Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Oral history interview with Nancy Douglas Bowditch

Online Media

Catalog Data

Bowditch, Nancy Douglas  Search this
Brown, Robert F.  Search this
Brush, George de Forest, 1855-1941  Search this
Faulkner, Barry, 1881-1966  Search this
Pearmain, William Robert, 1888-1912  Search this
Saint-Gaudens, Augustus, 1848-1907  Search this
Thayer, Abbott Handerson, 1849-1921  Search this
Twain, Mark, 1835-1910  Search this
Volk, Douglas , 1856-1935  Search this
28 Pages (Transcript)
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sound recordings
1974 January 30
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Nancy Douglas Bowditch conducted 1974 January 30, by Robert F. Brown, for the Archives of American Art.
Bowditch speaks of her memories of early childhood; her father, George de Forest Brush, and his work; her relationship with her father; and her education and upbringing. She reminisces about Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Abbott H. Thayer, who were family friends, and their relationships with Brush; her family's home life, their travels in Europe; her family's relationship with Samuel Clemens and family; and her first husband, William Robert Pearmain, his family background, their marriage, his involvement with organized labor and social reform, and his early death from leukemia. She also recalls Douglas Volk and Barry Faulkner.
Biographical / Historical:
Nancy Bowditch (1890-1979) was a painter, a playwright, and costume and set designer. Bowditch was born in Paris, the second eldest child of painter George de Forest Brush. Brush made the artist-colony of Dublin, N.H. his American home, where Mark Twain and daughter Jean Clemens were neighbors. They spent considerable time in Paris and Italy. Nancy married William Robert Pearmain, a childhood neighbor and later, a pupil of her father, in 1909. Pearmain died of leukemia in 1912. Subsequently, she married Dr. Harold Bowditch whose father was instrumental in the development of Harvard University Medical School.
Originally recorded on 2 sound tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 1 digital wav file. Duration is 1 hr., 38 min.
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 others.
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Art, American  Search this
Painters -- New Hampshire -- Peterborough -- Interviews  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Sound recordings
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art