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Oral history interview with Rosamond Forbes Pickhardt, 1995 Feb. 13

Pickhardt, Rosamond Forbes, 1908-2004



Collection Information

Size: 1 Sound cassette, (90 min.), analog.; 35 Pages, Transcript

Format: Originally recorded on 1 sound cassette. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 1 hr., 28 min.

Summary: An interview with Rosamond Forbes Pickhardt conducted 1995 Feb. 13, by Robert Brown, for the Archives of American Art.
Pickhardt recalls her childhood as the daughter of Edward Waldo Forbes, long-time director of the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University (1909-1944) and Margaret Laighton; her early schooling and early interest in art; her family's 11-month stay in Europe in 1922, with the young Daniel Varney Thompson acting as her father's understudy, and during the time her father studied painting with Alexander Iacovleff in Paris; spending several weeks at the Villa Curonia, near Florence, where many art world figures visited. Pickhardt remembers Paul Sachs who, upon coming to the Fogg, encouraged her to go into museum work; Eric Schroeder, a specialist in Near Eastern art and a life-long friend; Frederick "Ted" Grace, a scholar of classical art who had been groomed by Edward Forbes and Paul Sachs to succeed them as director of the Fogg but who was killed during World War II; Jakob Rosenberg, a German refugee scholar; Deman Ross; Harold Zimmerman with whom she studied drawing; Langdon Warner, a scholar of Asiatic art and one of her father's oldest friends; Kingsley Porter; and Mark Tobey with whom she studied. Pickhardt talks about her third marriage to Carl Pickhardt in 1953 and their life-long ties with the Forbes family.

Biographical/Historical Note

Rosamond Forbes Pichardt (1908-2004) was a writer from Sherborn, Mass.


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

Language Note

English .


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



The following oral history transcript is the result of a recorded interview with Rosamond Forbes Pickhardt on February 13, 1995. The interview took place in Sherborn, Massachusetts, and was conducted by Robert F. Brown for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. This transcript has been lightly edited for readability by the Archives of American Art. The reader should bear in mind that they are reading a transcript of spoken, rather than written, prose.


ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  What? [Laughs.] You strike me—

[Audio Break.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  This is an interview with Rosamond Forbes Pickhardt in Sherborn, Massachusetts. This is February 13, 1995, Robert Brown, the interviewer. I thought, Ros, we could begin talking about some of your earliest memories. You were—were you born in Cambridge or in—?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  In Milton?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  Nearby—near Boston?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  And when I was a year old, we moved to Shady Hill.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. And Shady Hill was where?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  You know, where Paul Sachs lived in Cambridge.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  In Cambridge.

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  It was Professor Norton's house.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Charles Eliot Norton.

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Charles Eliot Norton's house, and I guess, we were the next people after Professor Norton. I think we were. And—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Why would you have moved in there? Was your father involved in—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Oh, well, Father was made—in 19—I was born in 1908, and in 1909, he was made the director of the Fogg [Art Museum at Harvard University], so that's why we moved from—that was his first full-time job, and he'd been wandering in the world and raising money for various causes and collecting works of art for Harvard, and so forth,before that. But here, he—this was his work that he came to in 1909 and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And was there—well, of course, you were tiny then but it—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  I was a year old then. [Laughs.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But was—the Fogg was sort of a dream then or was it about to happen?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Oh, well, no. The Fogg was a museum with casts and—of maybe a few things, I don't really know, but a few things—a few drawings or paintings or, you know, kind of 19th-century things probably. I'm making this up, but that's my recollection. Father brought in—well, real Italian primitives [00:02:00] was his great love. He didn't have enough money to buy many himself, but he would go around to members of his family, at first, to—who were very generous in helping him to bring these things from Italy. And so, the museum got started then and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And their great strength were these—was this—the Italian primitive?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  In the beginning, it was.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  In the beginning?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  And a great many of the things, as I understand, came through your father in the very early years?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Yes. Oh, yes, they did.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did he ever talk to you when you were young about why he collected art and things like that? Or did you ever question it or wonder about it or it was just—?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Well, he just—it was his great love. He was in Italy wandering around trying to find what he was going to do in the world and not very well at that time. And he met Richard Norton, Professor Norton's son, who knew a lot about art dealers and so forth. And he is the one who kind of led Father into all of this, and influenced him, and helped him get started in this way, and I think, probably, suggested that the things come to this country and—anyway, Father, certainly, latched on to that idea. He was so excited by things in Europe, and he want—wanted things here, too, in this country, you know?

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was the idea that the Fogg would be closely related to coursework, to teaching at—at Harvard from the beginning? Was that—?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  I don't remember about that. I—[00:04:00]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  It was mostly for the students in the early days, is that right then, the collection?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  I suppose theoretically it was.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Where did you first see it? I mean, was it in one place?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Oh, yes, it was—it was a little museum right opposite Memorial Hall. It was between the Memorial Church there and Memorial Hall, the William Hayes Fogg Museum in a little building. There must be photographs of it. And I absolutely loved going there and I'd go there all the time and I worshipped the works of art and everything. I—I really had a great feel for it.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And then—and—as you recall, that came about pretty early? You were very young—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —when you first started?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Well, my beginnings was when Father brought home Miss Frick's catalogue, and for some reason, I grabbed it, and I learned all the paintings in it and who they were by so then I knew them when I was quite young, I don't know, 9, 10, 11, somewhere along in there. From then on, I was passionately interested in museums and works of art. It was that book that got me started in—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  The catalogue of the Frick Collection?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Yes. And so, that was my main interest from then on.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Well, were you largely in your early years in Cambridge or did you—did you—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —think to travel or—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —did you think like go with—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  —uh, we lived for three years, I think, it was at Shady Hill and then Father built the house at Gerry's Landing, and we moved there and lived there until he died.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was Gerry's Landing, at that time, a fairly unbuilt-up area?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Oh, it certainly was. I mean we looked out of Mr. Coolidge's pig farm and fields, and so forth, and it was lovely. [00:06:00] It was just beautiful. We were out in the country there really. There was this lovely park between us and the river, and we'd go down and walk there or ride there and—everything was wild and lovely, except, I guess, there were undesirable characters [laughs] down there too.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Oh, looking around the river?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Yes. Yeah. But I didn't run into that. I heard about it, but I didn't run into it.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But this was before the—the banks of the Charles were streamlined and planted with the trees and all that? I mean, it was still rather—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Well, the other side—the road was on the other side, the one by the stadium. I've—what's it called—I don't know—Soldiers Field Road—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Soldiers Field.

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  —or something. And that was there, but there wasn't any road on this side until you got to Mount Auburn Street beyond—Stillman Infirmary was there just beyond the Mount Auburn Hospital. And at that point, Mount Auburn Street was next the river for a bit, and the way it is now.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And were—did you—you were mostly there then at Gerry's Landing once that happened?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Yeah. Oh, yes, we were there. Well, we did—we went abroad and—well, in 1914, we had to go abroad because my brother John was dying. He was dreadfully sick, and they heard about a doctor in Berlin, and we picked up, and we all went over there, and that doctor saved his life, and so—and we were over there when the First War—World War broke out, and that was quite a business getting out of—we were in Switzerland at that time and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Can you describe it? What did you—? What was involved if you recall?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Oh, my. Well, Father was there. The doctor who saved John's life was in Berlin, but this was summer and we had gone to Switzerland for the summer. [00:08:06] They—a little house on—on the—in Weggis on the Lake of Lucerne. And Father was there with—I was five and John, who was dreadfully sick still, was four, I guess, and my sister Mary, Basie [ph] was—basically was one or two, and there was a trained nurse for John and a nurse for Basie. There was my mother, there was her mother and her sister. So, Father had this huge group of women and children and then the war got nearer and nearer and telegrams, cables would come from this country saying, "You better do something." The way I heard it was that he would go into Lucerne and stand in this long line to the bank and get $10 every day until he could—accumulated enough to get us train tickets to get out of there. [They laugh.] It can't be that way, but that's the way I remember hearing it. And then we had quite a time getting across France and over to England where I remember vivid scenes of getting out, but he—he got us all out and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And most transport had been taken over by the militaries or things like that?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Well, there were crowds of people trying to get to England. And the scene at night in the station at León where we changed trains was just imprinted on my memory, the sea of people. And there was the United States train and the British train and all these things, and it was rough going and very nerve-wracking for the adults in the party.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was your father—? He was always known as being rather unflappable. [00:10:00] Was he in such crises as these?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Well, I never—I never thought of him as unflappable. He was quite a nervous person, I think, on the whole. I mean, he had vivid imagination of all the things that could go wrong, incredible fantasies of what could go wrong, [laughs] and so forth. And when he got very nervous, he got the giggles. He got the giggles at funerals and all kinds of bad times [laughs] and—but he was a dogged person, you know? He went ahead to do what had to be done, and—and he was a person of—mainly of vision, you see. He had these great visions of, well, how a museum should be and then later on, how to care for works of art, conservation. And he knew—he himself could do nothing really, but he knew how to get the people who could do the things. He knew how to find just the right people, and he knew how to raise some money to get things done. So, he—he—he actualized his visions in an extraordinary way and, uh, without much ability for that kind of thing in himself. Somehow, he knew how to do it, how to find the right people and that was his great, great gift I think.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And, uh, this was something you wouldn't have been particularly aware of as a young child?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  But later when you came to—?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Well, yes, yes, right. Yes, later I was just astonished by what he did with the kind of ill-adapted kind of person he appeared to be in many ways. [00:12:07] I mean he wasn't at ease in the world, I would say.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Well, did—your brother was healed or cured?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  And he did come back?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  He died two or three years ago when he was 82, so he survived.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Yeah. And the family got back? Once you were across France, you got back to—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  We got to England and then we met. We were there a month in London and then we came back, again nerve-wracking with steamers being sunk and all that kind of thing.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Yeah, that was the beginning of, uh, torpedoing, wasn't it, and shooting?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Yeah. And then we went again in 19—Father had to go. Every two or three years, he went to Europe but—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  He looked—to look at things and—?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Yes, to—to just be in touch with the art world and go to dealers and scholars and just be in touch with everything somehow and—

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

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  And we went again as a family in 1922 for 11 months, and that was a wonderful time. I was 13 and 14, and I was thrilled out of my skull by that trip. [Laughs.] And lived in museums and, oh. Well—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You traveled around—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  We were in Scotland, in London for a month. We were in Paris for three or four months, and my father and mother studied painting with [Alexandre] Iacovleff and other people. [00:14:07]




ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  For a while we were there then we had a month in a little place called on the Riviera called Le Trayas, a wonderful hotel right on the rocks with the waves breaking. And then we had a marvelous villa outside of Florence, the Villa Curonia for 10 weeks—that was glorious—and then to Rome and Venice and back to Paris.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Were you—did you return—did the family return occasionally other times to the Villa Curonia?




ROBERT F. BROWN:  It was that one time.

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  No, just that one time.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  When you were there, were—uh, in Florence or other places for that matter, would people you knew drop in, stay with you a bit would the—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —[crosstalk] and—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  At the Villa Curonia that—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  I think I've heard it there—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —were—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  That's where Dan [Varney] Thompson was with us and Henry Scott. I don't know if you ever knew him?

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

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  And my cousin Ted Thaxter who didn't go into fine arts, but he was there. And Edie Simmons Moore who was a painter. They had met her in Paris, studying in Paris, and she later married John Moore, the architect. She was there at the villa, and so it was very, very fun. And then a lot of people coming through from Cambridge came out for to tea and that kind of thing, you know?

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. But would the students Thompson and Scott and all, were—they worked with your—under your father's direction if they were—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —studying—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  —Dan was with us off and on during the whole trip. He was—met us at the steamer when we got there in Liverpool and went to Scotland with us and there, he met Father. [00:16:07] There was a man named [Arthur Pillans] Laurie who had to do with the chemistry of paints and that kind of thing and that Dan had begun in chemistry I think. And he and Father saw a lot of Laurie in Edinburgh. And then—and he was with us in London and then he went—Dan went to Germany, but he rejoined us at the villa. He was going to be Father's assistant the next year in his course, so they were very much involved together with everything, and Dan became part of the family. He was just a member of the family always.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was he—what was he like as a young man?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Oh, boy, he was brash, and he was—[laughs] brash. Oh, he didn't have a cent, but he—he'd take my mother out to lunch, and he'd have the waiter bring the wine and he then—I mean, he was 21 or 20 or something [laughs] and is—he knew, he knew. I don't know how he did it, but he knew all about wine and all about everything, and [they laugh] had these—this great air about everything. He was a fascinating person who—he got into trouble all through his life. Everywhere he went, he got into trouble, but he was up and down and temperamental and marvelous and was a wonderful man. [Laughs.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. It must have been a sheer delight and wonder he is—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —at that age.

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  —he was my older brother. I settled on him for my older brother. And that's what he was always [laughs]. [00:18:02] Yeah.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What did you do during that 11 months in Europe? To primarily look or did you do some picking [ph]?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Well, I lived—oh, no, I lived in the Louvre or the National Gallery or wherever we were or—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And you'd just spend hours looking?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Oh, yes, I just—the museum—it makes me so mad now because I wish I'd had more doings with the history of Paris and other things in Paris, but I just went to the Louvre again and again and sometimes to the Cluny or somewhere else, but mostly the Louvre and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Well, were you—was your schooling, sort of, uh, tutored? Were you being tutored now and then—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —or did you a—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —leave of absence?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  I was—yes, leave of absence. I was a year ahead of my class. My sister and I both—my middle sister and I both were and we—we didn't go to school. John was tutored that—that summer—I mean that winter, and so I came back and went to school in my own age group after that year.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was their schooling—was this schooling in Cambridge? Is that—?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  I went first to Shady Hill. I was there when it started on—I wasn't on Mrs. Hocking's back porch, but I was down on a shed below her back porch and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  —As it started, huh?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Yes, the year it started. I went there for that year and then two or three years at—when it was down by Shady Hill. And then I moved to Buckingham and I was at Buckingham until I was 13 before this trip. When I came back, I went to Winsor in Boston, which I hated.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did you?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  A pretty rigorous place or—?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Well, I—the girls were all grown up, putting their hair up and using makeup and everything. [00:20:04] I hadn't anywhere nearly got to that point. So, it was rough going [they laugh]. I scorned it and envied it all at once. [They laugh.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You did. Was you—as you went back, was your primary education not in school but, uh, in travel and looking at art or being around your parents or what? Would you say—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  It was really a combination of all other the things I'd say.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What were your mother's particular interest? You've not mentioned that—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Oh, goodness me. Well, she and Father were both nature worshippers, and they both instilled, in their different ways, a tremendous feeling for nature—just love and excitement of weather and lights and the flowers and the birds and landscape. They both painted, and all their lives they painted, and well, she's—she stopped finally, but she studied with [Harold K.] Zimmerman later on. But in her old age, she stopped paining, but Father never stopped and—[Laughs.] And so, they had a lot in common that way and—but she was a wild, free spirit, and he was much more—he was, certainly, unconventional in his own way, but he had conventional, more conventional ideas about things than she did and had kind of an image of what a woman should be like and things like that, which didn't—


ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  —didn't fit her or his daughters very well [laughs] and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Can you, uh, give an example of your mother's wild, free spirit?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Well, she was just a spontaneous person. I mean, she was a firm espiritise [ph]. [00:22:01] Men and women, all kinds of people loved her, had crushes on her, came to her to talk about their ideas of—she had a whole flock of people of all ages and all kinds who—she was just—inspired them, and she was their joy. And she had one following and Father had a huge following of another sort,[laughs]. So they were two—each had their different, different—spheres of attraction.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Would you describe your mother's following and—as creative types for the most part or—?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Yeah, oh yes. Oh, a lot of men, musicians, and, uh, theologians, and writers and all kinds of people, they would come and talking to her somehow, their ideas bloomed and blossomed kind of thing. She was a wonderful hostess for Father. She ran the house to perfection. She had been my Grandmother Forbes's secretary, and that's how they met. And she was very impressed by how Grandma Forbes ran her house and the good food and all that kind of thing and uh—and she ran a beautiful house and was a marvelous hostess. But finally, it got to be too much for her because Father would ask everybody under the sun, the most heterogeneous group of people in all at once. And she liked to have a chosen group who would go together and talk and be and—have an interesting time together. And she got tired of having this great little mob scene of unrelated people. [00:24:01] [They laugh.] So she—at the end, she asked him to build her a house next door, and he did. She lived next door and came for meals when she—most of the time but not all the time. She could have her own parties with people that were congenial and—and he went on having his mob scenes [laughs] and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Well that, in several ways, suggest that he had a huge following, a mob scene, that's right?



ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  No. I mean that wasn't—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  —just like—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  That wasn't necessarily—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  —[crosstalk]—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  He'd say, "Oh, I must ask so-and-so, I must ask so-and-so, and here's this nice neighbor we've never asked to the house, and his cousin so-and-so and here's this student who needs and on—" just on and on, you know? Or there's somebody who's visiting from Europe, and you never know who was going to hit his—come into his mind next, and, uh, he had this tremendous feeling for—and there was one point where somebody had a game where you are asked what was the one word that expressed your feeling about life. And when I asked Father that, he said, "Service," and that was absolutely true. When I worked on his papers, he never said no to anybody. If anybody asked him anything, he helped no matter how tedious and out of his—out of his area it was. People would come to him for help, and he'd go to endless trouble of with quite tiresome people to help them. I was staggered when I went through his papers for the archives to find all the different people he'd helped in extraordinarily tiresome [laughs] ways. I mean hard, you know, time consuming, and troublesome, and everything. [00:26:03]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did he or—uh, ever expressed the importance to you or you, children, of service of helping people?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  No. We were brought up—it was awful. We were brought up without—there was a nurse who did everything for us and got us to our appointments, tied up our packages, did everything. We were thrown out in the world absolutely unskilled, untrained, helpless. It was awful. We would—all the emphasis was on getting to the theater and see the right—hear the right music and the right operas, and the right cultural things, and all that kind of thing was just—you couldn't ask for more. It was so wonderful. But when it came to learning how to take care of your clothes or your—or cook or anything like that [laughs] or—it was—nobody thought of it at all in spite of the song that Father sang at all family occasions, which everybody loved about the charming woman of—"but if she were a daughter of mine, I would teach her to bake and to sew. But her mother, a charming woman, never thought of such trifles, you know?" [Laughs.] And this was a song he sang, and everybody loved it, but that is just what they did, exactly [they laugh] what they did. It was a great joke singing it, but it was just the way it was. [They laugh.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You children were reserved for the higher things, right? [They laugh.]


ROBERT F. BROWN:  And you were given every opportunity?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  My mother did everything to perfection herself, and she had grown up in straitened circumstances and had to do everything. She somehow felt her children weren't going to have to do that kind of thing, and they certainly didn't, and it was a great loss. [00:28:01]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So, when you finished, say, your time at Winsor, did you—?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  You came—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  That was the zero year of my life. I was in no sense suited to come out. I wasn't ready for anything like that, and it was awful, just plain awful.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Tedious and awkward and—?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Well, you know, one person stuck with one person at dances and a nightmare in general. Awful. Yeah.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But one thing you didn't have, at that point, was an idea of a vocation, I gather in—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —what you just said.

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  —I was always—had in my mind, I was going into museum work when I was young, and so did Uncle Paul [Joseph] Sachs. He was—he'd give me a book saying, "To our future coworker" and things like that. He was very encouraging and very helpful and always interested in my excitement about works of art, and so forth. He would take me to dealers in Europe and give me special times, and he was just wonderful to me. I had a marvelous time with him.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  About how old were you when he came into your lives?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Well, he—that was quite soon. See, Father came in 1909 to the Fogg, and at 1915, Uncle Paul came. And that was the famous thing that, uh, they were going on the streetcar up to Gerry's Landing and, oh, I guess, to have lunch or something. And Father said casually, or not causally but he said on the streetcar, "When are you going to come and join us? You know Uncle Paul was then a banker in New York and that really lit him up and he came. [00:30:01] But he never could get over the way it was proposed to him as they were on the streetcar, [they laugh] "When are you going to come to join us?" He always—oh. And he and Father were—they were a real—in the early days, a real team of comedians together. I mean, they'd rush at the newspapers, "Are there any deaths?" and great excitement, you know, [they laugh] and that kind of thing, for raising money. [They laugh.] They were a lot of fun.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So, you expressed your desire to be in the museum profession—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —early on?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  I suppose. I don't remember expressing it, and I don't remember. I just thought it was there somehow because that was where I spent my time when I could and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  When you were in Cambridge after Winsor or perhaps even before you'd finished there, did you, uh, actually go over to the Fogg to do some of the—was Mr. Sachs already doing his famous courses in museum work?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Uh, I don't know when he started that course. I don't know whether it was in the old museum or in 1927—

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

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  —or the new museum. I don't—I just don't know when he started that course. I don't know when.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But were you—did you go or—?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  I went to Radcliffe [College], uh, and I concentrated in fine arts, but I never came anywhere near graduating because one thing after another happened. The first year I went, we went abroad at midyears. And the second year, I guess, I got all the way through. And the third year, I got jaundice before midyears, which lasted until after midyear so that year was out. And well I—I don't know. Anyway, I—finally, I decided I'd educate myself [laughs] after I've been going there year after year in bits and pieces and—[00:32:08]

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

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  And so, I took over my own education.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Yeah. By looking and reading?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Well I—for instance, I had to give up the Dante course because of the jaundice, and so I read the Divine Comedy by myself, you know, and that kind of thing. And I tried to cover the fields that I wanted to in my own way, in my own time. [Laughs.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Okay. What did—you did have a great intellectual interest you suppose and—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Well, I loved the name and the atmosphere of things. I wasn't very intellectual, I don't think, until later, ideas began to, uh—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Because you liked the name is that the thing?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Well, the whole feeling. I mean, I just soaked in the atmosphere of the Divine Comedy, but I couldn't tell you anything about it or talk about it. I couldn't articulate it at all.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So, you would have finished Radcliffe about what year—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —if you had gone—?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  —it would have been '31. Carl [E. Pickhardt] and I on the same year. But, uh, I was still going there in '32, the last course I took. And it was one—I just took one course that year, Martin Mower's drawing course, and partway through the year, I was already married in my second year I guess or third year. [William] Bill [B. Bowers] was down in Yucatan at Chichen Itza at with the Carnegie people. [00:34:00] And I was allowed to go down for the last five weeks, so I left, and I could do the things—the studies for Martin Mower's course down there. [Laughs] I finished the course down there—


ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  —at Chichen Itza and brought them back.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So, what did—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  And then that—then it seemed kind of stupid to go on. [Laughs.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So, Martin Mower was your—was he one of your first teachers of drawing?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Well, I—gosh—well Pope's 1A, I had Pope's 1A and you—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Oh, that's—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  —you have to have a Pope. You had to draw in that. And a lot—I sketched by myself kind of thing and a certain amount.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  How was Pope was a teacher? Was he quite—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  He didn't thrill me to the core. I enjoyed the course because I loved the matter of it, but he didn't thrill me as a teacher. I [laughs] had a painful scene with him. He gave me a mark in an exam, D minus-minus!, and I didn't think I'd be as bad as all that. I went to him and tried to get some explanation or have him tell me, and all he said was, "Oh, your father's daughter, ha-ha-ha, your father's daughter," you know? I never did find out why it was so awful. [They laugh.] I wasn't very bright, I don't think. I never could pass—uh, get good marks except in Chandler Post's course where it was—what do you call it—multiple choice, that kind of thing or absolutely definite, is this—this church in Spain or is it somewhere else? That kind of thing I could do but the general things, I wasn't good—good at all. [00:36:07]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  How was Chandler Post as a teacher?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Well, I—again, I loved the matter so much, and his teaching suited me because I could do well. I could get As in his courses, and so that suited me fine. [Laughs.] And he was just—everything was very definite, and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What about some of the other teachers of history of art? Did you have—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Well, I loved—let's see. At first, I had George [Davis] Chase 1C the ancient art survey, and I loved that. That was just before we went on our next family trip to Europe in 1928. It was that half year before when we were in—started in Italy so that was terrific to have that course just before going there. And, uh, let me see. And then I loved Edgehill's [ph] course because I just—oh, I took the outline for 1D, which was Edgehill's course taking a history about them from—after the classical. And so, I went to see everything I could that was on that outline while we were in Europe, and so I enjoyed his course to the full you know—all these slides of these places I've been to and loved, and it was wonderful.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did you travel quite a bit during that year or that year in Europe?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  That year, we started—we sailed to Naples, and we spent 10 weeks in Rome that year, and I fell in love with Rome. It was marvelous. And Father was—did he teach us—he was very busy with dealers and all kinds of people. [00:38:00] He was going like a housefly [laugh] the whole time, you know. He was always very active. And that—well that's where Jack Thatcher appeared. We met Jack Thatcher in Rome, and he became, sort of, part of the family, not quite as much as Dan, but still almost, and we're very—we were very devoted to him. And then we went up through Florence and Venice and Innsbruck, Munich, Paris, London on that trip.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And again, you spent much of your time in museums?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Yes. Oh, yes, I was just thrilled. [They laugh.] It was wonderful.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Were you making notes or even sketches from things you saw?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  No. No, not—I was buying postcards and photographs of things I saw, and just going back and back. I mean, I'd go to the Uffizi [Gallery] and sit for one hour in front of the Simone Martini Annunciation and that kind of thing, and just sit there and worship [laughs] and—I don't know.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Now, these things were very vividly impressed on you, certainly—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —at that time?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  —this was passionate love along with a lot of other kinds of passionate [laughs] loves too.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Well, how is—uh, you've mentioned taking a drawing course with Mower. What was his approach to teaching?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Oh, I don't know. You see, the—all these fine arts people, they were like a—of course you know, Father had an enormous family, enormous tribe, which was very big in our lives. And the fine art—I made everything else into a family, too, all my life, and so the fine arts world was mother family for me. [00:40:04] And I just felt as if they were my family. I loved all these fine arts professors. I just loved them and enjoyed. They came to the—Gerry's Landing, there were people coming all the time for meals and a tremendously hospitable house and just swarms of things going on there all the time. And I just loved every minute of it [laughs] and enjoyed them and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So, Mower for example—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —[cross talk]—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  —he was more a friend, and I can't even think of what his teaching was like. He was a wonderful friend, and his daughter was my friend. Evie [ph] was my friend, and, oh, they had such lovely parties at the Mower's house. They were the nicest parties, and he had a little—damn it—was it the clavichord or a harpsichord they had in his house? And, uh, in the—his big studio at the back with, which they cleared for dancing, and the whole place was magic. It was lovely on Ash Street there.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Well, you were married then, uh, around this time too. Did you marry a fellow student or—?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  I married Bill Bowers. Oh, Bill Bowers' father, Harry Bowers was Uncle Paul's roommate in college. They couldn't have been more different. Harry was kind of a Yankee from the country, and—and Uncle Paul was a sophisticated banking family from New York, and they became lifelong bosom friends as roommates. And then Harry went into Goldman Sachs, so I met Bill at a dinner party at the Sachs's at Shady Hill before my first dance in Cambridge there, uh, and it went on from there. [00:42:04] A bit after some years, I—we fell in love and got married in 1930.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was he doing archeology at that point?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Oh, he started in anthropology and went into archeology and—and then he kind of meandered about and didn't settle in anything.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Well, with the night after you decided you wouldn't—you would teach yourself and so forth? You've talked about, uh, the Divine—you know, studying Dante, and so forth.


ROBERT F. BROWN:  Were there other studies in the, uh, fine arts? I mean did you pursue—?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Well, I was just going to museums and looking. Of course, I read biographies and stuff, I mean Van Gogh's Letters and things like that. I read things, but I wanted to know all about everything in all fields [laughs]. I read and read and read and read. I'm still doing it. I haven't begun to make it yet. [They laugh.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And were you primarily a resident in those years, the earlier '30 in, uh, Cambridge?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  I always lived at home, until—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Even after you're married?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  No, until we were married then we had an apartment, and then we built the first modern house in Cambridge, Howard Fisher. Do you know about him at all?


ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Oh, dear. How can I talk about Howard Fisher? He was a student of Father's. He took Father's course, that's how—a Chicago man—uh, that's how we came to know him, and he became almost part of the family too. And he made a great impression on me. He'd say things like, "I want to know what I don't know," and that made a big impression on me as young person. [00:44:03] It still does, you know, and I want to know what I don't know, and there's enough about this field to know what I don't know there kind of thing, attitude. Uh, and he went to architectural school at Harvard and—after taking Father's course, and so forth. And then he went out to—back to Chicago, and he started something called General Houses, prefabricated houses, and it was supposed to turn into making houses like automobiles, but he didn't have enough money to make it go over the top. But Bill and I built on Gerry's Landing [laughs] the first modern house in Cambridge, which was Howard's—one of his General Houses. It's a beautiful house. We went and saw it this last year. The present owner allowed us to go and see it again and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  I see. And so, it's, uh—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  It's right opposite the Shady Hill School, at the end of Coolidge Avenue and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But its heritage is that of an attempt to mass produce prefabricated housing?


ROBERT F. BROWN: Was that in itself of interest to you?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —at the time.

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Howard got that—got me all excited about modern architecture and modern design, and when the—oh, what do they call that thing in the room that's above the coop that wonderful business? You know Lincoln Kirstein and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Oh, the—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —Harvard Society for Contemporary Art.

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT: Yeah, that's it. I haunted that place, and that was a great—I was just all full of the Bauhaus kind of thing and excited about all that kind of thing. [00:46:03] This is more about me than it is—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  No, it's very good.

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  —about the fine arts [laughs].

ROBERT F. BROWN:  No, this is good. You—that was then of these very years is when, uh, Eddie Warburg and the others and Kirstein were setting this up.

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Right. Johnny Walk—John Walker [III].

ROBERT F. BROWN:  John Walker.

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Yes. Yes, that was wonderful.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did you ever get involved in their planning or in their program?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  No, no. I would just wish it from afar kind of a thing. [Laughs.] That's been—was my style generally to wish it from afar.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Were they, uh, out—quite outspoken these young men or did—?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Well, I didn't—I knew Lincoln the best, and I didn't know him very well. I knew him the best because of Eric Schroeder who was one of the most important people in my life. Do you know about Eric?

ROBERT F. BROWN:  No. I wish you would tell. I know a bit, but why don't you tell?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Yeah. Well, as you know, he was an Englishman who married my cousin Marnie Forbes and—and he—

[END OF TRACK pickha95_1of1_cass_SideA_r.]

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  —he'd been in the Middle East a great deal, and he became Islamic or the keeper of Islamic out at the Fogg eventually. But he had a very exciting mind, and he listened, more than most people do, to things anyone said, and he answered. And I always went to him to test out anything I was thinking about or excited about, and he opendoors. I hardly ever agreed with him because he—his—he had very definite ideas about everything. But somehow, I saw other points of view by what he said, and it opened doors into whole other realms of thoughts, so to speak. And I just—he was electricity for me. He was so important for me and for Carl, too, later on now, and he just meant everything to us.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  As a, uh, listener and as an advisor or is that too strong a word?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Well, advisor is too strong a word. It was friendship and caring and—and just companionship really. It was wonderful.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  As curator, what was—what did you recall his—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —accomplishment?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  I don't know that side of it much.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Yeah, but as a close friend.


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —he was for many years.

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Oh, yes, from the moment we met practically until he died. Yes, his death was a terrible blow.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  In the Cambridge art circles, who else were you getting to know a bit in those years? You've mentioned Paul Sachs and your father and how vividly that was. [00:02:02] I mean, and that continued—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —until—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Well, it did until I met—until I married Carl then, of course, that was—my Uncle Paul couldn't bear the sight of either of us when that happened, and so that was very sad. And Carl had been so close to him that it was awful. But, uh—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What about—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Well, [Frederick Randolph] Ted Grace was a special love of mine. He—Bill—this is when I was married to Bill, of course, because it was—Ted died during that time. He was killed in that accident, you know the—? You know about Ted Grace?

ROBERT F. BROWN:  No, I don't.

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  You don't really? Because he was—he would have been the next director of the Fogg after Father and Uncle Paul if he'd lived. That was the plan. He was in the classical department. He—he—that was his field, and he was an absolutely marvelous, an exciting mind, and a wonderful person. You don't know about Ted Grace?

ROBERT F. BROWN:  No, I didn't. He was killed in what?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  He enlisted—uh, it was when the war started, and he was in some sort of naval thing or aviation thing. Two planes, when they were training ran into each other, and he was killed in an accident, and leaving his wife and four little children, and nightmare. That was a terrible loss, just a terrible loss. Oh, I'm surprised you haven't run—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  He was very promising, was he? I mean he was—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Oh, yes. Frederick R—Frederick Randolph Grace, he was a very, very special person and in the fine arts world there for years. [00:04:03] He was a good friend of [Thomas Carr] Tom Howe [Jr.] and that kind of era.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. And did he go on the—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  And the Koon, Kaki Koon [ph], a friend of his and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  He had gone through the whole Harvard program as a—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Yeah. Yes, I'm astonished that he hasn't stayed and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Yeah. Thomas Howe, on the other hand, went on to have a museum [crosstalk]—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —palace.


ROBERT F. BROWN:  And you met him—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  —Palace of the Legion of Honor there.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You knew him pretty well and—?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  I never knew him intimately. It was just—


ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  —nice, very nice when we met kind of thing.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Yeah, and Charles [L.] Kuhn though you might have known—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —[crosstalk]—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  —Later. That was I knew him better after I married Carl, but—let's—well Jakob Rosenberg, of course, he came during the war and he came to—that first summer, he was here, he was—lived at Shady Hill. Uncle Paul had him live there in that summer. And Bill Bower's brother Paul—named after Uncle Paul—was living there that summer too. And he brought Jakob to our house—to our Howard Fisher modern house. [Laughs.] And, uh, so, I knew him first there in our house and then I was devoted—had a devoted friendship with him and Ailey all their lives. They were very special friends.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What was he like? Was he very outgoing and, uh, or—?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:   Well, he was more deliberate than outgoing, I would say. A kind of a quiet, kind of manner but very warm, and a great friend—a wonderful friend. [00:06:09]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  One person I haven't asked about was the Agnes Mongan who had come into Mr. Sachs's orbit by the late '20s, I think.

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Yeah. Well, Father—Father wasn't especially fond of her for some reason, and we didn't—she—she wasn't around. I didn't see her much. She was more somebody I saw and said hi to than—that I saw more intimately, and of course, she was somewhat older. John Witt, wonderful John Witt, uh, he was a great friend of Agnes, and when he was here—do you know about him at all?

ROBERT F. BROWN:  No, you should tell me, what you—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  All right [laughs]. Well, John Witt was the son of Sir Robert Witt who was a trustee of the National Gallery and that kind of thing in London. And John came over here and went to the business school, and he fell in love with Bill Bower's sister, and they got married, so he was my brother-in-law. He, eventually, himself became a trustee of the National Gallery, and he made—his father had a tremendous drawing collection, and John—later, John, himself, collected drawings and had a tremendous drawing collection too. And so, he kind of followed in his father's footsteps all the way along because they were both in the same law firm and both trustees of the National Gallery, both knighted because of service to the arts and everything, and then both had these great drawing collections. Although, they couldn't have been more different people but, uh—and he was great. He was over here back and forth a lot, of course, being married to Maggie. [00:08:05] And he was a great friend of Agnes's. And that year, the—when he was in the business school, he really was involved in the whole Fogg picture and Tom Howe, Agnes, and everybody. Well, he was very close to all of them.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  The, uh—what about the conversation area of the Fogg because I think, you know, the one that your—the one that your father was heavily involved in?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Yes. In later years, he certainly was, yes. Uh, that came about gradually. I'm a little bit bothered because people now think of him only in terms of conservation. And there was so much more before getting the whole thing started and making it a live and exciting place. And the conservation came in gradually during the—all the other things he was doing. And now, people just say him, conservation, bang, that's it, kind of thing and that—I think that's too bad because there was a lot more [laughs] there. I mean it was he thatmade it exciting so that Paul Sachs wanted to come kind of thing and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Yes. And an absolutely necessary condition was the prospect of it being a wonder—an exciting place to curate and to—and the collection.


ROBERT F. BROWN:  So, people like Alan Burroughs and all were there—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Yeah. Well, they came, uh, more—more after the new building. After '27, I think they came. George [L.] Stout and Margaret, I loved them. They were great.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Well, you were also, now, in the '30s studying art yourself.


ROBERT F. BROWN:  Maybe you could talk a little bit about that and how you—[00:10:01]


ROBERT F. BROWN:  You even made some notes from start in the—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  And maybe you—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  —then, finally, I wanted to—I had my period of textile design, being interested in textile design. Bill and I went abroad in '20—'32, '33, we were—spent most of it in Europe. I went to the Reimann-Schulen in Berlin and studied textile design just for a short time but that—I was—then I did it by myself. I was always getting a bit out there and then doing it by myself [laughs] and—but then I decided, somehow, that I wanted to get more into things. And my mother had gotten very excited about Harold Zimmerman, at that point, and, uh, so I—I—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  How would she have known of him? Through Denman [Waldo] Ross for example? Was he a friend at all, speak—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —a great man.


ROBERT F. BROWN:  A great man.

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Yes, I mean, he was a wonderful—uh, a wonderful presence there all the time and came to Gerry's Landing and the—first—when they first moved to Cambridge, he asked them to dinner, and they forgot to go, [laughs] a terrible thing, but they survived that immediately and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was he a noted host and, uh—?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —Denman Ross?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  —it was—I don't know about other people, but—I don't know about that, uh except that that they—you know, this was—it was a terrible thing to have done [laughs]. And then poor Dr. Ross, he was so old-world and kind of inhibited in human relations. And when my mother and my sister Basie Mala [ph] was born, he called up to find out how everything was. [00:12:05] And she answered [laughs] the telephone, and he nearly had a fit. [They laugh.] He wasn't prepared for that at all. [They laugh.] Mala had just been born a few—an hour or two before kind of thing. [They laugh.] And then poor Dr. Ross, when his cousin, Miss Nethers [ph] lost her mind, and it was all that painful time.

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

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  She—you know they lived together—she—in that house on Craigie Street and then—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  He and his cousin, Miss—?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Yeah. She was an older cousin and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Miss Nethers [ph]?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  Nethers, yeah. So, he was a rather—was he rather formidable or—?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Well, in a sense, he was, but he and Father had such a friendly—there was such friendly feeling between them—him and my parents that I didn't—you know I just—from his manner. Naturally, I didn't fling myself about them, and I didn't anyway, I was more the spectator—spectator type and looking on and worshipping kind of thing and not—not entering in much.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Well, he had, uh, then helped this, apparently, remarkable drawing teacher Harold Zimmerman—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —and somehow, this had come to your mother's attention.

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Yes. I don't know how, but I'm not—I have no idea how they met or got together. But she was tremendously excited by his ideas, and she worked with—she studied with him for years. She had a—got a studio in town on Beacon Hill, and he had—came and gave her lessons there. [00:14:00] And he was at Gerry's Landing a great deal, and Father, of course, was interested and was pushing him on.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And that's  how you first met him when he came to the house?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  Or [crosstalk]—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  —I don't remember. I don't remember. But I just remember that I was feeling about for something to do, kind of get into things more, and I guess my mother suggested that I go to him, and I did. I suppose it came about that way. But it wasn't the right thing for me to be doing. He told friends of Bill's and mine that he couldn't understand [laughs] why I was doing it, so—and the minute when I—when the—then the war came and Bill and I went out west. Bill had work—war work out there. And the minute I got out there, I got into psychology and religion and that kind of thing. And it all went away and I've never—I just diddled around. I haven't done anything since, and it suddenly became not the thing to do. Well, I did study a little bit with Mark Toby in Seattle for the first year or two there but then—I continued to go to museums and worship but [laughs]—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Was Toby much of a teacher? Was he—?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Oh, he was a wonderful teacher. He was a marvelous teacher. He'd throw some—we went—a group of us went to his studio, and he'd throw stuff on the floor. Cut a dirty old rag and a bit of this and that and then this magic thing would happen, a kind of still life and relations with objects to each other and his words and things. [00:16:03] It was wonderful. Or he'd travel through a big reproduction of Aduro [ph] with us, and somehow things happened. Oh, it was magic. He was a wonderful teacher, very exciting. I have—

[Audio Break.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  So, Toby was a great teacher, but Zimmerman and—was it who told your mother or Ross, wondered why you had come to him, is that right?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Well, I'm sure I came through my mother, but, uh, I can't remember. I haven't—I really haven't any idea how she got to know him and got so excited about him.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Wasn't he known as a—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —to be a fairly difficult man and or—?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Yes. Yes, he was but—but ideas were very important to her, and he was so full of ideas. And she loved to hear him talk and to talk with him and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  How did he strike you when you met him, Zimmerman?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Well, you know, the magic was in his teaching. I mean, I was very fond of him and everything, but he wasn't—I didn't love him the way I loved Ted Grace or loved Jakob, or loved a lot of other people. But I was more of being fond of him. But his teaching was absolutely magical. Just standing behind you talking about everything under the sun, cooking, philosophy, heaven knows what and then you began to see what you needed to do and what you wanted to do, and you wished that heavens he'd stop for heaven's sake or you could go on doing it. And he talked on and on until you were in [inaudible] to go on and then finally he'd move on to the next person [laughs] and you could—and you could get at—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But it was magical. I mean even while he was talking, you were still—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Oh, it was—I wasn't drawing or anything. I was listening until—[00:18:00]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Listened.

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  I was listening, but you'd—yeah, somehow I began to see what was needed and what was wrong and what—everything. And he got the idea across through all these different ways and talking about all these different things and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Really? And you think that as you look back that even, let's say, he's talking about cooking there's something parallel—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —he drilled home.

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  I should say so, yes, yeah.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Would he touch your drawings? Others have said he didn't even—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  No. No, no. No, absolutely not.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  A very light and indirect method of teaching, is that right?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Well, I mean, it was all words. It was all words.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  All words?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  What about—were there critiques following the sessions? Would he put the work up and discuss it?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  Were you in a group or were you largely—most of the time, alone? Or you've been given a—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  I was with two or three other people, it varied from year to year. We were sort of shunted about. We—the first two years, I think it was, we were in the little house right at the back of Memorial Hall. I wish I had my drawing down here because I did a totally uncharacteristic drawing from looking out that window. I love that rear view of the apse, the Sander's Theater, and I loved that view of it because we were right across the street. And I did a—one of the—one of those drawings that just comes, you know. It isn't my normal effort business at all, and something happened and—of that, anyway. That house, we had for a couple of years then we worked—I can't remember whether I ever worked in the Fogg with him. I may have done a little bit, but then we worked in my family's at Gerry's Landing on the top floor. And it was mostly cousins, my cousins and my sister who were studying with him at that point. [00:20:10] The big guys had moved on and—[Laughs.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Oh, you mean—well, yeah, your husband to be and [Jack] Levine and [Hyman] Bloom?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did you meet Levine or Bloom or they—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —[crosstalk]—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  Well, the, uh—I know Ross touted to Harvard—to Paul Sachs, Denman Ross, Zimmerman's teaching, you know, saying that—he put people right into the drawing. They didn't have two or three years preliminary studying from casts, and so forth—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —and all that.

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Oh, no, it was all—to do the human figure was the thing, to get the human figure under control. And I never did get the way Carl or the others did, where you can draw somebody from any angle doing anything at any time.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And not from a model. Is that—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  No, not from a model.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  —from memory?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  From—well, from knowing, from knowing, just knowing. You look both when—all the time, you're not—I mean every minute you're not in the class, you were looking, looking, looking. Everybody went the subway or a dinner party or wherever it was, looking [laughs] you know. How does this work, how does it work—and then also studying reproductions and all works of art. And then you come back and do what you can in the absolute blankness of your—of a piece of paper, you know.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Well there your—some of your intensive museum-going must have stood you in good stead, didn't it or—?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Oh, well, I mean it was just part of—I went on doing what I know always did, you know?

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Sure. I mean and then when it came to putting it on paper—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —it might have been something of a need—[00:22:02]


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —for you.

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  —I had to keep going and looking at things from that point of view. I never—I never had tried to do that.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But when you went—then when World War—the war came and—oh, you went out West?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Yes. And by that time, Zimmerman had—was mortally ill. I mean the last year that I was here, he was in the hospital, and I use to go and see him in the hospital and—he died soon after we got out West in '41.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Yeah. Did he talk to you very much? Would you have conversations, uh, not necessarily in the hospital but I mean before that time and—?



ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  —he came—come to dinner at our house, and I saw him at Gerry's Landing a lot. You see, every Sunday night at Gerry's Landing was kind of open house. And he—he was very like—he might very likely be there, or he was there at other times, and he came to my house, and I went—we—Bill and I went once to dinner with him and Libby and this kind of thing and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Mm-hmm [affirmative]. Had you met Carl Pickhardt by this time?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Oh, heavens, yes. I mean Uncle Paul was so generous, he invited me twice, although I never took his museum course. If I had stayed in college, I would have done, but I never took it. But twice, he invited me on the museum trip in the spring vacation. You know about those trips?

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Why don't you describe one?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Oh, they were so thrilling. You went to New York and you went from one palace to another palace seeing works of art and being entertained royally. It was just incredible and then on to Philadelphia and Washington, Baltimore, and just you couldn't believe your senses. You know that whole week was just fantastic. [00:24:03] And then Uncle Paul in the train doing his Charlie Chaplin business and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What was that?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Oh, don't you—? Has nobody ever said about that?


ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Oh, he imitated Charlie Chaplin. He'd do it in public. He'd do it in the station or anywhere. You know, just walked that he did.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  [Laughs.]

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  That was one and then—then he'd come down the aisle where we were sitting in the museum course thing, and he'd say, "Popcorn, sodas, chocolate," and [laughs] he'd come down. He did a lot of that kind of comedian thing, which was wonderful or right out, you know, in the middle of everybody and everything. [They laugh.] That was great. [They laugh.] Oh, dear.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Were these—the collectors very happy to have the Harvard students there or is it—?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Oh they were certainly gracious about it. They weren't always present or actually, but we were served things. Sometimes, there were—oh, that was so exciting. Oh, well, anyway, Carl. Uh, so I was staying with Harry Bowers, Bill's father and going into New York to museum things, and Harry told me in great secret that Meg was engaged and—


ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Meg was probably Carl's first wife, Meg Sachs, and so. So then, I went on the trip and Carl was on the trip. Carl and Zimmerman were both on that trip, and so I went on the trip looking at Meg and Carl, you know see—to see them being engaged when I wasn't supposed to know they were. [They laugh.] I had a great time, and that was the first time I ever saw Carl. And after that, because Meg was always in the fine arts group, too, we were just, oh, all the time, at the same parties and the same—they'd come to dinner with us. We'd go to dinner with them and—and, of course, Bill was so close to the Sachses and everything from his father and Uncle Paul, and so it was all just very close and part of my fine arts family. [00:26:10] [They laugh.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  This family you've spoken of repeatedly, and these were people who were at ease with each other, had a good—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —had at large a great deal of—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —fun with each other—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  I didn't get on with all of them. A lot of them, I didn't get on with at all. But I had a great many close friends—most of my close friends were in the fine arts.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And you showed me a photograph, and there were a couple of people we wanted to talk about. Now, Langdon Warner—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Yes. Langdon was—he was a friend of the family of Father's. Father knew him outside of—so they were old friends before in their youth, you know?

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

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  He was younger than Father, but still, they were tremendous friends. And he was out in the Philippines. He was at Father's wedding, one of the few people out—they were married Father and Peg were married out in Manila—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Oh, they were?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  —when Uncle [William Cameron] Cam [Forbes] was governor general out there. And Grandma—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  He happened to be visiting his brother or—?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Well, no. Grandma was going to visit her son, Uncle Cam, and she took a bunch of young girls with her including, her secretary, my mother. And just before they left, Father and Peg, as we came to call her, got engaged. And so, Father had to pursue her around, and they were married in Manila. I guess they wanted to do it—have Uncle Cam there or something. Anyway they—that's the way it happened and then they went on around the world, all of them. [00:28:00] Aunt Alice Kerry and Father's Aunt and Grandma Adelyn [ph] who was Father's cousin, and all these people went on around the world together. They had a short honeymoon in Baguio up above Manila alone but then this great trip with all these people continued around the world [they laugh] and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And then they came back and settled—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Then they came back and got their own house and settled. Yeah.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But Warner would have been—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —[crosstalk]—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  So, he was there and, you know, he was another comedian, a marvelous comedian. And in Japan, the time I saw him most was in 1931 when Uncle Cam was ambassador to Japan. And Father paid for Bill and me. He paid our passage out there and then we had to pay for ourselves when we were there, something like that. And so, we went, and Langdon was there, and so we saw a lot, and we spent three weeks in Nara with Langdon, at the hotel in Nara. And that was just an incredible experience to me. And Bob Paine was in Kyoto at that time, and those two who have been in Japan with them were so special and so wonderful, and Langdon was terrific. He—these Japanese occasions, the Japanese sometimes got up and danced around in front, and Langdon got right up and danced with them in this crazy, wonderful way. He was just a joy, just a tremendous joy. And he and Father were just devoted to each other. They were tremendously close way, in a way that Father wasn't with any of the others because this was such an old family kind of thing.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Yeah. But you had a very exceptional introduction then to Japanese culture, didn't you?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Oh, I certainly did. [00:30:00] When I got back, European painting looked so gross to me. I couldn't—I couldn't see it for months, and then—then [Arthur] Kingsley Porter, of course, was this wonderful, austere, remote person living in Elmwood across the street from us at Gerry's Landing and his—his wife Lucy—we called her Queensly. She was—she loved society, and he couldn't tolerate people. He was so introverted and needed quiet, and she said on the steamers, ocean steamer, he would allow her to speak to anybody lest they get involved in some way. [They laugh.] And she was such a social—well, she had parties all the time. She had parties, and he didn't come. He stayed—unless there was something—he had to, of course, but then Dr. Ross and so he had to come down. But she had parties for younger people, students, and I was often invited. They were wonderful parties over there at Elmwood, and that was a great joy, and then there was this presence upstairs and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Who seldom—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  Oh, never?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Never came, but I know him, of course, because I've seen him at Gerry's Landing and round, and, uh, liked him, liked him very much. He was especially fond of Meg, Meg Sachs. He invited her that—she went to Ireland and visited them in Ireland. And he had—and I think he liked me, but it wasn't the close kind of thing he had with Meg and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Well, was he a rather quiet man?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Oh, very quiet, very quiet and very quiet, pale, pale, complex face, and kind of almost stilted way of hardly talking, and very quiet and—yeah. [00:32:06]


ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  But a real feel, a feeling of something wonderful about him and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Well, these men you were speaking of were, in their generation, among the top authorities in specialties in our history.

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Yes. Well, it was just a terrific thing to live with them, so to speak, and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Well you were then—were removed from this when you went out West right in—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —in the early part of World War—?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Forty-one, we went out and, uh, in the spring, and everything happened. Ted was killed in the airplane crash. And Father and Uncle Paul retired from the Fogg and John [P.] Coolidge came in, and I never—when I came back, it was—I was a stranger in this. The Fogg had been my home, and I was a stranger there from then on. I don't know why, but nobody knew me or care—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  You presumably had known John Coolidge? He was—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  Not really very much?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Well, I mean he was the younger brother of my classmate at Buckingham, way, way, way younger brother kind of thing. And that's the only way I knew him and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Yeah. You returned about—? When did you come—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —back this way?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Well, let's see. I didn't get back until the end of '47 because I stayed out there and—a while and came back to marry Jeffries Wyman because Bill and I had—got divorced by then and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And you came back and remarried.

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Yes. I came back and married Jeffries Wyman and that was a short, short, wonderful, and terrible marriage, [00:34:03] [laughs] which I wouldn't have missed for anything but I—it couldn't go on. [Laughs.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And then eventually you saw—met Carl.

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Well, then Carl and I, uh—we just came together. We were both in, well, a desperate state, and we came together, and it just happened. It happened, so there was no going—no.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  What did you—? In the year since when—you were—I guess you-all were married—what—in the early '50s?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  Yeah. Have you—, um, assuming rearing a family was part of what you were doing—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —and but also—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —[inaudible]—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  —they came for weekends and for some vacation time and that kind of thing, but it wasn't like—I wasn't rearing them by any means. They had their mother who was rearing them—and a wonderful mother.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Well, the—your own family, Forbes family, you've talked about them repeatedly, and they were a big family, a major presence.

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Oh, yes, I should say so.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Did they continue after World War II?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Oh, oh, oh, always, yes.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Your father, after all, lives on.

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Well, you see Naushon [Island] brings us all together in the summer, and maybe more than a hundred of us down there all at once. And the bond of Naushon is very great and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And that existed even as a child—a small child?


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —[inaudible]—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Oh, yes always. It was very powerful and still is and—but I did hope to write a novel. I started writing a novel and got halfway through, and that was that. My life has been—and then I started making historical charts, and they're quite wonderful, I think, but nobody—they're not scholarly enough to be used—to be published and—[00:36:07]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Oh, you mean charts of general history?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Well, yeah. I could show you one, but I don't know whether we want to take the time to go into that kind of thing.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  But writing—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  I don't think we do.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  —you've done a good deal of it—



ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  —I've written—what I'm doing now is taking passages out of my journals and diaries, and making a kind of anthology of it because that's where most of my writing has been and—

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And is—are these, you've kept doing for many years?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Yeah. Most of the time from 1922 until now.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Gee. You record a lot about different people or events or—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —flights of fancy and—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —and everything?

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  —it varies. It's been more inner stuff, psychological stuff in recent years, less outer events but occasionally outer events. And earlier on, it was just one great excitement about everything and everybody. [Laughs.]

ROBERT F. BROWN:  It sounds like you've been one of the most blessed of observers throughout your life. And you describe yourself as an observer—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Yeah, yes. Well, I—with the psychology, I began to participate a little more than with—in a personal way, not a—never in a public way. [Clears throat.] Frog.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Yeah. The West Coast is where you said you first started studying or doing something with regards to psychology.

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Yes, yeah. I went to a seminar, which is one of those things that changed my life. And I got involved in the—in the studying the teachings of Jesus and the life of Jesus and stripping away as much Christianity as possible from it to try and get back as nearly as possible to what this man might have said and taught and lived. [00:38:18] And it's a very powerful seminar, a wonderful, critical method that has been—was evolved by a scholar. And then the psychology of Jung is involved, and it's from the point of view a lot of the Jungian thought, so the combination of and then all kinds of other things have entered in. I've been to these seminars over the years since 1942, it was, that I first went to one. Mostly in California. And they're just very exciting experiences of real discussion, real friendship, real kind of delving behind stuff, behind stuff. You—they put a text out kind of in the middle of the room, and everybody speaks to it, and what somebody else says triggers something, and everybody is entering in and something, bills that's very exciting. And so, those—that's been the major element in—ever since 1942.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And is it cumulative? Do you—? I mean comparing, if you look back to 1942 and then now, I mean, does it have a cumulative enriching of the—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  Oh, yes. Oh, heavens, yes. I mean everything enters in, art, music, literature, enters these seminars. [00:39:57] And they'll say the—there's somebody leading the discussion and who will say, "Take this situation, this text and go out and do a—take this lump of clay and do something in clay about it or go out and paint it or go out and write something about it." And then everybody comes back, and you've somehow added another dimension to your—to your feeling of understanding of the thing. So it's a very—it's a wonderful group.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  And this has triggered this awareness in you, and yet, I think anyone, having heard your story as you were talking about it, would have thought that from childhood, you were—had access too, in a tremendous variety of ideas and personalities and—


ROBERT F. BROWN:  —and situations.


ROBERT F. BROWN:  But maybe they weren't coalescing until—

ROSAMOND FORBES PICKHARDT:  No. They were all—oh, everything was projected out somehow and, uh, began to bring some of the projections into—inside through this business.

ROBERT F. BROWN:  Shall we—

[END OF TRACK pickha95_1of1_cass_SideB_r]


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Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Rosamond Forbes Pickhardt, 1995 Feb. 13. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.