Interview of Alice Winchester, conducted by Robert F. Brown for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution at Winchester's home in Danbury, CT, September 17, 1993-June 29, 1995.
Winchester speaks of her childhood in the family of a Congregational minister in New England; attending Smith College (BA 1929) as had her mother and sisters; her junior year abroad in France; her clerical employment in New York City; her position as office secretary and then associate editor of "The Magazine Antiques"; working with Homer Eaton Keyes, its founding editor; learning about antiques; meeting many dealers, curators, and collectors (1930-38); her early years as editor of "The Magazine Antiques"; expanding the scope of the magazine, particularly to include articles on folk art and regular features on outstanding public and private collections; her highly specialized, though small, staff, including Helen Comstock; her close associations with important New York dealers, such as Israel Sack and his sons, Harold and Albert, and members of the Ginsburg and Levy firm; her role in establishing the annual Antiques Forum at Colonial Williamsburg; the importance of steady travel to view collections and meet collectors and curators; her several books on antiques; and the wealthy collectors she met, including Electra Havemeyer Webb, of Shelburne, VT. Winchester also recalls Henry Francis Du Pont, Mr. and Mr. and Mrs. Henry Flynt, Marshall and "Petey" Davidson, and Joseph Downs.
Biographical / Historical:
Alice Winchester (1907-1996) was an art editor and author of Danbury, Connecticut. Winchester was editor of the magazine, "Antiques," 1938-1951 and its successor "Antiques," 1951-1972; and curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, 1972-1974.
Originally recorded on 3 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 5 digital wav files. Duration is 3 hr., 46 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.
Biographical material; correspondence with friends and colleagues, including Charles W. Green, Marsden Hartley, Homer Eaton Keyes, John Kieran, Ruth Webb Lee, James Roosevelt, Francis Henry Taylor, Bradford Washburn and others; subject files, including one on Castano Galleries in Boston; lecture notes; writings, including typescripts and drafts for the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Fogg Museum, and the Christian Science Monitor; a typescript of an article by James Duncan Phillips; printed materials; photographs of Dooley and of the U.S. Army's recovery of art objects form the Berlin Museum in 1945; and ephemera.
Biographical / Historical:
Art critic, writer and educator; Cambridge, Mass. Was the associate editor and art critic for the Boston Transcript; wrote extensively for other publications. Headed the Division of Education at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and founded the Pewter Collectors Society.
Donated 1975 and 1981 by Mrs. William G. Dooley.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.