An Afternoon with the Author


On November 4, guests filled the Harvard Faculty Club to hear curator and author Marjorie B. Cohn (known to us as Jerry) discuss her recently published biography of Joseph Pulitzer Jr. While Pulitzer is best known as editor and publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, he was also a discerning and passionate collector of art. With access to a wealth of files (“Joe never threw anything away”) and interviews with close acquaintances, she was able to produce a vivid portrait of the collector.

During her talk, Jerry took us from Pulitzer’s youth, when he purchased six Picassos upon graduating from college, through his seasoned years, when he commissioned site-specific installations by Richard Serra. Jerry also shared some amusing discoveries from Pulitzer’s files, including a “recommendation” letter for his application to Harvard that described him as not particularly keen nor of the best moral influence. (He still managed to be admitted in the fall of 1932.)

Following the talk, Emily Rauh Pulitzer, wife of Joseph and a fellow collector, joined Jerry to answer questions from the audience. Afterwards, guests enjoyed a reception and book signing.

The biography, Classic Modern: The Art Worlds of Joseph Pulitzer Jr., is available for purchase online.

Watch Jerry’s lecture in the video below and see photos from the event on Flickr.

Video by Harvard University Media Production Center