Oral Histories

Interview of Katharane Edson Mershon

Dancer. University of California, Berkeley ballet teacher and administrator of the Denishawn Company's dance school. Interviewed because of connection to Katherine Philips Edson, a political activist for California's Progressive Party.
Katherine Philips Edson Remembered
Politics and Government
Braitman, Jacqueline R.
Mershon, Katharane Edson
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewee Retained Copyright
Katharane Edson Mershon: Mershon stays in Antelope Valley with grandparents when parents move to Los Angeles; poor relationship with her mother; takes care of her brother Philips; celebrities visit Charles and Katherine's home in Los Angeles; ethnic background of family; visiting the Farwells in Chicago; the campaign for pure milk; the Hollywood Bowl; Katherine Philips Edson has belt designed to help women cannery workers; Dr. George Cole inspires Katherine on milk and cannery issues; Charles has the ideas, Katherine puts them into action; Hiram W. Johnson; the Los Angeles Friday Morning Club and National League of Women Voters; deterioration of parents' marriage; the People's Orchestra; Mershon attends Westlake School for Girls; learns Balinese; Katherine won't let Mershon go to college; United States Senator Charles Benjamin Farwell and daughters; Mershon meets husband Harry Gray; touring the United States as a professional ballroom dancing team; Mershon joins Serge Oukrainsky and Andreas Pavley in Chicago for ballet training; Charles Farwell Edson, Jr.'s hostility toward his father; divorce from Harry Gray; marries Jack Mershon and moves to Bali; Murda, Mershon's adopted Balinese son; living with her mother in San Francisco; teaching ballet at the University of California, Berkeley; administering the Denishawn school; Mershon's relationships with her brothers; helps mother with hair and clothing; Mershon's parents argue about money; family income; Katherine Philips Edson a realist, Charles Edson a dreamer; Katherine's miscarriages; Margaret Mead in Bali; Antelope Valley almond ranch; Katherine Philips Edson converts to Unitarianism and raises children in that faith; Mershon's brother Philips afflicted with infantile paralysis; Maude Philips, Katherine's younger sister; Mershon dances in Vienna and Paris; returns to California because of mother's illness; travels to Angkor Wat; the seated dance of Imario; Mershon and Balinese resent Margaret Mead; Jane Belo and Colin McPhee in Bali; Mershon works as secretary to Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki; donates Katherine Philips Edson's papers to UCLA; Noel Coward's limerick about Mershon and husband Jack; Katherine Philips Edson's great interest in women and industry; Mershon dances for Pavlova in New Orleans; works as an "owl" during World War II; divorce from Jack Mershon; meets famous people through Suzuki; how Charles Farwell Edson, Sr., and Katherine Philips Edson met.