New Oral Histories Published Online

Black and white photograph of two men and two women at a garden party in Rome in 1980
Emeline Hill Richardson (right) and her husband Lawrence Richardson Jr. at a 1980 Classical Summer School reception; to the left are Sophie Consagra and David Thompson (American Academy in Rome, Institutional Archive)

The American Academy in Rome’s Institutional Archive recently published three new oral histories: interviews of the sculptor Gilbert Franklin (1949 Fellow) and the artist Robert B. Green (1938 Fellow) and a joint interview of classicists Lawrence Richardson Jr. (1950 Fellow, 1979 Resident) and Emeline Hill Richardson (1952 Fellow, 1979 Resident). By making these interviews available free online, the Academy hopes to share the story of the Academy and that of its many notable Fellows and Residents.

Franklin, who died in 2004, was interviewed in 2000 by Bunny Harvey (1976 Fellow) in South Wellfleet, Massachusetts. Franklin was a faculty member at the Rhode Island School of Design for more than four decades, where he was instrumental in establishing RISD’s European Honors Program. He is known for many public statues, including the bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln in Providence’s Roger Williams Park.

Green, who died in 2007, was interviewed in 1999 by Anthony Corbeill (1995 Fellow) in Lawrence, Kansas. At the time, Green was a retired professor at Kansas University. His interview provides fascinating insight into Academy life during the period just before the Second World War.

The interview of Lawrence and Emeline Richardson was conducted in 1995 by Jewell Fenzi in Durham, North Carolina. Lawrence (known by all as Larry) arrived at AAR in 1947 as a member of the first group of Fellows to arrive when the Academy reopened after the war, and he stayed at the Academy, on and off, for the next seven years. He played a crucial role in the AAR-led excavations at Cosa and directed the excavations in 1953–54. Later, he served as Andrew W. Mellon Professor-in-Charge of the School of Classical Studies (1980–81) and was also a longtime Trustee (1969–96).

Emeline Hill Richardson was also a classical archaeologist and a well-known Etruscan scholar. She arrived at AAR in 1949, where she met Larry while conducting research at Cosa. They married in 1952. The Richardsons were a familiar presence in the summer at the Academy for decades—frequently accompanied by their Airedale terriers—and gave legendary parties. When Emeline died in 1999, Larry established a Pre-Doctoral Rome Prize Fellowship in Ancient Studies in her name.

With the addition of these new oral histories, fourteen audio or video interviews are now available on AAR’s Digital Humanities Center, along with transcriptions. More will be posted in the coming months, and as restrictions on the publishing of interviews set by the subjects expire.

“Publishing these interviews online represents the culmination of a decades-long collaborative project, one which I am proud to have taken a small part in,” said Catie Heitz, AAR’s Institutional Archivist. “I am grateful to all of the past contributors to the oral history project for their foresight and efforts to record these interviews when they did; without them we would be missing out on these significant perspectives on Academy history.”

The AAR’s oral history project first began in 1993. Since that date, the project has resulted in interviews with James Ackerman, Jack Beeson, Richard Brilliant, Elliot Carter, Karin Einaudi, Lukas Foss, Carmela Franklin, Gilbert Franklin, Elaine Gazda, Katherine Geffcken, Robert Berkeley Green, Walker Hancock, Lester Little, Lucy Shoe Meritt, James Packer, Gifford Proctor, Michael Putnam, Lawrence Richardson Jr. and Emeline Hill Richardson, Laurance Roberts, Roger Scudder, and Yehudi Wyner. These iconic AAR figures were expertly interviewed by Kathryn Alexander, Elizabeth Bartman, Adele Chatfield-Taylor, Anthony Corbeill, Linda Edgerly, Harry Evans, Jewell Fenzi, Bunny Harvey, Julie Heskel, Sebastian Hierl, Arthur Keiger, Lynne Lancaster, Paul Moravec, and Bill Smith.

To get in touch with the Institutional Archives, email archives [at] (archives[at]aarome[dot]org).

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