An interview of Eleanor M. Garvey conducted 1997 February 28-June 13, by Robert F. Brown, for the Archives of American Art in Garvey's office, Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Garvey discusses her childhood in Worcester, Massachusetts; majoring in art history at Wellesley College under Serape der Nersessian, Alexander Campbell, Agnes Abbott, and Kenneth Conant; study of education at Clark University, with drawing classes at the art school of the Worcester Art Museum; and the extremely useful experience working at the Museum under Charles Sawyer and Louisa Dresser.
Working as an art librarian and museum curator at Wellesley College (1947-1952), and art history professors John McAndrew, Sidney Freedberg, James O'Gorman; moving on to the Newark Museum (1952-1953) and its collections and administration under Katherine Coffey.
Joining the Dept. of Printing and Graphic Arts of the Houghton Library in 1953 beginning as secretary to curator Philip Hofer; Hofer's work on illustrated books; the development of the Houghton Library from the so-called "Treasure Room" of the main Harvard Library under the direction of George Parker Winship; Garvey's close relationship with William Bentinck-Smith, a Houghton patron and an authority on type design; the status of women professionals at Harvard.
Continued discussion of Houghton patron William Bentinck-Smith; publications and exhibitions while at Houghton, including: "The Artist and the Book, 1860-1960" (1961), "The Turn of a Century, 1885-1970" (1970), "Henry Hobson Richardson and His Office: Selected Drawings" (1974), and "Artists of the Book in Boston, 1890-1910" (1988), as well as her current project producing a catalog of 18th century Venetian illustrated books and her involvement in seminars on artists' books.
Biographical / Historical:
Eleanor M. Garvey (1918- ) is a curator and writer from Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Originally recorded on 3 sound cassettes as X digital wav files. Duration is 3 hrs., 30 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 administrators.