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Oral history interview with Margueritte Kimball, 1993 Mar. 1-Apr. 13

Kimball, Margueritte Eleanor, 1906-1995


Collection Information

Size: 2 sound cassettes Sound recording: (150 min.), analog.; 81 Pages, Transcript

Summary: An interview with Margueritte Kimball conducted 1993 Mar. 10-Apr. 13, by Robert Brown, for the Archives of American Art, regarding her years at the Cranbrook Academy of Art.
Kimball discusses her childhood in Clinton, Mass. and Nashua, N.H. in the family of a railroad employee; death of her father and move, in 1926, to Cambridge, Mass. where her mother worked as a milliner and opened a dressmaking business; training in bookkeeping; classes at Copley Society, Boston; enrollment at Cranbrook Academy of Art, 1942, and working as financial secretary there until 1968; and her friendship with Carl and Olga Milles. She recalls Eliel and Loja Saarinen, Harry Bertoia, Zoltan Sepeshy, and many other teachers and students, and comments on students who attended via the G.I. Bill and on teacher-student relationship and administration of the Academy.

Biographical/Historical Note

Margueritte Eleanor Kimball (1906-1995) was a financial secretary at Cranbrook Academy of Art, in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.


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

Language Note

English .


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



The following oral history transcript is the result of a recorded interview with Margueritte Kimball on March 1, 1993 and April 13, 1993. The interview took place in the artist's home in Clinton, Massachusetts, and was conducted by Robert F. Brown for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. 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:  —with Margueritte Kimball. Robert Brown, the interviewer. And the purpose of the interview is to, um, get some idea of your life and your career, particularly your many years at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. You were born, what, in 1906, I believe, wasn't it?



MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Clinton, Massachusetts.

ROBERT BROWN:  Clinton, Massachusetts. Were your family—had they been there long? Was this a—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No. We were there a short while. We were in Clinton because my father was on the railroad—the railroad that ran from Worcester to Portland. And we stayed there. And then, we were only there for two years, because my mother had three children, and the third one was born in Nashua, so that meant that—

ROBERT BROWN:  Nashua, New Hampshire?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Nashua, New Hampshire. We went to Nashua, New Hampshire, and my brother was born there. So that's—we were there a short while. We lived in Nashua through, uh—when my father died in '25, we moved to Cambridge, because we didn't have a pass on the railroad any longer.

ROBERT BROWN:  Yeah. When you lived in Nashua, you had most of your schooling there, then.


ROBERT BROWN:  What was Nashua like, as a place? Do you remember?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, pretty much the way it is today.

[Audio Break.]

ROBERT BROWN:  —was it an old New England—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No, it was a mill town.

ROBERT BROWN:  A mill town, yeah.


ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  But as I said, my father ran the railroad through there. He was the first one to run an engine 60 miles an hour through the center of Nashua.

ROBERT BROWN:  Wow. [Laughs.]

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  But uh, I had–I went through the first year at high school there. I went to a private school, the Sacred Heart School. And then, I had rheumatic fever, first year of high school. [00:02:00] And I couldn't go back. I'd have to repeat. And they wanted me to take the classical course. And I didn't want the classical course, and they wouldn't let me take the commercial course. So, then, I went to Boston.

ROBERT BROWN:  Why did they want you to take the classical course?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, he was just—you couldn't talk to the principal. It was a little bit difficult. And it was difficult with my sister, too. And he didn't like—well, I shouldn't mention it, but he didn't like people that came from this Catholic private school. He didn't. But anyway, um, I had to repeat the first year. But then, I went to Boston and went to Bryant & Stratton. So, I graduated from Bryant & Stratton in 1926. And I would have graduated from high school in '26, but it was the equivalent, because we had law, and we had math, and we had all kinds of subjects. It was a wonderful school, at the time. And so, I felt I got a very, very good education that way. And we commuted every day until my father died. And then, we couldn't, uh—

ROBERT BROWN:  So, you graduated a little later than you would have, normally, because of your having had rheumatic fever, right?


ROBERT BROWN:  Isn't that about right, that you—


ROBERT BROWN:  —because you were 20 years old in 1926.


ROBERT BROWN:  Isn't that about the right time?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No, 20 years old in '26—well, I graduated in '26. I don't know.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And uh, then went right to work. Because we had to—we moved to Cambridge.

ROBERT BROWN:  You moved to Cambridge.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And we had to put pennies together, you know?


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And in '29, the Depression came, and it was real difficult. My mother was the milliner at the Harvard Bazaar, in Central Square. [00:04:00]

ROBERT BROWN:  What was that, a store? The Harvard Bazaar?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  It was a very, very good store—a very fine department store, there. But it isn't there now. But we didn't care for Central Square too much, so she went to Harvard Square and started this—well, it was like a repair shop for fixing things. Because, all these people here, they had clothes, but they had no money. And it turned into the Modisch [ph] shop. And then, they couldn't find parking at Harvard Square, so she bought this house in—

ROBERT BROWN:  Here on Mount Auburn Street.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —on Mount Auburn Street. Because, my sister had migraine headaches. She graduated from Emerson College of Oratory. But she couldn't teach because of the migraine headaches. So, she went into business with my mother. She was very good in design. She went to different schools to study design, but they said, "No, you know more. We could put you teaching design." She was very good. So, they had them here. And she had six girls working for her at one time. And everybody just—they bowed and scraped.­ And she'd take grandmother's wedding dress and fix it for the girl. And Nancy Heard [ph] had a wedding, and she came from Smith College. She didn't have a penny, so she collected clothes from her friends up there, and Muriel fixed her trousseau, you know?

ROBERT BROWN:  Muriel was—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Muriel's my sister.

ROBERT BROWN:  Your sister. [Coughs.] So, in a sense, it was fortunate for your mother and her business that the Depression had come—


ROBERT BROWN:  —and people had to have clothes remade.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And the ARK was—her name was Anastasia Rachel Kimball, A‑R‑K.

ROBERT BROWN:  Your mother's.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yeah, my mother's. And she went around Harvard Square. First, she'd go to J. Press, and they'd shorten the sleeves on the shirts and all that. She did everything to make pennies, pennies, pennies, because you had to to live. And then, she came over here, and uh, bought this house. [00:06:04]

ROBERT BROWN:  And people could park, here, you said? And uh—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, we had a parking space. And there was only one person at a time, so there's a parking space. And Mrs. Cutting, who has the space right now, was a customer of my sister's, and a very close friend of—of, um—I told you, before. [Laughs.] Uh—

ROBERT BROWN:  Someone else from [inaudible].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  What is it? Hold it a minute, while I give you that name.

[Audio break.]


ROBERT BROWN:  So, Mrs. Cutting and—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —Mrs. O'Connor. And uh, as you say, Mrs. Plout [ph]. People from here and Chestnut Hill, and it was all done with appointments. No one crossed another one's appointment.

ROBERT BROWN:  And you were involved only occasionally, because you—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No, I was working elsewhere.

ROBERT BROWN:  You were working elsewhere. Mostly as a bookkeeper, right?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yes. Office manager for the mattress factory. And I had 163 stores for A&P, that I worked for. But—and then, I worked for R.H. Baker Company in Cambridge. They had the main floor of the Kendall Square Building. But they went 77B, because they were contract—

ROBERT BROWN:  What is that, 77B?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  That was, bankrupt.

ROBERT BROWN:  Bankruptcy.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And they had their own airplane and everything. But they kept myself, and the secretary, and the comptroller, and did the business away. And then, I went with the [inaudible] Martin Company, in Boston, and I worked for Owens-Illinois Glass. Everywhere you'd go, it was, here today, and gone tomorrow, you know, during that period. And I was working for power plant piping, and plumbing—and well, you see. Mattresses, plumbing, and all these different things.

ROBERT BROWN:  Yeah. [00:08:00]

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And of course, that all went into my application at Cranbrook. And it made—Cranbrook said, "She knows about all these things."

ROBERT BROWN:  So, "She could be very useful." Well, now, you were also, though—during the years before you went to Michigan—taking drawing lessons.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, I went with Mrs. Hammond, who lived here in Cambridge.

ROBERT BROWN:  Who was Mrs. Hammond?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  She was famous for flowers and all. They have it in the museum, everywhere around, Mrs. Hammond. And I went every—at least every week, over to the Copley Arts Society. And they had a model there. And I think it was Joe Bill was in charge. They had a young man in charge of it. And you paid and you went. And then, uh, along the end of it, they had a show of the students' work, and we were allowed to put so many in. But they picked seven out of ten of my drawings and put them in the gallery. So, I was about a foot off the ceiling. [Laughs.] I was so excited.

ROBERT BROWN:  Well, now, were you getting fairly serious about possibly becoming an artist?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yes. I was looking into all the places. And the students that were there at the sketch class, you could tell they were from the museum school, or this school, or that school, because of the type of work they did. At the school, they would put up a thing, and that was the way you drew it. But I wanted something from inside. I didn't want to—I didn't want to—follow a pattern. I guess that was me. I was like that.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  So—but they came from all businesses. There was one fellow there from the soap company, and he did beautiful pastels. I have a pastel he did of me, a head and shoulders of me. He was—and I didn't know pastel. I was working in chalk, and then I got working in pastel. And it was from those pastel nudes—that one there—that I took to Cranbrook. And they accepted me on those. [00:10:03]

ROBERT BROWN:  And now, you went out to—how did you happen to, uh—


ROBERT BROWN:  —even go out there? You had, a, uh—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  My mother remarried in'41.

ROBERT BROWN:  In '41. Yeah.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And her husband's sister was in Michigan. She didn't come to the wedding. She came afterward—at the time of the Legion Convention, in fact. And uh, she took a great liking to my sister and I. And she wanted us to come out to Michigan. She worked for Father Coughlin, the radio priest out there. So, we got in our little Ford and went out to, uh, Buffalo, and took the boat across with the car. That's what they did then. And the first night we were there, they came out in this big, black sedan. They wouldn't use our little Ford. "Put it in the garage. Hide it." [Laughs.] They had a big, black sedan. And we went out to dinner at the Fox and Hounds, which is a place near there. And then, they took us to Cranbrook. And I walked under the peristyle and looked at the—the peristyle is the big arch over the museum. And I just—everything was like a fog. I was in place. It was—I never had that feeling ever before. I wasn't inside, I was outside. And the Milles statues were there. And I just felt in place. And then, I begged them to take me back the following Sunday, and all the family and all went back, and we went around the grounds and all. But I didn't know dorm, or office, or anything, you know?


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Then in, uh, November of that year—that was the summer—November that year, one of the girls from there and her father came to visit here. And she—

ROBERT BROWN:  One of the persons who was a student, you mean?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No. No, she worked for Father Coughlin. She was—[00:12:00]


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  In Royal Oak. They were friends in Royal—I didn't know anyone at the art academy, at all. Only that Miss Monghan [ph] sent me to Mr. Davis out there, to interview him.

ROBERT BROWN:  So, you'd already met him, Richard Davis?


ROBERT BROWN:  That was later. Yeah.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —later. See, uh, they came to visit. And then, I drove them back to Michigan and took my drawings. And that is when I went and saw Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Davis and applied to be a student.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Then I came back here again and well, you saw the letter where they accepted me as a student.

ROBERT BROWN:  In May of 1942.


ROBERT BROWN:  Now, what do you suppose it was that made you feel so at home, so right, at, uh—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  I don't know. It was just something that happened to me, that—it's a feeling you—I don't know. It was just something else. And then, I used to go down to—down to the shrine, to church. It's about six miles from there. It's a very, very famous shrine. It's a beautiful, beautiful church. And I'd prayed to the Holy Ghost that I'd be successful in my work and be able to go to Cranbrook. Well, who said my work was art? [Laughs.] So—


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —I had to get a job in between, because they had postponed me from February until June. And I worked over in the west side—the east side of Detroit. Because, you couldn't take a job unless you guaranteed that you wouldn't quit. You couldn't quit at that time, because the war was on, you see. And uh—well, anyway, two weeks before I was to enter Cranbrook, they asked me if I'd take over the office.

ROBERT BROWN:  Now, on the strength of what? What, did the administrators talk to you, and— [00:14:02]

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Of my application. Well—

ROBERT BROWN:  What did you think about that? Because you wanted to be a student, didn't you, in the art school?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, I only had $750, and I thought I'd be biting the hand that fed me, if I didn't do it. And it was a very good job. And so, I moved into the dorm July 6, 1942. And uh, the resident director was there to tell you where to go and all that. And this same one—the sister, the one that drove her father and that—they took me out, drove me out. And—I was—no student ever, ever was at Cranbrook that had bigger butterflies in their stomach than I did. I had never seen the inside of the dormitory. I had never seen the inside of anything. So, I was just—just out of this world. So, I moved into Room 14 in the dorm. And this girl that was with me, she says—the resident director says, "Do you want to come down and have supper, down in the dorm?" Oh, I was—Oh. And so, this girl says, "Well, come on home with us for supper." And so, then, they brought me back later. The next morning, I went in, and Mr. Roseman [ph] interviewed me.

ROBERT BROWN:  Now, who was he?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  He—well, he was the financial man. And he was in the office that I ended up in. [Laughs.] But he says, "Are you ready to go to work?" Oh, I could have jumped out the window, I was so scared. I was just—I had never been in the place before or anything.

ROBERT BROWN:  And they had already—Mr. Davis had already asked you to—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  But I didn't know this Davis thing until I was back from Cranbrook. [00:16:00] Back—all the years past. The fellows across the street here, they said they met Dick that got me my job at Cranbrook. I said, "Well, you mean Dick Roseman?" "No, Dick Davis." Well, I didn't know that had all transpired, you see.

ROBERT BROWN:  So, when Roseman saw you the next morning, that's the first you knew that they wanted you there.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No. No, they had contacted me and wanted me.

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, they already had—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  But not Dick Davis, didn't.


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, anyway, they contacted me. And he brought me back to this office with a big bay window and all that in the back of the room—the back of the building. And he said, uh, "This is where you'll work. We'll give $128 a month, your board and room, and you can be a student." Of course, I had no time to be a student [laughs]—

ROBERT BROWN:  That was a pretty—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —but I went to sketch class.

ROBERT BROWN:  That was a pretty good deal, wasn't it?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  But I had a pass key to everything, and every dollar that came or went out of the academy, I was in charge of it. The budget, the salaries, the rents, everything. So, everyone came to me. And then, when the student program—oh, I had the students, of course. But there was a front desk and a switchboard out front. They didn't come by me. They were only problems when they came to me. Like, one—one rather interesting thing, this fellow was—oh, all week long he was just sick because he had to see Miss Kimball, some problem he had. And so, he came. My doors were eight feet tall, into my—you came into my office on the side.

ROBERT BROWN:  So, it was quite a monumental—


ROBERT BROWN:  —building.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  They're still there. And he came in, and he just sat on the floor and laughed, and laughed, and laughed. I said, "What is the matter with you?" He says, "Miss Kimball, Margueritte, Miss Kimball, Margueritte." He says, "I've been dying all weekend, because I didn't know that it was you I was supposed to see." [00:18:00]

ROBERT BROWN:  It was somebody who knew you.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Anybody. Anybody came to me, I would help them. I set up the work program for them. They could work in the dining room or work at Cranbrook School. And this John you met, he was an assistant in the library.

ROBERT BROWN:  John Lawrence?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Lawrence. John Lawrence. I got him a job at the library. And just, any chance I had, I gave them a chance to work. In exchange—no money, but in exchange for their—now, like, for the board and room, they get a third of their board and room, or a half of their board and room, or—well, I guess—I don't know. But it was like—I set it all up.

ROBERT BROWN:  And you set all this up?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yeah. And then, when—

ROBERT BROWN:  Did you have to deal with the board? Would you have to get the approval—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, there was the trustees. The trustees were all people that worked for Mr. Booth.

ROBERT BROWN:  And Mr. Booth—George Booth—had been the founder of the—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  He was the founder, and the builder, and all that.


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And uh, no, I didn't have to get anyone's approval.

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, you didn't?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No, I didn't. But I had to put in a financial report to the trustees. And the budget had to go in to the trustees. And then, I set up a book—the budget. And I'd talk to the head of the museum, and the head of this, and the head of that, and find out what they needed, and then present it to the trustees. If they approved it, then I worked through the year. And they could come to me any time and find out how they were—


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —how their accounts were. And if they had, uh, money for this or money for that. You know. And that went to the kitchen, and the dining room, and the dormitories, and the maintenance, and museum, and the library. The library was a very hard budget to do, [laughs] because—that's nothing, it's the mailman—because they had magazines and books, but nothing but art. [00:20:00] Nothing but art in the library, absolutely.

ROBERT BROWN:  By the end of that summer, were you still as enchanted with being—with Cranbrook?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, I always was enchanted with Cranbrook. Cranbrook was—once you've been at Cranbrook, you're never the same person. Anybody that's ever been to Cranbrook is never the same person, because it's something different, completely different. There's a swimming pool on the grounds, and there's all of Milles's sculpture. And of course, I knew Milles, and I knew Saarinen.

ROBERT BROWN:  Did you meet them right at this—that first summer?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, yes. Yeah. You couldn't help it. There was just a few people there.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  There was only 80 students.

ROBERT BROWN:  During the summer, there were fewer students than there were during the year, or about the same number?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, that first summer, they let students come in from high school, and it never was after that. And this girl that has a place at Porter Square, she was—she was there in the summer. And uh—

ROBERT BROWN:  What do you mean? You mean, they brought in younger students than usual?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yeah. Well, no. Age didn't matter at Cranbrook. If you had your degree, you could go anytime. But they did let them in that summer. And uh, there was—that's probably why they let me in that summer, because I wasn't a graduate of high school. I was a graduate of Bryant & Stratton, but not of high school. And—

ROBERT BROWN:  So, you got to meet right away then Eliel Saarinen, who was the, uh—


ROBERT BROWN:  —what, director of the art school?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  He was the president.

ROBERT BROWN:  The president—of the art school. Yeah. And what—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  There's a book right here. Get this book. It gives the list.


[Audio break.]

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —and president.

ROBERT BROWN:  And so, Saarinen was president—


ROBERT BROWN:  —of the academy of art.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Of the academy of art, yeah.

ROBERT BROWN:  Not of the whole thing. Because there were two schools. There was—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, no. No, we had nothing to do with it. It was a separate—[00:22:00]

ROBERT BROWN:  There were schools in addition to the—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yes, but that—there were six institutions, but Cranbrook was separate. They were separate at that time. And when I left there, what happened—they made them all together and took out all—that's why they didn't need a financial secretary, they didn't need the head of Kingswood, they didn't need anyone. They were going to put them all together. But I think they're separated now. I don't know.

ROBERT BROWN:  So, what was your first impression of Mr. Saarinen? Had you ever met before people like that?


ROBERT BROWN:  A working artist?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Not really, but he was a very fine architect. And his students really idolized him. They just—they thought the world of him. But you couldn't approach Saarinen. His office was in his house. He didn't have an office in the office.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And so, you didn't—if he gave you an order—only once, he told me to go in my office and stay there. But I was trying to protect the records, because they were putting in a show that took in part of the office. And all of the student records, and all of the school store—we had a school store. And I said, "Well, I'll have to stay here." He says, "You don't—you go back in your office and do your work." And then, Mr. Black put in a door that made it right. Mr. Black was head of maintenance. But he wasn't—he didn't consider the student records or the school store to be open while they're putting up a show for day and night, you see. That's the only time I had any fracas with him at all.

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, I see. He—but was he fairly remote, then? He wasn't all that approachable?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, very remote. Very remote. He'd stay in his own—he never came into the office. Never came into the office. [00:24:03] And then—

ROBERT BROWN:  What did he do? What would you say, day to day, he did as president?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Architecture. Oh, as president?

ROBERT BROWN:  No, I mean the school. Yeah.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Just taught his students. That's all I know. I don't know what he did. But Mr. Booth wrote a letter telling him that he was out. But he died before he left.

ROBERT BROWN:  Huh. Well, now, on the other hand you got to know his wife quite well, didn't you?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, I knew her. And then, after he died, I got very close to her. I had dinner with her every Sunday. And we got to be very close friends. Very close friends. But uh, he was very rigid, very everything. And the difference between—I describe it on that other tape of—Milles was such a friendly, sweet, wonderful person. It wasn't easy to get to see these people, you know. They weren't—you just didn't run in and out, you know. And Henry Booth took over the school for a short while after Mr. Roseman—see, all the fellows went in service. Dick Davis, and Roseman, and all of them went in service. And then, it used to be that they had to hire them back, but they didn't hire anyone back.

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, really?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  So, Mr. Booth was in as president for a short while.

ROBERT BROWN:  This was after Saarinen, uh, was dismissed?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No, no. No, no. No, no. But he was in, like, where Roseman was.

ROBERT BROWN:  But now, Carl Milles had been at Cranbrook since, about, 1930 or so? He was there for quite a long while.


ROBERT BROWN:  And how did you get to know him?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, you couldn't help but know him. I had all their business to tend to. Their rent, and their supplies, and their—

ROBERT BROWN:  Was he—I mean, uh—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, he'd have me in, and I'd talk to him, and—we have to refer back to that other tape, because it tells it—[00:26:00]

ROBERT BROWN:  No, I'd like to hear it for our tape, though—


ROBERT BROWN:  If you could at least repeat it a bit. What was he like as a personality?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Warm. Very. And that wonderful sense of humor. And just a wonderful person. He never wanted to be an instructor, never, never, never. But he would go through the studios and give a criticism to the students. Now, his house—Milles's house and Saarinen's house were joining, side by side. And one was different than the other. Now, Saarinen's house was cold, and Milles's house was warm. You'd go into the Milles House, and there was blue carpeting up the stairs, an open stairway, and a stone floor. And then, you'd go in through and you could look out to the garden, and a beautiful dining room with painted furniture. Then, the main living room was all Greek sculpture. Just two benches—two benches on the end, but all Greek sculpture. And it was on turn—

ROBERT BROWN:  Turn—pedestals that turned, right?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yeah. Then, you'd go to the end of that big room, and there was curtains, and you went through those curtains and down, and that was his private studio—Milles's. Then, you could go outside and across the court, and there was this huge, huge studio that was his. And that's where he did the Indian for St. Paul. It was just huge. I showed you the pictures of it. And uh—

ROBERT BROWN:  So, you say his place seemed—had a warm feeling about it.


ROBERT BROWN:  Even though there wasn't much seating and so forth.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No. No, there wasn't much seating or anything. But uh—very, very few chairs in the house. And Olga was his wife. She was a full—recognized painter in Paris when she met him. [00:28:04] But she gave up her profession—not that she didn't do it, but she gave up being what she was to be Mrs. Milles. And she was Mrs. Milles, and anything that Carl did, he'd call for little Olga to give him a criticism. But I didn't feel that close—I went to parties at Saarinen's house, and they had martinis, and they were wonderful, wonderful martinis. And I said to Mrs. Saarinen—I said, "Oh, I never had martinis like that." And she said, "Well, who do you think mixed them?" She mixed them. And Eero was very cool, very cool. I remember when Saarinen died, I went to the door to see if there was anything I could do. And he just opened the door a little ways, and he said, "No, there's nothing." And that was that. But—it'd be different if you went to the door of Mr. Milles's house. No one—you didn't go to these doors easy, you know. And then, across the street—

ROBERT BROWN:  They were rather formal people, weren't they?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Very, very formal people.


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And across the street from that were all these other houses that the faculty and—what do you call it—lived in.

ROBERT BROWN:  Instructors.


ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Mitchell, and the head of the—we had a fully equipped printing department and photo department. And uh, then the—then, later on, the teacher of architecture lived in these houses. Then, along—before you came—on this side of the street, before you came to the Saarinen House, there was the Art Club, or Dorm One. And the dining room was in the basement of that building. Then you went by those two houses, and then you came to Dorm Two, which was a girls' dorm. That former one was the boys' dorm. [00:30:00] And then, from the girls' dorm went the painting department and sculpture department—they were all in there. Then, across the street, beyond those houses I told you about, was Dorm Three, and they had apartments, and it could be either—

ROBERT BROWN:  What, single or married?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No. No, no married. We had no married students. But oh, married instructors, sometimes. But, I mean if it was a boys' dorm, it was a boys' dorm. If it was a girls' dorm, it was a girls' dorm. Because, during the war, there wasn't any boys [laughs]. So, the girls lived there. And then, you'd go around the front of Dorm Two, and you'd come to the library and the museum.

ROBERT BROWN:  So, now, you got to know right away, then, Milles and Saarinen—


ROBERT BROWN:  And also some of the instructors, I suppose. Maija Grotell, was she there, when you arrived?


ROBERT BROWN:  She was Finnish‑born, and she was—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Finnish and Swedish.

ROBERT BROWN:  Swedish. And she was the—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  She was a potter.

ROBERT BROWN:  She was a potter.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And she was the first—well, she was the first one that put pottery on a kick wheel—a kick wheel. And anything that came out of that studio or was used in that studio was out of the ground. There was no purchased glazes or clay. Nothing. It was all out of the ground.

ROBERT BROWN:  Who got it out of the ground? Do you think she—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, she could order the stuff out of the ground, or students would send her things out of the ground. But you know, there is ceramics where people paint the ceramics and all that. Well, that wasn't the kind of thing it was. It was all absolutely just gray. It went into the kiln and came out a color or something. It was all basic. And she was practically the first one to put education in all the colleges all over the country. [00:32:01]

ROBERT BROWN:  What kind of—what do you mean by that?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  For pottery. Pottery.

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, education in pottery.


ROBERT BROWN:  You mean—why, did she go around the country, sort of—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No. No, her students went out and started these departments.

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, I see. What was she like, as a personality?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, she was dedicated to her work, 24 hours a day. And she taught down at Kingswood, and she'd bring the things up to fire. And she'd fire the kilns at the nighttime. She was just—all she wanted was to do that. Now, she met Saarinen on the street one day. She came back to me and was telling me that she said no to Saarinen. They were doing the General Motors buildings and the bricks for it—red, blue, chartreuse, those colors. And he said, "Can you make a brick with the glaze on it that's in the pot that's in my mother's house?" And she had told him, no.

ROBERT BROWN:  This was—you're speaking of Eero Saarinen, then.


ROBERT BROWN:  You said, "in my mother's house."



MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Mrs. Saarinen's house. And she said, "No." And then, she came to me, and she had tears, and she was all upset because, oh boy, you couldn't say no to Saarinen. So, I said, "Well, you've got to go back to him." So, she told him that she would get the glazes from wherever the bricks were made, in—Ohio. And she fired hundreds of bricks and then gave them their—formula so they couldn't say, "We can't do your formula." She fired until she got their formula to do. And if you go out there, you will see these great huge buildings—red, blue, chartreuse. [00:34:07] And they're all from the bricks that she made. But she never got any credit or any pay for it. She did it just for him. But I met an architect, and he said, "Well, you can't put glaze on brick." But she did. So, I didn't argue with him at all, because she knew what she was doing. She worked in New York, at Henry Street, and uh, at Rutgers University.

ROBERT BROWN:  What was Henry Street?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Henry Street was just a settlement house. That's where she was before she came. And Roseman brought her to, uh—Saarinen didn't bring her there. Roseman brought her to Cranbrook.

ROBERT BROWN:  Now, what was his first name? Roseman—


ROBERT BROWN:  Richard. What was his background, then? Was he—


ROBERT BROWN:  —an artist, as well? Or, a craftsman?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  An architect. I think he was an architect. He wasn't—

ROBERT BROWN:  So—uh, Maija Grotell, then, you knew her whole life, up until you—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, yes. And then, I did all of her book work, and her letters, and everything. And we were—

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  We were friends, but it wasn't—I mean, we were together a great deal. And about once a week, we'd go out and get Chinese food. She loved Chinese food. But she wouldn't eat in the dining room. So, I would cook some beef, and wrap it up, and put it in her freezer. And then, she'd take it to the studio and eat it. She didn't—she should have eaten better.

ROBERT BROWN:  She didn't like to socialize that much, or—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, the students were pretty fresh then. And something flew across the dining room and landed in her plate, and she didn't like it. She just didn't want to go in there. And they probably questioned her and all that. I don't know. It was—that's the way she was. She was very, very private. And uh, she judged shows. She won all the prizes she could win. Then she was judging shows, and I said, "Maija, you've got to go and judge that show." [00:36:02] Well, I gave her a permanent, and I did her nails. [Laughs.] And I sent her—wherever it was in Ohio, or wherever it was—to judge the show. And I have her whole list of her—what she'd done. Prizes that she'd won and all that. Wolfington—did you ever know Wolfington?

ROBERT BROWN:  Uh, William Wolfington, was that the Detroit artist that—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yeah. Well, she won a prize at, uh, Detroit. And he wanted another pot that she had. So, in the dark of night, we took the pot down and swapped it. He wanted the pot [laughs]. But they were very close friends.

ROBERT BROWN:  She was—uh, Maija Grotell was someone that wasn't conventionally convivial and sociable. I mean, she was very—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  She was very pleasant to everybody and good to her students. And they'd go in, and she'd show them how to throw the pots and all that. And every—they'd have seminars, you know. And this one—J.T. Abernathy was throwing 65 pounds of clay on the wheel—you'd kick the wheel—and sweating and everything like that. And then, she stepped up to the next wheel, and she took a little handful of clay, and she'd put it up, and put it down, and put it up, and put it down. And eventually, you'd notice what she was doing, and it was very funny, very funny. Here he was with this big thing, and here she was with this little thing, putting it up and down, up and down. [Laughs.]

ROBERT BROWN:  Up and down, you mean she'd tear it up, or—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  She'd wheel it up on the—

ROBERT BROWN:  Yeah, and then—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —and then poke it out, and poke it down, and then bring it around, and do all these things with the little pot. She had a wonderful sense of humor. And she was very good friends of the librarian and also Mrs. McCoo [ph], who—her husband was in charge of all the insurances and everything for the school. And Mrs. McCoo was the Bromleys' daughter. And the Milleses always visited with the Bromleys, and with the Booths. [00:38:02]

ROBERT BROWN:  Now, who were the Bromleys?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Bromley was the Detroit stove.

ROBERT BROWN:  Well, was he on the board or something?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No. No, just a friend. Just a friend, that's all.

ROBERT BROWN:  When you say Detroit stove—meaning he was the manufacturer or something?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, he owned the Detroit stove company. That's all I know about that. But Mrs. McCoo was his daughter, and they lived up on the corner of Woodward and Cranbrook Road. I used to—I guess I had driven them up there or something like that.

ROBERT BROWN:  Well, now, you knew a number of the students who—from the time you started there. Well, let's start with, uh, Eero Saarinen, the son of Eliel—not a student there, but he married someone who had gone to school there, didn't he?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yes, he married Lily Swann.

ROBERT BROWN:  And did you get to know her at all?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, I didn't have a chance to know that particular group too well, because I was very busy with the veteran program at that time, I think. But uh, they had a house outside the back gate of Cranbrook. He designed a house. And then, they built a house for his mother in back of that. And uh, Marianne's husband designed that—Hammarstrom.

ROBERT BROWN:  Is that Marianne Strengell?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yeah. And uh—Strengell, Dusenberry, Hammarstrom, that's her. And the—he didn't allow enough room for the handwoven rug, so she did the handwoven rug and sewed it all together to fit in that living room.

ROBERT BROWN:  Who did? Who sewed it?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Mrs. Saarinen. She was very clever.

ROBERT BROWN:  This is Mrs. Eliel Saarinen?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Eliel Saarinen, yeah.

ROBERT BROWN:  She moved in with her son and his—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No, no. No, she had a house in back of theirs. They were forward. And that's where, uh, the other Mrs. Saarinen came and uh—


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No, no. [They laugh.][00:40:00] Elaine.

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, the second Mrs.—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Came in and ousted—

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, yeah. Ousted Lily.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —Lily out. But Lily never had any organization as to food, and this, and that.

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, really?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  She never did, never did. And uh—

ROBERT BROWN:  Well, they had—she had children. Were they, sort of, semi‑neglected? Was it something like that—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yeah. Yeah, they lived up across the street from the Plouts, up here. And uh, Mrs. Plout said they never had the meals regularly. And I visited with a friend down—Lily—down on the Cape. And she had no food in the house. We had to go out and buy some food. And she hadn't changed the beds. [Laughs.] She just wasn't organized at all. But she was an artist, and she did art for the—big shopping area in Detroit. And uh—

ROBERT BROWN:  She collaborated with her husband to a degree.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  I don't think too much. I think she was pretty much on her own. But she was from Long Island and was very well done. But, she was—and it seems as though I remember that she was in the first Olympic ski team [laughs]. But uh, you know how girls that are brought up with a lot, they sometimes don't do the things they're supposed to do. But anyway, Lily Swann married Eero Saarinen, and Swanson married at about the same time. That's—Swanson is Mr. Saarinen's son—married.

ROBERT BROWN:  Their daughter married Swanson?


ROBERT BROWN:  Eero's sister? Pippa, or—


ROBERT BROWN:  It was—[00:42:00]

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Married—Pipsan Saarinen married Swanson.

ROBERT BROWN:  And who was Swanson? What was he?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, Swanson was, uh—Swanson was connected with Saarinen, you see.



ROBERT BROWN:  The architectural firm.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No. No, he was the son. See, the grandsons of Saarinen are Swanson. Mr. and Mrs. Saarinen had Pipsan, and she married Swanson. So, that's where the Swanson—and they're still living, the sons. And uh, now they just had a wedding at Cranbrook. Uh—

ROBERT BROWN:  Did you know Pipsan, the daughter of Eliel and—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yeah. Yeah, they were on that trip to Europe with us.

ROBERT BROWN:  What was she like, Pipsan?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, very—the queen. And they wanted her to marry some royalty, but she married Swanson. And the son and daughter—Lily's son and daughter were just at Cranbrook, because the son got married at the Saarinen House.

ROBERT BROWN:  Well, now, you also got to know some of the earlier students, like the Eameses, Ray and Charles Eames?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, Eames was a student. He was an instructor there. He—

ROBERT BROWN:  He wasn't a student. But you got to know him shortly after you got there—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, not very well. I didn't know them very well. Because that was, again, during the war time. And they did all this molded plywood, Harry Bertoia, and he, and Errol. And then, the whole group over there started a business at, uh, Bloomfield Hills. And they couldn't. They had to stop it. They had to go on their own over there. They had to do it themselves, because it wasn't allowed to run a business out of Cranbrook.


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  So, Marianne, and the Saarinens, and Eames, and all of them were over at Bloomfield Hills in a business. [00:44:07]

ROBERT BROWN:  Hmm. They had, like, a gallery or a—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No, a business of some sort. They had galleries and sold things, yes. And uh, Lily was over there. They were all over there. But they were a whole other generation, and they were pretty much on their own. They—and uh—

ROBERT BROWN:  Well, what about Harry Bertoia? Did you get to know him pretty well?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, I knew Harry very well. He was in charge in the metal shop. And uh, that was when he—they ran out of metal, because of the war. And he made wire of all the metal that was in the shop, and made the jewelry, and came around and sold it to us. And he—

ROBERT BROWN:  What was his personality like? What was—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  He was very quiet and very nice. Oh, he was a nice guy. He was just—and I feel he was the greatest artist we ever had at Cranbrook. He was just great. And he had—he picked up little wood blocks from the wood shop, and he made these, uh, tissue paper designs, and he sold a whole series of them to Guggenheim. And then, Cranbrook recognized him. I paid him $80 a month and his board and room. [Laughs.] That's what he had. But he was just—well, he was a great designer. He came in from—want to hear about him?

ROBERT BROWN:  Yes, sure.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  He came in from Europe with his father, to Canada. And then, they came down to—Detroit. But he didn't come in legally. And uh, he went to the Arts and Crafts in Detroit and got a scholarship to schools in Detroit. And then, he got a scholarship to Cranbrook. And come to find out he wasn't a citizen. [00:46:01] So, Cranbrook vouched for him to be a citizen. Then, he married the daughter of the head of the Detroit Art Institute. And uh—

ROBERT BROWN:  Who was that? Do you remember?


ROBERT BROWN:  So, he married the daughter of the Detroit Art Institute director, uh, Valentiner.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yeah. That's right.

ROBERT BROWN:  And that was in ‘43—


ROBERT BROWN:  And he left that year.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  He left that year.

ROBERT BROWN:  So, you only knew him for—I mean, steadily saw him—for about a year or so, right?


ROBERT BROWN:  Then, he must have made—he made quite an impression.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, he was the greatest.

ROBERT BROWN:  Hmm. Hmm. Hmm.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And he did the Eames chair that is so famous. He did it. Maija Grotell said that he did it.

ROBERT BROWN:  He went out to work with the Eameses?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yeah. And a lot of them went out there together. You see, that was a—it was a little group that—and they'd look down on anyone that just was in charge of the bookkeeping.

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, I see. So, there was sort of a hierarchy there, was there?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, this group—this group together—

[END OF TRACK kimbal93_1of2_cass_SideA_r.]

ROBERT BROWN:  But uh, after the war, then, you—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  I had all the veteran program. I went down to Detroit and wrote the contract for the veteran program. And I put it in as art, so that they could go from one studio to the other studio and work. Now, an architect could weave or could do pottery, a potter could weave, and any of the material was sent in as art.

ROBERT BROWN:  What do you mean? What do you mean, you put it in as art? You mean—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, I didn't write a contract for architecture, or for painting, or for weaving, and that.

ROBERT BROWN:  I see. Just a very, very general one, for art.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Art. I said, "We teach art." Because then, when you bill a material—I had to bill every bit of material that they bought. And that had to be approved by somebody, the head of the department. It was a big project.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And they came out and audited it and uh, passed everything that I had done.

ROBERT BROWN:  So, this was at—to the advantage of Cranbrook, though, to have all of these additional students, wasn't it?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  I had 60, or 68 or 70 veteran students.

ROBERT BROWN:  And was that to their advantage? I mean, was—the government was paying them to go to school, right?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  They chose to come to—they were the best students we ever had. They were very good students. And afterward, they became—Julius Schmidt was in sculpture. Richard Thomas was in metal. Um—different ones. They took over the departments.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  They were the best in the country. It couldn't be better.

ROBERT BROWN:  Would you—could you—as you look back, do you think they had a different attitude, having been in the armed forces, from the other students? Do you think—were they more mature? Were they, uh, more sure of what they wanted to do? [00:02:00]

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, yes, more mature. They were more mature, but they knew what they wanted to do then. They had that chance to know what they wanted to do, and they were very ambitious to work and do. And they've all made a very good mark in life, very, very good. Very fine. And uh—well, there was an awful lot of them.

ROBERT BROWN:  Well, now, who were some of them that you got to know quite well. You mentioned Richard Thomas. Did he succeed—he did the metal shop, eventually, is that right? He became a teacher?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  But he was a painter.

ROBERT BROWN:  But he came—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  He came as a painter. And then he took over metal. Well, he raised pieces of metal. He wasn't the same as Bertoia, at all. Not the same—

ROBERT BROWN:  Bertoia did—what? More cutting and welding?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No, no. No, no. He did more of the jewelry work and decorative, uh, things. But Thomas did raised metal, like that bowl up there. And he wrote his book on that, too. But he had all—the things that you raise metal on, you know? And the hammers and all that. And he was learning from the students, because he wasn't a metalsmith. But he did good, and he—well, he's not long gone from there. And he just died recently. You know, in recent years.

ROBERT BROWN:  But he was—uh, he became quite a fine teacher, is that right?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, yes. Everyone admired him. I liked him very, very much. Yeah. Very much.

ROBERT BROWN:  And you had mentioned someone else—uh, when did Zoltan Sepeshy come, the Hungarian‑born—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, he was there in '44, as director of the painting department—


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —and also educational director. See, he taught at Cranbrook School and was married to Peggy deSalle. [00:04:02] Her last name, Peggy deSalle—

ROBERT BROWN:  What was she, Peggy deSalle—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, he was married to her, and they got divorced. So, Cranbrook School wouldn't have a divorced teacher, so then he came to the art academy. And that was before I was there.

ROBERT BROWN:  Okay. And what was he like? What was his—can you describe him at all?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, I thought he was a very fine painter, very fine painter. And he had a big studio. And I think he dedicated his life to Cranbrook, he really did. Now, in '44—

ROBERT BROWN:  [Inaudible]

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —he was president in '44. And he was also—he was also director of the department of painting.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And he had the office in the front. And then, he talked me into swapping offices, because he didn't want people tropping [ph] into him. So, I moved up to his office, and he took my office.

ROBERT BROWN:  Now, what was he like as a personality?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, he was nice. He had a sense of humor, and he was a very nice person. I liked him. And he had a handsome wife. He married a girl from Detroit, and she was beautiful. Dorothy Sepeshy was—you'd see her, she's a model. And they had two children. And he was—uh, well, he was a very fine—and he was the one that did all the work for getting the academy accredited with the North Central Association.


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  At first, in 1926—no, no, 1942—1942, the school was accredited to give a degree. But then, he worked—with his secretary, he worked hours and hours and hours to get it accredited with the North Central Association. [00:06:06]

ROBERT BROWN:  You mean, that would give it more—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  That gives you a higher degree. Yeah.

ROBERT BROWN:  So, it sounds as though he was a, uh, good administrator, and—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  A very fine, very fine administrator. Very, very fine.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].


ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, meanwhile, behind the scenes all the time were this very rich, wealthy Booth family. Were they around? They were the people who paid for most things.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  They weren't around much.

ROBERT BROWN:  Did they stay away most of the time?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Henry Booth would come around—that's the son. That goes back to, why did Saarinen come to Cranbrook?


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Henry Booth and Bob Swanson were students at Ann Arbor. And George Booth was the one up at the residence and was designing Cranbrook. And so, Henry Booth and Swanson brought Saarinen over to meet Mr. Booth.

ROBERT BROWN:  From where? Saarinen was at Ann Arbor—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  From Ann Arbor. He was a—he came here to win a prize in Chicago, and then they hired him at—

ROBERT BROWN:  At Michigan [University of Michigan], right?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  At Michigan. So, they brought him, and Mr. Booth hired him to design Cranbrook. That's how he happened to come. But Booth was very much in designing the whole place himself—George Booth. And so, Henry Booth, the youngest son, was the one that brought Saarinen to the Art Academy.

ROBERT BROWN:  But you wouldn't, generally speaking, see very much of the Booths?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, no. No, no. No, they were pretty much up there. Well, we—they had Christmas parties, and they had different things. But it wasn't—no. Or, through the Milleses, if I went up with them, I might meet them. But I was pretty busy [laughs]. [00:08:00]

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm. You also—someone else you met very early was, uh, Wallace Mitchell, who—didn't he later become president of the academy?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  I guess so. I don't know.

ROBERT BROWN:  But did you meet him—get to know him pretty early?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, I didn't know him like I knew the others. He was the instructor of intermediate drawing and painting in '44. And he was the registrar in '44.

ROBERT BROWN:  Who, Wallace Mitchell?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Wallace Mitchell was, in '44.

ROBERT BROWN:  Now, that was—the registrar, was that a position at the, uh, museum?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No. No, the registrar of students.

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, the school.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Students. He took the students in and registered them.

ROBERT BROWN:  How was the museum used? Do you recall? Was it used mainly as a teaching lab for the students?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No. No, it was a—[laughs]—it was a museum of Mr. Booth's collection. Until this girl here in Boston sold the stuff off, and then it—it was no place to show any of the student work, or to have student shows. They used to have them in the dormitories and everywhere. And then, when they had—I like it the way it is now, because they can have their shows there.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  But before that, it was—it was designed to take care—[bell rings]—oh, I've got to go. I've got to—

[END OF TRACK kimbal93_1of2_cass_SideB_r.]

ROBERT BROWN:  —that right?


ROBERT BROWN:  Very good.

[Audio break.]

ROBERT BROWN:  Uh, we were talking about, uh—


ROBERT BROWN:  —the museum's role. But what about—you've just recently observed there's been some publicity on Cranbrook from one of the Detroit papers, I gather—the lack of rigid structure, For example, here's a new instructor talking about being there and there's no curriculum, no set courses—


ROBERT BROWN:  —he creates his own courses and furthermore, he observes that the administration—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, there's no courses, as such. He doesn't create a course.

ROBERT BROWN:  He doesn't even create a course.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Because a student can come and be very much more advanced in the field than he is—than the—

ROBERT BROWN:  —than the instructor.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —than the artist in residence, the artist in residence in charge of it. Because they have to have those artists in residence to pass on the degrees. When the student has a show, the artists in residence, all of them—

ROBERT BROWN:  And that was the system back in the ‘40s, when you first knew it, as well? That was the system?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  When it started, that was it.

ROBERT BROWN:  You know, with Bertoia, for example, or Milles, or any of those people. They were artists—


ROBERT BROWN:  —in residence, yeah. Yeah.


ROBERT BROWN:  Now, the museum, we were talking a bit about it last time.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  It started in 1942. It was—

ROBERT BROWN:  And it consisted, as I think you said, of, uh, George Booth's art collection.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —art collection, that he had acquired from Europe, or wherever he had acquired it from.

ROBERT BROWN:  Why did he put it at the school? Did he have—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, that's what he wanted. He wanted all of his art collection, and it was all, um—there's a button on this side.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  There was a—he had collected in his ways around and all, and then they set up—and Richard Davis was in charge of the museum, at the time. [00:02:02] He was from Fogg.

ROBERT BROWN:  The Fogg Art Museum.


ROBERT BROWN:  Yeah, the famous training program.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And they made cabinets, and they did—completed the whole museum. And uh, it stayed that way. And I don't know how long it stayed that way, but it was the museum.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. But now, what—you've mentioned that if students, on the other hand wanted to—or, if their teachers wanted to exhibit their work, they had to make do. They had to find places—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —find a place in the lounges or somewhere, anywhere.

ROBERT BROWN:  But now, who was the audience for these student shows? Was it mainly other students, or did the public come to look at the student work? Who would you say the audience was, for—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  For the student work?

ROBERT BROWN:  For the student work, mm-hmm [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, the—the parents, and everybody that were interested, and all of the students, and the whole school, you know, was interested. And they put up their exhibit, and on the basis of the exhibit and a thesis that they wrote on their work was how they got their degree. And all these artists in residence—you know, Sepeshy, and Mitchell, and all those different ones—they all passed on whether their work warranted a degree.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  But they might have a show in the girls' lounge, or they might have it in the art club lounge and all, but it was so much—it's so much better to have the museum a part of the art academy. Now, they bring—like, this man, this is an exhibit he's having.

ROBERT BROWN:  Tony Hepburn, the ceramist.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yeah, right now. But they bring different artists, and they bring different lectures, or they'll have some of the, uh, artists in residence might put in a big show. [00:04:00] And—

ROBERT BROWN:  But also, student work is shown in—where the museum collection was.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yeah. Yes. They have some. And then, they have a collection of Saarinen's work, and Milles's work, and all. And in the lower gallery they have a lot of different former, uh, artists in residence.

ROBERT BROWN:  So, this was—you think this was a very good thing, when they—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, my opinion, it was the best, because, uh, you can go—we could take all the students that were at the academy and take them to other museums to see all this—all this—

ROBERT BROWN:  All this general art history.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —general art things. They could go to Toledo, they could—well, some of them did go to Europe for metal.

ROBERT BROWN:  Or, Detroit wasn't far away.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Detroit isn't far away.

ROBERT BROWN:  They have some good museums. Sure.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  But to have it there, and people wouldn't come to see the same thing, the same thing, the same thing—


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —all the time.

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, I see. It was static.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yeah. It was very beautiful, but—I still think it should be part of Cranbrook and have—have current things going on that are at Cranbrook.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And if they have a big affair or something, they have the museum to use it.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. Well, before we get back to talking more about other teachers and other colleagues of yours—and I'd also like you to think about some of the students—I'd like to ask, just, a question. A summer school was begun at Cranbrook in, about, 1939. And—


ROBERT BROWN:  Something like that. How did that differ from the regular year? Was it more structured? Did they have courses?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No, it was just a shorter period. And—

ROBERT BROWN:  And who came in—special instructors, sometimes? I've noticed, here, this list. Some people who taught only at the summer school, that were here maybe for a year or two, they'd come in. But most of them were the regular staff, the regular faculty. [00:06:00]

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yeah. They were there for the summer school. But the summer school that I went to—that's when I started, was in the summer school.

ROBERT BROWN:  In July of '42, you started.



MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And they were taking students from high school, but they never took them afterward, because they would bleed the older, more mature students, and it didn't work out so well.

ROBERT BROWN:  What do you mean, they'd bleed them—for ideas and help?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  For ideas, and help, and all that, you know. They were—it didn't work along the plan of Cranbrook. Cranbrook is for advanced students, Now, like—I went there. Well, I learned from Bertoia, and Sepeshy, and from this one, and from that one, but West was in the sketch class—

ROBERT BROWN:  This was who, Clifford West?


ROBERT BROWN:  Who, I noticed, much later taught anatomy at Cranbrook.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yes, he taught anatomy. But he was—he was in charge of the sketch class. And that was every evening, there was a—or during the day, sometimes.

ROBERT BROWN:  So, these—the students, for the most part, because they were advanced, could pick and choose what they wished. There wasn't a sequence. You didn't have to begin with sketching and drawing—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, no. Nothing. Nothing.


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Because, you see, they came in different fields, with advanced—but at that time—I don't think they're doing so much of it now, but an architect could go into ceramics or go into weaving.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  A weaver could take ceramics. And he might be absolutely new in ceramics, so Ms. Grotell would help him with that.

ROBERT BROWN:  Maija Grotell.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Maija Grotell would help him with the, uh—with the ceramics. And Marianne was in the—Marianne Strengell—

ROBERT BROWN:  Was a weaver.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —was in the weaving. [00:08:00] And uh, then they put in the power room, in there, and they worked on that.

ROBERT BROWN:  So, let's say, for example, an architect could start—could come right in to that.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —go into the weaving. And he could have a—I don't know what they call it, a minor subject, or what you'd call it. But he could work in it.

ROBERT BROWN:  And it's—you probably—there are many cases where people were able to, in the future, in their careers, to combine two things or three things, right?




ROBERT BROWN:  Well, you mentioned, I think, the case of Maija Grotell, uh, who was—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Maija Grotell was a ceramist.

ROBERT BROWN:  —ceramist. And I guess it's related, but she also invented a type of brick, a ceramic brick. What—could you explain that?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, Mr. Saarinen designed the General Motors building, over in the west side of—is it the west side or the east side of Detroit, there?

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And the buildings they—he wanted to have colored walls. And he asked her, on the street there, at Cranbrook, could she put glaze on brick like the pot that was in his wife's table. She said, "No." Then she came to me, and she was very upset. And she said, "I said no to Mr. Saarinen." But then, she—I said, "Well, you've got to go back and work it out." So, I think it's Youngstown, Endstown [ph], has brick pottery like that. Well, she fired hundreds and hundreds of bricks from there, with their—formulas and got the colors that they wanted. Because if she put her colors on it, they'd say they couldn't produce it. [00:10:05] They couldn't produce it, because it would be something new and different. So, there are buildings out there that—huge, huge buildings—with red, blue, chartreuse—each brick is a piece of pottery like, you know, any of these pieces of pottery. And she worked it all out.

ROBERT BROWN:  But they had to be Saarinen's—his designers' colors, the ones they wanted, not hers.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No, she made the colors. She did it all.

ROBERT BROWN:  She did it, but I mean—you said earlier, it couldn't be her colors.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, I mean, her recipe—her, uh, formula. She asked the company, the brick company, to ship the—

ROBERT BROWN:  Right. The formula.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —their formula. And she fired until she got the color that would be equivalent to what would be—and uh, she never got anything for it. Saarinen never gave her anything for it.

ROBERT BROWN:  Was Saarinen a bit of a despot? Do you—as you look back, well—you know, he was in charge, and he was a rather—uh, the boss?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, he wasn't—no. You wouldn't say he was the boss or in charge, he was just—just high and mighty, and he was Mr. Saarinen, and you—Ms. Grotell would bow before him and—but he wasn't a nice person. He wouldn't, uh, work with you like that.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  But his students—his students, they loved him. The students loved him very much. And they worked very well with him.

ROBERT BROWN:  Really? Well, how do you reckon that?


ROBERT BROWN:  How did that happen?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —he was never in the office. He never had an office in the administration building.


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  He had architecture, and his office was in his home, and his students were across a little walkway. And he was there all the time. [00:12:00] He never came into the office at all.

ROBERT BROWN:  Why do you suppose his students, uh, liked him?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, because he respected the students, and he—and uh, they respected him. But you see, you have to have a mind that opens up to people, you can't just freeze up to people and not—now, he wouldn't be interested in other things, unless—now, he went to Ms. Grotell because he wanted these bricks.

ROBERT BROWN:  Yeah. Mm-hmm [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And uh, he got Milles there because he wanted the sculpture and the window that's in the museum—the, uh—Saarinen and Milles worked that out together. But a lot of the things at Cranbrook, Milles had a great deal to do with it.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. But Saarinen himself did not work so well with colleagues as he did with students, you were suggesting.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, just his students.

ROBERT BROWN:  His students. I should—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Just his students. Not every student. Some students didn't know him at all.

ROBERT BROWN:  But you got along with him pretty well.



MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No. I didn't see him. I didn't have anything to do with him. Because, he wasn't in the office. He never came in the office.

ROBERT BROWN:  Uh-huh [affirmative]. But now, on the other hand Maija Grotell—you became pretty good friends.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  I was very close to Maija Grotell.

ROBERT BROWN:  What was she like, as a personality? What was your first impression of her?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  She worked, and worked, and worked, day and night, and day and night. Her whole life was dedicated to ceramics.

ROBERT BROWN:  And then, she'd been brought over from where, Finland?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No, she was from New York. She was—

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, she was brought in indirectly.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —at the Pratt and the—what's the—what's that school?

ROBERT BROWN:  Who hired her? Saarinen?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Mr. Roseman. No, Mr. Roseman.

ROBERT BROWN:  Roseman, who was—what was he?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  He was—well, I don't know what his real title was. [00:14:00] We'd have to look up his title. But I'd replaced him.


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  He went into service. And he brought Maija Grotell from, you know, Pratt. She taught at Pratt, and she taught at this other—uh, Henry Street.

ROBERT BROWN:  The Henry Street Settlement had a school.



MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  But she was a very simple person, but powerful in that you'd respect her. You'd respect her. And every piece of pottery that she ever made was out of the ground. There was no commercial. Now, these bricks would be commercial glazes. They wouldn't be out of the ground, I don't think.

ROBERT BROWN:  Yes. They evidently had to be, though. Yeah, that was an exception.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  But um, every piece that she ever made was clay from the ground.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. Was she very talkative and uh—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No. No, very quiet and very reserved. And she, uh, worked with Kingswood, and she'd bring their pieces up over the—over the hill and by the lake and fire them and bring them back again.

ROBERT BROWN:  And Kingswood was the, uh, the school?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  It was the girls' school.

ROBERT BROWN:  The girls' school at the—


ROBERT BROWN:  How did she work as a teacher with the Cranbrook students? Do you recall? What was—


ROBERT BROWN:  What was her approach?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, they had kick wheels, you see. And if they'd never handled clay or knew anything about it, then she'd make them get the recipe and then throw they clay and teach them how to throw it on the wheel. Because, if they'd never done it—

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Now, some of them—there were students that had—the third little pot up there, she had a great background in pottery. But uh, some of them had never done pottery, so she had to start from the beginning to the end. And J.G. Abernathy, who is in Ann Arbor now, he was—they had a—

ROBERT BROWN:  He was a student? [00:16:00]

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —like a seminar, and he was a student. And he took 65 pounds of clay, and he was throwing it on the wheel. And he had a t-shirt on, and he was sweating away, and he was throwing that thing on there. And then, she walked over in a blue smock, you know, to the wheel next to him. And she took just a handful of clay, and she brought it up into a little cylinder and down to a plate, and here and there, and here and there. And you didn't hardly notice what she was doing. And it was very humorous, very humorous. Everyone was laughing at the end, because here's this great big thing, and then she's there with this little thing. So, she had a wonderful sense of humor.

ROBERT BROWN:  Did you socialize with her a bit? I mean—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yes. Yes. I—we went out at least once a week for Chinese food, and she was a very good friend of—what's her name? McCoo, Mrs. McCoo, who was—Mrs. McCoo was the daughter of the Bromleys, who were very close friends of the Booths. And we'd go to Mrs. McCoo's house. But uh, I did all of Maija's secretarial work and her business work, and—made out applications and all that sort of stuff for her. Eventually, I had the adjoining apartment to her. She wouldn't go to the dining room to eat, so I would cook. I had a spit, like I could have in my apartment, and I cooked meals, and then I'd cut up the meat and put it in foil and put it in her freezer. And then, she'd put it in a smock and take it down to the—down to the studio and eat it.

ROBERT BROWN:  And sort of munch on it. That's the way she ate? Yeah.


ROBERT BROWN:  What was her training? Do you recall? Did she ever talk to you about her upbringing and her background?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, she was part Finnish and part Swedish. I don't know. And she went to the same school as Pipsan and Swanson went to, over there. [00:18:04] But of course, Pipsan was on the higher level.

ROBERT BROWN:  She was the Saarinens' daughter.


ROBERT BROWN:  Uh-huh [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  But uh, this—I have lots of stuff on Ms. Grotell there.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. Now, other teachers who you knew in those, uh, early years—you've talked about Bertoia—


ROBERT BROWN:  But we might also talk about—you've brought up already the weaver. Uh, when you came, was that Marianne Grotell—I mean, Marianne Strengell? At that time, she was the weaver.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yeah. She was the weaver.

ROBERT BROWN:  And she likewise came, uh, to—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  She came to Cranbrook because her father sold an art collection to Mr. Booth. That's how she came to Cranbrook. And Mrs. Saarinen was in charge of the weaving, first. And she sent Lillian Holm, who was at Kingswood, eventually. And uh—

ROBERT BROWN:  Lillian Holm.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Lillian Holm, yeah. And uh, oh what was the other girl's name? She sent the two of them to Europe to study the weaving. And they'd do the weaving right from the—right from the—ground—the flowers, and the leaves, and all that. And, Lillian Holm stayed at Kingswood until she died. And Ingerson [ph] was at Wayne [State University]. She taught at Wayne.

ROBERT BROWN:  These were both people in—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  But they were supposed to take over the weaving, but Marianne came in between, and she got into the weaving.

ROBERT BROWN:  As I recall, Marianne's family were friends with the Saarinens, back in Finland. They were—they went way back, I believe.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, I suppose so.

ROBERT BROWN:  And her father being an architect, I think—and a writer, a critic.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, he was a dealer. He was a dealer. [00:20:00]

ROBERT BROWN:  And a critic. A writer, too.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Something like that. I don't know anything about it him.

ROBERT BROWN:  But did you get to know her at all? She was married, then, to a man named Dusenberry, right?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  She married a student.

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, a student?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And he was a ceramist. And then, what a difference between the weaving was that she had little swatches, and she'd take them all to New York and sell them. And uh, now Lillian Holm would weave and make it—the students would make dresses, and suits, and all that different—she was commercial. And uh, Dusenberry was carrying her bags, so to speak, to New York. And uh—

ROBERT BROWN:  What do you mean, carrying Lillian Holm's work?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No, it had nothing to do with Lillian Holm. With Marianne. And they had two children, a boy and a girl. And well, he couldn't do his ceramics and tend to her. She could be very demanding. She could be very possessive. Well, they divorced, and—

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. Was she—mm-hmm.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And uh, she married this—I guess he's Finnish.

ROBERT BROWN:  Yeah. Finnish-Swede. Um, Olaf Hammarstrom, the architect.


ROBERT BROWN:  Was she—what was she like as a teacher? Did you get—you must have gotten feedback from students. You'd hear these things, of course.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, yes. She was all right—she was a student. She was particularly fond of yellow. [Laughs.]

ROBERT BROWN:  Of yellow.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And then, Robert Sailors assisted. And he's coming into prominence now. He got an award or something at Cranbrook. And he taught.

ROBERT BROWN:  But Strengell taught there for a number of years.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, yes. Yes. But she did, uh—her whole field was commercial. And Lillian Holm and Ingerson was all for personal use. A different kind of weaving, you know.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. What—[00:22:00]

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Now, uh, Lillian Holm would do a whole big piece like that of tapestry. And—Mrs. Saarinen, before, early in the time, she did big tapestries. She had weavers. She had people from Pontiac that wove for her. She didn't do the weaving.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mrs. Saarinen.


ROBERT BROWN:  But this is what's—she had in mind more of what, uh, Lillian Holm and the other person, Ingerson, did.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yeah. She didn't think of weaving as commercial.

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, I see. Now, by commercial, what do you mean? Larger scale, or—just, what?


ROBERT BROWN:  Materials for fabrics, or for carpeting, or you name it.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yeah. Well, my bed in the other room was made with, uh—

ROBERT BROWN:  Marianne Strengell.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —Strengell materials. And she did, uh, curtains for airplanes and—


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  You know, it was all—everything was commercial.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Then there was a girl that was in the weaving that was from Oregon. And she did the—I have her thesis. And she did the upholstery for the Kingswood School chairs and things.

ROBERT BROWN:  Was there a bit—as you look back, do you think there was a bit of a division among the people like Marianne Strengell and her students, who were adapting for commercial use, and those who were with Lillian Holm?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, Lillian Holm was high school kids.

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh. Oh, she had—she was simply down at the school.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  She was down at the school. There was no connection.

ROBERT BROWN:  And what about the other one you mentioned, Ingridson—what was it?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  I don't know how that worked out. I don't know about that.

ROBERT BROWN:  I see. So, at Cranbrook itself, then, the weaving was essentially Marianne Strengell for many years, and the emphasis—at least, in her own career—was on commercial or industrial applications.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yeah. She went toward the commercial.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And uh, then the weaver that took over after that is—a tremendous thing, is all. [00:24:02] You probably know all about him. He did all very—all hangings and everything.

ROBERT BROWN:  Who was this?


ROBERT BROWN:  You don't man Larsen, Jack Lenor Larsen? Was he—



MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, he was [coughs] at Cranbrook for a while, and then he went to New York. And then, he had all the students work—would come to him, and he used them, you know?

ROBERT BROWN:  You're speaking of Larsen. Yeah. Did you get to know Jack Lenor Larsen, when he was there?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, yes, I knew him very well.

ROBERT BROWN:  When he was—what was he like, at the time you knew him? He was—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, he was just a student.

ROBERT BROWN:  He was just a student. Mm-hmm [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No, he never taught at Cranbrook.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And then he went to New York and started his own business.


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And his was all commercial. That blue thing in back of the pot right there is his.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. Yeah.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  [Coughs] That is appliqued on velvet.

ROBERT BROWN:  But now, in fact, you said that—at some time, to me, you said that the post-World War II, the G.I. Bill, was a boon to Cranbrook, as it was to many universities, and that there were some notable students who were—I suppose some of these students, at least, were more mature, a little older—


ROBERT BROWN:  —than the students previously had been.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, Richard Thomas, and—

ROBERT BROWN:  Now, Richard Thomas comes in as a—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —there's a list right there. I had it last night.


[Audio break.]

ROBERT BROWN:  So, let's—uh, we want to talk about some of these G.I. Bill people, because there were a lot of interesting and very important—later, important people. Richard Thomas, we've talked about. Now, what was he like, when you met him? Was he—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, of course, he was a small man. And he was—

ROBERT BROWN:  A small man.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  He came as a painter. He came as a painter. And I gave him my studio in the main building. And eventually, he took over the metal department.

ROBERT BROWN:  And how did he get into that, do you suppose? [00:26:00]

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, somebody pointed him to the metal department.

ROBERT BROWN:  But had he learned how to do that work?



MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  He just took it up and did it. And his book is all on metal raising. And uh—

ROBERT BROWN:  Was this characteristic of some of the others, too? They just sort of took up something and learned how to do it—


ROBERT BROWN:  —and became very good at it? Or, was he—he was rather exceptional, wasn't he?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yes. I don't think he did much of the painting, after he took up the metal.


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  But he learned from his students, because he wasn't a metalsmith.

ROBERT BROWN:  Yeah, that's the point you made earlier, that sometimes the instructors learned from the students, because a lot of the students were pretty advanced people.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yeah. Yeah, that's right. But he took over the metal department and was there for years. And uh, he wrote the book on metalsmithing.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. Now, he taught there into the 1970s.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yeah, until he retired.

ROBERT BROWN:  Yeah, and I gather later in his career—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  You wouldn't think he came as a painter.

ROBERT BROWN:  What was his background? Did you know, at all?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  He taught in Ohio.

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, he had been a teacher.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  He had been a teacher in Ohio, I think.

ROBERT BROWN:  Uh-huh [affirmative]. Did he then—he was one of the veterans, though.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yeah, he was a veteran.



ROBERT BROWN:  Well, there are a good many others to talk about. You said, at some point, that in your opinion, probably the best of that whole group was a man named Julius Schmidt.


ROBERT BROWN:  Now, what did he do? And who was he?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  He was a sculptor. He did that up there. He did—

ROBERT BROWN:  He did—oh.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —sculpture and ceramics. He was in sculpture and ceramics, and he was instrumental in getting the foundry built. And he did a great deal of casting. And you'll see casting of a bell out there, and a cannon, and all kinds of things. [00:28:01] But—the veterans had so much money allotted to them for material, and so much for their board and room, and like that. But he used every minute of his time, and he even went to Europe and studied.

ROBERT BROWN:  You're saying, all on that one stipend?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  All on the one veterans thing.

ROBERT BROWN:  So, he had—what was—had he had training before he came to Cranbrook, that you recall?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, as I recall, he must have had, because how would he get in on a G.I. Bill if he didn't?

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].


ROBERT BROWN:  Did he work with, say, someone like Milles? Did he have contact with Carl Milles?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, Carl Milles was around, but uh, they didn't work with anybody. He didn't work with anybody. He was all by himself.

ROBERT BROWN:  Well, would somebody come in and give them critiques?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No. No, no. He was—knew it all himself. He did it all. [Coughs] He had gone to Europe and studied.

ROBERT BROWN:  Well, I noticed that, somewhat later, he came back and taught for a while, in the 1960s, Julius Schmidt did.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, he taught for a long time. And he was the one that got all the casting done. And then [coughs] about the time I left, uh—oh, what's his name? The head of the school—

ROBERT BROWN:  At that time?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  One of the students was doing, uh—what do you call it when they make horseshoes?

ROBERT BROWN:  Uh, iron—blacksmithing.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Blacksmithing. And he wouldn't help cast. And you needed—all the students needed to work in the casting. [00:30:00] And he wouldn't. And uh, Paulsen said, well—

ROBERT BROWN:  This is Glen Paulsen, the head of the school?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Glen Paulsen said, "The student is more important. You have to go with the student." So, he let Julius go. And he went to Des Moines, Iowa.

ROBERT BROWN:  Uh-huh [affirmative], and taught in Iowa.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And taught in Iowa. Because, uh, he had been—

ROBERT BROWN:  Hmm. Hmm. Well, now, some of the others you've mentioned are Berthold Schiwetz, S-C-H-I-W-E-T-Z.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  He came back from service, and he worked with Mr. Milles.

ROBERT BROWN:  He worked with Milles, whereas Schmidt didn't.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And then, one time —no, Schmidt didn't. At one time, Mr. Milles had a big fountain he was working on. And a lawyer came to me and said, "What would happen if anything happened to Milles?" And I said, "Berthold Schiwetz could take over." So, he became partners, Schiwetz, with Milles. But Milles finished the fountain.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-[affirmative]. Was Schiwetz, in your opinion, quite a fine sculptor?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yes. Yes, he was a fine sculptor on his own.

ROBERT BROWN:  But you felt that Schmidt was the better of the two, as a sculptor?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No. No, one was a metalsmith, and one was a sculptor.

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh. Uh, then, also, Schiwetz, who was known as—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  A metal—uh, I mean, a caster. You know? Cast bronze and all that.

ROBERT BROWN:  Sure. Cast metal. And the other was—


ROBERT BROWN:  A carver?


ROBERT BROWN:  Or, worked with clay or plaster?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Worked and made the models, and then they had to be cast, and they might be cast somewhere else.

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, I see. Whereas Schmidt did his own.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  He did his cast right there. He had a big foundry, and his students and all were—

ROBERT BROWN:  I noticed that Schiwetz was—he was known as Tex Schiwetz.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Tex Schiwetz, yeah.

ROBERT BROWN:  He, like Schmidt, taught for some time at Cranbrook.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  He taught sculpture—

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]a.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —not metalsmithing. Sculpture. [00:32:00] Um—

ROBERT BROWN:  You mentioned Jack Kearney, K-E-A-R-N-E-Y.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yeah. No, Kearney was—

ROBERT BROWN:  Another veteran. He later became a sculptor. I don't know. What was he studying or doing at Cranbrook?


ROBERT BROWN:  Painting.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  The black-and-white painting there. And he was there, and he came back. And he didn't have a degree or something, and he was in an old sailor suit, and he went down to Detroit and got a degree. [Laughs.] It was funny. They could do that. When they came back from the war, they could go to a high school and get a high-school diploma. My brother did it. So, he did it. And uh, then there was a girl who came in, and she wanted to study metalsmithing. And—we didn't have any short courses. And I said, "Well, Jack Kahn, he's in Chicago. You go to him." So, she went to him. And the next thing I know, the two of them came in together, and they were married. But he has a place down in—

ROBERT BROWN:  Provincetown. Uh-huh [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Wellfleet, yeah. And he's a very fine artist.

ROBERT BROWN:  Now, another one that's rather interesting was William Brown. Where did he come from?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Hmm, I don't know where he came from.

ROBERT BROWN:  But he went on to become an important figure in the crafts field, didn't he?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, head of the school—Penland—

ROBERT BROWN:  Penland School—


ROBERT BROWN:  —in North Carolina. Mm-hmm [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yeah. He was a designer. He was in design, when he was at Cranbrook.

ROBERT BROWN:  Who was—also there—who was the teacher, or the person in residence in design, at that time?


ROBERT BROWN:  Would that still have been Saarinen, or—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, no. No, no. It was, uh—


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, I don't know.

ROBERT BROWN:  You've mentioned here, in the mid-‘40s, there was a man who was briefly an instructor in design, Howard Dearstyne.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yeah. It could be Dearstyne.

ROBERT BROWN:  So, did you know him a bit?


ROBERT BROWN:  Because he came—he was an American student, I think, at the Bauhaus. [00:34:02] He was rather interesting.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  He was very—he was there not too long. He wasn't there too long. But he was a nice guy.

ROBERT BROWN:  A couple of years. Yes.


ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. You mentioned, also, Robert Snyder?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Robert Snyder was—he took over the, uh—took over when Saarinen went, when Saarinen died. He took over the architecture—

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh. Oh, he did?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

ROBERT BROWN:  So, uh—yes. So, he was in architecture all through the ‘50s and ‘60s. But he apparently came in on the G.I. Bill.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, wait until I see if I find him here. Snyder. He was—

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  When he came, Snyder—

ROBERT BROWN:  Here, let me. He came in 1946—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Forty-six. Summer school of '46 and fall of '46. He was a veteran. And Saarinen didn't die until '50.

ROBERT BROWN:  Well, even later. Eliel Saarinen was around. He was carried on the books at Cranbrook until, uh—50. Yes.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yeah. Well, that's only four years, so that isn't so long.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. So, after that, then, uh, Snyder—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Snyder took over.

ROBERT BROWN:  And what was he like, as a personality?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, he was a good teacher and all that. And he had a family, and he lived there, in residence. And he did very well, I think.

ROBERT BROWN:  Now, one last vet—or, one of the other veterans you mentioned, rather, is William Eng, E-N-G.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  William Eng is in—he was American-Chinese. And he was in a concentration camp. They took all the Chinese from the west coast and put them all away, you know, during the war. [00:36:04] You knew that.

ROBERT BROWN:  Well, I knew they did it with the Japanese out there. But with some of the Chinese, as well?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yeah. And this fellow that I was sort of going with—he, and Bill, and I went to try to find a place for him to live with his wife and two daughters. And nobody in Birmingham would rent him a house. So, he went on the borderline of Pontiac to live. But he just got the A.I.A for—


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Award for architecture. And he teaches. Now, where would that paper be?

ROBERT BROWN:  Well, he was—did he train in architecture at Cranbrook, as well?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yeah. He was an architecture student, so—

ROBERT BROWN:  So, he would have been one of the students of Eliel Saarinen.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yeah, Eliel Saarinen. Yeah.

ROBERT BROWN:  Yeah. Uh, you've also mentioned a man named Joseph Bulone, B-U-L-O-N-E.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Joseph Bulone was a—yeah. He was a sculptor who lived in Birmingham. He worked for General Motors, and he did the plastilene models for the cars. That's what he ended up doing.

ROBERT BROWN:  But what—he began, when he was at Cranbrook, as a fine art sculptor, isn't that right?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And he did that Rose of Lima and that head up there, in back of you. You see that St. Francis up there?

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].


ROBERT BROWN:  So, he did some religious work, at one time or another.


ROBERT BROWN:  And you mentioned another Joseph, Joseph Bobrowicz, B-O-B-R-O-W-I-C-Z.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Bobrowicz. I don't know what he does in Philadelphia, but—

ROBERT BROWN:  He was in Philadelphia.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —but he married one of the girls at Cranbrook.

ROBERT BROWN:  Huh. You've talked before, in relation—or, as an assistant with Maija Grotell—a J.T. Abernathy. He was another of the veterans.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, he wasn't an assistant to Maija. He was just a student of hers.

ROBERT BROWN:  A student, excuse me.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And uh, he was quite a character. [00:38:00] Because, uh, he—like, he was walking down the middle of Woodward Avenue, in the green part, and the policeman took him in, and he wouldn't give them any information at all, no information at all. And they thought he was a wayward person, you know?

ROBERT BROWN:  Like, a tramp or something?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yeah. He'd say, "I don't have to tell you anything about me. I'm all right. I'm all right. I'm all right." He had a long little coat on, and he looked like a bum, you know? But uh, he worked awfully hard, and now he still has a place of his own in Ann Arbor. He's a ceramist.

ROBERT BROWN:  Yeah, I see. I see.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  But he did a lot of ceramic work. And he married a girl, but I guess they divorced. But uh, he did that blue thing right up there.

ROBERT BROWN:  Well, in his sort of bohemianism, he wasn't—was he typical, or he wasn't typical of the students?


ROBERT BROWN:  I mean, were there very many that went around in sloppy—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No. No, there were all kinds. Now, John Lawrence was a Joe College. He had, oh, a coat and trousers, no beard, no nothing. You know? He was really something.

ROBERT BROWN:  John Lawrence. Now, he came over to study what? What did he study?


ROBERT BROWN:  Painting. Okay.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  He came from Cleveland. And uh, Clifford West came from Cleveland. And uh—

ROBERT BROWN:  Then, much later, he taught there, didn't he?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, he taught Anatomy.

ROBERT BROWN:  He taught Anatomy. Mm-hmm [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And he went into photography, too. He did photography.

ROBERT BROWN:  You've mentioned a couple of others, one Merle, M-E-R-L-E, uh, Wesley.


ROBERT BROWN:  He came in as, what? A student of what?


ROBERT BROWN:  In architecture?


ROBERT BROWN:  And what did he go on to do, that you recall?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  He worked for Stubbins, down here in—

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  In Cambridge. And he lives in Lexington. He's retired, now. [00:40:00] But he's still dabbling in architecture. But he—I don't know if he came directly from Cranbrook to Stubbins. I don't know. But uh, he's very fine. He'd be quite a person to interview. He's good, Merle Wesley.

ROBERT BROWN:  You mentioned, also, a man who's now an architect in Dallas. John Barthel, B-A-R-T-H-E-L.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Barthel. Barthel. Yeah, he was with Saarinen as an architect, and he worked in Dallas, Texas. But the bottom fell out at Texas.

ROBERT BROWN:  Right. Yeah.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  So, there's nothing down there. And he worked with—who was the other guy that was down there? Wood. Wood. I don't think Wood was a veteran.

ROBERT BROWN:  Well, and finally, you mentioned—


ROBERT BROWN:  —among this group on the G.I. Bill, Harvey Littleton, who is extremely well known.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, he was in ceramics with Ms. Grotell, and then he went—after he left Cranbrook, he went over—over in Milwaukee, or over in Wisconsin somewhere.

ROBERT BROWN:  He was in Wisconsin for some time. Yeah.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And he went into glass blowing. And his father was in it before him.

ROBERT BROWN:  Is that right? Did you get to know him at all, as a student?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, I just knew him, that's all. I didn't know very much about him.

ROBERT BROWN:  What did Maija think of him?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, very high. Very high.

ROBERT BROWN:  What do you think—what did she look for, in a student, would you say? What do you think she particularly praised in a student?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, their research. Research and what they accomplished. You know. I can't understand why Wood wouldn't be a veteran.

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, well. We don't need—

[Audio break.]

ROBERT BROWN:  [00:42:00] You know, you commented fairly recently that—regarding all these G.I. Bill students, that you, Margueritte Kimball, had to become more or less an advocate for the arts with the Veterans Administration. By that, I gather you had to—what did you have to do? Did you have to go battle with the bureaucrats? Or—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  I went down and wrote the contract, and I made it art, that we taught art, so that they could work in any department and their materials could be charged to the G.I. Bill.


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And you could only charge materials that were grown, manufactured, in the continental United States. You couldn't have British watercolors, and you couldn't have duplicate materials. And uh, we had a little trouble with metal, because—is this being recorded? They had a little trouble with metal, because they'd take a sheet of metal, and they could make a plate. And then, they couldn't understand why you couldn't make a cup, or make jewelry or something of it. But you couldn't, because the student had to have that original piece—all of the pieces, they had to have for their shows. They couldn't use the material over and over. They had to keep them. So, they belonged to the government until they got their degree, and then they belonged to them. But uh, you see, they could—like that little piece of mine, there. It's risen—

ROBERT BROWN:  It's a little copper—a raised copper piece.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  You'd raise it from a piece of metal.

ROBERT BROWN:  Yeah. But the government thought—people first thought, well, they could reuse that metal. Is that right?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  They couldn't understand why they couldn't.

ROBERT BROWN:  [Laughs.]

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And I said, no, they have to have it for their show.

ROBERT BROWN:  Uh-huh [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And Mr. Sepeshy said, "They only need to make one frame." Every painting didn't have to have a frame. But the, uh—[00:44:01]

ROBERT BROWN:  What, the government?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  But the paintings have to have a, uh, canvas and a—

ROBERT BROWN:  Stretcher.



MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  They could have stretchers. They couldn't understand when they came to appraise the thing, they couldn't understand the two-by-fours. You'd cut them and make stretchers. But Sepeshy said they had to have stretchers, but they didn't have to—they could have only one frame to show they could build a frame. And some of them would do, uh 20 by 30 stretchers. Some of them would do 40 by 60. And they couldn't understand that. But that's the way the painters were. They were painting in different—different things.

ROBERT BROWN:  [Laughs.] So, part of your job was to make these people understand.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yes. Yes. And each one had an account. And we'd build for the—but when we'd build, anything we'd build was approved by the head of the department. They couldn't understand poker chips, for instance. Now, Mr. Saarinen had city planning and the circles in color. Poker chips were just perfect for it. And they couldn't understand building for poker chips. But a certain area of the city could be that, you see.

ROBERT BROWN:  Sure. I see.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And then, uh—well, there was the yarn for weaving, and there was the—

ROBERT BROWN:  So, in other words, it was just new territory for these people at the veterans administration. They had to be educated.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yes. And I had to go down and fight all the battles and everything.

ROBERT BROWN:  Did you enjoy doing this sort of thing?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yes. It was very interesting. And then, when they had the show, all that belonged to the student. [00:46:03]

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. After that.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  But if they wanted to use part of their time—I think it was $2.10 a day, they had for their time. If they wanted to use it, they could use it up faster by using it for material. So, some of them used their time up.

ROBERT BROWN:  I don't understand that. You mean—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  They were allowed so much money for each day of training.


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  But if they needed money for materials, they could use part of their training material—

ROBERT BROWN:  Money for materials.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  For materials, yeah. But many of them didn't. And that's what I said about Julius Schmidt. He never overused anything. It all went according to the rule. He didn't ever use it. So, he had enough money left that he could go to Europe and study casting. I don't know what he's doing now.

ROBERT BROWN:  I suppose, in talking with those G.I. students, you found there were probably a number of them who couldn't have gone to school if it weren't for the government—

[END OF TRACK kimbal93_2of2_cass_SideA_r.]

ROBERT BROWN:  —three, correct?


[Audio break.]

ROBERT BROWN:  You said that, following World War Two, several of the instructors who had been in the service weren't hired back.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —weren't hired back.

ROBERT BROWN:  Yeah. Who was—


ROBERT BROWN:  President? Marshall Fredericks—


ROBERT BROWN:  Robert Roseman?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Uh, Richard Roseman.

ROBERT BROWN:  Richard Roseman.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  He was in charge of all the business and everything, you know. I was there, and—


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —and he came back, and there was no—he didn't have his job back. And I don't know who else there was. But I know about those.

ROBERT BROWN:  Do you think the administration wanted to have a clean sweep? Did they—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No. I don't know who did it. I don't know who instigated it or anything. But I know those two weren't hired back.

ROBERT BROWN:  Do you think we could—you could talk a bit about Marshall Fredericks? You must have known him from when you first came there.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, I know that he was teaching and that he was there teaching the students a little ceramics, and modeling, and all that. And uh, he lived in dorm three. And he was just friendly with everybody.

ROBERT BROWN:  What did modeling mean? Was that a very basic course?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No, that's sculpture.


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Modeling is sculpture.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And uh—well, he was in modeling. He was teaching in modeling and a little ceramics. He had a little studio in ceramics. But it was after that, that, um, Maija Grotell took over the ceramics department. It was a huge department, you see. And then—

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

[Audio break.]

ROBERT BROWN:  Uh, this is John Lawrence with a question for Margueritte Kimball.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  Okay. Um, Margueritte, didn't Marshall Fredericks come around to the campus a lot, even after—


JOHN LAWRENCE:  Well, I mean, after the war.

ROBERT BROWN:  Because, you got to know him pretty well, didn't you? [00:02:00]

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, I knew him. But uh—

JOHN LAWRENCE:  And you knew his family.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  He was married and divorced, and then he married this woman from Grosse Point.

ROBERT F. Brown:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And Roseman was married and divorced. There was—and uh, Marianne was married and divorced.

ROBERT BROWN:  Marianne Strengell. Yes.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And Mitchell was married and divorced.

ROBERT BROWN:  Wallace Mitchell.



ROBERT BROWN:  So, and they were—the school frowned on this. Right.


ROBERT BROWN:  Charles Eames.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Charles Eames. Now, Sepeshy was working at Cranbrook School and married to Peggy deSalle. And when he divorced Peggy deSalle, they let him go. He came over to the art academy to teach painting. That's why they wouldn't keep him at—but that was before my time there.

ROBERT BROWN:  Well, as John asked, was Marshall Fredericks something of a presence, even after the war, though he was no longer a teacher, formally?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, of course he'd come out. But there was this friction between Milles and Marshall Fredericks—

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, there was?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —because Marshall Fredericks's wife was a very good friend of Mr. Milles. And they—out with Fredericks, until, uh—people got married again, and everything went fine. And the girl that he gave the boot to—why, she married a lawyer, and everything was fine there.



ROBERT BROWN:  There were certain—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Milles wasn't friendly with Marshall Fredericks.

ROBERT BROWN:  No. Would Milles express himself in very strong terms?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No. No, but they just weren't friends. They just weren't friends.

ROBERT BROWN:  What about Fredericks? What was his personality like, then, when you knew him?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, he was very friendly. Very young and very vivacious and all that. And he was friends, of course, with Clifford West.

ROBERT BROWN:  Now, who was Clifford West?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, Clifford West was the one that I told you about, that taught at Kingswood, you know, and had the anatomy class. [00:04:05]

ROBERT BROWN:  He taught occasionally at Cranbrook.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Not at the art academy.

ROBERT BROWN:  No, not at the art academy.


ROBERT BROWN:  At Kingswood.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  But he had the anatomy class, and—

JOHN LAWRENCE: At the academy.


ROBERT BROWN:  At the academy. That's what I meant. Yeah.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —but in exchange for a studio. In fact, he had the studio next to me. And he was quite a gay blade.


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And I—see, that was just before, or just around the time when I came. And it's very hard to remember—

ROBERT BROWN:  Sure. Sure.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —things that happened there. Then, there were several people—Janet de Coux came as a sculpture instructor.

ROBERT BROWN:  Janet de Coux, how do you spell that?



MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And she was in the, uh—she was teaching, well, what'd they say modeling. Does it say that there?

ROBERT BROWN:  Yes. She was 1943 and 1944. She taught modeling and sculpture. So, they were two different things, evidently.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yes, that's it. And that is—that's when I did those two figures there, the boys and that girl, under her. So, that was '42. I did those two. She was teaching there then.

ROBERT BROWN:  So, there were several people, it seems to me, who came and went around World War Two. Another figure was Howard Dearstyne, who—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Howard Dearstyne was the design instructor. But uh, do you have—

ROBERT BROWN:  Was he somebody you got to know at all? Or—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yes, he and his wife. They lived there, on Academy Way, and they were the design instructors.

ROBERT BROWN:  Now, that would mean they'd work with Mr. Saarinen, or under him?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No, everything was separate. Everything was separate. They didn't interchange. He wouldn't go and hobnob with Saarinen. No, no, no, no. Nobody hobnobbed with Saarinen. [00:06:00] He taught architecture, and that's it. No, there was no, uh—no goofy business like that. And then, there was—uh, I had it in my mind, and now it's gone.

ROBERT BROWN:  And what about Charles Eames, who taught design?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen were designing in bent plywood. And they made a cast for the fellows on the war field, that if their leg was shattered, they could lay the thing on it, it was all holes in it that they could strap together. They designed that. At that time, the Eames chair was made, and Harry Bertoia was the one that designed the Eames chair. And uh, Eero Saarinen did the Womb chair. That's the name of it, the Womb chair. And that is the chair that his father died in, in fact. His father was sitting in that chair when he died. They were designing chairs. Chairs were very, very—

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And it seemed as though Luderowski was around in that time. What do you have for Luderowski?

ROBERT BROWN:  Uh, Ted Luderowski—how do you spell that name?


ROBERT BROWN:  Uh, let's see. We'll have it for you in a minute, I guess.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  L-U-E-D-E-R-O-W-S-K-I, I believe. L-E-U-D?

ROBERT BROWN:  Now, what can—Ted Luderowski. John, you said he was your instructor in the early 1950s.



JOHN LAWRENCE:  In design, yes.

ROBERT BROWN:  In design.


JOHN LAWRENCE:  Yes. And he was, you know, part of that group that Margueritte was already talking about, uh, with—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Very early, he was with Saarinen and all of his students, but then he took over design in the ‘50s.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  Yeah. Who preceded him? Do you know? Teaching design—uh, Dearstyne?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Dearstyne was—yes.

ROBERT BROWN:  It could have been Dearstyne.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Dearstyne. Yeah. [00:08:00]

ROBERT BROWN:  Now, Dearstyne, I think, came out of the Chicago Bauhaus, didn't he?


JOHN LAWRENCE:  And then, uh—like Kepes. And then, McGee follows—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  McGee was in there.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  McGee follows Luderowski. Charles McGee.

ROBERT BROWN:  So, how was—when you were—in the ‘50s, was Luderowski—were they still teaching, sort of, Bauhaus principles? Or, what would you say the approach was?

JOHN LAWRENCE: Somewhat, yes. Yes. Right. And of course, you know, the idea of very slick volumes and things of that sort. I remember designing a space heater [laughs] and sort of a grill. And they had overtones of being very much like Bauhaus objects, with either polished aluminum, or stainless steel, and black Bakelite handles, and stuff like that. So, it was really that metallic look with, uh, black—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Now, here's a catalog of '44-'45. See, Saarinen was the director of the department of architecture.


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Milles was director of the department of sculpture. Sepeshy was director of the department of painting. Marianne was director of weaving. Janet de Coux, instructor in modeling and sculpture. Maija Grotell, instructor in ceramics. Uh, well, this is Milles's assistant, Vernon Lindstrom. He was instructor in plastic casting. Wallace Mitchell, instructor of intermediate drawing and painting.

ROBERT BROWN:  Now, was intermediate in the schools, not up at the academy?


ROBERT BROWN:  At the academy?


JOHN LAWRENCE:  It would be sort of, like, the BFA program, rather than the MFA program.

ROBERT BROWN:  Uh-huh [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Robert Sailors, instructor in weaving. Ernest Schuyler [ph], he was instructor in art history. And Fenstein was at the wood shop.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  What about design?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, they don't have it in here.

ROBERT BROWN:  There's no one separately listed.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  This might be the time when design was sort of, like, a sub-department of architecture, until these people that Margueritte has been talking about emerged. [00:10:07] Uh, Bertoia, Eames, Knoll—uh, Florence Knoll. I can't remember—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  She wasn't there.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  She wasn't there then.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No, no. No, she came out of, uh—

ROBERT BROWN:  Another school?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —Eames. Eames. She came in with Eames, you know.


ROBERT BROWN:  And left. And Eames is gone by '41, so—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yeah. He went early.

ROBERT BROWN:  So, there were these various departments. Now, was most of the school, uh, geared toward what we would think of today as graduate-level study? In other words, the students who came in there, by and large, had some art schooling, if not trade—


ROBERT BROWN:  —and craft experience under their belt.


ROBERT BROWN:  So that, when we talked a moment ago—you mentioned now that—when you said intermediate drawing, did that mean a lower level of drawing?

JOHN LAWRENCE:  I would think so.



ROBERT BROWN:  But the majority of students came in there for what would now be graduate-level instruction.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  Most people had two to three years—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Now, it says design here. Design. [Kimball reads.] The academy has the intention to revive its courses of general design, in accordance with the fundamental—uh—the fundamentals explained in the description of this department. See? It—

ROBERT BROWN:  And that's 1944? Yeah. Okay.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Graphic arts. We had graphic arts. You remember John DeMartelly was there.


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Because, we had a full—under the academy, we had the wood shop—I mean, the print shop. The print shop was owned and operated by the academy, and so was the photo department.

ROBERT BROWN:  Yeah. Well, these were places where you could get training?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Graphic arts, it says here, [Kimball reads] Although a formal instruction is now given in the graphic arts, the facilities are available to the students. These provide for work in etching, lithographing, wood, linoleum blocks, letterpress printing, supplied, it says, by Mr. William Wood, who was the head of the print department. [00:12:09]

ROBERT BROWN:  So, there was instruction, at that time?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, they'd go down to the—


JOHN LAWRENCE:  Are we recording anything?

ROBERT BROWN:  Yeah, we're trying to record this, while she's in here.


ROBERT BROWN:  Yeah. I'd like to know—so, the students were pretty much on their own. And Margueritte pointed out in our first session, likewise the faculty—uh, one did not dominate another. They were sort of artists in residence, I gather.


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  That's right. That's right.

ROBERT BROWN:  With Milles being, perhaps, the supreme example. I mean, he was more on his own than any of the others. But the others had students, right? But there was no curriculum, no set, uh—

JOHN LAWRENCE:  Well, you sort of—

ROBERT BROWN:  It depended on the instructor, right?

JOHN LAWRENCE:  You'd construct your own curriculum. Because, I remember the instructors—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, you didn't—the instructors had nothing to do with you, only the discipline.

ROBERT BROWN:  But if you were interested in ceramics, you might go to Maija Grotell.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No. Ceramics is a different field. Because, some of them came—an architect would go into ceramics, and she'd have to tell them how to do ceramics.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  The same thing in weaving, too.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And in weaving, too. But the main courses—architecture and design, and painting—they didn't need an instructor, because they knew more than the instructor.


JOHN LAWRENCE:  And also, you needed an instructor in modeling if you were going to do figurative  sculpture, because you had to develop an armature, and then you had to add clay to that and build it up.

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, I see. But the other—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  You see, in weaving, here—you see, it tells—

ROBERT BROWN:  But in the fine arts, on the other hand people were sufficiently advanced that they didn't need an instructor.


JOHN LAWRENCE:  Each instructor, at the beginning of the year, would ask you—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Even today, there are no classes as such.

ROBERT BROWN:  Okay. So, you do have, on the other hand these people who presumably are thought to be good teachers, or good examples of a painter or something. If you want to have a critique, you could go to them and ask them—


ROBERT BROWN:  —would they mind coming and looking at your work.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, I guess you could.


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  You'd know that.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  Oh, yes. At the beginning of every year, the instructors would ask you, "What do you want to accomplish this year?" [00:14:03] And then, you would write something, like a list of things that you wanted to do and what your point of view was. And then, you would have a talk with the instructor. And then, ultimately, that would come back again and be sort of recapitulated. And the instructors would look and see what you were doing. And then, he would—depending on, you know, whether he was Fred Mitchell, Wally Mitchell, or George Ortman, who is there now—uh, they would have a discussion with you. Zoltan would come to the studios, and he would come and see what you were doing every couple of days. And then, about once every two or three weeks, he would say, "I want you to bring two or three paintings into my studio. We're going to have a talk about them."

ROBERT BROWN:  Now, this is in the ‘50s, right? What you're speaking about right now.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  Yes. Mm-hmm [affirmative]. And that meant that you would sort of [laughs] report to his studio with some of your work, and he would greet you with what we called "the Hungarian eyeball." [Laughs.]


ROBERT BROWN:  By which you meant, what?

JOHN LAWRENCE:  Which was a tumbler full of whiskey.

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh. [Laughs.] I see.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  See, it says, "MFA and advanced credit students." And it says, "BFA and credit students, first year."

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

JOHN LAWRENCE:  But there were always very, very few BFA students.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, you have to have a BFA to go there now.


JOHN LAWRENCE:  Yeah.  And I got my BFA there. There were only about eight people getting a BFA. But there were about—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And at the summer school, when I started, they were taking high school students in as a trial. But it never went. That's how I happened to get in.

ROBERT BROWN:  I see. Because, you had less than a—


ROBERT BROWN:  Oh. Wow. Huh.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  It's advanced. Well, I gave you that thing to read, there, about that man. And he said, "It's a different place in the world. There's no place in the world like it." [00:16:00]


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No one will believe me, when I tell them.

ROBERT BROWN:  Right. Well, for teachers, too, and mature professionals, it must have been quite a good place. I mean, did you get the impression, over the years, that quite a few artists wanted to be there as teachers or as artists in residence? It was a very desirable place.


ROBERT BROWN:  No? Don't you think a lot of people wanted to be at Cranbrook?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, they'd want to come as students.

ROBERT BROWN:  Well, what about as teachers, though? I mean—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No, there was no pressure for students.

ROBERT BROWN:  But no, was there—

JOHN LAWRENCE:  There were a lot of teachers—

ROBERT BROWN:  —a lot of artists who would like to have been there, had a position as teachers at Cranbrook?

JOHN LAWRENCE:  Oh, yes. Yes. But there were—


JOHN LAWRENCE:  Oh, yes, Margueritte?

ROBERT BROWN:  You don't think it was desirable?


JOHN LAWRENCE:  Oh, all sorts of people. I mean, just take, for example, the number of people who were students there who became faculty there.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, because they had no one else to choose from. Those people were the ones they knew.


JOHN LAWRENCE:  How do you mean?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Richard Thomas and, uh, Snyder, and all those. They were former students.

ROBERT BROWN:  Former students.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  That's right. Wasn't Wally Mitchell?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, Wally Mitchell didn't go to war because he had an injury. But he was a—


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —he was a teacher.

ROBERT BROWN:  Yeah. Well, that's what we're getting at right now. I want to know about teachers. Now, Robert Snyder was a graduate of Cranbrook—


ROBERT BROWN:  —who then came back to be a teacher.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, he didn't come back. He was there—

ROBERT BROWN:  Well, Okay. But what did he teach? Uh—


ROBERT BROWN:  Okay. In architecture, was there really only one—there must have been several instructors in architecture.




ROBERT BROWN:  So, it wasn't a very complex department.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, there were only 80 students.

ROBERT BROWN:  No. Okay. So, there would only be a handful who were architects, studying—


ROBERT BROWN:  I got it. Okay.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  Maybe a dozen, at most.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  A dozen, at the most. Yes.


JOHN LAWRENCE:  Maybe a dozen in each department, really. Except ceramics was always overloaded with students—

ROBERT BROWN:  Why was that?

JOHN LAWRENCE:  —and so was painting. I don't know. They seemed to be the popular things, at that time.

ROBERT BROWN:  Yeah. Yeah.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well now, there's one, two, three, four, five. There's five students, right here, in 1944-45, that were in architecture. [00:18:00]

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. Of course, that wouldn't be typical, since that's during or just after the war, right?


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, they were—this fellow was from Texas. And that Alice—uh, Alice Warren—was Fred Dockstader's wife, later. But she came from, uh—

ROBERT BROWN:  Now, was Fred Dockstader someone that you knew there? Did he teach out there?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No. No, no. He taught at Cranbrook school.

ROBERT BROWN:  No, but I mean in Michigan. He was out there. He taught at Cranbrook.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  At Cranbrook School.

ROBERT BROWN:  At the school, yeah.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  The school. And he met Alice. He scared me. He'd walk around with his moccasins on.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  [Laughs.] Did he teach, uh, social studies?


JOHN LAWRENCE:  What did he teach there? At the school.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Uh, metalsmithing, I think. I don't know.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  Oh, I see. Because, he became director of the, uh—

ROBERT BROWN:  Indian Museum.


ROBERT BROWN:  In New York. Yeah.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  And he's written a fabulous book.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  They did—I have buttons, and I have earrings that she made, and all. I think he had a little metal department. But that was in the boys' school. That was nothing to do with the art academy.


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  He might have had something to do with the Institute of Science. I don't know. But not with the art academy.

ROBERT BROWN:  Now, uh, what about Berthold Schiwetz? You got to know him quite well? What did he—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, he came back from war—from the war.

ROBERT BROWN:  Taught sculpture, from the late ‘50s into the ‘60s.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  Yes, he was a veteran.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Do you have him teaching?

ROBERT BROWN:  Yes. He was a teacher of sculpture, from 1957 through '63.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  He was a student, too, wasn't he?

ROBERT BROWN:  Yeah, he was a student.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  He was a veteran student.

ROBERT BROWN:  But I'm asking now about them as teachers.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yes. You see, there were, like, two departments of sculpture. There was the modeling—what you'd call the modeling course—and the advanced. The advanced, they worked on their own, and they didn't have an instructor. Because Milles would not be an instructor, he was an artist in residence.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. [00:20:00]

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  He'd come through, and he'd look at their work, and all that, but he was not the instructor.

ROBERT BROWN:  Did you notice, uh, very many students who were sort of despondent because they couldn't get that much curriculum—that much instruction from their teachers?


ROBERT BROWN:  Most of them were mature enough they didn't sink.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  They didn't—no, they were all mature.

ROBERT BROWN:  They were able to work on their own.



MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  They all did very, very well.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  Wasn't there—Margueritte, wasn't there, from time to time, somebody who would turn up on the campus, and within a few days they'd leave—


JOHN LAWRENCE:  —because they couldn't, sort of, hack it?

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

JOHN LAWRENCE:  It's just like at the MacDowell Colony.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  It wasn't the place. It wasn't the place.


JOHN LAWRENCE:  People arrive on the scene, and they're frightened about being alone in the woods, or being alone in your studio.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  There was—Sally Westlake [ph] didn't get along with Mitchell. Mitchell wasn't a good instructor or a good person for her, and she was very, very much disappointed in Cranbrook because of it. She stuck it out and got through.

ROBERT BROWN:  Now, Sally Westlake became, what? A painter?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  She's a painter, and she has a—she shows her work in New York. She's very good. But I didn't know what was the matter with he, because, she was so—oh, she was so down and bitter and everything. And it was because of Mitchell.

ROBERT BROWN:  Now, this is Wallace Mitchell?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  She didn't get along with Wallace Mitchell.

ROBERT BROWN:  Now, what—did you know Wallace Mitchell pretty well? Because, he was there the whole time you were there.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yes. Yes, he was there.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  He was my instructor.

ROBERT BROWN:  What was he like, as a—was he a friend?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No. No, he wasn't a friend. He was just, well, I don't know. I can't speak too highly of Mitchell. Because, he was a watercolorist, and then he tore up all his watercolors, and he went into all these little circles and squares and things that he made. And he had a wife and two children. And then, whatever he did to her, she was in a—in a hospital over on Woodward Avenue. And they were divorced. And then, this other girl came in, [00:22:00] I think she worked in the museum. And he married her. But uh—

ROBERT BROWN:  Well, he held practically every position—


ROBERT BROWN:  —culminating as the president.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  [Laughs.] Yeah, he did.

ROBERT BROWN:  In the 1970s, he was president.


JOHN LAWRENCE:  As an instructor, he was really rather detached, very, very distant. Uh, he would point to something on the easel, but he never would articulate this. You know, he wouldn't—he wouldn't—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  He wasn't like Sepeshy, at all.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  —yeah. Well, he—yes. It was as if he didn't have a lot of art history background and a lot of real serious painting background. Somehow, he became a teacher with sort of empty credentials, you might say.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And he didn't have self-approval.

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh. Or, self-esteem.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  He was head of the museum, and he couldn't establish the budget for me. I said, "Well, you're head of the museum. Tell me what you want. Tell me what you need." [Sigh.]

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, he lacked confidence.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  He lacked confidence. Terrible.

ROBERT BROWN:  Huh. You know, he was head of the other museum from '55 to '69, and—

JOHN LAWRENCE:  Fifty-five to—

ROBERT BROWN:  Well, he was head of the galleries and then director of whatever the change may be.


ROBERT BROWN:  So, why was he kept on, then, do you suppose? Because he had been there so long?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, he did all right. He was around. He was doing all right. And everyone—who could take his place?

JOHN LAWRENCE:  He was, sort of, what you would call dutiful.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yeah. Yeah, he would bow and scrape to the right people, I guess. I don't know. [They laugh.]

ROBERT BROWN:  Now, you mentioned, also, a man from about—your last years there who taught architecture from 1966 to '70 and then was president. Paulsen, Glen Paulsen. Is he someone who simply came in the last years you were there, so you can't really speak of him much?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, they hired him as head of architecture. And before he left his home out in the hills, where he lived, he asked me to take pictures of his house. [00:24:00] I took inside‑outside pictures of his house.

ROBERT BROWN:  What hills? You mean, near Detroit?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Bloomfield Hills, in Bloomfield Hills.

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh. [They laugh.]

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And he came in. And I would say he might have been a very good architect, but he was not an executive.


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  To my way of thinking. Because, he got rid of all the people that had worked up and established themselves at Cranbrook. He'd find some way to—and he let the property go down quite a lot. Slade came after him, and he—


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —planted the trees and did all of the renovating and everything. He took all the furniture out of the—are you taping this? I didn't want you to tape this.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  That's all right, Margueritte. [They laugh.]

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  He took all of the furniture out of the dorms and put it up in the garage and sold it for little or nothing.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  You mean, all the beds and things?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  The chairs and all the lovely things that were in the dorms.

ROBERT BROWN:  And you mention this because these were all designed by, uh, Saarinen or something, right? They were—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, they might not have been designed by him, but they were chosen by him.

ROBERT BROWN:  Okay. So, they represented his taste, at least. Yes?


JOHN LAWRENCE:  The dorm rooms had a kind of a Mission style.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  In one dorm. And the other one was light and maple.

ROBERT BROWN:  So, this man seemed to have no appreciation for that sort of thing at all.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  It seemed so. It was different. And then, at that time, Cranbrook—all of the Cranbrook funds were put in one big—


ROBERT BROWN:  One big fund?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  [Coughs] One big fund, under the foundation. And so, the head of Kingswood School resigned, because she couldn't run the school if she didn't have any control over anything. He happened to marry somebody in the area, a Ms. Goodell [ph]. And then, uh, that was when I left. I was—I had stress, because it was—it was just terrible. Everything was put on forms, and they had Kelly Girls in there doing things, taking the books over. [00:26:04] And they took the payroll down and put it into the bank. And everything was mistakes, mistakes, mistakes of what I had been doing. So, it was very, very different.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  But you had an automobile accident, then, too, didn't you?


JOHN LAWRENCE: I thought you injured your hands.


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No, that was stress.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  Oh, really?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  I couldn't pick up a piece of paper, from stress. From that man, what he was—pressure, pressure, pressure.

ROBERT BROWN:  Well, I see he didn't really last much beyond that time, a few years.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, he was on the, uh, board of directors for long years. But—

JOHN LAWRENCE:  Afterwards?



ROBERT BROWN:  He was president until 1970 or something like that, according to the information I have. One of the people who came in [coughs] near the end of your time there, and taught ceramics, was DeVore. Did he—


ROBERT BROWN:  Did he replace Ms. Grotell?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —Ms. Grotell was ill.


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  She was in the hospital. And she had to pick somebody to take her place. And she said that—I wish she had picked Stevenson, who was wonderful, over at Ann Arbor.

ROBERT BROWN:  Stevenson? What was his first name?

JOHN LAWRENCE:  John, I think.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  John Stevenson. But she didn't want to take him away from—take him away from Ann Arbor. [Aside] I'll have one, while you got it open.

ROBERT BROWN:  Was the Ann Arbor program fairly extensive?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yes. Yes. Because, you see, all the students from Cranbrook went out to all the different colleges and taught.


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  They went all over the world and taught. And John Stevenson taught at Ann Arbor, and his wife taught at—what's the other college over there?

JOHN LAWRENCE:  I don't know.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And there wasn't a college—

JOHN LAWRENCE:  Michigan State?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Michigan—well uh, Ypsilanti is it?

ROBERT BROWN:  Uh-huh [affirmative].


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And then, they'd go down to Wayne to teach.

ROBERT BROWN:  But you felt that they could have done better than hire Richard DeVore? [00:28:00]

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No. No, that wasn't it. Richard DeVore, they offered him a job at Flint.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  Oh, at the art museum?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  At the school at Flint. And I was instrumental in helping him, because Maija wasn't—she was ill then, even. And uh, I got all the—what do you call them? I don't want to say recipes. I got all the—

JOHN LAWRENCE:  References?


ROBERT BROWN:  The glazes?


ROBERT BROWN:  And the kiln formulas.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And this girl he was going to marry, I arranged that she went up and met them, and all that. Well, he got this job at Flint. And then, Maija chose him to come back to her department and teach when she resigned, well she couldn't teach anymore. And he just cleared the whole place out, knocked all the kilns down, and took her studio and put bags of clay in it. He didn't leave anything. And he said she could work in the basement. It was, uh—it was pretty cruel, pretty cruel. And then he took over the architecture department for his students to work in.

ROBERT BROWN:  There was nobody to stand up for the architecture department, at that point?

JOHN LAWRENCE:  Well, they broke through the wall there.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  The architecture was over in the basement of the library.

ROBERT BROWN:  It had gone to another place. I see.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And he just went in and did whatever he wanted. She was sorry, afterward that she had chosen him. Because, uh, he had no respect.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  It's like new blood is exerting itself.

ROBERT BROWN:  Yeah. Oh, yeah.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  It was pretty rough. It was pretty hard on Ms. Grotell.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  But also, Margueritte, wasn't it during Glen Paulsen's time that, when everything was being consolidated in the one fund, that everybody was worried about financing, relative to the art academy [00:30:00] they decided to sell the collection at the museum.


ROBERT BROWN:  That was just after that.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  That's just after that.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  He knows about that.

ROBERT BROWN:  Yeah. Yeah.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  When the Henry Moore was sold—

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. Yeah.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, that was—uh, I can't say that I was against that. Because, I told him earlier that George Booth built the gallery for his collection that he had made during his life. He built it, and every case—all the walls, everything, everything was to his liking. And it was a stagnant thing, just there. And the students had no place to have a show, or to show any work, or to bring anybody there—lecturers, or have shows of anybody's art, or anything. So, I couldn't say that I didn't think that the museum should be—it should be a part of the art academy open to be used as part of the art academy.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  As well as, maybe, have touring shows, which they also had.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, yes. But where would you have your show, in a dorm lounge, or someplace like that?


ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  It was—my idea was that, as it is now, the art museum is a part of Cranbrook. It isn't George Booth's collection. And whether she sold George Booth's collection or not—I don't know what collection she sold. But now, they have all kinds of lectures, they have all kinds of shows, they have degree shows, they have everything. And it's—everything. And the library is a complete art library. They have nothing but art books in the library.

ROBERT BROWN:  And that's a change from the way it used to be?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No. No, it always was. [00:32:00]

ROBERT BROWN:  It always was that. Okay.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  As a student, I was the library assistant.

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, so you knew—you got to know it reasonably well.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  I went through and did clippings of the London Illustrated Times for about 45 years, during the time that I was there.

ROBERT BROWN:  [Laughs.]

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And Constance Barnes was the librarian, and she was wonderful.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  A wonderful woman.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And she still is a wonderful person, a wonderful person. And her husband was the, uh—what was he?

JOHN LAWRENCE:  He was the Detroit—he was foreign correspondent for the Detroit Press. And during World War II, he went with Roosevelt to the Yalta Conference, representing the Detroit News, but also representing, sort of, the press corps that was sort of filtered from various newspapers.

ROBERT BROWN:  Yeah. He was into Washington.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Do they have Constance Barnes in there, as librarian, at all?

JOHN LAWRENCE:  I don't think so.

ROBERT BROWN:  So, he was sort of a pool representative, as they'd say today, right?


ROBERT BROWN:  The press pool. So, you felt that Cranbrook—in a sense, it sounds to me like the Detroit area got more than it—if not more than it deserved, it was certainly a school of national importance.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  International, really.

ROBERT BROWN:  International, at that time. I mean, here you have a school of this ilk, set in this essentially rather conservative suburban area—wasn't it?


ROBERT BROWN:  I mean, the predominant tenor of life was, uh, automotive executives, and that sort of person.



ROBERT BROWN:  Corporate types.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  But you see, the people that—the original people of the automotive industry were all at Grosse Point.

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, they were over in another place.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  All the people that worked for them were at Bloomfield Hills.


JOHN LAWRENCE:  Oh, I see what you mean.

ROBERT BROWN:  Yeah, so—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And there was—you couldn't hardly see from one house to the other. There's no comparable area in this part of the world to that. It was—

ROBERT BROWN:  What about Framingham?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No, no. There was no place where it's compact, and every house you couldn't see from one house to the other. [00:34:00]

ROBERT BROWN:  Why was that? Because of the plantings—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  The wealth. The wealth.

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, the wealth.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  The way the lots were divided up, in the area.


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And they didn't allow people in there. Well, now, Mr. Booth bought a farm out there. And from the farm is what—Cranbrook was built from the farm.

ROBERT BROWN:  Now, he was a different background than these automotive types. He was a—well, at first—he was a writer, at first, and a journalist. Right?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, no. I don't know what it was.

ROBERT BROWN:  And he developed a newspaper.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  I don't know that. I wouldn't vouch for that. But uh, he at one time wanted to borrow $1,000 from Mr. Scripps, and he wouldn't loan it to him. And later on, he married Scripps's daughter. But he owned the Detroit News, and then he owned all the little newspapers, like the Pontiac Journal, and the Flint Journal, and the this, and the that, and the other thing.


JOHN LAWRENCE:  He was sort of a publisher.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And he had sons that worked for him, and he had people that worked for him. Well, at that time, there was no income tax and everything, and he had plenty of money. And that's how he—

ROBERT BROWN:  But he also must have had more than—above‑average curiosity and interest in the creative life.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, yes. Oh, yes. He did.

ROBERT BROWN:  Because, when one thinks of an automotive executive, you don't think of that, beyond the designers and Henry Ford himself, for example.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  Yes. Between George Booth and Ellen Scripps, they must have had a very unique sense of tastes.



JOHN LAWRENCE:  He'd collect Chinese bronzes—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —they lived in Detroit, and they went out there in the summer. Then, they—uh, he started all this design of Cranbrook. He really did.

ROBERT BROWN:  You got to know him a little bit, didn't you? George Booth.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Very, very vaguely. You wouldn't get to know him very much.

ROBERT BROWN:  But how about his sons?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  I knew Henry Booth very, very well. But the—uh, the thing is—well, I started on something there, and then I lost it. [00:36:00] Uh, he was designing all this thing. Then, Henry Booth and Robert Swanson went to Ann Arbor, and they were students in Ann Arbor with Mr. Saarinen, who had come to America to receive a prize for the—

ROBERT BROWN:  The Chicago Tribune competition.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —the Tribune. They brought Saarinen over to meet Mr. Booth, and Mr. Booth hired him to do Cranbrook, to design Cranbrook.


JOHN LAWRENCE:  Did he design his house?


JOHN LAWRENCE:  Did Saarinen design Booth House?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, no. No, no. I think the Booth House was designed by, uh, the one that did the library and the museum.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  White—Mead & White?

ROBERT BROWN:  No, not McKim and—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No, no. Down in Detroit. Oh, who—

ROBERT BROWN:  Kahn, it may have been. Albert Kahn.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Albert Kahn. And he did the house.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  Yeah. Had you met—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And the church wasn't designed by Saarinen, either.

ROBERT BROWN:  No. Oh, no. I know.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  But all the other buildings were. And Saarinen lived in Birmingham while he was building it, and then he built his house, and Milles's house, and all the buildings at Cranbrook.

ROBERT BROWN:  Birmingham is an adjacent suburb, right? Or, nearby.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  It's there. Three miles.

ROBERT BROWN:  A suburb. Yeah. Okay.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  Was the Institute of Science designed by father and son?


JOHN LAWRENCE:  I thought Eero was very involved in that.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  I don't think so. I think it was before Eero was up and going. But the whole group—uh, Saarinen, and Marianne, and all these different ones—they started a business. And they were going to run it out of Cranbrook, but they couldn't do it because of tax—there was a tax problem. So, they went over to Bloomfield Hills and started a business.


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  And I have papers and pictures of it.

ROBERT BROWN:  Which—apart from their—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  In design. You know, weaving, and chairs, and candlesticks, and all that stuff.

ROBERT BROWN:  Apart from their work at Cranbrook, they had—


JOHN LAWRENCE:  What was that called, Margueritte?


ROBERT BROWN:  Okay. [00:38:00]

JOHN LAWRENCE:  And that was the one that was bought and incorporated into Knoll Associates, wasn't it, ultimately?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, I don't know. Then, they all went over to California to work with Eames—



JOHN LAWRENCE:  Sort of like a design collaborative.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yeah. That's right.

ROBERT BROWN:  By the Saarinens, and by Marianne Strengell, and—


ROBERT BROWN:  —and Charles Eames. Okay.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, I wouldn't put Marianne ahead of Eames.

ROBERT BROWN:  All right.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  Was Harry involved in that, Harry Bertoia?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  I think he went, some summer. Not long. He wasn't long with them.

ROBERT BROWN:  So, you have papers of theirs? Okay.


ROBERT BROWN:  Now, did you go back to Cranbrook very much, after you—you left there, then, immediately, as soon as this became very untenable? You left in '68 or so.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, I had to leave, because I couldn't button my coat. I couldn't put my bedclothes on me. I couldn't pick up a piece of paper.

ROBERT BROWN:  So, you came back home here, to Cambridge, Massachusetts.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  I came back to Cambridge. Yeah.

ROBERT BROWN:  And since then, have you kept up, to any degree, with the Cranbrook Community?


ROBERT BROWN:  I understand you—you know, particularly among students, former students—you've maintained very, very steady contact. Well, John Lawrence is an example, of course. But—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, he's a number one [inaudible]. [They laugh.] No, but the students would give me gifts. You know, they appreciated me. I was good to everybody, I think. Wasn't I?

JOHN LAWRENCE:  Well, Margueritte has been going out there about twice a year, anyway. Haven't you?


JOHN LAWRENCE:  And then, someone would have an opening out in Tucson, or Albuquerque, and she would go to the opening. And then, various people—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Or down in Palm Beach, and different places where they had reunions and things that I went to. Robert Sailors had—I have a folder here to give you, a whole mess about him down in Palm Beach. Um—

ROBERT BROWN:  And you've also gone back to Cranbrook itself? There was, apparently, a celebration of Henry Booth's birthday.


ROBERT BROWN:  What was that?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  I was invited. [00:40:00] Everybody wasn't invited to that, but I was invited.

ROBERT BROWN:  And what was that? His—a major birthday of his?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  It probably was his 90th. I don't know. I don't know. But I have the invitation.

ROBERT BROWN:  And you also went—you've given a major—


ROBERT BROWN:  —a scholarship fund, at Cranbrook.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, I can tell you the reason for that is because a faculty member, even if they only swept up after the faculty, or if they just followed the faculty around, they'd be listed. But anyone that worked their butt off in the office, they'd never get anything. A secretary, or anybody like that. And I said, well, I'm going to be known, because I gave a great deal to Cranbrook. So, I started the scholarship fund, Margueritte Kimball Scholarship Fund. That was the reason for it, it's pride—pride, if you want to call it that. But—and how it started was, I gave things that I had here to establish the money for it, gifts that I had been given.

ROBERT BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative].

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  To establish the scholarship.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  Did you give those to the auction? To—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No. I gave them, and they were appraised and given.


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Grotell pots and things.

ROBERT BROWN:  But this scholarship, though—obviously, it comes from cash, doesn't it? An investment.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No, it can be objects.


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  They give a value, and then—then, I did give money. Of course, I gave money to it. And then, your name is in gold on the wall. And they spelled it wrong. They had to do it over. [They laugh.]

JOHN LAWRENCE:  These are metal letters in a travertine wall.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  But there's no one—now, Pearl Peterson, in that book there, they give her an award. She was the bookkeeper at Cranbrook School. They did give her an award.

ROBERT BROWN:  You mentioned, though, one time, that you had a—there was a resentment because of the fact that office staff was looked down on by faculty sometimes.



MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, you know how—now, they'd have parties out there. [00:42:00] And they'd invite everybody, but they wouldn't invite the maintenance staff. Well, the maintenance staff were the cream of the crop. Mr. Bell, Mr. Black, and all those—aren't they just as good as Sepeshy and Saarinen, and all? Why not have them all?


JOHN LAWRENCE:  You see, many of the staff actually would be people that students and faculty had contact with.


JOHN LAWRENCE:  Like, the man who ran the wood shop.


JOHN LAWRENCE:  Yes. These people often would be challenged by some student, who'd come in and say, "Well, I want to make some stretchers of an odd size." And this person would help that person make a pentagon, or some odd sort of size. And he would show the student how to figure that out.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Yeah, but Mr. Steen would be included, because he'd be considered faculty, because he was in the wood shop. But Mr. Bell swept up. Mr. Black did all the plumbing and things. Mr. Hall did all the painting and everything—

ROBERT BROWN:  Yeah. It was very awkward, I'm sure, because it was a small school.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —and there weren't that many. There weren't that many, and they could be included.


JOHN LAWRENCE:  But Mr. Migrants [ph] often came with Effie May [ph], because they were part of the print shop.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, they were head of the print shop. Sure. And Harvey Crows [ph] and his wife in the photo shop. But, these poor devils that did the work—


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  —we didn't have—

ROBERT BROWN:  Well, it's always thus, I guess. But it was just especially awkward there, because you were sort of collegial, during the year, weren't you? Ordinarily.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  We loved these people. And when they'd have a party at Booth House, and they wouldn't invite them, oh, I just thought it was terrible.

ROBERT BROWN:  Now, Booth House was where Henry Booth lived?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  No, where George Booth lived. They eventually made it just the Booth House.

ROBERT BROWN:  But who would be inviting people to parties at Booth House?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, Henry Booth might run the party.


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  But that was his father's house. He lived in Thornley [ph].

ROBERT BROWN:  Well, who would select the people who came to these parties at Booth House?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, I suppose he did. I don't know who did it. But he lived across Cranbrook Road, in Thornley. Now, that's a guest house, evidently. [00:44:00] Because, I got a card from Mary, and she stayed at the Thornley. And his studio is the archives of Cranbrook.


MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Henry Booth's studio, which is on the grounds.

ROBERT BROWN:  Was Henry Booth something of an artist?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  He was an artist. He went under the name of Thistle.


ROBERT BROWN:  Well, what sort of thing? Did he paint, or sculpt?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  He painted. But he was an architect, because he studied at Ann Arbor. And the students made a lot of fun of him. He had a bad back, and he waddled when he walked, and they—

ROBERT BROWN:  He what? He sort of waddled?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Waddled. Everyone thought he was a kind of a [makes noise]. [They laugh.] Like, he was the one that put the placards out in the front of the Milles House and the Saarinen House. Saarinen House is in cement siding.

ROBERT BROWN:  I see. So, he dabbled in this. I mean, he was a man of wealth, I suppose.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, well, he was all for Cranbrook. He was—and he was the one that wrote the letter to Saarinen, to tell him to get out.

ROBERT BROWN:  Why did he tell Saarinen to get out?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Well, ask him. He's dead.

JOHN LAWRENCE: Which Saarinen?




ROBERT BROWN:  When was this? In, uh—

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, I don't know what year it was. But he disagreed with him, and he wrote him a letter. I saw the letter.

ROBERT BROWN:  Well, are you very glad you went to Cranbrook?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, there's no—your life is never the same, after you've been to Cranbrook.

ROBERT BROWN:  Yeah. What ways did yours change?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Oh, the people you meet. What you learn. What you absorb. It's just—it's just an absorption, it isn't, uh—I don't know how to explain it. Because, every room you enter, every part you enter—you go into the dorm. I had never been to the dorm. And here's a yellow one, a red one, a blue one, a green one. [00:46:00] And it was unbleached cotton with bands of color. And the spreads and all, they were all designed by Mrs. Roseman. And uh—uh, you had maid service. And you'd go into the dining room, and everything was—not what you'd call splashy, elaborate, but just wonderful.

ROBERT BROWN:  And elegant, right?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  An elegance about it. Yes. And everyone was nice to everybody. There was no horsing around. They had parties, wonderful parties, costume parties and all that. Wonderful things.

JOHN LAWRENCE:  Especially when Margueritte would get dressed up and make her entrance. [Laughs.]

ROBERT BROWN:  Oh, I see. You were quite a production.

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  With my hair all red, all dyed red, and red blood hanging all down over me. That was one costume. [They laugh.]

ROBERT BROWN:  Was this for one costume?

MARGUERITTE KIMBALL:  Then, I wore one with a false face on the back, so I was the backward girl from Cranbrook. [They laugh.] Everything on my body was backward, you know? And a false face. [They laugh.] Well, they didn't realize how old I was. I was just part of them. You'd never realize—you'd never treat—

[END OF TRACK kimbal93_2of2_cass_SideB_r.]


How to Use This Collection

Transcript is available on the Archive of American Art's website.

Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Margueritte Kimball, 1993 Mar. 1-Apr. 13. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.