Oral Histories

Interview of John Palmer Leeper

Assistant to the director of the Pasadena Art Museum and director of the Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum.
Pasadena Art Museum: John Palmer and Blanche Magurn Leeper
Oral History of the Pasadena Art Museum
Biographical Note:
Assistant to the director of the Pasadena Art Museum and director of the Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum.
Ratner, Joanne L.
Leeper, John Palmer
Persons Present:
Tape I, Side One: John Leeper and Ratner, Tape I, Side Two and Tape II: Leeper, Blanche Magurn Leeper, and Ratner.
Place Conducted:
Tape I: Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas; Tape II: Leeper's home on the museum grounds in Pasadena, California.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Joanne L. Ratner, UCLA Oral History Program; B.A., American Studies/Art History, Scripps College; M.A., Art History/Museum Studies, University of Southern California.Ratner prepared for the interview by reviewing a variety of materials directly related to the Pasadena Art Museum, including minutes of the executive committee from 1958 to 1974, calendars of events, exhibition catalogs and reviews, scrapbooks, newspaper and magazine articles, California Design files, and essays, brochures, and speeches pertaining to the museum's early history. In addition, Ratner read relevant interviews conducted by the UCLA Oral History Program for its Los Angeles Art Community: Group Portrait series.
Processing of Interview:
Virginia Carew, assistant editor, edited the interview. She checked the verbatim transcript of the interview against the original tape recordings, edited for punctuation, paragraphing, and spelling, and verified proper names. Words and phrases inserted by the editor have been bracketed. The edited transcript was sent to the Leepers in January of 1990 for review. They verified the spellings of proper names by telephone. Richard Candida Smith, principal editor, prepared the table of contents. Richard Iosty, editorial assistant, prepared the biographical summary and interview history. Lisa White, editorial assistant, compiled the index.
2 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
This series focuses on the history of the Pasadena Museum of Art and its role as a pathbreaking venue for contemporary art in Southern California in the 1960s.
TAPE NUMBER: I, Side One (May 9, 1988)John Leeper's education--Marriage to Blanche Magurn--Job at the Corcoran Gallery of Art--Hired as director of the Pasadena Art Institute in 1950--Responsibilities as director--Walter Arensberg--The Los Angeles art community in the early 1950s--Previous directors of the Pasadena Art Museum--Exhibition policy--Implementing a contemporary program featuring local artists- Other exhibitions--Juried shows--"Masterpiece of the Month"--Anticommunism and art.