Elizabeth Sgalitzer Ettinghausen
GB: So today’s Tuesday, September the twenty-first, two thousand and – twenty-second.
EE: Yes, twenty-second.
GB: 2009. And we sit here together in the Fellows Building with former Fellows here in our Guest House. And we have a wonderful special guest here, Elizabeth Ettinghausen, former Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks in 1945, ’44–’45. So we were just about to talk about your, at that time, not-yet-husband, Richard Ettinghausen.
EE: Yes, for the opening of Dumbarton Oaks, Mrs. Bliss had a special invitation, the note, whatever it was. And my husband, I mean Richard Ettinghausen, and others were invited, among them Weitzmann, Kurt Weitzmann. And the question was: who would sit to the right of Mrs. Bliss? And I don’t remember the details anymore. I think Kurt Weitzmann was a little older. At first she wanted Richard Ettinghausen to be to her right and then she realized or was told that Kurt Weitzmann was older and therefore he should be to the right, her right. And Richard Ettinghausen was to her left.
GB: Ah. Do you know –
EE: Of course, I wasn’t here.
GB: You weren’t here. And you knew about, of course, the event through your husband.
GB: Do you know where this took place?
GB: I guess it was the Music Room, but I’m not sure about that.
EE: I really don’t know.
GB: Yeah. That’s nice – choosing who’s first according to seniority, that’s interesting. Now, Elizabeth, we would be very interested in learning more about your first visit, when you arrived here to come as a Junior Fellow –
GB: – and how this came about.
EE: I was told that I should go to Harvard and ask them about it, because somebody had suggested that I go to – that maybe that would be a possibility, to become a Fellow here. So I went to Harvard University, and I was given the names, whom I should interview with. It was, first of all, Professor–Director Paul Sachs, and then Koehler, and also one other person, one other professor. And I’m not sure whether I met Blake there, too, Richard Blake. I did meet him here and I was very much – everyone was very much impressed by him. He was very, very nice, really, and very kind to all the Fellows. What was so exciting about him: he was married to a Georgian princess. But we were told there were a lot of princesses in Georgia.
GB: So you went to Paul Sachs and to Koehler up in Cambridge.
EE: Yes, that’s right, and it was a very nice interview. He was very friendly and I don’t remember anymore what he asked or anything like that. I just told him what I had done and where I had been before, which was in Istanbul.
GB: So, what had you done by then? What was your kind of scholarly –
EE: Well, I had done my MA, which I did on Byzantine tiles from a certain site, which had been excavated by the department where I worked, but it was before me so I never saw the excavation. But I was asked to work on the tiles from – Byzantine tiles from that site. Now, hardly any Byzantine tiles were known or had been excavated before that. At that time, there was a great deal of freedom in the Museum, the Topkapi Sarayi Museum in Istanbul, and I could go, which would be impossible now, of course, to go through big stacks of material – whatever it was; I mean, of course the tiles, but also look, I could find other tiles or anything like that and nobody supervised me. I felt actually a bit – I was a little bit scared, really, but of course I didn’t do anything wrong; but how could I prove it? Well, it was very nice. I even was then told by the chemist connected with the Museum how to clean them, which I did, not too much, I hope. And then I worked on that and the drawing, the pictures and everything, and then for my PhD thesis I did something quite different. And then later on, many years later, I was asked by André Grabar to write an article on that for the Cahiers archéologiques, which I did. I was – I wrote that when I was, when my elder son was four months old. And I wrote it all, worked on it and wrote it all at night.
GB: And that was later, as you said.
EE: That was in – he was born in ’52, so I worked on it, beginning of ’53. I think it was published a few years later.
GB: Yes. So, if you’ll allow me, we may come back to the interview you had with Paul Sachs and Koehler and to introduce yourself, to present yourself as a young Byzantine art historian and eager, I guess, to continue and to take the opportunity to study at Dumbarton Oaks. What did you know at that time about the Dumbarton Oaks institute?
GB: Nothing. So, soon after you learned that you had been accepted, you arrived. And how was this, kind of, arriving time for you? How, yeah, did you get the whole institute to understand and how was the set-up at that time?
EE: Well there were three other Fellows besides me; we lived upstairs here in this building. Paul Underwood, who was married, lived outside so I met him at the library and for meals here, for lunch here. In fact, he asked me, always, to translate anything in Italian for him, which I didn’t know well. I knew Latin well enough, but somehow I could always satisfy him – it wasn’t too much, but still. They were all very nice, the Fellows.
GB: And you were a Junior Fellow –
EE: I was a Junior Fellow.
GB: – at that time, having finished the Ph.D.
GB: And you were a Fellow here, which meant something different from the work the Fellows, Junior Fellows, nowadays do and –
EE: Well, there was one exception. One person didn’t have a Ph.D. yet and worked on this, her thesis, but she had already quite a lot of experience. It just happened that she hadn’t done it yet.
GB: Do you remember her name?
EE: Margaret Ames – Alexander.
GB: Margaret Alexander.
EE: Well, Ames. Ames was her name at that time. She wasn’t married.
GB: Okay, thank you. That’s important. And your co-Fellows: you remember three.
EE: Well, she was one of them.
GB: She was one of them.
EE: And Rosalie Green and Josephine Harris.
GB: And Josephine Harris.
EE: Yes and, of course, we saw – there was a sensation – that we had a nun here, also.
GB: And that is Sister Monica.
EE: Sister Monica Wagner, yes. That’s right. She came a little bit later. She came, I think, in spring.
GB: Aha. So you were –
EE: And she was here, of course, for meals. She was here only for lunchtime, of course. And she had to answer some unusual questions, I would feel, but she was always of good humor and she didn’t mind that, because one person asked, for instance, “Well, which church do you like to go to especially? I mean, one church versus another church,” and she said, of course being Catholic, “They’re all alike.” Actually it was Professor Vasiliev who asked that question.
GB: You were four, five – five young scholars. Young women, which is quite amazing.
EE: Not so amazing during the war. It was still war.
GB: Wow. Okay. That is interesting.
EE: I would say that’s the reason.
GB: Was that a topic of this being, kind of, discussed or mentioned, wanting to work here? Or was that such a, kind of, just everyday life fact that it was not even remarked on?
EE: No, it wasn’t remarked on. And the advantage was – so we were four women upstairs. At that time we couldn’t have had a man there to – now of course this is a different situation.
GB: Yeah, yeah, this is very interesting indeed. Yeah. So Paul Underwood was not living here in this building; it was just the five of you – four of you.
EE: Four, yes. And of course Monica – Sister Monica, of course, didn’t live here.
GB: Oh, she didn’t live here?
EE: Oh, she couldn’t have.
GB: No, she couldn’t have. So she was here in a –
EE: The same way as Paul Underwood, coming to the library to do her work.
GB: That’s interesting. Now, your work when you were here as a Junior Fellow – can you describe this a little bit, what you did, what you researched, and what kind of – what your scholarly life as a Junior Fellow was at the time?
EE: Yes. One was supposed to divide one’s time half, really half and half, for research, one’s own research on the one hand, and working for the archives for Dumbarton Oaks – archives of monuments, all the publications of monuments – and all details, everything within the monuments – of different regions. And each person was assigned to a different region and I, of course, was assigned to where I had been before: to Istanbul, Constantinople.
GB: So you were looking into photos, our photos of –
EE: Not just photos.
GB: Archival material.
EE: The articles, all articles that were published, all photos that were published. And also I had some photos, which I had taken, and I also contributed some of those.
GB: What was the goal of this work? Do you remember having been told a certain project mission or goal, doing this type of archival – how would we describe it nowadays? – maybe a kind of database, to set it up, on Byzantine monuments all over the eastern world, or maybe not just eastern but Byzantine world.
EE: The Byzantine world, yes, because one was doing it for Tunisia, for instance. And it could have been expanded, of course, to all regions. Rosalie Green did it, for instance – she did it for Jerusalem. And Josephine Harris did Egypt, I believe. Yes, definitely she did Egypt.
GB: So you were told to just look into what we had collected already at that time or was there a system?
EE: No, go through it – get the bibliography and except the – what was published. It is a kind of index, like the Index of Christian Art, but with more detail.
GB: Yeah, indeed with all the monuments.
EE: Which one could have updated, of course, if one had continued.
GB: Yes, indeed. Where were you placed? Where was your office and the office of the other Fellows? Where did you work?
EE: We didn’t have offices. We were in the library, on the big table in the center of the library, which was on the second floor of the main building.
GB: The books around you –
EE: Yes, and sometimes one needed interlibrary loan books, which one could get. I remember, for my own research I did some of that. Maybe also otherwise; that I don’t remember. But I remember specifically that I did for my own research.
GB: Mentioning the library, who were the librarians at that time?
EE: I see her in front of me and I can’t think of her name now. She was very good and very nice. Actually, the person really in charge was Barbara Sessions, but the one who was active, you know, helping you with getting the particular book or something like that was the person whose name I can’t think of. She had blonde hair, she was very slim and very nice, very fast always. Everybody was very cooperative. Oh yes, and there, of course, if you had something, for instance, in Russian, there was Mrs. Scheffer. And I did something absolutely terrible by having a Bulgarian book – asking her. And she said – she didn’t see the cover, and I didn’t think of it. Of course, Bulgarian is not Russian. It’s similar. And she first said, “Oh but that’s terrible Russian. That’s not proper Russian.” And then, but she was kind enough and she was able to – I didn’t need too much, but I needed a few things.
GB: So there was one librarian. Is that correct? She was the librarian and she was –
EE: Mrs. Scheffer was just – this other – well there were more than one but I don’t remember the others.
GB: What do you remember about the acquisition policy? How many books – what was the policy of acquiring books for the Dumbarton Oaks Library? Was there, kind of, a “we would get all books we know of,” or what was the policy?
EE: I don’t know about the policy, but I think certainly all the main books. And every week, and possibly more often, maybe twice a week, books came from the Library of Congress, also.
GB: Aha, so there was an exchange with the Library of Congress.
EE: But also with other libraries, of course.
GB: With other libraries, of course, yes.
EE: But this was more regular. Of course, this was not just for us. This was for the professors as well, or more so, perhaps.
GB: When you found any book, which was not in the library, you would have told the librarian and she would have looked into either first looking into acquiring it, purchasing it, or first looking into where we could get it from a different library?
EE: I only had the experience that she was getting it from interlibrary loan, but there may have been cases when she’d ordered the book – that’s possible, too.
GB: So that was your work for hire, so to speak, and that was half-day. And then there was the other side of your research, and maybe you want to talk a little bit about the research part you conducted at that time and how it was perceived here at Dumbarton Oaks.
EE: Well, I tried to find out more about the, for instance, the representations – I mean the art of designs one finds of tiles and collectibles, where else you find them, and comparisons and so on and how it came about that one had tiles at all. I have developed more interpretations since then, of course.
GB: And was the library and the environment of help – adequate for your study and research? How did you communicate with your co-Fellows about your research? Did this happen at all or was there, kind of, everybody quietly researching?
EE: More or less it was everybody for himself or herself. I mean, you could, of course, if you wanted to especially discuss something, but basically it was each one for himself or herself, while that had been very different before, because there were seminars every week while Professor Koehler was in charge here and in residence here, which was the year before I came here. There were these seminars and working together and reporting about one’s work and one’s questions and interchange. And that was not the case while I was here the first year, not at all, because the professors in residence were not in the field at all. I mean, they were historians and not really interested in art history. And the second year it was Professor Friend, formerly from Princeton. He was interested in some projects – if that fitted in, fine, and if it didn’t fit in then it wasn’t of much interest to him. There was one person who worked with him; it was Rosalie Green, because he was interested in that project, but that was it, really.
GB: So, compared to what we have now: every week a research report; the fellows have to present and the interest, of course, not only in exchanging research ideas and topics; but presenting it to the community is very much, of course, in the foreground today. At least – correct me if I’m wrong. And I’m trying to explain this with my mind. In those years, the primary interest point in Dumbarton Oaks, having you here, was to get to develop a database and to, yeah, get this built up, and to, of course, provide the opportunity, the outstanding opportunity to, beyond that, do research in your specific area. It was more the kind of, almost a position, which – actually I say “position” because I know this structure similarly from the German Archaeological Institute, where I actually was at a time one of those – that’s not the term they use – but a hired staff person to do half-day work for the Institute and half-day I had to do my research, but in a way nobody cared about that research because that was kind of an add-on to the proper hired work. Is that something, that picture I –
EE: Well, I would say it simply was not structured at all. There was no structure. You were here on your own. You could hook up with anybody else if you wanted to and if you felt it would do, it would advance your project or help somebody else to advance his or her project, but otherwise there was no structure, really.
GB: And were there meetings to follow up on the database work, on your proper assignment?
EE: No, none whatsoever.
GB: And how did this kind of –
EE: You simply did what you did and when each project – let’s say working on such-and-such a church – was finished, you handed it over to be typed, because you just – there were no computers, of course. You wrote it by hand, really, and then it was formalized.
GB: I have on this list of 1944–45 another category and that’s “Fellows,” and Fellows here listed are Milton Anastos –
EE: Oh yes, of course. Anastasios. Anastasis, Anastasis. I’m sorry, of course. How could I say that?
GB: Yes, I see it is incorrectly spelled. And Peter Charanis.
EE: Yes, that’s right and he was married to a Belgian.
GB: Can you explain a little bit where the position of being Fellows – what they contributed to the Dumbarton Oaks Harvard community?
EE: Well, they were much more advanced scholars. While the Junior Fellows were at the beginning of any career, Peter and Milton were both in the midst of their career, more or less in their midst. They gave papers at symposia; they worked on the more advanced projects. I remember Mr. Friend asked Peter Charanis to work on a special project of a church that doesn’t exist anymore, but there were some records about it, a poem actually it was, a longer poem, and he worked on that, for instance.
GB: So they had similar assignments to do specific research, the Fellows, Milton and Peter.
EE: Well they – I don’t think it was obligatory for them to do it, but once they were Fellows they were asked and they could agree or maybe they could also disagree. It was a special project, though, what Mr. Friend was interested in, so he asked about that. But I don’t think it was, so to say, the bylaws that he had to designate a particular topic or anything like that. It was just a personal matter.
GB: And they were studying with you in the reader room in the second level of the main house?
EE: No, I think they were somewhere else, because there wasn’t enough space.
GB: So they might have had offices or –
EE: I think there were some other rooms where they could be, but basically there were no offices in that sense and certainly not that everybody had an office to him or herself.
GB: What do you remember about the main house first level at that time? Was the library –
EE: No, no, there was no library. Well, there may have been some books. Yes there were books, of course. In one room downstairs, there were books. But I think there were also more general books, not just something about the early Christian, Byzantine art, but the Blisses’ collection, for a private collection, some of it, I think.
GB: Do you remember the term “Founders’ Room” at that time? And this place—do you remember what was going on in that space or was that a library space? Were there books in there?
EE: Yes. But it was also a kind of reception room.
GB: We will come back to the receptions and the more, kind of, social life, but let me ask you now a little bit about the other scholars, resident scholars at that time now that we have learned about the Junior Fellows, the Fellows, and you have mentioned already Albert Friend. And there were more professors in residence.
EE: Yes, there were Mr. and Mrs. Young, Sirarpie Der Nersessian, who had been professor at Wellesley before.
GB: How was the relationship with Sirarpie, she being a young woman as well –
EE: Not so young.
GB: Yeah. Right. Yes.
EE: It was fine and we usually had arranged for dinner – there was no dinner on Sundays here, so we made our own dinner and Miss Der Nersessian usually joined in. We did it together.
GB: Albert Friend – how was – he seemed to have had a major impact regarding the suggestions, regarding the research part. Is that right?
EE: Not for the Junior Fellows. Well, except for he was interested in what Rosalie Green did, but otherwise no. I mean one could, of course, ask him or get advice but one had to specially go and ask for it. He never asked you about it.
GB: And then we have at that time Edward Kennard Rand and Alexander Vasiliev.
EE: Well yes, they were professors in 1944 already and they were not art historians. Professor Rand was particularly interested in Carolingian manuscripts and he did a lot of work – not the pictures, the miniatures, but the text – and he was very much interested in all of the signs, the pinpricks and so on and that he continued to talk about time and again when I was in residence.
GB: And Alexander Vasiliev.
EE: He came a bit later. I don’t remember exactly when. I would say he loosened things up and made it much more lively and interesting, because he was a very interesting person of course and very Russian in a very pleasant way.
GB: Do you remember specific – or specifically –
EE: No, he was interested in, much more interested in music, I mean also in music and so on. Actually Koehler had started that. He got us a record player and records so we could have music, also.
GB: He and the Fellows.
EE: Yes, here. It was right here.
GB: You were listening to records together?
EE: Oh, of course, yes, yes. It might have been right after lunch, for instance, or in the evening, so we could do that. That’s how I got to know some music very well.
GB: Lunch is a good topic.
EE: That was on the big table, and the two professors – La Piana and Rand – were at the ends and the Fellows in between.
GB: So you had to appear, to have lunch and dinner together.
EE: I suppose so. I don’t remember about dinner, but there must have been dinner. And of course, there were servants and one was served. One never got up or anything.
GB: Was there communication going on over lunch? How was that?
EE: Yes. Well it was particularly Professor Rand who spoke and you listened.
GB: Scholarly exchange or everyday small talk?
EE: Well, it wasn’t very scholarly. It was not very exciting. Well, I’m sorry, but Mr. Rand was not his former brilliance anymore, and that was the reason.
GB: I see.
EE: And La Piana also talked, but always trying to be very, very nice to Mr. Rand and taking him as the head of it all.
GB: At that time who was the director of Dumbarton Oaks? It was kind of –
EE: It was – oh my God.
GB: It must have been Thacher.
EE: Thacher, yes. He came once in a while. I mean, of course you saw him at the main building.
GB: Why that? You saw him at the main building?
EE: No, well sometimes, because that’s where he was, that’s where his office was, too.
GB: Mhm. Do you remember where his office was? In the main house on the first level, where it is now?
GB: And, he being the director of the Dumbarton Oaks institute, filling the specific role, what did you understand of that role at that time? How did you feel about the overall mission if we want to use this word, which is of course not the word you would have used at the time, but what was the, kind of, general mission of the Dumbarton Oaks institute?
EE: Well, he was a very good go-between – the Blisses and the institute, Dumbarton Oaks, and you saw him a great deal with the Blisses. And he understood very well to implement also what Mrs. Bliss really hoped the institute would be like and he was, of course, director of the museum, which was in storage then.
GB: Which was packed, indeed.
EE: Yes, because of the war.
GB: Yes. So you did not get to see an object while you were here – is that correct?
EE: No. Some pictures I saw.
GB: Oh yes, some pictures, but no –
EE: No, it was impossible. And one understood very well why.
GB: Yeah? Why?
EE: Well because of the war, the danger of possibly some problems.
GB: Did you feel this – I mean, being here, I mean, sure we know that at that time there was quite some realistic fear or reason to be afraid. What was the situation in Washington and Dumbarton Oaks besides that the collection was stored, protected, and downstairs in storage, in the basement.
EE: Well I didn’t know. I didn’t know. I did know that the downstairs, the basement, was taboo for anybody in Dumbarton Oaks, at least the Fellows, because there were government projects going on. Well it was really – in fact the president of Harvard was intimately connected with that, and he came for visits from time to time. So I met him that way also because he came to lunch sometimes.
GB: The president of Harvard University?
EE: Yes. Well, it was the Manhattan Project, as I now know, but not then, of course.
GB: The Byzantine galleries being closed, because of the collection being stored – did you ever enter that space? Was it just closed because it was empty, or was there anything – I mean, thinking of the Barberini sarcophagus, for example, which was certainly –
EE: There were a few pieces I knew. I don’t remember details anymore, I must admit.
GB: Well, it was a closed-off area, so it was not of any interest and, of course, it was not really a happy story, to be not up but in protection, in storage. So, Thacher was, well, trying to do the best, to make the best out of the situation and to, of course, as you said, to work with the Blisses closely.
EE: Yes, and also he was very good, I suppose, in spreading the news of Dumbarton Oaks, I assume. I mean, he was very good at parties and so on, so he knew – he met a lot of people and knew a lot of people in Washington. And I’m sure from that point of view he was very useful for spreading the word – what Dumbarton Oaks was.
GB: So there was some interest in connecting to the social life of Washington?
EE: Absolutely. But that was he alone.
GB: But not the Blisses?
EE: Oh, the Blisses, of course, were. Oh yes. But I mean not the people for, not the Fellows or the professors or so.
GB: So let’s talk a little about receptions and the Blisses. At first maybe about your – as a Fellow – your meetings or whenever you had a chance to meet and talk with Robert and Mildred Bliss. Did this happen on a regular basis?
EE: She came to tea. I don’t know whether there still is tea being served, probably not, but then it was de rigueur, one could almost say, to come to tea, and Mrs. Bliss appeared a great many times – not every time, not every day, but most days, or often, let’s say.
GB: Was it once a week, the tea, or –
EE: No, no, every day. I mean, except for weekends. There was tea and cookies or anything. I think rather fancy, too.
GB: So that was kind of a break in the afternoon. Is that what I am to understand?
GB: Yeah. Nice. So that everybody came together for a short time I guess – an hour maximum or even two of them.
EE: Probably not as long as that. And Mrs. Bliss talked also to, of course, to the professors and to Fellows, but also to the Junior Fellows.
GB: Was she curious about finding out what you were up to, regarding your research, or was she curious about hearing your opinion about Dumbarton Oaks institute, or –
EE: No, never, no. It was rather what you were doing.
EE: What work you were doing.
GB: And do you remember being asked – Mildred Bliss asking you about what your research, what she kind of asked?
EE: No, I must admit I don’t remember, but she did ask, yes. I don’t know how interested she really was in the specifics. She was, I think, more interested in the general and what went on in general. And the sort of policy and strategy.
GB: When she was present, did you talk or did she mention any kind of objects in the sense of collecting, of her passion of collecting art, which we, as we see now, is quite a major part.
EE: Oh yes, yes.
GB: Did she mention this? Did she talk about, “Oh, I have seen recently something coming up?”
EE: No, no I don’t remember that. I don’t think that; it could have happened that she talked about such a thing to somebody, but certainly not to, so to say, everybody present.
GB: Another point which is, of course, very related to Mildred Bliss is the garden. Was that a topic or how did you –
EE: Oh yes, and I do remember, also, for instance, I once looked and said, “Well, I don’t see – whatever it was, a tree or shrub or what and I was told, “No, Mrs. Bliss had changed her mind. She wanted it to be changed.” She was very active in helping with the design for the garden. Of course she had a very well known garden architect.
GB: Beatrix Farrand.
EE: Yes, that’s right. Who also did some work at Princeton, Princeton University, but on a very small scale there.
GB: I do not know, I cannot remember if Beatrix Farrand was – no, she was no more around. She had to agree, setting it up in the very beginning, the twenties, and by the forties, she, I think, was no more around Dumbarton Oaks, but she was certainly –
EE: No, she definitely wasn’t around when I was here. And I think in some cases that Mrs. Bliss did it on her own, and I wouldn’t be surprised, because Mrs. Bliss was extraordinarily intelligent and clever and just as her range of knowledge was amazing, so I’m sure she had learned a great deal from Beatrix –
EE: Farrand, yes. And could design things on her own, too.
GB: Yeah, yeah. We know of many projects where she was really the designer and participated in all kinds of different things with a high interest in every little detail. Do you know how the gardens were administered at that time? How were they maintained? What about the gardeners and the staff?
EE: Well, I don’t remember the name of the head gardener anymore, but he was an important person, of course. We always – we talked to him and so on. And the associate gardeners – I suppose they were the two who lived in this house at the corner there.
GB: The double cottage.
EE: Yes, the double cottage
GB: Which is nowadays security.
EE: And at night I understand there was somebody, a guard; there was a dog going around. I’ve never seen him but that doesn’t mean that he wasn’t there, of course.
GB: Could you enter the main house at any time? Was it, so to speak, open to go back to the office or to study?
EE: That I don’t know. I only heard that, you see, and I don’t know anything more about that.
GB: There was one important feature attached to the gardens at that time, as nowadays, and that’s the pool.
EE: Oh yes.
GB: You used the pool? You were allowed to use the pool?
EE: Yes, oh yes, yes.
GB: And everybody shared the pool?
EE: All the members of the – the Fellows and professors, yes.
GB: Was there kind of a senior Fellows hour or –
EE: No, no it was simply whoever wanted to go, whenever, could go there and, I mean, not normally during work hours.
GB: And at that time the pool is – of course the public came to visit the gardens or were the gardens closed as well – I mean specifically in this year were the gardens open to the public? Do you remember?
EE: There were times when they were open, yes. I think it was from two to four or something like that. I think we usually went, you see, after work, so it was a little bit later except for weekends, and I don’t remember how that worked with the public and the – because we certainly couldn’t be there when the public came and there were – and guests could come, too. I mean if they had permission from, I suppose, the director. My – Richard Ettinghausen, for instance, was a friend of the director and therefore he could go and use the pool.
GB: And you met your husband –
EE: I met him, yes. I didn’t meet him at the pool, but I met him at the library and I asked him for some advice. And also it was the head of the library, Barbara Sessions, who was a friend of my future husband, and we were good friends. She was very, very friendly and very nice and, of course, she was a friend of the Blisses, so – and so we went on some outings because she liked to walk, and we both liked to walk, too.
GB: That means, mentioning your future husband, that there were – visiting scholars, we would say nowadays – there were scholars who stopped by, who had a specific period of study time they spent here at Dumbarton Oaks. Is that what I understand?
EE: Yes, there were some.
GB: And they were sitting, then, again, in the library and next to you and the other Junior Fellows or were they at any kind of specific place?
EE: They were in various places, I think.
GB: Various places. And that must have been, then, on that second level, which –
EE: I would think so.
GB: – I understand was at that time the main library research space.
EE: I assume that’s where they were.
GB: Talking about receptions, or the Blisses, Mildred Bliss especially being present in the afternoon for the tea hour or the tea gathering: were there any kind of other specific events you had been invited to?
GB: Lectures. Public lectures? Were they open to the public, as it is nowadays, or was it –
EE: I doubt whether they were open to the public, but to, I suppose, to scholars or friends, of course, of the Blisses.
GB: In the Music Room?
EE: Yes, in the Music Room and those were always very nice events, of course, and then there were concerts also and those were special events and the finest event was, of course, the symposium. Always.
GB: Yes, the annual Byzantine Spring Symposium.
GB: Do you remember the symposia you have attended – was it something very outstanding compared to the symposia of the recent past, which you have, of course, attended on some occasions?
EE: Well, I’m –
GB: Can you describe the sort of atmosphere, the set-up, and, of course, the scholarly contributions?
EE: I suppose it would be very hard for me to judge, really, because I was, after all, at the beginning, and it all seemed marvelous, so insofar – perhaps I would say later on it was perhaps not as marvelous, but because I knew more, so no, I don’t think there’s any conference ever which is all tops – I mean every scholar absolutely perfect and so on. And I could, of course, discriminate much more and notice the differences much more than I could at the beginning.
GB: What was the –
EE: But it was – there were outstanding scholars who came.
GB: What was the general atmosphere compared to a nowadays symposium, where we have a lot of discussions and open the floor, of course, and ask the public – nowadays it’s indeed the public – of course, the interested public, who is invited to attend the symposium. What do you remember about that aspect when – the years you were here?
EE: I’m not quite sure how I should answer that.
GB: Was it more – I mean, I, looking at the pictures we have of the symposia and the speakers, it looks to me much more formal and going of course by the appearance of the gentlemen, the speakers, and it’s just that the only way, incorrectly, I guess, you project that into the audience or into the place where it took place and you think that this was probably more, kind of, formal, overall formal event.
EE: Oh, absolutely.
GB: Yeah, we talked about the symposia at that time.
EE: Yes, well, I think especially we Junior Fellows felt that way – that was the apex of the whole year. And the great scholars came and they discussed matters, and that was very interesting, of course, to hear them sometimes agree and sometimes not agree. These semi-gods acting like that, that meant something very special, of course. And the lunches and the dinners and everything – that was wonderful and speaking with those special scholars. And they were all very nice and open. Well, and otherwise you wouldn’t encounter them quite so much, all that easily.
GB: Kurt Weitzmann and Hugo Buchthal, for example, both – did you meet them here at Dumbarton Oaks?
EE: Yes, I met them here first, for the first time. Later on they became friends, but that was when I wasn’t a Fellow anymore.
GB: But you got introduced to Kurt Weitzmann while you were here.
EE: Yes, absolutely. Oh, yes. It was a very nice encounter. He was always very, very jovial and very nice, easy to talk to.
GB: Ernst Kitzinger?
EE: Of course, yes, I met him. Well, I’d met him before because he came once in a while. I mean, he was working for the O.S.S. at that time, Office of Strategic Services, but he came sometimes as a, just, visitor to see the people, and so I met him. And then there was the famous dance, also, yes. And I wasn’t prepared for anything like that. I didn’t have a formal dress, so I had to buy that, and actually the other fellows helped me with that, because I didn’t know where to go or what to do, so – and that was a very nice occasion, too, and of course there were people from outside who came. Oh, yes, there was one other person, who was – he had been a fellow here. He was Greek and so was his wife, and he worked at the embassy, at the Greek embassy.
GB: It was not Milton, no?
EE: No, no, not Milton. Milton was American.
GB: Yeah. Maybe Pelopidas Stephanou?
GB: Um –
EE: I think it was something with “A”, but I’m not quite sure. Very nice person, whom I met that way, also. Now, maybe he hadn’t been a Fellow here, but he was coming to lectures and whatnot, and thus Margaret had met him. That’s all I can think of. There were a number of people who came to the lectures who were not directly connected but were very much interested in early Christian, Byzantine art, I suppose, and that’s how they came here—for lectures and so on.
GB: When you were here, something very specific and nowadays a rare historical moment or, actually, event took place and that is what we would call nowadays the United Nations Conversations.
EE: Well, yes, that happened during the summer and therefore we couldn’t be here. Of course, we didn’t know what was going on, but it was something government, we were told, or so – so we had to leave.
GB: So you were not informed in any detail about that – of course, for security reasons.
EE: Exactly, oh absolutely, and also it wasn’t yet certain what was going to happen – I mean what the result would be. So many people, when one said, “I work in Dumbarton Oaks” – “Oh, you’re connected with the UN.” And I had to inform them, “No, no, no, that happened to take place here, but it had nothing to do with Dumbarton Oaks; it’s just the place that was handed over to them for the summer.”
GB: And as far as I remember from what I have read about it, it was indeed that the start of the fellowship term had to be postponed, I think. You had to leave, of course, for several – it was, kind of, already booked but then extended – it got into more rounds and additional discussions. And I don’t know if you remember that, but that’s, I think, what I gather from the reports: that the fellows had to be a little bit late, in fact.
EE: Yes, I think, I don’t remember specifically but just very vaguely I remember something for me that was lucky, actually, because I had gotten sick – I had had a very severe case of infectious hepatitis while I was in Turkey and it was a sad thing, because I was told Iran has just a more liquid yogurt, and I didn’t know that it was mixed with water. If I had known that – I was told it’s just more liquid. If I had known that it was mixed with water, I would never have taken it. And I got very sick from that, and I had a relapse at that time. So it was good that it started later. I had to be on a diet for quite a while.
GB: One point I had noted down is about Koehler, and although you said that Koehler was not here – you have heard about that – the event or the years before, about his role –
EE: Yes, and I missed that very much, really.
GB: That is my interest, actually, when you say you missed it: so, is that in retrospect or is it that you had known already at the time when you were here that the earlier years starting in 1940, until 1943, were under a different guidance because of Koehler and how he thought that Fellows at the institute could be built up – was it that you knew?
EE: No, I didn’t know about it at all. I didn’t know that – how it worked before. Koehler had not told me.
GB: How’d you learn about that – do you remember?
EE: It was from, especially, Margaret Ames and also Josephine Harris, who told me.
GB: So, your co-Fellows told you.
EE: Yes, they told me.
GB: And how did they talk about that time? That was a really interesting time.
EE: They loved it. They all thought it was wonderful.
GB: Can you explain what they thought and what it was?
EE: Well, it was a collaboration. I mean, one’s work was being discussed and helped by discussing it not only with Professor Koehler but with the other Fellows also, in an informal but formal way – I mean, by getting together.
GB: And that’s what they called seminars.
GB: Was it on a regular basis?
EE: It was on a regular basis, yes. And that – I realized I felt a little bit footloose as a result of it, having heard what it was, because when Professor Koehler came, it was for – oh, I don’t know – two days or something like that, so really he couldn’t do much and you couldn’t get much from that, because he came for other, mainly other purposes.
GB: But he came to visit Dumbarton Oaks when you were here. But, he did not –
EE: He didn’t stay.
GB: And were there any kind of discussions between you and the other Fellows, how to, maybe, get back to this, or why this had stopped, or was there any kind of understanding –
EE: No, it was – that was never being discussed, and I didn’t have the initiative at that time, at all. I was too junior, really. I mean I had to adjust to a new life. Today, yes, I would do something –
GB: It seems –
EE: – or try to do something.
GB: – as if there was a common sense that this was very much appreciated –
EE: But it was something of the past.
GB: Yeah. It was something of the past, which was not – no more the everyday life of the institute. Yeah, that is very interesting. That is very –
EE: And I would say that Margaret Ames and Josephine Harris had gotten all the groundwork done this way, and they had found all the right directions and it wasn’t so important for them to get any help or further directives. But, as far as I am concerned, it would have been a great help.
GB: Were they conducting – no, actually, you had said they all had their Ph.Ds already.
EE: Well, Margaret Ames didn’t.
GB: Margaret Ames didn’t, so she – but you said she was on her own track, so to speak. She did not necessarily need any more guidance –
EE: Well, I suppose she was getting it also when she – where did she get her Ph.D? I forget where she got it, really. But, well, it was – for her, at that stage, it was more cumulative. You see, she had to explore more, other sites, also. But the basic part was already there – of basic directives or direction.
GB: You weren’t able to take that into the next, following year, actually, or following years. I see that both of you left after that year and only Rosalie Beth Green continued to stay so that the only one to benefit was her, I think, she is listed under this ’45-’46 fellowship year. You came to the end of your term – of your years at some point and you – did you know where to go and did you get any kind of support or advice from the co-Fellows –?
EE: Oh no, nothing whatsoever.
GB: – or was it just a, kind of, natural coming-to-the-end of the fellowship?
EE: That was it, yes.
GB: And when you left, what was your, kind of –
EE: Well that was – in May I got engaged, so before I left – not that I told anybody, though.
GB: Oh, yeah? No?
EE: No. Well, Barbara Sessions, I think, knew. But otherwise, no, nobody. And I got married in the fall, September of ’45. And then I helped my husband.
GB: And you moved – well, you lived –
EE: First in Washington, D.C. and then we moved to outside Vienna, Virginia, to the country. And there we did a lot of work for the house, something I’d never done before – but everything. I was a contractor and I did painting and I did woodwork and I did everything. Oh, and garden work.
GB: And while you were here, in Vienna, which is not far away, by – no, actually, it’s –
EE: No, it’s in northwestern Virginia.
GB: Did you come back to Dumbarton Oaks? Sure, I guess, as you continued –
EE: Yes, I did. Not very much.
GB: And your husband was still working here, I mean researching, conducting research here at Dumbarton Oaks?
EE: Here? I don’t think so. I mean, he came before maybe once for research but mainly for just visiting Thacher or some other friends he had.
GB: So when you decided to stay here in D.C., was this because of –
EE: Because my husband was curator at the Freer Gallery, in charge of the Islamic department.
GB: Until when?
EE: Until ’65
GB: So that’s a long time.
EE: Yes. Well, we had moved back then, to Washington. I was very much – I wanted very much to go back, because it was difficult, really, always that long drive and so on.
GB: And I guess you connected, then – through the professional relationship and work relationship – you connected more to the Freer-Sackler Gallery and the landscape at that time – of course, such institutions stood in a different all-around shape, I think, an organization, than nowadays – but particularly your focus shifted toward that.
EE: Well yes, one year we went to the Middle East. That was nineteen fifty-fi – well, oh, before that, one year before that, I worked at the State Department, which was actually a very interesting experience. It was in the research department on the Middle East. The only problem was that I didn’t dare to discuss anything about the Middle East because I wasn’t sure whether I’d read it at documents in the State Department or in the press. So I kept quiet. But I read about some friends of ours, also, who were in the Middle East. It was broadening my experience, I would say. And then, of course, when we went to the Middle East, for one year – actually it was even fourteen months – we went over Europe to the Middle East to countries I’d never been – my husband had never been – to. He knew a great deal about it, but he had never visited there. And we started, from Italy we went to – we flew, for me it was my first flight, to Egypt and the Patriarch, the Patriarch of Cairo, was on the same plane, and it was his first flight and my first flight. There were very few passengers. It was an Alitalia plane. And he would say, “Oh look down here! No look down there!” So we were like two children, really. It was very exciting.
GB: Speaking of this makes me realize that you came, of course, from Europe to America for your fellowship by boat.
EE: By boat.
GB: And not at all by airplane.
EE: No, by boat. It was, it took a month to get here, and my parents and I were the only passengers. It was on a freighter, an American freighter. And it was – well, we saw something; nothing happened, but we saw something of what – of the war, of course. First of all, it was all darkened – or blackened. And it was interesting to learn about the experience of the sailors. They were informed that I was a – well, a fairly young person, of course. They’d have to behave, so to say. So they treated me like a sister, and they told me all kinds of stories of their lives.
GB: How old were you?
GB: How old were you at the time?
EE: I was twenty-four, I think. So it was quite an experience being exposed to American life, not of exactly the type of person I would normally meet. But there were also some, of course, who went rather into the Merchant Marine than joining the regular forces.
GB: How did it come that you were on that boat, on that carrier, as the only family, you said?
EE: Yes. Well, my father had connections, all kinds of connections. He had connections from Istanbul with the British and the Americans.
GB: And you came from Istanbul? That’s where you –
EE: From Istanbul we went to Cairo and from Cairo, then, to – on the boat, on the Liberty Ship.
GB: And you lived in Istanbul.
EE: For almost five years.
GB: Five years.
EE: At first I didn’t continue my studies there, and then I was advised that I could do that and I did. And I learned. I took courses in four languages: in Turkish, in German, French, and English.
GB: At the university?
EE: Yes, Istanbul University. I mean, it was professors from different countries. Of course, it was all translated into Turkish, but I took the original. One of my teachers was Runciman and he taught, of course, history, but also art – Byzantine art.
GB: Was that how you got started, the interest –
GB: Is that how your interest got started or piqued in –
EE: Well, it was, I mean – in Istanbul you can’t avoid it, almost.
GB: Well, you could have had an interest in later, Ottoman art and –
EE: I developed that there, actually, but I was extremely lucky in Vienna, because I – Sedelmeier was the chief of the art history department. He had just come in when I started. And the last term I had with him – he not only did the general history of art course (he did it over four years), but also then special courses in whatever interested him or he had worked on. And that was on St. Sophia. So I knew quite a bit about it, as a result of it. And when I saw it for the first time, in Istanbul then, the amazing thing was, I noticed the chandeliers so much and they bothered me so much that I couldn’t really enjoy and understand the space and the greatness of the church. And I went out again, quite disappointed and went another day, again, and then I didn’t see the chandeliers, but I saw the space and ever since then I’ve seen the space – and of course all the details.
GB: That is amazing to think of Sedelmeier giving a lecture, or a seminar, on Hagia Sophia.
EE: No. He had worked on that.
GB: He had worked on it?
GB: I didn’t know that. That’s interesting.
EE: On the baldacchino system, especially, yes.
GB: An architectural component.
EE: Yes, well the domes and the semi-domes and so on. And that’s how he got to it. And that was always very interesting for me, then. I mean, I saw things differently from, probably, what – people who really know structures and so on, of course, too, but for me it was the essence or the most important part. So I saw it differently, probably, from others.
GB: And before Istanbul, you lived in Vienna.
EE: Oh yes, yes I was born in Vienna and went to school in Vienna.
GB: Now of course, you, what – that your life would be directed in quite a – by a marriage of course, and coming – something very important, that you would have, you would have never thought of that, that this was going to be life altering, so to speak, which is of course not true, but one – at the end of the fellowship, so to speak, that was quite amazing to see that you continued your professional interest and found a wonderful husband and together you could manage to work in the area of architecture, and that’s what you do, up to today, which is amazing to think. And looking back and seeing this –
EE: Well, I think, actually, it was very lucky for me that in Istanbul, for instance, the emphasis was really on Near Eastern archaeology, so I also – I mean I took also history of art but also Near Eastern archaeology – so I got a broader vision, which actually Sedelmeier had started for me, because he was very much interested in the broader vision. I know some of my fellow students in Vienna criticized him: “Oh, some details are not right.” But it meant a great deal to me. There were other professors who went into details. So I saw the advantages of the one and the other. But you know there are some who never see the broader picture, which is a pity.
GB: How would you characterize the Dumbarton Oaks tenure and your fellowship here, with this respect, regarding the overall scholarly interest and what you just formulated – you mentioned the broader picture – and cross-cultural exchanges and –
EE: Except for, I would say, except for the lectures and more so the symposium, it didn’t further that. But I think things have changed. I mean, everything has changed. Not here. Life has changed; everything has changed. It’s much more open to other cultures in general. And so, of course it would be also in Dumbarton Oaks.
GB: Yeah, indeed. Very much so and I think that is – it’s good to look at this change.
EE: The broader picture.
GB: Not only the different disciplines, which at that time didn’t even exist here at Dumbarton Oaks. There was no Pre-Columbian Department. There was no Garden-Landscape Department. And not only having these two other – so important – other branches or disciplines at Dumbarton Oaks, but to connect them, to exchange and to see the Fellows exchanging ideas freely across the aisle, so to speak, which is really quite nice. And I understand that this was, indeed – if we again apply this term, which is not correct, because there was no talk about a mission at that time – but if we think of the mission of a research institute, that has very much changed, you know, from an institute which was, at that time, I understand, driven by establishing at such a – I forget the term. There was a term at the time, how they called this database work. I can’t remember, but I read it somewhere. But this was a kind of major point of activity of the institution, to develop this pool of material culture, evidence, records, and with that, of course, to facilitate research and to offer this to other Byzantine scholars and to everybody who’s interested –
EE: I remember Kitzinger once mentioned to me that it was quite helpful for some work he did.
GB: He did. So he took advantage of that.
EE: Yes, because he knew about it, of course. And he took advantage of it.
GB: That’s interesting. Yeah.
EE: If I may say one other thing, I think Mrs. Bliss would be really delighted that the broader vision has been reached, because she was that kind of – just as that quotation –
GB: Yes, indeed. Yeah, that’s interesting, because, I mean, I see this, I read this out of what I know of correspondence we now know about and so on, but that you say this – that is, of course, you with your knowledge of her as a person. You have experience; you have encounters. How would you – why do you – can you expand on this? Can you – when you think of her and how you perceived her, was it because she was just the kind of lady walking into this place and embracing this place by nature of being the owner, previous owner, at least, of that place? That’s what I see – what she has really created, an all-over Bliss creation, the collection they collected, the gardens they built up from scratch, the house they bought but very much remodeled, rebuilt – was that what I – was that what she, kind of – was that her realm when you –
EE: Well, she may not have known it then, but I have the feeling she would be pleased. Sometimes, you don’t know exactly what you want, that is, how you can realize or what you can realize, but I think it would be – not only for Mrs. Bliss but also for Mr. Bliss.
GB: How do you remember the proper introduction? How were they introduced or were you introduced to the Blisses? Like, “This is Mildred and Robert Bliss,” or, “These are the founders of the institution,” or how was that, kind of –?
EE: I don’t know. I only know that I just met them, and I don’t think anything was said, because I was probably told beforehand, so: “May I introduce –”
GB: Because I ask – we know and we learned from various sources that they were very modest, indeed, about their donations, about participating, about funding projects, about supporting artists; often it was done anonymously. They didn’t want to be named on all sorts – so, that’s in a way what I, kind of, – just, you know, from being told or having read, I think that is very much confirmed through what you – you can’t remember what you, basically –
EE: Of course, times were very different. So, and she was used to – both of them were used to being in certain circles and that there were certain behaviors and formalities and all that – that would be different. And I’m sure, I have the feeling they would understand the difference.
GB: They were very much open-minded regarding the avant-garde. I mean, they were very much – well, it’s maybe wrong to say they were contemporary regarding their living taste of, the set-up of houses – it was very, I think, traditional and very much, of course, according to the Zeitgeist of the time.
EE: Yes, that’s right.
GB: But at the same time we know – not only because they, as I said, supported artists, contemporary artists, but, of course, music – and by the way, which reminds me that you had heard Stravinsky – that you attended the premiere of Stravinsky’s concerto.
EE: Yes. That’s right. I heard it the other day, by the way, on the radio again.
GB: But not conducted by Stravinsky, I guess.
EE: I guess not.
GB: So that was indeed –
EE: Oh yes, indeed.
GB: Do you remember the occasion? It was while you were here on your fellowship?
EE: Yes, I think so.
GB: And you met him. You were introduced to him.
EE: Well yes, I somehow met him. I mean I didn’t talk to him at length.
GB: And you may know – I don’t know if you know – that later on they commissioned a piece by Copland, so again a contemporary.
EE: No, I didn’t know that.
GB: And later on, late, very late, Dumbarton Oaks commissioned a piece for their—well, on the anniversary for the Blisses, 100th anniversary, and by coincidence it would just be the year we had premiered here at Dumbarton Oaks – it was indeed the year of the opening of the reinstalling there in 2008, which was the 100th wedding anniversary of the Blisses. It was a kind of nice –
EE: And, uh?
GB: Oh, Joan Tower, the composer, an American contemporary composer—she’s quite known and it’s –
EE: Great, wonderful.
GB: With Stravinsky, the Dumbarton Oaks Concerto, Copland’s piece, and Joan Tower’s piece, which is, I’ve forgot the title; it’s Dumbarton Oaks Quintet, or something like that – no, actually that’s – I think, the Dumbarton Quintet, if I’m not wrong. And we had all the three pieces.
GB: And it’s just wonderful to see and to hear the three different pieces and to know about the three different musicians and composers and to link all these to the Blisses as the one couple, who connected so many arts and so many visionary ideas in their life.
EE: I should, perhaps, say something that I was told, true or false – that Mrs. Bliss expected that all the scholars would just go to the garden and they would discuss things like in ancient Athens or so. And, well, we shook our heads over that – that it was not – it doesn’t work that way. But, I think she would have understood that it doesn’t work that way. I mean, it was understandable with her background, her upbringing, and so on – and the time was different – and it has changed and as through scholarly discussions and so on, this was, perhaps, more forward-looking, I mean different, already, formally. And she didn’t know that. But I still think – I mean it’s wonderful what she has done, really. I appreciate it much more now than I did then, to be quite frank.
GB: Yeah, it is again a nice confirmation of what I know only by reading letters and other articles, which have been written in the meantime about the Blisses. She very much understood the gardens as an essential part of the Dumbarton Oaks research institute and she liked the idea of the scholars walking and getting inspired and talking and exchanging ideas by walking and encountering this landscape, this extraordinary space she created, which is kind of an ideal, like, locus amoenus. And it was maybe a paradise, even, what we may call an ivory tower, but the ivory tower very much with an extension, which is indeed this kind of muse temple of thought-provoking ideas – inspiring. And it’s very much what she expressed in her last will, that this scholarship and the lives of the scholars at Dumbarton Oaks should never be de-attached from the gardens and from the trees, not just a nice, green landscape around the house, which is the library and collection. It’s really a part of it and that’s quite interesting.
EE: I didn’t realize that, but I must say, personally, I went through the garden a great deal. I mean, instead of going over the street, I went through the garden, through what then was called the Fellows Building. And, well the gardens meant a great deal to me. So, in being unaware of that, it did help me.
GB: Did you see changes? Did you see changes over the past recent years? Have you looked into the gardens? Is it still the same or is it changed?
EE: No, it’s very different, of course, because of the new buildings – for me, new buildings.
GB: And the public part of the gardens – the rose terrace and the fountain.
EE: There was a fountain before.
GB: Mhm, yeah, I know that. It’s the setting and the park-scape parts that are totally the same, unchanged, but one should not forget that the gardens, the trees, of course, change. So, I say this because only over the past two years we have fought and had many losses, many trees lost to lightning.
EE: Oh, that also. Well, you have those ancient white oaks.
GB: Yeah. They would be interesting to – and I guess you haven’t had a chance to walk –
EE: No, unfortunately not. I mean, I walked in that part [points to her left, east of the Fellows Building/Guest House] and that is, of course, entirely different, because they’re, so to say, formal walks now. Paths, I should say. But that’s, of course, necessary under the circumstances.
GB: That’s so wonderful that you – to have you sharing all these memories with us and –
EE: Well, I hope I contributed something, at least.
GB: Oh yeah, oh yeah, indeed. It is a very, very specific year, or years, here and it’s – yes – a treasure of recollections.
EE: I mean it’s, of course, personal recollections and objectively it may be different, slightly different.
GB: That’s exactly what we all have: personal recollections. And they each piece together, so to speak, and there’s history at the end – it’s history. And that’s very much appreciated. Do you remember the – you remember quite well the year that was your arrival and – because I’m not sure if we are even correct in our documents. When you arrived – and you said in May – your marriage was in the fall of ’45, yeah? And you –
EE: No, no. Yes.
GB: Was it ’45?
EE: No, you see, I was here in ’43-’44 to ’45.
GB: So you arrived in ’43, in fall of ’43?
EE: Yes, in late fall. I didn’t get here at the beginning of the year, because I wasn’t here yet. I mean I wasn’t here yet in this country.
GB: You arrived in this country in ’43.
GB: So you were pretty new to the country.
EE: I was quite new. I also experienced Ellis Island for three days, which for me was an interesting experience. It wasn’t the same for my father, of course. But I was young, you know. I could take things like that. I just observed. And actually it’s very good for everybody to once experience being confined. One understands things better, certain things much better that way – [laughs] Well.
GB: Thank you so much. That was really wonderful.
EE: Well it’s a pleasure to be here. And if I can contribute anything, I’m delighted, of course.
GB: Well, whatever memories and recollections you have, please continue to send us an email and share them and maybe some memories will come up and –
EE: Sometimes. It could happen, yes.
GB: This was wonderful, wonderful.
EE: Now perhaps I should say one thing about Professor Friend, because the way I put it sounds, actually, negative, I think, and I don’t want that to be the case. He just was interested in certain things in a, perhaps, different way.
GB: Yeah. So I think that we have covered quite a lot: various aspects, Fellows, research, professors, social life, dancing –
EE: [Laughs] Oh yes.
GB: –lunches, the Blisses, the United Nations –
EE: Perhaps I should – I don’t think that came up, actually, that we were invited also at the Blisses. I mean we Fellows. That may have been at the end of the year, but I don’t remember. Maybe in connection with a symposium or something, which was very nice, of course. So I saw their house and –
GB: Their house in Georgetown. So they really cared. I mean it was – they were present and they were engaged. They were really active.
EE: It was their children.
GB: Yeah, yeah indeed. Yep. Yep. Wonderful.
EE: Well, thank you very much.
GB: Oh, I would – it’s my pleasure.
EE: Do you know how to turn it off?