. Then we had to keep records for each tutee, and bring all that with us, up-to-date. It's the first time they had really formalized the whole thing, and would bring it to us for the examinations before graduation. There were both written and oral exams. Both Radcliffe students and Harvard students had to come before faculty and tutors for the examination. [00:48:06]

ROBERT BROWN:  Some of the—did you get to know—I'll ask you about some of your fellow tutors at this point, like Henry-Russell Hitchcock. Did you get to know him somewhat then?


ROBERT BROWN:  What was he like then? He had been an architecture student, hadn't he?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I have forgotten when he did his architecture, and what class he was in.

ROBERT BROWN:  But you chuckle when you say that, so what do you mean?


ROBERT BROWN:  Was he a very colorful character?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  It was in the summer of—I have to add this, that I went—in the summer of '25, they had said to me—"they," I'm speaking of Arthur Pope and others of the faculty—"You must choose a field now. You must give a course of your own." In the discussion, it came out, well, Venetian painting would be a good one, and one that was needed there. Sachs came up with a Sachs summer fellowship. This is 1925. I think Charlie Morgan and I both sailed over together on what was the old—what was the Leviathan, one of the former German liners. Any rate, I spent the summer traveling about, not just Venice alone, but to all the museums that had paintings by Titian and other—Bellini, and other great Venetian masters. It took me to Austria, took me to Germany, and Holland, England, and so on. [00:50:02] Spain, too. Don't forget that.

ROBERT BROWN:  Did you take notes and make sketches?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Oh, yes. Mm-hmm [affirmative]. I don't know whether I still have those notes that I made, but often, when I went to a picture—it might have been—who's that English, famous—Constable, John Constable. I would make a little sketch of the painting, and look, examine it closely, so I had my own opinion of the condition of the picture, how it was painted. Same with Venetian painting. I got very definite ideas on that. I've written on it in my techniques. Same with Van Eyck and the Flemish masters and so on.

ROBERT BROWN:  But you returned, then, feeling quite well-prepared to teach?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes, and I gave the course on—

ROBERT BROWN:  That was when?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  —Venetian art.

ROBERT BROWN:  In the spring of '26 or so?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I guess that was it, yes. '25, '26, that year. I gave a course for Harvard students. Charlie Morgan was one of my students, and—

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, was he? Even though he was a contemporary, he was also a student?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  There were some other people who came into the picture in the Metropolitan Museum. Names won't come to me right now. Dick Buck was one of them, who went into conservation. Let's see. We had Radcliffe—had a Radcliffe class, too.

ROBERT BROWN:  So how did it go? Did you develop quite a bit of confidence in this—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I hope so, yes. I had to write things out at first, but as time went on, I found I didn't need to do all that. [00:52:02] Quick, rough, sketchy notes, and I could work from that.

ROBERT BROWN:  Was most of this teaching from slides, or would you also take them around the Fogg, if you could, show them an example?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Both. Slides, yes, and depending on the Fogg Museum collection, which at that time was entirely black-and-white. They were slow to take on color. Resisted it. But that's another thing, many years later.

ROBERT BROWN:  So for color, you'd try to show them at least something at the Fogg, a painting?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes. Well, we took them to the Fogg Museum, and Fenway Court, and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Then, at other times, there might be trips to New York, such as the Metropolitan, so on. Now, let's see.

ROBERT BROWN:  We were talking about Hitchcock and some of your fellow students when you're at graduate work.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I really diverged there. Hitchcock—it might have been the summer of—it's either '25 or ['2]6. I was in the Piazza San Marco one morning, having a little coffee or whatnot, as one does there, and along came Henry-Russell Hitchcock. He was very distressed. He had been robbed. He had come in late the night before, and stayed at a hotel near the railroad station. In the night—he was dead tired—someone just came in the window, and relieved him from his jacket pockets of his passport, letter of credit, money, everything else. So what to do? Well, it so happened that A. Lawrence Lowell was in Venice at that time. [00:54:06] He was one of the people that Henry-Russell went to see, and we all helped him by giving him—loaning him some money, things like that. Or even clothing, because he was right down to nothing. He had on a pair of—I'll never forget—red flannel socks. [They laugh.] He was, a little bit, already showing signs of eccentricity, so I said. But we got him fixed up, and he finally got a new letter of credit, new passport, and went on his way to probably Austria that time. That's why I smile, because of that.

ROBERT BROWN:  Was he a very exuberant person?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  He was partly deaf, and if he got talking, it was hard to break in and stop it. [Laughs.] Who else do you want to know about?

ROBERT BROWN:  You had mentioned other fellow students. Alfred Barr. In what way were you—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  He wasn't a tutor, you know. He was a fellow student. I came to know him sort of casually. As I say, he would come in and look at a painting I might have been working on for Arthur Pope. His studio was just outside the door to the lecture room. This is the old, old Fogg Museum, which now no longer exists. It was called Hunt—

ROBERT BROWN:  Hunt Hall, yes.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  —previously.

ROBERT BROWN:  Did Barr already have his interest mainly in contemporary art, modern art?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I don't think so. No, I think he was filling in all of the historical background, probably taking Sachs's French painting course, and others. [00:56:01] I don't know.

ROBERT BROWN:  Among your fellow students was Charles Morgan. You've brought his name up a number of times. Was he, perhaps, your closest friend?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes, because we knew each other as undergraduates. We were in the same club, Pi Eta Club, together. So I came to know him quite well. Then, let's see. He was doing his graduate work, and we traveled some together, as I indicated, in that summer of—I'm sure it was the summer of '25.

ROBERT BROWN:  Were his interests already leaning toward the classical?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I think so. I think so, at the time. We were in Venice together, and that was interesting. Not only seeing the museums, but trying out the Asti Spumante and [they laugh] good things to eat there. Now, who else would you like to—

ROBERT BROWN:  You've mentioned a number of others—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Charlie Morgan and I—incidentally, later on, I was an usher at his wedding, and my wife came to know his wife very well, and our paths have crossed, and coalesced, shall I say, ever since. His summer home has been right next door here, on the hill. He's just turned the property over to his children. He was here about a week or so ago, with Janet.

ROBERT BROWN:  You've mentioned to me a couple of other people. Joseph Coletti, who was a sculptor, and a one-time assistant to Sargent. Was he a fellow you got to know at this time?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes, quite well. He was very sharp. When we showed him that fresco, he's the one that said, "Oh, no, that could not be Botticelli, the way the hair is done." [00:58:01] He knew. He may have been helping Sargent at that time. I'm not sure of the dates on that. He helped him, I think, with the Boston Museum murals.

ROBERT BROWN:  But he wasn't a graduate student in art history, the way you were? Wasn't he setting about a career as a sculptor?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  He may have been taking some courses there. It's not clear in my memory just where—we saw quite a bit of him.

ROBERT BROWN:  What was he like?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Very alive, and has the Italian, sparkling, vocal way, I guess.

ROBERT BROWN:  You mentioned another fellow student, or acquaintance at that time, Charles Kuhn.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes. Very dignified, scholarly. Very quiet person. He's the one that became head of the Germanic Museum later on.

ROBERT BROWN:  Did you keep up with him? Did he become any—


ROBERT BROWN:  —much of a friend?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  No. I came back to Harvard in the summer of 1930 from Pittsburgh, where I was teaching then. Gave a summer school course. Some of the people, I saw again, but many of those, I haven't had occasion to see. Henry-Russell Hitchcock, once in a while, whether it was Springfield or Hartford, where Chick Austin went, or Amherst, New York. I don't know. I went to the first Museum of Modern Art, when Alfred Barr had it up in the Heckscher Building in New York. We went there one time. [01:00:00] Then I was at the opening of the new Museum of Modern Art, in the 1930s. I've forgotten the date. Of course, many people came back together at that time.

ROBERT BROWN:  But you never followed Barr and his interest in modern art—particularly in modern art? That never became your sole interest?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  No, no. I was interested, and it was important for me to inform myself about modern art, for collectors and everything else, especially later on, when we went to Kansas City.

ROBERT BROWN:  You mentioned also, in your description of your graduate student days, the study of techniques, Dan Thompson doing that, but also you mentioned George Stout in picture restoration. Did you get to know him a bit, or was he just a figure around there at the time?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  That was mostly when I came back, after World War II, which would put it in 1945, '46.

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, but in the '20s, you didn't know him very much? Although he was there, wasn't he?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I don't think I knew him then.

ROBERT BROWN:  At the Fogg?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I can't remember that.

ROBERT BROWN:  What about Alan Burroughs, who was using X-ray technique?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes. That was in the old Fogg Museum. That was when I was teaching and assisting. By the way, speaking of assisting, did I say that I also stepped in and assisted George Edgell in the big survey course, when [John] Duncan Fergusson, who was assisting at that time—something happened to him, so we needed someone to take his place, so they asked me to do that. [01:02:02] Then, at one time, I was assisting Arthur Pope and George Edgell, and I was head tutor, and I was giving a new course on Venetian art, all at the same time.

ROBERT BROWN:  You didn't have much time for your own—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Well, that's it.

ROBERT BROWN:  —coursework.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  That might have influenced me when I decided I wanted to go away. I was doing so much teaching that I wasn't doing any creative work at all. I said, "I think I should try myself out as a painter." They said, "Well, all right. If you won't come back and keep on assisting"—and I might have been a housemaster. That was in the cards, too. "But if you won't, you might just as well have this two-year fellowship." The Bacon art fellowship.

ROBERT BROWN:  By then, you say you didn't have time for creative work. Had you determined that you wanted to not be, say, an art historian, but rather an artist? Or you wanted to be both?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I didn't think too much about being an art historian at the time, but I thought a lot about being a painter. I loved to paint, yes.

ROBERT BROWN:  This was, then, in '26?


ROBERT BROWN:  You've mentioned one other little excursion. You've mentioned that it was that year that they were planning for the new Fogg Art Museum, and the plans being formulated under Meyrick Rogers.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Meyrick Rogers, yes.

ROBERT BROWN:  Was he on the staff as well at that time, or what was his capacity?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I think he was in the capacity as architect. I don't—he might have been teaching. I'm not sure. Kenneth Conant was there, and I said Alan Burroughs. I watched him doing X-rays of some of the pictures, in the old Fogg, it was. [01:04:06] So there was quite a group of people there.

ROBERT BROWN:  Then you had this fellowship, the Bacon art scholarship from Harvard, from 1926 to '28.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

ROBERT BROWN:  You painted in Venice, Paris, and New York, apparently. Could you describe those years?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Finally, when I wound up my work there at Fogg, in that June, I think I went to New Rochelle for a couple of nights, spent with my twin sister there, who was already married. Then I went to Europe, and pretty quickly headed for Venice, and spent, I think, most of the summer there, painting and studying. I didn't have art history too much in mind. I think mostly just painting. However, there were one or two interesting things that happened. One was I ran into Edward Ballantine, who was in the music department. He gave me a card of introduction to a composer who lived at Asolo, in the Villa Torricella, which is where Browning had lived. And—

[END OF TRACK AAA_scott80_6781_r.]

ROBERT BROWN:  Side two. This is June 23, 1980 interview.

[Audio Break.]

ROBERT BROWN:  Now, you were just saying about studying in Venice and Asolo, and Ballantine, working with him.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Ballantine, with Spaulding, gave a famous music four-course at Harvard, which I took one year as an undergraduate. Ballantine was also in the Harvard Music Club, which was a club for good musicians, people like Melville Smith and Randall Thompson, and I think Alexander Steinert. People like that were in this organization, and they gave a concert every year. So I came to know Edward Ballantine, and he was in it, too. I don't think I saw too much of him, though, in subsequent years, until we got here to Martha's Vineyard, when he was then married to Florence—what was her name before that? She was—

ROBERT BROWN:  But this was someone—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  The Yale president's mother, you know.

ROBERT BROWN:  Brewster?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Brewster, yes.

ROBERT BROWN:  But he was someone you met when you were on this years of study?


ROBERT BROWN:  Did you set yourself a program of copying, or painting from landscapes, or what?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  No, no. What I did was—first, in Venice, I was just painting Venetian scenes. [00:02:00] My work was, I would say, fairly unformed as yet, but I was painting all the time, and drawing, making studies, whether it was in the Piazza San Marco, or whether it was from my room on the Casa Petrarca on the Grand Canal, and so on. That was a summer when there was that famous visit of the crown prince of Italy, and the big ball at Count Volpi's palace just down the canal a bit. I went there, got in with my fiddle as a member of the band, because I ran into this fellow who had played in orchestras with me back in Cambridge, in Boston.

ROBERT BROWN:  What was that like?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  That's quite a story.

ROBERT BROWN:  Could you describe it?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Oh, you really want to hear it?

ROBERT BROWN:  Yes, I'd like to hear about the reception and the visit.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  It was the time of the August moon. The harvest festival, or the August moon. That morning, I was up in my window, third floor of this annex to the Casa Petrarca, right across from the municipal palace, which was the old Palazzo Loredan, a Byzantine palace, and the Farsetti, those two. This launch came down from under the big bridge, the Pontifex—no—the Rialto Bridge. It was a motor launch. There were Italian sailors standing fore and aft, and the crown prince was inside. Went on down, I suppose, to Volpi's palace. [00:04:00] That evening, there was a big occasion, this ball. It was in honor, of course, to the crown prince and his visit. I got in, as I say, by being a member of the orchestra. Crowds all along the canal that night, and I was on the other side of the canal, so I had to get across, which I did. Pushed my way through the throngs of people, and boarded a little traghetto, which is a gondola ferry, which took me right to practically the backdoor of Volpi's palace. There, a lackey, in knee breeches and so on, met me, and I showed my fiddle, and told him who I was. He said, "Go ahead up." Went up to the top floor, the ballroom floor, and there the musicians were gathering. There was the ballroom, with little gold chairs all around the room, a Tiepolo ceiling, and eventually, of course, the guests began arriving. There were men, and the young ladies, and they sat themselves around the room. Eventually—Count Volpi had a daughter, see. A lovely girl, just like an American debutante. I think she'd been to America. She came in, with the crown prince, and he had to go around the room, and each girl would curtsy low before him as he was introduced to each girl. [00:06:04] Then, finally, he started off the dance with the daughter of Count Volpi, and then other people joined in. We played certain numbers for quite a while, and then we stopped, and there was a black band there, and so they played for a while, you see. And then, eventually, there was an intermission for supper. There was a courtyard, and it was three stories, with balconies facing on the courtyard. Jack-o-lanterns, candlelight, so on. Very beautiful. Mellow light. Fine food was served, and favors, like ivory cigarette holders for the ladies, and little pipes or whatnot for the gentlemen. You see, Volpi had been the Italian minister to North Africa. This was the time of Mussolini, remember. This was 1926. Nineteen twenty-six. There were at least two intermissions like that, where food was served. I was getting a little tired by then, but we couldn't leave until the guest of honor left. The gray dawn was coming. [They laugh.]

ROBERT BROWN:  And you were still—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I was still a little groggy, yes. Oh, I just played intermittently. I didn't have to. No one was paying me or anything. I was just there for the privilege of being there. [00:08:01] So finally, he did leave, and I think it was about six o'clock in the morning, in the dawn, that I finally left and made my way back to the [inaudible]. That was quite an event.

ROBERT BROWN:  So that was a major exception from your routine of studying and painting.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes. Yes, that was life.

ROBERT BROWN:  You were married in the fall of that year, weren't you?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  That's it. My life was not entirely smooth, emotionally, because I was in love, and I had someone in love with me. She had been over in June and gone to Greece. I'd seen her in Venice, and played the fiddle to her in a gondola. [Laughs.] She was traveling with a group that time. We weren't supposed to see each other. There were differences between her parents and herself and me, we need not go into now. At any rate, she went back to Paris after Greece, and then she was about to sail back to the States, and I got a telegram from her just as I was thinking of going down the Dalmatian Coast with Harry Wood, an artist whom I came to know there. I wired back, said I was coming, which I did. I got there the next morning. Probably took the night train. I've forgotten the details of that. I was able to see her, at least for part of a day, in Paris, and we went to lunch together and so on. [00:10:08] Then she went back home, and she was sick, and there were trials and so forth and so on, because her family found out we had seen her, and so forth and so on—that I had seen her. Eventually, when she got well, she went to New York and got a job there. By then, it was November. I was—well, the gray season was setting in in Paris. And I think that psychologically had an effect upon me.

ROBERT BROWN:  You had stayed on in Paris?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I suppose I should go back to that, and say that I went to Paris—it must have been in September. I ran into my friend, Otto Teegen, a classmate of mine, who was working in the architectural school. In fact, there were several people. There was George Lyman Paine, and there was—what's his name? I've better not try to do it. Yes, there were people like Jack London, and another artist who made quite a name for himself later on. He had exhibitions in New York. I can look these up and give them to you rather than trying to take time to think now, with the tape going. We had a very pleasant life there for a month or two in Paris. This Jack London, and whatever the other fellow's name was, had an apartment over in the main district of Paris. [00:12:00] It was a very nice little group there. These architects were taking courses at the École des Beaux-Arts. Otto and I got together, and we rented a studio apartment five, six floors up, on the Rue du Dragon. That's right off the Boulevard Saint-Germain, right near Saint-Germain-des-Prés. I tried working and painting there. We hired a model, and several of us got together, and I was painting every day. Set a schedule for myself. But I was in a disturbed state of mind because of love, shall we say. Then I decided I just had to go back. She was in New York, so we were free to do what we wanted to, to get married and whatnot. I finally—cable that had been—

[Audio Break.]

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  So I cabled that I was coming. I made arrangements to come back. It must have been the Minekata [ph]. The ship reached New York the morning of November 9, 2916, and she was there at the dock, and I spied her as soon as I came down the gangplank. Needless to say, I was about the first one down the gangplank. [Laughs.] We spun around and embraced, and then we quickly made up our minds, and we went to the New York City Hall, got a marriage license, and so on. Ordinarily, you cannot marry right away in New York, unless you have lived there. [00:14:07] Well, she was living there. My last residence in this country was in New Rochelle, in New York, so we had no trouble. Got a marriage ring, and in a thunderstorm, at the little church around the corner, we were married that evening, about 8:00 or 8:30. My twin sister and her husband came out from New Rochelle. Her cousin, who was with the forestry department of the U.S., Gus Tilcox, and his wife were there, and another distant friend of the family. That's all who were there.

[Audio Break.]

ROBERT BROWN:  Now that you were married, did you live briefly then in New York, or did you go back to Europe?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Just let me go back in our story, to Paris, what I was painting there. I did lots of sketches, especially in the Tuileries Gardens, and I did a large painting which showed that and so on. Somewhere rolled up in the attic now, I guess. It was immature, but each time I did something, I could see a little progress. I was going to exhibitions. I was impressed by the broken color Impressionists. By then, pictures by Cézanne and Matisse were appearing in things like the International Exposition of 1925. Remember, I was there that summer, too. It's confused in my mind now which summer is which.

ROBERT BROWN:  But did those make quite an impression on you?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  They made an impression on me. I was, in other words, not looking at the Old Masters alone, as in the Louvre, and in the small, private collections, like the Musée Jacquemart-André—that's a fine museum in Paris, over off the Boulevard Haussmann or somewhere there. [00:16:19]

ROBERT BROWN:  What there, at that museum?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Curiously—what's the name—Griers. Griers. But I saw another side to Griers. You usually think of the thin metal pieces of the girl, the broken pitcher. But he was a very fine portraitist, and there were excellent portraits by him. I was leaning that way myself then. I was doing drawings and pastels, whoever would pose for me. I think I was developing knowledge and skill in that way. I was doing figure drawing. I was doing some landscapes.

ROBERT BROWN:  Were you taking any lessons?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I couldn't find anyone I wanted to take lessons with. I considered going to the Grande Chaumiere, which was sort of the big life class activity in Paris at that time. Tried that, but we found it better to rent a model, so to speak, of our own, and set up our own classes. Then, back in New York, all right, once we got an apartment on Christopher Street, or really loft apartment, I tried to work out a schedule where I was drawing and doing pictures, but a lot of them were portraits. [00:18:07] I had cousins in New York. Through them, I did members of their family, and I did other friends, and so on. I don't think I'll try to enumerate all the different people. And so it went that whole winter.

ROBERT BROWN:  The winter of '26 and '27?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Twenty-six and '27. Christopher Street. Then came the summer, what to do. We probably went up to Boston, and made up with her mother, and so forth and so on. So my family, then, we had been invited to Portageville, New York by friends.

ROBERT BROWN:  Portageville?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Portageville. It's south of Geneseo. Geneseo is where a roommate of mine lived. Through him and his father, I did some portraits there. Then we came back to New York, and we got a new apartment, another apartment. This was on Waverly Place, on 84 Waverly Place, just south of—you know, Waverly winds around from Washington Square. It goes west, and it goes north. It was on that section there. There was a house, a three-story brick house, and we had the top-floor apartment. It was nice—

ROBERT BROWN:  Did you settle there particularly because there were other artists in that area?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  There were. This Harry Wood was around, and my friend Otto Teigen was there, and Don Oenslager, John Mason Brown. They were all in New York, and so we saw them, and they saw us, and so on. [00:20:02] I had cousins there, so we were able—we didn't have much money. Mostly living on the fellowship and so on. Oh, I forgot to tell you that when I got married, I cabled, right away, Dr. George Chase, who was the chairman of the division, that we were married. He wired back to me, "In law, you will forfeit the fellowship, but in equity, it can be arranged." Which was very magnanimous. So it was arranged. That's why we were able to continue in New York. It didn't matter—it didn't say where I had to be for the fellowship. I didn't have to be in Europe. So then we—

ROBERT BROWN:  Did you get to know—did you go to many exhibitions or art galleries while you were in New York?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Oh, yes, we came to know New York well. It was that summer—whether it was June or later, I don't know—probably it was June—we were up in Cambridge, and I talked with Arthur Pope again, and they wanted me to come back, which was very nice. In a way, I wanted to, yet in a way, I felt I hadn't given it a full chance, what I was doing. He even appealed to Peggy to try to influence me. Finally, he said, "Well, remember, opportunity knocks only once at your door." [Laughs.] So with that knowledge, we continued on the fellowship another winter, then at Waverly Place, top floor of—it became a studio. [00:22:04] The big living room was my studio. There was a skylight and so on.

ROBERT BROWN:  Do any exhibitions or art galleries stand in your mind? Do you remember from that time? Are there any that you could recall from those days in New York?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I can't remember clearly, but believe me, I took in exhibitions—yes, comes to me. The Downtown Gallery. Edith Halpert was her name? That really was downtown, still. We went to the Whitney Museum, which was then downtown, on Eighth Street. We went to the New School to see those murals by Tom Benton and others. I didn't know Tom Benton at that time. It was later that we came to know him well. Well, that gives you an idea, and of course we would visit the Metropolitan.

ROBERT BROWN:  Did New York strike you as a pretty exciting place then, in terms of what was being—the artists were creating?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes, but we felt confined there. We weren't used to the city that much, even though we were down in the village. The village then was quite different from what it is today, because—

ROBERT BROWN:  What was it like?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I mean, it's been developed so, and all the honky-tonk places, and restaurants, and shows, or whatever they are. Nudie shows.

ROBERT BROWN:  It was much more a village, or much more an enclave within the great city?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes. There was quite a center there, right at the intersection of Greenwich Avenue, Christopher Street, Sixth Avenue, which still had the L, and Eighth Street. [00:24:08] There was a drugstore there. I've forgotten the name of it. People would meet there. There was a post office there. I remember one day, there was a girl just in front of me, and I happened to look over her shoulder at the name on the package, and it was from Dan Thomspon's wife. I don't know that I met her then. I wasn't quite forward enough, maybe, in those days. Places like Alice MacDougall—MacDougall restaurants and so on. Yes, we did take in not only the museums, but the different little galleries, which were in a youthful state. I can't remember when that thing I told you about in the Heckscher Building, when that took place, but it must have been somewhere in that period of time.

ROBERT BROWN:  Those were temporary quarters for what became the Museum of Modern Art?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Museum of Modern Art, yes. All this is down somewhere.

ROBERT BROWN:  Did you keep in touch, then, with Alfred Barr? You renewed your acquaintance? When you lived in New York.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I think I saw him at that time—no, we lost touch, if anything. Yes. I might have seen him—probably did—the time of the opening of the new Museum of Modern Art on 53rd Street.

ROBERT BROWN:  That would be in the mid-'30s?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Mid-'30s somewhere, yes. It was after I went to Amherst. We came down from Amherst for that. [00:26:00]

ROBERT BROWN:  Then through into 1928, then, you continued painting and living in New York?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  That is right. I was doing portraits then.

ROBERT BROWN:  Were you enjoying it?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I did big pictures in New York. I still have one, which showed the Hudson River and the skyline as it was in 1927 or ['2]8, yes.

ROBERT BROWN:  Did you enjoy what you were doing?


ROBERT BROWN:  Were you getting quite competent?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes, and I was getting—yes, I was getting more confidence. That's a good way to put it. And really developing. I went to the Art Students League, and I think there were night classes that George Bridgman gave. He was the one on anatomy. I was intrigued with his method. He had a little piece of charcoal at the end of a stick, and he could draw with that, and demonstrate. I didn't take other classes there. Nothing quite appealed to me. I'm afraid I was resistant to schools and classes. I preferred to sort of teach myself.

ROBERT BROWN:  What about dealers? Did you take your work around to be seen?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  No. No, I didn't. I took one picture to the Cunard Line office, thinking they might like it, but it was a French line ship, and that wasn't quite so good, you see. I said I could put in a French flag, but [they laugh] oh, I had a funny brush, then, with a fellow.

ROBERT BROWN:  As this time of the fellowship wound down, you had to begin to think what you were doing next, right?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes, you're right.

ROBERT BROWN:  Or did Harvard—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  So then I wrote to Tate, who had no opening at Harvard then, but eventually, among the possibilities, there was one at Rochester, University of Rochester. [00:28:06] So we were—

ROBERT BROWN:  Were you familiar with that place at all? Had you ever been there?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I can't remember whether I had or not. I don't think so. Probably just through on a train.

ROBERT BROWN:  But that was considered a pretty good position?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes, it was. I met with Rush Rhees, who was then the president. We met at some uptown hotel. Eventually, it was set up, and after the summer, we went to Rochester, and I worked with Ewald Eiserhardt, Dr. Ewald Eiserhardt, who was a German of the old school, and a wonderful person. He was an art historian. My position there was really a dual position, because I was there as instructor in the history of art, and also as assistant to the director of the Memorial Art Gallery, who was Gertrude Herdle. We went there, and they made quite a bit of us. We had to stand up in a reception line at the Memorial Art Gallery. I had a cutaway with me, because Charlie Morgan was being married at that time. In fact, we had to run back for his wedding in Worcester. I bought this cutaway in London when I was there. We had all the equipment. [Laughs.]

ROBERT BROWN:  So you made quite—


ROBERT BROWN:  —an entry to Rochester, did you?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  In a sense, yes, yes. Amusing. In Rochester society. [00:30:01] Eugene Goossens was the conductor of the orchestra. Who was the one that became the head of the Eastman School, composer? You know the one I mean?

ROBERT BROWN:  Johannsen, isn't it?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  No. It will come to me. Everybody knows who he was.

ROBERT BROWN:  You found it was quite a city, was it, culturally?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes, a lovely place, except for the weather. The weather was bad if anyone had sinus. Continually overcast in wintertime, and cold winds off the lakes, and so on. But that spring, a message came from Paul Sachs, telling me about a position at the University of Pittsburgh, under Dr. Frederick Mortimer Clapp. To make a long story shorter, I accepted the offer. It was a good increase in salary.

ROBERT BROWN:  Can we get back to—I could ask you a couple of questions about Rochester. What was the art historian, Ewald Eiser—


ROBERT BROWN:  Eiserhardt. What was he like to work with? Was he very demanding? Was he very different—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  No, very nice.

ROBERT BROWN:  —from the people at Harvard?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  He was very nice, but he said he had to come—"Now, I hope you don't mind," he said. "This is part of my duties. I have to come and hear you in one of your classes," which he did one day, and made his comments. "Yes, it's very good," and so on. "One or two adjustments we could make here." [Laughs.]

ROBERT BROWN:  He was very methodical and—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes, methodical. Typical German scholar.

ROBERT BROWN:  Was he a good lecturer himself? [00:32:00]

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I don't know. I can't remember ever hearing him lecture. In part of my duties with the art gallery, I would have to introduce visiting people, and one of them was Virgie Thompson, who had been in my class, whom I knew previously with the Harvard Glee Club, and he talked about Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas and so on. Then, another one—when the Archeological Society met, I had to introduce the speakers for that.

ROBERT BROWN:  So you were sort of the academic person at the Memorial Art Gallery?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes. I had to step in as master of ceremonies, as you might say, introducing speakers.

ROBERT BROWN:  They were, at that time, in the midst of beginning to build up their collection, weren't they?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes. I had to write articles for their bulletin. I was busy all the time. Up at night, after midnight, about every night, getting ready for my classes, because I was giving new classes I had never given before, such as the art of Northern Europe and so on. My field, really, was Italian Renaissance art and Venetian art, as you can see.

ROBERT BROWN:  But you had traveled, and you had studied the Flemish school and all, so you had something?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes. I had something to go on, yes. Quite a bit.

ROBERT BROWN:  What was Gertrude Herdle like to work for?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  She was nice. Not entirely as pleasant as working for Eiserhardt.

ROBERT BROWN:  Why was that? Did she have strong opinions of her own? [00:34:01]

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Well, she would ask me to do things—it was like working for two masters, you see. Although I was very, very busy preparing my classes, she would expect me to do many other things in the gallery, and it became almost impossible. I sort of broke down and confided in Eiserhardt one day, and we got things adjusted. But by then, the move was underway to go to Pittsburgh.

ROBERT BROWN:  She had pretty ambitious plans for that gallery, didn't she?


ROBERT BROWN:  She wanted you to—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  She was good at it, in running the gallery.

ROBERT BROWN:  —work full-time at that?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes, that was it.

ROBERT BROWN:  Were you ever involved, while you were there that year, with some of their big art shows, which, for a time, were quite famous? Craft shows and other things?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes. I've forgotten their exhibitions. Could you remember, Peggy?

ROBERT BROWN:  At Rochester, the Memorial Art Gallery.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  They had one of Rochester artists show, and I entered some of my drawings in that, and to my surprise, I got a prize, first prize for drawings. All right.

[Audio Break.]

ROBERT BROWN:  When was that show at Rochester?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  It must have been the winter, '28, '29. That was before I went there. So my drawings would have been in that show. I never saw them in the exhibits, because it was the following September we went there to teach and assist at the gallery.

ROBERT BROWN:  So your reputation preceded you?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I suppose so. [They laugh.]

ROBERT BROWN:  Were these portrait drawings?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  No, they were figure studies, mostly. Some I had done in Professor Pope's class. [00:36:00] They were very much à la Degas. I've been looking at those drawings. Sometime I can show them to you if you'd like.

ROBERT BROWN:  Very linear?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  No, not linear. No, they were charcoal, and very shaded, yes. Chiaroscuro.

ROBERT BROWN:  You wanted to go back a bit and mention a couple of details. You had said that when—I guess probably when you were a graduate student, or perhaps even an undergraduate, in Cambridge, in Boston, you met Mrs. Isabella Stewart Gardner.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  This was when I started assisting Arthur Pope, so it must have been around '23, '24, along in there. Not only did I conduct classes—that is, sections of his big class—but I would take the students into museums in Boston, one of which, of course, was the Fenway Court of the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum. He would take me all around, show me every picture that he wanted me to show to the students in turn. It was one of those occasions at Fenway Court that I met Mrs. Gardner. She was seated near the entrance, shrouded in veils, much like Sargent's watercolor portrait of her, which appears in that book. The book is—Peggy's loaned out to someone, so I don't have it here right now. [00:38:00] I could show it to you. But if you could get a hold of that book—

ROBERT BROWN:  Did she speak to you, or was she fairly—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Well, yes. I shook hands with her, and he told me who I was. I was helping him. Just a few comments. It was very brief. But I distinctly remember her with the veils, so much like Sargent's painting.

ROBERT BROWN:  You've mentioned that—it was one of the first times you were in Europe, you went and met Bernard Berenson, went to his villa. How did he strike you? Were you around there a bit through—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes, that would have been, of course, in the spring of 1923. Edward Forbes—we all got in that open Fiat touring car one day, with Raffaello driving. Drove over to Settignano and the Villa I Tatti. I have pictures in my album there of—I think it was that day. How did he strike me? Well, very distinguished. He had his beard at that time. He was very courteous, and very proud of his collection. I remember a Belvo Dinetti [ph] Madonna over the fireplace, in what must have been the living room. I kept looking at that while we were there. He liked to put a Scotch blanket over his knees when he sat down. Anne said when, years later, she went out there, he had it over his knees then.

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, really? This was your daughter, Anne?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  My daughter Anne.

ROBERT BROWN:  In the 1950s or something.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Fifty-three, '54, right.

ROBERT BROWN:  Did he take an interest in what a young student like yourself was doing, or did he mainly talk? [00:40:03]

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I think he was amused. He mainly would talk about—I can't remember. I suppose he and Edward Forbes were chatting about certain paintings and so on. After all, this is many, many years ago. Hard to remember details like that.

ROBERT BROWN:  Now, you thought that one of the painters you got to know when you were—was this in Paris?—was Bradley Walker Tomlin.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes. Brad Tomlin, yes. Bradley Walker Tomlin. That's right, yes. He was a nice young man, devoting his time to painting. As I said, it was a nice group. Did I talk about that before?

ROBERT BROWN:  You did for a bit.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  So I really shouldn't repeat.

ROBERT BROWN:  Yes, but that's all right.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Did I bring back the other names that would escape them then, like Jack Ames? 

ROBERT BROWN:  No. John Ames?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  John Ames, who was, I believe, an architect. Yes.

ROBERT BROWN:  And Frank London was another.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes, Frank London. And their wives. Mustn't forget them, because they were important in the socializing that went on. We would walk and walk and walk over Paris, too. We would walk way out from our studio on Rue du Dragon, right near Saint-Germain-des-Prés. We would walk way out to the Rue d'Oran. I can see the group of us now, walking along, a squad of about six, though we were not in military array. Way out, and then we came to—was it Montparnasse? And then turned right or something there, and eventually wound up on the Avenue du Maine. [00:42:00]

ROBERT BROWN:  These fairly frequent excursions to Europe ended, more or less, for a time after you began teaching at Rochester. Then you were just telling me that in—what was it—1929, you received the offer to be an assistant professor of fine arts at the University of Pittsburgh.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Did I say that, at the end of my two-year fellowship, we were in New York, and then—I think I did forget to tell you this—I had a little—was recipient of a little bequest from my great aunt Mary, who died. So I blew it, as they say [they laugh] and decided to go back to Europe once more, together. So we were there from May—what?—to August, I think, of that year, 1928. I was gathering material for my courses at Rochester. That made an interesting period. I had—suddenly, it crossed my mind, as we came back to the customs at Boston—no, it was New York, excuse me. This fellow detained me. I had photographs in my suitcase, photographs of not only Italian art, but I had some French art of the 18th century. Among them, there were pictures by Fragonard and by Boucher. Boucher is the one who was the favorite painter of Madame de Pompadour, I think it was, and perhaps Madame du Barry. At any rate, he liked to do lots of nude Venuses and goddesses and so on. [00:44:05] The customs official was looking through, and he came across a particular delectable Venus there, and he paused over it, and he said slowly, "Would these pictures in any way be considered obscene?" I said quickly, I said, "Oh, no, not at all. They're just works of art." So he went on. [They laugh.] Everything was all right.

ROBERT BROWN:  He had done his duty by asking you the question.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  He had done his duty, yes. We were the last ones to get through the customs that day.

ROBERT BROWN:  What about Pittsburgh? What was that like? You were there some five years or so, 1929 through '34.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Right. I can't say—in many ways, I liked Pittsburgh. In some ways, I detested it. Because—well, we arrived in a heatwave, for one thing, and that was difficult. When we first went to the art department rooms in State Hall, there were offices, there were bookcases. The whole library was right there. It was started by Dr. Clapp. Then a strange feeling. I felt, I've been here before. But actually, I had never been here. It was one of those psychologic things, as in a dream. That's about all I can say about it.

ROBERT BROWN:  Do you think it was set up somewhat the same atmosphere as you had at the Fogg?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Not at all, no. No.

ROBERT BROWN:  In what ways—what was it like?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Very, very different, and very different from Rochester, too. [00:46:00] Clapp was an art historian, and he wanted courses on the history of art. He resisted my giving any course that had anything to do with actual drawing and painting. I had succeeded, finally, in one year, his letting me give a one-semester course. Eventually, it did change to a two-semester. I think they got quite interested when I did a demonstration of fresco painting for them one day, to the class, and Mrs. Clapp was there, too. That opened the way, but still, I wasn't enough, at that time, of a scholar to suit him. He was working on the catalog of the Frick Collection in New York, and he spent most of his time in New York. Although he was head of the department in Pittsburgh, he relegated most of the work to Walter Hovey, who was a little older than me, and had been there right from the start. The department hadn't been going long, and it was really started by Paul Sachs, and getting Helen Frick interested. So she put up the money for it. She was eager to do so, to be—to oppose the Carnegies, you see, who were influential in Pittsburgh.

ROBERT BROWN:  They were funding the Carnegie Institute, I suppose?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes, or had done so. I don't remember the circumstances of all that.

ROBERT BROWN:  Then Mr. Clapp's attitude toward studio art was quite different from—[00:48:03]


ROBERT BROWN:  —what you had at the Fogg.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  It was what you find so often, this opposition between art historians and practicing artists. One has contempt for the other. Works both ways. It's unfortunate, because I feel there should not be this dichotomy between the two, and especially in the realms of teaching. I think Harvard had a very sensible approach to it. A beautiful integration between the techniques of drawing and painting and design, and the history, what went before. All about Giotto, or Botticelli, or Leonardo and Michelangelo, and so on. Titian. Giorgione. All of those. I think it was helpful to people, whether to like Alfred Barr, or Hitchcock and the others who became mostly historians in the way—I even include Alfred Barr in that, even though he concentrated on modern art. But he applied the methods of scholarship to modern art that had been done in museum exhibitions previously, just as Henry Francis Taylor did later on with his exhibitions, first at Worcester, then in New York.

ROBERT BROWN:  His were very carefully researched and—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Oh, yes. The provenance, the exact dimensions, the mention of the technique, and various information like that of interest to scholars, and even to the layman. [00:50:00] I think that helped to stimulate the great interest that has taken place since, especially, the 1930s—'20s and '30s.

ROBERT BROWN:  Were you given a chance to do any exhibitions while you were at Pittsburgh?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I put on—Johnny Walker and I. He was there then. He was from Pittsburgh. This was, naturally, before he went to Washington. The Junior League was active in the art world, and they backed our Giotto exhibition—production, rather—for one thing, and they put on some exhibits and productions of one kind or another. Johnny and I hung an exhibit, I remember, downtown somewhere. I've forgotten now. I put on one or two at the university. But there wasn't really much backing for that type of thing at the university.

ROBERT BROWN:  What were the exhibitions about?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  We had color prints, and I encouraged the buying of color prints. Large ones, you know, which would help students understand whether it was Paolo Uccello, or whether it was a Renoir. Or Cézanne. They could get a better idea of the paint texture from the reproductions than they could from just the little black-and-white reproductions in books, illustrations.

ROBERT BROWN:  Is that what Mr. Clapp had had for them until you came, mainly just black-and-white things?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I think so. He made a remarkable collection of black-and-white photographs. [00:52:00] A lot of it was probably with a Carnegie grant. I'm not sure on that point. We all, as a faculty, were not only giving our courses, but we were looking up information for the labels. It might be Titian's Sacred and Profane Love, just when was it painted, and what part of his career, and description, and the meaning of the picture and so on, which is fine. All these were being mounted on the mats, standard size. They'd go in the file boxes, which in turn would fit on the shelves of the bookcases. He was good at that. I've got to hand it to him. But we didn't quite see eye-to-eye, and so, eventually, there came a parting of the ways, which occurred in June of—or spring of '34.

ROBERT BROWN:  Was Walker—what did he teach? Was he at the same level as you were?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  No. Johnny Walker was on his own at that time. I don't know just what he was doing. I can't remember when he went to Washington. Perhaps you can. Certainly it's all in the record.

ROBERT BROWN:  What was he like then?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  A very nice person. He was an intellectual. He had known Berenson, and his background in Italian art was very profound. Yes. He was lame. I've forgotten the difficulty, whether it went back to polio or what. He usually carried a cane. [00:54:00] What else did you want to know?

ROBERT BROWN:  You've mentioned—and you've talked to me earlier about these things. You mentioned your Giotto production. Could you describe those a bit? Didn't you develop those while you were there?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes. That was in connection with the so-called Cathedral of Learning. Pittsburgh was the first place—that is, the University of Pittsburgh—to put up a skyscraper as a college building, or university building. When we went there in '29—and note that that was the year the Depression came, in that fall—the building was in the skeleton stage of construction, just the steel framework. As they went on with the work in the course of years—this was under Chancellor Bowman—they added Indiana limestone as the outer covering, putting in Gothic windows, and tracery, and gargoyles, and an octagonal lantern at the top, and so on.

ROBERT BROWN:  Was it pretty successful as a design?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Well, Bowman thought so. He liked it very much. I probably made some disrespectful remarks about why not keep it modern, or why add all of this expensive limestone. But it was his dream. After all, he was chancellor. It was his responsibility, and the work progressed. He thought of it as a Cathedral of Learning.

ROBERT BROWN:  By that, what did he mean?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  It isn't quite clear. [00:56:01] He was enough of a romanticist so that he dreamed of the English cathedrals, for example, or French cathedrals. He wanted to perpetuate that idea, but bring it within the scope of the university life. So the cathedral went up, and as it did so, they realized they needed more and more money. These things always do. Nationality groups in Pittsburg got together to raise money for a certain nationality room, whether it was the Russian room, or the French room, or in this case, an Italian room. They have spoken to Margarita Langa, who was the wife of a German doctor. This was all part of this international group that was there. Spoke to the Russians. Artie Abernoff [ph], head of Carnegie Museum, and the Laviongradoffs [ph], who were in our office of the art department. The Kriverbochs. He was a mining engineer, I believe, and she was very dazzling in her way.

ROBERT BROWN:  These ethnic groups were very prominent there?


ROBERT BROWN:  And then, for the Italians—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  So then they asked her, and she came to us for a little advice. I was giving a course on Italian art at the time. She asked me what I thought of—I don't know how it came into my head, but it did. I thought of Giotto and his frescos at Padua, dealing with the life of the Virgin Mary and life of Christ. [00:58:00] She liked that idea; their committee liked that idea. It was a matter of what to do with it. We thought, then, of living pictures. I hate the word "tableau vivant," but really that's what it was. However, it was augmented by, first of all, a reading about the story, which my wife worked up. She wrote the script for it. The idea was that it would be read, alternating between a male saint, who stood in a niche at one side, a Gothic niche, and a female saint herself in the other niche, on the other side. Then we had music. Harvey Gaul, who was with the church in East Liberty at that time—forgotten the name—and he was choir master, and a fine musician. And I looked up these Gregorian chants and early Italian hymns. Margarita Langa had some of the latter. The others were the standard [inaudible] or the, um, the various ones of the Mass. All the names won't come to me right now. So Harvey Gaul helped me on that, and I had to go to some of the manuscripts, where you have the old medieval notations, and I really had to translate each of those. Finally, we had a body of music. There was music to be sung by a choir—it was sung by a choir—for each picture as it was shown. [01:00:06] So you understand, it would be the sequence of the reading, the picture appearing on the stage, behind the stage lights, behind a scrim, which gave it almost a fresco-like quality. And the singing by a specially trained choir. What was that choir? There, we drew on a group at the Carnegie Institute. We also had the help of—what was the name? Paine. He may have got a name for himself in the theater world. At any rate, that's the gist of it. We had to make all these sets ourselves, to scale, to human scale, working from these photographs and whatever pictures we had. [Cross talk.]

ROBERT BROWN:  These were to be staged in the Cathedral of Learning?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  No. It was staged, actually, in a school, the first year.

ROBERT BROWN:  This was just to be a temporary thing, a benefit for the—


ROBERT BROWN:  —furnishing of the Italian room?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes, that's right. Then, the next year is when the Junior League came into it, and we put it on at the Twentieth Century Club. Quite sure I'm right on that. We improved on it then.

ROBERT BROWN:  So it became a very successful thing?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  These were—these years, about '32, '33, along in there. Yes. Then, when we went to Amherst—and if you want me to wait on that, I will. But when we went to Amherst, in 1935, the fall of '35, after taking a year off after Pittsburgh—we went to Silvermine, Connecticut, and to Maine. Then we went to Amherst, and the head of the drama department was away, so they came to me. [01:02:07] "Can't we put on these frescos we've heard about?" So we did, and with the aid of students, faculty wives, and others, we did it, and we did it much, much better way than we had done in Pittsburgh. It became almost a repeating production each year at Amherst, and eventually every four years, every college generation, as I said. This went on until somewhere around 1958—I'm not sure.

ROBERT BROWN:  Well after you had left.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yeah, well after I'd left, well after we'd gone to Kansas City. We thought of taking it there, but we couldn't get quite the right rounding up of things, and the costumes were wearing out. The sets were wearing out, too.

ROBERT BROWN:  What, for you, was the essential purpose of this? Once the original fund-raising purpose was satisfied, and when you carried it to Amherst.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  It was a work of art. It was a superb combination of music and the visual. The listening, the seeing, and the story. It took about 55 minutes, not quite an hour. Usually, when we finished, and the lights died down, the last scene, there was silence. There was no applause. Like a church service. People were so moved, they couldn't bear to break it with the hand-clapping. We got very good write-ups for the whole Connecticut Valley. Oliver Larkin came and saw it, liked it. [01:04:00] He was teaching at Smith then. We got the interest of the Catholics. That was in Pittsburgh, too. Naturally, because it was a very Catholic thing, and this story about the Virgin Mary, not generally well-known today, but it was in Giotto's time. We've been back to Padua since, you know, with groups, and Peggy holds forth under the frescoes and tells the story. All right.

[END OF TRACK AAA_scott80_6782_r.]

ROBERT BROWN:  We're continuing an interview with Henry Scott in Chilmark, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. Robert Brown, the interviewer. February 24, 1981. We discussed, quite a bit, your time in Pittsburgh, your staging of the tableau, based on—using Giotto's paintings. Could you sum up, perhaps, that time in Pittsburgh? Did you perhaps feel you were out of the mainstream of things there? When you left Pittsburgh to come to Amherst College.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I don't think I felt out of the mainstream, because after all, in Pittsburgh, every fall, the Carnegie Institute held an international exhibition of paintings. That was always very interesting, to keep up with what was going on. Picassos were shown, as well as completely unknown painters. I remember, especially, the Picasso portrait of Gertrude Stein, a rather famous one, which was shown one of those times. I wrote an article on the—I believe it was the 1929—it might have been the 1932—exposition, or exhibition, international one there at the Carnegie Institute. We had relations with people in the Carnegie Institute, as well as in the University of Pittsburgh. In fact, many of the people in the drama and the art field, we had more in common with them over there than we did at the university. [00:02:06] There was a man by the name of Paine. Well, I won't go into that right now.

ROBERT BROWN:  Yeah. But the Carnegie show was one of the most important in the country, wasn't it?


ROBERT BROWN:  If not the most important annual international show.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes, it was. Let me tell you another thing, someone we met there in Pittsburgh. He had probably just graduated from Harvard about 1930. This was Johnny Walker. We came to know him quite well, and he and I, together, put on an exhibition for the Junior League. They were always active, and doing things of a cultural nature.

ROBERT BROWN:  You had mentioned that.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Did I mention that?

ROBERT BROWN:  Yeah. You knew Walker, and you've mentioned the tableau you've done. So this was a pretty rich life for a young professor?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  In a way, yes.

ROBERT BROWN:  What led you to go, in 1935, to Amherst College?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  First of all, just go right back to Pittsburgh again. I did not get on too well with Dr. Frederick Mortimer Clapp, the head of the department. He was brought there by Helen Frick, and maybe Paul Sachs had something to do with it, as he did with me, in putting me there in Pittsburgh. Helen Frick wanted to set up an art department, and it was through her and Clapp that that was done, and that I was engaged as one of the faculty. But Clapp was a scholar. Curiously, he was from Texas, but he was a literal scholar, and he was very busy working on a catalog for the Frick Collection in New York, and that took him to New York a lot of the time. [00:04:10] He was there in Pittsburgh only at intervals, and sometimes Helen Frick herself would come, too, and have us for tea. He seemed to have little interest in the curator side, in the actual techniques of painting and so on. One of the things that I liked best of all was the course that I assisted in at Harvard with Arthur Pope, the basic course on drawing, painting, and design, where students actually did drawings. They did a lot of copying, also, from the masters. But it was a basic course, even for art history students, because then they understood better what Berenson was talking about with his tactile values, and people would talk about chiaroscuro. It had meaning to them, actual meaning, rather than just words and the book knowledge. Clapp, for some reason or other, couldn't quite see that side of it. He did yield—and I stress yield—one point. Let me give one semester course on drawing and painting. It brought up the theory of color, and basic drawing, and so on. He let me give demonstrations of fresco painting, which, if I do say so, they had a fascination for the students.

ROBERT BROWN:  He was pretty autocratic? [00:06:00]

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  A little bit. I don't know, really, what happened. He finally wrote me a very terse and brief letter, saying, "We'll not be renewing your appointment next year." I took it up with Sachs at one time, but he didn't seem to know the reason either.

ROBERT BROWN:  So at that point—this was in 1934?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  This was 1934, yes. The spring of the year, I assume.

ROBERT BROWN:  So what were you going to do? Did you have plans yet?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  There were people there—because I went out to Sewickley and would give my own private classes. There was a group of women who wanted that, and they were ready to get up in arms and see the chancellor. Bowman was the chancellor at that time. But I don't know. I might have been outspoken about the Cathedral of Learning, with all the Gothic stonework on what otherwise was a modern skyscraper. It was a very interesting project. That was the first skyscraper university, you know.

ROBERT BROWN:  So you spent—what, that year, '34, '35—


ROBERT BROWN:  What did you do, then, after you left the University of Pittsburgh?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  We gave up our house and everything there, and moved East. I'll have to stop to think. '35. We went to Maine, which is, I've indicated before—I'm sure I have—Wiscasset was a childhood town for me. We rented a house there from a friend. Our old family homestead was no longer in our part of the family. It was in my cousin's.

ROBERT BROWN:  So you just had a year off, so to speak?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  We had a year off. I fortunately had saved a bit, and had a few bits of stock and so on, and life insurance that I could borrow on. [00:08:09] We were in Maine from—must have been June to November, October or November. Then it was getting very difficult to heat that 18th-century house we lived in. We had to keep open fires going. We had to keep a kitchen fire in the stove, the old range. Had to keep our hot water heater, coal-burning, in the cellar, and so on.

ROBERT BROWN:  So you began to think of going—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  And we were having our second baby, young Anne, who was born in Boston, in September of that year. We brought her back, but it was increasingly difficult to cope with the practicalities of the situation, new baby and so on. So I looked around. I had a cousin in Wilton, Connecticut, whose daughter, later on, was to—much, much later on—was to marry David Keiser, who brought the conductor, the famous conductor—

ROBERT BROWN:  —to Boston?


ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, Toscanini?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  No, no, the other one. Bernstein. Bernstein. Leonard Bernstein. But that's beside the point.

ROBERT BROWN:  It was then in '35 that you got the position at Amherst?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Well, but first—I must keep it in order. We were there that summer, as I say, and fall, and then we found this place in Connecticut, through this cousin of mine, in Silvermine, Connecticut, which is near Wilton. [00:10:13] It's just north of Norwalk, Connecticut. A house of Armstrong Sperry, who was an illustrator. He went off to the Southwest somewhere. We enjoyed their house very much, and that winter there. He had a studio out over a garage, but very difficult to keep warm. There's no oil heater there, and I did get cold, and was laid up with a virus for quite a while. We had—it was a heavy winter. We were snowbound there at one point. But I did a lot of painting. It was a good winter from a creative point of view. Then, in the spring, Charlie Morgan, who had been in college with me, and in graduate work at Harvard, and even took my Venetian painting course, he came down to see me one time. He said, "Look, Henry, I've got to go to Greece this coming year, as assistant to the director of the School of Classical Studies. I'd like very much if you would come to Amherst and be there—there's only one man at a time—with the possibility that if things work out right, you might stay on." We went up and met President Stanley King and his wife, and some of the other faculty members, who had to look me over, of course. [00:12:05] I told him what the offering would be. Not only history of art, but also this basic course that I was so fond of and believed in heartily, in drawing, painting, and design. That summer, we went back to Maine, as early as May, and it was—the Morgans went off to Greece, and it was arranged that we would have their house, which is an old house, about Federal period, about 1810, the Snell House, on Pleasant Street and Snell Street. Our furniture had been moved from—we had it in storage somewhere, I think in Pittsburgh, and it had been moved there. We went there in September, and started in what turned out to be eight years at Amherst College.

ROBERT BROWN:  How did you find that as a place to teach?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  As a place to teach, and to live, excellent.

ROBERT BROWN:  You say there was only one person in the art department?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Only one person. We were in that house winters, and the Morgans came back in the summertime, when we went to Maine. We rented a house, usually from Frances Sortwell, who was the family of the famous Nickels-Sortwell House, in Wiscasset.

ROBERT BROWN:  Your students at Amherst, were they different from those in Pittsburgh? [00:14:00]

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I haven't seen too much difference in students anywhere, whether at Harvard, whether at Pittsburgh, whether at Amherst, whether in Kansas City, later on. They become interested in what they're doing, and apply themselves. Often, they know that that is not going to be their field, but some of them have an aptitude with the pencil, or with the brush, and so on. Some were boys that went into medicine, became doctors later on.

ROBERT BROWN:  What about art history? Did many go on in that?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Some, yes. Some went on, and I'll think of two of them. One was Carl Sheppard, who was one of my best students, and assisted me in the big, general art history course. He came to me that spring, or May or June, when he was about to graduate, and what to do. So I suggested he go take graduate work at Harvard. The same with Jim Brown. He did the same thing. Whether it was the same year or a later year, it doesn't matter. I don't remember. But both of them got involved with the Navy, as I remember. Jim Brown had very exciting experiences, and came back and went into museum work. Carl Sheppard went into college teaching, and became head of the department while he was at the University of California at Los Angeles, after Ann Arbor, and then finally at University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. [00:16:06] The students, I thought, were very rewarding, and we had—we gave even advanced course on techniques. We did a fresco in the hallway of Morgan Hall, where the art department was located at that time.

ROBERT BROWN:  When you were teaching, did you concentrate mainly on the Renaissance, or Middle Ages, or—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I had one general survey to give, the usual sweep, which was exciting, and the students were ready to be stirred, whether it was Gothic architecture or modern architecture. They were open-minded. For many, it was the only course in art that they took. They went on with other fields. Then—yes, in the techniques, we gave an advanced one, and we did a fresco. I'm afraid I'm repeating myself.

ROBERT BROWN:  This was the Depression. Were the students hopeful, or looking toward careers, or were most of these from fairly wealthy families?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  No. The Depression hit us when we were in Pittsburgh, and I'll never forget the bank holidays and things—

ROBERT BROWN:  By the time you got to Amherst, it was still that era, wasn't it?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I didn't feel it. When you're on a faculty, and on a set salary—

ROBERT BROWN:  It's fairly secure.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  It wasn't a high salary. In fact, it wasn't as high as Pittsburgh. But it was a good position. They made a house available to us, a big house, and they did for us in the house what we wanted. [00:18:07] We were in the old Snell House with the Morgans three years. Then Charlie came back after being head of the school, classical school in Athens, for that last year. Then we carried on together. That's when the Mead Art Gallery was planned. He was close in touch with the president, and with—

ROBERT BROWN:  What did they plan that art gallery to be? To house the college's collections, or were they planning to start buying?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  It was a dual purpose. It was to house the art department, and the classrooms, lecture rooms, studios, and also the collection. Amherst was really amassing quite an interesting collection, and he had a lot to do with it. In fact, he loved doing that.

ROBERT BROWN:  Charles Morgan?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Charlie Morgan, yes. We were very close. They had babies and children the same time we did. The wives had a lot in common, as well with Charlie and I.

ROBERT BROWN:  Was he a very scholarly sort in his usual conversation and interests? Or did he separate his scholarly life from his friendships?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  He was a scholar, but one with a light touch. He was a wonderful lecturer. I think he modeled his style after that of George Edgell at Harvard, who was a very proficient and easygoing lecturer. [00:20:09] Knew how to talk to a large group, and had a big following. Charlie was of that type. A good lecturer.

ROBERT BROWN:  Your courses, except for the techniques, were lectures, too, weren't they?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes, they were. When he was away, of course I gave the survey course. When he came back, he naturally took that back on. By then, we were able to expand the offering of the department, and I gave courses on Italian art.

ROBERT BROWN:  Did you develop a platform manner yourself, would you say?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  In the course of time, one does. [Laughs.]

ROBERT BROWN:  You mentioned also—I think it was this time—you saw [Arthur] Everett Chick Austin.


ROBERT BROWN:  He would have been in Hartford at that point.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  He was in Hartford at that time, and we went down there on one occasion or another. I've forgotten. Maybe it was an opening of an exhibition. Remember one time, Henry-Russell Hitchcock was there, too. Remember, he had been one of my tutors when I was head tutor at Harvard. Charlie was one of the tutors.

ROBERT BROWN:  Now, Austin was doing some pretty extraordinary things—


ROBERT BROWN:  —at the Wadsworth Atheneum, wasn't he?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes. As I say, we went down there at least a couple of occasions. Yes, this is a good time if you want to go back to when I had known him in Paris.

ROBERT BROWN:  You were with him—known him in Paris.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I had known him in college, lightly, as an undergraduate, and in Paris, we happened to—I've forgotten whether it was pre-arranged or not, but at any rate, we were at this performance of the Russian ballet in June of 1923. [00:22:12] He was there with other friends, and I was there with Ed Thaxter, with whom I was traveling that year.

ROBERT BROWN:  And it was just an extraordinary performance?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Extraordinary, yes. As I remember, there were four double pianos. Must have been eight pianos in all. That was the orchestra. It was electric. It really was. It just lifted you right out of your chair.

ROBERT BROWN:  What about the designs and all, for which they were famous?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  So colorful. That program can give you an idea. Let's see. There were things by Picasso. I don't know if Matisse entered into it or not, but the famous choreographers. [Sergei] Diaghilev, I think, was one of them. They did Stravinsky's Petrushka, Les Noces, and Pulcinella. He was there that night, and came out and took a bow. Of course, there was a regular ovation for him. We all stood up. It was one of the most exciting evenings I've ever known.

ROBERT BROWN:  This interest in theater and in music goes way back with you.


ROBERT BROWN:  Did Austin have that as well, the interest in the theatrical? Because he staged such things—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Especially the theatrical, yes. He was not a musician, to my knowledge, or a performer that way.

ROBERT BROWN:  He's an art historian by training?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Well, all of us who were at Fogg Museum back in the '20s, we naturally took on an interest in art history. [00:24:02] Look who our mentors were, after all. Paul Sachs, Edgell, Chase.

ROBERT BROWN:  Could you possibly characterize Chick Austin, as you knew him, say, when he was in Hartford?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  He was light. He was—I wanted to use the word "gay," but that has other implications today, and one doesn't use it, except with care. But he was a charmer. He was. I can see how he must have made a great success of it as—he first was at Sarasota, Florida, with the Ringling Museum there, and then—I of course don't remember when he came on to Hartford, but he did, at the Wadsworth Atheneum, and I believe he was a great success there. Wasn't that when he did the love of three or four oranges, whichever it was?


HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  With the music by Virgil Thomson, who incidentally was in my class at Harvard. He is very knowledgeable in music, a fine musician himself. He was there at the time that Archie Davison started the glee club off with good music, and I got involved with that, both as a singer and as a violinist.

ROBERT BROWN:  What about Springfield? You must have been there. That was pretty—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  While I was at Amherst—after all, Springfield, like Hartford, is quite nearby, and we would make trips there, to see the museum, to give a lecture, one time, on Venetian art. They'd had an exhibition, so this was occasion to bring in, I suppose, an authority on Venetian art, which I did enjoy doing very much. [00:26:09] Robinson—whatever his first name is.

ROBERT BROWN:  Frederick, I think.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Fred Robinson was the director of the Springfield Art Museum at that time. Then Springfield would put on—the museum—exhibitions, painting exhibitions, of one kind or another. They had to—I don't know if it was a regional show. But anyhow, I contributed paintings to that. At that time, I had been doing a lot of paintings in the—in Hadley, in the Connecticut Valley, especially scenes that dealt with the harvest there, with raising—whether it was potatoes, or tobacco, and so on. I did a whole series.

ROBERT BROWN:  Were these largely watercolors?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  No, these—watercolors first. Quick sketches in watercolor, then I would go home and mull things over and concoct a composition, a large composition, involving barns, and the fields, the tobacco fields, and harvest, and so on. So I had some of those paintings there. I think Amherst has one of the pictures now.

ROBERT BROWN:  You began going to the—coming here to Martha's Vineyard in 1939. Was that to be a summer ritual in the beginning?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  We came down here with friends, on house parties, like what the Kings had in '41. We came in '39, when the Salmons [ph]—he was a professor of history at Amherst, and they had bought a piece of land and built a house here, not far from where we are now, about a half mile up the road. [00:28:14] And so we helped them move down that summer of '39. I had a little trailer, the one I'd used when we moved from Wiscasset to Amherst in '35. I wanted to say this, about when I was at Amherst. I put on exhibitions there, about one a month, of one kind or another. Often, I would go to New York and talk with dealers there, and see if they would loan me this picture or that. That was a very interesting time.

ROBERT BROWN:  Who were some of the dealers you borrowed from?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I'm trying to think. Give me time—

[Audio Break.]

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I've forgotten the names of all the galleries that I contacted. I believe Edith Halpert was one of them. It was when she was downtown, a distance. It might have been the Association of American Artists, but that might have been later, in Pittsburgh. Incidentally, it was at that time that the new Museum of Modern Art was opened, and we were at that opening. Did I mention that we went to the Museum of Modern Art when it was located in the Heckscher Building?

ROBERT BROWN:  You may have, but—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  In New York. Who was the name of the director? He was at Harvard with me, in graduate work.


HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Barr, Alfred Barr, yes.

ROBERT BROWN:  What was the opening like of the new building?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Good. Everybody was there, in black tie, long dresses, and so on. Most of the celebrities in the art world, whether dealers, or whether professors—I mean, Paul Sachs was there, and Henry-Russell Hitchcock. [00:30:12] I'm sure Chick Austin was there that time.

ROBERT BROWN:  Would Sachs have been—did he approve modern art, as far as you knew? Was he—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Uh, I wouldn't say so. I don't know his opinions on it.

ROBERT BROWN:  He would have been to a great opening?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  You know, he had a lovely collection of French drawings, Degas and others.

ROBERT BROWN:  But he would have gone to a—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  When I took his class in French painting, he gave us photographs of all these drawings, and we wrote about them, too. Later, Agnes Mongan was to do a lot with that.

ROBERT BROWN:  But would it have been like Sachs to have gone to this big opening of the modern—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I think so, because he believed very much in museums, art museums, and he was ready to back them, whether in the Middle West, or in New York, or anywhere else. Yes. He sent some of his people, his students, for positions there. He almost sent me to—was it the Atlanta High Museum and so on, but I had made up my mind what I was going to do that year. That's when I went on two-year fellowship from Harvard, after being head tutor.

ROBERT BROWN:  When you were arranging these shows, did you get to meet some of the contemporary artists that you were showing at Amherst? You've mentioned—I think it was about this time you met Thomas Hart Benton, and I think you met John Steuart Curry as well.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes. He came to this house that fall that he died. He wasn't well. [00:32:00]

ROBERT BROWN:  Had you known him earlier?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Then Reginald Marsh, I met later on, in Kansas City.

ROBERT BROWN:  Had you known Curry earlier, before—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I met him that winter before going to Amherst. When we were living in Silvermine, we went over to a meeting in Westport one night, and he gave a talk. I met him at that time.

ROBERT BROWN:  What was he like, do you remember?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Nice person, yes. I can't remember clearly.

ROBERT BROWN:  What about Benton? He must have been someone you knew for a number of years.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  He was a character.

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, he was? In what way?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Oh, yes. Well, very outspoken, which would arouse the anger of some people. He got into trouble with the Kansas City Art Institute and their board because of his outspoken talk. He taught there, you know, for some years. I don't know a lot about the details of that, but by then, he didn't need to teach. He was beginning to stand on his own as a professional artist. Of course, he came here to Martha's Vineyard in the summertime. He was one of the early people here. He came, with Rita, in the 1920s. Then he—but Missouri was his home. He was from Neosho, Missouri, I think it was. They bought, with a very small amount of money, an old stone house at 36th Street and Belleview, in Kansas City.

ROBERT BROWN:  In Kansas City, Missouri.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  A lot of his paintings were there. They had made a gallery out of the downstairs—the cellar part, I mean. [00:34:00] When he and Rita both died that same winter, just a few years ago now—we saw them that fall, here, before they left.

ROBERT BROWN:  Was he a pretty close friend of yours out there and here?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Out there, yes. We had a good group. There was Fred James, who's an artist in his own right, a watercolorist, and Hans Schwieger, the conductor of the Philharmonic. He came the year after we went there.

ROBERT BROWN:  You went there when, right after World War II?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes, we went there in the fall of 1947. So you want me to pick up from Amherst on? Is that it?

ROBERT BROWN:  Yeah. Amherst, and after that, from there, you went on into World War II.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Entered in the navy. Yes. That was May of '43. I was with the navy then for two years.

ROBERT BROWN:  Were you drafted, or was it—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  No, I was not drafted. I was a volunteer. I had come back from a sabbatic leave trip to Arizona and California, and the war had started that winter, as you know, December. I went into the office of naval officer procurement. I might have gone to Quonset that August, but a yeoman misplaced my papers. He hadn't gotten all the information about what church I went to or something like that. I happened to see Ed Brewer, who was in charge of that officer at the time. He had come to Amherst to inspect the naval units there. What do we call them? The N Navy 5 and 7 units, which I helped to give instruction in, and so forth and so on. [00:36:08] Navigation, it was. I lingered on in Amherst that winter, giving a course in topographic and engineering drawing, and eventually I was reexamined. Oh, first, when I was called in, I went. That would have been in the fall of 1942, since they missed the Quonset training of that August. But I had trouble with my back, and they said, "We don't like backs in the navy," so that delayed things. Eventually, I got back into it again. I wouldn't give up, for some reason or other. By the time May came around, I had new orders to go to basic training.

ROBERT BROWN:  You were really feeling quite patriotic at that point. Was that the motivation?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I think I did. Well, I had been—had just a little bit of experience in World War I. That fall of 1918, I entered college, and entered the Student Army Training Corps at Harvard at the same time. That all ended within a matter of a couple of months. So maybe I didn't have enough of it. At any rate, maybe I was restless at Amherst. That could have been, too.

ROBERT BROWN:  Feeling a little closed-in there?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  A little closed-in, yes. After all, the society, nice as it was, it was a very limited group. We'd go to dinner, and couple A would be there, and B, and C, and you'd go to another house, and couple C, B, and A would be there, and so on. [They laugh.] [00:38:08]

ROBERT BROWN:  Was your naval work quite interesting, the two years you—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes, especially here. First—

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, you were here, in the Vineyard?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  —I was sent to Ohio for basic training, and then they sent me, of all places, to Purcell, Oklahoma, halfway from either ocean. That was for—how did that go?

ROBERT BROWN:  What was that, the dry land Navy or something? [Laughs.]

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Hmm. That was a naval air gunnery school, because I was a naval aviation specialist, ground training in. We were there a month, in the hottest weather. I've never known such heat. Then I was sent to Quonset, and from Quonset here to Martha's Vineyard.

ROBERT BROWN:  Here, there was a naval air station?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes, where the airport is now. That started out as an auxiliary naval air station. They were shorthanded there, so I was not only a teacher for recognition, but also for navigation. They finally recognized that I'd had some surveying and navigation back at Amherst, and so they gave me a special training at Quonset, and then I would train the flight units that came here. We trained carrier units, and you'll see a whole list of them in the airport now, if you look in that entranceway, of the units that were there. [00:40:01]

ROBERT BROWN:  That recognition work was—I know other people who had art training were often put into teaching that.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Opticians, and those who—because they felt they would be good in seeing things, these differences, right away.

ROBERT BROWN:  But you developed the course, or was there a manual that you used for most of these things?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  We had to follow the thing as it was set up, but I would innovate, and brought in little models of ships on a big board, which looked like the sea, with wakes from the ships. I think that helped the men. This was the winter of '44, '45, and we lived in Vineyard Haven, and then we found our house, this one, in Chilmark, in the spring, and bought it for a song.

ROBERT BROWN:  Had this been just a family—it was a farmhouse—until that point?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  This had been built, we understood, by a Mayhew Adams. Not the captain Mayhew Adams, but later on, I was to do research on it and discover that it was the fourth Mayhew Adams. A fine family, and the grandfather family lived down the road. At any rate, they both died in the 1890s, and the house passed to the Tiltons. William Tilton, who was a brother of Zeb Tilton, the master of the Alice Wentworth, that schooner, famous schooner. One of the last of the schooners for—

ROBERT BROWN:  But when you bought this, it had been a farmhouse until you got it? [00:42:01]

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  It had, in the meantime, been bought by Flora Jordan, who was a real estate agent. She put in electricity, two bathrooms, a pump, and so on. But it was pretty crude, still. It had 11 rooms, and enough to take care of all our family. Then and there, it was hard to build in World War—when the war was still going on. We looked at a house over in—not a house, but property over on Lambert's Cove Road, near where—who was the Yale president?—Griswold—Griswold lived, and friends, but we finally bought this house. We could live in it right away

ROBERT BROWN:  You meant to sink some roots here, it seems, if you bought a house.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  It was suggested to us, because summer people—summer rents were very high, and this was approaching June. So that's what we did. We found—we got it for a song. It had been provided with electricity, enough to go ahead, so we went on from there.

ROBERT BROWN:  But you then returned for two more years, until '47, to Amherst College?


ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, you did not return?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  No. No, I elected—I was given the choice of carrying on—I was allowed a certain amount of time. I could carry on at half salary, or a shorter time at full salary. I elected the former. Then I was doing a lot of portrait drawings, so that all helped. I had an economic problem with a family of five children, four of our own and a nephew, and eventually my wife decided to teach at Hickory Ridge School, which is a part of the Putney School setup in Vermont. [00:44:17] Then, on the spur of the moment, as I came out of the navy, had separation from the service, in October of that fall of '45, it was, she went to Vermont with the children, and I enrolled at Harvard to do graduate work. It resulted in my getting another—an M.A. degree.

ROBERT BROWN:  What was that in, art history?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  That was in art history, yes.

ROBERT BROWN:  Did you specialize in certain things?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I took Sachs's museum course. I had never had that. What's his name—who was the one who wrote on Rembrandt? Jakob—

ROBERT BROWN:  —Rosenberg.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  —Rosenberg was there. They gave the course together. I think I did some more work for—special studio work for Arthur Pope. I've forgotten. Arthur Pope was then acting head of Fogg Museum.

ROBERT BROWN:  What was he like at that point, do you remember?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Well, I guess, doing administrative work, it's bound to have an effect on people, and I think it did on him, but still, basically, he was the same good, old Arthur Pope, and his Scotch wife was still living then. [00:46:00] They had moved out of their house in Cambridge, and had a house, had a place, in Brookline. His wife didn't live much longer after that.

ROBERT BROWN:  What was the course, as taught by Sachs and Rosenberg, like?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Very interesting.

ROBERT BROWN:  Were they very effective teachers?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Oh, yes, yes. Sachs would bring in a sample. It might be a Chinese head, or it might be a copy, and he'd have us comment on it. Was it genuine, was it authentic, or was it a forgery? Sometimes there were forgeries.

ROBERT BROWN:  That would force you to bone up on these things and look at a lot of—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Look a lot. We had to know every picture in the Fogg Museum. Just where it was located, too. I enjoyed that. I learned a lot doing that. It was good discipline.

ROBERT BROWN:  So you were there for about a year?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I was there that year, and I got another degree then, in '46. That was the time when George Marshall, I think, spoke at commencement. And there were others, like Eliot—you know, the writer. What's his—


HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  T.S. Eliot was there.

ROBERT BROWN:  So that was an exciting—


ROBERT BROWN:  —year for you.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  It was a good year. It was a difficult year, because we had no home. My wife was there with the younger children, and we put the two older boys in Windsor Mountain School at—what was it? Near Lenox, I think it was.

ROBERT BROWN:  Did you go directly from there, then, to the University of Kansas City?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I've got to think. That year, then—the Navy helped. [00:48:00] I think I got some—they had some educational aid if you wanted to go on. So there was that, and my wife, whatever salary she got, which I'm sure was not much. There were very trying circumstances, I won't go into now, there. She almost had a nervous breakdown, and left there early, in May, I think it was. So we were glad to come back to the Vineyard for the summer. That was 1946. I started doing lots of portrait drawings. People here liked the drawings, and would have me do them. Then, the next winter, we went to Cambridge, and we rented a house on Walker Street. Are we about through this tape? No. I set myself up as a painter, and I did, again, portrait drawings and portraits. I even restored some paintings, knowledge of which came naturally, with knowledge of the old techniques. I've been able to do some of that lately. I've been doing quite a bit of restoration right here, this past two or three winters.

ROBERT BROWN:  What led you to leave Cambridge, then, in '47?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  We came back here in the summer. We rented our house to some people from Pennsylvania, and we came here for the summer, and in August, Tom Benton called me up and said, "There's a guy here from Kansas City, head of the university there." That's the way he talked, this offhand way. "Clarence Decker. [00:50:00] He's looking for someone to head up his art department there at the university. I think you might be just the man he's looking for. So come on up, will you, and meet him and his wife." So we went up and had a swim with them all, and met the Deckers, and he immediately made this proposition of coming to Kansas City. Well, when? Well, it would be practically almost right away. I had to decide. I was given only about a week to make up my mind. I talked the matter over with friends. One of them was Harry Bain, a classmate from Arizona, who happened to be here for—that was our 25th reunion, incidentally, that June, and we took part in that. I said, "But it's so far away." "So far away from what?" says Harry. [Laughs.] Nothing to him, because he lived in Arizona, and he lived in California, too. The long and short of it was, I did make up my mind to go. It meant moving a large family, as you understand. It meant trying to find a house right away, which Mary Decker found for us, a big old stone house in the southern part of the city. Not quite on the right side of the railroad tracks, but nevertheless, it was a house that would hold us all, and the people were willing to rent it to us. So we found ourselves, in early September, driving in the station wagon trailer, just as we had done some years before, across the country, and found the house there, a big stone house, which, very soon, we bought. [00:52:00] Along with it, there was a garage, and a garage apartment, and one of the faculty lived there.

ROBERT BROWN:  You soon settled in, and did you come to really enjoy being there?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes. We had good introductions. People who lived there in Kansas City had known us before, and people sent letters to them. So before we knew it, we were both in the swim of the university, and university work, and the faculty, and with people of the city. Town and gown, you might say. We enjoyed the Deckers. He was very, very active, and his wife was, too. He was something of a promoter, but maybe that was needed there. It was a city university at the time, privately endowed.

ROBERT BROWN:  Was his interest in the humanities or the arts?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Especially. He brought lots of visiting lecturers. What's the man's name? Gilbert was—who's the Frenchman? Andre Moreau. He brought music there. They started a chamber music series, and the Hungarian String Quartet would come, the Italian quartet. We got involved. We would have dinner parties for them. It was very enlightening. Arthur Rubinstein came, and he never would have dinner before his concerts, but afterwards, he would. The Deckers had a dinner party for him, I remember, one night. [00:54:00] Only a few people. By the time of coffee, he would sit back, light his cigar, and tell many good stories. He was a great mimic. He could take off the cockney or the English accent very well. So it was. It was a delightful place, because we knew—came to know these great concert artists, of which I've only mentioned one—there were many others—and lecturers. Auden, the poet, came, too.

ROBERT BROWN:  But you wouldn't so likely have met them if you'd stayed in Cambridge, probably.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  We would not have, no. Or even New York. We wouldn't have a chance. But here, you were brought into contact with them intimately and personally. It was wonderful.

ROBERT BROWN:  You mentioned to me also that Reginald Marsh—was he a visiting artist there?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Decker instituted a system of visiting artists, and one of them was Reginald Marsh. Another time, it was Alexander Archipenko, who came for a whole semester. I had to look after him.

ROBERT BROWN:  What was he like?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  He was delightful. He was a very quiet man, and he would talk about—he did a gate post. Decker would get the most out of these people, you can be sure of that.

ROBERT BROWN:  A gate post for the university?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  A piece, a sculptural piece, that went on top of the gate post. It looked something like a bomb, see. [They laugh.] It was so abstracted in form, like Brancusi's birds and so on. He would talk about the "eye-ren." He had a very pronounced accent.

ROBERT BROWN:  The iron that he was—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes. [00:56:00] It was a delightful society, and a mixture of people in the music and art world. I got in with the music people a lot, the members of the Philharmonic, and—

ROBERT BROWN:  What about the museum there, the William Rockhill Nelson Gallery?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  And the museum, the William Nelson Gallery. First, Paul Gardner was the head, and then, later, a change came about, and Larry Sickman, who was their Oriental curator, became head of the museum, and was head for all the rest of the time we were there.

ROBERT BROWN:  Did you become quite a close friend of his?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes. We had quite a rapport with both the Art Institute, which is the professional art school, and the Nelson Gallery of Art, because we—first of all, the slide collection, as I found it, was very limited. But through the College Art Association, I was able to get a starter with a group of 4,000 slides and microfilm, and then we found out how to have those done up into slides, and we took many more. Even so, we were limited, so I borrowed slides from both the Art Institute and the Nelson Gallery. Later on, the tables were to be turned. They were borrowing slides from us, because we developed a good architecture section, and I developed a good section on colored slides, and subsequently, on sabbatic leave, when we went to Europe, we were able to procure slides right on the spot, and take them ourselves, too. [00:58:00]

ROBERT BROWN:  You, then, eventually became chairman of the—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I was, right away, chairman.

ROBERT BROWN:  —art department.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Of the art department. It was a small department. We had another art historian. His name will come to me in a minute. We had a couple of men in the studio work.

ROBERT BROWN:  Was the studio work very active?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  There was a Depression then. What happened? It was that the certain generation passed on, the war generation, and then there wasn't so much demand. At one point, we just held on like grim death. I was the only one who was teaching, and giving both art history and studio courses. I was chairman for some 17 years.

ROBERT BROWN:  How would you compare the students there with those you'd had at Amherst?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Some of them were up to the Amherst and Harvard caliber of scholarship. Most of them, I'd say, not. But there were interesting people, and a lot of them took evening courses. A lot of them were older people who came back, also, to take the undergraduate courses and get a degree, a rather late degree. Then, also—I didn't have to do it, but I did—I put on exhibitions. I set myself to a schedule of that, once a month.

ROBERT BROWN:  Once a month?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yeah. I wasn't paid for it.

ROBERT BROWN:  Were you still able to borrow from major galleries?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I borrowed from galleries in New York, by mail. [01:00:01] What's the name? Pope. Uh, Mary—you remember the fellow at the National Gallery? His name was Pope.

ROBERT BROWN:  Russell Pope?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Maybe that's it, and his wife.

ROBERT BROWN:  You could borrow from—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Would send out these traveling exhibitions, so I borrowed from the National Gallery, I borrowed from the Metropolitan. We had an active thing going, and we would put on local exhibitions, or local collections, and local artists, like Fred James, for example, who sold well. And some of my own, too. I'd bring in Martha's Vineyard artists. If I came back from sabbatic leave in Europe, I would have a show of my watercolors.

ROBERT BROWN:  Would Benton show with you sometimes?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Benton showed. I put on a fine Benton show one time. It had to do with his murals. Also, there was one where—I just showed you a photograph with Benton and Burt Ives.

ROBERT BROWN:  Burl Ives, yeah.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Burl Ives. That's it. One exhibition had to do with his murals, and it was in terms of drawings and preparatory sketches, and so forth and so on. Photographs, so on, of his murals. Then he gave a talk. It was a big occasion. Standing room only. [Laughs.]

ROBERT BROWN:  Was he a good speaker?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Good informal speaker. He wouldn't stick to his notes. He'd get up and say, "Well, you ask me questions," and that would set him off. [01:02:02] One time, I was up on the platform with the president and others, and he didn't have the microphone the right place, so I stole up behind him and reached over his shoulder to adjust it. "What's going on here, anyhow?" he'd say. [They laugh.] That delighted the audience. Then we had a reception for him back in the gallery afterwards. It was a big crowd. He became artist-in-residence. We set that up for him, which was good for him, from the point of view of the IRS, and good for us, too.

ROBERT BROWN:  Did he turn out to be a pretty effective teacher?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes. He would come and talk and see the students, and talk on their work, and judge also. Then we took him over to his—when he was working on the Independence murals.

[END OF TRACK AAA_scott80_6783_r.]

ROBERT BROWN:  Side two.

[Audio Break.]

ROBERT BROWN:  You were saying that while Benton was artist-in-residence at the University of Kansas City, he was doing the Independence murals.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes. Either he would come to the university, as I say, and talk to the students, and judge their work, and so on, or I remember one time, we took them all over to—or he took them all over to Independence. He was still working on the mural, so he was able to stand up there, point out things about the mural, and talk about his technique.

ROBERT BROWN:  These were in fresco?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  It was—no. If I said fresco, I was—

ROBERT BROWN:  No, you didn't.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  —wrong. I shouldn't have said that, if I did. It was his method of tempera on panel, along with the new acrylics and so on. He always liked to have preparatory drawings. I believe in that, too. So it all fascinated the students. I believe Harry Truman was there that day, and we went in the auditorium and listened to him for a little while as he talked. They knew the Trumans well. Harry Truman was very good to Tom, and I think Tom basked in the limelight of that. When Jessie, daughter Jessie was married, to a friend of my Johnny's, we went to the wedding, and then there was reception at the house, the Benton house, so we had occasion to meet Harry right then and there. [00:02:03] I won't go into that now. Other things about life in Kansas City, because you mentioned that. For one thing, I was appointed to the Municipal Art Commission, by the then-mayor of the city. I believe it was Mayor Kemp. There were so many Kemp, Kemper, and there's still third—one was senator. Senator Kemper, wasn't it? Yes. And there was a Mayor Kemp, and there's still another, named very similar. Very confusing. There was a delightful group of people. The society there was nice.

ROBERT BROWN:  You gave lectures at the Nelson Gallery.


ROBERT BROWN:  You listed some of those. Now, there, you were speaking to, what, a general audience? Or how did you pitch those lectures?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes, usually an audience of middle-aged, and beyond that, people. There were several series that I gave. Good audience.

ROBERT BROWN:  Did the Nelson Gallery feel it was sort of at the top of a pecking order?


ROBERT BROWN:  A little more—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Certainly the social order. They were at the top, no question.

ROBERT BROWN:  The university, was it patronized by a lot of the local wealthy people?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  In part. In part.

ROBERT BROWN:  Who did you draw your students from? Or where from, rather?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Just the city in general. [00:04:00] Some people would come, some of the social elect, shall I say, would come and take continuing education courses, which I got involved in, too. It helps in the offering for the university. It helps you in a little more pay.

ROBERT BROWN:  But your family came to like being there?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  It is—yes. The boys went to Southwest High School. The girls went to Sunset Hill School, where my wife became a teacher. She taught in drama, and she taught in English later on. Then, also, she taught some at the boys' school, Pembroke Country Day School. Most of the children had their schooling there, either high school or the private schooling. Johnny went from the public schools, or grammar schools, into Pembroke Country Day School. Because of my wife's teaching, I think, there were scholarships available to them.

ROBERT BROWN:  So you really didn't feel that cut off, and then you came East every summer.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Not at all. It's a lovely city. It really is. The people were great to us, too. Then a lot of the Kansas City people would come to Martha's Vineyard in the summertime, through the Bentons or the Jameses or ourselves. Eventually, some of them bought here, or would rent summers, and so on. That's gone on for years.

ROBERT BROWN:  During your—or beginning in your last years there, you and Mrs. Scott began taking people on tours, foreign tours, to see collections and things.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

ROBERT BROWN:  That was a—[00:06:00]

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  She had that idea, and it was in connection with a play, a Greek play. I'm trying to think of the name of it. The Trojan Women. Yes. That she was putting on. She thought, why don't I rehearse these kids in Greece, in the Greek theaters? That was the start of our organizing, getting together with one who's run tours before, and taking them to Greece for two weeks in the spring of '69. We did it there. The next year, we took them to Italy, in the spring. Then, finally, we took them, in the summertime, on a much more extended tour of a whole month, from Greece to Ireland, it turned out—or Scotland, rather. Scotland. Ireland was another year all together.

ROBERT BROWN:  Would you lecture on the art?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Oh, yes, and right on the spot, you see. We'd sort of plan the tour, so it would work well. For example, we went to Mycenae. Went right to Nafplio from the plane. Didn't stop in Athens, just went through, so that we could see Mycenae, the very early works first, and then go to the National Archeological Museum, and see all the gold from Mycenae.

ROBERT BROWN:  This was a prominent part of your life through the '70s.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes, it was. It was. Sixty-nine, '70, '71, yes.

ROBERT BROWN:  Another increasingly prominent part has been your returning to, as you live in Martha's Vineyard, your interest in family history, and in architecture, buildings.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  When the pressure of lectures and so on let up, and suddenly I had time on my hands, and I found—my father's desk came to me, as told in the preface of this little book I've written of my great-great-grandfather, and how I got into that. [00:08:21] I'd like to say a little more about Kansas City.


HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  The Municipal Art Commission. I was on that for 15 years.

ROBERT BROWN:  What was their duty?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  A lot of time, it was a waste of time, sitting around the table and talking and so on, but it was good contact to come to know a city government and how it's run. From the mayor—we would be quite intimate with the mayor—and city councilmen, city manager. Then they were doing interesting projects, planning the whole new city center and so on, which came to naught at quite a price but then. Then came in the new airport, international airport, and so we would meet with architects, with TWA officials, with the city air—I forget his name, but sort of superintendent of all to do with the airport and so on. That was all very interesting.

ROBERT BROWN:  Were you involved, on the art side, in advising certain kinds of designs?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Exactly, yes. We had to choose materials, and control signs, and—

ROBERT BROWN:  What about getting works of art put in public buildings? [00:10:00] Paintings or sculpture?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

ROBERT BROWN:  Was there provision—was the city committed to doing that, or did you try to encourage that?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Seems to me we did. I've forgotten all the details of it, whether it was in the city hall itself. Sometimes it was putting the works of art in the hospitals and so on, but usually that was through some other committee or other. Ask me some more.

ROBERT BROWN:  Your current interests are partly in—we've talked about—the family, history of them, but also you've been lecturing now, here on the Vineyard, this series of seminars, this Nathan May Hughes seminar.

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Nathan May Hughes seminar.

ROBERT BROWN:  You've been talking about New England architecture and so forth.


ROBERT BROWN:  What are those? Were you instrumental in getting those seminars going here?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  No, but my wife has been very instrumental in supporting it and raising funds, by one means or other, like concerts, or lectures, and so on. A summer series, and at other times, too. I have helped by playing the fiddle in our music ensemble.

ROBERT BROWN:  What is the mission of these seminars? Are they to be—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Well, it might be the start of a college on the Vineyard. Who knows. It's really on the order of continuing education. It's a good thing to support.

ROBERT BROWN:  You draw on the people here with specialties in certain—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes. Some are schoolteachers. Some are ordinary citizens and workers. [00:12:00] That's why I have the extraordinary hour of seven o'clock on Monday evenings. Others are retired people of—you might say, who sit well in the world. They like to come to afternoon classes. I'm sure I would have had more students had I been giving it in the afternoon, but it would cut out other people, too.

ROBERT BROWN:  So this evening one, you get a real—a lot of local people, too, as well as retired people?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

ROBERT BROWN:  Do you find there's quite a need here on the Vineyard for such stimulation?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I think so, because a lot of them who live and work here don't go to the mainland, or Boston, or New York, very often. Other people do. There are some of our friends who are still active, not retired, and I think one of them who—he's a moderator for—arbitrator is the word I want—for various labor disputes and so on. So he's going off all the time, and others stay right here. It's interesting to see. There's a very interesting group of retired people. Either they stay right here on the island, but most of those who have the money to do it go off on trips in the wintertime. We've led people on trips, as we did a year and a half ago, to Venice and Greece, so on. It was a nice group.

ROBERT BROWN:  Well, what do you see you'll be doing in the future? [00:14:00] Teaching? Writing?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I never seem to have enough time, for one thing. And between the writing, and now I'm under pressure of preparing these talks every Monday night—thank goodness it's over half—over by now. Then we have a good music group here, and we meet every Sunday afternoon. I haven't had time to do much of my own painting, because I've taken on doing restoring of pictures. I've got a portrait upstairs that—as I say, you know the techniques, you can restore, and you have to be able to paint. At times, it calls for in-painting, or touching up. Sometimes it calls for preparing a whole canvas. Our last year, someone from Amherst brought me a painting that had been slashed, and it really was a mess. It was—excuse me. Thinking of throwing it away. But I put a whole new canvas as a backing, and glued it down, and repaired it. It's good as new now, back in place in Amherst.

ROBERT BROWN:  You really enjoy the restoration work?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I enjoy it, yes. I'd prefer to be doing my own painting, of course.

ROBERT BROWN:  Do you do sketching, nevertheless?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  But sometimes there have been ship paintings that have many holes, and the paint is chipping off, and so on. I haven't done much sketching lately. On trips, yes, I take watercolors with me. That's the best medium to take, because it's less complicated, and you can carry them in your jacket pocket. [00:16:07]

ROBERT BROWN:  Do you find, when you're doing your painting, you need to have time, and not too much pressure?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes. Absolutely. Because when I paint, I want these two hours, unbroken, if I can get it. If I'm sketching on a trip, well, I take what time I can get, and make quick notes, and then try to develop something from those later on.

ROBERT BROWN:  By and large, are you trying to make a record of something that's striking that you're looking at, would you say? Are you trying to express your feelings about what—about some scene? 

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Yes. I've done a lot of houses, and sometimes it's for a family that wants to have their house perpetuated. You make a composition out of it. Sometimes, as in traveling in Greece, it's just because of the interest and the subject. It might be the Temple of Hera at Olympia, or it might be in Venice, just because of a quaint old house there, and the flowerpots on the windowsills and so on. I don't have many of the Venetian things left.

ROBERT BROWN:  You exhibit them—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Practically nothing.

ROBERT BROWN:  You exhibit here, or friends—

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Then, I used to exhibit. I would exhibit in Kansas City. I exhibited here, in the summertime. I haven't exhibited recently. I haven't had enough newer pictures to show. But I've done a lot of exhibitions in my time. [00:18:00] I would like to do more in oil, because I'm painting in oil all the time when I restore these ship pictures and portraits and so on. I even restored a modern picture last year. A pupil of Picasso, a Spaniard, I think he was. It was a revelation, because the paint was peeling right off in big flakes, and that picture had only been done hardly more than 20 years ago.

ROBERT BROWN:  Why would you like, particularly, to work in oil now?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  Because I worked in watercolor so much.

ROBERT BROWN:  You want a change?

HENRY EDWARDS SCOTT:  I thought to try something else. I like painting in gouache, which is on tinted paper, in watercolor. You mix white when you want to have a lighter tone, and it comes out very crisply and nicely. It's very direct. What else have we got to say?

[END OF TRACK AAA_scott80_6784_r.]


How to Use This Collection

Transcript is available on the Archives fo American Art's website.

Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Henry E. Scott, 1980 May 30-June 23. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.