Archives of American Art

Oral history interview with Margaret Babcock

Collection ID:
Babcock, Margaret Meras, 1907-
Brown, Robert F.
1998 July 21
Physical Description:
2 Items
sound cassettes (total 120 min.)
29 Pages

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
An interview with Margaret Babcock conducted 1998 July 21, by Robert F. Brown, for the Archives of American Art, in Camden, Maine. The interview covers her family background up through the 1920s.
Scope and Contents
Babcock discusses being raised in Exeter, New Hampshire, where her father owned Daniel Chester French's former house; being a precocious student; attending Phillips Exeter Academy's June Ball with Francis Grover Cleveland, a grandson of the president (she recites a poem that commemorated her romantic thrill over the experience); attending Smith College where she concentrated in zoology but aspired to be a writer and teacher; devoting much time to modern dance; meeting, her freshman year, an Amherst College senior & pupil of Robert Frost, Ernest Robson (formerly Rosenblum) from Chicago; the snobbish economic and anti-semitic caste system at Smith; her parents divorce while at Smith, causing sudden financial problems, and becoming a scholarship student; Robson coming to Smith to see her during her junior year, and following her at the end of that year to Camden, Maine, where her grandmother Frye and her mother lived, and a secret camping trip to northern Maine and Provincetown; marrying Robson April 7, 1926 and graduating from Smith; Peter Blume, the poet Sidney Peak Crawford, and his dog "Little Peak" joined her and Robson on Lime Island, off Camden, summer of 1926; Blume staying behind and showing his "Maine Coast", which he had painted on the island, to her shocked mother and grandmother; supporting Blume financially.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Margaret Mera Babcock (1907- ) was a curator from Camden, Maine.

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.
Existence and Location of Copies
Transcript is available on the Archives of American Art's website.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
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.

Digital Content

More Information
Originally recorded on 2 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 6 digital wav files. Duration is 1 hr., 56 min.
Babcock's speech is impaired by a stroke and deafness. Sound quality is poor.

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Curators -- Maine -- Camden Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women museum curators Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001