Skip to main content

Oral history interview with Trudy Busch Schultz, 2012 September 25

Oral history interview with Trudy Busch Schultz, 2012 September 25

Schultz, Trudy Busch, 1927-

Designer

Collection Information

Size: Transcript: 51 pages.

Format: Originally recorded on 2 SD memory cards as 3 digital wav files. Duration is 1 hrs., 24 min.

Summary: An interview of Trudy Busch Schultz conducted 2012 September 25-26, by Jeannine Falino, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Schultz's home, in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Biographical/Historical Note

Interviewee Trudy Busch Schultz (1927- ) is a former designer in Brattleboro, Vermont. Interviewer Jeannine Falino (1955- ) is a curator in New Rochelle, N.Y.

Provenance

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.

Funding

Funding for this interview was provided by the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America. Transcription of this oral history interview was made possible by a grant from the Smithsonian Women's Committee.

Transcript

Preface

The following oral history transcript is the result of a recorded interview with Trudy Busch Schultz on September 25, 2012. The interview took place in Brattleboro, Vermont, and was conducted by Jeannine Falino for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. This interview is part of the Nanette L. Laitman Documentary Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America.

Trudy Busch Schultz has reviewed the transcript and has made corrections and emendations. The reader should bear in mind that they are reading a transcript of spoken, rather than written, prose.

Interview

JEANNINE FALINO: All right. This is Jeannine Falino. I am here in Brattleboro, Vermont, with Trudy Busch Schultz. It's the 25th of September [2012], a beautiful fall day. And we are sitting here in her kitchen with her husband, Richard. So Trudy, thank you for having me here today.

TRUDY BUSCH SCHULTZ: It's very nice to have you here. Thank you.

MS. FALINO: So today we're going to talk about — we're going to start with your childhood and — until your arrival to the United States, your family, which is a musical family, and then we're going to talk about your own education and your involvement with the Knolls up until the time of your marriage to Richard. So we have to start — go back now to the beginning.

MS. SCHULTZ: All right.

MS. FALINO: So tell me about your family.

MS. SCHULTZ: Well, my father was one of seven children in a rather poor family. And his two older brothers, Fritz was a conductor and Adolf was a violinist. And they were both quite well-known in Europe, famous. And my father played the cello at the suggestion of his older brother because he wanted to have a quartet.

MS. FALINO: Okay. And your father was Hermann.

MS. SCHULTZ: Hermann.

MS. FALINO: Okay. And although the family was poor, obviously music was a big part of the family.

MS. SCHULTZ: Absolutely. The father himself was an instrument maker.

MS. FALINO: Oh, what was his name?

MS. SCHULTZ: His name was — it's — we have a cello actually which he made. And his name I think is inscribed inside.

RICHARD SCHULTZ: Was it Wilhelm?

MS. SCHULTZ: Wilhelm.

MS. FALINO: We can look it up and add it later.

MS. SCHULTZ: We can check it.

MS. FALINO: Okay. Wilhelm, we think. So he was an instrument maker. He made —

MS. SCHULTZ: Violins and cellos.

MS. FALINO: Okay.

MS. SCHULTZ: Mostly violins.

MS. FALINO: So stringed instruments.

MS. SCHULTZ: Right.

MS. FALINO: Okay. And so, he wanted music in the household?

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes. And actually I always heard stories that they had no money. And the father took the children out to the countryside where they played with other street musicians and took in money —

MS. FALINO: Oh really?

MS. SCHULTZ: — for performing. And there's some funny stories about the children as they were growing up. One, my father was playing the cello. My Uncle Adolf was playing the violin. And Uncle Fritz was playing the piano. And then there was another uncle who turned into an actor.

MS. FALINO: Oh.

MS. SCHULTZ: But when they were younger and the father needed money, he took them out to play in the streets and, of course, my father could play cello and my uncle played violin. And my —

MR. SCHULTZ: Grand — Trudy's grandparents.

MS. FALINO: All right. So Trudy's grandparents were Henriette and Wilhelm Busch.

MR. SCHULTZ: Yes.

MS. SCHULTZ: That's correct.

MS. FALINO: Okay.

MS. SCHULTZ: And my grandfather was sort of a gypsy. He made instruments but he also played and did not make much money. So they went out in the countryside and made music and people would give them money.

MS. FALINO: Give them money.

MS. SCHULTZ: And the one brother who was not a musician turned into an actor. But when he was little and they were others who were all playing, he would pretend —

MR. SCHULTZ: I'll take it. Do you want it there?

MS. FALINO: Just leave it here.

MR. SCHULTZ: Okay.

MS. FALINO: That's Okay.

MS. SCHULTZ: He would pretend to play an instrument.

MS. FALINO: Oh really? [They laugh.]

MS. SCHULTZ: The flute or something like that. And the story I always heard was that an elderly lady who heard them play said, "This young man has more talent than any of the others," because he was just pretending to play. [They laugh.]

MS. FALINO: So he acted very well then?

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes.

MR. SCHULTZ: Pretty good actor.

MS. FALINO: Now, I'm looking at a book here next to me which says Adolf Busch: The Life of an Honest Musician, by Tully Potter.

MR. SCHULTZ: Tully Potter.

MS. FALINO: Who was — who was Adolf?

MS. SCHULTZ: He was the oldest brother.

MS. FALINO: Okay.

MS. SCHULTZ: I think.

MR. SCHULTZ: No, Fritz was the oldest.

MS. SCHULTZ: Fritz was the oldest.

MS. FALINO: So he was another brother?

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes.

MS. FALINO: And what was his instrument?

MS. SCHULTZ: Adolf was violin.

MS. FALINO: A violin too?

MS. SCHULTZ: And Fritz was the conductor.

MS. FALINO: Right. Okay, so — so you grew up in a family that — where all of your uncles were musicians or you had one, an actor.

MS. SCHULTZ: Correct.

MS. FALINO: And what was your family life like then, growing up with your father?

MS. SCHULTZ: Well, my family life was rather limited or maybe I should say limited for me because I always had to be quiet. My father was practicing and I couldn't make any noise. And maybe that's how it happened that I'm not such a big talker.

MS. FALINO: But you're a great listener. So I'm counting on you today. I'm sure all that listening paid off. [They laugh.]

MS. SCHULTZ: Okay. We'll try.

MS. FALINO: So and how many — you're one of how many children?

MS. SCHULTZ: I'm the only child.

MS. FALINO: Only child.

MS. SCHULTZ: And —

MS. FALINO: And your mother?

MS. SCHULTZ: My mother had a brother who was a scientist who later became quite well-known because of something called the Ising model, which is beyond my ability to understand.

MR. SCHULTZ: Ising is spelled — maybe you should spell that.

MS. FALINO: Yes, how do you spell that?

MS. SCHULTZ: I-S-I-N-G.

MS. FALINO: Oh.

MS. SCHULTZ: That was my mother's maiden name and —

MS. FALINO: And what was her first name?

MS. SCHULTZ: My mother? Well, everybody called her Lotte but her name was Charlotte.

MS. FALINO: Okay. Okay, Ising. And so, in the household, your mother wasn't in music, was she?

MS. SCHULTZ: No, she always told me that she used to play the piano until she met my father. And then she tried playing the piano and accompanying him and they always quarreled. So she quit.

MS. FALINO: I see. I see.

MS. SCHULTZ: And that was a perfect solution because they had a very happy marriage.

MS. FALINO: Good, good. And were you — did you take up an instrument as a child?

MS. SCHULTZ: I was forced to play the piano. And I unfortunately, to my great regret, I had no talent whatsoever. But I guess everybody thought I needed to play an instrument. So I had piano lessons and it always was a big embarrassment for me because I thought I should be able to play well and do well. But I just didn't have the talent.

MS. FALINO: Well, everyone has their own special talents.

MS. SCHULTZ: That's right. And it wasn't music for me.

MS. FALINO: And I think sometimes it's difficult also to be in a family with a talented parent.

MS. SCHULTZ: Absolutely.

MS. FALINO: There's extra pressure.

MS. SCHULTZ: And a lot of other talents around, like my Uncle Adolf who played the violin was famous. And now, there are two books out about him that were written by this person.

MS. FALINO: This woman Tully?

MR. SCHULTZ: No, a man. That's one of them.

MS. SCHULTZ: Tully Potter.

MS. FALINO: Uh-huh. [Affirmative.]

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes. It's a man. And he wrote two incredible volumes on my Uncle Adolf.

MS. FALINO: And this is the Busch Quartet you're referring to?

MS. SCHULTZ: Right. Well, Adolf was the violinist of the quartet. And then there were two other members and my father who was the cellist.

MS. FALINO: Okay. That's — and that would be Hermann.

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes.

MS. FALINO: And so, they were — they were playing — this is, like, what years are we talking about? The '20s?

MS. SCHULTZ: The late '20s and early — very early '30s.

MS. FALINO: Okay.

MS. SCHULTZ: And my Uncle Adolf moved to Switzerland as soon as Hitler appeared, although none of his family was Jewish.

MS. FALINO: He just didn't like what he saw.

MS. SCHULTZ: Absolutely, hated. And my parents moved shortly thereafter in 1933 to Switzerland so that my uncle could have his quartet —

MS. FALINO: I see.

MS. SCHULTZ: — together.

MS. FALINO: Where did you live in Switzerland?

MS. SCHULTZ: In Basel.

MS. FALINO: Oh lovely. Basel was a — in those days it must have been a very lively town, as it is today.

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes.

MS. FALINO: Close to the German border.

MS. SCHULTZ: Mm-hmm. [Affirmative.] Yes, it was so close to the German border that my parents worried for years that Hitler might —

MS. FALINO: Might come.

MS. SCHULTZ: — come into Switzerland.

MS. FALINO: Yes.

MS. SCHULTZ: Even though that was pretty well-defended still.

MS. FALINO: Yes, I can see why.

MS. SCHULTZ: And there were periods when the rumors got very hot and my parents took off with me into the interior of the country where some friends had a house. And we went and spent a week or two until the rumors subsided and we could go back to Basel because Basel was so close to Germany. And everybody was always worried about what could happen.

MS. FALINO: Right, right. So when you moved to Switzerland, how old were you?

MS. SCHULTZ: When we moved there I was — I think I was 5-1/2. And I got to go to the first grade the following year. And I learned to speak Swiss.

MS. FALINO: Swiss German?

MS. SCHULTZ: Swiss German.

MS. FALINO: Schweizerdeutsch.

MS. SCHULTZ: Schweizerdeutsch. Very good.

MS. FALINO: I lived there for a year.

MS. SCHULTZ: Oh that's interesting.

MS. FALINO: Now, but before you moved to Switzerland, you were in the Weißenhofsiedlung.

MS. SCHULTZ: Weißenhofsiedlung.

MS. FALINO: Ah, okay.

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes, that was an area a little bit outside of Stuttgart in Germany where they had an exhibition of modern homes. And there were buildings by Mies and — Corbusier and —

MR. SCHULTZ: All the big modern architects.

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes. They all built various types of houses there.

MS. FALINO: Really?

MS. SCHULTZ: And my parents rented a house by Bruno Taut, which was my mother's favorite house for the rest of her life, although she didn't live there very long.

MS. FALINO: And what made them move there?

MS. SCHULTZ: I think my uncle had been a conductor there, Fritz Busch, and liked Stuttgart. And that's why they moved there. And they liked the modern buildings. Actually there's another story there. I have a mental block. Hans Knoll's father lived in Stuttgart and also had a furniture —

MS. FALINO: Right.

MS. SCHULTZ: — company. And my parents in their house had Knoll furniture from Hans's father.

MS. FALINO: [Laughs.] And what kind of furniture was it? Was it very modern furniture?

MS. SCHULTZ: It was modern furniture but quite different than the one that came later in the States.

MR. SCHULTZ: It was wooden furniture.

MS. FALINO: It was wood.

MS. SCHULTZ: Well, it was upholstered.

MR. SCHULTZ: Sort of — but not period furniture. I guess you would say not Biedermeier.

MS. FALINO: Yes.

MR. SCHULTZ: Or the French designs. It wasn't — it was — it's hard to describe it, very bland but undecorated furniture, wooden furniture.

MS. SCHULTZ: It was very comfortable.

MS. FALINO: So very functional.

MR. SCHULTZ: Yes.

MS. SCHULTZ: Very functional and it was nice looking.

MS. FALINO: So did you think it was very forward-looking design or not — maybe it was a transitional kind of furniture? Was it aimed at middle-income people or high income? Was it avant — it wasn't considered avant-garde clearly.

MS. SCHULTZ: No. I'm not sure what period it fits in. But I remember we had it still in Switzerland.

MS. FALINO: Ah, so you brought it with you.

MS. SCHULTZ: Brought it with us and we liked it a lot.

MR. SCHULTZ: Hans later went to England, did a — you know the story about Hans Knoll?

MS. FALINO: A little bit. But I think we'll talk more about him with you.

MR. SCHULTZ: Okay.

MS. FALINO: So — so that was interesting. And you didn't bring any of it to the United States did you?

MS. SCHULTZ: No.

MS. FALINO: No.

MS. SCHULTZ: Unfortunately not.

MS. FALINO: That would have been quite an interesting story in itself. But I like the story of the furniture nonetheless. So was it an experimental kind of a development of houses? Do you know who was in charge of it?

MR. SCHULTZ: Yes, it was.

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes, it was a —

MR. SCHULTZ: I think Mies was in charge of it.

MS. FALINO: Mies, okay.

MR. SCHULTZ: It was something called the CIAM, which is —

MS. FALINO: CIAM.

MR. SCHULTZ: — Congress of International Modern Architects or it was — no, that's — well, that's —

MS. FALINO: Well, it was probably just —

MR. SCHULTZ: That doesn't make the —

MS. FALINO: Maybe it was — in German, it's —

MR. SCHULTZ: It's d'architecture moderne.

MS. FALINO: Moderne, yes.

MR. SCHULTZ: And that was a group I think that was probably — I've got a book on this subject, which I'll show you later.

MS. FALINO: All right, maybe we can — I would love to look at that. Maybe we can ask a few more questions.

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes, you can look at it because it's been photographed a lot.

MS. FALINO: Okay.

MR. SCHULTZ: Hitler had pitched roofs put on all the buildings.

MS. FALINO: Oh?

MS. SCHULTZ: Oh come on, that was —

MR. SCHULTZ: Well you know, Hitler was very much against modern design.

MS. FALINO: Yes, yes. So he —

MR. SCHULTZ: And then later after the war, when Trudy and I went back to look at it, it was as if it had been. I mean, they took off the pitched roofs.

MS. FALINO: They took it off? Oh, interesting.

MR. SCHULTZ: They restored it.

MS. FALINO: Uh-huh. [Affirmative.] Oh, fascinating.

MR. SCHULTZ: Oh yes, it was —

MS. SCHULTZ: But the story I have about the house that we lived in, the Bruno Taut house —

MS. FALINO: Yes.

MS. SCHULTZ: — was that it was painted different colors on the outside.

MS. FALINO: What kind of colors?

MS. SCHULTZ: One side was yellow.

MR. SCHULTZ: Bright colors.

MS. SCHULTZ: One side was light blue.

MS. FALINO: Really?

MS. SCHULTZ: And I can't remember the other sides which were not towards the street. But my mother told the story that she used to hear, especially when she was in the bathroom which had a window towards the street, people were saying, "Only crazy people can live in a house like that." [They laugh.]

MS. FALINO: I love that. So do you think that these houses had a big impact on you, as young as you were? Do you —

MS. SCHULTZ: I'm sure they did. Yes, I felt very comfortable there and lots of friends. We had a flat rooftop where I had a tub with water that I could crawl into. And it was just a wonderful place. I had lots of children around and I have fond memories of that time.

MS. FALINO: Do you have any sense of the kind of families they were? Were they other people who were in the arts? You know, like your parents were obviously in music. But you know, were there architects living there or, you know, other musicians?

MS. SCHULTZ: That's interesting. I really don't know. I don't think there were other musicians. But there may have been architects or people who were somehow related.

MS. FALINO: Yes. Well obviously it must have attracted an unusual group of people, to choose to live in a place like that.

MS. SCHULTZ: Absolutely.

MS. FALINO: Yes. Fascinating. So you moved to Switzerland and then it wasn't long after — you moved to Switzerland in '33.

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes.

MS. FALINO: And by 1940 you had moved to the United States.

MS. SCHULTZ: In '40.

MS. FALINO: In '40.

MS. SCHULTZ: We did move.

MS. FALINO: Yes.

MS. SCHULTZ: Because my uncle had already come here and Serkin family had come here.

MS. FALINO: Wait, which family?

MS. SCHULTZ: Serkin.

MR. SCHULTZ: What happened was that Rudolf Serkin became a protégé of Adolf and married his daughter.

MS. FALINO: Oh.

MR. SCHULTZ: So the Busch-Serkin family was all set up in that regard.

MS. FALINO: I see. And is this the family that established the Marlboro Music Festival?

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes.

MR. SCHULTZ: Yes.

MS. FALINO: Okay. And what is — what's Adolf's daughter's name?

MS. SCHULTZ: Irene — Irene Serkin.

MS. FALINO: Okay. Okay. So they had settled in Vermont. And where did your family go?

MS. SCHULTZ: Well, they —

MR. SCHULTZ: But at that point, they —

MS. SCHULTZ: They were not all in Vermont at that point.

MR. SCHULTZ: No.

MS. SCHULTZ: When they first came, they were living out on Long Island. And we moved to Flushing, Long Island, and lived there for about a year. And my uncle had had concerts with Serkin and he was scheduled for a concert that first year that we came at Town Hall with Serkin's sonata concerts. And he had a heart attack in the intermission.

MS. FALINO: Now, who did? Adolf?

MS. SCHULTZ: Adolf.

MS. FALINO: Oh no.

MS. SCHULTZ: And that was the end of our income. And my father got a job in South Carolina together with two other members of the quartet, played in an orchestra there, were not very happy, didn't get much money. But father sent money to my mother who also sent money to my grandparents in Switzerland. So we had a very tight budget. And we never took the bus to the subway station. We always had to walk.

MS. FALINO: Well, and I wonder — and this is still wartime. Was there as much demand for music?

MS. SCHULTZ: Well, certainly not as much as there is now for quartet chamber music.

MS. FALINO: Right, right.

MS. SCHULTZ: It's amazing how it's changed.

MS. FALINO: Yes.

MS. SCHULTZ: And a lot of it —

MR. SCHULTZ: One day it was —

MS. SCHULTZ: — because of Marlboro and all the people who formed quartets after.

MS. FALINO: Yes. So this was a very tight — very tight time for everybody.

MS. SCHULTZ: That's correct, yes.

MS. FALINO: And what were you going to say?

MR. SCHULTZ: It was this Beethoven's Fifth Symphony which started da-da-da-da, which was the Morse code for V which then stood for victory. And that, Beethoven's Fifth Symphony was a big thing. I mean, many cities and towns in this country had orchestras, you know, community orchestras.

MS. FALINO: Yes.

MR. SCHULTZ: And they made a big thing out of this Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.

MS. FALINO: Out of Beethoven's Fifth. That's fascinating.

MR. SCHULTZ: You have to remember this. You have to be — I guess have been somebody who lived during that period but also went to concerts.

MS. FALINO: Yes.

MR. SCHULTZ: Which I did as a child. But I remember that.

MS. FALINO: Fascinating.

MR. SCHULTZ: If you ever hear that orchestra, that piece —

MS. FALINO: Sure.

MR. SCHULTZ: — think about V for victory. [They laugh.] Sort of trivialized the piece but it was — that period of — this is an interesting story, what was called the peacetime — no, not — civilian side of the war.

MS. FALINO: Yes.

MR. SCHULTZ: They made it into a very big deal. Everything was war this, war that, victory garden.

MS. FALINO: So even — even music.

MR. SCHULTZ: Even music.

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes.

MS. FALINO: So now at this point by 1940, how old are you? You were —

MS. SCHULTZ: I think I was 12.

MS. FALINO: Yes.

MS. SCHULTZ: I'm trying to remember.

MR. SCHULTZ: Yes, you were 12.

MS. FALINO: So what was your — what was your English like when you arrived?

MS. SCHULTZ: I didn't —

MS. FALINO: Did you have any?

MS. SCHULTZ: My parents had taken some English lessons and they were practicing on the boat coming over and they wanted me to learn to speak English. And I simply refused. I said, "I don't want to learn that language." [They laugh.]

MR. SCHULTZ: Look, this is Trudy's diary that she kept.

MS. FALINO: Oh my. Oh my.

MR. SCHULTZ: This is amazing, when she was 12 years old and they were on that ship, the SS —

MS. FALINO: So you were on the SS Washington.

MR. SCHULTZ: Yes, and what you should do is to Google SS Washington.

MS. FALINO: Yes?

MR. SCHULTZ: And you get a big story because what happened was that a German submarine almost sunk the ship.

MS. FALINO: Oh lord.

MR. SCHULTZ: Now, they didn't fire the torpedo. But —

MS. SCHULTZ: All the passengers had to come up and stand outside. And nobody knew what was going on.

MS. FALINO: Oh here you're writing about it.

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes.

MS. FALINO: Oh my gosh! Well, if they didn't miss, we wouldn't be sitting here today.

MR. SCHULTZ: Yes. Right.

MS. FALINO: And you wouldn't have had how many years of marriage together?

MR. SCHULTZ: We wouldn't have met.

MS. SCHULTZ: Sixty-some.

MS. FALINO: Wow. Oh my lord. Oh, this is fantastic. I will have to look at this more closely. Oh, and you attended the World's Fair.

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes.

MR. SCHULTZ: The big thing was that they didn't want —

MS. SCHULTZ: From Flushing. We're not too far away.

MS. FALINO: Right, right.

MR. SCHULTZ: The Germans wanted to sink ships. That's what you do if you're running — operating a submarine.

MS. FALINO: Yes.

MR. SCHULTZ: But what they didn't want was the Americans to get into the war. So if they had sunk the ship, that would have been the end. America would have been in the war. And this was 1940. Of course, the next year they were in the war.

MS. FALINO: You think they were just trying to scare off the Americans from the lanes?

MR. SCHULTZ: Well, you know, I can't remember.

MS. SCHULTZ: I don't know what their mental attitude was at that point.

MR. SCHULTZ: I'm not an expert.

MS. FALINO: Quite a scary encounter.

MS. SCHULTZ: Well, we thought maybe it was just a drill because everybody stood there in their nightgowns and waited. And they were just getting ready to load into the —

MS. FALINO: — the lifeboats.

MS. SCHULTZ: The lifeboats when they said, "Okay, it's all over. You can go back."

MS. FALINO: Thank goodness.

MR. SCHULTZ: Back to bed.

MS. FALINO: Back to bed.

MS. SCHULTZ: Bed.

MS. FALINO: Gosh.

MR. SCHULTZ: Yes.

MS. SCHULTZ: So that was the beginning of the trip.

MS. FALINO: Well, you got here just in the nick of time, I'd say.

MR. SCHULTZ: Yes, I don't know how many more passenger ships ever actually made that trip. But there were tons of people in Europe who wanted to get out. And that —

MS. FALINO: Yes, yes.

MS. SCHULTZ: We were lucky.

MS. FALINO: You were lucky. Did you — you had German passports or Swiss passports by that point?

MS. SCHULTZ: No, we had no passports. I think maybe my father had a German one. He was not Jewish. But my mother didn't have any passport because she was Jewish.

MS. FALINO: Oh.

MS. SCHULTZ: And the Germans had given her a paper that was supposed to be like a passport with a big J on the front. And it said on the first page, "Look at page nine." And page nine made it clear that the J stood for Jewish and that she was a persona non grata.

MS. FALINO: Yes, yes. Wow, so how did you get from Switzerland to the boat? And the boat — was it in England?

MR. SCHULTZ: That's what this story is about, this book, little book.

MS. FALINO: Okay.

MR. SCHULTZ: It's how they went from Basel to Lisbon.

MS. FALINO: Oh, I see.

MR. SCHULTZ: Which wasn't an easy trip.

MS. FALINO: I can't imagine it was, yes.

MR. SCHULTZ: By train and airplane —

MS. SCHULTZ: And I got to fly in an airplane, a big deal. Yes, it was an exciting trip. And there was a thunderstorm. If you can read German, you can —

MS. FALINO: I will take a look at it. I will.

MR. SCHULTZ: I translated this whole thing. This is the translation.

MS. SCHULTZ: Oh, that's right.

MS. FALINO: Oh excellent.

MR. SCHULTZ: But we wanted to type it up and, you see, every other page is blank there.

MS. FALINO: Oh, you wanted to insert it inside?

MR. SCHULTZ: And tape for the grandchildren.

MS. FALINO: Right. Well, we can — maybe I can help you figure out what to do with this. It's really very — it's a wonderful thing to have as a memory of that occasion.

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes, right.

MS. FALINO: So you arrive on the boat. You're still in the boat. You escaped — narrowly escaped being torpedoed.

MR. SCHULTZ: Yes.

MS. SCHULTZ: Right.

MS. FALINO: And but you didn't want to learn English.

MS. SCHULTZ: No.

MS. FALINO: So what happened?

MS. SCHULTZ: Well, we landed and we first lived with my uncle I think in Douglaston and then my mother found an apartment in Flushing.

MS. FALINO: Right.

MS. SCHULTZ: And there was a school, P.S. 22, very close by, across the street practically.

MS. FALINO: In Flushing?

MS. SCHULTZ: In Flushing. And that's where I was sent because we arrived in June, actually June 21st, which was my cousin's birthday, and we — and there was no school. But somehow they must have had some classes there. And I was sent there to start to learn English. And they gave me a book to read, which I still remember vividly.

It was Ferdinand the Bull: "Once upon a time, there was a little bull named Ferdinand." And I couldn't pronounce the "upon." That was so difficult. I'd say, "Up-on." And anyway, I did learn English. And I went to school there and my father and mother reported my first report card was terrible. My second one was better. My third one was even better. And my fourth one, I was at the top of the class.

MS. FALINO: Very good. Very good. Bravo.

MS. SCHULTZ: That's my Swiss education background. [They laugh.]

MR. SCHULTZ: The funny thing I see about the whole story was that they gave her multiple-choice tests.

MS. SCHULTZ: To figure out what grade I should be in.

MR. SCHULTZ: You know, and theirs is the kind of test where you have to be able to read.

MS. FALINO: Yes.

MR. SCHULTZ: But she gave great — she passed the test

MS. SCHULTZ: Just guessing.

MR. SCHULTZ: And it's sort of typical of a multiple-choice test. It's not really a good test.

MS. FALINO: Yes. When you were in Switzerland, did you learn — and I know today in Switzerland you have to learn French and Italian as well as German. Was that the case when you were there? Do you remember?

MS. SCHULTZ: I had to learn. Yes, I had French.

MS. FALINO: You did.

MS. SCHULTZ: Lessons.

MS. FALINO: Okay. So from there, you attended Barnard College. Is that right?

MS. SCHULTZ: That's right.

MS. FALINO: Yes. What did you — what did you study at Barnard?

MS. SCHULTZ: Fine arts.

MS. FALINO: So you were focusing on painting or —

MS. SCHULTZ: Well —

MR. SCHULTZ: Art history basically, not applied — not how to paint.

MS. SCHULTZ: Right.

MR. SCHULTZ: I'm sorry.

MS. SCHULTZ: There were so many things going on. The quartet playing in Europe again by that time, 1946. And they had concerts in wintertime and I talked my parents into going to Europe with the quartet and my mother went.

MS. FALINO: Oh very good.

MR. SCHULTZ: Twice.

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes, we did that twice. And since we didn't have much money, we sort of figured out that somehow we were saving money by going over there and renting the apartment and mother was very clever at these things. [They laugh.] So I was in Europe twice for two summers actually.

MS. FALINO: Oh good.

MS. SCHULTZ: In two —

MS. FALINO: So you were a teenager at that time?

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes. And so I switched my major from English, which I thought was rather boring, to fine arts or whatever it was called because I got to see all the wonderful artwork in Italy and England.

MS. FALINO: Right. So it was more like art history than painting or sculpture.

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes, yes.

MS. FALINO: Okay. Just like me.

MS. SCHULTZ: Oh, what college did you go to?

MS. FALINO: I went to Providence College. So were the teachers at Barnard very good?

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes.

MS. FALINO: Do you remember any of them in particular?

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes. There was Professor Held, who was quite well-known and —

MS. FALINO: And what did he teach?

MS. SCHULTZ: He taught art history I guess. What did he teach? Dick knew him too.

MR. SCHULTZ: I didn't know him. I mean, these people — remember Meyer Schapiro?

MS. FALINO: Yes.

MR. SCHULTZ: People like that, Julius Held. It was a lot of really well-known professors there.

MS. FALINO: So you knew Meyer Schapiro too?

MS. SCHULTZ: I didn't know him. But I listened to his lectures.

MS. FALINO: He was there?

MS. SCHULTZ: He was there. And we had a friend — my parents had a friend in England, two friends, Hugo Buchthal and —

MR. SCHULTZ: Ernst Gombrich.

MS. SCHULTZ: Ernst Gombrich.

MS. FALINO: Oh gosh, he's one of the greats.

MS. SCHULTZ: I know.

MR. SCHULTZ: Ernst was — your mother — have you ever seen that lovely little book of history of the world?

MS. FALINO: Yes, it was reissued recently.

MR. SCHULTZ: Yes, by Ernst Gombrich.

MS. FALINO: Yes.

MR. SCHULTZ: Trudy's mother told the story of watching him write this book. He was a young man, a boy. And he — what was the story? He wrote a book and then he was — that was kind of rejected. And the publisher said, "Why don't you write a history of the world?" So he went home and did it without — as I understood it without even any reference material, just out of his head.

MS. FALINO: On top of his head. So Gombrich was a friend of your mother's?

MS. SCHULTZ: Of the family.

MS. FALINO: Of the family.

MS. SCHULTZ: Those went back to the Vienna days where my parents first were married and lived in Vienna just before I was born.

MS. FALINO: I see.

MS. SCHULTZ: I always regretted that they moved to Essen, Germany, where I was born and I couldn't write that I was born in Vienna, which I thought would be much more glamorous.

MS. FALINO: So now, was Gombrich teaching at Barnard in those days?

MR. SCHULTZ: No.

MS. SCHULTZ: No.

MS. FALINO: No.

MS. SCHULTZ: But he was over here and gave some lectures.

MS. FALINO: Yes. I'm trying to remember where he taught.

MS. SCHULTZ: At Yale I think.

MS. FALINO: Maybe it was Yale, yes.

MS. SCHULTZ: Because he went there at one point.

MS. FALINO: And what was the part of art history that interested you the most in those days?

MS. SCHULTZ: I liked the old — what was it called — the Book of Hours and —

MS. FALINO: Oh yes, yes.

MR. SCHULTZ: Yes.

MS. FALINO: So you liked medieval manuscript illuminations, things like that.

MS. SCHULTZ: I did.

MS. FALINO: [Très Riches Heures du Duc] de Berry.

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes, yes, exactly.

MS. FALINO: Yes. Okay. So when you graduated, were you looking for a job in teaching or what were you going to do with your degree?

MS. SCHULTZ: I had no idea what I was going to do. And I graduated the year that Marlboro started.

MS. FALINO: Marlboro? Oh, the music festival. I see. So did you think of coming up here?

MS. SCHULTZ: Well, I had a cousin who was here from Argentina who knew Hans Knoll. And she suggested that I go and see him and see if I could get a job there.

MS. FALINO: I see.

MS. SCHULTZ: She thought that would be a good place to be because she was involved in interior design in Argentina. And so —

MS. FALINO: And she had somehow heard about Hans?

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes. She was working for a firm in Argentina that you probably used Knoll furniture. And she had met Hans. And she was very good-looking and Hans was always impressed with good-looking women.

MS. FALINO: Yes, so I've heard.

MS. SCHULTZ: And so —

MR. SCHULTZ: And they were impressed with him. He was a very sexy guy.

MS. FALINO: Yes?

MR. SCHULTZ: You know, glamorous.

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes, he tried to be. And he — so that's what I did. I went — I made an appointment and I went to see Hans Knoll and said, "I would like a job. I'll do anything." And he hired me.

MS. FALINO: That's great, so —

MS. SCHULTZ: Twenty dollars a week.

MS. FALINO: Twenty dollars a week. All right, so —

MS. SCHULTZ: A month, a month. I'm sorry.

MS. FALINO: A month?

MR. SCHULTZ: No, no. It was a week, dear. I was making 50 [dollars]. I got hired at 50 [dollars]. So you — that couldn't be a month.

MS. SCHULTZ: No?

MR. SCHULTZ: Fifty dollars a week.

MS. FALINO: Must have been 20 [dollars] a week, yes.

MS. SCHULTZ: It wasn't much.

MS. FALINO: Still wasn't much. So this is what year are we talking about now?

MS. SCHULTZ: 1950.

MS. FALINO: '50.

MR. SCHULTZ: '50 or '51?

MS. SCHULTZ: '50.

MR. SCHULTZ: '50. Oh that's right. I started in '51.

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes.

MS. FALINO: So Hans had been here for a while already.

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes.

MR. SCHULTZ: Oh yes. He was — what was it — '46 I think he —

MS. FALINO: Right.

MR. SCHULTZ: I think.

MS. FALINO: So did you — so what was the nature of your job for Hans?

MS. SCHULTZ: Well, first I got to work in the office filing and I worked with a person named Quill Monroe.

MS. FALINO: Quill?

MS. SCHULTZ: Mm-hmm. [Affirmative.]

MS. FALINO: Q-U-I-L-L?

MR. SCHULTZ: Mm-hmm. [Affirmative.]

MS. SCHULTZ: Right.

MS. FALINO: And what did Quill do?

MS. SCHULTZ: Quill was sort of a secretary for Hans Knoll. And I got — I can't remember exactly what I did. I know I did some filing and maybe I wrote some letters. And what I really wanted to do was work in the planning unit because that sounded like a fun job.

MS. FALINO: Yes.

MS. SCHULTZ: And it wasn't too long that they actually let me go into the planning unit.

MS. FALINO: Okay.

MS. SCHULTZ: And I got a raise of $5.

MS. FALINO: Oh.

MS. SCHULTZ: And the planning unit consisted of Shu Knoll and Susan Tucker and —

MS. FALINO: Susan Tucker?

MS. SCHULTZ: Mm-hmm. [Affirmative.] And a few other people whose names I can't remember.

MR. SCHULTZ: Susan went by the name of Wasson-Tucker. She was Swedish.

MS. FALINO: So at that point, could you guess at how large the office was? I mean, how many people made up Knoll Furniture?

MS. SCHULTZ: I had no idea how big the factory was because I was not out in Long Island. And I didn't know anything about that.

MS. FALINO: So you were in Long Island.

MS. SCHULTZ: But the office was not even very large. No. The office was actually at the point when I started on Madison Avenue —

MS. FALINO: Yes.

MS. SCHULTZ: — right above, what's the street?

MR. SCHULTZ: 601 Madison.

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes, right above —

MR. SCHULTZ: Bonniers.

MS. SCHULTZ: No, a different store.

MR. SCHULTZ: What?

MS. SCHULTZ: Well, maybe it was Bonniers.

MS. FALINO: Oh, you were near Bonniers? Really?

MR. SCHULTZ: It was above Bonniers. That was —

MS. SCHULTZ: That was before Dick came.

MR. SCHULTZ: — a wonderful store.

MS. FALINO: Yes, I've actually been very interested in Bonniers. We tried to do a lot with them for the crafting modernism show. But we didn't get as far as we wanted to. So that's a — let's talk a little bit about Bonniers for a moment. Did you know the people who ran it?

MS. SCHULTZ: No.

MS. FALINO: No? Did you, Dick?

MR. SCHULTZ: No

MS. FALINO: No.

MS. SCHULTZ: It's just that Knoll had their showroom and office above —

MR. SCHULTZ: I had —

MS. SCHULTZ: Bonniers was on the ground floor.

MR. SCHULTZ: I have the impression that it was a Danish or Swedish firm.

MS. FALINO: Yes.

MR. SCHULTZ: I mean, now that's not much of an impression. I don't know which it was. But they, of course, showed Scandinavian stuff.

MS. FALINO: Right.

MR. SCHULTZ: Beautiful things —

MS. FALINO: Right.

MR. SCHULTZ: — that people in this country had never seen before.

MS. FALINO: Right. Did you buy anything?

MR. SCHULTZ: Oh, it was much too expensive for —

MS. FALINO: Okay.

MR. SCHULTZ: The other store in New York that one remembers in those days was Jens — I mean —

MS. FALINO: Jensen.

MR. SCHULTZ: Georg Jensen. And Georg Jensen had upstairs which is a part of the store that you never really went to, Hans Wegner's furniture. And that was something I didn't really know for many years after that because we have a good friend who was an absolute devotee of that —

MS. FALINO: Of Wegner.

MR. SCHULTZ: — of Wegner, that that was a place in New York where you could go and see and buy Hans Wegner's furniture.

MS. FALINO: And you know who did the showroom?

MR. SCHULTZ: Pardon?

MS. FALINO: You know who did the showroom for them?

MR. SCHULTZ: No.

MS. FALINO: Jens Risom.

MR. SCHULTZ: Did he really?

MS. FALINO: Yes.

MR. SCHULTZ: Oh, that's fascinating.

MS. FALINO: Yes. So but to go back to Hans, you worked first at the Madison Avenue location.

MS. SCHULTZ: Right.

MS. FALINO: And that location had a showroom and an office?

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes.

MS. FALINO: Okay. And then afterwards they sent you out to Long Island?

MS. SCHULTZ: No.

MS. FALINO: Oh.

MS. SCHULTZ: I never went to Long Island.

MS. FALINO: Okay.

MS. SCHULTZ: The Planning Unit was down on 53rd Street, I think. I'm not sure what the address was.

MR. SCHULTZ: I never went there.

MS. FALINO: But it was nearby.

MS. SCHULTZ: It was nearby. And it was not much of a place there.

MR. SCHULTZ: It wasn't a place that was meant to receive customers.

MS. SCHULTZ: Right.

MS. FALINO: Right.

MR. SCHULTZ: It was just a studio.

MS. FALINO: It was a studio. But it was a working space, very important.

MS. SCHULTZ: Absolutely, a working space with fabrics and fabric samples and where Shu was doing her paste-ups.

MS. FALINO: Right.

MS. SCHULTZ: And then when they moved to 575 Madison Avenue, there was a Planning Unit and Shu had an office. And Esther Haraszty had a cubicle. And some of the designers, like Susan Tucker and a few other —

MR. SCHULTZ: Al Herbert.

MS. SCHULTZ: Al Herbert.

MR. SCHULTZ: That was a guy. I remember the name.

MS. FALINO: And where were they?

MS. SCHULTZ: They were in — well, it was called the Planning Unit and it was a row of desks where these people worked with sort of a — I guess, the beginning of the partitions. And Esther Haraszty had a little cubicle. And Shu had — I can't remember. Did she have an office?

MR. SCHULTZ: Shu had a private office next to Hans'.

MS. SCHULTZ: Next to Hans'.

MS. FALINO: Okay.

MS. SCHULTZ: But she spent —

MR. SCHULTZ: Because that's where I was ushered into when I applied for a job.

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes. I didn't spend much time there. But —

MS. FALINO: And was it there that you — like, people would come in bringing samples of fabric or materials and you would be there to see them and discuss them and decide what you were going to take?

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes. Esther Haraszty was the one who was in charge of that.

MS. FALINO: Of the materials?

MS. SCHULTZ: Of the materials. And Shu did the layouts for the jobs that they did and cut out the fabrics and wood samples. And I just loved it. I just adored that job.

MS. FALINO: And what did you do there?

MS. SCHULTZ: The same thing. We all had the plans for the job that was being worked on. And Shu did paste-ups and that's what I did, cut out the fabrics and —

MS. FALINO: So you helped Shu?

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes, Shu and some other people who were doing the same thing.

MS. FALINO: And you found that an easy transition from art history?

MS. SCHULTZ: Oh very, very easy. [They laugh.]

MS. FALINO: Very easy.

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes.

MS. FALINO: Good, good. Now, do you remember people stopping by? One person I was curious about was Prestini's wife who was a weaver. I forget her first name. Was it Gertrude or Joseph? No, because one of the first fabrics that they produced was called Prestini.

MS. SCHULTZ: Prestini.

MR. SCHULTZ: Prestini

MS. SCHULTZ: I remember that fabric.

MS. FALINO: Yes.

MR. SCHULTZ: That was the fabric that was — I worked on the upholstery for the Bertoia furniture.

MS. FALINO: Right.

MR. SCHULTZ: And that — Prestini was the only fabric we used in the beginning.

MS. FALINO: So did you meet her?

MR. SCHULTZ: Never.

MS. FALINO: Never.

MS. SCHULTZ: But we —

MR. SCHULTZ: I knew —

MS. SCHULTZ: — took a trip with Prestini in Italy.

MS. FALINO: You did?

MR. SCHULTZ: Well, with Prestini but that — I don't think they were married anymore. In fact, she I think married a guy named George Anselevicius.

MS. SCHULTZ: What?

MS. FALINO: Can you —

MS. SCHULTZ: Evelyn Hill?

MR. SCHULTZ: Evelyn Hill did?

MS. SCHULTZ: Married him.

MR. SCHULTZ: Oh I'm sorry. I'm wrong. [They laugh.] You're right. I think you're absolutely right.

MS. FALINO: I think you're — there is a — they did divorce I think fairly early. But I was just amazed because nobody ever really talks about her and yet it was her fabric that was the first one chosen. And I've just always been curious to know more.

MR. SCHULTZ: The thing that was interesting to me when — because I knew about James Prestini but I didn't know about anybody else named Prestini.

MS. FALINO: Yes.

MS. SCHULTZ: Which is essentially this woman, this weaver.

MS. FALINO: This woman, right.

MR. SCHULTZ: So I always wondered what connection does this have with Prestini, the man. I never asked anybody. The people I worked with wouldn't have even known that because I was working in the factory.

MS. FALINO: I see. So were there any other people who stopped by while — when you were working there that you got to know, any other designers or —

MS. SCHULTZ: I didn't get to know people. But I got to answer Esther's telephone. And there was Herbert Matter.

MS. FALINO: Oh really?

MS. SCHULTZ: "Is Esther Haraszty there?" And somebody else with a really deep voice—

MR. SCHULTZ: You were telling me one time about how Herbert would, "Is Esther there?"

MS. FALINO: Now, Herbert, was he Swiss or was he German?

MR. SCHULTZ: Herbert?

MS. FALINO: Yes.

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes. What was he?

MR. SCHULTZ: I guess he was Swiss.

MS. FALINO: Yes. And so he was the great graphic artist.

MR. SCHULTZ: He had a wife named Mercedes who had an art school in New York.

MS. FALINO: Really?

MS. SCHULTZ: I didn't know that.

MR. SCHULTZ: Actually it's sort of a little bit, I guess, on the order of Hans Hofmann. But Mercedes wasn't an important artist that I knew. I mean, I really wasn't that — I was still a student in those days and I didn't know how much of an artist Mercedes Matter was. But they were for a while working with Eames, of course, out —

MS. FALINO: Yes.

MR. SCHULTZ: — out in the West Coast. And so —

MS. FALINO: Do you know — so did Matter, did Herbert Matter ever do anything for Knoll?

MS. SCHULTZ: Oh yes.

MS. FALINO: He did?

MS. SCHULTZ: He did all the graphics.

MR. SCHULTZ: Well, he was the whole Knoll graphics department.

MS. FALINO: He did the — so he became the head of graphics for them?

MR. SCHULTZ: He did everything.

MS. FALINO: Okay.

MR. SCHULTZ: Until, you know —

MS. SCHULTZ: He did the photography.

MR. SCHULTZ: — you remember the Knoll K with the big —

MS. FALINO: Yes.

MR. SCHULTZ: — square.

MS. FALINO: Right. That's his design?

MR. SCHULTZ: That's Herbert's design.

MS. FALINO: Okay.

MR. SCHULTZ: And a strange thing happened with — well, we can talk about that later.

MS. FALINO: All right. So Herbert. Anybody else that you recall in those early years?

MS. SCHULTZ: Who else telephoned? There was another interesting people who wanted to talk to Esther. Do you remember? Probably told you.

MR. SCHULTZ: Well, Esther was a great friend of Breuer —

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes.

MR. SCHULTZ: — because they were both Hungarian.

MS. FALINO: Well, she got the job because of Breuer I think.

MR. SCHULTZ: Maybe.

MS. FALINO: She did, as I recall.

MS. SCHULTZ: And she used to spend weekends out there.

MR. SCHULTZ: But I don't think — during my time there, I don't ever remember Breuer being involved with Knoll.

MS. FALINO: But she used to spend weekends at Knoll's house — at Breuer's house?

MS. SCHULTZ: I think so.

MR. SCHULTZ: That I don't know anything about.

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes, I think she did. I wouldn't swear to it, but —

MS. FALINO: And Esther did quite a lot of her own interior designs.

MS. SCHULTZ: Well, she designed fabrics.

MS. FALINO: Right.

MS. SCHULTZ: And I don't know how many interiors she did except she did the interior of the apartment that we lived in in Paris after we got married.

MS. FALINO: Oh, okay.

MR. SCHULTZ: Yes, Esther was a very interesting person. One crazy thing happened actually after Hans died and Esther was immediately out of a job because Hans — I mean, Shu couldn't put up with Esther.

MS. FALINO: Why is that?

MS. SCHULTZ: Oh, she just rubbed her the wrong way.

MR. SCHULTZ: Oddly enough — I mean, I don't know the inside story about that.

MS. SCHULTZ: I don't either.

MR. SCHULTZ: But Esther then became a good friend of Bobby Cadwallader.

MS. FALINO: Cadwallader?

MR. SCHULTZ: Cadwallader then became president of Knoll after Shu quit and went down to Florida. But Esther — I knew about this only because of Bobby and — but Esther became interested in doing needlework.

MS. FALINO: Yes.

MR. SCHULTZ: And I remember seeing some of her needlework and being completely shocked that this was like an old-fashioned, kind of Old World aesthetic that she had.

MS. FALINO: This was after she moved to California.

MR. SCHULTZ: Maybe.

MS. FALINO: I think it was later that she indulged in that.

MR. SCHULTZ: Yes, when she was at Knoll, she did this extremely good work with color and forms which was very Miesian or, you know, modern. But this —

MS. SCHULTZ: And she discovered Evelyn Hill, didn't she?

MR. SCHULTZ: Yes, she did.

MS. FALINO: She discovered Evelyn Hill?

MS. SCHULTZ: Mm-hmm. [Affirmative.]

MS. FALINO: Tell me about Evelyn.

MS. SCHULTZ: I don't know much about Evelyn except that she made some nice fabrics, specials that were expensive.

MS. FALINO: That were used by Knoll?

MS. SCHULTZ: Mm-hmm. [Affirmative.]

MS. FALINO: Okay.

MR. SCHULTZ: Oh yes, she did a lot of Knoll fabrics, Evelyn Hill.

MS. FALINO: Okay. So now, does that bring us up to the time when you meet Richard?

MS. SCHULTZ: That's just about at the time.

MS. FALINO: All right. Then right now, I have to actually change the tape. So we're going to — we'll stop and then we'll pick up in a moment.

[End of disc]

MS. FALINO: All right. This is Jeannine Falino. I'm still in Brattleboro, Vermont. And this is the second part of my discussion with Trudy Schultz. And we were just getting to the point where Trudy was going to say how and where and when she made the encounter that changed her life — [they laugh] — when she met Richard. So tell us that story.

MS. SCHULTZ: Well, when Dick got his job with Knoll, he first worked in the Planning Unit. And he was not very steady at sitting at a desk and doing his work. He got up a lot and walked around. And occasionally he sent me some hearts cut out.

MR. SCHULTZ: That was after I moved to Pennsylvania I sent you the hearts.

MS. SCHULTZ: No, no, no, no, no.

MR. SCHULTZ: Really? Oh.

MS. FALINO: I guess you let your heart out early.

MS. SCHULTZ: And —

MR. SCHULTZ: Well, you tell the story.

MS. SCHULTZ: Well, I got these lovely cutout hearts in different colors and textures and in a box and thought that was interesting. I had never got anything like that before. And then I guess Dick asked me out for dinner and the circus. And he took a taxi, which impressed me because I wasn't brought up with taxis. [They laugh.]

MR. SCHULTZ: By that time, after the dinner we were so late to get to the circus we couldn't have possibly walked there. We had to take a —

MS. FALINO: Had to cab it over, huh?

MS. SCHULTZ: So it was all very impressive. And I also got to go with Dick to the Sherry-Netherland bar.

MS. FALINO: Well!

MS. SCHULTZ: Which I thought was pretty nifty and especially when it was wintertime and there was snow outside. And he made a snowball which he took into the —

MS. FALINO: Into the bar?

MS. SCHULTZ: The bar and —

MR. SCHULTZ: Why did I do that? [They laugh.]

MS. SCHULTZ: So he was very different from people — other people I knew and I was impressed with him. He was fun and interesting. And he also lived at that time in the east 80s and I was living on East 96th, 98th Street actually, north, and would take the Madison Avenue bus down and on 86th Street every once in a while in the morning Dick would get on the same bus and we met on the bus.

MR. SCHULTZ: See, I don't remember that at all.

MS. FALINO: Well, obviously she was paying attention. [They laugh.]

MS. FALINO: And so — and you were also looking at his drawings? Were you seeing what he was doing?

MS. SCHULTZ: Oh yes. And I got — well, Dick invited me to come down to Pennsylvania. And we spent many a night at the factory because he had charrettes —

MR. SCHULTZ: It was not a very glamorous romance.

MS. FALINO: But that's actually — I think that's kind of exciting. I understand that. [They laugh.]

MS. SCHULTZ: I thought it was really exciting.

MS. FALINO: Yes, so you were down at the factory checking things out?

MS. SCHULTZ: He was working.

MR. SCHULTZ: No, working on Bertoia.

MS. SCHULTZ: Putting the Bertoia chairs into production.

MR. SCHULTZ: Working on Bertoia furniture.

MS. FALINO: Okay.

MR. SCHULTZ: It was a huge charrette. It was, like, two years where we didn't do anything but work day and night on those chairs.

MS. FALINO: To refine them really?

MR. SCHULTZ: To make — to figure out how to make them.

MS. FALINO: How to make them.

MR. SCHULTZ: First of all, to design them, then to figure out how to make them. There was just three or four of us who were doing that. Then, you know, we had to — it was not exactly — it was not as if you were — you designed a chair to be made in a wooden chair factory where you just give the drawings to — there weren't any drawings.

MS. FALINO: Right. You were making them from scratch.

MR. SCHULTZ: Yes.

MS. FALINO: Right.

MR. SCHULTZ: So anyway, that's why it took so long.

MS. FALINO: So you would go back and forth periodically with him.

MS. SCHULTZ: On the weekend.

MS. FALINO: On the weekends.

MR. SCHULTZ: In those days you could take a train from Allentown —

MS. SCHULTZ: To New York.

MR. SCHULTZ: I'm sorry, from New York to Allentown or back.

MS. FALINO: Right and from Allentown to the factory was a short drive or —

MR. SCHULTZ: It was a fairly short drive.

MS. SCHULTZ: Dick used to pick me up and —

MR. SCHULTZ: But it had to be. You couldn't get there by any public transportation.

MS. FALINO: And then — so then — and then how long was your courtship before you got married?

MR. SCHULTZ: Well, we got married in '53, in December. And when she finally said yes —

MS. SCHULTZ: I finally caved in. Took a long time.

MR. SCHULTZ: — was when I —

MS. FALINO: It took a long time?

MS. SCHULTZ: Dick was trying to give me this beautiful ring.

MS. FALINO: And you wouldn't take it?

MS. SCHULTZ: No. I wasn't sure. I had to be absolutely sure before I would marry him. And I thought maybe I should marry somebody who could speak German because my family and my grandmother only spoke German.

MS. FALINO: Yes, those are considerations.

MR. SCHULTZ: Yes, it's true. I was not a linguist.

MS. SCHULTZ: He was persistent.

MS. FALINO: I gather.

MS. SCHULTZ: [Laughs.]

MS. FALINO: And then after you married, that's when you settled out in Barto?

MR. SCHULTZ: No.

MS. FALINO: No?

MR. SCHULTZ: That's when we went to Paris.

MS. FALINO: Oh, first you went to Paris.

MR. SCHULTZ: The next day.

MS. FALINO: Right after the wedding?

MR. SCHULTZ: Yes.

MS. SCHULTZ: Right, we spent —

MS. FALINO: So you had your honeymoon there?

MR. SCHULTZ: We had what?

MS. SCHULTZ: We had the honeymoon —

MR. SCHULTZ: Yes, we had our honeymoon in Europe.

MS. SCHULTZ: — on the ship. Well, on the —

MR. SCHULTZ: It was a Knoll honeymoon.

MS. FALINO: But you were working for Knoll at the same time?

MR. SCHULTZ: Yes.

MS. SCHULTZ: Well, he was —

MR. SCHULTZ: Well, for a long time, we —

MS. SCHULTZ: Hans sent —

MR. SCHULTZ: Huh?

MS. SCHULTZ: Hans sent you to Europe. We had decided to get married and that we should go to Europe. And we had no idea what we were going to do there. You know, we were not that young but stupid. [They laugh.]

MR. SCHULTZ: So I went to Hans and I said, "Hans, we're going to get married. We're going to quit and get married." And I'll never forget. He said, "You can't do that."

MS. FALINO: Oh, you were going to quit?

MR. SCHULTZ: We were going to quit.

MS. SCHULTZ: Both of us.

MS. FALINO: And do what?

MR. SCHULTZ: Well, that's the —

MS. SCHULTZ: We didn't —

MR. SCHULTZ: That's the stupid thing.

MS. FALINO: You didn't know.

MS. SCHULTZ: We didn't know.

MR. SCHULTZ: I mean, I wouldn't have known — I don't even know why I — I don't remember having the slightest idea what I would do if I wasn't working for Knoll because there wasn't any place else to work —

MS. FALINO: Yes.

MR. SCHULTZ: — if you wanted to do that kind of work. So Hans said — it took him a few days and he came back with this idea that we could go there, live in this apartment and make Bertoia chairs.

MS. SCHULTZ: Put Bertoia chairs into production.

MS. FALINO: Over there?

MR. SCHULTZ: Yes.

MS. SCHULTZ: Over there, first in France and then in Switzerland and then in Belgium.

MR. SCHULTZ: Sweden, Belgium.

MS. SCHULTZ: Sweden.

MS. FALINO: Oh.

MR. SCHULTZ: Nowadays, I mean, it was fairly — I don't know how long it took. But when they decided to consolidate all the European production in various places, not have it this — in those days, they had — the idea was each country was a separate company, Knoll international France, Knoll international Belgium, et cetera.

MS. SCHULTZ: Germany.

MS. FALINO: Right.

MR. SCHULTZ: And in Sweden, it was with Nordiska.

MS. FALINO: So you were needed to get that going in Europe.

MS. SCHULTZ: Right.

MR. SCHULTZ: The assignment was for me to do this. And it was quite an exciting job because, first of all, we loved being in Europe. We wanted to be in Europe. And then learning — figuring this whole thing out in all these different languages and factories and that was a really interesting period because Europe was not so Americanized as it is now.

MS. FALINO: Right.

MR. SCHULTZ: It was very Old World.

MS. FALINO: Was Trudy helpful in terms of languages issues or —

MS. SCHULTZ: Not really.

MR. SCHULTZ: Well, you knew French. You knew enough French. I didn't know any French. I learned a little French. I learned factory French, which was pretty bad. I mean, I didn't know what I was learning. I learned to speak with these workers —

MS. FALINO: Yes.

MS. SCHULTZ: — but I didn't know how bad the grammar and the vocabulary was.

MS. FALINO: Right. But you could get yourself — make yourself understood.

MR. SCHULTZ: Yes, I did. I did.

MS. FALINO: And how long were you there altogether?

MS. SCHULTZ: Not all the time in Paris. We moved around. But about a year-and-a-half.

MR. SCHULTZ: Well — and we came back.

MS. SCHULTZ: We came back.

MR. SCHULTZ: We spent all of '54 there.

MS. FALINO: You were — 1954, you were in Paris.

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes.

MR. SCHULTZ: Yes, in Europe and then Hans died in '54?

MS. SCHULTZ: Shortly after we came back.

MR. SCHULTZ: Shortly after we came back, Hans died. That was a huge — I'll never forget that. I always compared it with the assassination of Kennedy as being as shocking, an event that seemed to impinge on our lives.

MS. FALINO: Of course.

MR. SCHULTZ: But with Hans, you thought, you know, the company is going to fold up. What are we going to do without Hans, because he had his finger in everything.

MS. FALINO: But in any case, you were in Paris for about a year, year-and-a-half.

MR. SCHULTZ: A year-and-a-half.

MS. FALINO: And then did you go live in Germany?

MR. SCHULTZ: We came back in the summer of '54.

MS. SCHULTZ: '55.

MR. SCHULTZ: Because we came up here because Trudy's parents were up here. We came up here and just had a cabin on a lake up here, not far away.

MS. SCHULTZ: And then in '55 when we came back.

MR. SCHULTZ: Was it?

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes, because we went there in December of '53 and we were there in '54 and we came back in '55.

MS. FALINO: So where else did you live in Europe when you were working on Knoll projects?

MR. SCHULTZ: We didn't really live anywhere else. We —

MS. SCHULTZ: But we spent time in —

MR. SCHULTZ: — were in hotels.

MS. FALINO: Okay.

MS. SCHULTZ: — Belgium. We spent time in Sweden. We spent time in Switzerland.

MR. SCHULTZ: Mostly it was in Paris we were working.

MS. FALINO: Okay. All right.  And your involvement with Knoll, when did that — were you still officially employed by Knoll while you were there?

MS. SCHULTZ: No.

MS. FALINO: No.

MS. SCHULTZ: I was just a helper.

MR. SCHULTZ: We had an assignment. Hans was opening up a showroom in Brussels.

MS. SCHULTZ: Oh yes.

MR. SCHULTZ: And it was — he asked us to go up there. I was working — starting to work there on the chairs, on Bertoia chairs. And he asked us to go up there and help with the showroom opening.

MS. SCHULTZ: Which he was going to attend.

MR. SCHULTZ: Which he was going to attend.

MS. FALINO: Oh.

MR. SCHULTZ: And this was a huge debacle because there was a misunderstanding about the drawings.

MS. FALINO: Oh no.

MS. SCHULTZ: Which we didn't read correctly.

MR. SCHULTZ: We didn't — Hans — you know, he had an architect, a local architect, this Danish — I mean —

MS. SCHULTZ: Belgian.

MS. FALINO: Belgian?

MR. SCHULTZ: — Belgian architect who — and everybody missed the fact that one whole wall of this giant showroom space was to be mirrored. And on the drawing, there was this little word mirror and a wiggly arrow that went this way and one arrow that — but there was nothing else. Nobody caught this until Hans shows up the day —

MS. SCHULTZ: Before.

MR. SCHULTZ: — of the opening.

MS. FALINO: Oh dear.

MR. SCHULTZ: And he went, "My God." You know, he said, "Where's the mirror?" What mirror? So they hired a guy, a mirror man to come in and put a mirror on the wall. Well, it was in big pieces.

MS. FALINO: Big sections.

MR. SCHULTZ: Yes. And this was a newly plastered wall.

MS. FALINO: Uh-oh.

MR. SCHULTZ: What happened then is that as the evening wore on, the water which was condensing on the backside of this mirror was seeping out of the little cracks and running down the face of the — [they laugh] — but by that time everybody had so many drinks and stuff. But at least the mirror was there. I don't know what they — in the end —

MS. SCHULTZ: We never went back.

MR. SCHULTZ: — when they had to take it down and let the wall dry, I don't know what they did.

MS. FALINO: Oh, that's too funny.

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes.

MS. FALINO: So okay, so you came back to the U.S. You're still working for Knoll.

MR. SCHULTZ: Well, I wasn't —

MS. SCHULTZ: We didn't know what would happen.

MR. SCHULTZ: Hans called up or he sent a telegram. I think I still have the telegram that he sent. In those days, people communicated by telegram still because, I mean, obviously it wasn't a cellphone and he didn't know. We didn't have a phone. We were in a cabin. Anyway, I decided to go back to work at Knoll. And as a designer, I mean, I hadn't really been working as a designer on my own stuff before. I was there — I was only working on Bertoia.

MS. FALINO: Bertoia.

MR. SCHULTZ: And other, you know —

MS. FALINO: Yes.

MR. SCHULTZ: — other furniture that needed help.

MS. FALINO: Right. But before we go deeply into the design, because that'll be part of your story —

MR. SCHULTZ: Yes.

MS. FALINO: — where did you move to when you came back? Did you come to New York?

MR. SCHULTZ: No.

MS. SCHULTZ: No.

MR. SCHULTZ: We went to Pennsylvania.

MS. FALINO: So that's when you bought the house in Pennsylvania?

MR. SCHULTZ: We bought it eventually —

MS. SCHULTZ: We wanted to rent something because we didn't know how long we would stay there.

MS. FALINO: Right.

MS. SCHULTZ: And when the real estate person — rent was expensive and we didn't see anything that looked interesting. The real estate person said, "I have this house that just went on the market and they just lowered the price and it's way out in the sticks and you probably won't be interested." And we said it sounded very interesting. And so he took us there. And it was our dream house right there. How many acres did we have?

MR. SCHULTZ: We had lot of luck in our lives.

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes. And that was a major luck. We bought it for $13,500.

MS. FALINO: Great.

MS. SCHULTZ: And now it's for sale for God knows what, had 49 acres?

MS. FALINO: Forty-nine acres?

MR. SCHULTZ: Yes, and two houses.

MS. FALINO: Heavenly.

MR. SCHULTZ: One house, which I then eventually used as a — as a studio.

MS. FALINO: Very nice.

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes.

MS. FALINO: Very nice.

MS. SCHULTZ: And all the children were born there and grew up there. And we always thought, "Well, when we have children and they need to go to school, we'll go somewhere else, like Princeton or where there's more interesting going on."

MR. SCHULTZ: It's a very primitive neighborhood.

MS. SCHULTZ: Yes, Pennsylvania Dutch.

MS. FALINO: Country.

MS. SCHULTZ: But as time went on, it was a much better place to be than in the cities.

MS. FALINO: Yes, I'm sure.

MS. SCHULTZ: And so we stayed for 50 years.

MR. SCHULTZ: There was a point when there were police in the hallways of schools.

MS. FALINO: Yes.

MR. SCHULTZ: Something which broke down, I mean —

MS. FALINO: Yes.

MR. SCHULTZ: — I don't remember why that happened. Was it drugs or it was a complete lack of discipline, which never happened in the schools in this little community.

MS. FALINO: That's great.

MR. SCHULTZ: Which were dominated by very religious people, Mennonites, Lutherans and law-abiding people.

MS. FALINO: Right. Well, the country is a better place to be.

MR. SCHULTZ: It was fabulous. And so we — I remember being — and they even taught Latin in this school. This was a public school.

MS. FALINO: That's good.

MS. SCHULTZ: And we thought —

MR. SCHULTZ: So our children got a good education. They hated it in a way. They didn't have — the social life was —

MS. SCHULTZ: Zilch. That's what Peter said.

MR. SCHULTZ: For some reason they didn't have any social life.

MS. SCHULTZ: No. But that may have been good too.

MS. FALINO: So now, looking back on this conversation that we've had about, you know, your upbringing, your arrival here, your time at Knoll, are there other things that we haven't discussed that you would like to bring up?

MS. SCHULTZ: I can't think of anything offhand.

MS. FALINO: Okay. Well, you give that some thought this evening and maybe tomorrow morning if there's something else you want to share —

MR. SCHULTZ: The one thing about the social life there in Pennsylvania was that it mostly circled around people — young people who were working for Knoll.

MS. FALINO: So it was like a Knoll town.

MR. SCHULTZ: There wasn't anybody at Knoll. I mean, Harry was hired. There was no design development group. There was nothing in Pennsylvania except a factory.

MS. FALINO: Right.

MR. SCHULTZ: And there was the factory manager and when Shu had an idea for a design or something, you know, she got help from people there who had no training in design or anything. So but after we came back, in that early period, they started hiring young people whose training was as designers. So there was what they called the design development group. And so these people were all people that were not local people who had had an interest similar to ours. So we had — that was our social group.

MS. FALINO: That was your circle.

MR. SCHULTZ: And we —

MS. SCHULTZ: And they had children who were our children's ages.

MR. SCHULTZ: Yes.

MS. FALINO: Which also sounds like it influenced your children because Peter became an architect and —

MR. SCHULTZ: Well, it influenced — what —

MS. FALINO: It informs their sensibility.

MR. SCHULTZ: What influenced him to become an architect maybe was just my influence.

MS. FALINO: Right. But I mean, it sounds like you were a group of like-minded people.

MR. SCHULTZ: Well, we were. But I don't think Peter — Peter was always a little bit of a loner as — we were just talking about this the other day because we are going to sell this house. And you know, what was life like there. He had a — we bought him a beat up old Fiat convertible. You know, and when I was a child, to have a car in high school was a big deal.

MS. FALINO: Yes, sure.

MR. SCHULTZ: You could go out, take girls out and weekends and all this.

MS. FALINO: Yes.

MR. SCHULTZ: None. There was none of that with Peter. He never had a date I don't think. He had no girlfriends.

MS. SCHULTZ: He just —

MR. SCHULTZ: He didn't even have any boyfriends. He had a few of the people, the sons of the people that I was working with, he had some — this was mostly family gatherings on weekends and stuff like that. This was — Peter never went out on a date. This is really interesting.

MS. SCHULTZ: None of the others did either actually.

MR. SCHULTZ: None of the others did either. Monica got to the point where she was so upset with her teachers because they didn't speak proper English.

MS. FALINO: Oh.

MR. SCHULTZ: That she got us to send her to a private school in Haverford. It was really — it was — I guess our children were much more influenced by us than they were about — then their environment.

MS. FALINO: Well, and maybe that more isolated environment gave them time to really think about their own interests and they were more self-sufficient.

MR. SCHULTZ: I guess they were.

MS. FALINO: You know, which is a very good thing.

MR. SCHULTZ: But David held up his hand and — when they asked him, "Anybody want to go to a foreign country." He was one of five people in that whole high school who volunteered. And he didn't know where he was going to be sent.

MS. FALINO: Yes, but you have to be a very —

MR. SCHULTZ: He was just wanting — "I'm going to get out of here."

MS. FALINO: But you have to be a very — you know, you have to have a lot of self-confidence and be self-sufficient in order to do that too.

MR. SCHULTZ: I think so.

MS. FALINO: Yes. All right. Well, I think we're going to conclude this conversation.

MS. SCHULTZ: Good.

MS. FALINO: And if you want to share anything more tomorrow morning, we can — we can pick it up then. All right?

MS. SCHULTZ: Great.

MS. FALINO: Thank you very much.

MS. SCHULTZ: Thank you.

[End of interview]

For information on how to access this interview contact Reference Services.

Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Trudy Busch Schultz, 2012 September 25. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.