James Magill – 1

Name of interviewee:  James Magill
Date of birth/age at interview:  July 4, 1912/73
Interviewer:  Rita Durrant
Interview date:  August 6, 1985
Interview location:  New Hope
Interview length:  45 minutes
Time span discussed:  1920 to 1985

Summary:  In this first of two interviews Mr. Magill touches on his family history, his World War II assignments, his early professional life, and his eventual return to New Hope. His general review of numerous artists helps place them in the town however it is not clear how well he knew many of the people he talks about. He mentions many New Hope buildings and institutions like Phillips Mill, Lambertville, and the Playhouse. (Note: Tape has some background static.)

Time markers:
00:08 – born in Carversville, father a doctor, move to New Hope
01:08 – clerking with congressman and subsequent jobs in Washington, DC
02:05 – married to Frances Hickok 1939, Pearl Harbor, enlists in Navy, three years on East Coast
03:22 – Customs Service in Norfolk and Philadelphia until retirement 1962
03:39 – roots in New Hope area; lived in old house in Washington Crossing Park
04:30 – moved to father’s house on North Main Street
05:30 – New Hope volunteer jobs on various boards
05:50 – interest in art; father accomplished artist, exhibited at Phillips’ Mill
08:00 – Magill family in Solebury Township since 1726; original Magills and their homestead in Carversville; Quaker family roots; childhood memories
11:50 – Joseph Pickett’s studio, work discussed
13:10 – painters in the valley, New Hope School; William LathropDaniel GarberEdward RedfieldRobert SpencerRae BredinHarry Leith-RossJohn Folinsbee, Walter Baum
17:15 – Edward Redfield painting in winter
18:00 – Garber painted in summer, etched in winter
19:50 – Redfield particular; biography from the Phillips’ Mill 50th anniversary show catalogue
21:46 – Phillips’ Mill Community Association activities; Emily Leith-Ross playwright , Dorothy Sommer composer
25:00 – Bucks County artists Nelson ShanksRanulph Bye and his wife Glenna L.ByeGeorge AnthonisenPaul Mathews, and Charles Wells
28:11 – architecture of houses in Lambertville and New Hope
29:36 – New Hope buildings: Parry Mansion, Logan Inn, Dr. Leiby’s house (Mansion Inn); New Hope roads; ferry across the river
32:14 – Parry Mansion, carriage house gallery; grist mill to 1937 or 1938
33:00 – Bucks County Playhouse opened in mill 1939; managers St. John Terrell, Richard Bennett, Theron Bamberger; first play Spring Time for Henry with Edward Everett Horton
35:05 – actors at Playhouse
36:30 – Don Walker; Don’s father and uncle grocery stores in New Hope and Lambertville
39:00 – running for mayor of New Hope; active Democrat 1932
41:30 – Congressional senior internship on aging (more on recording 2: minute 33:17)

James Magill interview 2.
James Magill MAM transcript.

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