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Oral history interview with Paul and Elmerina Parkman, 2014 September 24-25

Parkman, Paul Douglas, 1932-

Collector, Scientist


Collection Information

Size: 11 Items, Sound recording: 11 sound files (6 hr., 37 min.), digital, wav; 206 Pages, Transcript

Format: Originally recorded as 11 sound files. Duration is 6 hr., 37 min.

Summary: An interview with Paul and Elmerina Parkman, conducted 2014 September 24-25, by Tina Oldknow for the Archives of American Art at the Parkman's home in Kensington, Maryland.

Biographical/Historical Note

Paul Parkman (1932-) is a collector and scientist in Kensington, Maryland. Elmerina Parkman (1932-) is a collector and author in Kensington, Maryland. Tina Oldknow is a curator at the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York.


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 .



The following oral history transcript is the result of a recorded interview with Paul and Elmerina Parkman on September 24-25, 2014. The interview took place in Kensington, Md., and was conducted by Tina Oldknow for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. 

Paul and Elmerina Parkman and Tina Oldknow have reviewed the transcript. Their corrections and emendations appear below in brackets appended by initials. The reader should bear in mind that they are reading a transcript of spoken, rather than written, prose.


TINA OLDKNOW: This is Tina Oldknow, interviewing Paul and Elmerina Parkman, September 24th, disc one.

MS. OLDKNOW: So, would you like to talk about when and where both of you were born?

DR. PARKMAN: I was born on May 29th, 1932 in Auburn, New York, and… is there another question there?

[They laugh.]

MS. OLDKNOW: Well, I was wondering where you were raised. Were you also raised in—

DR. PARKMAN: Oh, I was Weedsport, New York, which is a little town. It was a port on the Erie Canal, and the heyday was in the 1800s. Anyway, I grew up there. It was a nice little quiet town, and I had all my schooling there, until I went to college. And then I went to St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, which is a small college in the colder areas of New York State.

MS. OLDKNOW: [Laughs.] Yes, I know Canton.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, you do.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yes, you know Corning has [a factory –TO] there.


MRS. PARKMAN: I didn't know that.

MS. OLDKNOW: [Affirmative.]

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, so I was there for three years, and then I went to medical school at Syracuse. Upstate University College of Medicine at Syracuse.

MS. OLDKNOW: Upstate?

DR. PARKMAN: University.

MULTIPLE SPEAKERS: College of Medicine.

DR. PARKMAN: At Syracuse.


DR. PARKMAN: I was there four years, obviously, and at the end of four years you could get your degree even though you'd only had three years of undergraduate school. So, that was a deal, you know? [Laughs.] And then, after my medical school I went to intern in Cooperstown, New York at the Mary Imogene Bassett—

MRS. PARKMAN: Hospital.

DR. PARKMAN: Hospital, there. I was there as an intern, for a whole year. It was really grueling; I'll tell you [Laughs.]

MS. OLDKNOW: Was it?


MS. OLDKNOW: In Cooperstown? It's a little town—

DR. PARKMAN: Cooperstown is a wonderful place.


DR. PARKMAN: So, all my relatives came to visit.

[They Laugh.]

DR. PARKMAN: And I was on every other night and every other weekend.


MRS. PARKMAN: That was in the days when he would leave Saturday morning and not ­


MRS. PARKMAN: —or Friday, not get home until Monday night. They don't allow that anymore.

[They Laugh.]

MS. OLDKNOW: Were you married at the time?


DR. PARKMAN: Yes. I got married when I was a sophomore, between my sophomore and junior year of medical school. Yeah, 1955.

And let's see, and then, after my internship I came back to Syracuse for a pediatric residency. I was a resident––pediatric resident for [two years –EP/PP]. And then, having completed my training, the government had a Doctors Draft, and so most young physicians decided to go into one or another of the services, because they were afraid if they didn't they would be subject to being drafted later on.


DR. PARKMAN: And so they could get their practice all set up, then all of a sudden Uncle Sam wants them—


DR. PARKMAN: —that was not good. So, virtually all of us went to one service or another.

MS. OLDKNOW: And this was when?

DR. PARKMAN: This was in19—


DR. PARKMAN: It was 1957—

MRS. PARKMAN: Well you graduated—

DR. PARKMAN: 1960. You're right.

MRS. PARKMAN: You finished your residency.

MS. OLDKNOW: So, what war was this, the Korean War? They were drafting you for?

DR. PARKMAN: Because you were a doctor.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, just in general?

DR. PARKMAN: Just in general, yes.


DR. PARKMAN: So, they took all young physicians in. I think they probably thought it was a good idea for the government to have doctors who'd trained in the service. Probably, I've never explored what their thinking was. I was assigned to Walter Reed Army Institute of Research at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center here in Washington. I got that assignment because I had been interested in infectious diseases when I was a student, when I was an intern, and in my training, and I knew there was a guy who preceded me in training who went also to Walter Reed, and I had talked to him and he said it was great experience. So I tried to get assigned to Walter Reed, and you never know, because you might be a battalion surgeon somewhere in some god awful place, but at any rate I hoped to get to Walter Reed. I talked to the guy who ran the virus laboratory there, Ed Buescher, and he said, I could get assigned there. He would try and get me assigned there, and nothing's for sure. So I went, and I got all my Army stuff lined up, and I went, got a commission, and I went to get my papers, and they said I was going to be assigned to the Aberdeen Proving Ground, in Aberdeen, Maryland.


DR. PARKMAN: And so my heart sank. Sank a lot.

MS. OLDKNOW: Because you wanted to go to Walter Reed?

DR. PARKMAN: I wanted to go to Reed. So, fortunately I found out later that they just happened to need a pediatrician in Aberdeen, and they knew I was going to go to Walter Reed. They knew doctors who went to Walter Reed didn't have to shine their belt buckles or their shoes, or anything. They didn't have to be real soldiers, so they said, "Okay, this guy doesn't have to go to Fort Sam," which is where everybody else went, in Texas, for their training. They assigned me directly to this little hospital, Walson Army Hospital. I was there for three months. And that was the extent of my clinical practice. Anyway—

[… –TO]

DR. PARKMAN: So anyway, then they transferred me to Walter Reed, and everything was very happy and in line. I was at Reed for––I was only commissioned for two years, but because things worked out well there, so I stayed a third year. We were doing some studies in military recruits at Fort Dix. There was a study there, and it was kind of a boring study, so another guy, Mal [Macomb] Artenstein and I were looking around for things to do, and we thought, well we'd make rounds. One of the facilities they had there, in this big hospital complex, was a ward that had all the rashes.


DR. PARKMAN: If you had a rash, you went to that ward. No matter what kind of disease you had.

And so it was mostly a mixture–they had scarlet fever rashes, and they had some other more exotic rashes, and they had, to our amazement, 90% of the guys, maybe more, had German measles. We thought, "Wow, that's really funny," and so we said, "Well, let's see now. Nobody's ever isolated the German measles virus before, so why don't we try?" So, we went and took throat swabs, and bloods, and so on from the recruits, and took them back to Walter Reed. Viruses, you can freeze them down, so you can then thaw them and they're just as good as new. When you had time you could work on the German measles thing. And it was amazing. We did something actually, that worked. We were able to grow German measles virus in the laboratory. It was amazing. I mean, I still think of it today. I was just a fresh out of training a captain and I was not a real virologist, sort of a seat of the pants virologist, and this happened. This was a really big deal, because once you have the virus isolated then you can do all kinds of things. You can make a vaccine.

So, right away we said, "Hey,' and because the Army wasn't really interested in German measles, I went over to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. I continued the work I was doing there and worked with other people there too. We were able to figure out a laboratory test, and we were able to figure out an even simpler––the first laboratory test was very crude, and we found an even better one. Then we started, we worked mostly with Rhesus monkeys, and did some stuff to model German measles infection. We worked out that very well, so we thought we might have a chance at making a vaccine. So, we did.


DR. PARKMAN: And, you know.

MS. OLDKNOW: And the rest is history [Laughs.]

DR. PARKMAN: And the rest is history, you know. There isn't much German measles around anymore.

MS. OLDKNOW: No, there is not.

DR. PARKMAN: No. So it was really a marvelous time, marvelous time—

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, yeah.

MS. OLDKNOW: So exciting.

DR. PARKMAN: —the vaccines were licensed—

MS. OLDKNOW: And when was that, Paul? Do you remember the year?

DR. PARKMAN: Well the year that we started working on it was 1961, and the year that the vaccine was licensed was 1969.

MRS. PARKMAN: Pretty fast.


DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, it was pretty fast. Everybody was concerned, because in '64 there was a really gigantic German measles epidemic.

MS. OLDKNOW: I think I remember that.

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, and so all the people involved in making vaccines were really focused on trying to do something before they had another big epidemic. With extensive use of the vaccine after 1969, there never was one. And gradually German measles, the vaccine was good and nobody has it anymore.



MS. OLDKNOW: It's been eradicated, pretty much.

DR. PARKMAN: Pretty much.


DR. PARKMAN: Yeah. People can bring it in.


DR. PARKMAN: Like, if you are from South America for example, and you're a young person [… who comes to the United States, they aren't necessarily immunized. Some are, but many are not. But overall there's very, very little German measles –EP/PP]. Even in places like South America, they're immunizing.

MS. OLDKNOW: Right, they have access to your vaccine, yeah.

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, and––so, that's my story.

MS. OLDKNOW: Fantastic.

DR. PARKMAN: That's my best story.

MS. OLDKNOW: It's a good story of excellent career in medicine. That's great.

DR. PARKMAN: It was really worked out well.

MS. OLDKNOW: That's wonderful. And how long did you work at the National Institute, or Walter Reed I should say?

DR. PARKMAN: I was at Walter Reed for three years, and then I went over to NIH, and I was there, let's see, from 1963—

MRS. PARKMAN: 3 [Affirmative.]

DR. PARKMAN: —until– I mentioned earlier they changed our little institute into a part of FDA [Food and Drug Administration] rather than NIH.


DR. PARKMAN: The theory behind it was because we were doing work on vaccines, and blood products, and all other kinds of things that you would ordinarily think would come under FDA. It was sort of an accident of history that they were at NIH, so we got transferred. Plus, you know, there was some hoorah. There always is. In the government there's always some problem, and that was a problem that got us transferred.

MS. OLDKNOW: And when was that?

DR. PARKMAN: Let's see. 19, '60 to '72? I think––pretty sure it's 1972.

MS. OLDKNOW: And then you stayed with the FDA?

DR. PARKMAN: FDA until I reached retirement age. Which was in—


DR. PARKMAN: —1990.

MRS. PARKMAN: Paul didn't stay there all that time, he was three years in the Army as a captain, and then when he decided he didn't want to make the Army a career, he moved over to NIH because they were interested in making the vaccine.

DR. PARKMAN: Pursuing the vaccine antibiotic tests and so on.

MRS. PARKMAN: So he was there as a civil servant from 1963 until he retired in 1990, and you were director of the Center—


MRS. PARKMAN: —for Biologics, Evaluation, and Research when you retired with 500 people working for him.

MS. OLDKNOW: So it was the Center of Biological—

MRS. PARKMAN: Center for Biologic—

DR. PARKMAN: CBER, Center for Biologics—

MRS. PARKMAN: Research and Evaluation.

DR. PARKMAN: And Evaluation, yeah.

MS. OLDKNOW: Did you say the first name was CBER?


MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, CBER. Okay, got it. And how long were you director?

DR. PARKMAN: I worked my way up to being director I think, probably—

MRS. PARKMAN: For seven years.

DR. PARKMAN: I was there three or four years. I became director and then I was there three or four years after that.

MS. OLDKNOW: So, until 1990?

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, [Affirmative.]

MS. OLDKNOW: So mid '80s to—

DR. PARKMAN: And then, as if that wasn't enough, I did consulting after that for [16 years –EP/PP]. I was a consultant to people about a variety of things mostly having to do with vaccines, obviously. I worked with manufacturers who wanted to make new products. Because they thought, since I'd been instrumental in making a new product I probably—


DR. PARKMAN: —I might have some luck again.

[They Laugh.]

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, that's good.

DR. PARKMAN: I also did some work for the World Health Organization on vaccines, and I did some legal work. You know, people thought vaccines were imperfect for one reason or another and there would be lawsuits. Of course, in the United States there are lawsuits about everything, and so I did that a little bit.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, so that's why, you were an expert witness?

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, that's why I was an expert witness. I limited that to a small percentage of what I did. And that's when I retired and that was not long ago.


DR. PARKMAN: —Oh, let's see, since I stopped doing—

MS. OLDKNOW: 2007?

DR. PARKMAN: —my consulting was—

MRS. PARKMAN: You were 1990 to––you consulted for 16 years.

DR. PARKMAN: Sixteen years.


MS. OLDKNOW: Whatever it is.

MRS. PARKMAN: 2006, I think.

DR. PARKMAN: 2006.

MS. OLDKNOW: And what do you do full-time now?

DR. PARKMAN: I work for the James Renwick Alliance.

[They Laugh.]

DR. PARKMAN: I work for the Renwick Gallery, I work for, you know—

MRS. PARKMAN: The Art Alliance—

DR. PARKMAN: I have a list of people—

MRS. PARKMAN: [Laughs.]

MS. OLDKNOW: The Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass? Yeah, the only differences being you do not get your paycheck for that.

[They Laugh.]

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, no that's wonderful. That's good. I know, that they're very grateful for all your work, both you and Elmerina.

DR. PARKMAN: Thank you.

MS. OLDKNOW: I mean, you have been a real powerhouse couple.

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, well she's—

MRS. PARKMAN: We've been heavily involved especially with the Renwick, because it's here, it's local. And the Art Alliance is an important organization, but it's national.

MS. OLDKNOW: You mean the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass?

MRS. PARKMAN: Contemporary Glass, yes. Yes.

MS. OLDKNOW: Now, Elmerina, I'd like to hear about your background.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, I'll try and follow in Paul's footsteps.

MS. OLDKNOW: [Laughs.]

MRS. PARKMAN: I was born June 8th, 1932, and I think maybe you have a birthday around that date.

MS. OLDKNOW: June 10th.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh my goodness.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yes, Peter and I. We have the same birthday.

MRS. PARKMAN: The same day?

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, except different years, but the same day.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well Paul and I are nine days apart.


[They Laugh.]

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah. I'm much older than she is.


MRS. PARKMAN: I was born in Ithaca, New York. My father was an Italian immigrant who came to this country at age 14 because he was orphaned by then. He had a large family, but they couldn't afford in Italy to take care of him. They were concerned he might have to go into the service at some time. So he had a brother and a sister who were living in Ithaca, New York, where they lived in a double house. One on one side and one on the other side.—

MS. OLDKNOW: [Affirmative.], a duplex.

MRS. PARKMAN: —and his brother mortgaged the house to pay for my father and his brother, who was 16 years old, to come to America.

[… –TO]

MRS. PARKMAN: And then he developed what they call—

DR. PARKMAN: Bright's disease.

MRS. PARKMAN: —Bright's disease, which is a liver cancer, was it?

DR. PARKMAN: It's kidney.

MRS. PARKMAN: Kidney cancer—

DR. PARKMAN: Renal failure.

MRS. PARKMAN: —then he died just a few years after my father came to this country.


MRS. PARKMAN: And left three girls and his wife. They were all Italian [his wife was—EP/PP], from Italy, and you know, unskilled […–EP/PP]. It was a very nice area, as a matter of fact, but she, his wife, worked as a seamstress, my aunt, to support the family to raise her three daughters.


MRS. PARKMAN: It was very hard. It was very hard. My father was sent to work and his brother was too, because they needed the money.

MS. OLDKNOW: Would they, just kind of all kinds of work, I mean did they do farming?

MRS. PARKMAN: He worked at the gun company in Ithaca—

DR. PARKMAN: Ithaca Featherlight Shotguns.



MRS. PARKMAN: I think that was one of his jobs. But he was, my father, was very smart and he was very able to do lots of different things, mechanical kinds of things. He wasn't a carpenter or a builder, brick layer, or any of that. He could do—



DR. PARKMAN: Particularly.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah. He did get an education, maybe at night school. I think he did that, and then he taught a class at night school. He was very smart, and so they lived in Ithaca—

DR. PARKMAN: He did plating.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, yes. He had a plating business, yeah. I had forgotten about that. Then I don't know how he happened to get the job with the Barr Manufacturing Company, which made typewriters. It was a business that was owned, and it may not have been called Barr Typewriter anymore, but it was a business that was located in Weedsport, New York. It was owned and run by Jewish people from New York City and my father had a job with them. That was the reason we moved to Weedsport before I started school. We moved to Port Byron first, which was the next community, a rival community as far as sports were concerned.

DR. PARKMAN: It's the Weedsport Manufacturing Company, actually.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, I guess once it moved to Weedsport that was the name of it. But we didn't live [in Port Byron very long, because … I had a sister who was born … in Ithaca and my oldest brother –EP/PP]. So, when my father moved to Port Byron first, and then to Weedsport there were three of us, and ended up being five of us, so we all came in rapid succession sort of.

MS. OLDKNOW: Was your mother from Ithaca? She's American?

MRS. PARKMAN: She was from Ithaca. Both of her parents came from Italy.


MRS. PARKMAN: Her mother's name was Elmerina.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: And her mother died when my mother was 16.


MRS. PARKMAN: Actually when my parents were married– they eloped. My mother's father didn't think my father could support my mother.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, wow.

MRS. PARKMAN: He was very angry that they got married. So they didn't have any communications until I was born.

DR. PARKMAN: [Laughs.]

MRS. PARKMAN: My mother said to my father, "You have to go and tell my father that, I had a girl and her name is Elmerina."

MS. OLDKNOW: That's nice.

MRS. PARKMAN: That cemented the relationship after that.

[They Laugh.]

MRS. PARKMAN: It was a very hard life. Both of them. But, life was better for them after that, because my father was very smart, and he worked well with all these Jewish people.

DR. PARKMAN: He was really successful.

MRS. PARKMAN: Very successful. Then he continued with the business– they had a clock business, but that was later, a pocketbook frames manufacturing business. I guess the Jewish people who were running the business in Weedsport sold out, but my father was able to continue to make the frames that they were making at the factory then, and the—

DR. PARKMAN: Spring-Flex.

MRS. PARKMAN: Spring-Flex, yeah. So he started his own business, and one of the people that he worked [with –EP/PP] continued to be the salesman to sell the pocketbooks. My father only made the metal frames, because he was a metal person, and the man he was working [with –EP/PP], who lived in Scarsdale, sold those frames to people who manufactured pocketbooks. My father had a very successful business at that time, and was successful until when the patent wore off they could be made outside of the United States, and he couldn't compete with the prices that people were selling those frames made in another country. So he found another metal business.

MS. OLDKNOW: Did you say he made spring clasps?

MRS. PARKMAN: Spring-Flex was the name—

MS. OLDKNOW: Spring-Flex:

DR. PARKMAN: That was the name of the—

MRS. PARKMAN: —of the frame, or Facile. Facile was the patented name. Yeah.

DR. PARKMAN: Facile was the patent. But these were purses that would pop open.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, I know those.


DR. PARKMAN: And clamp shut.

MS. OLDKNOW: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, I have one I can show.

DR. PARKMAN: And they have a spring, and they can do that.

MRS. PARKMAN: But he did lots of other—he made parts for other companies, and he could make almost anything.


MRS. PARKMAN: Did heat treating. So he was very successful in this little town of Weedsport. When we first moved there I started school. Paul and I met in kindergarten.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, come on.

[They Laugh.]

MS. OLDKNOW: You did not. Really?

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, in a small town—

MS. OLDKNOW: Sure. Yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: —there's only one school.

DR. PARKMAN: Only one school. Got to be.

[… –TO]

MRS. PARKMAN: It was a central school. They had just built this new school. Actually it wasn't open. I went to school in a church, and you did too, remember?

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, because they renovated the school building.


DR. PARKMAN: They added on to the school building, so they parceled kids out to churches locally.


MRS. PARKMAN: Sort of part of the first year. Before that they had all these, around Weedsport and Port Byron, and all those little places, they had one-room schoolhouses. When the school became centralized, then they had busses—

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, okay.

MRS. PARKMAN: —that they closed the one-room schoolhouses, and all those kids were bussed in to our central school. We were the Depression class, so when we graduated there were only 32 in our class. We were a very small class. But anyway we met in kindergarten and went all through school together, except we didn't pay any attention to each other until our senior year.


[They Laugh.]

MS. OLDKNOW: So you knew of him and his family—

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh yeah, and we—

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, right.

MS. OLDKNOW: You knew each other's families—

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, yes.

MS. OLDKNOW: —and then all of a sudden something happened when you were seniors in high school.

DR. PARKMAN: Yes, your hormonal level—

[They Laugh.]

DR. PARKMAN: —rises to the point where you're apt to hitch up with some girl, so.


MRS. PARKMAN: So, Paul was editor of the yearbook, and I guess I was your helper or you were president of class maybe, or?

DR. PARKMAN: I don't know.

MRS. PARKMAN: I forget now. We had these roles because it was small, very small classes as I said.

DR. PARKMAN: We were voted most likely to succeed [Laughs.]


MS. OLDKNOW: Well, I could see that.

MRS. PARKMAN: So after graduation, oh Paul taught me to play tennis. That's when we started playing tennis, remember? You gave me a tennis racket for my birthday. I still have it, of course. But, anyway, so Paul went to St. Lawrence, and I went to Katharine Gibbs, which was a secretarial school in Boston, very highly rated. It had a one-year course and a two-year course, and I took the one-year course because I'd had some secretarial studies in high school, so I took the one year class. Paul, as I said, had gone to St. Lawrence, but we corresponded. I have all those letters, of course, and I think your letters to me as a matter of fact. But anyways, we continued, since you were home in the summertime, and worked at home in the summertime. We continued to date and go together for five years, until after your second year of—

DR. PARKMAN: Medical school.

MRS. PARKMAN: —medical school, after you had taken your medical boards. We couldn't get married in June because he was taking medical boards then. I wanted to be a June bride. So, we were married July 2nd.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, okay.

MRS. PARKMAN: Soon after June.

MS. OLDKNOW: Almost June.

[They Laugh.]

MRS. PARKMAN: I worked, because I had excellent secretarial training from a big name school. It's since closed, but it was an important school at the time. I was the head secretary at GE, General Electric in Auburn, New York, when Auburn was full of businesses.


MRS. PARKMAN: They've all moved out, it's a deserted city now.

MS. OLDKNOW: Like so many New York towns.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, yes. So I worked at GE for several years, and then I worked for my father in his Leonardi Manufacturing Company in Weedsport for the last two years. Then when we were married I moved to Syracuse, because Paul was still in medical school. I worked at the veterans' hospital.

DR. PARKMAN: The nursing—

MRS. PARKMAN: I was secretary to the head of the nursing department at the veteran's hospital, and then you were in Cooperstown, I worked for the ENT doctor, ears, nose, and throat doctor.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, so you were then in medicine too,—


MS. OLDKNOW: —and kind of understanding that milieu.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, Paul always told me about what he was doing and explained things very well, as he always does. Then we went back to Syracuse, and I went to work for the head of hematology, I think was the department that he, this doctor was in at the VA hospital, and Paul was in pediatric residency then. Then when we came here he was a captain in the Army and he had a salary.

[They Laugh.]

DR. PARKMAN: You know, I was rich [Laughs.]

MS. OLDKNOW: [… –TO] So you got married in—


MS. OLDKNOW: 1955 in Auburn.

MRS. PARKMAN: We were married in Weedsport in the Catholic Church even though Paul is not Catholic. Then we had a reception at Springside Inn in Auburn, New York where we have returned, and hope to return next year for our sixtieth anniversary.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh that's great. That's really great.

MRS. PARKMAN: Then we moved to Syracuse, we had an apartment in Syracuse. By the time we got married we had our apartment leased then, and moved in after we were married. We spent our honeymoon at our apartment, and we didn't have any money of course. Even though I was working, we had some money, but not a lot of money, and didn't we go to a state park?

DR. PARKMAN: Green Lakes State Park.

MRS. PARKMAN: Green Lakes State Park, and then one of his medical school classmates, his parents had a house on the—

DR. PARKMAN: St. Lawrence

MRS. PARKMAN: St. Lawrence River.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, beautiful.

MRS. PARKMAN: And after the 4th of July weekend they were gone, and they said we could stay there, we stayed there for a few days. Paul then was working during the summertime. You were doing research in polio, wasn't it? Before—

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, that was one of the jobs.

MRS. PARKMAN: —So you had a summer job doing that, and then I got a job I guess in September, at [the Veterans Hospital –EP/PP], I started working. I had a few weeks off in the summertime, while Paul was working.

MS. OLDKNOW: So then, you came to Washington and started earning money.


MS. OLDKNOW: So both of you were working at the time?


MRS. PARKMAN: That's when I retired.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, okay.

[They Laugh.]

MRS. PARKMAN: We lived in Takoma Park for the three years that Paul was in the Army. When he moved over to the job at NIH, as a researcher we knew we were planning to be here for a while, so that's when we looked for a house. We looked for a house that was close to NIH, so that Paul didn't have to commute, because we weren't used to commuting.


MRS. PARKMAN: In Weedsport you could walk every place you—

MS. OLDKNOW: No, exactly.

MRS. PARKMAN: —wanted to go [Laughs.] So, we looked for a house for two years, and finally found this one.

DR. PARKMAN: We're very compulsive.

MS. OLDKNOW: [Laughs.] Picky.

MRS. PARKMAN: Then, the house needed painting inside and outside, so we did all that work ourselves. Paul sanded the outside. We had a ladder that would go up three flights because the attic is there, and we did all that work. And the first time around I painted inside, Paul would come home from work, he cleaned my paintbrushes.

[They Laugh.]

MRS. PARKMAN: I didn't have to clean the paintbrushes. But I'd paint inside, I painted outside, you sanded all the wood part outside. That's a lot of work.


DR. PARKMAN: Took us two years.


MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, yeah. I believe it. It's just a huge amount of work.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah. And the Army was a social organization. His boss, his wife had hosted a Chinese cooking class in her home, and so I went, not that I was so interested in Chinese cooking, but–

DR. PARKMAN: The Army was different.


DR. PARKMAN: The Army is different. The Army is a community. It was a very good experience to be in the service. After I moved to NIH, NIH is kind of every man for himself.


MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, really?

DR. PARKMAN: But the military was very, and the wives did lots of interesting things.

MRS. PARKMAN: Socializing.


MRS. PARKMAN: I took a flower arranging class, and this was for the first three years when we were down here, when Paul was in the Army. Then I think I probably jumped ahead. Then when we moved into our house we were busy painting, but you became very good friends with the man you worked for.


MRS. PARKMAN: So we had our own social group then. So, that was in '63, and I guess I was just—we kept busy with one thing or another until 1974, when I discovered the Textile Museum.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, okay. So, that's a big turning point for you, actually.

MRS. PARKMAN: It was. That was the beginning of my involvement, and our involvement in volunteering for the museum. The Renwick opened in 1972, and we became very much interested in that. I guess this is going into another part of our lives. I guess I'll just—because that's how we started collecting, so I think I'll just end with the social life that we had with the Army people––the classes, Chinese cooking classes, and getting together. After that the focus was on the house, here. Painting it, and we had no furniture. We had a drop-leaf table that was here. [One room upstairs …, –EP/PP] the only thing in it was an ironing board.

[They Laugh.]

MRS. PARKMAN: We had furniture from Upstate New York that was our bedroom set, had them sent down. So, we were busy furnishing the house and buying one piece at a time as we had money for it, and so those were our efforts for the next few years.

MS. OLDKNOW: So, were your parents ever interested in art, as youngsters or as children growing up did you ever have an opportunity to see art or meet artists, or anything like that?

DR. PARKMAN: I don't think so. My father—after the First World War he got out of the Army, and he was a carpenter. He worked in carpentry for a few years, and then, I'm not quite sure how, he had led a charmed life, I guess. He got out of that. He said it'd be good to get a government job, so he worked for the post office.


DR. PARKMAN: That was just before 1929, when everything fell apart and nobody had any work. So he worked for the post office for all of his career.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, yeah he did.

DR. PARKMAN: All of his 30 years. He not only worked for the post office, but he raised turkeys and he raised chickens, like 500 chickens—

[… –TO]

DR. PARKMAN: —and who knows how many turkeys.

MS. OLDKNOW: So, this is a cottage industry, basically.

DR. PARKMAN: Well this was before freezers. So, every little place had its own market. So he took advantage of the Thanksgiving and Christmas trade. He set his own eggs, and baby chicks, and all of that. Then he was a clerk of the Board of Education for the school. He did some other kind of job; I don't even remember what it was. It had to do with measuring your lot size or something, I don't know. He was busy all of his life doing that kind of work. But my mother was the homemaker. She was ill a lot of the time later on, she had asthma pretty badly. So she did not work, but my father did all of those things. So when it came time when I was growing up he said one day in the garage, "What would you like to do?" And I said, you know.

[They Laugh.]

DR. PARKMAN: He said, "Well, maybe you'd like to be a barber," and I said, "I don't think that's—doesn't sound too good." He had a couple of other choices, and then he said, "How would you like to be a doctor?" And I said, "That would be really neat," and that's how––I think he wanted me to pick that, you know?

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, so he gave you a bunch of stuff you didn't like first, so you'd pick doctor?

DR. PARKMAN: [Laughs.] Right. That's right. So, he was ambitious for me.

Although he never did anything beyond post office clerk, and raising chickens and turkeys, he was ambitious for me. He wanted me to do that, and he supported me and us in doing that.

MS. OLDKNOW: Well how about you Elmerina? Was there any sort of art? Was anyone in your family interested in art, or?

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, my father was very much interested in opera.


MRS. PARKMAN: So, every Saturday afternoon, when the Metropolitan, where was it in New York City, that the opera was—

MULTIPLE SPEAKERS: It was on the radio.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah. And wherever the performance was, I have the Metropolitan, I remember that, but I don't remember where, why that comes to mind, but anyways, he listened to all––well only Italian operas.

DR. PARKMAN: [Laughs.]

MRS. PARKMAN: He was very focused. He was very Italian. All art was Italian, and all music, but he loved the opera music. I think none of us did quite so much at the time, but I remember hearing them all, because that was what he listened to. I discovered later when they came to Washington to visit us, he liked to go to the museums to see Italian paintings, of course.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, okay.

MRS. PARKMAN: So, he was interested. My mother was always busy with the five children,—


MRS. PARKMAN: —with cleaning and laundry, and cooking, because my father came home for lunch, and your father did too, and my mother had a hot lunch every day for him. Soup in the wintertime, and something that she cooked for lunch, and then she cooked for dinner.

DR. PARKMAN: And she used to make five pies a week.


MRS. PARKMAN: Your mother did.

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah [Laughs.]

MS. OLDKNOW: Five pies a week?

DR. PARKMAN: She liked pies.

[They Laugh.]

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, that's a lot of pies. And how many—

DR. PARKMAN: And cakes too.

MS. OLDKNOW: —people were in your family?

DR. PARKMAN: My sister and I.


DR. PARKMAN: My sister was 10 years older than I was, so—

MS. OLDKNOW: Five pies a week, someone's eating a lot in your house.

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, yeah.

[They Laugh.]

DR. PARKMAN: We were well fed.

MS. OLDKNOW: That's really cute.

DR. PARKMAN: But we didn't—and my mother liked good things.


DR. PARKMAN: She had a friend, who had little money, and her friend gave her some gifts, and they were really nice. Some of them are up there in the cabinet there, that she had, and she appreciated them.


DR. PARKMAN: But, not directly art.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, I mean in a small town in New York, you really don't have that much opportunity—


MS. OLDKNOW: —you know, to see anything really.

MRS. PARKMAN: No museum there.

MS. OLDKNOW: When you came to Washington then, when you moved here,––I mean maybe now is a good time to talk about your kind of discovery of the Textile Museum.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, we thought when we came here in 1960 that we were just going to be here for two years, because that was—


MRS. PARKMAN: —the commitment. So we went to every museum, we saw everything there was to see in Washington. You know, it was a big city to us—

MS. OLDKNOW: Well it is.

MRS. PARKMAN: —and it had a lot of museums—

DR. PARKMAN: Oh, yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: —and we went faithfully to see every—

DR. PARKMAN: All the shows, of every kind.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes. Not just museums—

DR. PARKMAN: Not just museums.

MRS. PARKMAN: —all the sites that you would visit. The Capitol, and all the statues that are around. Of course many places, the Kennedy Center didn't exist at that time and some of the other museums on the mall. But we did all the sightseeing things that you would do if you came to Washington as a visitor because we thought we just had the two years here.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, okay.

DR. PARKMAN: We liked the museums.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, we liked the museums especially. And so after that, even when we knew we were going to be living here, we just loved going to the museums. We took advantage, we saw every show. Every time there was a new show we'd go see it. Whatever museum it was, whatever the show was. It didn't matter.

DR. PARKMAN: And then—

MS. OLDKNOW: Did you find that your friends in the Army community did also the same thing, or were you doing this pretty much on your own?

DR. PARKMAN: No, on our own.


DR. PARKMAN: They weren't particularly interested. And then, we went to a show at the, it was the National Collection of Fine Arts—


DR. PARKMAN: —one Sunday.

MRS. PARKMAN: It was the Smithsonian.

DR. PARKMAN: At the Smithsonian, and it was, the show was Objects: USA.

MRS. PARKMAN: We saw that.


DR. PARKMAN: We saw that show, and—

MS. OLDKNOW: But had you already discovered the Textile Museum by this time?

MRS. PARKMAN: I don't think so.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, okay.

MRS. PARKMAN: I don't think it came into the picture that early.

MS. OLDKNOW: Okay. So, really your first exposure to—

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, it was 1969.

MS. OLDKNOW: —craft is Objects: USA.


DR. PARKMAN: It was 1969.


DR. PARKMAN: Then we said, "Those marvelous things, I wonder where they came from?" You know?



DR. PARKMAN: Because we didn't really know, and so then we got, I think it was a couple years later before we found—

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, actually the other thing that happened in 1969—

DR. PARKMAN: Oh, yes.

MRS. PARKMAN: —was Paul's father died.


MRS. PARKMAN: The house in Weedsport, there was nobody else, I mean, just Paul's sister. She was married and didn't live there, and we were here in Washington, and by then we had bought our house, in 1964. So the house had to be sold, and everything in it had to be—

DR. PARKMAN: Dispensed.

MRS. PARKMAN: Dispensed.

DR. PARKMAN: In one way or another.

MS. OLDKNOW: But what about your mother?

MRS. PARKMAN: She had died.

DR. PARKMAN: She had died a year earlier.


MRS. PARKMAN: She died in '64, or '65. January '65, right after we had bought the house. So we split up everything between Phyllis, Paul's sister—

DR. PARKMAN: —My sister.

MRS. PARKMAN: —and Paul, it was all very agreeable, and we brought back some goblets that are in that cabinet and bowls, and a few—

MS. OLDKNOW: Of the older, the older glass?


DR. PARKMAN: Older glass, yeah.

[… –TO]

MRS. PARKMAN: Daisy and button-pressed [glass –EP/PP].

MS. OLDKNOW: —the Steuben, and—

MRS. PARKMAN: No Steuben, no Steuben.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, okay.


MRS. PARKMAN: So we had those few pieces of glass and in the kitchen there are a couple hand painted plates. That's from our inheritance there—

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, okay.

MRS. PARKMAN: —of his mother's things. So sort of coincidentally I saw something in the newspaper, and I don't know whether it was a local newspaper or whether it was the Washington Post.

DR. PARKMAN: Probably the Post.

MRS. PARKMAN: Maybe the Washington Post, but this lady was giving classes about glass in her home.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh really?

MRS. PARKMAN: Through the YWCA. So, it must have been–


MRS. PARKMAN: —a YWCA ad. It's just a coincidence, and so I decided since I wasn't working anymore, of course, except painting, that I would take the class. She had a traditional house, like this, an older house in a very nice neighborhood, and she had something like 2000 pieces of glass in her home.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh my––was this like pressed glass, and cut glass?

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, it was—

DR. PARKMAN: It was everything.

MRS. PARKMAN: —you know, French—

MS. OLDKNOW: But none of the new studio glass or anything like that.

MRS. PARKMAN: One piece.

DR. PARKMAN: She had one piece.


MRS. PARKMAN: So we would go––so I took my little sherry glasses that I didn't know who made them, because of course things weren't signed. We spent a lot of time––I mean, anything that was signed, of course, we knew who made it and we talked about the various styles of glass in various countries. I liked the shaded glass of the early––late 1800s. But we spent a lot of time trying to figure out which company or which country some of those pieces of glass were made in. We became lifelong friends of all the people in the class. We just continued, I mean the YWCA disappeared somewhere along the line, and we just continued with these classes out of friendship.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, so you had your meetings about glass—

MRS. PARKMAN: In her home.

MS. OLDKNOW: —Oh in her home. That's great.


MRS. PARKMAN: All the time. We always met there. We spent all this time trying to figure out—

MS. OLDKNOW: And what was her name?

MRS. PARKMAN: Ruth Suppes. She probably was not known to––I doubt that she gave anything to Corning. She probably was not known to Corning, but she was known here, and there was another lady who was an expert in Dorflinger glass—

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, yeah [Affirmative.]

DR. PARKMAN: Helen Barger.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, yeah. There was the National Early American Glass Club that there were chapters around here. Maybe that came a little bit later, as a matter of fact, but any way. But in one of those meetings, I was in class for a lot of years, but in one of those meetings she showed us a piece by Dominick Labino.


MRS. PARKMAN: She said that he lived and worked outside of Toledo, Ohio, and–

DR. PARKMAN: In his own studio.

MRS. PARKMAN: In his own studio. Of course, he was a vice president for Johns Manville.

MS. OLDKNOW: Right, right.

MRS. PARKMAN: But, he was doing this in his spare time, and as a hobby, and this was after 1962. Well, he attended Harvey's workshop.


MRS. PARKMAN: Dominick Labino.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, Dominick, he was, he actually ran it with Harvey.


MRS. PARKMAN: He provided the marbles. [Johns-Manville #475 fiberglass marbles –TO]


MRS. PARKMAN: So, anyway, this was so exciting, to realize that you could—there was an artist, and I thought the piece was beautiful. I loved it. I said, "Paul, you have to take these classes," so he did, and he saw the piece too, and we thought, "Oh, this is something new. Maybe we could look for this glass, instead of buying, you know"—

DR. PARKMAN: Old glass.


MRS. PARKMAN: —you can see that we have some cut glass, we like cut glass especially, and we have some shaded glass there. We have a few Steuben pieces,—

MS. OLDKNOW: Carder-Steuben.

MRS. PARKMAN: —small couple, small Tiffany pieces, and so we liked all of that, and there was a lady here in town who sold glass of—vintage. Not contemporary, and once we discovered the contemporary glass, we said, "Oh, this seemed really exciting." The fact that you could meet the artist, talk to the artist. So, this was 1969, when Objects: USA opened, and we became aware that there were artists working in all media, and we inherited the few pieces of glass, and I had started taking the classes. So from 1969 I started gathering material, sending for catalogues, and reading American Craft—it was Craft Horizons then, to find out where what artists were working. I had the Toledo Glass National Catalogues, I knew about that. So, in 1971—

DR. PARKMAN: We went to Penland [School of Crafts].

MRS. PARKMAN: Well we went to the Appalachian Spring in Georgetown, and we bought—

DR. PARKMAN: We had a couple of things.

MRS. PARKMAN: —Billy Bernstein's—

MS. OLDKNOW: Okay, so there was a gallery called Appalachian Spring?


MRS. PARKMAN: Still exists. Yes.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, it does?


MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, it does.

MS. OLDKNOW: And it was a craft shop.


MRS. PARKMAN: And the crafts are from the Appalachian area.

DR. PARKMAN: And the other one was Appalachian Spring—

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, it was first, and was there a long time.

DR. PARKMAN: And then Appalachiana is another [store that opened –EP/PP].

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, okay.

MRS. PARKMAN: Came into existence a few years later.

DR. PARKMAN: It came in later, but Appalachian Spring had wonderful things.

MS. OLDKNOW: So, that's how you really got into it, in a way—


DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, that's right.

MS. OLDKNOW: —through Appalachian Spring that was your kind of connection?

MRS. PARKMAN: Bought several pieces.

DR. PARKMAN: So, we bought a few little pieces. Then we were going to the [Great Smoky Mountains National Park –EP/PP] for a vacation for a week or so, and on the way down, the . Cone Memorial Arts Center was on the—

MRS. PARKMAN: The Parkway.

DR. PARKMAN: The Parkway [Blue Ridge]. We saw, there was a whole show of things, like Joel Philip Myers had a wonderful thing, so we bought that. And then—

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, and this was, what was the place called? I'm sorry.

MRS. PARKMAN: I'll go up and get my record book—

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, yeah.

DR. PARKMAN: Get the book, because we want to get the name right. Yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: And it was, well we—

DR. PARKMAN: It was Moses Cone [Moses H. Cone Memorial Center].

MRS. PARKMAN: Moses Cone.

MS. OLDKNOW: Moses, pardon me.


DR. PARKMAN: I can't remember the exact title of the gallery anymore.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, I'll go up and get the book, the record book. But the reason, we went to the Great Smokies, but the main reason for the trip was that we wanted to learn more. We knew the Penland School of Crafts—


MRS. PARKMAN: —was in Penland, North Carolina.

MS. OLDKNOW: And that was in 1970—


MS. OLDKNOW: 1971, okay.

MRS. PARKMAN: September.

DR. PARKMAN: September of 1971.


MRS. PARKMAN: We knew about that, I guess probably from the Appalachian Spring people.

DR. PARKMAN: Might be.

MS. OLDKNOW: Probably.

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: Because they focused on the Appalachian area—


MS. OLDKNOW: And Penland was—


MS. OLDKNOW: —founded by [Lucy Morgan –TO] who wanted to preserve Appalachian craft.


MRS. PARKMAN: So, that was the main reason for the trip, because we wanted to meet artists and we wanted to watch them work. Then we had planned to go to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We never got there, but—

[They Laugh.]

MRS. PARKMAN: —but we did stop at the Moses Cone center, and we bought this piece by Joel Philip Myers that had the same colors in it as the piece in Objects: USA. It was made very early. If I go up and get the book I can tell you more about it, but anyways. We went on to Penland, and Paul can pick up the story and tell you who was at Penland then, our lifelong friend.

DR. PARKMAN: So, we went Penland, and the first—

MS. OLDKNOW: Did you stay at Penland?

DR. PARKMAN: Oh yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: Little Switzerland [Inn –EP/PP] [Laughs.]

DR. PARKMAN: Little Switz [the locals called it –EP/PP].

[They Laugh.]

DR. PARKMAN: Little Switz. Yeah, we stayed at the motel there. We went over to Penland. We found the sign, like Fritz Dreisbach says, "Penland is the kind of place where it says Penland on both sides of the sign."

[They Laugh.]


DR. PARKMAN: We found the post office, and found our way to the studios, and the first person we saw, had a chance to talk to was—

MRS. PARKMAN: —George Thiewes.

DR. PARKMAN: George Thiewes.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, I don't know him.

DR. PARKMAN: Well I have to spell his name too for you.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, well we'll check it later.

DR. PARKMAN: Okay. And George had just come, he was just out of graduate school, and we met him. He had lots of fish, he had made a fish diorama of glass. [We bought a piece from him that day. –EP/PP] So we talked to him for a while, and then he said, "Well, Mark Peiser's down the road," so I think he showed us the way, and we saw Mark, and saw him work for a while.

MRS. PARKMAN: First saw him riding on a motorcycle with his wife on the back.

DR. PARKMAN: Yes, he had his pregnant wife—

MRS. PARKMAN: And she was pregnant.

DR. PARKMAN: —on the back of a Honda, and he was very nice to us. We watched him work for a while, he worked very quietly, very precisely. Everything was very precise.

MRS. PARKMAN: Very neat.

DR. PARKMAN: He said, well he wasn't doing anything real exciting, but we saw all the work that was on the shelves, and we went then from Mark [from whom we bought a piece –EP/PP], next we saw—

MRS. PARKMAN: Dick Marquis.

DR. PARKMAN: Dick Marquis.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, he was up there.

MRS. PARKMAN: Can you imagine?

DR. PARKMAN: He was there.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, he was—

[… –TO]

MRS. PARKMAN: And traces of Fritz Dreisbach, who had been there.

DR. PARKMAN: Two pieces were Fritz-oid.

MS. OLDKNOW: Fritz-oid.

[They Laugh.]

DR. PARKMAN: I'm pretty sure they were by him.

MRS. PARKMAN: See how I saved—[Mrs. Parkman shows a series of documents. –EP/PP]

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, Moses H. Cone, okay. That's great.

MRS. PARKMAN: And it was Joel Myers' vase. She said to us that the vase had been exhibited in a lot of different places, and so I wrote and said, "Well, do you have the list," and here is the list of where that—

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh my god.

DR. PARKMAN: [Laughs.]

MS. OLDKNOW: These are incredible archives.


MS. OLDKNOW: So, all from the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild, which is—


MS. OLDKNOW: —still around.

MRS. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.]

MS. OLDKNOW: Okay. So, you contacted the Southern Highland Craft Guild for information about Joel's glass.

DR. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.] Yeah.

MS. OLDKNOW: This is really great. "In reply to your letter requesting information about the Joel Myers glass vase which retailed for $100, which was a lot at that time."

[They Laugh.]

MS. OLDKNOW: Then the following is a schedule of the exhibits in which it was included, so it shows all these places. That's fantastic.

MRS. PARKMAN: Isn't that amazing?

MS. OLDKNOW: Yes, it is. That is wonderful.

MRS. PARKMAN: The Renwick owns that, and has it.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, they do, great. Yeah, they need to have this documentation too.


DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, right. She always did that, she's the record keeper.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, yeah, you're an excellent record keeper.

MRS. PARKMAN: I remember talking to people to try to figure out what were the important things that you needed to know if you were making records of the pieces, and I've forgotten now who I did talk to about that, but I did the same thing for every piece that we had.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, so this is very good. [Ms. Oldknow reads from the document. –EP/PP]

Description, signature, excellent; form, pattern, color, height, diameter, purchased.. This is great.

MRS. PARKMAN: And then here—

MS. OLDKNOW: The date, the price, the slide, and its––this is fantastic. And look at that.

MRS. PARKMAN: A check.

DR. PARKMAN: [Laughs.]

MS. OLDKNOW: The cancelled check to Mark Peiser for $62.40. That certainly hasn't happened to him in a long time.

[They Laugh.]

MS. OLDKNOW: I don't know if he's ever seen a bill for $62.40, for one of his works.

[They Laugh.]

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, that's fantastic.

MRS. PARKMAN: That's what it was like in 1971.

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, right. That's the way it was.


MRS. PARKMAN: That's the way it was.


DR. PARKMAN: So, Dick Marquis was there, and he was teaching, he had a class of students. He said, well, they weren't going to do too much, because it was hot.

MRS. PARKMAN: It was September.

DR. PARKMAN: It was blazing hot—

MS. OLDKNOW: Was it? Oh.

DR. PARKMAN: —in September. And he said, "If you want to come by around 11:00"–

MRS. PARKMAN: Tonight.

DR. PARKMAN: Tonight, we could watch him. Of course we're pretty structured people, so we rarely go anywhere starting at 11:00 at night.


[They Laugh.]

DR. PARKMAN: But we went. And he and Raffi, who was his first, I don't know whether she was his girlfriend or his wife, or whatever—

MRS. PARKMAN: Girlfriend, I think.

DR. PARKMAN: —she was helping him. They were making some cups, and we watched him make cups, and we had a chance to buy one the next morning—

MRS. PARKMAN: The one I showed you.

DR. PARKMAN: —after it came out of the annealer and it was a wonderful start to see these guys, you know?

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, yes.

DR. PARKMAN: It was a wonderful start—and you know, we're securely hooked.

[They Laugh.]

DR. PARKMAN: We felt so excited about this—

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, it was unbelievable.

MS. OLDKNOW: So now were you drawn to all media, or was glass what you were focusing on? Were you watching ceramics?

DR. PARKMAN: What we saw was glass. Later on we had to stop and say, well what are we doing here? We really like art, and we liked glass, and we liked a whole raft of things, but we felt like art was too much for us. It was too high flown, it was too expensive. So we said, well what could we do? Even though we're interested in all of art, what could we do, well we could focus. And the focus was on American studio glass. We've always had that focus and a few other things.

MS. OLDKNOW: Well, did you have discussions about that, or was it something you naturally gravitated towards?

DR. PARKMAN: I think we talked about that.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, and we decided that we were not people with a lot of money. Paul worked for the government, and at that time government salaries were not, I don't know what they are now, but they were not really high salaries. One time his salary was frozen for several years at whatever level it was, and a lot of people who had children left the—

[END OF parkma14_1of4_sd_track03]


MRS. PARKMAN: —government because they couldn't afford–  

MS. OLDKNOW: [Affirmative.]


MRS. PARKMAN: —to stay there—

MS. OLDKNOW: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: —on that salary.

MS. OLDKNOW: Sure, and you know—

MRS. PARKMAN: And they moved on.

MS. OLDKNOW: But you didn't have children so you had a little bit of—


MRS. PARKMAN: Absolutely. But we sort of started with the glass in the sense of the old glass, it's in this cabinet here.


MRS. PARKMAN: And so that had initially sparked our interest with—

DR. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: —we had inherited those few pieces and then learned about the old glass and so we kind of continued in that vein. But we would have probably collected everything contemporary—

DR. PARKMAN: If we could have.

MRS. PARKMAN: —if we could have, yeah. Because we were so interested. For example, going back to the Penland trip, Paul– we were so excited we didn't want to forget anything.  These are Paul's notes.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh my god.

DR. PARKMAN: I have my notes, yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: —my drawings. Because, you know—

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh that's fantastic.

MRS. PARKMAN: —it was so exciting.


MRS. PARKMAN: It was so exciting to us.

MS. OLDKNOW: Okay, well, you know what? I just want to say that this– if, for example, if the Archives of American Art does not take your papers, Corning would be very, very interested.

MRS. PARKMAN: I know they would be. At the time when we gave our books to the library we didn't consider Corning because we knew they had the library of record and I worked closely, the two ladies that were in charge of the library–

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, it was Jinny Wright and—


MS. OLDKNOW: Gail Bardhan?

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, Gail was there then. But anyways, I compared– when New Glass Review came out I went faithfully through the bibliography, every single thing and contacted Corning and sometimes they'd Xerox things for me or tell me addresses or something.  So I worked closely to have as many publications as I could.  And I did have. But I didn't consider giving it to Corning because I knew they had it. At that time, which was a long time ago, and I remember talking to the librarian then. I didn't think Corning could handle the archival material. We had been in touch with the Archives, Michael Monroe introduced us to a gal. She was working on her Master's at that time and then went on and got her PhD and she turned out to be acting director, Liza Kirwin, she's still there.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yes, yes. She's great.

MRS. PARKMAN: But we knew Liza way back before she was married, still working on degrees. And we felt the Archives could handle our papers.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh sure.

MRS. PARKMAN: So Liza came and took the material several years ago– give you dates later. But we felt that they could handle that material better, but I think there's material that I didn't promise. I think they have everything that we said we would give them. They want Paul's journals. [We gave the material to the Archives in 2005 and our books to the library in 2004. –EP/PP]

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh sure.

MRS. PARKMAN: They should have, because a lot of its focus is on Washington.

MS. OLDKNOW: Well, as long as a library has them that's great. You know?

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah. That'll be the Archives. Yeah.

MS. OLDKNOW: Because all this material that you have here and all of it—

MRS. PARKMAN: Well this might be available.

MS. OLDKNOW: It's all very, very interesting and wonderful.

MRS. PARKMAN: And I know now that Corning has the means to take care of it.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, they do. We actually are accepting archives from certain places. And we—

MRS. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.] Yeah, so I know you have the Glass Art Society.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yes, we have Heller Gallery and we have—

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh that's wonderful.

MS. OLDKNOW: Some artists are beginning to give their things. So it's really great. We have Marvin Lipofsky's slide library.


DR. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh that's right.

MS. OLDKNOW: You know? So we've been digitizing all that.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh that's wonderful.

MS. OLDKNOW: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: And should be.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah. No, it's all great. So that's good. Just as long as you know that this material is very important.

MRS. PARKMAN: Important. Well, and I guess–

MS. OLDKNOW: Because it's a wonderful record. You know? Most people I know wouldn't have the discipline to really record their memories. That is fantastic.

MRS. PARKMAN: We were just compulsive about and so interested both educationally and just had the sense of keeping things, saving things. Not knowing what would happen to them or why. But just that kind of went along with what Paul was doing, his research into things and keeping good records, which he had to do.

[clock starts to chime]

MS. OLDKNOW: Now Bill Warmus was telling me, at the beginning of the Studio Glass Movement–

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, yes. It must be noontime.


MRS. PARKMAN: We'll stop for lunch in a little while.

MS. OLDKNOW: When the glass first started, they weren't sure this was something that would even continue or go on more than a couple of years.

DR. PARKMAN: Oh, oh yeah.

MS. OLDKNOW: Did you have that feeling? or—

DR. PARKMAN: No. We looked at it and we said "This is something new and we can be in on the ground floor of something that's important and new." We thought it was important. But we thought that it was going to really go places. And although sometimes– I mean, Elmerina never had any doubts about it. Once in a while I worried about it. But, you know, not much. [Laughs.] I really liked it.

MS. OLDKNOW: And you liked it equally.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh yes, yes.

DR. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.]

MS. OLDKNOW: One of you wasn't like "Oh, we've got to get into this" and the other one was like "I don't know." So you both really discovered it together.

MRS. PARKMAN: We did and we both were enthusiastic. I was very lucky because in my glass class in this private home, the women who were there, most of their husbands were not interested. Didn't go any place with it.


MRS. PARKMAN: And Paul was. We've always sort of been interested. We played tennis together for a lot of years. We've kind of done things together for all our lives, so it was because he was interested that this all happened.

MS. OLDKNOW: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: If he wasn't, I probably would not have done very much on my own.

MS. OLDKNOW: You wouldn't have continued with it? Okay.

MRS. PARKMAN: I wouldn't have done that. But he would come home from work and put his briefcase down and maybe– you didn't change, we just turned around and went out. You'll see that when we show you our record. Yeah.

MS. OLDKNOW: At this time were you beginning to meet other collectors at all?

MRS. PARKMAN: Not so much. I had the glass friends and one or two of them were interested in contemporary. We didn't know any of the collectors that we know now. Because they weren't collecting then.

MS. OLDKNOW: Right, yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: The Art Alliance [for Contemporary Glass] didn't exist nor did most of those people were not collecting then. The Barnetts from Wisconsin.


MRS. PARKMAN: He was a physician.

DR. PARKMAN: He was a—

MRS. PARKMAN: Joan and Sheldon Barnett.

DR. PARKMAN: Barnett.

MRS. PARKMAN: They were early supporters of Harvey Littleton and they bought Harvey's work from the beginning and allowed him to continue to work in his own studio outside of teaching.


MRS. PARKMAN: Because he had a place—we never got to Wisconsin to visit him. But– because that was in Madison, wasn't it? Oh no, Harvey was—

MS. OLDKNOW: He was teaching in Madison and he lived in Verona.

MRS. PARKMAN: Verona, okay. The Barnetts were from Milwaukee, I think.

DR. PARKMAN: I think so.

MRS. PARKMAN: So they were early supporters. Sheldon has since died. He's been gone a long time now and Joan, I think, is still around. So they had early work, they were collectors then. It's possible that the Palleys, whom we didn't know, in Florida–


MRS. PARKMAN: —were early collectors too. But we didn't meet them. When we came to Corning's New Glass show and the glass–

DR. PARKMAN: That's when we met.

MRS. PARKMAN: We met the Barnetts.


MRS. PARKMAN: That was very exciting to us. Harvey introduced us, he wanted us to meet Sheldon Barnett. Because—

MS. OLDKNOW: And that was in 19–

MRS. PARKMAN: 1979, yeah.

DR. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: And so we didn't know collectors other than the couple of ladies in my class here that bought some contemporary glass.

MS. OLDKNOW: So would you say that once you went to Corning for Glass 1979 you started expanding your friendships into the larger world of glass collectors? Or was that still a little while off for you?

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, I don't know. I was thinking that the [New Glass: A Worldwide Survey –EP/PP] show was really important. Because we know that the Saxes became collectors—


MRS. PARKMAN: —after seeing that show or knowing about it. It brought some contemporary glass, studio glass to the attention of the world.

MS. OLDKNOW: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: I mean the show traveled every place. It came here to the Renwick and went overseas and all that. That was the really the breaking point as far as expansion was concerned. Many people became aware of it for the first time. Of course, we had been aware of studio glass since– knew about it from 1969. So that was way ahead of that time. But that was really important, what Corning did, to do that show. I think we continued– we spent all our time– Paul has a list of slides that he took. We'll show you the list and the names. We traveled as much as we could to find glass. To go to museum shows—

DR. PARKMAN: We met a lot of other collectors, eventually.

MRS. PARKMAN: Eventually, but I don't think Corning was a major turning point as far as our meeting other collectors or–

DR. PARKMAN: Well we met the Barnetts.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, well—

DR. PARKMAN: And that might have been the first ones. You know?

MRS. PARKMAN: [Laughs.] Yeah.

DR. PARKMAN: [Laughs.] It was sort of reassuring that somebody else had this [Laughs.]

MRS. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.]

DR. PARKMAN: Had this interest.

MS. OLDKNOW: That's what I was thinking.


MS. OLDKNOW: I mean, there you were working kind of all alone.

DR. PARKMAN: I think so.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, there were other collectors of glass in this area that focused on certain parts of old glass.

DR. PARKMAN: Oh yeah, there are a lot of old glass collectors.

MRS. PARKMAN: Old glass collectors.

DR. PARKMAN: Early American Glass Club—


MS. OLDKNOW: Okay, so when the Early American Glass Club people came over and they saw what you were buying, what was their reaction?

DR. PARKMAN: Well, I don't know.

MS. OLDKNOW: They were polite but they didn't understand?

[They laugh.]

DR. PARKMAN: I don't think so. Of course the things that they were interested in, were all the products of glass companies.

MS. OLDKNOW: [Affirmative.]

DR. PARKMAN: So these looked pretty rough to them.

MS. OLDKNOW: [Laughs] Yeah.


DR. PARKMAN: And they were.

[They laugh.]

MRS. PARKMAN: But we gave a lot of talks because we traveled to see shows and we visited artists. We were knowledgeable because we were interested in learning. We went to Penland in September of 1971 and we went to visit Labino in November.



MRS. PARKMAN: We went over Thanksgiving time because Paul could take the day after Thanksgiving off and we would drive out there. We missed Thanksgiving dinner most of the time because we were driving that day, and had peanut butter sandwiches in the car.

MS. OLDKNOW: [laughs]

MRS. PARKMAN: Then we would visit them on Friday and Saturday and drive back on Sunday.

DR. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: And we did that– we visited them several times. Oh yes, here is one– what year was this? Oh, this was our trip.

MS. OLDKNOW: So, okay. Dominick Labino November–

MRS. PARKMAN: Libby wrote out the bill.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh yeah. And so you bought glass when you were there. So were these– would you say these we primarily buying trips for you or learning and buying?

MRS. PARKMAN: Learning, yeah.


MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, okay.

MRS. PARKMAN: It was to meet the artists.

MS. OLDKNOW: [Affirmative.] Yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes. And– well, for Labino, yes we wanted his work and we couldn't find where you could buy it.

MS. OLDKNOW: This was a pretty good sale for him.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well. [Laughs]

[They laugh.]

MS. OLDKNOW: You bought one, two, three, four, five pieces for the grand total of $255.

DR. PARKMAN: [Laughs.]

MRS. PARKMAN: And they paid tax– you know, we had to pay sales tax.

[… –TO]


[… –TO]

DR. PARKMAN: [Laughs.]

MRS. PARKMAN: [Laughs.] Yeah. And so we have an extensive write-up.

MS. OLDKNOW: That's really good.

MRS. PARKMAN: It's not there. I guess that was in a folder of Dominick Labino's.

DR. PARKMAN: Probably

MRS. PARKMAN: And then we gave it to the Archives.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh that's fantastic.

MRS. PARKMAN: But, we were always driven by meeting the artist. By learning and, you know, that's what made it exciting. Going to the class and studying these pieces of work that you didn't know who made them and then after a while, you know. [Laughs.]

DR. PARKMAN: Go talk to Dick that first time and he said—

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, that was– oh, are those your notes about Dick?

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah. He said the picture in Objects: USA made him look like a rabbit.

[They laugh.]

DR. PARKMAN: And I thought "Yeah, he does look like a rabbit in that picture."

[They laugh.]

DR. PARKMAN: He was—

MS. OLDKNOW: Well it must have been fun for you to meet the more eccentric types like Dick.

DR. PARKMAN: It was.


DR. PARKMAN: He showed us his plans for current things he was working on. He had made almost the whole alphabet.



DR. PARKMAN: In murrine rods. [The rods are made of glass. –EP/PP]



DR. PARKMAN: The night before, as well as a heart motif. He gave Elmerina some samples of this. He had made this kind of thing before he went to Murano [in Italy, near Venice –EP/PP] but he learned easier ways of doing it here. Anyway, it was—

MS. OLDKNOW: And of course, he used those to make The Lord's Prayer.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, yes!

DR. PARKMAN: Oh yes, that's right. Yeah, that's when he–

MS. OLDKNOW: So that's, you know, very historic.

DR. PARKMAN: We have an R, actually. We have an R, or we used to.

MRS. PARKMAN: We had it, yeah.

DR. PARKMAN: You sucked it up in the vacuum cleaner.

[They laugh]

MRS. PARKMAN: But I have a heart. [This is the piece we have left. –EP/PP]

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh that's good.


MS. OLDKNOW: Yes, because the words are surrounded by hearts.

DR. PARKMAN: [Laughs.]

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, we have one of those.

MS. OLDKNOW: Did you know that he made two versions of The Lord's Prayer, murrine? One was "Our Father, who art in Heaven" and the other was "Our father, Harold".


DR. PARKMAN: [laughs]

MS. OLDKNOW: Something about Harold because– you know how when you're a kid, you hear things? ["Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name…" –EP/PP]

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, right.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, yes.

MS. OLDKNOW: And you misinterpret.

DR. PARKMAN: [Laughs.] Right, yeah.

MS. OLDKNOW: He used to think that God's name was Harold.

[They laugh.]

[… –TO]


MS. OLDKNOW: "Our father Harold in heaven" instead of "who art in heaven" or however he did that. It was so funny. But how great that you saw [him and those letters –EP/PP], murrine.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, and the thing was, this trip to Penland coincidentally– I mean whoever was there we would have met. But it turned out to be George Thiewes, who isn't working anymore. He did, for a number of years but he's not in the scene now. But Mark Peiser is and Dick Marquis.


MRS. PARKMAN: I mean it could have been anybody that was teaching there and it just turned out to be—

DR. PARKMAN: We were lucky


MRS. PARKMAN: We were lucky.

MS. OLDKNOW: That's great.

MRS. PARKMAN: And as I said, there were pieces of Fritz and we knew about Fritz for a long time. He lived in this area for a while. He had a—

DR. PARKMAN: Girlfriend.

MRS. PARKMAN: —a girlfriend here.

MS. OLDKNOW: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: So we got to know him and when we went to North Carolina Glass then he had a girlfriend there at one time too. He always did a pig roast. You know?

MS. OLDKNOW: I know, that was his specialty.

MRS. PARKMAN: [Laughs.] So that was really fun. That was really wonderful. But—you know, what really brought studio glass to the attention of the world, made many other people interested in collecting it was New Glass: A Worldwide Survey.

MS. OLDKNOW: Had you heard about Haystack [Mountain School of Crafts] or Pilchuck [Glass School] eventually?

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes. Oh we went to Haystack.

MS. OLDKNOW: You went to Haystack?

MRS. PARKMAN: Of course.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, okay.

MRS. PARKMAN: We wanted to watch Dale Chihuly blow.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh good, good.

MRS. PARKMAN: So we did.

DR. PARKMAN: And that was when?

MRS. PARKMAN: You have your slides, I'll have to look and see what year. And Joey and Flora were there. [July 1985 –EP/PP]

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh. [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: But we made that trip because that's two days from—

MS. OLDKNOW: So that was after 1979, because Flora and Joey met in 1979, I think.

MRS. PARKMAN: We need to get the list of pictures. [Dr. Parkman indexed a file of slides he had taken. –EP/PP]

MS. OLDKNOW: I have to check that.

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah the list of—

[… –TO]

MRS. PARKMAN: But that was very exciting to watch them work and to visit Haystack. It was very different from Penland but the excitement of watching Dale– we knew about him. We met Dale—well that's all another story I guess.

MS. OLDKNOW: You can tell it.

MRS. PARKMAN: We met Dale in 1979 at the Glass Art Society Meeting in Corning, New York. Well we had bought the goblet already from Craftsmen of Chelsea Court. The one that he signed "Carpenter and Chihuly". We didn't meet him then but he had a show. Michael Monroe was the curator for it and I'll go up and get the brochure. There was only a brochure for it and it was called [Baskets and Cylinders: Recent Glass by Dale Chihuly. –EP/PP]

MS. OLDKNOW: [Affirmative.]

DR. PARKMAN: Recent [Glass –EP/PP] by Dale Chihuly.

MRS. PARKMAN: And the show was just wonderful.

DR. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: It was beautifully installed. You have slides of the installation there.

DR. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: We learned from that, sometimes some of the pieces in an exhibition were available to purchase.

DR. PARKMAN: For sale. Who would have thought?

[They laugh.]

MRS. PARKMAN: For sale. They weren't lent by somebody and the museum didn't own them and I forgot what the label said. But anyways, we learned that.

MS. OLDKNOW: What museum was it this at? That you learned this?

DR. PARKMAN: This was the Renwick.

MRS. PARKMAN: Renwick Gallery.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, at the Renwick Gallery?


MS. OLDKNOW: Now had you been going to the Renwick for some time by now?

MRS. PARKMAN: Since it opened, of course.

MS. OLDKNOW: Okay, great.

DR. PARKMAN: 1972, yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: [Laughs.] Every program, every lecture that was there. It didn't matter what the artist was talking about, we went to the Renwick.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh really?

MRS. PARKMAN: We heard Massimo Vignelli.

MS. OLDKNOW: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: We heard every artist who you could think of as major artists at that time, because it was called the Master Craftsman Lecture Series.

DR. PARKMAN: And it was all media.

MRS. PARKMAN: It was all media.

DR. PARKMAN: It wasn't focused on glass necessarily.

MRS. PARKMAN: And we went. You know we wanted to learn. It didn't matter.

MS. OLDKNOW: Fantastic, you must have been super excited when the Renwick opened in 1972.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well it was very exciting.

DR. PARKMAN: Yes, [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: They had a lot of international shows at that time.

MS. OLDKNOW: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: Not just focused on American like it is now. But anyways, so we learned that– we saw all the pieces in the show and there was another piece we liked a lot but we weren't sure we could light it well enough at that time. We didn't have the track lighting in or all these cabinets. I think the Saxes ended up buying that piece. But anyways– so we said to Michael "Well, you know, we'd like to buy that piece, what do we do?" and he said, "You know, the museum doesn't get involved in anything like that." That you have to contact the artist.

MS. OLDKNOW: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: So we said "okay." So we went to Corning for New Glass show and Glass Art Society meeting and Dale Chihuly was there. He was walking by, so we went down and– we were sitting on the bleachers waiting for the talk, whatever talk was going to happen next. We introduced ourselves and we said, "Oh, you have a show at the Renwick and we'd like to buy Basket No. 2." I think I said something really foolish like "Do you know which one that is?"

[They laugh]

MRS. PARKMAN: Because I wanted to be sure that he had the right basket. And not all of them were for sale.

DR. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: There were some pieces that were for sale. I said "What do we have to do?" He said "Send me a check."

[They laugh.]

MRS. PARKMAN: And I have the check—

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh you do?

MRS. PARKMAN: —with his signature on the back.


MRS. PARKMAN: Actually, I guess we made it in two installments. And—


MRS. PARKMAN: I guess to secure it and then when we got the piece.


MRS. PARKMAN: So he made up the checks to him, he signed them on the back "Dale Chihuly", both names. The piece was not signed so we went down to the Renwick when the show was over and they had saved the piece for us in the Registrar's Office and Paul has a picture. I think you mostly see Dale's head bending over–

DR. PARKMAN: Signing it.

MRS. PARKMAN: And I'm standing there watching him signing the bowl.

[They laugh.]

MRS. PARKMAN: Brown Basket No. 2. [We have always referred to it as Brown Basket No. 2; however, the correct name of the piece is Brown Basket with Applied Glass Drawing 1978. –EP/PP]

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, a lot of the early pieces he did not sign.



MS. OLDKNOW: So, yeah, that's very common for him.

MRS. PARKMAN: So that was the beginning of a wonderful, wonderful friendship.


MS. OLDKNOW: Oh that's great.

MRS. PARKMAN: Dale– we've had many other stories of Dale to tell, which we will later on. But he—

DR. PARKMAN: But an artist who has people who liked his work well enough to buy a piece, you know, it makes a special impression.


DR. PARKMAN: And he's always remembered us, always treated us marvelously.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, he's a wonderful friend.

MS. OLDKNOW: That's fantastic.

MRS. PARKMAN: And that's the thing about the– that's why we collect contemporary. Because you have these friendships, you know the people. They know you. And, you know, what can–

MS. OLDKNOW: And now you've known them for 30 years.

DR. PARKMAN: I know. [Laughs.]

MS. OLDKNOW: I mean, you know, 35.

[They laugh.]

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, so, what could be more exciting than that? Our lives have really been very much art-filled since we became focused and interested in collecting. It was just– you know, these things just kind of happened by chance. It's made our lives very interesting and exciting and focused.

I mean, I'll show you the list. We need to get some folders. I need to bring some things downstairs so we have materials that we can talk about. I mean, listening to this people can't see it.


MRS. PARKMAN: But we can describe it and tell you about it.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh no, it's wonderful. These are fantastic stories and I love hearing about your enthusiasm. To me, you know– we were talking about the Golden Age of studio craft in the '70s and the '80s and that excitement was really part of that.


MS. OLDKNOW: This constant newness. I mean people were really developing things all the time.


MRS. PARKMAN: Oh I know. What has happened in all these years.



MS. OLDKNOW: In the early days, like in the '70s or even the '80s when you were looking at things, do you remember being really surprised by any new technique you saw. Or what did you think about Mark Peiser's work? I mean you probably had a pretty good idea about how things were made, right? Because you watched people work.


DR. PARKMAN: We watched a lot and we tried to understand what was going on. And so we did that. [Laughs.]

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh no. I'm just trying to get some of those memories from that time.


MS. OLDKNOW: But I love all of your wonderful documentation.

DR. PARKMAN: Oh yeah, she–

MS. OLDKNOW: And it sounds like you took all your vacation time and any time you could–


DR. PARKMAN: Oh we did. We spent a lot of effort—

MRS. PARKMAN: The places we went– Yeah. Paul put stickers on things that are important, you see. There's a sticker on almost every page.


[They laugh.]

DR. PARKMAN: There's not a sticker on every page.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well some of these up here, you know– oh, this show, Tom McGlauchlin.


MRS. PARKMAN: We knew Tom, what a great guy he was. He was the one who sent me one or two Toledo Glass National catalogs.


DR. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: Because he had extra copies. The other thing he sent me, and I might not have it anymore because when we gave our archival material to the Archives [Archives of American Art] I gave her all the artists' folders.

MS. OLDKNOW: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: Any material we had collected. The correspondence with the Labinos and Bess Littleton would always write to us at Christmas time. Dick Marquis we corresponded with and Marvin—so all those files are gone. But I remember that I had a lot of write-ups about the first trip to the Labinos. I think that was gone–it was all so exciting to us that we just wanted to remember it forever. So that material is not available but I still have quite a few other records and other material that I can bring down and show you. But the trips.

DR. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: And the trips that we made. Yeah.

MS. OLDKNOW: [… –TO] So how long–have you been making those trips pretty much non-stop all this time? Or did you have one particular period of time that was really much more active in terms of you going out and finding artists and going to conferences like– you still go to all the conferences and you got to all the events.

DR. PARKMAN: Lots of them, yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah. We went to all the Glass Art Society conferences. We joined GAS in 1979.

MS. OLDKNOW: Have you been to all of them?



MRS. PARKMAN: We did in the beginning.

DR. PARKMAN: Five of the first six, I think we went to, but I'm not sure.

MRS. PARKMAN: We continued going because we always thought that was a place to meet artists.


MRS. PARKMAN: And hear them speak.

MS. OLDKNOW: Absolutely.

DR. PARKMAN: Oh yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: We always felt that was why we went: to learn. You know? We never felt that it [GAS –TO] was just for the glass artists, we always felt it was for anybody.

MS. OLDKNOW: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: But anyways– that was why we went year after year, as many times as we could. The one big disappointment, I always wanted to go to Kent State because of Henry Halem.


MRS. PARKMAN: Paul had either a meeting or something. We couldn't go to it.

DR. PARKMAN: Couldn't make it.

MRS. PARKMAN: Couldn't make that one. I think probably I should get the material in the catalogs as we talk about some of these things.


DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, I think that would help.

MRS. PARKMAN: That will make it a little more coherent.

MS. OLDKNOW: Okay and, you know, I just have about 20 more minutes on this disc and I'd like to keep going until it's done and then we can take a break.


MS. OLDKNOW: But you– we were going to go back and talk a little bit about the Textile Museum. You were saying that was a big turning point for you.

MRS. PARKMAN: That was when I became really interested in doing, I think, more– that was when I first volunteered.


MRS. PARKMAN: I mean, by–

MS. OLDKNOW: And that was 1974?

MRS. PARKMAN: '74, yes because the Renwick Alliance was not founded. We met in 1981 for a whole year before that organization was founded. So '74, I was doing needlepoint– and the museum shop there had beautiful yarns. I still have a lot of them because I haven't finished my projects.

[They laugh.]

MS. OLDKNOW: I know, I know.

MRS. PARKMAN: But they had a wonderful selection of yarns in their little shop. We had started– I don't know what took us to the museum in the first place because there was nothing contemporary there. It was a collection–

DR. PARKMAN: Oh it was the– you knew about the textile.

MRS. PARKMAN: The shop, yeah.

DR. PARKMAN: The shop, yeah, and the yarn and all.

MRS. PARKMAN: But they didn't have any contemporary textiles. None of that.

DR. PARKMAN: No, I know, but.

MRS. PARKMAN: But anyways, we always loved—you can see the Oriental rugs and these– not important ones like the museum [Textile Museum –EP/PP] has in its collection. But we were interested in textiles and I don't remember how or when we became interested in the museum. When I went to buy my yarns– I don't think it was but one or two visits to the shop– and the lady there said "How would you like to volunteer here?"-

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh really?

MRS. PARKMAN: -in the shop and I said, "Oh," because that was a new idea. The shop was entirely staffed by volunteers. She was the only paid– she was the manager of the museum shop and had wonderful taste in what she had in the shop. The rest of us all had a day, however often we had it. Everybody was very faithful about coming for that day in the shop, when you were there to make the sales and help out. That was my first experience there and I was in the shop for a couple of years. I had a serious major operation at that point, so it was another kind of low point for a while until I started recovering.

MS. OLDKNOW: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: I have survived for 40 years, so that's good.

[They laugh.]

MS. OLDKNOW: You have a lot of energy. Both you and Paul.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, yeah.

DR. PARKMAN: Miraculous.

MRS. PARKMAN: It was a miraculous that I lived. Anyways, so then I thought I'd like to be a docent at the museum.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, okay.

MRS. PARKMAN: I joined the docent program and still volunteered in the shop. But I joined and I did tours with another friend of mine, we did them together. But I never felt I knew enough. You know? Some of the docents were Foreign Service officers' wives and they had lived in these countries.

They really knew a lot about the society and the people and the makings of these textiles. So I always felt kind of insecure about giving a tour. Because I thought I had to know everything, of course. [Laughs.] Like when you're trying to learn in class, you know?

MS. OLDKNOW: Sure, sure.

MRS. PARKMAN: So I worked with a gal who was in charge of the docents and of the public programming and we decided that maybe I could work on tour development instead of actually giving the tours. I could try to get people to come into the museum for tours. So I did that and we invited professional tour companies here to come and have wine and cheese, and to tell them about the museum. And so I did that, it was a little bit successful. It was really hard to get people to come. The museum wasn't a Smithsonian museum, it wasn't on the mall. It was on a part of– a wonderful part where embassy residences were and chanceries were.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh beautiful.

DR. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah. On S Street. It was in a private home at the beginning and there were two buildings. The collector of these, George Hewitt Myers, had the museum [Textile Museum –EP/PP] started in his home. [… –EP/PP] He owned that building, so he made those two buildings into a museum. It was renovated later on and even looked more like a museum then. But anyways– I did tour development. I worked on—oh, I have my information here. I did a lot of things. It was surprising, even when I look back at it. I volunteered in the museum shop '74 to '76, and I was a docent. I did tour development, I was called the director of tour development. I initiated the first exhibitions schedule brochure. I helped to establish an extensive mailing list of groups or organizations that we knew of that might bring people to the Textile Museum.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh. [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: I continued there until I became president of the [James] Renwick Alliance in [1984– 1984 to '86. –EP/PP] I could not do both things because when I became president of the Renwick Alliance, there was no staff. Everything that was done was done by–

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, we did ourselves.

MRS. PARKMAN: We did ourselves.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, okay.

MRS. PARKMAN: We did have a treasurer and she did take care of the checks and she had an accountant that helped her so that all the records were right. Somebody else was secretary, but as president I had to write the fundraising letter that we sent out to our members and signed them. And then, as president we had to fold the letters.

[They laugh]

MRS. PARKMAN: Put them in the envelopes and put–

DR. PARKMAN: Stamps on.

MRS. PARKMAN: Stamps on. We did that on the way to Upstate New York at Christmas time on the way to–

MS. OLDKNOW: In the car

DR. PARKMAN: [Laughs.]

MRS. PARKMAN: In the car.

MS. OLDKNOW: With peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

MRS. PARKMAN: And we stopped in Lawrence, Pennsylvania and dropped off 300 letters.

[They laugh]

DR. PARKMAN: Biggest mailing ever in Lawrence.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh my god.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes. So I dropped out of the Textile Museum, but–

MS. OLDKNOW: Well that gave you something to do during the 11-hour car trip to Upstate New York

MRS. PARKMAN: [Laughs.] It did. But that was my initiation into volunteering in a museum. And then this spilled over into our founding of the Renwick Alliance, as I said. The reason–– well let me go back to the Textile Museum. So I dropped out of the museum. I couldn't be the docent. I couldn't do all those volunteer things because they took too much time. But then in a later time period– maybe, eight or 10 years later, a friend of ours who was a trustee of the museum asked if I would like to be on their New Horizons Committee. That was the committee that met once a month with the director of the museum and we tried to plan outreach to get the new events or tours to private collections or to another museum, or I guess collectors of early materials to visit and see other collections. It was trying to figure out something to do to bring in more people to the museum. But much–

MS. OLDKNOW: Now this was the Textile Museum?

MRS. PARKMAN: Still the Textile Museum, but it was called the New Horizons Committee. I'm still on it. [Laughs.]

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh you are? [Laughs.]

MRS. PARKMAN: That brought me back into the Textile Museum. Then they have an advisory council so I served on that. The limit was six years and then when I had to go off for a year–

DR. PARKMAN: I served on it.

MRS. PARKMAN: Paul served on it for the next six years and now I'm back on the advisory council.


MRS. PARKMAN: But they had something called Museum Day, they still have it. Paul became interested in the museum because everything we did, we did together.

DR. PARKMAN: Moth-eaten old rugs. I developed a taste for moth-eaten old rugs.

MS. OLDKNOW: [Laughs.]

MRS. PARKMAN: So we started going to what they called Rug Morning. He heard someone speak, I think her name was Holly, and she gave a talk. She was so animated and excited about whatever topic she was talking about–

DR. PARKMAN: Whatever it was.

MRS. PARKMAN: It changed Paul's mind. He never talked about moth-eaten old rugs after that.

[They laugh.]

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh good. That's excellent.

MRS. PARKMAN: It converted him to a fan of the Textile Museum.

MS. OLDKNOW: Ah-ha, okay.

MRS. PARKMAN: So, of course, we went to all the events there and we gave money– there was something called Museum Day, the first Saturday of [June every year –EP/PP]. I think now they have it for two days. And, remember, you paying for the balloons for the kids when they came to–

DR. PARKMAN: Oh yeah. I inflated the balloons.

MRS. PARKMAN: You inflated the balloons in the first year. [Laughs.]

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh my god.

DR. PARKMAN: And I tell you me, my fingers were sore.

[They laugh]

DR. PARKMAN: That was– I guess the days before they– before they had the little clips you could put on them. You had to actually tie them.

MS. OLDKNOW: You had to actually tie them?

MRS. PARKMAN: He always matched the color. If it was girls he gave her a pink balloon, if it was a boy, of course a blue balloon.

DR. PARKMAN: [Laughs.]

MRS. PARKMAN: So then we got involved with helping out with their Museum Day. I think we provided the money for the balloons for several years in a row.


MRS. PARKMAN: You know, we–

MS. OLDKNOW: And the breath.

DR. PARKMAN: [Laughs.]

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes. [Laughs.] So we got involved more with the Textile Museum. Not that that took away as far as the Renwick Alliance was concerned, but it was just something else that we did that was fun. But now much has changed. The advisory council is very different from the things we did in the beginning.

MS. OLDKNOW: Sure. As institutions develop, your role changes.

MRS. PARKMAN: Exactly, yeah. But we're still very fond of the museum and the museum has become part of George Washington University that didn't have a museum of its own.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, okay.

MRS. PARKMAN: So the Textile Museum contains a collection and they still will have exhibitions and all but it will be integrated more with George Washington University. I think, maybe, the university will have some of their events there or do something.

DR. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.] I think to the advantage of the Textile Museum.


MS. OLDKNOW: Oh yes.

DR. PARKMAN: Not only do they make it financially possible but they have lots of potential. They have kids, you know, and students.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, yeah.

MS. OLDKNOW: Sure, sure. Around campus.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh its alumni. I mean, people will now know about the Textile Museum.

DR. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.]

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah. It's great.

MRS. PARKMAN: And George Washington's [University –EP/PP] part of it was to build the museum and they have, it's absolutely gorgeous.

DR. PARKMAN: Beautiful.

MRS. PARKMAN: It hasn't opened yet.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, okay.

MRS. PARKMAN: This is the date we're worried about. [We were worried because of the conflict with the Corning Museum of Glass new wing opening. –EP/PP]

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh okay.

DR. PARKMAN: [Laughs.]

MRS. PARKMAN: March, yeah.

MS. OLDKNOW: Okay, so we'll just have to figure that out. But will they be doing contemporary textiles?

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, they finally—

DR. PARKMAN: I think they will now.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes they have– a good friend of ours who told us about DeCarlo's Restaurant–

MS. OLDKNOW: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: She is their curator of contemporary textiles.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, excellent.

MRS. PARKMAN: They don't have much, if any, of a collection of contemporary textiles. But what she does [is arrange –EP/PP] contemporary exhibitions for them.

MS. OLDKNOW: Excellent.

MRS. PARKMAN: She's a consultant and whenever there's a contemporary show, she's the person who does it there. Because of the talk and moving a little bit into the contemporary, we've heard fiber artists give talks there.

MS. OLDKNOW: Sure. Oh good.

MRS. PARKMAN: Contemporary artists. So they didn't have as extensive a program as the Renwick did when they had their Master Craftsmen lecture series. But they did bring in–we met Jack Lenor Larson through that.

MS. OLDKNOW: Sure, sure.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, he's the trustee emeritus and Sheila Hicks is too, emeritus now. They were both trustees. And Gerhardt Knodel, do you know– he was the director of Cranbrook [Academy of Art] later on. He was a fiber artist from the time we met him.

DR. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: He's now a trustee of the Textile Museum. Being on the advisory council a long time ago, I met Bruce Baganz, who is the president of the Board of Trustees of the Textile Museum. He is the person that has really made a difference. Saved the textile–

DR. PARKMAN: He sort of saved the Textile Museum.

MRS. PARKMAN: Saved the Textile Museum from going under.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, yes.

MRS. PARKMAN: Then worked hard to develop–

DR. PARKMAN: Bring all these changes about.

MRS. PARKMAN: —at the George Washington University, yeah.

MS. OLDKNOW: Okay, that's great. That's great.

MRS. PARKMAN: He saved it. As opposed to the Corcoran, which couldn't be saved as it was. I mean, we knew– I've forgotten her first name. Is it Peggy Loar?

DR. PARKMAN: Peggy Loar.

MRS. PARKMAN: Peggy Loar. She was the head of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service– SITES.

MS. OLDKNOW: Right, I remember her.

DR. PARKMAN: A long time ago.

MRS. PARKMAN: Long time ago. She came on as the acting director and acting president of the Board of Trustees of the Corcoran. We believe she probably did everything she could to save the Corcoran as it was and it just couldn't be done. The people that were known, people who had philanthropic funds to spend money in this area– we've always been surprised that nobody stepped up. You know?

MS. OLDKNOW: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: Contributed the funds that were needed to save the Corcoran as it was. So she went ahead with this, part of it will be George Washington University. The school will be part, and that's wonderful.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yes, I do know that.

MRS. PARKMAN: And the National Gallery of Art.

DR. PARKMAN: National Gallery will have the collection.


MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, okay.

MRS. PARKMAN: And there will be a section that will be the Corcoran.

DR. PARKMAN: They will always have some paintings.


MRS. PARKMAN: I think that was probably the best that could be done for the Corcoran.

DR. PARKMAN: The Corcoran is essentially disappeared.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, yes. [… –TO]

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah. The very last show there is Albert Paley [American Metal: The Art of Albert Paley –EP/PP] and it's a fabulous show. It's a retrospective and– what a genius.

MS. OLDKNOW: I know.

MRS. PARKMAN: What a genius. It was interesting because he won the commission to do the– they're called The Portal Gates, not the Renwick Gates, for the Renwick Gallery. And he was making jewelry at that time. [Laughs.]


MRS. PARKMAN: So here he was submitting these drawings for these gates.

MS. OLDKNOW: Isn't that incredible?

DR. PARKMAN: [Laughs.]

MRS. PARKMAN: I said to him "Albert, did you ever think you– could you do it?" and you know, he said "Oh, you know." He knew he could do it.

DR. PARKMAN: He had no problem. [Laughs.]

MRS. PARKMAN: Knew he could do it. Two years it took him. He probably didn't have the money to– you know, for the equipment.

DR. PARKMAN: Well, with the commission he probably got the money to get them.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well he probably didn't get all the money right [at the beginning –EP/PP]. I don't know how the money worked out. But anyways–

MS. OLDKNOW: He still must've had to alter his processes, I mean, to be working so big and all that kind of stuff.


MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah. Those gates are just the most beautiful things. They–

MS. OLDKNOW: They are incredible and they make the building—you know?

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh yes, and Albany has something sort of similar. I love that work. I think–

MS. OLDKNOW: I think we need to stop now.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh good, we'll have lunch.


MS. OLDKNOW: And take a break and we will return with the Renwick-


[END OF parkma14_1of14_sd_track04_r]


MS. OLDKNOW: This is Tina Oldknow interviewing Elmerina and Paul Parkman on September 24, 2014, disc number two.  

So I think now we're going to start talking about the James Renwick Alliance—which you've been very involved in and, in fact, were instrumental in establishing at the Renwick.

MRS. PARKMAN: I think that it came about in 1981, as I said. Earlier, we mentioned that we've gone to every event at the Renwick that we could. And they had a Master Craftsmen Lecture Series, which was funded, I think, by the Smithsonian Women's Committee. Lloyd [Herman] had lost the funding for that, and maybe he had funding from other sources as well for that lecture series. And so he—

DR. PARKMAN: They dried up.

MRS. PARKMAN: They dried up, yeah. He mentioned to a mutual friend of ours, who had been president of the board of Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, about a possibility of forming a Friends of the Renwick Committee or something where money could be raised to help support lectures and acquisitions and things at the Renwick Gallery. So Charlie Gailis is the person he spoke to. And Charlie put together a very small—we were 11 people. Then we expanded by a few more—three more people after the initial meeting or so. And this was 1981. We think probably Lloyd suggested us because he saw us sitting in the front seat all the time.

MS. OLDKNOW: Okay, so you did not have a formal relationship with the Renwick or anything.


MS. OLDKNOW: He just suggested you because he saw you there and had met you?

MRS. PARKMAN: At that time, no, there was no formal—

DR. PARKMAN: Yes, there was no formal association with them.

MRS. PARKMAN: And we assumed—I mean, we knew Charlie, because we would see him at all the craft events, the galleries that existed at that—

DR. PARKMAN: Openings.

MRS. PARKMAN: —and openings. But we thought maybe it was Lloyd that suggested us or the two of them. And then there was people who were in the hand-set printing business that—Jean and John Michael. Eleanor and Sam Rosenfeld, I don't know whether they were involved with Haystack at that time. They might have been.

DR. PARKMAN: Might have.

MRS. PARKMAN: Eleanor had taken classes there and Sam, too. Then there was Ruth Jamison, who gave a piece, a fiber piece, to the Renwick Gallery, and she was a single person, so she was on the committee. Charlie and Ann, his wife, who was a lawyer at that point, she was the one that drafted the bylaws—

MS. OLDKNOW: [Affirmative.], great.

MRS. PARKMAN: —which were borrowed from some other organization [Laughs.]—

DR. PARKMAN: [Laughs.]

MRS. PARKMAN: —for us. And let me think—oh, was that it?

DR. PARKMAN: I guess Ron Abramson came in in the second wave.

MRS. PARKMAN: They came in in the second wave, yeah.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, okay.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, when we had the very first couple of meetings. Let me get this here, to refresh my—so I have it right. And yeah, the Abramsons' names are down, John and Jean-Michael. That was it. And Lloyd Herman ex officio. He attended every single meeting that we had faithfully, and we had a meeting at his home at one point. So we met at each other's houses so we could see each other's collections. And we had dinner together, and it was really—

DR. PARKMAN: Talked about grand plans and—

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, good.

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, it was very easy then [Laughs.].

MS. OLDKNOW: [Affirmative.], sure, because you didn't have any—

DR. PARKMAN: Anything to do.

MS. OLDKNOW: —sort of competition. There was nothing like it, really.

DR. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: And it was a new form of—

DR. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: —a support organization. The Smithsonian was not interested in having us officially part of the Smithsonian.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, okay.

MRS. PARKMAN: The Women's Committee is part, officially.

MS. OLDKNOW: Of the Smithsonian, okay.

MRS. PARKMAN: It is, yes. They have a staff person who is the liaison with the Women's Committee and they do the craft shows.

MS. OLDKNOW: Okay, I see.


MS. OLDKNOW: So the Renwick Alliance is not really formally related to the Smithsonian?


DR. PARKMAN: No, we have our own separate 501(c)3.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, okay. Okay, that's good to know.

MRS. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.] And the reason for that is because, one, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History had an unfortunate—

DR. PARKMAN: Unfortunate episode.


DR. PARKMAN: —curator of gems and minerals—

MRS. PARKMAN: At that museum.

DR. PARKMAN: —at that museum—he grew a magnificent gem collection. But the thing about it was that—well, he had the big party for all of the people involved in this gem thing. And they, unfortunately, invited the young woman from The Washington Post. So she sat next to a guy who was expansively telling her about how it worked. You know, you went to Brazil, you bought a bag full of emeralds, you came back, and they were accessioned into the museum. And then a year and a day after that, they were deaccessioned. The money, of course, went to the museum so you could buy more gems, except the gems that they brought back were not high-quality stuff.  They were just, you know, ordinary, run-of-the-mill—and so it was not really on the up and up.

MS. OLDKNOW: Right. [Laughs.] No, it was not, [Negative.]

DR. PARKMAN: It wasn't good museum practice.


DR. PARKMAN: And so he explained this to her in some detail.


DR. PARKMAN: So, of course, she went—quickly wrote it all down, and it appeared in the newspapers.


DR. PARKMAN: And there's a big stink about it.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, yeah. Ouch.

DR. PARKMAN: Oh, yeah. So that was the Smithsonian—

MRS. PARKMAN: That was the end of the council.

[They laugh]

DR. PARKMAN: That was the end of the Smithsonian's experience with that. It led them not to want to be in the newspapers again.

MRS. PARKMAN: [Laughs.]

MS. OLDKNOW: That was it, no more councils. Yeah.

DR. PARKMAN: No more. And so this ragtag bunch of crafts collectors, they weren't, you know—they didn't want to be really—

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, right.

DR. PARKMAN: —they didn't want to get into trouble again—

MS. OLDKNOW: And, you know, contemporary things—whatever they thought.




DR. PARKMAN: Yeah. So, anyway…

MRS. PARKMAN: So but so we've talked about forming this organization to support the Renwick, a membership organization. For a year—and then we got the bylaws, and Ron Abramson was a lawyer with tax experience so he was the one who was about to get us the 501(c)3. Ann, Charlie's wife, wrote up the bylaws, as I said. We had a meeting—I think it was at Lloyd's house maybe—where we elected Charlie Gailis, who brought us all together, as president, and Eleanor [Rosenfeld] was vice president, and I was secretary and—I've forgotten who was—maybe Ruth Jamison was treasurer. [… –EP/PP] Then we were official. It was 1982—March 17th, 1982—that we became official.

DR. PARKMAN: [Laughs.]

MRS. PARKMAN: We were very busy, you know, as a brand new organization. And we had not had any experiences with organizations. But we spent a lot of time trying to be helpful and writing up plans and letters to try and get people to join our organization. And we—

MS. OLDKNOW: If you are a member of the Renwick, are you automatically a member? No, you have to be separately a member of the James Renwick Alliance?

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes and the Renwick is not there. You have—

DR. PARKMAN: We are its—

MS. OLDKNOW: Membership?

DR. PARKMAN: —membership.


MRS. PARKMAN: For the Renwick Alliance.

DR. PARKMAN: The Renwick [Gallery] has no separate membership. Perhaps I should say we grew to be their outside support organization. Exclusively.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, yes. Yes, and we now have a memorandum of agreement that says we are their support organization. And that the funds we raise—there's a table of how the money we raise and what they—

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, we have a formal agreement.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, we have a formal agreement with the…

MS. OLDKNOW: And how many members does the Renwick Alliance have now?

MRS. PARKMAN: I think we have 400. I'm not sure of the numbers—400 or 500.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, wow.

DR. PARKMAN: Four or five hundred.


MRS. PARKMAN: But, you know, we grew slowly in the beginning, and at the end of two years, Charlie was worn out. He didn't want to be—he was president for two years, and that was the term. And he didn't want to continue. Well, the bylaws say just one term anyways. I was willing to be president then. We were just this small group of people, 11 people. So I became president in 1984 to '86.

And so at that point—we still were working on increasing our members and we worked closely with the Renwick Gallery with Lloyd. I worked with Lloyd. I talked with him a lot of the time. I don't know that we had a lot of programs then, by ourselves. We did start the trips, and members like to go on trips. We found that out very quickly in our first trip to Richmond.

Lloyd suggested—he was the one that suggested that the Women's Committee have a craft show to raise money for the Smithsonian. And they've been very successful with that. With us, we were the membership organization that would help fund his lectures and acquisitions and so on. So the first year—not 1982, but a year later—we had our first event that we now call Spring Craft Weekend. This was a four-day event that we had. It was co-sponsored with the [Smithsonian National Associates Travel Program and Resident Associate Program –EP/PP]. This meant that we had access—that they were able to help publicize the program.

And it was their program. They planned a lot of it. They could bring in people from—and we did. We had people from across the United States through the [National Associates Travel Program –EP/PP] come in for this lecture series that we had. They visited collections. The people who came to see our collections. We had the speakers, the secretary [of the Smithsonian –EP/PP] spoke, and I have the program upstairs. I was wondering if I should get that to show the brochure of all the events we had for this weekend of events for a brand new organization. I had the experience of working closely with the Smithsonian then. It was a very new experience for me.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, sure, that's great.

MRS. PARKMAN: We did not make a lot of money on that event because it was co-sponsored. What we learned from that was that both organizations at the Smithsonian have expenses, and they have to pay expenses for their staff and for the rooms that they have, the offices and everything. So it was not a major fundraising event for us. We were the volunteers, so we didn't earn a lot from that weekend. But we co-sponsored it again, and the first one was called "Crafts Today". It was a seminar. And then the next one was "Glorious Glass" that we again cosponsored with the [Smithsonian National Associates Travel Program and the Resident Associate Program –EP/PP].

DR. PARKMAN: The other thing about the first one—

MRS. PARKMAN: I'm going to get that—

DR. PARKMAN:  is we had our first sort of craft weekend. It wasn't called that then. We had the first seminar—


DR. PARKMAN: —that had—

MRS. PARKMAN: I'm going to get that book.

DR. PARKMAN: [Laughs.]

MRS. PARKMAN: Because it shows the program, the flier that they sent out across the United States for their members. You know, they had a lot of members.

DR. PARKMAN: They had lots of members. They had—

MS. OLDKNOW: The Smithsonian had lots of members. Yeah.


DR. PARKMAN: The thing I'm trying to get to is—we sponsored this event that was a symposium on connoisseurship and collecting. Okay? And we had on the panel—well, of course there's Charlie Gailis, Lloyd Herman, and Joan Mondale.

MS. OLDKNOW: [Affirmative.] That's great.

DR. PARKMAN: [Laughs.] And—

MS. OLDKNOW: Were you on the panel, you and Elmerina?

DR. PARKMAN: No, no, no. We were [Laughs.]—we were not.

MRS. PARKMAN: I didn't give all the title of it so—

DR. PARKMAN: Oh, you got it.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah. [Mrs. Parkman reads. –EP/PP] So it was called "Crafts Today: The 1983 National Forum on Connoisseurship and Collecting", an impressive title.

MS. OLDKNOW: Great, wonderful time to do it.

MRS. PARKMAN: And they had—yes. And as I said, I have—

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, so this was a real conference.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, it was.

DR. PARKMAN: Oh, yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: And here it was in their newsletter.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, that's great.

MRS. PARKMAN: And here [in a photo –EP/PP] is the secretary, S. Dillon Ripley, speaking. Here's Lloyd Herman. This is Joan Mondale.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, that's great.

MRS. PARKMAN: And Bob Pfannebecker [a collector –EP/PP]—

DR. PARKMAN: Oh, Bob Pfannebecker, yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: —who has an impressive collection.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, yeah, sure. I remember him. Yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, my. Then here we are. Oh, this was the glass one with Paul Gardner [curator emeritus and consultant, Smithsonian Institution –EP/PP]. I think that's Bill Warmus [assistant curator, 20th-Century Glass, Corning Museum of Glass –EP/PP].

MS. OLDKNOW: Yes, that is.

MRS. PARKMAN: [Laughs.]

DR. PARKMAN: What year was that?

[… –TO]

MRS. PARKMAN: That was the next year.

MS. OLDKNOW: A long time ago. That's for sure.

MRS. PARKMAN: The next year. And—

MS. OLDKNOW: Look at him.

MRS. PARKMAN: Jonathan Fairbanks [curator, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Jack Lenor Larsen, collector and fabric designer –EP/PP].

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, yeah, sure.

MRS. PARKMAN: And, let's see there. Oh, here's Helen Drutt [director, Helen Drutt Gallery, Philadelphia –EP/PP]. I mean we had one each year. These were collectors.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, that's great.

MRS. PARKMAN: Here's Helen again. And Ken Deavers, [owner of The American Hand, a Washington, D.C. gallery and shop –EP/PP].

DR. PARKMAN: So we started off all right, you know.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah. Oh, here, they came to see our collection. There you are.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, wow.

MRS. PARKMAN: Here's the Moss family, [glass sculptures by Flo Perkins –EP/PP]


MRS. PARKMAN: And there's Joan Mondale speaking. So—


MRS. PARKMAN: So, yes, we started out—that was a big weekend.

DR. PARKMAN: With a real big start.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, that was really great because you had—


MS. OLDKNOW: —sections on ceramics; wood and furniture; fiber with Jack Lenor Larson, glass—

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, Jack Larson, yeah.

MS. OLDKNOW: —Bob Evenson, Paul Gardner, and Bill Warmus; jewelry, Lloyd Herman and Helen Drutt; Sue and Malcolm Knapp [collectors –EP/PP]—


MS. OLDKNOW: —fiber, Jack Lenor Larson; wood furniture, Jonathan Fairbanks; and ceramics, Bob Pfannebecker—or Robert Pfannebecker and Judith Schwartz [collector and clay artist –EP/PP]. Wow.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, yeah.

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, yeah. How do you like that? Good start for—

MS. OLDKNOW: That's fabulous.

DR. PARKMAN: —good start for beginners.

MS. OLDKNOW: It certainly is.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, and that was 1983.

DR. PARKMAN: [Laughs.]

MS. OLDKNOW: Great timing.

MRS. PARKMAN: And then the next year it was another co-sponsored event. It was "Crafts Today: The 1984 National Forum on 20th Century American Glass".

[… –TO]

MRS. PARKMAN: And that's Michael Higgins.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, that's great.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, here we are with our collection. And—oh, Harvey.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, yeah, Harvey Littleton.

MRS. PARKMAN: Frances Higgins, Michael Monroe. So we had an impressive—

DR. PARKMAN: Those are my pictures.

MS. OLDKNOW: Those are great.

MRS. PARKMAN: —an impressive number of speakers who—

MS. OLDKNOW: Lineup, yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: —who spoke for that. And then, as I said, they brought in people—

MS. OLDKNOW: Let's see who you have.

MRS. PARKMAN: —from across the United States because they were national members of the Smithsonian.

MS. OLDKNOW: "[Crafts Today, The –EP/PP] 1984 National Forum in 20th Century American Glass". Was this at the same time as that big show, "American Craft Today"? I think that show as in '87. So this was before that.


DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, I think so.

MS. OLDKNOW: So you had 40 collectors, gallery owners, and artists from as far away as California, gather in the city for a three-day weekend. That's great. Let's see what you have. Okay, so you visited your house, the Abramsons, the Glass Gallery in Bethesda. Oh, and then you went Margie Jervis and Susie Krasnican's studio?

DR. PARKMAN: Oh, yeah [Laughs.].

MS. OLDKNOW: That's nice. The "Glorious Glass" [all-day –EP/PP] seminar, so you had Paul Gardner—that sounds really good—the Higgins's, Harvey, Michael Monroe. Excellent.


MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, that's great.

MRS. PARKMAN: So we had a great start—


MRS. PARKMAN: —for the Spring Craft Week, and it has continued. We have it every year now. But these two were co-sponsored. After that, it was our own, and we did everything. But I worked with the Smithsonian for the first two years as a chair for the Renwick Alliance. And then I became president from '84 until '86, in July—it was the end of May. The other interesting thing is Lloyd Herman decided to retire as director of the Renwick.


MRS. PARKMAN: And his last day at the Renwick and my last day as president were the same day [Laughs.].

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, wow. So he retired in 1986. So this was the time when Paul [Gardner] was the director of the—

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, of ceramics and glass at the American History—what is now [The National Museum of] American History.

MS. OLDKNOW: No, I was actually thinking of his work. He was—had become the director or just about to become the director of the biological—

DR. PARKMAN: Oh, you're talking about this Paul [Laughs.].

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, you, Paul. You, Paul Parkman. So all of a sudden the both of you pretty—working pretty hard.

DR. PARKMAN: Well, yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: Paul was director of the center [Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration –EP/PP] later than '84.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, okay, so it was—


MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, a little bit later.

MS. OLDKNOW: —like, maybe '86, yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: A little bit later because that's right; you retired from the government in 1990.


MRS. PARKMAN: But I don't think it was when I was president.




MS. OLDKNOW: So it must have been from, like, '86 to '90 or something like that, yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: So a little bit later, yeah. And so that was a very, very busy and exciting time. Then I was chair of the Planning and Nominating Committee. I've been on almost every committee since then. But the other interesting thing that happened while—it was after I was president.

MS. OLDKNOW: Is there anyone who's been involved with the Renwick Alliance as long as you have?




MRS. PARKMAN: Because all the other—the founding members—Ron Abramson—Anne was heavily involved with Brandeis and Ron was president of Board of Trustees of the Corcoran

DR. PARKMAN: The Corcoran.

MRS. PARKMAN: —for a while. Yeah.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, okay, so they were busy with that.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah. And Charlie had his two years, and he—

MS. OLDKNOW: And he got worn out.



MS. OLDKNOW: That's what you said, yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: And the Michaels didn't continue to be active, and they died not too, too long after that.


MRS. PARKMAN: And Eleanor and Sam didn't—

MS. OLDKNOW: What was their last name?

MRS. PARKMAN: Rosenfeld—

MRS. PARKMAN: —R-O-S-E-N-F-E-L-D. But the other thing that happened, it was 1986, '87 was that we had the idea, well, what can we do that we can do fairly quickly to encourage scholarship in American crafts?


MRS. PARKMAN: I think it was Ron Abramson that made the suggestions of maybe we could have a fellowship for scholarly research.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, okay.


MRS. PARKMAN: So Michael was the curator in charge. After Lloyd retired, they also retired the title of director of the Renwick Gallery. It became curator in charge—

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, I see.

MRS. PARKMAN: Because the director—Renwick is a branch—

MS. OLDKNOW: Of the [Smithsonian] American Art Museum.

MRS. PARKMAN: —of the American Art Museum. So they have a director.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, I see.



MRS. PARKMAN: —as I said, that title was retired then. The title after that was curator in charge. And so we—Michael and I went over—it wasn't on the mall; it was another office—and met with the director of fellowships and grants to talk about funding a brand new fellowship for the Smithsonian, but for the Renwick Gallery. So it would be a fellowship for research in American crafts. It was a very easy thing to do. A lot of things are not easy to do with a government institution or—

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: —pseudo-government institution, but he said, you know, they just needed the funding for it. The Alliance came up with the money for it. But the hardest thing was getting that new fellowship added to the ones that already existed—


MRS. PARKMAN: —to get it published in the book that they put out, to get it published on the poster that they sent out—and getting it listed there. It's different now. I mean, things get put into existence much easier, but it was harder then. And we finally did, and the first year that we had the announcement for it that went out, there were eight people who applied for research fellowships. And we had two. The Alliance funded two of them.

MS. OLDKNOW: You know, that's pretty good.

MRS. PARKMAN: Through 1988, yes. Yeah. And so—

MS. OLDKNOW: And so 1988 was the first fellowship?

MRS. PARKMAN: The first two fellows came and we've had fellows every year since then. I think there might have just been one year that we did not have a fellow. And they have to come here. It's in-residence. We want the fellows to have the ability and the experience of interacting with other fellows and being here within the Smithsonian Institution.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, that's fantastic.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, it is. And so that was very exciting for me, too, to be part of that. And we've—Paul and I—or I have been chair of the Fellowship Committee almost all that time since then. That was a long time ago. [… –TO] So—and as I've said, we worked on the Spring Craft Weekend Committee for a lot of years. I think that Paul was president, and he did some innovative things.

DR. PARKMAN: That was when I was—in, what, '94?

MRS. PARKMAN: '93 to '95. Yeah.

DR. PARKMAN: I was the sixth president.

MRS. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.]

DR. PARKMAN: And—let's see. What did I do besides whatever all we were doing? I instituted the Patron's Dinner, which was—

MS. OLDKNOW: Good idea.

DR. PARKMAN: —and I had the idea—who would—

MS. OLDKNOW: Now, that was for fundraising, right?

DR. PARKMAN: Oh, yeah.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yes, [Affirmative.]. Good.

[They laugh]

DR. PARKMAN: It turned out to be a major fundraiser, you know.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, excellent.

DR. PARKMAN: Much better than membership. Much more lucrative than membership.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, good.

DR. PARKMAN: And so it still continues. The first Patron's Dinner, I had no idea that people would pay a lot of money for dinner.

[Laughs.] But we had—so I figured it was going to be Dale Chihuly and me and Elmerina and our host and that would be it.

[They laugh]

But that wasn't true. A lot of people signed up for dinner, and so we're doing okay.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, that's great.

DR. PARKMAN: And then—

MRS. PARKMAN: Well the reason for the dinner was because of what you had at the Renwick.

DR. PARKMAN: Oh, the—

MRS. PARKMAN: That was the "Pelléas and Mélisande."

DR. PARKMAN: "Pelléas and Mélisande."


DR. PARKMAN: Yeah... yes, yes.

MRS. PARKMAN: Tell how that came—

DR. PARKMAN: So "Pelléas and Mélisande" came about because we had talked to—when—before we met here, about Margie Jervis and Susie Krasnican as a team who were artists, worked in our area, and how Margie wanted to do something different. And she wanted to be sort of—perhaps work with other people more than in solitary. Well, solitary—

MS. OLDKNOW: Studio artists, [Affirmative.].

DR. PARKMAN: —life in the studio. We were very sad about that. But at any rate, actually she visited, though. She came to see the pieces she has here [in our collection –EP/PP] and visit us. And this was in—whatever it was—doesn't matter exactly. But she came to visit us. Unfortunately, I had a back problem. I had an impacted lumbar disc at the time so in those days, they put people on bed rest. So I was up in bed flat on my back. And Margie came and she showed me her portfolio, and she's doing a lot of interesting things. But the most interesting thing was this Seattle Opera. Well, she worked for the Seattle Opera. And one of the things she did was she was involved in "Pelléas and Mélisande," the opera sets [designed by Dale Chihuly –EP/PP].

So she told me about that. And she showed me pictures of it—and it looked magnificent. I thought it looked great. It was at that time that we were planning our Spring Craft Weekend, which was our fundraiser. And it occurred to me that to have those sets would be an ideal centerpiece for Spring Craft Weekend [Laughs.].

MS. OLDKNOW: That looks amazing.

DR. PARKMAN: So the next morning, I called Michael Monroe, who was curator in charge at that point. I said "Hey, I got this idea." And he said, "Oh, wow." You know, he really got onboard fast. He sort of carried the ball from then. But it was a marvelous success. We had the chandelier from the Palace of the King hung from the center of the Grand Salon.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, yeah, great.

DR. PARKMAN: We had—

MS. OLDKNOW: Fabulous. So you had—

DR. PARKMAN: We had Mélisande's golden tresses, we had the trees.

MS. OLDKNOW: So you had everything shipped from Seattle?


MS. OLDKNOW: Was it all shipped from Seattle?

DR. PARKMAN: It was all shipped from Seattle. Unfortunately, they couldn't ship all of the things.

Because some of those things were very heavy. You know, they had structure into them, so she [the opera singer –EP/PP] could sing in the middle of a [set designed by Dale Chihuly –EP/PP] [Laughs.].

MS. OLDKNOW: I know; they were amazing.

DR. PARKMAN: —but anyway, they shipped quite a few of them, like the trees, which were inflatables. I don't know whether we have a picture of that or not. But anyways—

MS. OLDKNOW: Well, you have the catalog there.


DR. PARKMAN: Oh, here they are. This—

MRS. PARKMAN: You were the contact with Dale [Chihuly] over that. Michael took care of some of the other logistics but you were the one in correspondence with Dale—

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, about doing this. And so this is—this is the way the Grand Salon looked. I understand this is a recording, but it has these big inflatable trees.


DR. PARKMAN: There was the chandelier from the Palace of the King.

MS. OLDKNOW: This is fabulous.

DR. PARKMAN: These were rocks in the river and, you know—

MS. OLDKNOW: Here you have the Niijima Floats [by Chihuly –TO] that were the rocks in the river.

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, and they actually were plastic.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, they were plastic.

DR. PARKMAN: They were plastic. And the—

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, I think this is the first time Chihuly worked with plastics or had fabricators.

DR. PARKMAN: This was showing the king's chandelier from the lower level. Then, in addition to that, Dale provided drawings that he had done in all the niches upstairs of the Renwick.

MS. OLDKNOW: [Affirmative.], oh, great.

DR. PARKMAN: He [Dale Chihuly] had maquettes in each of those niches of ideas that were of the ideas that he had for the opera. So it was a wonderful affair. I went against medical [Laughs.] advice, I went to that gala.

[… –TO]

DR. PARKMAN: I was in a wheelchair, and I had a screen but I could still hear the trumpet play. There was some question of whether we should have—you know, how big the band ought to be and whether or not there ought to be a brass or not. I insisted on brass, which I'm glad because I can still hear it.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, that's nice.

DR. PARKMAN: It was a great evening.

MRS. PARKMAN: And you were in touch with Dale over—asking him for various things.

DR. PARKMAN: Oh, yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: And he agreed to do everything, except to help—

DR. PARKMAN: Except fundraise.



DR. PARKMAN: He said he would dance with the lady [whose foot fit the glass slipper and he did dance with her –EP/PP].


DR. PARKMAN: What else?

MRS. PARKMAN: I think he donated the piece for—it's not a raffle. We couldn't have—

DR. PARKMAN: He donated a piece for us to auction.

MRS. PARKMAN: —we had to call it something else.


MRS. PARKMAN: We couldn't call it a raffle, but—[It was a sweepstakes. –EP/PP]

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah. To fundraise.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, yeah.

DR. PARKMAN: To raise money. And so—

MRS. PARKMAN: And he came to the dinner.

DR. PARKMAN: He came to the [first Patron's Dinner –EP/PP].

MS. OLDKNOW: That's big.

MS. OLDKNOW: That's fantastic.


DR. PARKMAN: And so it was an enormous success. What happened was then that was that evening. And what happened was it then—it was so popular and so clearly was so popular that they held this whole [show –EP/PP] over for a month. So we had our own show here.


MRS. PARKMAN: And it drew the biggest crowds to the Renwick, we believe.

DR. PARKMAN: Save Tiffany.

MRS. PARKMAN: Except for Tiffany, the show of Tiffany.

DR. PARKMAN: Except for Tiffany, at least at that time.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah. So it was really, really—it was really exciting.

MS. OLDKNOW: Now, when was that? Lets see. When was that? When did that happen?

MRS. PARKMAN: The year was '94.

MS. OLDKNOW: 1994.

MRS. PARKMAN: 1994. Yeah, because that's when—

MS. OLDKNOW: Fantastic.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah. I wrote this chronology. I got credit for it [Laughs.] because that was nice.


[They laugh]

MRS. PARKMAN: But the reason I say it's '94—because '95, Paul was president. His term ended the end of May '95 and Michael Monroe's retirement.

DR. PARKMAN: It was the same—

MRS. PARKMAN: He retired from the Renwick [Laughs.].

MS. OLDKNOW: So you and Lloyd Herman, you and Michael Monroe.

DR. PARKMAN: We bracketed them.


[… –TO]

MRS. PARKMAN: But that was the publication, the book you have there, Paul.


MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, of the opera.

MRS. PARKMAN: And so that was a really exciting and busy time. So—and the other thing that you invented for our organization.

DR. PARKMAN: Oh, yeah. My other invention was the—I called up one of the gals, the other people or person on the board that we know, and said, "Do you think it would be gauche to have a potluck dinner?" you know, in 1994. "Would it be gauche?" And she just said, "No, I think it would be a good idea."

MS. OLDKNOW: I think it would be fun.

[They laugh]

DR. PARKMAN: So that started the potluck dinners. Now the Alliance has a program. Artists visit—about four times a year, an artist is invited to come to do a workshop, and the weekend they come to do the workshop on—

MRS. PARKMAN: Saturday.

DR. PARKMAN: —Saturday morning.

MRS. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.] or Saturday.

DR. PARKMAN: We have a potluck on Saturday evening, and the artist gives a lecture at the Renwick on Sunday afternoon.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, that sounds fun.

MRS. PARKMAN: It has a fancier title now: "Distinguished Artist Series".

MS. OLDKNOW: That's nice.

MRS. PARKMAN: They always have a potluck now, but it was Paul's idea. That was when we first met Bruce Metcalf because—they called them workshops, I think it was. It wasn't a hands-on thing. It was him talking about the history of, not just jewelry, but of studio crafts.

MS. OLDKNOW: And was there anyone that you particularly—besides Bruce, that you remember?


MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, yeah. Who are the—the flame working people. We didn't do anything then. We had—

DR. PARKMAN: Somewhere in our the—

MRS. PARKMAN: Our accounts, yeah.

DR. PARKMAN: Our accounts is—

MRS. PARKMAN: We took almost all the workshops, and now they have a series of four coming up. We signed up for all four, of course.



MRS. PARKMAN: Richard Jolley is coming.

DR. PARKMAN: Richard Jolley.

MS. OLDKNOW: Good, that'll be fun.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah. And we have the De La Torre brothers coming; that's the last one.



MRS. PARKMAN: And then we have—

DR. PARKMAN: The ceramic gal

MRS. PARKMAN: Cavener, whatever—

DR. PARKMAN: Beth Cavener Stichter, or maybe she's just Beth Cavener now. And who's the other one?

MRS. PARKMAN: The other—now that you ask me, I don't remember.

DR. PARKMAN: [Laughs.]

MRS. PARKMAN: But we just signed up for all of them again.

DR. PARKMAN: So we signed up for all of them.

MS. OLDKNOW: That'll be fun.

MRS. PARKMAN: And then we always go to the potluck, of course.

MS. OLDKNOW: Of course, it's fun.

MRS. PARKMAN: [Laughs.] So the Renwick [Alliance] has grown a lot over—the activities. I meant to show you a current publication of all the events and things that they do. This is one, just to give you an idea. They do trips and they—

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, yeah, you have a very—

MRS. PARKMAN: Right, here are the pictures of Spring Craft Weekend.

MS. OLDKNOW: Well, that's a very nice newsletter.

MRS. PARKMAN: It is, lots of pictures of events here. And this was the event where we received the One of a Kind Award.

MS. OLDKNOW: Nice. Oh, lovely.

MRS. PARKMAN: Lloyd Herman introduced us. So we do a lot of—there are lots of things going on—more trips, more of everything. Well, the "Distinguished Artist Series", that's just four of those.

MS. OLDKNOW: Who is the president now?

MRS. PARKMAN: Giselle Huberman, and—this is a picture of her—

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, it's really good.

MRS. PARKMAN: —with Joyce Scott.


MRS. PARKMAN: [Laughs.] And they are very supportive of the local artists, particularly. She is very supportive of any event that we want to have—or hosting it in her home, in their home.

MS. OLDKNOW: So how does it make you feel that you were involved in kind of the creation of this thing that's just gone on and been so successful?

DR. PARKMAN: Well, we're very proud of that accomplishment.


DR. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.]

MS. OLDKNOW: Did you think that that would go on? Or did you think that it might get folded into something else?

DR. PARKMAN: Well, you never know. You never know.

MRS. PARKMAN: No. I mean, when Charlie didn't want to be president anymore, because he was worn out—he had been involved long—for the three years like we had been. Nobody else wanted to be president.

DR. PARKMAN: Wanted to be president.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, that was a—

MRS. PARKMAN: So I said, well, I'll be president.

MS. OLDKNOW: That was an important point to carry it on.


MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah. Other times when, you know, it didn't seem to be quite as easy. But, you know, it's very rewarding because what we have done over the years is we—as you know, not actively collecting now for many reasons. That doesn't stop you from collecting, because if you don't have room—

MS. OLDKNOW: As I see, you have more than—

MRS. PARKMAN: But financially, we're supporting other things, as far as the museums are concerned, with acquisitions or the renovation of the Renwick. We help support the Lloyd Herman Curator of Craft, that new position that Nora [Atkinson] has now. And so we've gone beyond acquisition to just support those things. But we're very happy to see the organization continue and to be thriving.

DR. PARKMAN: Prosper.



MRS. PARKMAN: And to be raising money that supports the scholarly research, the acquisitions and exhibitions. And then these artists. The artists are thrilled to do a workshop or program for the Alliance. Then to have a lecture at the Renwick [Gallery] of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

MS. OLDKNOW: That's fantastic, sure.

MRS. PARKMAN: We give Masters of the Medium Awards every other year. And the Distinguished—

DR. PARKMAN: Educators Award.

MRS. PARKMAN: —Educators Award. And so it's been a very good organization and very helpful, I think, to the Renwick with the funds that we have contributed through the organization. Yeah. So it's always wonderful to see something be successful.

DR. PARKMAN: Seem to work, yeah [Laughs.].


MS. OLDKNOW: So did that inspire you to do other things, to get involved with other programs, your success with Renwick?

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, we were founding members of the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, you were?



MRS. PARKMAN: That was brought about because of Jerry Raphael. I'm not sure how Jerry—we didn't know Jerry beforehand but he was a dentist, and he was retiring from his practice. I think maybe he had a son who was in his practice with him, but I'm not sure of that. He became interested in studio glass. He was collecting a painter—or, actually—

DR. PARKMAN: He collected paintings first.

MRS. PARKMAN: Paintings. I don't remember now because this is 1986, '87—yes—that he called—he had a meeting in his home in New Jersey and that's when we met—oh, I have to—

DR. PARKMAN: The Saxes and—

MRS. PARKMAN: The Saxes came in for it and the—I guess I better get my information book here.

DR. PARKMAN: [Laughs.]


MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, Irv Borowsky.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, from Philadelphia.

DR. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.] And his wife.

MS. OLDKNOW: Laurie [Wagman]?

DR. PARKMAN: Laurie, yeah.

MS. OLDKNOW: Was he with Laurie then?

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, yes.

DR. PARKMAN: And—the [other couple that collects –TO]—ceramics? I don't have my journal with me, I don't think. Well at any rate...

MS. OLDKNOW:  [Affirmative.] So how many people—


MS. OLDKNOW: —well, this is for the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass, so even you had ceramics collectors at that first meeting.

DR. PARKMAN: I'm pretty sure that—well, I think that he collected glass before he collected ceramics.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, okay.

DR. PARKMAN: She's a pretty blonde.

MS. OLDKNOW: Where are they from?

DR. PARKMAN: California?

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, they're the ones—

DR. PARKMAN: Very California.

MS. OLDKNOW: —who gave their collection to L.A. County Museum?

DR. PARKMAN: I don't know.

MS. OLDKNOW: The Smits?



MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, someone else.

MRS. PARKMAN: Maybe you should stop the recording so—[She finds the lists. –EP/PP]


MRS. PARKMAN: Let us get—I have the list of founding members. It was August 22, 1987. So the people who came were Laurie Wagman and Irv Borowsky from Philadelphia, Gloria and Sonny Kamm—that was the name from Los Angeles—

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, okay.

MRS. PARKMAN: —Paul and I, Bobbi and Jerry Raphael. Clifton, New Jersey, that's where we met. Dorothy and George Saxe. Jean and Hilbert Sosin from Detroit. And the people who were invited but couldn't attend were Madeleine and Wally Baer from Chicago. At that time—

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: We didn't know them, but she was a classmate of Ben Heineman.

MS. OLDKNOW: She got them started on collecting.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes. Oh, they were lovely people.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, that's nice.

MRS. PARKMAN: Wonderful, wonderful people. Mike Belkin from Cleveland. He did not come and Paul Stankard from Mantua, New Jersey. So we had our meeting. Jerry took us out to dinner that night and we talked about forming a collector's organization to try to interest more people in studio glass.

MS. OLDKNOW: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: And so that was the focus of that—

MS. OLDKNOW: I just want to make sure I got this one, wife's name.




MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah. And so Jerry was willing to do the work.

DR. PARKMAN: A lot of the work.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, in the beginning. And because he was retired he had the time and—

MS. OLDKNOW:  [Affirmative.], and wasn't he working as an appraiser or maybe not then or maybe later?

DR. PARKMAN: Yes. No, he was working—I think—I'm not sure really at that time, maybe later.

MRS. PARKMAN: Or maybe later, yeah.


MRS. PARKMAN: And so he started a newsletter and we had a meeting in Chicago not too long after that. And—Oh, and I have a list here of all the presidents and their terms.

[… –TO]

MRS. PARKMAN: So yeah, he was the one that brought us together and really got the organization started. Of course they have a lot more than that.

MS. OLDKNOW: It's great.

MRS. PARKMAN: But anyways, but Jerry, along the way, you know, kind of got sidetracked a little bit and conflict of interest maybe with the organization. Is that the way to put it do you think?

DR. PARKMAN: I would think so.

MRS. PARKMAN: He was only president for a short period of time and then—and Hilbert Sosin then became president after that. Jerry was president from 1987 to '88. Then Hilbert became president. And Hilbert was our treasurer, financial adviser because that was his business, as an accountant.

MS. OLDKNOW: I know he was—they were both very involved with the Glass Art Society, too.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, he was. He was president [of the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass (AACG) –EP/PP] from 1988 to 1992, and then he was sick. And, you know, I guess that he wasn't going to survive his illness. So he was the one that persuaded Mike Belkin to become president after him.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, okay.

MRS. PARKMAN: And Mike was president and then we went on from—Doug Anderson was president as well for several years, and then we went on. But that organization, I think, has really made a difference. And especially what became SOFA Chicago. Before that, New Art Forms, I think, was the name of that.


MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, and because we would have our meeting, our board meeting and members meeting, Jerry was very helpful in getting memberships because he was trying to get names and addresses of people who were interested in glass and writing letters to them, trying to build up the organization. And then, as I said, he started a newsletter as well. But we would have our meeting in Chicago and there—maybe not the first year, but as time went on we had 200 people that would come.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, right.

DR. PARKMAN: [Laughs.]

MS. OLDKNOW: That's amazing.

MRS. PARKMAN: And we'd have a dinner and a speaker—

DR. PARKMAN: And they would buy.

MRS. PARKMAN: And they bought.

DR. PARKMAN: Which was really good for the—


[… –EP/PP]

MS. OLDKNOW: So how many members do you think that they have now?

MRS. PARKMAN: About—close to 600, or maybe a little over 600.

MS. OLDKNOW: Wow, that's amazing.

DR. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.]


MS. OLDKNOW: Because it became a kind of a thing where—I mean, you'd join the AACG—you know, the Art Alliance—and you have a complete social group, I mean, it's just an entire community all in one go. You know? [… –TO]

DR. PARKMAN: [Laughs.]

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, yeah. Well, you know, it is. And the board meetings—it has a larger board. The Renwick Alliance board is 40 members. The Art Alliance board is 50.


MRS. PARKMAN: And then people rotate off, but they get to be—after six years, like our organization, too. And then they're on a—what do they call the board?

DR. PARKMAN: It's not emeritus board. [It is called the advisory board. –EP/PP]

MRS. PARKMAN: No, they have another name for the people who rotate off—and they get invited to the board meetings. So they all—so we're 90 people every time. And how many people go on these interim board meetings that want to—


MRS. PARKMAN: 90 people [Laughs.].

[… –TO]

MS. OLDKNOW: Incredible.

MRS. PARKMAN: So there's still a lot of enthusiasm for the organization.


MRS. PARKMAN: They've now brought in new people. And every organization is looking for younger members. But I think the organization continues to do well. They have a grants program. Paul was chair of that.

DR. PARKMAN: The grants program has been really great. Now they fund about $60,000 a year. Is that right?

[… –TO]

MR. PARKMAN: $60,000 a year in grants. And that—

MS. OLDKNOW: For...?


MS. OLDKNOW: Like books and catalogs, exhibitions?


DR. PARKMAN: No, these are for people who want to do shows.

MRS. PARKMAN: Museums.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, [Affirmative.].

DR. PARKMAN: Museum shows.

MRS. PARKMAN: And art centers, not for the artist.

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, not for individual artists.

MRS. PARKMAN: Not for artists to work.

DR. PARKMAN: —it's just to fund—

MS. OLDKNOW: To support exhibitions.

DR. PARKMAN: Exhibitions mostly, but I think—

MS. OLDKNOW: So when the Art Alliance made the push, which David Denn chaired so well—

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, he did.

DR. PARKMAN: Oh, yeah.

MS. OLDKNOW: —in 2012, I mean, my God, all those exhibitions that took place around the country, of glass.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, over 150.

MS. OLDKNOW: I know. That was really incredible.

DR. PARKMAN: I know [Laughs.].

MS. OLDKNOW: And he did it pretty fast. I mean—

DR. PARKMAN: He did it pretty much by himself.

MS. OLDKNOW: And he did it by himself.

[… –TO]

MRS. PARKMAN: So that's the kind of organization that it's become, very enthusiastic. The new people who come on are all interested and we just had a big survey that we answered questions to. You know, people are trying to improve it and think of new things to do. So that's been a wonderful organization for collectors, and they've made an important difference in glass, I think.

MS. OLDKNOW: [… –TO] You know, there's no other kind of material group. Certainly, there's no similar collector's groups for ceramics, for fiber, for wood. Truly, I don't know any other kind of national collectors' group that's similar.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, there are—like Camille Cook started Friends of Fiber Art International.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, that's true. That's right.

MRS. PARKMAN: And there was a ceramics—we never joined the ceramics. I mean, we've been Friends of Fiber Art, and there's was a jewelry art forum group—but—and now the wood people have really taken—Collectors of Wood Art.


MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, that's right.

MRS. PARKMAN: But they've not been quite as large a number, I don't think, or had as active programs.

MS. OLDKNOW: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: Or made such an impact on—well SOFA Chicago, particularly. Or on the galleries.

MS. OLDKNOW: Well, it's likely that they'll grow, too. I mean, because they're younger than—

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah. Most of them are, although Camille's organization has been in existence.

MS. OLDKNOW: Is older, yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: But it's been the glass group that's been—

MS. OLDKNOW: I think it's Friends of Ceramic Art or something like. It's something like that.



MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah. And but the glass people have been way—it seems to me, way out in front, as far as the organization, the support for glass by the—you know, the buying activity.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, yeah, it's fantastic.

MRS. PARKMAN: And the support through the grants and all. And then the—Paul was chair of the Grants Committee, I was vice president of the Art Alliance and co-chair of the Nominating Committee. I served on the executive committee and in strategic planning. You know, I was on grants until they said they didn't want couples to be on the Grants Committee, which makes sense, of course.

And the Visitation Committee. I think everybody's on that committee. So that's been very rewarding to see what an impact the organization has made on studio glass and that people are still enthusiastic and they pay their membership dues. Yeah.

MS. OLDKNOW: Super enthusiastic.


MS. OLDKNOW: It's growing all the time. I'm constantly meeting new members of the AACG. They're like, you know, "Oh, we just joined." And I'm like, "Great, this is fantastic."

MRS. PARKMAN: And not many, but a number of people have donated their collections to museums, and I think that's really important.

MS. OLDKNOW: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: The Kotlers with the Ringling Museum in Florida.

MS. OLDKNOW: Certainly.

MRS. PARKMAN: And I know that Bruce Bachmann with the [Henry] Ford Museum—

MS. OLDKNOW: That's right.

MRS. PARKMAN: —and—oh, Lord, I'm forgetting other people. Well, the Saxes of course, you know.

MS. OLDKNOW: There's a lot. Yes, well, yeah. There's actually quite a few people the Baschs—you know, there's been a lot. Marilyn Glick.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes. And Dale and Doug Anderson have been very supportive of Racine.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, absolutely. Well, they've donated to more than—

DR. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.]

MS. OLDKNOW: They really, I think intentionally, very much supported Racine but also really have given to every museum, and they really are interested in that.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, yes. The Metropolitan Museum, yes.

DR. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.]

MS. OLDKNOW: And, you know, really spreading that legacy around.

MRS. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.]

MS. OLDKNOW: And I think we'll see more of that as museums can't really take in complete collections anymore.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, [Affirmative.].

MS. OLDKNOW: So it's interesting.

MRS. PARKMAN: It's really made a difference. That's what's exciting too. It's the fact that these organizations have made a difference.

MS. OLDKNOW: So when you were talking about founding an organization, was the idea of donating works to museums a large part of that?

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, I don't think so, in the beginning.


MS. OLDKNOW: It just happened that way eventually. So—you know, because it has become important in terms of validating the medium, that people have donated to museums is incredibly important.

DR. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.]


DR. PARKMAN: Exactly, yeah.


MRS. PARKMAN: But I think in the beginning, the idea was to have an organization for people who were interested in collecting and to learn and exchange information.

MS. OLDKNOW: [Affirmative.], right.

MRS. PARKMAN: And I think that probably came along a little bit later. But it's been very—in the beginning when you're newly forming an organization—or at least this was true with the Renwick Alliance—the thing you're most worried about is keeping the organization going. You know?

MS. OLDKNOW: Sure, sure.


MRS. PARKMAN: Getting members and paying the bills and that sort of thing.


MRS. PARKMAN: So with neither organization did we think beyond—much beyond that in the very beginning. But then, you know, with new people coming in and the organization growing, you can see the changes.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, they've both taken a life of their own.


DR. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.]

MS. OLDKNOW: They've become institutions. They're out of the nest, and they're-—

[They laugh]

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, very much so.

MS. OLDKNOW: —really developing. Yeah. [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: And the other organization—we were not founding members of the Creative Glass Center of America. Sy Kamens had formed an organization in Delaware. And he died very young and I think that his group joined forces with the Creative Glass Center of America. That merged into that, which was already in existence. So we're not founding members of that organization. I think, we began to be trustees of that in 1992, in the early '90s. But the thing that we've most done for the Creative Glass Center of America—well, I was secretary for a couple of years. But it was the curator program.

MS. OLDKNOW: [Affirmative.], yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: That was really something that we nourished along the way. It was Doug Anderson's idea to have that program and I think the very first time he had it he was involved with that. And then when he was president of the [Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass –EP/PP], and you were president of the Renwick Alliance […–EP/PP]. But there were three co-sponsors that year [1995 –EP/PP].


MRS. PARKMAN: It was the Creative Glass Center [of America], the Art Alliance [for Contemporary Glass], and the [James] Renwick Alliance. It was the only time that the Renwick [Alliance] co-sponsored Glass Weekend. But we were in charge of the curators program from 1995 until 2005. And we—

MS. OLDKNOW: Wow, that's a long time.

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, [Affirmative.].


MS. OLDKNOW: But I should just say, for clarity, that it's the Curator's Program that occurred with Glass Weekend every two years.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, yes.

MS. OLDKNOW: Not every year.

MRS. PARKMAN: It was every other year, yes. We were responsible for getting the curators—what we did was we chose a curator to be in charge of it so that we were not in charge of the program.


MRS. PARKMAN: We wanted [the curators to have private time where they could talk among themselves as well as being on the formal program –EP/PP].

MS. OLDKNOW: [Affirmative.], that's a great idea.

MRS. PARKMAN: We took care of the details, the details being getting them to New Jersey.

[They laugh]

MRS. PARKMAN: You know, to Millville. Okay? So—

DR. PARKMAN: Helping them find their way.


MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, Millville can be a little daunting. "Where am I?"

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, yeah. So Rick Snyderman was always very nice. He was willing to host, you know, a lunch, a reception or something—

DR. PARKMAN: In his gallery.

MRS. PARKMAN: —in his gallery as they came in from around the [United States and Canada –EP/PP] to [Philadelphia –TO].


MRS. PARKMAN: —well, United States, mostly. We did have Canada. Then we had to figure out how to get them from Philadelphia to New Jersey.

DR. PARKMAN: [Laughs.] Well, Elmerina hired a bus company or—

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh yeah, Creative Glass, they gave the name of a bus company. It was always such a hassle to get these things lined up. You know, you remember that sort of—

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah. Oh, my God, yes.

MRS. PARKMAN: Then, of course, they decided—"they" being the Creative Glass Center board—we decided that no, we didn't want the curators to have rooms at the Country Inn, which was right on the grounds there because we wanted to save that for collectors. So they had to stay someplace else. So I had the experience of dealing with another lady in another city for hotel rooms.

DR. PARKMAN: [Laughs.]

MRS. PARKMAN: She was not very pleasant but they got bussed. We arranged for the bus to take them from Philadelphia to that museum. Then we had to arrange for the bus to take them [from the hotel –EP/PP] to Millville every day.

[They laugh]

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, pick them up in the morning, take them [back –EP/PP] at night.

[… –TO]

MRS. PARKMAN: And it was—

DR. PARKMAN: [Laughs.]

MRS. PARKMAN: And then we arranged for them to have a breakfast together, the group. So they could have some time to talk and be among themselves the last day they were there. And I remember one of them announced that he had to be on his way at 10 o'clock.

DR. PARKMAN: He wondered if we could call a cab so he could get back to—

MRS. PARKMAN: Back to Philadelphia to get his flight.

DR. PARKMAN: —back to Philadelphia. Well, you know, how do you call a cab?

MRS. PARKMAN: There were no cabs in—

MS. OLDKNOW: There are no cabs [there –EP/PP].

[They laugh]

MRS. PARKMAN: So anyways—but finally—and then, oh, Gary Baker [curator, the Chrysler Museum –EP/PP] was in charge of them one time, and I think Ulysses [Dietz, curator, the Newark Museum –EP/PP] might have been once or twice.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, you got me to do it once or twice.

DR. PARKMAN: [Laughs.]

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, you did it. Yes, yes.

MS. OLDKNOW: Actually was good. I was almost grateful that people agreed to come because it's—you know, it is hard to get there.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, you were planning the program, yeah. And, you know, it had to fit into their time schedule. It wasn't like they got paid to do it. We did pay for their transportation—but they didn't get paid.

MS. OLDKNOW: No, right.

MRS. PARKMAN: But finally, they decided that the curators could stay at the Country Inn. [Laughs.]


MRS. PARKMAN: So we didn't have to do the bus. I didn't have to deal with that lady in some other city [Laughs.].

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, thank God. Listen, the bus alone, that will just stop things right there.

DR. PARKMAN: [Laughs.]

MRS. PARKMAN: That was so hard.

DR. PARKMAN: One year, they showed up with a school bus.

MRS. PARKMAN: And it was the guy who owned the company who drove it.

[They laugh]

MS. OLDKNOW: I think it was the problem—you know, we had our very short curators' program at Corning, and really what stopped that was the transportation issues.

DR. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, yeah, if you have to do that—

MS. OLDKNOW: You know, trying to pick up people in New York City, where there is no standing anywhere at any time—you know, they all have to be on the corner at the same time—and then you get these buses, and they say they're one thing. Then you get in them, and they're another—and it's a five-hour drive. I mean, we couldn't do it. It was just not possible.


MS. OLDKNOW: So congratulations to you for having done that for as long as you did.

[They laugh]


MS. OLDKNOW: Because that's—

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, it's a lot easier now. Certainly, staying right there, certainly makes it a lot easier.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, of course.

MRS. PARKMAN: And the program has changed and evolved over the years. But the upside of all that—I told you about all the downside—was that we had contacts and got to know a lot of museum curators and directors.

DR. PARKMAN: A lot of curators, yeah.

MS. OLDKNOW: It was great and introducing people to glass and all that.

DR. PARKMAN: Right, yes.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah [Affirmative.]. That was really wonderful. We have lots of good friendships out of that.

MS. OLDKNOW: Well, absolutely, that program inspired us to try and make Corning work, until we couldn't get over the transportation. But to bring curators there to teach them about glass, you know—



MS. OLDKNOW: And now we have a course, actually, that we offer at the Studio [of the Corning Museum of Glass –TO] that's called—that's on the history of glass.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, yes, I've seen that.

MS. OLDKNOW: And so we will offer that every couple of years.


MS. OLDKNOW: And we get artists and other people.

DR. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, I always thought it'd be fun to take it.

MS. OLDKNOW: So that's what happened there. But you know, it's a great idea to get the curators involved with glass.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, as I said, it was Doug Anderson's idea, and we worked at it. So now it's a much smoother program and goes—

MS. OLDKNOW: So whose idea was it to bring the galleries into Glass Weekend to actually sell there?

MRS. PARKMAN: I don't know.

DR. PARKMAN: I'm not sure. It was—

MRS. PARKMAN: I don't know.

DR. PARKMAN: Probably—well, I shouldn't say.

MRS. PARKMAN: We were not on the board in the beginning. You know, they started Glass Weekend in 1985, and I remember very well because my nephew got married that weekend, and we couldn't go. So that was the only one we've missed [Laughs.].

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, good for you.

MRS. PARKMAN: So that was '85, and the Curator's Program started—I think it may have been in '93 because it was '95 when it was co-sponsored with the Renwick Alliance. I think Doug had done it the time before.

DR. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: So that was quite a bit later. And I don't know.

MS. OLDKNOW: So from the beginning, were there people selling there for galleries or that you can remember the first time?

MRS. PARKMAN: —well, yeah.

DR. PARKMAN: It seems to me is it's always been there.

MS. OLDKNOW: It's always been there?


DR. PARKMAN: But I can't pinpoint exactly.

MRS. PARKMAN: Of course, I have all the catalogs upstairs; all I have to do is look [Laughs.].

MS. OLDKNOW: Well, we'll find out at some point. But I certainly remember when they got air conditioning. That was a great day.

[They laugh]

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, we remember. [We don't know about galleries exhibiting in 1985. There were galleries exhibiting in 1987 to the present time. –EP/PP]

DR. PARKMAN: Especially after the hottest day of New Jersey.

[… –TO]

[They laugh]

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, yes. I think—was it Dale Anderson who was involved in—I've forgotten now who was involved with the outside dinner that we had and the one time when the food wasn't very good, so from then on, we had caterers from Philadelphia.


[They laugh]

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, so many things. But you know, it's kind of fun. Glass Weekend is always like—for me, it's like summer camp.

DR. PARKMAN: Is that right [Laughs.]?

MS. OLDKNOW: Because you have all these people, and it's a—

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, faithfully. Yes, yes.

MS. OLDKNOW: You know, there's no distractions, so you really get to know people, and that's nice.

DR. PARKMAN: [Laughs.]

MRS. PARKMAN: No. Yes. No, that's wonderful. People are faithful about—

MS. OLDKNOW: [Affirmative.], and you're all staying at the same place and, you know—

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, yes, yes. You make your plans; you go every year.

DR. PARKMAN: And we all come.

MRS. PARKMAN: It's like Corning, you know?


MRS. PARKMAN: The focus is—when you're there, it's on the glass, the museum, the people, the artists, whatever is happening there.

MS. OLDKNOW: [Affirmative.], and it's fun.

MRS. PARKMAN: And it's wonderful. It really is. And I think that the support that you get from the people that come just goes on and on and on. You feel bad when you get too old to go.

[They laugh]

MRS. PARKMAN: So—but that's been very successful, too.

[END OF parkma14_2of4_sd_track01]


MRS. PARKMAN: —these two organizations that have really been a force, I think, in being supportive of the artist and the museums, and the collectors.

MS. OLDKNOW: Well you've been so active, so active in those.

MRS. PARKMAN: It has been busy.


MS. OLDKNOW: Then also you support other organizations by attending like all the conferences for the Glass Art Society, and all those things are so important, and Corning's seminar, you know—

[Cross talk.]

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, that's wonderful.

MS. OLDKNOW: —you come to some of those and it's just great, you know?

MRS. PARKMAN: We just are always sorry we can't get to everything.

MS. OLDKNOW: I know. I was thinking the other day, oh what is the calendar for the year for a glass collector, oh. There's so many events to go to.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes. Yeah.

MS. OLDKNOW: It used to be you could just sign up for everything, and now you have to pick and choose.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, that's true. I was just looking to see if I had the folder here. You know when I look back I wonder how we did so many things that we did. This for example, Paul, has a list of all his, well, not all his slides. He has thousands of slides.

DR. PARKMAN: —for each event, I have slide boxes that hold about 600.

MRS. PARKMAN: We'll have to just show her one, but yeah. You have eight of those.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, yes, I get that. Wow.

DR. PARKMAN: And so each event I have little separators to keep, and on the top of the tab I write the event. Well, the slides of course—

MS. OLDKNOW: Again, fantastic documentation.

DR. PARKMAN: —you can't see, because we aren't equipped to do slides and who does slides anymore anyway? But the thing that's been helpful is what's written on those tabs.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, sure. Oh, yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: So I went through it, because this is the list of slides and I thought we'll break it down into categories. So I started with artists. I didn't go through all of them, but these were all the artists that we have slides of that we visited. Here the art centers, the craft schools, and this was something we kind of—

MS. OLDKNOW: So I have to ask you, are your slides also scheduled for the Archives of American Art?

DR. PARKMAN: I don't think so.

MRS. PARKMAN: I don't think so. I don't think they were interested.

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, because they—

MS. OLDKNOW: Well you should—okay, because our library is and we do digitize, so just FYI, especially because you have them identified. A lot of people have slides but they don't know when they were taken.

DR. PARKMAN: Well I know when they were taken.

MS. OLDKNOW: Those are all great.

DR. PARKMAN: And what event it was they were taken on. I didn't identify every single person.

MS. OLDKNOW: Well no, but that's huge.


MRS. PARKMAN: But this just shows you, I mean I stopped recording the artists we visited.


MRS. PARKMAN: I didn't do the complete list, but here are museums that we went to and then this is Corning and then I did trips and this is where it goes on and on and on. These were trips that we took. This is trips continued.

[… –TO]

MRS. PARKMAN: The trips that we took. So—I mean, in between time, here's more trips.

[They laugh.]

In between times Paul was working.

[They laugh.]

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh yeah, that's right, you allowed him to work sometimes. So were most of your trips would you say, in the United States?


DR. PARKMAN: Oh, almost all.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah. We did go—you had a couple of inspection trips and I went with you a couple times.

DR. PARKMAN: I had a couple trips in England.

MRS. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.] I went with you on that trip.

MS. OLDKNOW: And did you also look for craft when you were in England for example?

MRS. PARKMAN: Not in England, that was out first trip in 1964.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, so it was too early.

DR. PARKMAN: Oh yeah, but when I did an inspection of Pfizer and some other places, I took some time either the day before or the day after to look around and we saw the Glass House. [The Glass House was a glass blowing facility in London, UK. –EP/PP]


DR. PARKMAN: Annette Meech and Fleur Tookey [artists at the Glass House –EP/PP]—

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, yes. Yes.

MRS. PARKMAN: I remember. Sure.

DR. PARKMAN: —I've forgotten, there might be another person or two.

MRS. PARKMAN: We did do that.

DR. PARKMAN: So we don't have anything really big, but I picked up some small things.

MS. OLDKNOW: And you knew Dan Klein right?


MRS. PARKMAN: He spoke a couple of times. Maybe, was it at Corning the last time we heard him?

MS. OLDKNOW: Well, he was also at Wheaton. He also came to the Curator's Program at Wheaton.

[Cross talk.]



MS. OLDKNOW: He spoke several times there and I know he would also often—do you still go to Penland at all?

MRS. PARKMAN: We used to. We went to North Carolina Glass several times. Does the trip verify in the slide thing?

[… –TO]

MRS. PARKMAN: We did that up until the early 80s probably, and we went to Cullowhee for Western—

MS. OLDKNOW: What's that?

MRS. PARKMAN: —well, they have a university there.

DR. PARKMAN: Western Carolina University.

MRS. PARKMAN: And we went to their shows.

DR. PARKMAN: That's the town they're in. It's name is Cullowhee.

MS. OLDKNOW: Cullowhee.


[… –TO]

DR. PARKMAN: I have a bumper sticker that says I'd rather be in Cullowhee.

[They laugh.]

MS. OLDKNOW: Cute. That's good.

MRS. PARKMAN: Joan Falconer Byrd organized the North Carolina Glass [exhibition –EP/PP] and that's where it was, in Cullowhee and we went several times for that. We were just so interested and so excited and wanted to see so much. That was the inspiration for these trips.

MS. OLDKNOW: [… –TO] Did you go to the Pilchuck Auction?

MRS. PARKMAN: That is on our regret list—

DR. PARKMAN: No, we didn't.

MRS. PARKMAN: —of things we—we're sorry that we didn't go to Habatat [Habatat Galleries, Royal Oak, Michigan –EP/PP] for their weekend where they have one. We did not go to Heller in New York very often, although we gave talks there to the groups of people that they had two different times. And we never have got—we've been to Pilchuck but we—

DR. PARKMAN: We've been to Habatat—


DR. PARKMAN: —but we didn't go regularly. Some of the Washingtonians spent their holiday—they only bought from Habatat.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, so we were sorry that we didn't do that.

DR. PARKMAN: We should have done that, yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, we should have done that.

DR. PARKMAN: In retrospect.

MS. OLDKNOW: But you were kind of busy.

DR. PARKMAN: Oh we were very busy.

MS. OLDKNOW: You were very busy. You were traveling as much as you could. You know, those lists, it's fantastic.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, all of this. Yes, so Paul has organized [slide lists, organized chronologically –EP/PP]—and that was very helpful in looking back over dates of the things that we did–

DR. PARKMAN: Sometimes it's the only way you can tell what the dates were.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, absolutely.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes. Yes. The other thing—I had things organized in another way. Maybe at some point we'll go through that and see.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh yeah, we can absolutely start doing that now. We can go through things how you have them organized.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, you wanted to know about the organizations. I thought that was really important. That was one of your questions.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yes, so we talked about Renwick and we talked about AACG and we talked about Wheaton.

MRS. PARKMAN: You wanted to know also—yeah, I want to talk about these other things, but we do have a few best stories. Maybe we should tell—

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, good. Yes.

DR. PARKMAN: We should also say that I was secretary of the Friends of the Corcoran.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh you were?

DR. PARKMAN: Probably six years I was involved with the Corcoran, right up until the time that they decided.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh yeah, well.

DR. PARKMAN: I was involved there, although I must say I was not a mover and shaker in the Corcoran, but I was interested and I came to all their meetings and I was their secretary helping keep track of things. But the organization was, I guess, disorganized I think.

MS. OLDKNOW: Sometimes it's hard to know why some things thrive and other things don't.


MS. OLDKNOW: Especially when you've got smart people involved, but you just can't tell.

DR. PARKMAN: The last thing was, David Levy was director.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, he was director for quite awhile. Yeah, he was good.


DR. PARKMAN: Friends of the Corcoran was kind of an unusual organization. It started out because the Corcoran didn't have any contemporary art. They had only old things and there were people in the arts community [… –EP/PP] that said you ought to have contemporary things. So they started the Friends of the Corcoran. And they were all well-heeled guys who could afford to buy big time paintings and so they did a great service [to the museum –EP/PP].

And well, later on the Corcoran began to collect things that were contemporary and they [were really something special but the Friends organization lived on as a level of membership. This kind of distorted the giving, because the Corcoran had that level of membership and people would say, "Well, I didn't give my money for that." There was a disconnect between their contribution and what it was used for. I think the last straw before poor David Levy, who wanted the Friends' support to do a show—I'm sorry, I can't tell you his name. –EP/PP] He was a contemporary artist, very well known, and the Friends board decided that well, no, they didn't want to do that because they wanted to think more about their mission and their future and so on. And so no, [David Levy –EP/PP] kind of shut them down.

MS. OLDKNOW: Well, I mean when councils start determining what museums do, you can't blame them for saying this isn't working for me.

DR. PARKMAN: So at any rate, I was there but I didn't do any great things I must say. I did my best.

MS. OLDKNOW: So do you want to talk about other organizations you were affiliated with? Did you have time to be affiliated with anyone else?

MRS. PARKMAN: No, I think that is it. The Corcoran, Paul drew that in and you knew all my involvement and we're still involved with the Textile Museum. When I rotate off the advisory [council –EP/PP] Paul will probably be invited to serve.

MS. OLDKNOW: I'm sure.

DR. PARKMAN: Well, maybe.

MRS. PARKMAN: But Paul was, you were on the commission for the Smithsonian American Art Museum for four years.

DR. PARKMAN: I was a commissioner at the Smithsonian Museum—SAAM—Smithsonian American Art Museum for two years?

MRS. PARKMAN: Four years.

DR. PARKMAN: Four years. So that was a real honor, and I was very pleased to have been invited to do that.

MRS. PARKMAN: That was at a time when they were inviting [artists and people who were not necessarily wealthy to be on it, I believe –EP/PP].

DR. PARKMAN: And artists.

MS. OLDKNOW: And of course, I must add you're fellows of the Corning Museum of Glass.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well—yeah, I have that on my list—we haven't done things for it but we were honored, both of us, to be on that and that was further down my list. But this was as I said, '94-'98 that you were on that and so at one time—and Paul was invited to serve [as a commissioner –EP/PP] because of his knowledge of American crafts.

DR. PARKMAN: Knew something about American crafts.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, isn't that great.

MRS. PARKMAN: But then towards the end, the focus changed and it became that the commission people are people who have to make a certain level [of contributions –EP/PP].

DR. PARKMAN: Well, they needed to build a new museum essentially from the—

MRS. PARKMAN: Renovate the American Art Museum.

DR. PARKMAN: —stonework on up, so they built the beautiful American—new Smithsonian American Art Museum and obviously they needed money to do that and so I wasn't money.

MRS. PARKMAN: But that's when the focus changed.

DR. PARKMAN: I don't hold that against them because I think the museum is beautiful. It needed to be built and the way to build things is to have people on your board who have deep pockets.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, and also who are really well connected to other pockets.

DR. PARKMAN: So, you know, it was nice to be on it.

MRS. PARKMAN: And so that was nice, yes. And once a year you get invited to their dinner. And Wendell Castle was on it at the same time that you were on it so there was a mix of people and now as I say, the focus has, like most museums, that's the big drawing card, is the financial support which is the way it should be.

MS. OLDKNOW: Okay, so I was just going to ask do we want to start talking about your collecting now? Let's do what you wanted to do. Let's see how you got organized.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, these sort of followed your questions.

MS. OLDKNOW: Excellent, so we'll just go that way.

MRS. PARKMAN: So we talked about the organizations and then hear the best stories that we have. A few stories. Do you have separate things down for your stories? Well, I told you the story already about buying Dale's piece, the Brown Basket.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, that was good. Send me a check.

[They laugh].

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, I'll send you a check. That was really fun. And then the other experience we had, and I want to mention by name, we'll do this later because now things are a little bit in disarray is we loaned a number of pieces over the years to museums from our collection and most of the time we have catalogs that show the loans that we have done, but the story that goes with one of them is that we loaned a piece a long time ago to the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum. It was one of Tom Patti's pieces, one of the early pieces.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh yeah, I love those pieces.

MRS. PARKMAN: And when the show was over—I don't think they did a catalog or anything, because we never had anything from them—the piece came back and it wasn't our piece.

MS. OLDKNOW: On no. It wasn't yours? Uh-oh. Not good.

MRS. PARKMAN: I called the director, I don't remember who it was, and he said, "I've been waiting for your call," because the other person had already called apparently.

[They laugh.]

MS. OLDKNOW: He couldn't call you?

MRS. PARKMAN: He didn't know, I guess.

DR. PARKMAN: He didn't know for sure who it was.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, he didn't know who it was.

MRS. PARKMAN: But that's what he said, "I've been waiting for your call."

[They laugh.]

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh my god that's funny.

MRS. PARKMAN: It was people I think we knew or got to know later on so I thought that was a funny story.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yes, it's good.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well it had a happy ending.

MS. OLDKNOW: It did. At least it wasn't broken or anything.

MRS. PARKMAN: And then, let's see, in 1990 it was, Michael had a show called Glass Works, and that was an installation.

MS. OLDKNOW: Mike Monroe?

MRS. PARKMAN: Michael Monroe, the curator in charge. That's where we met Judith Schaechter because she had a whole room and she was installing gold foil as the background. That was amazing.

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, that's right. She was coughing slightly. So Michael said, "Why?" She said, "Well, I have this cough." He said, "Oh, maybe we ought to get something—a respirator or something." She was gluing on all this.

MRS. PARKMAN: And that's where your Corning piece came from, was that show. It was in that show where the Renwick piece, that we have the drawing [for A Little Torcher –EP/PP].

DR. PARKMAN: Caught in a Flood [Corning Museum of Glass –EP/PP] was from that show and A Little Torcher came from that show too.

MRS. PARKMAN: Both of them and we couldn't have bought a piece, well those pieces I think were already committed and the other one was, what was it? Rape Serenade? I didn't like it.

DR. PARKMAN: Rape Serenade.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah. And Dale's friend who had a gallery in Florida bought it. We could have bought it, but I didn't like it.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, it's a little tough.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, so we didn't, but that's when we met Judith. And Billy Morris, he had an installation upstairs. He came in and out. We never got to see him do the installation. But Ginny Ruffner was there on a ladder with her boyfriend, before her accident.

DR. PARKMAN: It was before the accident.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh that was probably Steve Kursh, right?

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, I think so.

MS. OLDKNOW: It was right around the time of her accident. Was this in 1990?

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, it was [1990 –EP/PP], because she was on the ladder. Yeah. And Therman Statom had a huge area.

DR. PARKMAN: He did a really big gallery upstairs, no downstairs.

MRS. PARKMAN: —no, he was downstairs. He was downstairs too.

DR. PARKMAN: He did a really spectacular installation.

MRS. PARKMAN: And then there were a couple—I should have the names of the others but I don't have the brochures so I don't quite remember. But anyway, there was no money of course, extra money.

MS. OLDKNOW: We actually have the—I have the catalog.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, it wasn't much of a catalog. I think it was more of a brochure or booklet kind of thing. This one. And so Michael called me and said, "Oh, you know, we should have some kind of a reception or something for the artists." He said. "I don't have any money, but I'll buy the Kibbles 'n Bits [a type of dog food –EP/PP] if you'll make the telephone calls." That was what he [jokingly –EP/PP] called refreshments, Kibbles 'n Bits. He asked me to call some of our probably Renwick Alliance people who were interested in glass to come, and he went out and bought whatever it was, the kibbles n' bits. So we had a reception, and that was very nice. It was very short notice.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, I think that's kind of important.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, but we supplied the little bit of making them feel welcome and all of that, bringing in some people. And then when the show came down we just happened to go to the Renwick, I don't know how this happened. I don't think we knew the show was coming down, but this was in February. We walked in the front door of the Renwick and we heard the sound of glass breaking.

DR. PARKMAN: Terrible crash.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, and we [asked the guard –EP/PP], "What is going on?" He said. "Oh, that's Therman taking down the show."

[They laugh.]

He broke all the pieces in it.

DR. PARKMAN: With a 2x4.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, so we went down and watched.

[They laugh.]

MS. OLDKNOW: I didn't realize that that's what he did.

MRS. PARKMAN: I know. Yeah, instead of, you know, saving them, he took them down.

[… –TO]

MRS. PARKMAN: You knew that Therman grew up here? His parents were—

MS. OLDKNOW: Of course, yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, yeah. I remember the first time he was asked to lecture at the Renwick, I didn't know all these things about Therman. I knew that his parents lived here, but we called and said we wanted him to give a talk at the Renwick and could he do it and yes, he would do it. Then I had a call from—he must have had an assistant then and helped out, and they said "Well, could you send a check so we can pay for the airfare for Therman to come?" [He lived in California then. –EP/PP] This was the Renwick Alliance and we said yes, and Therman came and gave his talk. And I had no idea that sometimes Therman didn't always show up when he was supposed to. We remember that from Dick Marquis, remember they did the project at SOFA?

DR. PARKMAN: Oh yeah, they did a big installation at SOFA. So Therman didn't show, so Dick and his now wife, Johanna, had to do the whole thing.

MRS. PARKMAN: But I had no idea you know? I was just naive about it and Therman said he'd come, well, of course he'd come.

MS. OLDKNOW: Well he came though, so that's good.

MRS. PARKMAN: He came, but that was interesting, that was fun. And then another experience that we had as a lender, I mean I should have [talked about –EP/PP] the two lenders together but I have it written that way. But anyways, we loaned the Dale Chihuly Pilchuck Cylinder to Tulsa for the show, The Eloquent Object, and we went, they invited us to come to the opening.

MS. OLDKNOW: That was a great show. [… –TO]

DR. PARKMAN: It was a marvelous show.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, they turned themselves inside out for the artists and the collectors who came. They had a bus and took us all over Tulsa. They had dinner, they had a luncheon where there was a lady she was making pancakes, flipping pancakes and she would take your order, what you wanted—or egg omelet, maybe it was an omelet or something, and she'd take your order and then she'd flip it and take the next order.

DR. PARKMAN: They treated us like royalty.

MS. OLDKNOW: How fun!

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh it was such an experience. It was wonderful and we had such a great time. That stands out in our mind because it's the only time—

DR. PARKMAN: We've ever gotten treated like royalty.

[They laugh.]

MS. OLDKNOW: I know, and I always [… –TO] think, "Oh, you know, we need to do something special and so often you just—"

MRS. PARKMAN: Well you don't have the funds or the time.

MS. OLDKNOW: -and it requires so much organization. I am sure they had a group of local women who worked on this for six months if not longer.

MRS. PARKMAN: Any time you do anything like that it's a big job.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, it's a huge, huge job.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, and the person doing the show certainly doesn't have time to do it, writing catalogs.

MS. OLDKNOW: Certainly the museum doesn't, yeah, and so you need those people in the community who step up to the plate.

MRS. PARKMAN: It was such fun. It was so wonderful.


MS. OLDKNOW: You know, I was just talking to Tommie Rush about all the organization that went into Richard's opening in Knoxville. You know, they worked on it for a year. [… –TO]

MRS. PARKMAN: Did you get to the private party? Were you there for it?

MS. OLDKNOW: I wasn't. I for some reason had to go in and out and I couldn't go. I don't know what the story was.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well obviously it was a huge effort, because they entertained us from morning until night. We saw Richard's studio. We had not been out to his studio before.

MS. OLDKNOW: The party we went to and they invited the whole AACG to, at the Baileys' house. That was a beautiful party.

MRS. PARKMAN: That was so rewarding to see the museum do something so special in support for an artist. It really was wonderful. To see all this happen in the 40 years we've been involved you know?

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, it means a lot, doesn't it? To see that.

MRS. PARKMAN: It does, it does. It's heartwarming. So then another by chance, we gave a talk at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and I use a lot of the word by chance and you know a lot of things that happen kind of are by chance you know, you're in the right place at the right time? Of course if you're in the wrong place at the wrong time that's bad, but right place at the right time.

MS. OLDKNOW: It sounds like you manage to be in the right place at the right time a lot of time?

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, I think we did. But anyways we went back to Syracuse for Paul's medical class reunion in 1997 in September, and by chance, Dale Chihuly was having a show at the Everson [museum in Syracuse, NY –EP/PP].

MS. OLDKNOW: Okay, that is just too much of a coincidence.

MRS. PARKMAN: Isn't it? Where they were installed on black Plexiglas. It was fabulous. Those were in the days when—I don't know what years emails came in, but anyway, those were fax days. So knowing Dale—

MS. OLDKNOW: —he still does faxes. He likes the faxes—

MRS. PARKMAN: —okay, we haven't gotten one from him.

MS. OLDKNOW: Because he can draw and then send it—

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh the books I have to show you. He would put a fax in. So anyways, I faxed to the Boat House and I said we are going to be in Syracuse for Paul's medical class reunion and we know Dale is a morning person, and we would like to meet him for breakfast because we're going to be there at the same time. They faxed back and said --I don't remember all this and that folder was given to the Archives so I don't have it. But anyway, they said yes, you come to Dale's hotel at whatever time it was in the morning, Dale will meet you for breakfast. So we went to Dale's hotel at that hour in the morning.

MS. OLDKNOW: How early did you go?

MRS. PARKMAN: I don't remember? But probably it was 8:00AM. It was pretty early and we sat there and we talked and we had a wonderful time with Dale just talking and he said, "Oh, you know, I'm going to go to Golden Artist Colors. They make all my paints for me and they make me"—

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, in Syracuse?

MRS. PARKMAN: No, in New Berlin, New York.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, New Berlin, New York. I don't know.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well we didn't either, and we're from upstate. Nobody knows and he said they're sending a car for me so I can go. They make colors just for Dale. They don't make those colors for anybody else. They're just Dale's colors.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh I see.

MRS. PARKMAN: He said would you like to go with me?

MS. OLDKNOW: How fun.

MRS. PARKMAN: We said yes.


DR. PARKMAN: I thought about the program I was supposed to go to, the reunion and I thought between the two I said, "We'll go with Dale."

[They laugh.]

MRS. PARKMAN: So I don't know, was it an hour from there?

DR. PARKMAN: It seemed like it was forever. Long time.

MRS. PARKMAN: It's in the middle of nowhere. It's about the size maybe of Weedsport or smaller. We never saw New Berlin. So we went to Golden Artist Colors and the man, one of the brothers, Golden, was there and Dale --also the other thing that we didn't know, is that at 12:00 p.m. was it?

DR. PARKMAN: He had to be back. [Laughs.]

MRS. PARKMAN: He was to be interviewed on a television station and he had to be back in Syracuse. Well, we saw Artists Golden Colors on the fly. But it was wonderful. They'd tell us about it so we had a wonderful tour and then Dale said "Well I have to be back in Syracuse at 1:00PM," so I don't know how long we were there. It was a very brief period of time and so they had the brother of Golden, his name was Tom Golden. He was a practicing psychologist and he said, "Well, we'll have [Tom] Golden take you back to Syracuse," and he did. Dale and Tom had a really interesting conversation.

[They laugh.]

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh that's great actually. [… –TO]

MRS. PARKMAN: So they left Dale. I don't know where they left Dale, where he had to be and then Tom took us back to the restaurant where we met, to the hotel to pick up our car and he was very, very nice. I think he had lost his wife and he was sort of sad, but we exchanged Christmas cards for a long time after that. We heard from him every year and then we didn't any more. I don't know.

MS. OLDKNOW: Are they still in operation I wonder?

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh yes. Oh yes, you can go to the paint store and buy Golden Artist Colors.

MS. OLDKNOW: I didn't know that.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, sure.

MS. OLDKNOW: Okay, so they just made these colors for Dale?

DR. PARKMAN: Dale's fluorescent colors.

MRS. PARKMAN: That was really, really exciting. That was wonderful.

MS. OLDKNOW: That's a great story.

MRS. PARKMAN: Isn't it? By chance. Then the other most exciting trip of our whole life, well, we did go to Japan. That was very nice when Paul was an expert witness and they really treated us royally there too. It was a very short period of time. We had some extra time when we were on our own, but the ladies there took me around when Paul was busy with the lawyers and testifying so they saw to it that I saw places and [later, Paul too –EP/PP]. And then they took us to—we didn't know how to get to the train station we wanted to go to Kyoto—so they took us to the train station. The Japanese were very, very accommodating. So that was a nice trip and we happened to be there over our, I think it was our 40th wedding anniversary or 45th, but the other trip, the real trip of our lifetime was to Chihuly Over Venice.

MS. OLDKNOW: Me too. It was great, Peter and I will never forget it. I totally can share that with you.

MRS. PARKMAN: What were you doing at that time? Where were you then?

MS. OLDKNOW: I was in Seattle, I was freelance, and actually Chihuly had hired me to write about Chihuly Over Venice but it was going to be afterwards. Bill Warmus was actually doing dispatches but I was writing a series of little articles called Postcards from Venice for these two guys in Seattle who had an internet resources website and so I would send them my postcards from Venice with pictures and stuff as it unfolded and it was a lot of fun, but Chihuly had paid to bring me over and then we stayed there.

And it was really funny because at the time he said, "Well, I want you to be in Venice for 10 days." Peter, my husband and I are like, "Venice for 10 days? Like, we have to stay there for 10 days?" You know, like, "Wow, and not go anywhere else?" It actually changed the way we traveled ever since because now we like to go to one place and stay there and really get to know that place and we just had the most incredible time watching that project go up every day and seeing people that you knew at the Vaporetto stops. I ran into Kate Elliott in the Post Office, you know, it was just unbelievable to be in Venice with so many people you knew and to have all that.

DR. PARKMAN: Have all that action going on.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, it was so incredible.

MS. OLDKNOW: Incredible project.

MRS. PARKMAN: The people that came, like—the governor of Texas was there and the Andersons and the Saxes together had this wonderful party that was really special. The Frugal Gourmet was there and there's a picture of us, I guess you [Paul] took, Bill Warmus was sitting there, I'm sitting there, Dale's sitting there. [Laughs]. But we were there for 10 days and we had a lot of trouble getting a hotel room. We didn't think we were going to go, but we got the daily faxes about what was happening and we were able finally to get hotel rooms. A gal from the Renwick Alliance was a travel agent and she figured out the hotel for us and Kate Elliott told us about taking the Vaperetto from the airport to do that. It was expensive but she said it was—

DR. PARKMAN: Oh, we took a taxi. [It was a water taxi. –EP/PP]

MS. OLDKNOW: —a taxi because you have to take one [once –TO], you just have to. It's great.

MRS. PARKMAN: You know everybody had plans for us. Then we saw Pino, we went to the studio where Pino was doing a demo, remember? Pino Signoretto with Dale?

MS. OLDKNOW: It was also the Venezia Aperto Vetro, wasn't it?


MS. OLDKNOW: That big exhibition they had at the Correr.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, yes.

MS. OLDKNOW: I mean the Doge's Palace and they had the opening there.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, that was interesting because they closed the doors there—

MS. OLDKNOW: Yes, they did.

MRS. PARKMAN: —we got in because we're always on time.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, we were early so I was in, but a lot of people did not get in. [… –TO]

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah. [Laughs.]

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh yeah, it was a lot of fun. We were kind of helping Ginny with her show, she had a show so we were kind of helping her but she had a lot of people helping, you know, her, so she didn't really need our help. But it was really fun to be there with so many friends.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, it was the trip of a lifetime.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, that was a pretty good one. That's hard to top.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, we won't top it in our lifetime, we know that. So I think those—did you have other stories down? Those were the ones. I mean we did all these things together.

DR. PARKMAN: I don't think so. My stories were related to the journals.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh yeah, so we haven't gotten into that. Other artists I just mentioned, Maurice Heaton, and he's long since gone, but we visited him twice because he was such a nice guy and he was in his 90s I think when we met him. We just went twice, but anyways, his wife had just died and we said, "Oh we won't come," and he said, "Oh yes come." He wanted us to come and we did. He said, "You know, I look forward to getting up every morning." He said, "I just have so many ideas of things I want to do."

MS. OLDKNOW: Isn't that great.

[They laugh.]

MRS. PARKMAN: There he was, we thought he was an old man, and he was so excited.

DR. PARKMAN: We saw him again at Wheaton when he was even older and there's a little bit of trouble because he had the idea he was going to Philadelphia.

[They laugh.]

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh well, yeah, Millville is quite far from Philadelphia.

DR. PARKMAN: He was not going to Philadelphia so he's mad about that. And there was some little girl [who was assigned to take care of Mr. Heaton –EP/PP] with spiky hair and boots you know? Who must have weighed all of 95 pounds. He said, "I'm going to sue you," Mr. Heaton said, because he was kind of off the wall. He was too old to do that. So it was a very exciting thing and he brought his slides and his slides were mounted.

MS. OLDKNOW: I remember those old ones were so thick. They don't fit into any slide carousel.

MRS. PARKMAN: That was fun. Then when we went to see the Sosins one time, I think they took us to see the Higgins'?

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh yeah.

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, sure.

MRS. PARKMAN: Was that the same area? And that was really wonderful to visit their studio. I still get the mailings. They still do Higgins glass sales at Christmas time every year. Of course they've been gone forever, but he made a cheesecake for us and I remember it was so good and I asked him for the recipe. [Laughs.] We had a wonderful visit. I mean, visiting the artists, what more can you want, you know?

MS. OLDKNOW: I know, because they're such interesting people to talk to and get to know.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh they are and we love hearing them talk when they give talks formal talks, informal, whatever. We always love hearing them and they show slides and tell about their work and their background and how they did things.

MS. OLDKNOW: Was there any artist you visited more than others? [… –TO]

DR. PARKMAN: The Labinos, early on we went numerous times.

MRS. PARKMAN: We went a number of times, yes. I remember the last time we saw Mrs. Labino and she said, "Oh, why didn't you come and see me again?" You know, she was funny. I said something about all those wonderful times we saw you and she said "Oh, well you didn't come and see me again." I remember that. I was thinking we went to visit Tom Patti twice early on and that was wonderful too because, well, you have to see Paul's journals, we'll talk about the journals because those are really important, but anyways, his two little girls were little. One was four, the other was eight and Paul has a picture, but Tom and Marilyn picked blueberries in their garden and she made a blueberry pie for us, that was a long time ago. That was very exciting.

We didn't visit a lot of artists. I know that the Saxes visited a lot. I think that they did that a lot of time in their collecting and we didn't. I mean the Labinos we said and we went to Penland and we went to Haystack and we did go to Pilchuck but we didn't visit artists. Oh Ginny Ruffner, we went on a trip with a group then. And Tom Patti, twice, wonderful visits both times and then on the way to Roanoke to see a glass show there we stopped to see Jon Kuhn. He had a studio there at that time. And Jerry Hovanec was a friar, and he had a hot glass facility there that he built.

DR. PARKMAN: Near Catholic University.

MRS. PARKMAN: We were good friends with him, and he hosted when Marvin [Lipofsky] came and did a workshop for the Renwick Alliance he hosted that event and I forgot. And he also—

DR. PARKMAN: He also did a workshop with Fritz [Dreisbach].

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh yes, with Fritz. Yes. And then we did a favor for him [Jerry] and he wanted to repay us so he wanted us to come and blow glass and we learned how hard it is.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yea, I know. It is hard. So where were you blowing glass?

DR. PARKMAN: At his workshop, in––near some place—

MRS. PARKMAN: The Catholic Church friar. He was a friar then and then he left the friary. We have some of his work too. Jerry was an artist and he left the friary and since has married. He has a little girl who's growing up.

DR. PARKMAN: He works at American Art [Smithsonian American Art Museum].

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah. He works at [museum –EP/PP] installation. He's still, we get an invitation to his studio which is an hour from here.

MS. OLDKNOW: So is that the only time you're tried to blow glass?

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh yeah. I don't have any ability to do that. My ability is keeping records.

[They laugh.]

[END OF parkma14_2of4_sd_track02]


MS. OLDKNOW: Okay, this is Tina Oldknow interviewing Paul and Elmerina Parkman on September 24, 2014, disc number three. Paul was just going to read us a commendation letter from President Johnson.

DR. PARKMAN: Yes, I received this letter on May 5 of 1966. It says at the top, "The White House, Washington," and it says, "Dear Dr. Parkman, Few men can number themselves among those who directly and measurably affect human welfare, save precious lives, and bring new hope to the world. Through your accomplishments in developing an effective experimental vaccine against German measles, you and Dr. Harry Meyer have joined that tiny legion. On behalf of all people who look forward to a healthier world, I offer you my congratulations and best wishes. Sincerely, Lyndon Johnson."

MS. OLDKNOW: Wow, that's amazing, yes.

DR. PARKMAN: Isn't that a nice letter?

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: Then we were invited to the White House for a reception, and we shook his hand.

DR. PARKMAN: We shook his hand. He looked very tired.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, yes, I'm sure.

DR. PARKMAN: He looked as though he was not listening.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, I'm sure.

DR. PARKMAN: His mind was far away when he shook my hand.

MS. OLDKNOW: I don't know how they do it. I don't know how people do it, you know, all the things they have to worry about.

MRS. PARKMAN: Then we were invited to the White House again when Michael Monroe curated the show for American Crafts in the White House.

MS. OLDKNOW: [… –TO] And that was a landmark show, too, and a wonderful catalog.

MRS. PARKMAN: It was. Paul was away. He was out of town then. But I went to the opening, and they took a picture of everybody with the President [Clinton and the First Lady –EP/PP]. So I had my picture taken. I have a copy upstairs someplace. So that was really wonderful to do that. I was sorry Paul missed it.

The third time we were invited to the White House is --I have a nephew [Jacques Leonardi –EP/PP] who has a restaurant in New Orleans. For the Congressional Family Picnic, that they have on the lawn of the White House, it happened to be on my birthday several years ago. They invite chefs from various parts of the United States—the North, South, East, and West—to come and cook. Then they invite, as I said, the Congressional family for a picnic there, and we were invited to that because my nephew was there representing the South, New Orleans.

[… –TO]

MRS. PARKMAN: Of course President Obama and his wife came out, the First Lady with her dog, and they went down the line and shook hands with everybody.

MS. OLDKNOW: How exciting. That's what makes Washington so exciting, really, you know? Because if you live anywhere else, the likelihood would be small that you would ever have an opportunity like that.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, that was fun.

MS. OLDKNOW: That's wonderful. I love that.

MRS. PARKMAN: So what is next, Paul?

DR. PARKMAN: I'm not sure what's next. I have a copy of Emile Gallé's Dreams into Glass, and what it was was Bill Warmus was planning this show, and unimaginably, he and Tom Buechner had found some way to get a large—I've forgotten exactly how many works there were, but there were a substantial number of pieces by Emile, the famous French glass designer Emile Gallé. There were quite a few of these pieces that Bill was planning to have in his show at the Corning Museum of Glass, and the one he was particularly concerned about, was one called the Pasteur Coupe, very famous piece. It showed a number of motifs, and it was hard for Bill to figure out what was going on. Since it had a lot of medical imagery, he asked me to come and see if I could help. So I consulted with him and we did. I wrote him quite a long letter, which I won't bother you with, but the upshot was in his catalog he talks about the anthrax bacillus, the silk worms, the rabid dog, and some various kinds of bacteria. And where [he, Gallé, had gotten them from. Bill –EP/PP] sent us a picture and I tried to fathom what all these things were.

MS. OLDKNOW: I know it's really hard with Gallé.

DR. PARKMAN: So I was really pleased. He says special thanks—let's see. "Particular thanks to those who helped identify the sometimes esoteric motifs on Gallé's vases: Pasteur Coupe, Dr. Parkman, United States Food and Drug Administration." So that is the credit for that work that I did.

MS. OLDKNOW: It's a good one. They did have that exhibition in 1984. They've never really had another one in the United States like that.

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, not like this, I mean, all these one-off things.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, they're so amazing. Really, Gallé is one of my favorite artists of all time.

MRS. PARKMAN: The Glass Art Society meeting was there at that time, too.

MS. OLDKNOW: That's right, and I went to that one.

MRS. PARKMAN: And we did, too. We were in the series of going to those meetings.

MS. OLDKNOW: It was one week before I got married. My mother was horrified that I was going to go to New York to go to this conference right before my wedding. I was like, "I have to go." [… –TO]

DR. PARKMAN: Okay, so do we talk about journals? Want to do a little about journals?

MS. OLDKNOW: Let's do. Excellent.

DR. PARKMAN: This is Dr. Parkman's secret journal. Elmerina got me a leather-bound journal for some event—birthday, Christmas, something.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, I had forgotten that I did.

DR. PARKMAN: So I had this blank book, and it sat around for quite a while, and I thought, well, what should I do with this blank book? There was a quotation that said, "They fail, and they alone who have not striven." [A quotation by Thomas Bailey Aldritch –EP/PP]. So I said, okay, that's good sentiment, so I ought to strive to do something with this book and make it a journal of my life, and time from September 1979 to whatever. I kept this journal for 13 years.

MRS. PARKMAN: You have 11 volumes.

DR. PARKMAN: I have 11 volumes.

[… –TO]

MRS. PARKMAN: You have to show her some of the prettier ones, the covers. They were all handmade.

DR. PARKMAN: Leather-bound journals.

MS. OLDKNOW: That is beautiful. Oh, marbled paper.

DR. PARKMAN: They were made by Jerry Marmelstein, who is from Jeffersonville, Vermont. I'm not sure what happened to Jerry. I probably was his best customer, and I own 12 of them. I'm sure it wasn't enough for him to keep his life together, but they're beautiful leather bound.

MS. OLDKNOW: They're really nice. Yeah, they are. I love the end papers.

DR. PARKMAN: So here's the journal. So let's see. For example, volume four, page 65. Is that right? Yes, volume 4, page 65. A lot of times they have invitations, too. Here it is.

MRS. PARKMAN: And we had taken, because we're interested in everything --

MS. OLDKNOW: But this isn't your writing, is it?

DR. PARKMAN: Yes, it's my writing.

MRS. PARKMAN: We took calligraphy classes because we're interested in writing, both of us.

MS. OLDKNOW: You wrote this?

MRS. PARKMAN: Paul wrote those. Most of them were written in the middle of the night when he couldn't sleep and he wanted to practice.

MS. OLDKNOW: This looks like it was typeset. It's beautiful.

DR. PARKMAN: Well, it's good, but it's not exactly as good as it could be. This is Thursday, September 3, 1981.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, that's our visit to Tom Patti.

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, we went to see Tom Patti.

MRS. PARKMAN: That's the picture I was telling you about.

DR. PARKMAN: Well, I wanted to show you the picture, I guess, mostly because it's a really nice picture. It shows a picture of Tom and Sienna Rose, Scarlett Flora, and Marilyn.

MS. OLDKNOW: And you guys.

DR. PARKMAN: And us, yeah. And Sienna Rose was very small.

MS. OLDKNOW: I don't even recognize you, Paul. I don't even recognize you there.

DR. PARKMAN: Yes, right. I had more hair. It wasn't gray. It was marvelous.

MS. OLDKNOW: Well, and everyone looks so young. I'm so proud of Sienna. I think she's doing such a great job.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, yes.

MS. OLDKNOW: But this is fantastic.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, he practiced his handwriting.

MS. OLDKNOW: Lovely.

MRS. PARKMAN: He wrote of all the art and crafts events that we visited.

MS. OLDKNOW: Those are amazing.

MRS. PARKMAN: Was there something that you were going to?

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, I was going to read something.

MRS. PARKMAN: On to other things. But you can see that we went to—well, 11 journals were filled with the trips we made, the local events that we went to. You had the marker on the page.

MS. OLDKNOW: So you don't sleep well, you say?

DR. PARKMAN: No, not as well as I could. I could sleep better then than I can now. [Reading: –TO] "We had a delicious lunch of freshly made vegetable soup and fresh bread, cheese, tomatoes, and cucumbers and a nice white wine. I ate as usual, like a trencherman. After lunch, we saw the garden, their view of the valley and the Berkshires, and Tom's studio. He obviously had spent a lot of time working on it. His construction is very heavy duty and he has used locally cut lumber. He now has three floors, a furnace, and other equipment on the ground floor and office and design studio on the second and a general thinking/party/classroom and perhaps a "Monday Night Football" room on the third. It is not finished, but he has to do some work, I gather, instead of carpentering.

After this tour, a friend of the Pattis's, Uta Steeble, and her three children and Jason and Sally Berger came for apple pie. Uta and her husband have four pieces of Tom's work and are interested in two more. She is a consultant to the Milwaukee Art Museum for Haitian Art. She expressed an interest in seeing our collection and indeed probably will. Jason did not eat his crust, which was a crime.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, the next trip, they made the blueberry pie.

MS. OLDKNOW: This was in 1981, did you say?

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, this was in '81. Let's see what else we have.

MS. OLDKNOW: These journals are amazing. Did you write directly in the journal, or did you write and then copy?

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, I had a guide sheet that was underneath, so it helped to keep things on the up and up. I have some other things. That's volume three. I didn't bother with it.

MRS. PARKMAN: Show her the front page where you pasted in some decoration, but you're writing there—this writing with the long --

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, that's beautiful.

DR. PARKMAN: This was where I dedicated this volume to the memory of our favorite cat—

MRS. PARKMAN: We are cat people.

DR. PARKMAN: -- who died on April 28, 1981, after nearly 12 years of a useful and, we surmise, happy life.

MS. OLDKNOW: Do you have a cat now?

MRS. PARKMAN: Paul had asthma, you know. We were advised to get rid of the cats. We never did. He kept changing doctors.

DR. PARKMAN: We know that all cats are more or less alike, but he was special to us. He gave us much pleasure, and we miss him. RIP, Prince.

MRS. PARKMAN: The other interesting thing about Tom Patti: we bought his [piece –EP/PP], Solar Riser, and he had given a talk at the Renwick, and he said this was the one he had shown slides of when he gave his talk. When he came to visit us one time—I think Tom was here a couple of times—we had his piece on the mantle. I don't remember what other pieces were there. I don't think we had both Chihuly Venetians at that time, but anyway, when we went to visit him a second time, he said, "If I give you a pedestal, will you put my piece on it?" And we said yes. That makes his piece stand out because, on the mantle, it did look kind of lost there.

And then we had the Plexiglas cover made for it. And then Mary Shaffer's piece, we brought that home, and it had been hung like you see in the gallery where we saw it. When she came to our house and saw our collection, she said, "If I bring out some hooks that hang further from the wall, will you put them up?, and we said yes. She wanted it to stand away further to show the shadows that it made on the [wall –EP/PP]. That was good. But it was really interesting. The artists, of course, they want their work to look wonderful, so we were glad to do those things, but it was kind of an interest to us, to make those comments, and that helped us.

MS. OLDKNOW: No, that's great.

MRS. PARKMAN: What else did you do?

DR. PARKMAN: Let me get a couple more of the journals.

MS. OLDKNOW: I love the journals. So why did you decide to stop keeping them?

MRS. PARKMAN: He became president of the Renwick Alliance.

DR. PARKMAN: And that was the end of that. It was too bad.

MRS. PARKMAN: Liza's [Kirwin] very anxious. I mean, she really wants those, and most of it is Washington things, but Paul wrote about the trips we took when he was writing the journals. For this show, this was the lists of slides. We drove to Morristown, New Jersey why? Because there was a glass show.

MS. OLDKNOW: So this was a great one though. American Glass Art Evolution and Revolution. 1982. That's a classic catalog. I mean in those years there weren't that many books written about glass, so I know every single catalog.

MRS. PARKMAN: We drove to Wausau, Wisconsin. Why? Because Americans in Glass. We got there, for the opening we went and the people there said, "Who were you visiting?" We said, "Nobody, we don't know anybody here." They said well, come to the Trustees Dinner. But we drove all the way out there twice.

MS. OLDKNOW: That's really far. The only reason I know that is because Ben Heineman is buried there. Because his family was from Wausau believe it to not. I was talking to his son and said where is Ben buried because I'd like to go pay my respects and he goes well, he's in Wasau. I said well maybe when I'm in Chicago I can rent a car and drive out there. He goes it's pretty far. And I looked at it on the map and my god, it is really far.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, we did it, David Huchthausen has been involved in these exhibitions and they were absolutely wonderful and I think that there was—it maybe is not—well, it should have been pictured. I think that we wanted to buy the Dick Marquis piece, as I remember, from one of these shows, and they said no.

MS. OLDKNOW: So which one is this? Let me look at the cover. So that's Americans in Glass at Wasau, and—what year was that?

MRS. PARKMAN: This one, '84, and this one, oh, [The Leigh] Yawkey Woodson Art Museum.

MS. OLDKNOW: The Leigh Yawkey Woodson. That was a great catalog.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yep, both of them.

MS. OLDKNOW: And the other Americans in Glass? That's earlier?

MRS. PARKMAN: It was from June to August 1981.

MS. OLDKNOW: So they had wonderful shows two years in a row?

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, were there three of them or just two of them. I don't remember. Anyways, I need to look and see what we bought. Didn't we buy Dick Marquis' piece from one of these Americans in Glass show? And they said it was sold, they said we couldn't buy it because it had been sold to a museum.

DR. PARKMAN: They said it had been bought by the Corning Museum.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, it didn't go through because the sale.

DR. PARKMAN: Apparently the show traveled, but at some point they said we will buy it if we can raise the money and they couldn't raise the money. So we went to the Baltimore Fair, Winter Market.


DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, and we looked and there on the shelf above the production [glass –EP/PP] was a row of these [special –EP/PP] pieces and one of them became ours.

MRS. PARKMAN: Dick Marquis was there with Ro Purser. It was the only time that Dick was there. I mean he didn't do that craft show on a regular basis.

DR. PARKMAN: There was also another piece. It was a cactus piece, and Tom Buechner had bought it for the Corning Museum.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, we still obviously have it.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, it was the potato piece, wasn't it?

DR. PARKMAN: Yes, it was.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, it's one of the fabricated weird series, a really great piece and, we love it. It's a wonderful piece. [… –TO] Yes, you thought it was cactus because it has a souvenir sand painting as the bottom of it. It's a great piece, and it has a word cane on it, too.

MRS. PARKMAN: Tom was at that show. He was there in Baltimore. But the piece that we bought that we wanted had all these little prunts on it, but the prunts were gone or there wasn't a little tip on them, and Dick said, "Oh, the piece came back because the museum had it in storage and the mice had eaten the—what were the prunts made of Paul?

MS. OLDKNOW: They were rubber, the bathtub caulk.

MRS. PARKMAN: We said we wanted to buy it, and he said he would fix it so he stayed with Margie [Jervis] and Susie [Krasnican] at that time and put all the prunts back on and we bought the piece.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, that's great.

DR. PARKMAN: And now it's yours.

MRS. PARKMAN: No, that isn't your piece.

MS. OLDKNOW: No, no, no, that didn't come to us.

MRS. PARKMAN: Then it must have gone to the Renwick.

MS. OLDKNOW: Maybe it went to the Renwick.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, Tom had his shot at it, but they couldn't decide then, say he wanted the piece that you have because he said it was all glass and this piece had had caulk.

Here's Margie and Susie installing the piece that is our commission.

MS. OLDKNOW: Did you ever commission any work from anyone else?

DR. PARKMAN: Three commissions. One was from Dan Dailey, the Coupe. The other one was the—

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, okay. Is that at the Renwick?

MRS. PARKMAN: I have a nice picture of that. And then was the other one the placemats, Paul?

DR. PARKMAN: The placemats, yes.

MS. OLDKNOW: These journals are fantastic.

MRS. PARKMAN: Aren't they beautiful?

[… –TO]

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, and then Paul got fancy.

MS. OLDKNOW: The illuminated letter, wow. That's pretty impressive.

DR. PARKMAN: The stamp. [A rubber stamp with Italianate letters of the alphabet. –EP/PP]

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, I like it.

DR. PARKMAN: "Monday, July 5, 1985. Today we started off by driving a short distance to Amesbury to visit Dan Dailey and Linda MacNeil. They have a nice, big '20s-ish house with a picket fence on Main Street. They live here and they have their studio there. Talked about his assistant and so on. The most recent vessels are made of Fenton glass, including a very handsome red, and are called the Science Fiction Series. The creatures depicted are fantastic and are on a field of enameled dots. We like especially The King and His Supplicants, a tabletop sculptural work, something analogous to Shooting the Bull. Also in the running, we had an idea for a commissioned work, The Parkman Coupe. At this point, everything is costly, and one's collecting future is uncertain so that one needs to think particularly hard."

MS. OLDKNOW: That's great. Love it.

DR. PARKMAN: One more is, "Okay, in the evening, we went out to dinner with the Sosins and the Vigilettis at a Greek restaurant."

MS. OLDKNOW: And what is the date of this?

DR. PARKMAN: This is dated May 29, 1984. "Which was very good. We all went to the Sosins for drinks and conversation. Later on, we went to Bob and Sylvia's [Vigiletti] to see their new in-process renovation. I don't know what that is. A new studio for each of them […–EP/PP].

MS. OLDKNOW: He was a photographer, wasn't he?

DR. PARKMAN: Right. "We bought a color Xerox, Getting it in Glass, one of five from Sylvia. A very busy and happy birthday. No German chocolate cake this year but an exciting and more likely dietetic event in any occasion."

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, that's nice.

DR. PARKMAN: One more.

MRS. PARKMAN: But look at that paper.

MS. OLDKNOW: It's beautiful. That man in Vermont. [Jerry Marmelstein –EP/PP]

MRS. PARKMAN: But he couldn't make a living, I don't think.

DR. PARKMAN: I don't think he could make a living at it, and you don't find them anymore.

MRS. PARKMAN: We always look for paper because we're always interested in writing. I showed you all those other little books we had that were empty.

MS. OLDKNOW: I'm so impressed. It's so nice to have them in books like this as opposed to random pieces of paper.

MRS. PARKMAN: But people don't make books anymore, I don't think. I haven't seen a book maker.

MS. OLDKNOW: No, the only ones you can get are the Moleskin, like the sketchbooks for artists. You can get those and write in them, but other than that…

DR. PARKMAN: Thursday, August 18, 1983. "Kate Elliott visited with Margie [Jervis] and Susie [Krasnican] this evening for iced tea and dessert here at 4101 Glenridge. We talked about Dale's [Chihuly] show in Newport and the party for the opening which Kate had planned as a substitute for a farewell to Pawtuxet Cove [Dale Chihuly's boat house residence in Rhode Island. –EP/PP] which she was sure that he would not want. She also told of the episode of the lost journal. She had kept accounts of the first year at Pilchuck, but then she lost them in a truck when she was hitching a ride after her car broke down, all of her gear including her camera was returned to her except the journal. The man that found it tried to find her and deliver it to her in person. She did not feel as if she could let this happen and would not see him and she never got the journal back." Sad story.

MS. OLDKNOW: That's so funny.

DR. PARKMAN: This is Kate [points to her photo –EP/PP].  She also had—this is Kate on August 21, 1983. She says—among other things, she said—I say and I wrote, "She also had two Indian blanket cylinders. A third had sold. Earlier, one of Dale's photographers, Ira Garber, was selling off to help finance his purchase of a new home. It was rather dark and confused, but the second was a good peach blow and had an interesting blanket which was spiraled upwards and was rather torn. Nonetheless, the overall work was a beautiful pink and white. Kate thought it was unlikely that better pieces would come on the market anytime soon."

MRS. PARKMAN: That was the one we bought.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, that's a great one.

DR. PARKMAN: That's the one we bought.

MS. OLDKNOW: And it's a large one.

DR. PARKMAN: This is, when was this, this is some time not too far after that. It's a long account. August 22, 1983. Oh, this is just a brief thing. "We'd seen the Pattis [Tom and Marilyn –EP/PP] again and they invited us to supper and of course they did fish stuffed with shrimp, new potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, corn on the cob, and freshly picked wild blueberries baked in a pie. Sienna [their little girl –EP/PP] showed us her photograph album, the two best pictures a portrait of Sienna and a scene including her swinging in the park. After about 8:30 p.m., we left owing to Marilyn's excellent directions made our way to Williamstown and the Four Acres Motel. Then the next day we went on to the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. The Clarks are of the Singer sewing machine Clark heirs. They devoted their lives to collecting art, old silver, and horses and had a good luck in all three areas—37 memoirs and an Epsom Derby winner: Never Say Die, 1954. For example, the strength of their collection is in impressionist paintings and sculpture. The galleries are mostly on the scale of a private home, albeit a grand private home such as the Clarks would be accustomed to."

MRS. PARKMAN: The Clarks were also in Cooperstown.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, yes.

DR. PARKMAN: That's right. We knew them.

MS. OLDKNOW: I didn't know that they were of the Singer sewing machine family.

MRS. PARKMAN: Paul has pictures in some of these.

MS. OLDKNOW: Now, Cooperstown, they have the museum?

MRS. PARKMAN: The Baseball Hall of Fame.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, but there is a wonderful museum there.

DR. PARKMAN: Yes, the Farmer's Museum.

MS. OLDKNOW: But there's also a Museum of American Art, a painting, and now they have Native American Art. I think it's another Clark. What museum is it? It's like the best museum, as far as I'm concerned, in Cooperstown. It's really good. I can't remember the name. [Fenimore Art Museum]

MRS. PARKMAN: We have not been to Cooperstown in a long time. The Clarks would underwrite a lot of the expenses of the hospital at that time. I don't know whether they continue to do that or whether there are any Clarks left.

DR. PARKMAN: This is the last one.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, your last journal, number 11?

DR. PARKMAN: No, it isn't the last journal, but I'm not going to go on all afternoon. This is Thursday, June 11, 1987. It's a visit to Tom Buechner, Tom Buechner Sr.'s. "We drove to Corning in five hours and 15 minutes. We went directly to the museum. We had come after many years of deliberation prepared to buy the Flora [Mace] and Joey's [Kirkpatrick] Kite Cylinder but found that it had been sold. We consoled ourselves by buying CorningWare cheap glass goblets in two sizes and baskets—just for bargains. So we went to Tom's and we saw behind the sofa on a long table were The Ring pieces [works inspired by The Ring of the Nibelung –EP/PP]. I especially admired the dragon guarding the treasure in the form of a great, black slug oozing its way around the vessel." And that was Billy Morris's. [He was the gaffer for Tom Buechner at Pilchuck, where they were made. –TO]

MS. OLDKNOW: Yes, in fact, Corning owns a lot of those. The Ring pieces, they're fantastic; they really are.

DR. PARKMAN: "In the center of the room was a large easel on wheels which rested on the partially completed portrait of Alice Tully. Footnote: Alice Tully, a concert singer [and patron of the arts –EP/PP], is the granddaughter of the original Houghton founder of the Corning Glass Works and the second cousin of Katherine Hepburn. She is of the principal donor to the $4.5 million, 1,096-seat chamber music auditorium at the Lincoln Center. Her birthday is on September 11 and her portrait [was hung there in celebration of her 85th birthday –EP/PP].

MS. OLDKNOW: That was Tully Hall? Fantastic. I realized just recently that she was a Houghton, Alice Tully.

DR. PARKMAN: "We talked about some of his paintings, and he said that Leslie had been given to the Met [Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City]."

MS. OLDKNOW: Yes, it was.

DR. PARKMAN: "She is a local girl, tall, who came to pose in a turtleneck and jeans and wound up, at the Buechners' behest, in one of Mrs. B's peignoirs, which may account for her wary look. Mrs. B, his wife, is in Boston for the summer, painting. The other creature in the household is Louise, a 19-year-old cat which, Tom said, 'Too old to enjoy life and too well to do in.'"

MRS. PARKMAN: Tom was great.

DR. PARKMAN: We were also told of Amory Houghton having adopted a consultant's plan, which later became identified as his. I think he means Tom's. Houghton was persuaded to go to work after 1920 or 1930 having subsidized the Houghton wing at the library for $2.3 million because it was too dreadfully hot to fundraise." That's all I'm going to read you.

MS. OLDKNOW: That's good. That's fun. These are great stories, really good.

DR. PARKMAN: I think that's most of them. I have a couple of other things that I'd like to include in the record. I'm going to ask your advice about this. I have—in the 1984 GAS [Glass Art Society] journal for the GAS conference [in Corning –EP/PP], I gave the concluding remarks, and that's hard to find because I'm not in the index.

MS. OLDKNOW: But it is in the journal, though.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, Paul, has a Xerox of the page.

DR. PARKMAN: It takes nine and a half minutes to read. So if you would prefer, I can just find the picture, or I could read it, because I like it.

MRS. PARKMAN: I think it would be a nice addition.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, yeah, these are actually really nice. I think you should read this.


MS. OLDKNOW: So concluding remarks by Paul Parkman, 1984 Glass Art Society Journal.

DR. PARKMAN: "I was pleased when Bill Warmus, earlier that day, asked me to make some concluding remarks.

MS. OLDKNOW: I like the way he asked them earlier that day.

DR. PARKMAN: "I began to think about what I would say, but since I didn't know in advance how Robert Kehlmann and Fritz [Dreisbach] and I would split things up in doing the summary. I couldn't get too organized. Besides, that is my nature. When I arrived, I talked to them and they said I could say anything I wanted…total freedom. So what I will say is my own and is my general reaction to the conference. As I sat and listened to the eloquent and finely crafted presentations on the opening evening it became clear that I might be in some trouble with regard to the high standards being set. I felt better when it occurred to me that I might use the same format in preparing these comments as I do in writing in the journal that I keep. For the last five years I have kept a journal using a series of wonderful books made by Jerry Marmelstein at the Book Works of Jeffersonville, Vermont. In these books, I write about all the art related events of my life, openings, shows, artists visits, trips to meetings like this one. So I am going to read you some excerpts from my journal about GAS 1984 in Corning.

Wednesday, May 16, 1984. "The weather is very upstate, silver gray light and cold. Snow flurries possible. The talks start off with what show signs of becoming a GAS tradition, the history of the meeting's locus. Eric Hilton gives a wonderfully romantic talk and the slides were beautiful. Bill Warmus and Tom Buechner give, with great economy of words, highly polished, beautifully capsulized presentations. Bill tells us of five things about Galle and Tom with even more economy, three things about Galle. The quality of their talks made it discouraging to be a later speaker."

Thursday May 17, 1984: "More spring-like today. Bill admonishes us to be kind to the speakers, laugh at their jokes. Dwight Lanmon shows us his favorite pieces from the Museum's collection to demonstrate that from a museum's standpoint, technique is not cheap. We go barefoot through the library where we can learn about art and technique. And then we talk about artists and their work. Mark Peiser, the brave who passed up the opportunity to become rich and famous using one technique, is destined to become rich and famous using another by avoiding the void and creating an atmosphere within. We heard from Michael Glancy and Albinas Elskus, both of whom decorate glass and both of whom respect it. Michael Ashenbrenner showed us powerful imagery, and Rob Levin showed us how to keep moving by breaking the rules. He said "the hardest and the most important rules to break are those we set for ourselves." The need for and the painful process of change was a common theme. Nick Labino reiterated his plea for respect for the material. We echo his hope and that he will long be with us to monitor us and chastise those of us who show signs of degenerating."

Friday, May 18, 1984: "This morning, in a session called "Glass for Public Spaces," we learned a number of ways to fill holes in buildings, an effort which includes art, planning, the ability to work with others, and sometimes politics. Also we are treated to the student exhibition and in a nice counterpoint, a long session on "International Approach to Glass Education." This session, I believe, turned out the be the centerpiece and unifying element of this year's conference. The speakers—[Stephen] Proctor, [Richard] Meitner, Vallien, Dufour, [Klaus] Moje, and [Dan] Dailey—talked of their programs, all different yet all the same in the care lavished on their students, in their belief in the importance of freedom to experiment and freedom in the learning process, and in their pride for their students' work. It is fascinating that America's programs are in such high regard and represent a model for educational efforts worldwide. I think it was appropriate that Andries Copier, whose creative life is stretched over the whole midsection of the 20th century, served as a role model in this session that ended the day. The day went from youth to age and we sat in the auditorium flanked on both sides with the student exhibition, evidence of the efforts of the next generation of glass artists. I perceive that it promises to be an exciting one.

Saturday, May 19: "Driving rain at first followed by sunshine and warmth. The day continued to see brilliant work by American artists and surveyed the international glass scene. The heart of the day focused on how the professional critic looks at a work. I would conclude that we and they have much to learn and will need as [Clement] Greenburg suggested, long lives.

How might the 1984 GAS conference be summarized? It was as it should have been. It dealt with education, teaching, and learning in ways formal and informal by instruction and by example. It was for the students, and the students were, I think, not only those young people in formal programs, but all of us who came…those from the museums, those from galleries, those of us who collect and those of us who are artists. It was a wonderful program.

My wife, Elmerina, and I have been coming to these conferences since New Glass [in 1979 –EP/PP]. We have attended five of the six—Corning, Huntington, New York City, Tucson, and now full cycle back to Corning. Things have changed. The meetings have evolved from 1979. We start more nearly on time. We stick better to our allotted time—not perfectly, I should say, but better. The programs have evolved as the field has. A session on glass for public spaces has gained a place on the agenda. The new Corning Museum of Glass is now finished. Finally, I want to come back to one thing that I think is important. The efforts of the GAS board, who shaped this year's program, should be commended. In addition, Corning—particularly Tom Buechner, Dwight Lanmon, and Bill Warmus—deserve the Glass Art Society's special thanks for letting us come again. Tom spoke of Galle, the artist-manufacturer, and of his largeness of spirit as an artist and as a man of his time. I think we're lucky to have men of equal largeness of spirit and who are artists and manufacturers and who are supporters of the Glass Art Society's programs. We look forward to coming to Corning again."

MS. OLDKNOW: Lovely. That was lovely. I was also at that conference. That was the one before my wedding.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, you said the week before.

MS. OLDKNOW: Well, actually, I lied because my wedding wasn't until June 9th, so it was several weeks before.

MRS. PARKMAN: But still close. Oh, my, oh my.

[They laugh.]

MS. OLDKNOW: That's lovely what you wrote. though. And you called it right. It did get a lot more interesting for sure. It was really nice.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, the accompanying photographs of Fritz, Michael Glancy, Dwight Lanmon, Mark Peiser, Andries Copier, and Robert Levin, he took them all.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, that's great. That's great.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, we've had—it's really, really been a wonderful, art-filled life.

MS. OLDKNOW: Well, and you've seen all these people now. You still know them and you see Michael and you see Fritz, and it's kind of great to [have seen –TO] all that.

MRS. PARKMAN: That has made all the difference, all the difference.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, when I went in 1984 to that, I knew so little about glass, I was just beginning to learn, so it was an excitement thing.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, like I said, we've had a whole lot of time, and we hope there's more time, but it's really been great. What should we talk about next?

MS. OLDKNOW: We talked about the journals. Were there any exhibitions or catalogs that were particularly meaningful? And you have listed here Objects: USA, Toledo, Corning, and North Carolina Glass. Do you want to talk about that a little bit?

MRS. PARKMAN: Let me see. The Objects: USA was really important to us because that, as Paul said, opened your eyes. Artists working today, and as I said before about Corning's New Glass, that opened up—made people aware throughout the world that there was this exciting new glass.

MS. OLDKNOW: But how about for you, personally? Objects: USA for sure. New Glass, yes.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, I have the Labino catalog. I should go upstairs and get the few catalogs that I pulled out. Well, the Labino, you probably have seen his catalog. We bought it when we first visited. I guess he must have had copies available then. And Harvey Littleton's .

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, you want me to get those?

MRS. PARKMAN: I will go up there.

MS. OLDKNOW: You don't have to get them, mostly what you found.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, I need to remember, so I think that I will do that. While I'm gone. I already showed Tina these and told her about the Wausau trip and how wonderful—oh, what you could do—well, it's a different subject. Let's do one thing at a time. I will go up and get those because they're all right together.

MS. OLDKNOW: Okay. I'll just pause this for a minute.


MS. OLDKNOW: So you just brought down a box full of little books.

MRS. PARKMAN: These were the little books.

DR. PARKMAN: What it was was I was commonly behind in writing these accounts, so I would write in these little books in my usual crummy hand and then when I caught up I did the other ones. So we have a whole bunch of those. [There are two types of books: one 3x5 inches paperbound, lined and the other 8½x11 inches leatherbound volumes. –EP/PP]

MS. OLDKNOW: Those are great.

MRS. PARKMAN: Compulsive people, compulsive people. Okay, this was --

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, Visual Art in Glass, that's a great book by Dominick Labino.

MRS. PARKMAN: That was our first trip in 1971, so that was important. Well, the Toledo catalogs.

MS. OLDKNOW: I love the Toledo catalogs, and this is a sweet little glass history, this Visual Art in Glass.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah. I think Kate Elliott was helping me. Those were just catalogs that I collected when I was trying to track down anything.

MS. OLDKNOW: There's Dale and Jamie [Carpenter] and Italo [Scanga]. These are great. Well, okay.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, the one who helped us get those. As I said, Tom McGlauchlin was nice enough to give me the Toledo Glass National catalogs. Let me—here, I think, the American Craft Museum.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, yeah. Were you involved with the American Craft Museum or American Craft Council?

MRS. PARKMAN: No, not with that. We were on the acquisitions committee, because of David [McFadden], for the museum. Then Tacoma Art Museum, this was just another catalog—early catalogs that I wanted. Yeah, '71.

MS. OLDKNOW: So that was the art museum, not the Museum of Glass.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, that didn't exist for a long time afterward.

MS. OLDKNOW: That's a great piece.

MRS. PARKMAN: To have all these—and then this was, as I mentioned, Lee Nordness had a gallery, and this was the little catalog for his. It was just falling apart, but I wrote letters.

DR. PARKMAN: Do they have Harvey's?

MRS. PARKMAN: No, Harvey Littleton's work is the little pieces.

MS. OLDKNOW: What it says here, Objects: USA presents the excitement of handmade objects, all limited editions, all created by leading artist craftsmen in the U.S." That's nice. Really great.

MRS. PARKMAN: I mean, these sort of things don't exist very much, and then I'll show the one—oh, the Erie Art Museum. Like I said, I just spent my life writing off for catalogs and corresponding for people to get --

MS. OLDKNOW: That's good. I've never seen this. And I've never seen that Shopping for Crafts in New York City, American Crafts Council Guide. That's nice. There's quite a lot of places. Let's see, when was this published? July 1978. There's quite a lot of places. You have the Hellers place underlined, Contemporary Art Glass Group.

MRS. PARKMAN: And then we enjoyed this book, too. And I have the North Carolina Glass catalogs. I should have brought those. I think we had a hardcover copy that we gave when we were giving away our [books and catalogs to the Smithsonian American Art Museum Library –EP/PP]. This was part of what I did early on. Then this was the book that Paul was talking about where he read every word of it.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, wow, Joseph Alsop, he's so fantastic, The Rare Art Traditions: The History of Art Collecting and Its Linked Phenomena. I met him once. I had lunch with him at his house. I'll never forget it; it was pretty awesome. He was incredible.

DR. PARKMAN: So I read the book and I thought it was kind of helpful as a way of looking at collecting.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, yeah, that's great. A History of Art Collecting and Its Linked Phenomena, I'd love to read this.

DR. PARKMAN: People gave it terrific reviews. He was not primarily a writer about art, and so people who were primarily about art took him down a bit, but I thought it was excellent.

MS. OLDKNOW: I think it's great, and I would expect the professionals to give him a hard time, but this looks great. I actually would like to read this. I'll write down the name if I can't get it. I'm going to pause this. Okay, so early on, you sent away for catalogs.

MRS. PARKMAN: We spent a lot of time writing off for catalogs, and a lot of them—this was my record keeping and how many copies of them I would get, and I was very religious about getting catalogs. As I said, when New Glass Review appeared on the scene, I used that but even that…

MS. OLDKNOW: You had to because there were no libraries, so you had to build your own. Everybody was doing that.

MRS. PARKMAN: So then, as we went—this was Susanne's show [Susanne Frantz, sculptural glass –EP/PP]. This was when we met Susanne.

DR. PARKMAN: It was a great show.

MRS. PARKMAN: It was. And then here are the Toledo [Glass National –EP/PP] catalogs, and we used these as guides.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, you have the actual ones? I only have Xeroxes. These are great. Yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: This was the last of the shows.

MS. OLDKNOW: Sculptural Glass. That was in Tucson.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, that was wonderful. I loved that show.

MS. OLDKNOW: American Glass Now, that's great.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, and then Christopher Wilmarth. I wrote to him.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, you did?

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, to get that. Oh, so talented.


MRS. PARKMAN: And then this is what the North Carolina Glass catalogs looked like, and we went to North Carolina for the shows in '74, '78, in Cullowhee. Look at the pictures.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, these are so great.

MRS. PARKMAN: Here is our piece [by Mark Peiser –EP/PP].

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, yes.

MRS. PARKMAN: I think maybe this show might have traveled. In any event, we didn't get the piece for a long, long time, and I remember we got a telephone call. I don't remember who called me, whether it was Joan Byrd or somebody else, and she said, "You know, Mark could really use the money." That's when we paid for it. So that's just a sample of all the things that I did in the early days when it wasn't like it is today. You know, we didn't have Amazon. To find these little obscure catalogs, it took a lot of time and effort.

MS. OLDKNOW: You bought them from places like Whitehouse Books and later Kate Elliott?

MRS. PARKMAN: Later. Early on, it was writing to the museums or wherever the show was for the catalogs—like the [Parkway Craft Center, on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Cone Memorial Park, Blowing Rock, North Carolina –EP/PP] —

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, the [Parkway Craft Center –EP/PP], yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: —to get the information that I wanted from that. So that took a lot of my time and effort, but we gave all those to the library, and they were so—

MS. OLDKNOW: Which library?

MRS. PARKMAN: The Smithsonian American Art Museum Library [Washington, D.C.].

[… –TO]

DR. PARKMAN: Well, they were really kind of overwhelmed, so I hope that they all are safe someplace.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, the ones we gave had [a stamp with our names as donors on it –EP/PP].

DR. PARKMAN: She [the librarian –EP/PP] did that with a lot of the catalogs. The Renwick had some right there in their museum, not over where the parent museum was, so they had a whole bookcase, and all of those, I know, were stamped.

MRS. PARKMAN: But anyways, when we gave our collection to the Archives of American Art and the Smithsonian American Art Library, it all had to be appraised. Allan Stypeck was president of Second Story Books, and he was a senior accredited appraiser and belonged to the American Society of Appraisers.

I just wanted to read to you what he said. I excerpted this from his letter and from the appraisal. It says—"The books, exhibition catalogs, journals, periodicals, auction catalogs, and vertical file materials of less than 20 pages." There were a lot of things that were less than 20 pages in those days, in the very early days of catalogs.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yes. Sure.

MRS. PARKMAN: "Donated November 2005. The Elmerina and Paul Parkman Library consists of --

[END OF parkma14_3of4_sd_track01]

MRS. PARKMAN: —"hardback and paperback books, publications with more than 50 pages, 1,416 exhibition catalogs, 1,327 journals, 140 auction catalogs, 12 boxes of vertical files. Items of less than 20 pages pertaining to the Studio Glass Movement and related subjects. The collection is one of the most comprehensive collections of studio art glass in the world. An inventory of the collection prepared by the National Portrait Gallery," he meant American Art [Museum], "staff is enclosed. The condition of the library is generally very good or better." So, we had all those upstairs.

MS. OLDKNOW: So, those are gone. But, that's great. It's so fantastic that they have that.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, and then for the archives, an excerpt of the appraisal of the material donated in 2004. "These materials form a,"—and this is the vertical files, the correspondence, the invitations, the reviews, whatever I could find, I put in the folders for the artists. "The materials form a comprehensive collection from the 1970s through the 1990s. It documents the early years of the movement to its coming of age. The collection provides primary material, often ephemeral, of intrinsic interest to researchers and scholars of this movement. The collection is estimated at 30,000 pages or pieces, over 75 color slides, including the artist's information, and an estimated 700 correspondent pieces with artists' autographed notes or signatures. The intellectual value of this collection would be difficult, almost impossible, to duplicate or reproduce, making the value much greater than the individual sum of its parts. The archives are generally in very good or better condition." So, that was for the materials we gave away, and you see the house is full of—

DR. PARKMAN: Full of stuff.

MS. OLDKNOW: But, I'm just so pleased that that has gone to the Archives.


MS. OLDKNOW: It's important because, like he said, there was no one really consistently or maybe very few people consistently doing things. And, certainly, I have never met anyone like you who was writing away for catalogs and—

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, that's how I got most of them.

MS. OLDKNOW: You know, besides the Corning Museum Library, really assembling all these materials.

MRS. PARKMAN: But, the librarians at Corning were very, very helpful. Like I said, once the New Glass Review came into existence, I would go through the bibliography, and then sometimes contact them if I couldn't get something I wanted. They were very, very helpful. Everybody was always wonderful there to work with. I did have a lot of material. They [Archives of American Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum Library –EP/PP] had a lot of trouble dealing with it all because they have these boxes and boxes around—they didn't have a staff to do it.


MRS. PARKMAN: That was part of the problem. So, I hope, I have heard that people say they found the material and had used the library, so that makes us feel good.


MRS. PARKMAN: I hope it's all available.

MS. OLDKNOW: Sometimes it takes a while. 2005 isn't, it may seem long to us, but it's not really that long when you're dealing with lots of archives. But, just to know that it's housed and it will eventually become available is good.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, yeah. But, you know, instead of stopping collecting and having some extra space, we just continued. [Laughs.] Because it's just sort of ingrained in us. But, the important books in the beginning were, Objects: USA and the Corning [New Glass: A Worldwide Survey –EP/PP] a few years later. And, I enjoyed the Labino book that was earlier.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, yeah. Learning the history of glass I can see that, this is how we learn, reading these catalogs. I remember when I went to Corning I think for the first time to find out what contemporary glass was because in 1982, when I was at LA County, Dan Greenberg said we want to start donating contemporary glass. The head curator and I were like, "What's that?" He gave us the [New Glass: A Worldwide Survey –EP/PP] book. I remember reading all these catalogs that you're showing here at the library in Corning. I spent like two weeks there and read all the catalogs, and I went back and said, "Okay, now I know what they're talking about." But, at the time, there wasn't that many publications, really. I mean—it was the only information available, you know. So, it was very important.

[… –EP/PP]

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, so this is a handmade book by Paul Parkman. [It was a book that we had visitors who came to our home sign. –EP/PP]

DR. PARKMAN: And it was—

MRS. PARKMAN: I'll take this away and get more stuff.

DR. PARKMAN: I don't think it, it doesn't say.

MRS. PARKMAN: When you made it?

DR. PARKMAN: No, I'm trying to remember the name of what the gal was that taught the workshop. [JoAnne Schiavone –EP/PP]

MRS. PARKMAN: Was it the one we bought our journals from?


MRS. PARKMAN: Okay, well, I'll bring down her journals. I have her name in the other room actually.


MRS. PARKMAN: JoAnne Schiavone.

DR. PARKMAN: JoAnne Schiavone. And, this one's almost done.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, we'll finish it up. Not too many—and, you had marked the people we should mention. I'll take these away and put these upstairs.

MS. OLDKNOW: Let me help you carry some of them upstairs.

MRS. PARKMAN: I'll run these up, and, oh, I wanted to bring down the other books that she made that we—we started having people sign the guestbook when they came because we did have a lot visitors. It was surprising to us, in 1983, and we had museum people come and docents come and the Textile Museum docents came because they wondered what it was that I did. We always gave a talk.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, you did?

MRS. PARKMAN: I knew that people didn't, most of the people, not the collectors, said they didn't know what they were looking at. So, we always gave a talk. I have the card. We had the Wellesley College people come. How we happen to have that, I don't remember. But, that group came. We've given a lot of talks about glass over the years, and that folder we gave away. But, I have one folder that has, was it Wellesley College? I have to bring that down. A talk that we gave at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

MS. OLDKNOW: I'd like to hear about what you talked about.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, so we would do that. But, you can show her your book. And, you have a couple pages there that have stickers on, Paul, so you must have planned to—

DR. PARKMAN: Oh yeah, one of them is simply, I didn't know who was—

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, you couldn't read the signature.

DR. PARKMAN: I think it was something that a friend of [our niece –EP/PP] Teresa's maybe.

MS. OLDKNOW: So, did people come to ask you for advice? Other collectors on how to collect glass? Did you find you were giving them tips—

DR. PARKMAN: Folks from the Board. The guy from Microsoft, the guy you mentioned earlier [Jon Shirley –EP/PP]. He was very much interested. She can tell you more. Yeah, he was very much interested in what we were recording on the collection. [Actually, it included Jon and Mary Shirley and others from the Pilchuck Board of Trustees. –EP/PP]

MS. OLDKNOW: So, you were writing down because you have beautifully kept documentation of every piece that you own, the artist, the style, the description.

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, he wanted to know how to do that, about computers and all that. I did keep a computerized listing of everything, so he was very much interested in that. I don't know if too many people—there aren't a lot of scholarly people around.

MS. OLDKNOW: No. I mean, I was just wondering, I was asking if there were collectors who you kind of advised about? How you start collecting glass? What would you tell people?

MRS. PARKMAN: We told them how the studio glass movement was started, you know.

MS. OLDKNOW: But, they didn't ask you questions about, how do you—

MRS. PARKMAN: About our collecting? No, that wasn't—oh, I don't think I even read the name of this one. Oh, you have question mark there. But, anyway, this is the first one.

DR. PARKMAN: That was the first one.

MRS. PARKMAN: This is the first handmade book by JoAnne, and it was fun to have, oh, Paul put this in here.

DR. PARKMAN: That was in my—

MRS. PARKMAN: Bill was here then.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, look at that, yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: Wine and cheese.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: You had mentioned—you made a list of the people so you don't have to look through all of this. But, anyway, I need to see the guest books. Okay, Paul made a list of all the people who came in the first book. Robert Kehlmann was here. He came with his mother and his wife. And, Harvey [Littleton] was here, Vicki Halper. I had, in the beginning we had all the fellows—the Renwick Gallery—the Renwick fellows. We always had them come for dinner. Now, we take them out.

[Cross talk]

MRS. PARKMAN: So, Vicki Halper, Ken Trapp, of course, David McFadden, Eason Eige and Paul Gardner were here, and Paul Hollister, and Karen Chambers. Susanne came, and Lloyd Herman. Collectors were, oh, Joan and Sheldon Barnett came. Bobbie and Jerry Raphael, he started the [Art] Alliance for Contemporary Glass. There were some local people, and who else? Museum people. We had the Hirshhorn docents come in 1983. The Renwick docents in '84, and Tom Buechner came in '87. That's all in the first book.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, you've got a lot of that.

MRS. PARKMAN: Then here, the artists—oh, Marvin [Lipofsky] when he was married to Ruth Okimoto, came to visit us. That was very nice. And, Harvey [Littleton] and Erwin Eisch came. That's in the second book here.

DR. PARKMAN: Here's their pictures. I put stickers on where there were pictures, because all the others have signatures. This is the last one, I think, and that's from Liza Kirwin. There's a little drawing.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, that's nice. "Many different birds visit at lunch," yes, that's true. Oh, this is great.

MRS. PARKMAN: And, this was the second book that we had. I was reading who came.

MS. OLDKNOW: You know what's so nice is that people really write commentary in here. There's very few people who just signed their name.

MRS. PARKMAN: We don't ask people to write, because maybe they don't want to. We just asked if they would sign it. And, some just signed it and some write. Erwin Eisch made a drawing in his.

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, a little drawing.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, he's the best.

MRS. PARKMAN: And, we had Louise Bush, she was the bibliographer at Corning.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, sure.

MRS. PARKMAN: And, oh, this one's the collectors. We had the Mendels from Canada, Anna and Joe. And, we had Carol and Don Wiiken, the Wiikens. They're early collectors, too. And, Audrey Mann, from Milwaukee.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, Audrey later did a show at Milwaukee.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes. Oh, that's right. Did you know the Chodorkoffs?


MRS. PARKMAN: Well, I think they're still both alive. We have the Howard BenTré maquette and they have the actual piece. And, that was a maquette, we were disappointed in it. It was just longer.


MRS. PARKMAN: A little bigger. And, somehow the slant on it—we didn't like it as well as the maquette. It was interesting because ours was just a maquette.

MS. OLDKNOW: That's interesting.

MRS. PARKMAN: But, they came to visit, and he was—

DR. PARKMAN: They were funny.

MRS. PARKMAN: They were funny people. I liked them a lot. He was an M.D. and she was a psychologist, I think. Very outspoken. You would have loved her. They were fun. And then, Jon and Mary Shirley.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, you did? Good.

MRS. PARKMAN: And, Babo Olanie.

MS. OLDKNOW: Sure, actually I know her. I knew her on the ACC [American Craft Council] Board.

DR. PARKMAN: I was telling you that he was interested in how the records were kept.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, Jon Shirley? Oh yeah, is that Microsoft fellow you were talking about?

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, so he was very much interested in how I kept track of things. Then, the curators—oh, Susanne and Lloyd again. Matthew Kangas, he was a [James Renwick Alliance –EP/PP] fellow. Nancy Corwin, she was a fellow. They were here. Paul Gardner came [curator of Glass and Ceramics, Smithsonian National Museum of American History –EP/PP]. Jeremy Adamson was a curator at the Renwick for a lot of years. Mary Douglas. Actually, she was a curator for—

MS. OLDKNOW: The Mint Museum.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, she was, but she also, when the—

MS. OLDKNOW: The Kamms [Gloria and Sonny –EP/PP].

MRS. PARKMAN: The Kamms gave their teapot collection. And, Davira [Taragin] was here, and, the groups. California Collectors Group from Los Angeles, the Collectors Circle from the American Craft Museum, and oh, Renwick fellows. Like I said, we had all of them over. And then this one, I always like books like this. You open up and you look inside [JoAnne Schiavone's guest book, cased in a box –EP/PP].

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, that's lovely.

MRS. PARKMAN: I don't know what you have marked here. Oh, "I look forward to our next visit. Here's to living with, learning about, and loving it." I find that signature, I think maybe the reason it's marked is because—

DR. PARKMAN: Nobody can read it. I thought maybe you could read it.

MS. OLDKNOW: No, I can not read that.

MRS. PARKMAN: That was a little surprising you can't read his signature. You knew it at the time. And then—oh, we did loan a piece, I didn't have that down. I need to show you the books that, Mary Anne Goley was the director of the fine arts collection at the, I want to say National Reserve. That isn't right, though. Federal Reserve [Board –EP/PP]. They had an art program, and she had shows of contemporary work and they were wonderful. She borrowed a goblet from us, and then she invited us to lunch with Olga de Amaral, an important fiber artist.

MS. OLDKNOW: Sure, she lives in South America.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, but she was here visiting.

MS. OLDKNOW: That's wonderful.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, the Palleys. They pronounce it Palleys, from Florida.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, Sheldon and Myrna.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah. Oh, Bob and Judy Rubin. They're in Norfolk. We have not seen them in a long time. So, we'll be seeing them. And, the Wiikens came back again. The curators Ken Trapp, and dealers. And, groups, we had the Smithsonian American Art Museum docents, the Textile Museum, the New Horizons Committee. Earlier, I was in a gemstone class for a lot of years too. That was another interest. And, the "Gem Group Girls," it's listed—Paul wrote it that way. Oh, my. And then, well, we were in [an article in American Style Magazine –EP/PP]. Betsy Broun, the director, she's still director, came to our house. We had them for dinner. Her with Shelby and Frederick Gans. You wouldn't know them, but they were supporters of the museum when Ken Trapp was in Berkeley [CA]. And, he introduced them to Betsy Broun, and she is on—Shelby is on the commission. And, they have been very, very supportive of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

MS. OLDKNOW: Wonderful.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, that is wonderful. Yeah, very, very nice people. So, that was a very good connection.

MS. OLDKNOW: You've had just amazing groups of people come through here.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, we have. At least this list here is all our Renwick fellows, and then the [American Style Magazine –EP/PP] interview by Penny Pagano, I'll show you those things. And then, number four, that's the last book. You must know Jan and Carl Fisher.

MS. OLDKNOW: I don't.

MRS. PARKMAN: You don't know them?

MS. OLDKNOW: I don't.

DR. PARKMAN: You should get to know them.

MRS. PARKMAN: They're big supporters of the Museum of Glass in Tacoma. That's where they live.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, I don't know them, but maybe I would [if I saw –TO] them, but I just don't—

MRS. PARKMAN: You don't know them?

MS. OLDKNOW: You know, I had left Seattle by [the time the museum –TO] was opened. So, I really didn't have anything to do with it.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, they brought the director of the Museum of Glass, whose name I'll get down here. Here it is, Nicholas Bell [Renwick Gallery curator –EP/PP] came, and Vicki Halper again, and Liza Kirwin again. And, the Delaware Art Museum curators came. And, then, Jane Milosch, who was the curator at the Renwick for a while. Ken Trapp, and Diane Wright who now is the—and we'll be seeing her again.

MS. OLDKNOW: She is at the Norfolk, at the Chrysler Museum.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, yeah. And, museum director. Jan and Carl Fisher came with Tim Close when he was director [of the Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA –EP/PP].

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, yeah, sure.

MRS. PARKMAN: He thought about that Preston Singletary piece to borrow for his show. And, Susan Warner was with him, and she now is the director.

MS. OLDKNOW: That's right.

MRS. PARKMAN: So, we saw her. Michael took us to the museum so we could see the show that was there then. And, so, those were the people that were—

MS. OLDKNOW: I'm looking at this dinner for Harvey Littleton on March 28, 1984. It's great because these are all, some of the people you've been talking about. Paul Gardner, Charlie Gailis, Lloyd Herman, Lois Lunin?


DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, she's a fiber collector.

MS. OLDKNOW: Ruth Jamison.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, she was a founding member with us.

MS. OLDKNOW: And, I can't read this. Right above Harvey's name. This one.


MS. OLDKNOW: Susan, that's right.

MRS. PARKMAN: Did she have the gallery? Did she have the—

MS. OLDKNOW: Susan McCloud.


MS. OLDKNOW: And, that's who Maurine [Littleton] worked for: Susan McCloud Gallery.


MRS. PARKMAN: And, Harvey, when he had his show here, was at her—

MS. OLDKNOW: Was at her gallery.

MRS. PARKMAN: —he said he wanted a gallery because he anticipated sales. He's a very smart guy. Of course, you had to do that.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah. So, Susan McCloud, and then Harvey Littleton, Maurine Littleton, Frank Brown, Ron and Anne Abramson, Simone Little, and Tom Littleton, that's kind of great.

[… –TO]

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, that's great. I love that group.

MRS. PARKMAN: I was. It was really—

MS. OLDKNOW: This is a lot of fun, see, there's Bill [Warmus] again.

MRS. PARKMAN: It's wonderful to, you know, to look back on this because I didn't remember all these groups that came to see our collection.

MS. OLDKNOW: There's no way you could remember this.

MRS. PARKMAN: People would say, "Oh, we saw your collection." And, Paul, as I said, he went through and made this list.

MS. OLDKNOW: You have to have this because otherwise you would never know.

MRS. PARKMAN: It's been fun to look back over that with very fond memories of—and the books were interesting. I like the books.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, yes.

MRS. PARKMAN: So, we will ask you to sign our book tomorrow or whenever.

MS. OLDKNOW: I would be thrilled to.

MRS. PARKMAN: So, how much time do we have before we need to—

MS. OLDKNOW: We can take a break. Well, we have 20 minutes. We can take a break now because we have plenty of disc left and we can just go to the next disc when we're ready to start up again. Now, let's review what you would like to go over still.

MRS. PARKMAN: What we haven't gone over yet?

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, let's do that.

MRS. PARKMAN: Okay, we have done a lot of it.

MS. OLDKNOW: We have a ton. We have almost six hours, so I would hope so.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, dear, we're running out. I better—

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, no, we're not running out, we have plenty.

MRS. PARKMAN: Okay, we wanted to show you. We have articles that were written about us. That's a small group, but I wanted to show you those. I say talks, we've given, I only have—[unintelligible]—

MS. OLDKNOW: Well, you were going to talk about what it was you would talk about with people.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, I need to bring that down. Photos of pieces in catalogs. We can do that next, that were loaned to exhibitions.

MS. OLDKNOW: We've done some of that and I actually wanted to also talk to you about some of these things, your ideas of what was some of the most surprising developments to you.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, that would probably be best tomorrow when we're fresher.

MS. OLDKNOW: That sounds good. So, we can do that tomorrow.


MS. OLDKNOW: All right.

MRS. PARKMAN: These are the loans or the—

DR. PARKMAN: We have, I'm looking at the CV -- awards. I don't know whether you want to talk about awards?

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, sure.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, that's what we can—that won't take much longer.

DR. PARKMAN: We have when we were award judges. When we—

MRS. PARKMAN: Things on your bio.

MS. OLDKNOW: You were some of the very few, I mean really very few collectors who were jurors for New Glass Review.

DR. PARKMAN: I know.

MS. OLDKNOW: So, that was real, that was a wonderful thing.

MRS. PARKMAN: That was special, yeah.


MRS. PARKMAN: So, we can show you, I guess these are the catalogs of the pieces that we have loaned [or donated to the museum –EP/PP].

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, those are great.


MS. OLDKNOW: Okay, Masters of Their Craft, on the cover [is a detail of Dale Chihuly's Cobalt and Gold Leaf Venetian we donated to –EP/PP] the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

MRS. PARKMAN: That show traveled.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, yes. Touring the nation through 2005. It was by Ken Trapp and published in 2003 by the Smithsonian. Oh, that's lovely. So, this was all media.



MRS. PARKMAN: We have Dale's piece. It shows the whole piece. Oh, this is the—Kate sent us this cylinder, and the one that we bought.

MS. OLDKNOW: Okay. And, this Cobalt and Gold Leaf Venetian—so, is this at the Renwick?


MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, excellent. So, okay, I get that now.

MRS. PARKMAN: They had a poster made of that too, didn't they?

DR. PARKMAN: It appears through a lot of their publications because it's a very graphic piece.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, yeah, it's a really good one. Oh, this is a lovely catalog.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah. So, we were very happy. When the parent museum was closed, this shows was organized as they traveled some of their collection, around the country, and this was represented at the Renwick. This was the catalog that they did for that. And, then, this is Harvey Littleton's piece.

MS. OLDKNOW: That was a great show.

MRS. PARKMAN: And, this piece, which is in our living room in the right [leaded glass –EP/PP] window was on the invitation. This show was organized by the High Museum, but it actually opened at the Renwick.

MS. OLDKNOW: And that was in 1984, right?

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes. And, we went to the museum before the show opened with Maurine [Littleton], and we said—

MS. OLDKNOW: It's a great piece.

DR. PARKMAN: I think so.

MS. OLDKNOW: It really is.

MRS. PARKMAN: When it's a sunny day, the colors in here really come to—

MS. OLDKNOW: I like it because it's kind of up rather than over.

MRS. PARKMAN: So, we were very happy to have that. And then, this one, American Glass, Masters of the Art [shows our piece by Judith Schaechter –EP/PP].

MS. OLDKNOW: Of course, I remember that one.

MRS. PARKMAN: And, then—

MS. OLDKNOW: With Fritz on the cover [of Skilled Work, American Craft in the Renwick Gallery –EP/PP]. Oh, and your Judith Schaechter is here, Respecting the Bag. That's great. So, this was another Smithsonian traveling exhibition. Yep. Organized and curator by Lloyd Herman, 1998, so, much more recent. And, this was devoted to glass. Nice, okay.

MRS. PARKMAN: And, this is not our piece. This is a piece, Paul says we should have bought.



MRS. PARKMAN: The reason I marked it is because it was at Maurine Littleton's.

[Cross talk.]

DR. PARKMAN: Which one is that?

MS. OLDKNOW: There's your picture with Dale.

MRS. PARKMAN: I know you said we should have bought that.

MS. OLDKNOW: You and Elmerina underneath the Gold Hornet [chandelier, 1993 –EP/PP].

DR. PARKMAN: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. We should have bought it. It seemed like an awful lot of money at the time.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, it is.

MRS. PARKMAN: But, you know, so we have pictures. That's to remind us.

MS. OLDKNOW: That's a nice picture of you. Paul with his camera, always.

DR. PARKMAN: Used to.

MRS. PARKMAN: And, then this was—

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, you're wonderful—oh, now, what's that called?

DR. PARKMAN: Four Seasons, [by Harvey K. Littleton, that we donated to the Renwick and is pictured in Skilled Work –EP/PP].

MS. OLDKNOW: Four Seasons.

MRS. PARKMAN: This is the only book so far, but they'll be another book [written –EP/PP] about the history of the Renwick. Ken Trapp did this, and that's a fabulous piece [Four Seasons –EP/PP].

MS. OLDKNOW: It's really the best one he did.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah. We showed those two that had—

MS. OLDKNOW: Skilled Work. Okay, 1998. By Ken Trapp, excellent and --

MRS. PARKMAN: Okay, tomorrow we can answer those other questions.

MS. OLDKNOW: That sounds good.

MRS. PARKMAN: We can show you just a list of articles we have written that would come from Paul's bio and I have the articles about us. We have that, too. That's not very long. And, the talks we have given. I have those three talks in a folder upstairs.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, I was kind of wondering what you would tell people when they came in. Just about—

MRS. PARKMAN: I have one of them and we gave other talks, but the folder was gone. It's in the archives. I remember—let's see, for the Art Alliance for their awards, they asked us to introduce, was it Marvin? And, we had to go down to the Archives of American Art because there was information in the folder I wanted—

[Cross talk]

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, that's funny.


MRS. PARKMAN: So we did that, and then, I think they changed and asked us to introduce somebody else, as it turned out. But, of course, we can go down any time we want to.

DR. PARKMAN: We don't very often.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, it's an investment in time. He had to take the time of day to go down there and do that. So, we don't have a lot left. What we have left is we have a short list of the talks we gave, and I have three of those that I can show you, or read some of what we said. And, show you the articles about us, that's very short. We talked some about our travels, the places we went, Wausau, Wisconsin. Oh, Tina was telling us about Ben Heineman is buried in Wausau, and she talked to his son. Well, did you know his son because he [Heineman's son –EP/PP] was in [the Department of Health and Human Services when Paul was at NIH –EP/PP]? He was a lawyer.

DR. PARKMAN: Oh, yeah, I knew him. Yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: He didn't stay with the government very long.

DR. PARKMAN: Oh, no, he was high powered. He was just there when Califano came in as secretary, and he was Califano's right hand. And, so, I knew him, but they were all very high powered people. He's very smart. He became General Counsel of General Electric or something. So, I do know him, but I don't think he'd remember me.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, something else to finish up for today, I guess. Another interesting thing that we learned, like when we learned sometimes pieces in the museum are available for purchase. We were walking with Lloyd Herman, I don't know where we were going, but we were waiting for the light to change crossing the street by the Renwick, and Lloyd said—he had his ceramic show, American Porcelain Show [American Porcelains: New Expressions in an Ancient Art –EP/PP]. I have the catalog upstairs that he had curated, and he said that he was hoping that he could acquire all the pieces in it for the Renwick's Collection. He said, "Would you like to buy a piece?" He asked us, he said, "Maybe you would like to buy a piece and donate it to the Renwick." I said, "Oh my goodness."

MS. OLDKNOW: Could you do that?

[Cross talk.]

MRS. PARKMAN: We had never thought of that.

DR. PARKMAN: That's a strange idea.

MRS. PARKMAN: We didn't know that.

MS. OLDKNOW: That's collecting 201 when you're actually giving money so the curator can buy things for the collection.

DR. PARKMAN: That you never even actually even touched.

MS. OLDKNOW: No, it just never comes near you.

MRS. PARKMAN: No, you just pay for it.

MS. OLDKNOW: You're just the vehicle by which it is acquired. Yeah, that doesn't seem right [but it is an important way that museums acquire objects. I can't believe I said that –TO].

MRS. PARKMAN: So, of course, we looked through the catalog and the American Hand was a gallery in Georgetown that specialized in ceramics and they represented Adrian Saxe, and so we actually bought the Antelope Jar that we have [and later –EP/PP] loaned it to Ulysses [Dietz, curator –EP/PP] for his show at Newark [Museum]. But, anyways, we [also decided to buy and donate the Untitled Covered Jar with Base that was in Lloyd's show at the Renwick –EP/PP]. And, so, that was the first time that happened [to us –EP/PP]. And it exposed us—you know, that was something—a new idea for us.

MS. OLDKNOW: But, you didn't give it away, you kept it.

MRS. PARKMAN: There are two pieces.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, there's two.

MRS. PARKMAN: The one that was in the show at the [Renwick, and they loaned it when –EP/PP] the show travelled.

MS. OLDKNOW: So, you did one for them, one for you?


MRS. PARKMAN: We so liked Adrian's work—

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, the show traveled and went to a lot of places.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, they did.

DR. PARKMAN: Some place in Southeast Asia.

MRS. PARKMAN: They lost the base of it. There was a separate base.

DR. PARKMAN: They said the base was gone. They couldn't find the base.

MRS. PARKMAN: It was missing. Eventually, it turned up.

DR. PARKMAN: Eventually, it turned up.

MRS. PARKMAN: It got back safely with the little antelope on it, but Lloyd was not successful in finding funding for all the pieces in the show. I don't know how many he got.

DR. PARKMAN: It was a different era. I think --it seemed to be a new idea. Maybe—

MS. OLDKNOW: It was a new idea for this field, but it wasn't a new idea for art.

DR. PARKMAN: Not for art in general, yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: And, then, the next time Ken Trapp wanted to acquire things for the Renwick, and he asked if we were interested in helping him to acquire a piece. He gave us a choice, or he had picked out the piece, I guess. It was ceramics, it was Mark Shapiro. And, we said, "Yes, we would do that."

MS. OLDKNOW: That was nice.

MRS. PARKMAN: So, this is where we've gone beyond buying for ourselves, beyond acquisition. We can't do both things. We can only do one. We did with the Antelope Jar. We were able to buy one for us and one for the museum and that was the first and last time. After that, then it took away from our buying for our collection if we did something else. But that was, we were glad to do it.

MS. OLDKNOW: That was okay.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah. Ken Trapp had the idea that there should be wooden floors in the Renwick Gallery on the second floor. And, he had a lot of trouble raising money for that and we made a significant contribution.

DR. PARKMAN: The [Renwick] Alliance didn't want to fund any.

[Cross talk]

MRS. PARKMAN: Give any money.

DR. PARKMAN: They said, "We don't give money for capital improvement."

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, that's true.

MS. OLDKNOW: And, I understand that.

MRS. PARKMAN: We do too.

DR. PARKMAN: We said, well, he needed it, so we helped him.

MRS. PARKMAN: We helped out with that. Then, he needed funds for one of his publications, and it must have been [glass-related because he applied for a grant from the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass –EP/PP]. [Paul was –EP/PP] on the committee, and those grants were very small, a couple thousand dollars at that time. And, he needed more funds to have the catalog published, so we supplied that. And then—

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, that's wonderful support for him, really. Because those are the things that are hard to get. They're hard to get money for.

MRS. PARKMAN: It's true. We like to be with curators, they've all been very special people, and we like Ken a lot. He had a really busy and hard time at the Renwick because 9/11 occurred then, and so, the security became part of, you know, what he had to take care of, too. But, anyways, Susie Krasnican had made a piece, this was after Margie had left [their business partnership –EP/PP]. Dressed for Success, and it was in an exhibition, I've forgotten where it was. She thought it would be wonderful to have that piece because she thought it was so special in the Renwick collection. And so, I said, "Well, okay," you know maybe we could help raise the money for that. So, I said to Paul, "I will call Ron Abramson," a founding member with us, and Bob Loeffler, they were early collectors here. They have an early collection like ours, but they seem to have stopped collecting. And Ron, I don't think collects very much anymore, either. But, anyway, Paul said, "Well, you can't ask those people for money unless we pay for part of it," so we did. I asked them, they both said yes right away. They didn't even bat an eyelash. Then, our major contribution was for the Lloyd Herman curator of—

MS. OLDKNOW: Sure, which is incredible to have that endowed chair.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, it is. And, Lloyd is not a wealthy man. He is the most frugal person we know. His partner was a travel agent. So, it was a wonderful combination because Dick knew how to get places everywhere for the least amount of money and, Lloyd loved to travel. That was his passion too, and so, you know—they weren't rich, but they got everywhere in the world on as little as possible.

MS. OLDKNOW: That's great.

DR. PARKMAN: And, he saved his money and gave a lot of it—

MS. OLDKNOW: I know, I think everybody was, just surprised. It's just such a great thing—

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, it was.

MS. OLDKNOW: —it's just wonderful he could do that.

MRS. PARKMAN: I think he gave $800,000 and two million dollars had to be raised. Betsy Broun raised that money. And, Lloyd, that money came, they also owned apartments. They would buy apartments and rent them out. We visited him once where he had an apartment building. He had a house in Bellingham [WA]. We stayed overnight with him. But, in Seattle where he started—they'd buy a place to live there and then they'd rent out the rest of that. And, so, that's how he had extra money. Not from his salary.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, of course not.

MRS. PARKMAN: We know that, yeah. And, so, that—

MS. OLDKNOW: But, he's smart. He diversified. He made money for himself. I admire that.

MRS. PARKMAN: He saw to it that there was [an endowed curator's position at the Renwick –EP/PP].

[Cross talk]

MS. OLDKNOW: That's incredible what he did.

MRS. PARKMAN: [The Renwick has –EP/PP] two endowed positions—

MS. OLDKNOW: I think that's amazing.

MRS. PARKMAN: It is amazing. Then, for the Alliance, the Renwick now is being renovated, so the Alliance did give funds for that for a gallery that will say the James Renwick Alliance on that.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, great.

MRS. PARKMAN: So, we, of course, gave to the Alliance to fund for that.

MS. OLDKNOW: That's great.

MRS. PARKMAN: We're always patrons for the Spring Craft Weekend. And, when Paul was president of the organization, we were at the highest level because he said we had to be as president. So, we were. And, of course, we're a member, not at the highest level, but at one time we were. We are a member, that's a separate donation and we go to all the events. We just paid $400.00 to go to all these upcoming workshops.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, great.

MRS. PARKMAN: And, then, we gave pieces, went in with other people. When Paul Gardner was [curator at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History –EP/PP], there was a ceramics and glass collection. They collected both. He was curator over both of those, over glass and ceramic. And, there were three contemporary pieces that we chipped in with other people to buy for that museum. As I said, [what we gave was to us a large donation –EP/PP], but to the Corcoran was a small donation, for the Albert Paley show.

MS. OLDKNOW: You know, you really have, even if it's according to you, not really big, it's still so important. Just when you look at that over a period of time, that kind of history of giving, it's pretty impressive. You know, you really supported the field in so many ways.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, as much as we could.

MS. OLDKNOW: The most important thing is how much of your own time that you devoted. That's just unbelievable.

MRS. PARKMAN: They couldn't afford us. [Laughs.]

MS. OLDKNOW: That's just something that is, that's true. Okay, so, let's break now.

MRS. PARKMAN: That's good for today.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, that's good for today.

[END OF parkma14_3of4_sd_track02]

MS. OLDKNOW: This is Tina Oldknow interviewing Elmerina and Paul Parkman on September 25, 2014, disc four. I think you wanted to tell us about some of the articles that you've been in.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, well, we have a sort of series of things that we wanted to finish—wrap up as far as the things we did. We said we were museum-goers when we first came to Washington, and that has always continued. Although, we saw more shows in the beginning because we thought we were going to be leaving the area. But, we continued to go to all the major museum exhibitions, and we joined all the museums here. The Smithsonian had a resident associate program, that was a membership thing and we would get the mailings and the list of programs that they had, and they also had classes too. So, we were Smithsonian members, but we belonged to the Phillips Collection, which was a private museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, The National Museum of Women in the Arts, and I'm still a member of that, the Textile Museum, and we continued to go to events and activities at all the museums.

Then, we were lucky enough to be with the group, the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass for a trip to Seattle, and then the whole group, all of us went to Tacoma for the opening of the Museum of Glass. It had a different name when it first opened.

MS. OLDKNOW: Right, I think it was the Museum of Glass International Center for Contemporary Art.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, yes. And, they had dinner outside.


MRS. PARKMAN: Dale was there doing a demo and it was very crowded.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yes, I was there. It was fun.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, it was. We belonged to some of the other—we belonged to [the Toledo Museum –EP/PP] at one time and various others. Of course, we've been members of Corning for a very long time, and we're very proud to be fellows of the Corning Museum.

So, of the other things that we did—we were very pleased that we were acknowledged and received several awards. They were very meaningful to us. I'll start with the first one. UrbanGlass gave us an award in 1997—UrbanGlass is in New York City—for service to the field of contemporary glass.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, yes. That's good.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, that was really wonderful. We appreciated that.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, that's important.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, it meant a lot to us.


MRS. PARKMAN: We received in 1999, the Liberty Museum Award, and Irv Borowsky called me himself on a Sunday morning and said they wanted to give us an award. I said, "I'm not usually speechless, but I am now."

[They laugh.]

So, that was wonderful. Dale Chihuly was also honored as an artist, and that was 1999, at the Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Then, in 2005, we received the Millville Rose Award from the Creative Glass Center of America in Millville, New Jersey. That was very exciting to us too. In 2006, the founding members of the James Renwick Alliance [… were honored … with the One of a Kind Award –EP/PP], an award that the Renwick Alliance gives. And, then, just last year in 2013, Paul and I received the One of a Kind Award as [founders, leaders, and innovators of the James Renwick Alliance since its inception in 1982 –EP/PP].

DR. PARKMAN: Individual.

MRS. PARKMAN: As individuals.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, excellent.

MRS. PARKMAN: And, we were greatly honored. I will show you the publications in a few minutes.

MS. OLDKNOW: So, you have garnered quite a few awards.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, I guess so now that I look at the list.

MS. OLDKNOW: You seem not to think of this—I guess, that you think that this is normal, but it's really not.

MRS. PARKMAN: No, I know that. We do recognize that we have been acknowledged and very grateful and appreciative that we have received these awards over the years. We did the bio for Paul, updated it, and we tried to think hard of all the things. So, that's amazing.

MS. OLDKNOW: I know, I love it. Yeah, it's great.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, then, I guess sort of following along with that is the articles that were written about us, which I think is something else that's probably a little bit unusual. I have a list I can show you. Well, I have to tell about it, too.

MRS. PARKMAN: Okay, I was going to do it in order, but so far I seem not to be able to find the page that lists the awards judge, credits. These are things that, but anyways, the first article about us appeared in American Craft Magazine. And, the title of it was, "More Than Just Collecting." And, this goes back to—

MS. OLDKNOW: April and May 1991.

MRS. PARKMAN: It doesn't give the author's name, but it was Joyce Tognini who did the interview—asked questions of us and our answers are there. She continues to write for the magazine, but her name is Joyce Lovelace. I think she's in California. And, we have not seen her in all these years, but we were very happy and very excited to have that article written about us.

[Cross talk]

MS. OLDKNOW: I like her questions.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes. Oh, yes, and I do have it here. And then, American Style Magazine wrote an article. Penny Pagano wrote it and this one was entitled "A Visual Odyssey," and appeared in the Spring 1997 issue.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, great.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, this is the picture of us sitting at the fountain in Italy with Dale—

DR. PARKMAN: No, it was the time with Chihuly Over Venice, yes.

MRS. PARKMAN: So, that was wonderful.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, that's a great picture.

DR. PARKMAN: We showed the slides to a professional photographer who was accompanying the author and he looked at them all. He picked one, I had a bunch of them, and he picked one as being, "okay." It was a realization to me that you have to take something really special for somebody who knows a lot about photography to admire.

MS. OLDKNOW: [Affirmative.] That's true. This is a really good article too. It's very—

MRS. PARKMAN: It's long.

MS. OLDKNOW: It's complete, it's long.

MRS. PARKMAN: It shows pictures—

MS. OLDKNOW: It talks about your journals. That's great.

MRS. PARKMAN: We were very excited.

MS. OLDKNOW: There's the Parkman Coupe. I love it.

MRS. PARKMAN: It goes on.

[Cross talk]

MS. OLDKNOW: It's really nice. It's a really good article.

MRS. PARKMAN: Then, Glass Focus, Beverly Copeland interviewed us and wrote a lengthy article about us collecting. I highlighted some of those things. But, anyway, we were very happy to have those. They were sent out to the members at that time of the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass.

DR. PARKMAN: Does it have a title?

MRS. PARKMAN: The article? I don't know whether there was. It just says, "Glass Focus Interviews Elmerina and Paul Parkman" and that was in June-July 1994. Glass Focus is the name of the publication. And, then, we did write an article, Report from la Serenissima.

MS. OLDKNOW: That's nice.

MRS. PARKMAN: This is the Chihuly Over Venice article that we wrote that was published in Glass Focus in the December '96 and January '97 issue of that publication. And then, the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass has its own newsletter now, which is called Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass Newsletter. So, in the fall of 2010, Linda Greene [administrator, Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass –EP/PP] did an interview on us with pictures.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, great.

MRS. PARKMAN: A two-page article about us, so that was very nice. We're pleased about that.

MS. OLDKNOW: There you were with Margie [Jervis] and Susie [Krasnican].

DR. PARKMAN: Almost seated. I say that because it shows me four inches off the sofa when the remote went off.

MS. OLDKNOW: You look more natural than you should be.

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, I like the picture because everybody's kind of jarred by the fact that I was late getting in the picture.

MRS. PARKMAN: And, then, when we received our One of a Kind Award from the Renwick Alliance—

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, that's a great picture of you.

MRS. PARKMAN: —their publication, the Renwick Alliance publication called the Quarterly. In fall 2012, we were on the cover.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yes, you are on the cover. So, you have two covers. Well, that [second cover was –EP/PP] the Glass Art Society Journal cover [1990, Paul's photo of the glass curtain taken at Pilchuck –EP/PP].

MRS. PARKMAN: And, then, this was the article that was written by us by Johanna Thompson, who is a [James Renwick Alliance –EP/PP] board member.

DR. PARKMAN: And a writer.

MRS. PARKMAN: And a writer by profession. That was a very nice article that she wrote. Then, this picture shows other collector friends, Gwen and Jerry Paulson. And, this is Ryna Cohen. And, the Cohens, Mel had District Photography processing—

DR. PARKMAN: District Photo was the name of his business.

MRS. PARKMAN: —his company, and they gave a very large sum of money to establish an every other year show of upcoming artists. I've forgotten what the name of that show is. When we do the corrections on this, I will get the correct name of it [Renwick Craft Invitational –EP/PP]. So, [Mel has –EP/PP] now passed away. And, then, this is Myrtle Katzen, and she and her husband gave the money for the museum at the American University, it's the Katzen Arts Center.

MS. OLDKNOW: Lovely.

MRS. PARKMAN: They gave the funds for that. That's a very wonderful museum and very active. They have many shows. Jack Rasmussen had show after show, really a broad spectrum of art. The openings are always well attended by the students, too. So, that's—

MS. OLDKNOW: That's a wonderful article and that's a gorgeous picture of you.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, yes, it is. That was the article that announced we were going to receive the [One of a Kind –EP/PP] award, and the article about us. And, then, for the Spring Craft Weekend, one of the events that they have is an auction, so they put out a little auction catalog. Then this article was pretty much rewritten, but they always had several people say something about us. Myrna and Sheldon Palley, from Florida, wrote something about us. Betsy Broun, the Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and then Linda and Henry Wasserstein who were, well, Henry, he was President of the Creative Glass Center of America at one time. So, they're longtime, very good friends, wrote something about us. And, then, afterwards it goes on and on. There was the article, our response, and the things that we said in response to receiving the award. And, they published those remarks in another issue of the Quarterly.

MS. OLDKNOW: And, that's the summer of 2013?

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, summer of 2013. And, these were the remarks we made in response to Lloyd Herman's introduction to us. So that was—

[Cross talk]

MS. OLDKNOW: That's great. Oh, my God. That was quite a big deal.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, it was. So, we were very pleased to see all of those things. So, those were the articles about us. In some of these other publications, this is a Smithsonian publication. It's their winter, a Smithsonian American Art Museum, a winter calendar and there's a picture of the director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. So, that was there. And, we spoke at a couple of Glass Art Society meetings. This was the last meeting that we spoke at. And, this was the article. They always print the article, of what you talked about.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yes, that's good. This is called "The Rise of Glass Art, a Personal View by Paul and Elmerina Parkman," and it was in the 1991 Glass Art Society Journal.

DR. PARKMAN: The point of the talk was to look at three decades, I think it was the 70's, 80's, and 90's, to try and gauge how the field of studio glass was doing. An attempt to,—you could compare them pretty easily because they're ten years apart. Like from the very early things where there's a picture of the piece that Dick Marquis, his goblet, which was from—



MRS. PARKMAN: The one we watched him make.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, the one where—

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, which was a little bit unsteady.

MS. OLDKNOW: It's great though.

DR. PARKMAN: Then on through the '80s and '90s. I think the gist was, I thought they—we were doing okay.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, this is good because I see that you talk about, that's right at the turn of the decades, 1970, 1980, and 1990, and it's great because you talk about when you started in 1969. And, then, like you say, in the early 1970s, there was only a handful of studio glass collectors. One of the first were the late Sheldon Barnett and his wife, Joan, of Milwaukee. Jean and Hilbert Sosin in Detroit, and you guys. Then, you talk about the Appalachian Spring, a gallery.

DR. PARKMAN: Oh, yes, I did want to mention that.

MS. OLDKNOW: So, you have a lot of good stuff that you have talked about in this interview actually in this article. I like --you quote Penelope Hunter Stiebel, who was a curator at the Met [Metropolitan Museum –EP/PP]. Quoting her in 1981 GAS Journal saying, "There's no free lunch for craftsman. What happened to new glass is part of the politics of the international art world." That's a really good quote. So, this is obviously written by people who have read a lot and thinking about it—

DR. PARKMAN: Thinking about it, yeah.

MS. OLDKNOW: This is fantastic. Really good.

MRS. PARKMAN: We did give a talk at the Glass Art Society one other year and I don't have that record of when it was. This one I remembered. In fact, there's another one. I'll have to look for it.

[Cross talk]

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, maybe I'll look for you because I have all the journals and I can just easily look it up for you.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, okay because we don't have all of them anymore. I bought two copies of some of them, but not all of them and we had the entire collection. I had it from the beginning. I was able to go backwards.

MS. OLDKNOW: That's good.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, I did that with other organizations, and see, we belonged to the Ceramic Society [National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) –EP/PP] and Metalsmith [Washington Guild of Goldsmiths –EP/PP]. I got as many earlier issues as I could—

MS. OLDKNOW: That's fantastic.

MRS. PARKMAN: —I didn't have complete sets, but I did with that. And, then, the other thing we mentioned earlier is how when we were talking about the guest book and the people in the groups that came through. We never put together a record of all the organizations that we talked to, the talks that we gave about studio glass, because we were always trying to interest others in it, and make them aware of it. But, we did give a talk to my teacher, Ruth Suppes, when I was first learning about trying to identify glass and then learned about contemporary glass from her. At one time, she had us give a talk to her group, and there were many other [talks –EP/PP] for the Early American Glass Clubs. And, we went to Toledo one time. Peggy Grant had a glass group there that she wanted us to talk to. But, the most recent ones that we gave that I have a copy of the talks, because the folder that contained our other talks were all given to the Archives of American Art. But, we gave a talk for the Smithsonian American Museum fellows on March 7, 2007. Then, we have the Wellesley College Friends of Art come to our house to see—these were people who come to our home to see our collection. So, that was the Smithsonian fellows. Then, the Wellesley College Friends of Art came in November of 2009. Like I said, we always gave a talk because they didn't know very much about studio glass, and we wanted to tell them about us and our collection. So, that was that talk.

MS. OLDKNOW: So, you were always promoting—

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, right.

MS. OLDKNOW: —studio class from the very beginning or did you start that a little bit later?

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, the talks came a little later after we had traveled and—

DR. PARKMAN: Had something to say.

MRS. PARKMAN: Had more, yeah. [Laughs.]

MS. OLDKNOW: Did people, like artists or people say, "Oh, you guys you should tell everybody about us," or was this just something you thought you would do?

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, we did this for people who came to see our collection because we wanted them to know how it started. Most of them didn't know, as I said, about the studio glass and the artists. Then, we went around and told about the artists who were working and talked about them and how we acquired some of the pieces. As you know, every piece has a story. But, the visit was usually about an hour. People really seemed glad to know that because sometimes we've gone to visit collectors homes and you go in and you see, it's all there. Nobody tells you anything about it. You have to ask questions. You say, "Well, who made this or what is this," or whatever.

DR. PARKMAN: Particularly with people who don't know very much about studio glass. You need to give them some sort of frame of reference. Some idea of what it is that you have and why some things are important, the history, and so on.

MRS. PARKMAN: People always seem to think that was an important part of seeing the collection when we talked to them.


MRS. PARKMAN: As I said, because we've gone on trips with other organizations. And, as I say, a lot of the time, once in a while somebody will talk about it, but most of the time they know everybody there is a glass collector, now that's the way it is, and that they probably know everything. But, it's not true. We don't know every piece we look at sometimes, and ours is early work. So, especially now that people coming in to see our collection now, they know all the people working now. Some of these people, many are, but some of them aren't [working –EP/PP] anymore. But, then, we gave the talk for the Collectors' Roundtable. This was at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Oh, there was a brochure. I guess I'll have to find it in a few minutes. But, anyway—oh, this is the brochure. Collectors' Roundtable, and this was a series of talks, and here, we gave the one on "Crafting a Collection," and we were pictured. And, John Kotelly shared [in this session with us –EP/PP. He gave a talk too. [There is no photo because he –EP/PP] never likes to have his picture taken.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, he doesn't?

MRS. PARKMAN: And, these were the people in the series. So, it was a three-part series, but John Kotelly and we were on the program together. We each had a certain amount of time.

MS. OLDKNOW: That's nice.

DR. PARKMAN: The other people that were there were in the process of building a print collection. This lady, Mary Ryan, and Collecting for the Long Haul by Richard Kelly, who was a collector, talked about illustrators, Norman Rockwell, Howard Pyle, N.C. Wyeth and so on.

MRS. PARKMAN: But, that talk that we gave for the Collectors' Roundtable was April 6, 2010.

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, these are early and later dates.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, one before us [Ryan –EP/PP] and one after us [Kelly –EP/PP]. So, we were very pleased to be—and then, we went through the stages of our collecting for that. Then we were really very happy to be included in the Corning Seminar in 2012 when we were on a panel—and the topic was Evolving Dynamics of Marketing and Collecting American Studio Glass. And, that was wonderful because Dale and Doug Anderson were on that, and Katya and Doug Heller. Was that it?

MS. OLDKNOW: I think that was it.

MRS. PARKMAN: There were three of us.

MS. OLDKNOW: It was good.

MRS. PARKMAN: So, that was wonderful, the Corning Museum Seminar. That was October 18, 2012.

MS. OLDKNOW: I think that I moderated that [panel –TO].

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, yes, you did.

DR. PARKMAN: Yes, you did.

MS. OLDKNOW: I remember. It was a lot of fun.

MRS. PARKMAN: It was wonderful. We were very happy to be included in that. Then from Venice, Paul took a lot of slides and in the Venice talk, we gave that Venice talk and you [Paul] showed your slides I don't know how many times.

MS. OLDKNOW: That was all the Chihuly Over Venice project.


MRS. PARKMAN: We gave it at one of the [Corning –EP/PP] fellows' meetings.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, yeah—

[Cross talk]

MRS. PARKMAN: Before that we had given a talk to the fellows about our collecting because they're always saying, well, do you have something you want to talk about or present relating to glass. So, we'd done a general talk, but then the Chihuly Over Venice was—

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, that's good. So, was that right after the—was that in the 90s?

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, this was '90—he wrote it, but you see here it's the April 16, 1997 version. So, we're always revising things. And, then, all the slides of them. He has a whole box of slides that are separate, but that was the most popular talk that we gave, and gave it more recently.

DR. PARKMAN: Venice is a marvelous place to—

MS. OLDKNOW: Who doesn't like that topic? Who doesn't enjoy seeing pictures of Venice?

MRS. PARKMAN: So, that was something else, as we said, talking about all the things that we had done along the way. And, then, we've been jurors. Paul was juror for a couple of craft shows, and an awards judge for the Smithsonian craft show. But, we were jurors for the Arts of Fire Gallery in Arlington, Virginia, Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival. Remember we were jurors for that. Then, we were on the selection committee for the National Treasure Award sponsored by the Office of the Secretary, Maryland Department of General Service of Baltimore, Maryland. The Governor of Maryland, that's him. So, and then, for New Glass Review. We were really very honored to be asked to be not jurors, but to be on the selection committee for that and for the Corning Museum of Glass. And, that was in 1992. And, then, a couple awards judges.

MS. OLDKNOW: Well, you were jurors, weren't you? I mean, did you select that—

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, we were jurors.

MS. OLDKNOW: You selected the 100 out of the 2,000 slides or whatever.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, that was a wonderful experience. And, Tom Buechner was part of it because he always was.

MS. OLDKNOW: Of course.

MRS. PARKMAN: He loved that.

MS. OLDKNOW: And Susanne.

MRS. PARKMAN: And Susanne, she was curator for glass then at that time. Paul has a lot of photo credits because he always had a camera. These were all pictures that were in—five photo credits from American Craft Magazine over the years. And, then, we showed you the catalog of Dale Chihuly's, it was called Installations 1964 to 1992, that had a picture in it.

MS. OLDKNOW: That was published by the Seattle Art Museum in 1992.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes. Then, the Glass Art Society Journal [1990 –EP/PP], that was your cover. Numerous photos in the Glass Art Society Journal and some other of the crafts report, fiber art. A lot—Paul was always taking pictures.

MS. OLDKNOW: Now, the Glass Journal cover was what year? Was that—

MRS. PARKMAN: I took that issue upstairs, but I can—

MS. OLDKNOW: —1990? We'll just add it later just to make sure.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, okay, we can do that. I do have a few other lectures on studio glass. I do have the dates. Well, I have the Corning Seminar and the title of that seminar was "Celebrating 50 Years of American Studio Glass," that was in 2012 at the Corning Museum. And, then, I mentioned the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the "Crafting a Collection," that was in 2010. We gave a talk I think in 1992 at the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, Virginia. I mentioned for the Corning fellows we gave talks twice. And, then, I have the May 1991 Glass Art Society meeting and another conference. Then, Glass Weekend in Millville, New Jersey, we were on the program there a couple of times. So, that's been a lot.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yes, yes.

MRS. PARKMAN: Paul and I together, but he does a lot of the writing, we had quite an extensive list of articles that were written or that he wrote about our collection. "Beyond Acquisition" is a title of one. Reviews, and—well, they're concluding remarks and the Parkman Coupe. We mentioned the writings that were about us. And, then, we mentioned yesterday the exhibition history of objects that we had loaned. I looked at that list, we showed the ones that were pictured in catalogs, but we really had loans of quite a few of our objects. I didn't realize until I looked at this list.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, you know what, it's pretty amazing.

MRS. PARKMAN: It's a long list of objects. There wasn't maybe a picture of or a catalog for it, but basically we loaned—

MS. OLDKNOW: You lent objects to exhibitions across the country.


MRS. PARKMAN: We have and some of them traveled overseas. We were worried that we wouldn't get the pieces back. But, I was sort of surprised when I looked at this list and saw that there were probably more than 12 or 15 loans that we gave over the years. We had a couple publications that we did want to show you. Oh, the Chihuly Over Venice book.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, yeah, it's a great book.

MRS. PARKMAN: Dale had autographed it, of course. [The painting is –EP/PP] still sticky after all these years. I mean, it's a fax, but he enclosed it in the book and he sent it. And, the drawing—and, you know, that's wonderful.

MS. OLDKNOW: You know, that really is because he certainly didn't do personalized faxes to include in books for a lot of people. It's really nice.

MRS. PARKMAN: We recognized it as something very special.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yes. That's wonderful.

MRS. PARKMAN: We were thrilled. Of course—but, we had to keep it after all these years.

MS. OLDKNOW: It's sticky, uh-huh.

MRS. PARKMAN: And, then, this book that was written by Donald Kuspit and we—

MS. OLDKNOW: Right. A monograph on Chihuly. [Chihuly by Donald Kuspit –EP/PP]

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, yes. We were very pleased to see here inadvertently—

MS. OLDKNOW: There's Paul. [His picture is shown on page 346. –EP/PP]

DR. PARKMAN: There I am.

MRS. PARKMAN: But, he gets his name in.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, that's pretty good. That's great, well, gosh.

MRS. PARKMAN: So, then. There it is. Look at that.

MS. OLDKNOW: Again. That's great.

DR. PARKMAN: Another letter.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, a fax.

MS. OLDKNOW: It's a letter.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, it came in the mail, but it's identified as Parkman, Elmerina and Paul, "Greetings from 37,000 feet," you know Dale—


—he was always doing this on a plane.

MRS. PARKMAN: —and, moved to Seattle. Wishing you a great '98 and hope you enjoy the new Chihuly book. Hope our paths cross soon. Until then, Love Chihuly. And, of course, he always draws.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah. I love those.

MRS. PARKMAN: So that was very nice. And, one last thing about Chihuly Over Venice. There was a video of Chihuly Over Venice.


MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah. And, John Kotelly reminded me the last time he saw me. We talked about going to Seattle—and he gave us the contacts to be in touch with Dale. And, he said, "And yes, you were in that video." And, it is true. [I was –EP/PP] standing on the bridge next to Dale.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh my, God, you're kidding. That's great.

MRS. PARKMAN: But we knew everybody knew Dale and probably liked to be pictured with him, but I was neutral.

MS. OLDKNOW: That is very funny.

MRS. PARKMAN: A very funny story.

MS. OLDKNOW: That video has gotten so much airtime on PBS. For a while, they were playing it all the time. And, almost for Dale, it was too much. But, yeah, it was such a popular thing. But, like you said, who doesn't enjoy seeing views of Venice, and then to talk about glass in Venice, it's pretty much a win-win.

MRS. PARKMAN: And, see all those wonderful chandeliers.

We were in one other, not a video, it's on the [Renwick Alliance –EP/PP] website. The Alliance decided with e-mails and the website that they wanted a video about the organization. The title of it was, "The James Renwick Alliance—Making a Difference." And the man who made the video for the website came to our home and interviewed us. Paul was seated here talking and Judith's [Schaechter] piece was in the background for you, and he asked us questions about the beginning of the Alliance. You spoke for a while, and then he interviewed me.

DR. PARKMAN: He used the view from the living room into the front hall.

MRS. PARKMAN: For me. So, we both appear on it. I don't know, the video has been updated, maybe we won't be in it. I'd have to look and see.

MS. OLDKNOW: I'm sure you'll be in it. Somehow I think so.

MRS. PARKMAN: That was fun. That was fun. So, I think we have covered a lot of things. You had some other things done, Paul.

DR. PARKMAN: We talked about Lloyd's exhibit, the glasswork show, and we remembered the people—the artists who were in it were Bruce Chao and Mark McDonnell. Richard Harned.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, yeah.

DR. PARKMAN: Judith Schaechter, Ginny Ruffner, Therman Statom, and William Morris. So, I thought it would be good to have them all get some credit.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, yes, because it was wonderful to watch all of them. Almost all of them. It wasn't Lloyd's show, it was Michael Monroe's exhibition. Michael is the one who organized that. Well, it was amazing. It was just wonderful to have that opportunity.

DR. PARKMAN: The other thing I thought would be useful is—I give a plug to Ken Trapp who wrote, Skilled Work, the book about American craft in the Renwick Gallery. I mean, he took the time, considerable work effort to put that together and I didn't know whether we mentioned giving him credit or not, but I think we should.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes. Well, when he came, on very short notice organized an exhibition for the 25th anniversary of the Renwick Gallery. He really did put that together overnight. He did a lot of research. He was a wonderful writer. He is a scholar, and, so, that book is important. There's not been another book about the Renwick Gallery since then. I think there will be when it reopens because that will be a great opportunity.

MS. OLDKNOW: So, did the Renwick open in '72?


MS. OLDKNOW: So, for the 25th anniversary, that would have been 1997.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, yeah. Ken had only been here maybe a year or two, if that long.

DR. PARKMAN: And, the name of the gallery, it has always been Appalachian Spring as a gallery.

MRS. PARKMAN: It still exists.

DR. PARKMAN: It still exists.

MS. OLDKNOW: Is that in Washington?


MRS. PARKMAN: They also have a branch, or had, the last time we were there, at Union Station. They were in Georgetown when they first opened and they had a couple locations in Georgetown. Then, they did expand to Union Station. Maybe there was a place in Virginia, too. I don't know—oh, there was an Appalachian Spring out on Rockville Pike. Whether it's still there, I don't know.

DR. PARKMAN: The point I wanted to make is—the names of the people who started that business are David and Polly Brooks, and in 1972, they opened a separate gallery called the Third Spring. The other ones were Appalachian Spring. It had only sculptural work, and was presented not as a craft shop, but as a gallery. It was the real thing. It was marvelous, but it was before its time and, you know, it closed shortly thereafter.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, really? Okay.

DR. PARKMAN: In '72, people were not too attuned to the idea of craft as art, I think.

MRS. PARKMAN: But, that was a wonderful exhibition. We were always sorry it didn't continue. But, did you have anything else on your list, Paul?

DR. PARKMAN: I think that's it.

MRS. PARKMAN: I think this might be about the last thing that I had on our list. As we have mentioned, we have donated pieces to the Renwick Gallery. We've donated two pieces to the Corning Museum and we're very happy about that.

MS. OLDKNOW: You have. Robert Willson and Dick Marquis.


MRS. PARKMAN: I don't know what you show in a letter, but anyways, Ken came to visit our collection with the registrar from the Renwick Gallery. We said, take a look and let us know what pieces you would be interested in acquiring for the Renwick Gallery.

MS. OLDKNOW: That was in 1999?

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, May 19, 1999. So, here is the list.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, right.

MRS. PARKMAN: It's got 60 pieces on it.

[They laugh.]

MRS. PARKMAN: And we looked at it—

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, 60 pieces. So, they were just going to take the whole house.

MRS. PARKMAN: We looked at it closely and we thought, well, you know, I think that he has something similar to this piece. So, we narrowed it down to 40. But, in the letter that he wrote after he listed the 60 pieces, and—

MS. OLDKNOW: Now, you can't get mad at him for that. He was just doing his job.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, that was pretty nice that he liked that—

DR. PARKMAN: It actually was a compliment, I thought.

MRS. PARKMAN: So, he said, rather than put this list in any kind of priority, I think it's fine as it is because he just tried to list it by room.

MS. OLDKNOW: By location.

MRS. PARKMAN: By location. He said, "Your collection would represent the largest and finest one in glass to enter the Renwick Gallery. As major figures in contemporary glass, and as loyal, long-time supporters of the Renwick, you should see the fruits of your efforts, hard earned money and love stay in Washington, D.C. for all," 'all' is in solid capital letters, "of our visitors to enjoy. Wow, what a list, a good list, and best for now. Sincerely yours, Kenneth R. Trapp, Curator in Charge."

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, that's beautiful.

MRS. PARKMAN: So, that was very nice. When we did give 40 pieces, and they were promised and partial gifts because we didn't want to give all 40 pieces all at one time. As it turned out, it's a lot of trouble to give a few at a time.


MRS. PARKMAN: You have to have them appraised, and there's a lot of paperwork involved. I don't think you can do it that way anymore. I think either the museum's laws or maybe the tax laws have changed. So, it can't be done that way.

MS. OLDKNOW: Now, I know they allow you to take that deduction over five years.

[Cross talk]

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, is that the way it works?

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, it's over five years.

[Cross talk]

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, okay.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, so you can give it all at once then take that deduction over a period of time.

MRS. PARKMAN: Okay, so maybe that—

MS. OLDKNOW: —it was before you couldn't do that.

MRS. PARKMAN: This is 23rd of December 1999. We've made our decisions, so, "Dear Elmerina and Paul, I want you to know how pleased I am to write this letter of thanks for your extraordinarily generous partial and promised gifts of the five pieces of glass," I guess that was what we gave right away, "and the one preliminary sketch, now on view in Glass, Glorious Glass. I know what these pieces mean to you and how much you treasure them. In particular, the Parkman Coupe brings new meaning to one of a kind and is a stellar example of glass art that commemorates an auspicious and significant medical milestone in human history. We are indeed blessed to be the caretaker of such an exceptional work of art. Of course, Dan Dailey's wonderful sketch for the Coupe is an unexpected and most welcome surprise. It may seem that I am obsessed by one piece in your generous gift. To the contrary, I find each one a gem in its own right. The Labino brings to the collection a second piece by this master, the one that has the hallmark of his mature art. Only when we installed and lit Chihuly's Venetian piece did I fully understand its magnificence. It burns with an immense blue flame, and the gold surface reads like pollen on water. What an exuberant work of art. In contrast, Mark Peiser's paperweight vase is a pastoral, rural moment that sparks the memory to recall walks down country lanes or public parks. Again, your Peiser gift brings a second piece to the collection by this well-known artist. And, last, is the witty Richard Marquis goblet. It has Richard's personality emblazing all over it. Did you notice the holes in the fish head? It was a salt and pepper shaker in a former life. Please be assured that we will care for these pieces with respect when they come to us, and it will be our pleasure to show them and to publish them. On a personal note, I want to thank you as a friend to friends for your spirited generosity. Your gifts mean much to me because they come with true sacrifice. You could have sold them out of necessity. Or, you could have donated them to other museums. I love these pieces, and had I had the money to buy each one, I would have. That is the highest compliment a curator can give to a collector. With kindest regards and wishes for a full new year, I am, sincerely yours, Kenneth R. Trapp, Curator in Charge." And, that was 23rd of December 1999. So, that was very meaningful to us.

MS. OLDKNOW: Very. I told you, you guys have a very good eye. I mean, you really do. And, it's nice to hear how much he loved those pieces.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, he was a very special person. But, Lloyd was too. All in their own way and different ways.

MS. OLDKNOW: The curators really do sincerely love, they get to know those pieces that are gifts, and it's great. It's just they love them. Maybe not as much as you do, but they are attached.

MRS. PARKMAN: So, that was very meaningful. This was when Dan came and gave a talk about the Parkman Coupe. That was wonderful. And, then, we went to lunch, I think we sat at lunch for a couple of hours. Remember afterwards? That was just wonderful.

MS. OLDKNOW: That's actually great. Now, do the Archives have a record of any of Dan's drawings because that went to the museum, right?

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, that's all part of the Smithsonian.


MRS. PARKMAN: It's the Smithsonian Archives of American Art.

MS. OLDKNOW: Because I think it's great to talk about it commemorates your work with the rubella virus, I mean, a vaccine, and stuff like that.

MRS. PARKMAN: And, actually, Corning borrowed the piece before we donated it. And, it was the time of the Glass Art Society [conference –EP/PP]. They had it there. And, then, these were some of the pieces that are already given [to the Renwick Gallery –EP/PP]. Margie Jervis and Susie Krasnican worked together. This was a very early piece, and then those were—

MS. OLDKNOW: Those are classic?

MRS. PARKMAN: Classic pieces. And, this was Red Points.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, look at this one.

DR. PARKMAN: That one is by—

MRS. PARKMAN: I should have written down the names of all the people. At the moment, we're drawing a blank. But, anyway, these are—the John Lewis moon bottles, and these are both Dominick Labino pieces.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, those are nice.

MRS. PARKMAN: And Dick Marquis. Oh, and this is the one with the prunts that we were talking about.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, okay.

MRS. PARKMAN: And, Tom McGlauchlin's work is here. These pieces—these are the ones we don't have anymore. And, this is Joel Philip Myers' piece that has the same colors that were in [his piece in –EP/PP] Objects: USA when he was working on—

MS. OLDKNOW: That's a really interesting piece.

MRS. PARKMAN: This is the one that traveled to all those museums. I showed you the letter from the [Southern Highland Handicraft Guild, Asheville, NC –EP/PP].

DR. PARKMAN: Yes, it has the same [color glass as he used –EP/PP], I think—in Objects: USA, he did a set of goblets and they had shade—I think they were from the same batch is my point.

MRS. PARKMAN: We love this piece.

MS. OLDKNOW: It's a great one.

MRS. PARKMAN: This is about the third or fourth piece of studio glass that we bought, and [the curator, Jane Milosch, –EP/PP] wanted it for an exhibition. We would have kept it until later on to give, but she wanted it for an exhibition, so we gave it. That was Mark's piece, Mark Peiser's piece. And, Paul Stankard, and Mary van Cline. That was a wonderful piece. So, those were—

MS. OLDKNOW: Now, when you lost 40 pieces, did you decide that you were going to collect more to replace them?

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, we still have 13 of them here.

MS. OLDKNOW: You have 13 of them here.

MRS. PARKMAN: Thirteen more to give, so. No, well, like the Nick Delmatto winged goblets I brought them down from upstairs.

MS. OLDKNOW: So, you managed to fill those holes pretty quickly.

DR. PARKMAN: Oh, yeah, not a problem.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, I guess this isn't a very good picture, but we had those goblets of Fritz's that we love.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, that's great.

DR. PARKMAN: Oh, yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: And then Jim Harmon's piece. That was similar to a piece he had—

MS. OLDKNOW: Who did this?

MRS. PARKMAN: Hank Adams.

DR. PARKMAN: Hank Adams.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, that's Hank's?


DR. PARKMAN: Ogunquit Outing. And what's the title of Fritz's piece? Does he give it?


DR. PARKMAN: Tribute to a Ropin Fool.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, yes, that was the title of it.

DR. PARKMAN: It's not the whole title—[which is Art vs. Craft Reversible: A Tribute to Will Rogers, A Ropin' Fool –EP/PP]

MRS. PARKMAN: —but Maurine had them.

MS. OLDKNOW: It's really, really good.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, we were so lucky to get those. And, then, we already had pictures of those. And, Kent Ipsen.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: That was a very large piece for us for our house. And, I think—this is promised. We just haven't given these. You saw these two Howard Ben Tré pieces.

MS. OLDKNOW: I've never seen a piece like that from Howard Ben Tré.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, that was the one. This is a maquette and it was the Chodorkoff's that had the—

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, that's the maquette. Okay, that's why I hadn't seen it.

MRS. PARKMAN: And, this one we still have. It's in the living room.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yes, I saw it.

MRS. PARKMAN: And, this one we have—

MS. OLDKNOW: The early [unintelligible].

DR. PARKMAN: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: And, then the necklace we have by Richard Mawdsley, and Oak Tree with Fence by Mark Peiser. And, then—

MS. OLDKNOW: Your big Lipofsky. Who did this one?

MRS. PARKMAN: No, I don't remember. This piece with all the canes.

DR. PARKMAN: I'd have to look up the name. I can't be sure. [Lipofsky's Serie Fratelli Toso Split Piece –EP/PP]

MRS. PARKMAN: I didn't think I'd ever forget any names, but that's what getting old is about [Laughs.].

DR. PARKMAN: The book that has the list of all the pieces, I guess you put it upstairs, but I can get that.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, no, it's fine.

[Cross talk]

MRS. PARKMAN: It is here. Michael Nourot.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, sure, okay.

MRS. PARKMAN: That was a long time ago.

DR. PARKMAN: And, the other one, the stained glass piece.

MRS. PARKMAN: Robert Kehlmann.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: Such a nice guy.

MS. OLDKNOW: Actually, that's a great Kehlmann. That's very nice. That's a very good Michael Nourot, too.

MRS. PARKMAN: So, we had a lot of pleasure from getting to know so many of these artists and having a chance to see their work, hear them talk. Some of them have been to our home to see our collection. It's been exciting.

MS. OLDKNOW: You're so good about doing things together. Did you ever disagree on any objects?

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, there were some things we didn't buy because we didn't agree.

DR. PARKMAN: We couldn't agree.

MRS. PARKMAN: But, for the most part, we almost always agreed on the pieces. Yes, we didn't buy anything we didn't like, both of us.

MS. OLDKNOW: Both of you, right. Any resentments lingering because of this or do you feel fine?

MRS. PARKMAN: No, we're just sorry for some of the things we either didn't buy or couldn't afford to buy.

MS. OLDKNOW: Isn't it funny, those are the ones you always remember.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, but we did the best we could with the funds we had. And, as I say, now that—the acquiring is not so important as being involved in the organizations, and doing other things to support the studio glass.

MS. OLDKNOW: So, did you always feel that way that collecting was really just part of your activity?

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh yes, from the very beginning. Oh, yes, because before we even bought anything, I had started collecting the pamphlets or brochures or catalogs I could obtain, and I saved all the issues of American Craft Magazine, which was Craft Horizons in the beginning. So, every invitation that we received, any reviews that I saw any place, and my sister saves reviews from Rochester that are in the newspaper. We just saved everything that we could. That's why we had so much material and so many files and so many books.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, all those things that meant—

DR. PARKMAN: She did all of that.

MRS. PARKMAN: But, Paul was the one that—

MS. OLDKNOW: Well, you had to spend some time working.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, he spends a lot of time working as a matter of fact. He worked very hard. And, that is what we did. I mean, we traveled, our travels were in the beginning to see exhibitions, to see museum shows, and then we joined the Glass Art Society, and those were our vacations. You know, we went to the Glass Art Society [conference –EP/PP], and that was vacation. Then, we'd go Upstate New York to visit family. That was the other part of our vacation. But, we didn't just go places to go sightseeing on our own. I think glass was always in the picture.

MS. OLDKNOW: Did any of your friends, like your close friends or family ever go, "What are you doing?" Did they understand? Did you explain to them about your collections or did you ever have to?

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, the family, always were kind of interested in what we were doing. My brothers, my nieces and nephews from one brother, they've always thought—I think have been supportive and interested, and they all know the name Chihuly, of course.

DR. PARKMAN: We visited the new house of young Tony [Leone, our nephew –EP/PP]—

MRS. PARKMAN: In Rush, New York.

DR. PARKMAN: —in Rush, New York, and we were pleased to see a shelf of the objects that we had given them. All brightly lit. It was very nice.

MS. OLDKNOW: How nice. So they really appreciated that.

DR. PARKMAN: Right, they have their own Parkman collection.

MS. OLDKNOW: So, you gave glass as gifts?

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, we did do it for our 50th wedding anniversary? Was that the first time?

DR. PARKMAN: I think so.

MRS. PARKMAN: We decided, well, we had the little glass goblets that we bought from the Corning Museum shop and that was for the champagne toast [for our 50th wedding anniversary –EP/PP]. And, then, we decided because we were collecting so early and we have, as you know, a whole bookcase upstairs of glass. Some are by people whose names you know and are still working and others are not. People that did not succeed.

DR. PARKMAN: And, some other things too. Some old glass. Two pieces of old glass.

MRS. PARKMAN: Little mementos we might have bought on a trip. So, we thought, well, why don't we take some of these pieces up to New York State and we will give them to our nieces and nephews so they have a gift.

MS. OLDKNOW: That's so nice. What a great idea.

MRS. PARKMAN: They were 12 [people –EP/PP], and so, the first time we did it, we said, well, let's do it in alphabetical order. We'd start with the oldest and go down to the youngest. So, then—

DR. PARKMAN: Chronological order.

MRS. PARKMAN: And, has a choice of all the 12 pieces. And, so, the next one in line.

MS. OLDKNOW: Okay, so, you didn't earmark things. You let them take what they liked.

DR. PARKMAN: It puts a little pressure on them. See, it was they had to make aesthetic judgments.

MS. OLDKNOW: Good, you teach them. Do they ask you like who made this?

MRS. PARKMAN: Sometimes, yes. And, the first go-round I think I kept a list. And, then, for out 55th wedding anniversary, we did that—

DR. PARKMAN: Did the same thing.

MRS. PARKMAN: —again, then, one of my nephews said, "Well, if you're in the middle," because we thought, well, we'll do it from the other end. We'll start with the youngest and go up. And, he said, "Well, if you're in the middle, you're always in the middle." And, so, I said, "Okay, that's not going to work. So, let's draw numbers."

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah, that's good.

MRS. PARKMAN: So, before we gave them out, we said, "Okay, everybody draws a number." Well, he drew the last number.

[They laugh.]

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, he was better off before.

MRS. PARKMAN: So, anyway, then they had the fun of doing that. You know, they go out and some would take longer than others pondering the pieces. Others had picked it up. But, that came when we needed to update our wills. So, we took a class through Montgomery County because we're always interested in taking classes. We took calligraphy classes. And, because we didn't know what to do, how to make out our new will, I mean, we have a lawyer do it. We actually hired the guy that taught the class, as it turned out. But, he talked about your possessions and how you could do something like this with some of the things you had if you want. So, that was an idea that he passed on and it was successful and it was fun. Like Paul said, we went to our nephew's, he was the oldest who got first choice, and they had them all displayed in one place.

MS. OLDKNOW: That's great.

MRS. PARKMAN : We see the pieces in the other nieces' and nephews' homes too. Then, we'll probably do that for our 60th wedding anniversary. We will look through the cabinet and pick out 12 more pieces.

MS. OLDKNOW: I think it's great. Great idea.

MRS. PARKMAN: It's kind of fun. I think they are looking forward—

DR. PARKMAN: It was a great party. They did a lot of, people were really interested.

MS. OLDKNOW: People are talking and it's a great way to get people to look at things. Really good.

MRS. PARKMAN: So, they've all been supportive of what we do. Actually, for my sister's 55th wedding anniversary, we did not go because we went to the Glass Art Society's 50th anniversary [conference in Toledo –EP/PP].

MS. OLDKNOW: Was she mad at you?

MRS. PARKMAN: No, I was sorry to miss it, but that 50th was—

MS. OLDKNOW: It was an important moment.

MRS. PARKMAN: It was an important moment. We had to be there. We went to her 50th wedding anniversary, so that was okay. But the 55th, and they always knew that we would do that.

MS. OLDKNOW: You must be like me. GAS is always around your birthday.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, in June.

MS. OLDKNOW: A lot of times. I know my husband and I are usually celebrating our birthday at GAS.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, or at Glass Weekend. We celebrated at Glass Weekend too. Yes, one or the other. So, it's been wonderful. It's been exciting the whole time.

You know, we continue. As I said, we're full-time volunteers. Well, the Renwick Alliance is all media. But, for Glass Weekend and the Art Alliance, we've got that big package of grants to review.

MS. OLDKNOW: I saw that.

DR. PARKMAN: Upstairs.

MS. OLDKNOW: Gosh. That's a lot. Well, what were some of the things would you say that you were kind of most surprised by? Like the turn of events in glass. Did anything surprise you, or did you always expect that it would be successful?

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, I think it's a little hard to predict anything. But, I think what surprised us was how successful the organizations, I think we may have mentioned this or touched on it yesterday, that the Renwick Alliance, the publication that they put out now, I'll have to give you a recent issue of it. And, the programs and the trips, and the things they do to promote the artists and raise money for the Renwick's acquisitions and public programs. It's been a surprise to us because that was a long ways from when I was president with the organization, when it was just two years old, I was the second president for the third and fourth year of the organization. We were just going to see them trying to build membership. To get people to join, to think of ways to raise money and to educate people about crafts because of this—symposiums, the craft weekends that we had. That was true with the [Art] Alliance for Contemporary Glass. I mean, we were a small organization and trying to get people to join and publish a publication, and have our meetings in conjunction with SOFA to bring people to see glass. So, I think the success of those organizations has been […–EP/PP] a surprise. Maybe that's a narrow view, but—

MS. OLDKNOW: No, no, no. I think that that's natural because you know—

MRS. PARKMAN: You are reading from your—Paul may have a different—

DR. PARKMAN: Although—that's true. There's the proliferation of success of artists, galleries, museums, and museum shows was something unimaginable before all this started. And it's—we feel we have some role in that and we're enormously happy to see it.

MRS. PARKMAN: And, then, the early galleries like Habatat and Heller are still, I mean there were many other galleries and there are many others that should be recognized, too. But, they were the early ones in '71 and '72. And, you know, Habatat has had their weekend of events every year for lots and lots of years, and Heller has wonderful shows. So, they have been successful, and that sort of thing is hard to predict because many of the galleries that we knew in the early days, you know, don't exist. Many more have [opened –EP/PP] since then.

MS. OLDKNOW: The nature of the work has changed so much.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, yes, the sculptural work.

MS. OLDKNOW: What do you think about that? Were you kind of surprised?

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, exciting. Yes, all the things that they can do with glass now. Oh, my, yes. It's wonderful to see it and then we're anxious to see what Albert Paley does when mixing metal and glass. So, that is wonderful. It's really exciting. I just think that glass seems to be in the forefront of the studio crafts. More shows, more galleries, and certainly a lot of interest it seems to us with these organizations.

MS. OLDKNOW: Was there anything that was ever a disappointment to you that you wish you could have done? We talked a little bit about you wished that you had been—


[They laugh.]

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, that's a good one.

DR. PARKMAN: Well, you would have known what to do with the money, that's for sure. No doubt about that.

MRS. PARKMAN: I think sort of a disappointment from maybe a different angle than you want is the fact that fine arts museums haven't really included glass sculpture in their permanent collections or even exhibitions. I mean, they have shown a little bit of interest—

[END OF parkma14_4of4_sd_track01]

MRS. PARKMAN: The Metropolitan, I mean, the Andersons [Dale and Doug –EP/PP] were very instrumental in having exhibitions [of glass –EP/PP] and even a show. But left to their own devices, they don't seem to be continuing or acquiring, at least—I don't know much. We were members of the Metropolitan Museum at one time, I don't know exactly what they're doing, but,—and even Museum of Modern Art in New York City, do they have—

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, no [they're a –TO] tough nut to crack.

MRS. PARKMAN: —yeah, so that's sort of been a bit of a surprise after all these years, because certainly the sculptural work has grown in skills and in size, and, amazing work, and the museums, many of them that are fine arts museums just don't have exhibitions or acquire any pieces for their permanent collection. How did you answer that question, Paul?

MS. OLDKNOW: Actually, that what I was—I wasn't looking for anything different. I mean, I was interested in that, if you thought about that, so it's interesting that you—

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, did you have any comments?

DR. PARKMAN: No, I don't have anything to add.

MRS. PARKMAN: We talked about these things, Paul and I did, so even though I do all the talking, which is the way it usually works out [Laughs.], he had his input.

[Cross talk]

MS. OLDKNOW: So, you know, some collectors I know, like the Andersons, who you mentioned, also collected other things, like they collected craft, and then they collected Native American contemporary art, now they're into collecting contemporary art, photography, things like that. Have you ever thought about expanding your collection beyond glass, or was glass something you really wanted to develop and always focus on?

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, we didn't feel we had the funds—I mean, we would have collected everything, because we're interested in everything, and that's because of the Renwick Gallery, as I said. We went to all the lectures and all media and, but we knew we couldn't just—we have a number of ceramic pieces here and there, a little—well those two plates we have, a turned wood bowl and—a small turned wood bowl in the living room, but we would have broadened our collection if we had unlimited funds. Also we didn't collect internationally unless we went to the country. We knew we had to, that if we focused we could have a stronger collection, if we focused our energies and our funds on America, and we were glad to do it that way, so I think that that was a limiting factor for us, that we had to—

MS. OLDKNOW: Well, I mean it's really—for everyone at some point, Anna Mendel told me—she was taking me around Montreal, and we went to this wonderful gallery that had antiquities, which I love, and I thought, oh god, these are beautiful, and she goes, "Oh, yes, I love that," and I said, "Well, would you ever buy something like this?" she said, "Oh, I love it, but I wouldn't buy it because I—our focus is on craft, and we really stuck to that, because we can't just collect everything, you know," and so I thought that was really interesting, that she said that. She had the means to buy whatever she wanted, but she chose to really focus on one thing, which you guys have chosen to focus on American studio glass, and earlier pieces. Of course, I love the earlier pieces because they're historical now, and so we know so much about them in some ways that we don't know about more recent pieces, kind of their role in a larger context, but I love them. It's really nice to see them, because that is not something I usually see in people's collections.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, yes, that was because we started so early and we were so excited and interested—

MS. OLDKNOW: No, it's great.

MRS. PARKMAN: —But I also want to mention—I don't know whether it's along this line or not, but the role of, I think the Saxes also were really important in acquiring museum-quality collection and then giving the collection to Toledo [and San Francisco –TO], and seeing to it that there's a curator for the collection—

MS. OLDKNOW: That's right, they did that fairly early on.

MRS. PARKMAN: —well they did, and I guess we were not able to go to Toledo, I don't remember whether they had a special event at that time or not, but when they gave their collection to the de Young Museum [San Francisco –TO], we flew out to the West Coast. Sam and Eleanor Rosenfeld, they were founding members of the Renwick Alliance with us, they went too—I don't think we went on the same plane at the same time, but they went out to the West Coast and that was very, very exciting to see that they gave the collection, to see how beautiful. It had galleries—

[Cross talk]

—the fact that they could do that, you know, that was wonderful. As I mentioned yesterday, we were very happy to see that many other glass collectors, because we know them better, are donating their collections, if not entirely, but some, to other museums. I think that's just wonderful, yeah, the support that has been given. So that's been exciting and rewarding to watch that, too. It's all part of a big picture, but we're just happy to know so many people, as I said, know so many of the artists and to be friends.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh yeah, that's wonderful.

MRS. PARKMAN: It's been an important part of our lives, and our lives have focused on, you know, surrounded by our own families and then this major interest of ours that is pretty high on the list of what we do.

MS. OLDKNOW: It's amazing how this little thing that just started, that grew into this, just, you know, it's your—it's not your entire social life. It's a large part of it. You know, it is something that you do, your avocation, whenever you have the time you go and learn more. I mean, it's been a wonderful thing, and a lot of couples never find that thing that really interests them, so that's been a lovely thing for you to do together and build on, so that's great.

MRS. PARKMAN: Doing it together has made all the difference, as I said, because I wouldn't have pursued as intensely, or if Paul had other interests and was buying something, that would have meant that we didn't have the money to buy two different things, you know, for you to collect something else, and me to collect something else, so it's lucky.

MS. OLDKNOW: I mean, the house could have been filled with armor or something.



[They laugh.]

MS. OLDKNOW: I think that's good. I think we've covered a lot and—


[END OF parkma14_4of4_sd_track02]


MS. OLDKNOW: I do want to get some of this on tape, because—I just love what you just said, Paul, that you know, you graduated from collecting—

[Cross talk]

DR. PARKMAN: Graduated from actually having objects to giving money away for various good causes. But sometimes you wonder, you think it'd be nice to go buy something for ourselves.

MRS. PARKMAN: Like maybe the Albert Paley candlesticks.


MRS. PARKMAN: But when Nicholas had the show, 40 Under 40, I told you that Lloyd Herman way back, not too long after we met him and he did that American Porcelain show, his idea was he wanted to acquire all the pieces for the permanent collection at the Renwick. Well, he wasn't successful,—I don't know how many pieces he did acquire, but we helped him, and we paid for [and donated –EP/PP] the Adrian Saxe Antelope Jar. Well Nicholas Bell, when he did the 40 Under 40 exhibition for the Renwick's 40th anniversary had the same idea, and Nicholas was successful.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, that's fantastic.

[Cross talk]

MRS. PARKMAN: And among the first people to buy two pieces were us.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, and which two pieces did you buy?

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, you would expect that we would buy a glass piece, so we looked hard and long and—Matt Szösz. [Laughs.] [Untitled Inflatable –EP/PP]

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh yeah, I love his work.

MRS. PARKMAN: So we paid for, let me put it that way—and then, there was Men's Quilted Coat, by Jeff Garner. And I love textiles, like you do—quilts—and this was an amazing coat, and we bought it.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, that's great.

DR. PARKMAN: A quilted coat that he made from his grandmother's quilt.

MRS. PARKMAN: Quilt, and fabrics, and things.

DR. PARKMAN: And it's really a wonderful object.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, gorgeous.

MRS. PARKMAN: And then he was a designer of clothing and then he had an exhibition at the Renwick, that's right—

DR. PARKMAN: He had a fashion show.

MRS. PARKMAN: —a fashion show. We went up to Paul's medical class reunion, which might have been your 50th, it was an important reunion, but we left it—it was more than 50th now that I think about it—

[They Laugh.]

MRS. PARKMAN: —but anyway and we had to leave because the fashion show was at the Renwick and we didn't want to miss it and I was to wear one of the dresses, not on the runway, but just to circulate that evening, and so did one of the staff members there, a young gal who was there [working at the Renwick –EP/PP] at the time. So we went to the dinner, the party they had, just for your classmates, and then we stayed overnight someplace outside of Syracuse, and the next morning we got up and [Laughs.] drove back here—

DR. PARKMAN: Drove back so we could see the fashion show.

MRS. PARKMAN: —so we could see it and be in it.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, that's great. That's wonderful.

MRS. PARKMAN: It was wonderful. It was fun and—he's a name, you know, he hasn't made it, Jeff Garner, not big time, but he apparently has been successful with many shows. And for the fashion show, didn't they have a white horse outside with a model sitting on it?

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah. They had a white horse with a model sitting. That was at the front of—

[Cross talk]

MRS. PARKMAN: —the Renwick Gallery.

MS. OLDKNOW: How great. Oh, that sounds—

MRS. PARKMAN: There was a lot of attention for that.

MS. OLDKNOW: —so much fun.

MRS. PARKMAN: Then I wore a very pretty pink dress, as I remember, that he had chosen for me. I thought there were going to be several to choose from, but when I got there, they brought out the pink one, he liked the way it looked on me and that was the one I wore.


MRS. PARKMAN: I've forgotten what Debrah [Dunner] wore. She wore one of his dresses too. So that was the very first and last time I modeled. [Laughs.]

DR. PARKMAN: Fashion shows are a lot of fun.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yes, because—

DR. PARKMAN: An earlier fashion show was a Renwick [Alliance event –EP/PP], where we had a fashion show that was, oh, back a long time—

MRS. PARKMAN: In the '90s, when Michael [Monroe] was—

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah. When Michael was one of the models—

MRS. PARKMAN: Modeled a sweater maybe.

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, and it even draws in men, you know. While they might not be interested in the fashion, while they like to see the pretty girls and there's always a lot of lights and the cameras, and everything, it brings people, I think, everybody in.

MS. OLDKNOW: That's true.

MRS. PARKMAN: It's a fun and happy—

[Cross talk]

MS. OLDKNOW: I know at Laura Donefer's fashion show—

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, yes—

MS. OLDKNOW: —popular—

[Cross talk]

MS. OLDKNOW: I wanted to just ask you too, you mentioned, you know, early editions of Metalsmith Magazine.


MS. OLDKNOW: Did you read, you know, all those kind of craft magazines?

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, I probably read more than I do now. You saw the nightstand; the pile is that high, I don't know when it's going to go down, but anyway—

MS. OLDKNOW: You read about more than glass though.

DR. PARKMAN: Oh, yeah.

MRS. PARKMAN: Oh, yes. We subscribed to Metalsmith and Ceramics Monthly magazine at one time, a long list of publications that we got at a monthly basis. Then we belong to NCECA [National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts], the national ceramics organization and as I said, I like their catalogs. We only went to one or two—when they had their meeting in Philadelphia, I think we went up for that, or maybe Baltimore.


MRS. PARKMAN: We didn't go to the whole conference, just to see the shows that they had for that. I got that magazine and we got, oh, what is—Janet Koplos was editor of Art in America, yes, we subscribed to that. We subscribed to a lot of publications.

DR. PARKMAN: Publication of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, I think it was called American Art.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, yes, they have a publication that they put out once a year, yes. So we were subscribers to a lot. Then after we gave our collection of materials, and the archival material away, to the Archives and Library, then that's when we said, well, maybe we won't continue to get all of these publications anymore. We were busier with more events for the Renwick Alliance. I mean, we've been on the board—we have to go off after six years, because the bylaws say that, you know, you can have three consecutive terms, but you do have to go off the board—

DR. PARKMAN: For at least—

MRS. PARKMAN: —one year. Yeah. But, as past presidents, we can still attend the board meetings, and so we do, we just go to the board [meetings –EP/PP], and we've always been involved in some project. I'm the proofreader for the Quarterly, the Planning and Nominating Committee, we were on the New Year's Eve Committee, Paul's been co-chair of the Sunday Awards brunch—

DR. PARKMAN: Sunday Awards brunch [for Spring Craft Weekend –EP/PP].

MRS. PARKMAN: —for a lot of years, and I did the first timeline—

MS. OLDKNOW: Well, you're good, Elmerina, because when I get a call from Elmerina, I know I have to do it.

[They laugh.]

MS. OLDKNOW: You know, it's just one of those things, "Oh, Elmerina called me. I have to do it."

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, you did. Last weekend.

[Cross talk]

MS. OLDKNOW: Because I like that you just don't take no for an answer. I like that. It's good.

MRS. PARKMAN: And Ulysses Dietz, I remember that he did things for [us for Glass Weekend –EP/PP] a couple of times. And that's just wonderful. Well, the other thing I had said I wanted to mention was our special friendship with two people particularly, one was Wendell Castle, that I knew because we were on the Renwick Committee together when he was on the commission [for the Smithsonian American Art Museum –EP/PP]. The other person was Albert Paley, who we got to know when the Renwick Alliance made a trip to Rochester, NY, in 1992. That was a long time ago. We did meet Wendell and Nancy Jurs, his wife, and we had a picnic lunch there, as I remember, at Wendell and Nancy's house, and saw their studios, they each had separate studios there, we met Albert Paley then too. His photographer was Bruce Miller, who had a studio upstairs in the building where Albert had his studio, on Washington Street, in Rochester, NY.

But Albert has always seemed to be very, extra kind—that's not a good way to say it—but he's been very, very nice to us. One of the things that I did do, because he had a bibliographer, is when there was something in the newspaper here, I would send it, the reviews, actually I have something there to send to Albert, yeah, I would send it to his studio—

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, I'm sure, he appreciates that—

[Cross talk]

MRS. PARKMAN: —so that it was in his collection, you know, because he had somebody do that and not all the artists had, either the funds or couldn't do that. But Albert did that from the very beginning, because he knew that was important. Like we just collected all this information because that was what we did, and we hoped it would be important, and it was. So—

DR. PARKMAN: Bruce Miller. You mentioned Bruce Miller, who was Albert's photographer, I think he's not anymore, just was a marvelous—he knew about metal. He could make metal look wonderful and if you look at any of Albert's publications, his books, there are a lot of pictures in there by Bruce Miller and you see they really are whamo, you know really good.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, the Renwick hired him for—

DR. PARKMAN: He did the photography for the—

MRS. PARKMAN: Skilled Work

DR. PARKMAN: —the Renwick I think.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes. But, you know, he would spend hours figuring out how to best light a piece and display—he was very thoughtful about getting such a good picture of whatever he was photographing, so he was a master at that. They had him do quite a few photographs—but, I don't know, maybe for funding reasons, that's often the reason, whatever reason, that Bruce—he was here for a while, and we had him for dinner several times. We met him in Rochester at the Memorial Art Gallery, when we went to see the show, whatever was on view, and we contacted him and he came to lunch, so we had a chance to see him.

But anyways, Albert, who has been very nice to us, and when his sculpture outside of the restaurant Zaytinya, which is across the street from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and across the street from the metro stop there, so it's very convenient, when that was dedicated, Albert invited us to come to that event and Maya Angelou—there was a poem by her that was read, and the mayor of Washington D.C. came, the mayor's mother came, and I stood next to her, and I thought that was wonderful that Albert invited us to come to that event because—

[Cross talk]

MRS. PARKMAN: —we're not collectors, we're not collectors of his work. We'd like to be, but—

MS. OLDKNOW: Well, you don't plug Wendell's work either.

MRS. PARKMAN: No. Wendell has always been, you know very special—

[Cross talk]

MS. OLDKNOW: So, it's nice that you have relationships with people that you haven't been collecting, but who you know, and all your education about and through, and develop friendships—

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, and then when there was just one gate left at the [Washington] National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. and Albert had the commission to make that gate—

DR. PARKMAN: The Good Shepherd Gate

MRS. PARKMAN: The Good Shepherd Gate and it is a wonderful—it's not a huge gate—but it's—and you can touch it.

DR. PARKMAN: It's not huge in terms of [Albert's work –EP/PP], but it's really a big gate.

[They Laugh.]

MS. OLDKNOW: I don't know if there's really any limitation to Albert in terms of scale.

MRS. PARKMAN: But it's a wonderful gate, and he invited us to [attend Eventide –EP/PP]. It was [a service –EP/PP] at the cathedral. It was a very moving experience to sit there, and to listen, and to be part of it.

DR. PARKMAN: Whatever they did, they blessed the gate or something.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, yes, and then there was a reception and dinner afterward, and he invited us to that and it was just wonderful, and we just were thrilled to be included in that. And he's autographed—when he had the show at the Corcoran recently, and there was -- when Rochester, I don't know, there was another time that he autographed a book for us and he always alludes to our long friendship, because he knows we go back a long ways with him and it's true to '92.

MS. OLDKNOW: It's really nice.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yeah, that's very exciting. Then when Wendell came and gave the tour of the 13 Clocks that he had on view at the Renwick, wearing his red [cowboy –EP/PP] boots, that was memorable. Lots of memories.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yeah. That's great. Love that. And let's pause, and I want you to show me the Labino and the Littleton pieces and then we're going to talk about those. And I think that's going to be it. So, we were talking about, you read Sculpture Magazine, and the New Yorker, and kind of all those things, but I wanted to talk to you—we just looked at some ceramics by Harvey Littleton, which were great, and also a wonderful piece by Dominick Labino that you said changed your life, and I wanted to talk more about that. What do you mean it changed your life? It just looks like an early piece of Dominick Labino to me, which is great though.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, that is because we were collecting the shaded glass made in the late 1800's, and we had two small Tiffany pieces. We were interested because I had started taking the classes [about glass –EP/PP], and Steuben, in the colored period, with Frederick Carder's glass. And so we were very much interested in this old glass, and we started collecting it. There was a lady who sold it, as I said. But as I said in the class, a lot of time was spent trying to identify pieces that were not marked and figuring out where they were made, and who made them and all of that. But the one piece, the only piece of contemporary glass, or studio glass that Mrs. Suppes had in her collection, and I don't know how she happened to [know about studio glass –EP/PP], and she knew about Dominick Labino. When I saw that piece, I loved it, that was the first thing. I wanted Paul to take classes, and he did for a while, a short period, and I thought, oh, this is, if we could meet the artist, you know, we could talk to them. We knew about Appalachian Spring [a craft shop in Georgetown –EP/PP], we somehow learned about Appalachian Spring maybe at a little later time, cause that was when we first started buying, but the idea of meeting the artist, somebody you could talk to and meet, that was what changed [our collecting from the old glass to collecting studio glass –EP/PP]. Seeing that piece, knowing that there were people working glass, and we knew that from Objects: USA but—

[Cross talk]

 MS. OLDKNOW: Actually seeing the piece—

MRS. PARKMAN: —well, we saw pieces on view in Objects: USA, but somehow it was more in a private home, to see a piece that you touch—

MS. OLDKNOW: That you could even own.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, yes.

MS. OLDKNOW: I mean, it wasn't something like in a publication that you thought that's not something that I could ever own.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, yes exactly. When you go to a museum, you more think about that's not accessible—we learned that that wasn't true, but, so that was the piece that just, that changed our lives.

MS. OLDKNOW: And she gave it to you?

MRS. PARKMAN: Later on in her life, when she was—I don't know what she did with all of her collection, because she did have a large collection. She told us that she was selling pieces and she thought we might like to have that one.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, oh, excellent, of course.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, that was very nice of her to do that, because she could have willed it to anybody—

MS. OLDKNOW: Sure, and that must have a lot of meaning for you—

MRS. PARKMAN: —yes, but it came back to us.

MS. OLDKNOW: That's great.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, it does, because she was somebody that we liked a lot.

MS. OLDKNOW: That was meant to be, you know.

MRS. PARKMAN: Yes, yes. That was the beginning of, as I said, all these things work their way into our lives, but it started in 1969 with the show of Objects: USA and inheriting a few pieces [of old glass from Paul's mother –EP/PP].

MS. OLDKNOW: [Affirmative.]

MRS. PARKMAN: We've already said that.

DR. PARKMAN: We've already said that.

MS. OLDKNOW: All right. We're good. Is there anything else you want to talk about?

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, we were very happy to have the two pieces of Harvey Littleton's, ceramics.

DR. PARKMAN: They were originally in a collection of John and Jean Michael. They were founding members of the James Renwick Alliance, and when unfortunately they died, as [John –EP/PP] had always said they wanted to have, he wanted to have a sale, where everybody could come and see their things and buy their things, because he never bought really, really big pieces, but he liked the idea of everybody having an opportunity to buy something of his.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, how nice. That's a great idea.

DR. PARKMAN: Yeah. So we saw these pieces there and asked if we could buy them.

MRS. PARKMAN: But we couldn't, because—

DR. PARKMAN: But we couldn't, because Maurine Littleton had already seen them.

MRS. PARKMAN: [Laughs.] And she bought them.

DR. PARKMAN: And so, I asked, and she said, "Well, let me talk to my Dad," and so they did, and they talked among themselves, and they gave them to us. I thought that was very nice.

MRS. PARKMAN: That was really nice.

MS. OLDKNOW: They're such a—you know that family is so generous.

MRS. PARKMAN: They are. We know the four children, and, Harvey and Bess were very special people. We were glad to get to know both of them, too, and I felt that way about the Labinos, because they were the earliest people involved—

MS. OLDKNOW: Right, that's right.

MRS. PARKMAN: —and they made it possible, and the fact that we knew them, because now, people, you can't know them—

MS. OLDKNOW: That's right.

MRS. PARKMAN: —and that was the whole thing about the collecting part of it, I mean. You couldn't know those people whose work you could identify with the old glass, because they were all gone.

MS. OLDKNOW: That's right.

MRS. PARKMAN: But the people that you can get to know, we've had a wonderful time.

MS. OLDKNOW: Okay. I think that's a good place to end.

DR. PARKMAN: Good place to end.

MS. OLDKNOW: Yes. Thank you.

MRS. PARKMAN: Well, thank you Tina, very much for doing this for us. We're honored.

MS. OLDKNOW: Oh, well, me too.

[It was a very great honor for us to be included in the Oral History Program. Our sincere and heartfelt thanks to the Archives of American Art for making this possible. –EP/PP]

[END OF parkma14_4of4_sd_track03]

How to Use This Collection

Transcript available online.

Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.

Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Paul and Elmerina Parkman, 2014 September 24-25. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.