JOSEPHINE (JODIE) McGOWAN
Oral History Project
The Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit
Oral History Project United States Courts
The Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit
District of Columbia Circuit
JOSEPHINE (JODIE) MCGOWAN
Interviews conducted by:
Traci S. Grigg
First Interview: August 3, 2006
Second Interview: August 10, 2006
Third Interview: (retaped) June 20, 2008
Fourth Interview: October 5, 2006
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Preface .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . i
Oral History Agreements
Josephine (Jodie) McGowan Gardner. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iii
Traci S. Grigg. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .v
Oral History Transcript of Interviews:
First interview: August 3, 2006. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1
Second interview: August 10, 2006. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20
Third interview: retaped June 20, 2008. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36
Fourth interview: October 5, 2006. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44
Index. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A-1
Joseph McGowan Gardner.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . B-1
Judith S. Feigin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . B-3
The following pages record interviews conducted on the dates indicated. The interviews
were electronically recorded, and the transcription was subsequently reviewed and edited
by the interviewee.
The contents hereof and all literary rights pertaining hereto are governed by, and are
subject to, the Oral History Agreements included herewith.
© 2008 Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit.
All rights reserved.
The goal of the Oral History Project of the Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit
is to preserve the recollections of the judges who sat on the Courts of the District of Columbia
Circuit and lawyers, court staff, and others who played important roles in the history of the
Circuit. The Project began in 1991. Interviews are conducted by volunteers, trained by the
Society, who are members of the Bar of the District of Columbia.
Indexed transcripts of these interviews and related documents are available in the Judges’ Library
in the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse, 333 Constitution Avenue, N.W.,
Washington, D.C., the Library of Congress, and the library of the Historical Society of the
District of Columbia. With the permission of the person being interviewed, oral histories are
also available on the internet through the Society’s web site, www.dcchs.org.
Such original audio tapes of the interviews as exist, as well as the original diskettes of the
transcripts (in WordPerfect format) are in the custody of the Society.
INTERVIEWEE ORAL HISTORY AGREEMENT
Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit
Oral History Agreement of
1. In consideration of the recording and preservation of my oral history memoir by
the Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit, Washington, D.C., and its employees
and agents (hereinafter “the Society”), I,~~P#/&M’hA IM 6MZM/6% hereby grant and
convey to the Society and its successors and assigns all of my rights, title, and interest in the tape
recordings, transcripts and computer diskette of my interviews as described in Schedule A hereto,
including literary rights and copyrights. All copies of the tapes, transcripts and diskette are
subject to the same restrictions herein provided.
2. I also reserve for myself and to the executor of my estate the right to use the tapes,
transcripts and diskette and their content as a resource for any book, pamphlet, article or other
writing of which I or my executor may be the author or co-author.
3. I authorize the Society to duplicate, edit, publish, including publication on the
internet, and permit the use of said tape recordings, transcripts and diskette in any manner that
the Society considers appropriate, and I waive any claims I may have or acquire to any royalties
from such use.
SWORN TO AND SUBSCRIBED before me this
? dayof 79 ,2008.
My Commission expires /D -s/-//
, 2OOg, by Stephen J. Pollak, President of -tc ACCEPTED this &-day of
the Historical Society of
Tape recording(s) and transcript(s) resulting from 4 interviews of
JTL~m~~~ ILt&dn a- (Number) 6 ow0 on the following dates:
3 6- 43
The transcripts of the 1-( interviews are contained on 5 diskette(s).
INTERVIEWER ORAL HISTORY AGREEMENT
Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit
Oral Historv Agreement of
1. Having agreed to conduct an oral history interview with zd& r/, 6 GDuG~ct dner
for the Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit, Washington, D.C., and its
employees and agents (hereinafter “the Society”), I, \ .ILL 1 5 G P , do hereby grant and
convey to the Society and its successors and assigns, all of my right, titlg and interest in the tape
recordings, transcripts and computer diskette of interviews, as described in Schedule A hereto,
including literary rights and copyrights.
2. I authorize the Society to duplicate, edit, publish, including publication on the
internet, or permit the use of said tape recordings, transcripts and diskette in any manner that the
Society considers appropriate, and I waive any claims I may have or acquire to any royalties from
3. I agree that I will make no use of the interview or the information contained
therein until it is concluded and edited, or until I receive permission from the Society.
[Signature of Interviewer ]7 Date
TO ’ SUBSCRTBED before me this
day of RGU C, 4I ,2099-
My Commission expires 03-i@–t9 [y,
the Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit.
day of &rrU- Jy , 200eby Stephen J. Pollak, President of
Tape recording(s) and transcript(s) resulting from -4 interviews of
Date (Month, Day, Year) & Title Number of Tapes Transcript
The transcripts of the 1-( interviews are contained on diskette(s).
ORAL HISTORY OF JODIE GARDNER
First Interview, August 3, 2006
This interview of Jodie Gardner is being conducted for the District of Columbia Circuit
Oral History Project on August 3, 2006, at the home of Mrs. Gardner in Washington, D.C. by
Traci Grigg. This is Tape 1.
Mrs. Grigg: Mrs. Gardner can you please state your full name for the record and the year you
Mrs. Gardner: Josephine McGowan Gardner. I was born in Dover, Massachusetts, in 1920.
Everyone calls me Jodie. Nobody’s allowed to call me Josephine.
Mrs. Grigg: You told me before we started that you used Josephine in one of your marriages.
Mrs. Gardner: My first marriage. I was married by a bishop and I had to do the right thing. So I
said, “I, Josephine, take thee Carl.” But my second marriage I was married by an
Episcopal minister. I said, “Can I use Jodie?” and he said, “Of course.” With my
second husband I married using Jodie.
Mrs. Grigg: Let’s go back to where you were born and talk about your childhood.
Mrs. Gardner: I was the youngest of five children. When I was born all four of my siblings and
my mother had whooping cough. The only people that didn’t were my father and
Mrs. Grigg: My goodness.
Mrs. Gardner: But I didn’t catch whooping cough till the next year. I had it when I was a year
old. I guess that was safer than having it when I was an hour old. And I grew up
in a lovely big house in Dover, Massachusetts. We had hills. We had good
coasting in the winter and there was a pond so we could skate and it was just a
wonderful place to grow up. The reason my parents moved from Boston to
Dover was because there was a very good school, an elementary school.
– 2 –
Mrs. Grigg: Did you and all of your brothers and sisters go to the elementary school?
Mrs. Gardner: They all went there and, of course, I went there long after they did. So, in a way,
I was an only child because I was the end of the line. But on the other hand, I did
have these wonderful brothers and sisters that I looked up to and adored. And I
just had a very happy childhood. In the summers we went to Nahant, MA, which
is one the ocean. We had a big house there and were surrounded by cousins and
friends. Of course, the swimming was wonderful and sailing and tennis. It was a
wonderful place to be in the summer.
Mrs. Grigg: How old was the next youngest sibling?
Mrs. Gardner: Two and a half years old. My brother. He’s the only one left now so we’re very
close and we talk every Saturday.
Mrs. Grigg: That’s nice.
Mrs. Gardner: He’s in Boston.
Mrs. Grigg: Do you have any stories you want to share from your school days? Elementary
school, high school?
Mrs. Gardner: I don’t think I better.
Mrs. Grigg: Yes, you can.
Mrs. Gardner: My granddaughter made a little booklet for Mother’s Day. It was empty. She
sent it to me and said, “Grandma, please write down the naughty things you did
when you were growing up.” So I wrote down a lot of naughty things. I’m very
aware of them but I don’t think I better put them in this particular place.
Mrs. Grigg: You don’t want to share even one?
Mrs. Gardner: No, I don’t think I want to share them. I was naughty, no question about that.
– 3 –
Mrs. Grigg: Are you sure you don’t want to tell us one story?
Mrs. Gardner: Well, all right. We used to have ice cream every Sunday. It would be in an oldfashioned
freezer and it would be on the back porch with a dasher and
everything. One Sunday I couldn’t wait for lunch so I went out and I got into the
ice cream freezer. Then after I had my fill I was just running on the back lawn.
My father looked out the window and he saw this little figure and it was covered
with ice cream. So he came out and said, “Where have you been and what have
you been doing?” And I said, “This is paint and I was just in the garage.” “Well,
come and show me the paint,” my father said. So he took me to the garage and
we looked around it. There was green paint and red paint and black paint. But I
couldn’t find any white paint. So the truth came out and I wasn’t allowed any
candy for six weeks.
Mrs. Grigg: What did your father do?
Mrs. Gardner: He was an investment banker.
Mrs. Grigg: In Boston?
Mrs. Gardner: In Boston.
Mrs. Grigg: And your mother?
Mrs. Gardner: My mother was a mother of five and involved in all kinds of charities.
Mrs. Grigg: And your grandparents? Can you talk about your grandparents?
Mrs. Gardner: They were great. My grandfather also started the investment company that my
father went into and then my brother went into.
Mrs. Grigg: And what’s the name of that company?
– 4 –
Mrs. Gardner: Arthur Perry & Company. They lived in a big house on Marlborough Street in
Boston, which we eventually inherited. They also lived in Nahant. In fact, they
owned the houses in Nahant that we went to. I was pretty young then. They died
when I was twelve. My siblings knew them better than I did. But they were very
fine people. They were Quakers.
Mrs. Grigg: Were your parents Quakers too?
Mrs. Gardner: Yes they were.
Mrs. Grigg: So you were raised in a Quaker household?
Mrs. Gardner: I was raised a Quaker but I became an Episcopalian. I’m an Episcopalian and a
Quaker, which is a rather odd combination.
Mrs. Grigg: Did you go to Quaker meetings weekly?
Mrs. Gardner: Not very often because it was in Cambridge and we were in Dover and it was 50
to 60 minutes away. We actually went to a Congregational church in Wellesley
which was only four miles away.
Mrs. Grigg: And your grandparents’ house, was that in Dover or Boston?
Mrs. Gardner: Boston.
Mrs. Grigg: So when your parents inherited it did the family move to Boston or did you stay
Mrs. Gardner: We gave up Nahant. We moved to Boston in the winter and to Dover in the
summer. It was a great blow to me when we gave up Nahant. The other children
were older and had moved on. I was 15 when we left. I loved it. I’ve never quite
gotten over it.
– 5 –
Mrs. Grigg: I can tell. You were born in 1920, is that what you said? What happened when
the Depression hit?
Mrs. Gardner: There were a lot of complaints from my father. A great many. He was not very
fond of Roosevelt. Not a bit fond of Roosevelt. He said he was no businessman.
He complained about him. And then in the end when I wanted to marry Carl
McGowan, Carl thought Roosevelt was just fine. My father had fits about my
marrying Carl. But I went ahead and married him anyway. They gave me a
beautiful wedding. And then, of course, they came around. It was okay.
Mrs. Grigg: When I spoke to you before we started this tape, you had a story about what your
parents objected to about your first husband. Do you want to share it?
Mrs. Gardner: They objected to Carl because, in the first place, he was poor; in the second place,
he was for Roosevelt; in the third place, he went to Dartmouth and my family
were all Harvard; and in the fourth place, he came from the Midwest instead of
Boston or New England. So he was pretty bad. Fortunately, Daddy did live long
enough to know that he was appointed a federal judge. Carl was very involved
with Adlai Stevenson. He was his legal advisor and very involved in the
presidential campaign. Daddy was very impressed about that. So it all worked
out. But it was rough in the beginning.
Mrs. Grigg: In a later session we’ll talk more about the beginning of your marriage and your
interaction with your parents. Did your father get through the Depression without
taking a huge financial hit?
– 6 –
Mrs. Gardner: He got through. But he complained every morning at the breakfast table. But we
didn’t give up anything. I kept going to private school. We kept living in these
Mrs. Grigg: Where did you go to school?
Mrs. Gardner: I went to Charles River School, which was an elementary school: first through
seventh grade, or sixth grade. Then I went to Winsor School in Boston, it’s a
girls’ school. I was in a carpool. Five of us every day. Then I did leave for one
year because this was traditional. Mother sent her daughters to Westtown School,
which was a Quaker boarding school, for one year. Mother’s theory was that
when the daughter was about 13 or 14 she became very difficult and the thing to
do was to send her to boarding school for a year, which was what she did to all
three of us. I think my sisters liked it. I hated it. One reason I hated it was
because my cousin was a very dear friend of mine, we were very close. She went
the year before I did and she hated it. So obviously I arrived hating it. Oddly, my
second husband went to the same school years before I did.
Mrs. Grigg: Isn’t that funny? Small world. So then you came back and you finished up at
Winsor School, and then?
Mrs. Gardner: Then I made my debut. I suppose I have to tell you that.
Mrs. Grigg: Yes, you do.
Mrs. Gardner: I took a whole year off between school and college. I was young, I was 17. My
parents gave me a reception at their Marlborough Street house… It was a
beautiful house. Then they gave me a dance. The rest of the time I went to
dances and teas and lunches. Coming-out was a big thing back in 1937. Only
– 7 –
two serious things, if you could call them serious; I joined the Junior League and
learned something about community service. We debutantes also put on a show
for the benefit of St. Vincent’s Hospital and that was great fun. It was really a
review but it was in a theater. Real stuff, real theater. But that was fun. Those
were the only two things I did that were worthwhile. Fortunately, I had already
been accepted to college, I knew I was going to college the next year. I didn’t
have to worry about that.
Mrs. Grigg: Did you date a lot of young men during that year?
Mrs. Gardner: My brother was two and a half years older than I and we shared friends. His
friends were my friends and my friends were his friends. We did a great deal
together. We went on skiing weekends and things like that. Sort of more of a
group activity than solo. Then the next year I went to Bryn Mawr College, which
I loved, for four years.
Mrs. Grigg: What was your major?
Mrs. Gardner: History of Art. Very pleasant. I had a lot of friends. I liked Bryn Mawr very
Mrs. Grigg: Can you share some stories from Bryn Mawr?
Mrs. Gardner: Stories? (laughing)
Mrs. Grigg: Do you remember any of your professors or your roommates? Did you keep in
touch with college professors?
Mrs. Gardner: I had a little problem, as did some of my friends. In order to graduate, you had to
pass an oral exam in French and German. I wasn’t terribly good at that. Several
of my friends weren’t either. So we went back early in our senior year and stayed
– 8 –
on campus and we tutored in German and French and we took the orals before the
school year started. If we hadn’t passed them we wouldn’t have graduated.
Fortunately we all passed them and we all graduated. But that was intense.
Mrs. Grigg: I can see how that might have been. Did you stay in touch with any of your
roommates over the years? Did everyone drift in different directions?
Mrs. Gardner: I went to Washington because the war was on. We went to save the world! I
lived with six girls. Two of them were my classmates. I remember this
incredible house. We had a fairy godmother, the mother of one of the girls. She
provided a cook and a maid.
Mrs. Grigg: Oh my goodness.
Mrs. Gardner: She provided fresh eggs. She provided kindling wood. She provided an art
collection. Picassos, Modiglianis, Roualls, etc.
Mrs. Grigg: Here in Washington? As a young graduate?
Mrs. Gardner: Yes. Yes.
Mrs. Grigg: Oh my goodness.
Mrs. Gardner: It was incredible, it really was. And the one thing that was fun was that we were
all in different agencies so we all had different stories. It was great.
Mrs. Grigg: Can you explain what agency you were at and where your friends were at?
Mrs. Gardner: I was with OSS. Lettie Crosby was with Louis Douglas who was head of the
Bureau of Ships, maybe. I can’t really remember. Margie McCloud, a classmate,
was in Army decoding. Nancy Zinsser was secretary to Jack McCloy, the
Secretary of the Army. Helen Resor was in the War Shipping Department. It was
– 9 –
great fun. And finally, Lettie, the first one to leave us, went overseas with the Red
Mrs. Grigg: Which one of these had the mother who was the fairy godmother?
Mrs. Gardner: Helen Resor. She really was something. What a way to live in the war!
Mrs. Grigg: And where was the house?
Mrs. Gardner: The house was in Georgetown.
Mrs. Grigg: Do you remember the street?
Mrs. Gardner: It was 31st Street. One thing that amuses me to look back on is that it was hot and,
of course, no air conditioning in those days. So we would take our pillows and
go out and lie on the grass to sleep at night. Can you imagine doing that in
Mrs. Grigg: No.
Mrs. Gardner: There was no problem. No fear of anything like that. The only kind of cool air I
remember was that the theaters had pictures of icicles around the outside of the
theater because they were air-conditioned. That was the only thing that was airconditioned
in those days and it was hot.
Mrs. Grigg: Were these movie theaters or —
Mrs. Gardner: Movie theaters. We would take the bus to work. One very nice thing was, there
was a house with 12 gentlemen in it and they had a fabulous butler named
Johnson. Now, Johnson and his wife had been with the Dean Achesons as their
help. Then Johnson and his wife split up. Mrs. Acheson felt she could not take
sides. She fired them both. Mr. Acheson had a fit. Johnson was a marvelous
butler. He didn’t want him to be fired at all. But Mrs. Acheson said she would
– 10 –
not take sides. So Johnson went to live with these men and the parties they had
Mrs. Grigg: And the men were probably all in their 20s or 30s?
Mrs. Gardner: Yes. A lot of them were married because they came to Washington in the war.
Mrs. Grigg: And left their wives back at home?
Mrs. Gardner: Yes. One of those men was Carl McGowan.
Mrs. Grigg: Before we get to how you met Carl McGowan, can you tell me what you did for
Mrs. Gardner: I was in what was called the Foreign Nationalities Branch and we were checking
up on the foreigners in the country, what they were doing, whether they were up
to mischief. That was our job.
Mrs. Grigg: How did you do that? It was pre-computers.
Mrs. Gardner: No, not in those days.
Mrs. Grigg: That’s what I mean. How did you do the checking up?
Mrs. Gardner: We had a large file cabinet with everybody listed in it. Whenever we knew
anything we added it to the file.
Mrs. Grigg: Reading in the paper?
Mrs. Gardner: Read all the foreign papers.
Mrs. Grigg: Did you have to go to embassy parties to get information? Did people call you up
and report on them?
Mrs. Gardner: No. Of course, there was a chairman of each country. Somebody was in charge
of Italy and somebody else was in charge of Germany. It was interesting.
Mrs. Grigg: How long did you do that?
– 11 –
Mrs. Gardner: 1942 to ’44. Just two years, I guess.
Mrs. Grigg: So you were 22 to 24. You had two brothers?
Mrs. Gardner: Two brothers. None of my family was in the war. My family was very lucky.
Now, Finley, my dear brother who is still alive, was a conscientious objector.
Mrs. Grigg: You were Quakers?
Mrs. Gardner: My other brother had eyes that kept him out. I had two brothers-in-law that both
had bad backs. So really we were incredibly lucky. My poor aunt had four sons
and they were all in it. I’m sure she felt a little badly about my family.
Mrs. Grigg: Did all your cousins make it back?
Mrs. Gardner: They all made it back.
Mrs. Grigg: That’s remarkable. Do you want to go to the house with the 12 gentlemen? How
did you meet up with them?
Mrs. Gardner: I met Carl through Alverta, who was my roommate from Philadelphia. She had an
older brother who knew all these people and she invited Carl to dinner when she
had a friend coming down from Philadelphia. So she wanted to have some nice
men for dinner. She invited Carl for Alice Clement, but unfortunately for Alice
Clement, Carl saw me. So that’s how we met.
Mrs. Grigg: She didn’t just invite Carl to dinner, did she invite other men from the house?
Mrs. Gardner: Must have. I don’t remember them. But actually, nothing much happened until
the following spring because there was lots of coming and going. Lots of other
men went overseas and we would make brownies and send them to them. Then I
had a man that sent me a jewel, a beautiful diamond and sapphire pin. And I was
falling in love with Carl. So I did something that I guess was a terrible thing to
– 12 –
do, but I wrapped it up and sent it to his mother. I mean, what do you do? I felt
very moral. (laughing)
Mrs. Grigg: That was a good solution.
Mrs. Gardner: He got word over in Africa that his mother received the pin; he was not very
happy about it. And years later he married a nurse and came back. I always
wondered if she was wearing my pin. It was awfully pretty.
Mrs. Grigg: By then you were already dating Carl?
Mrs. Gardner: Married to him.
Mrs. Grigg: So when did you first meet Carl? When was that first date?
Mrs. Gardner: That was in September. I got there the summer and I met him in September. But
we saw a lot of other people overall and this guy that sent me the diamond pin
and others and the people we were making brownies for, and so forth. Carl was
in the Navy Intelligence but he did not leave, he was in Washington working for
the Secretary of the Navy.
Mrs. Grigg: And so you became a couple in the spring?
Mrs. Gardner: In the spring. I had a lot of trouble getting married, a lot of opposition. But we
got married in January of ’45.
Mrs. Grigg: Let’s go back to your courtship. What sort of things would you do when you
Mrs. Gardner: He would borrow a car because he was poor.
Mrs. Grigg: He didn’t have a Picasso in his house?
Mrs. Gardner: No! He borrowed his roommate’s car. Although he had no money, he took me
dancing a few times. It was a little hard for us.
– 13 –
Mrs. Grigg: You would just spend time walking?
Mrs. Gardner: Well, I guess we went walking. I remember once we went canoeing down where
they used to have a concert at the Watergate. Everybody would sit on the steps
and we were in the canoe. Alverta and another guy would canoe with us. Alverta
and I giggled all the way because it was so hard on them. They weren’t used to
Mrs. Grigg: Carl was in Navy Intelligence, was he able to talk about his work much with you?
Mrs. Gardner: I don’t think so.
Mrs. Grigg: In later years did he share it with you once it was no longer classified?
Mrs. Gardner: He worked for Adlai Stevenson in the Navy. That’s where he sort of started that
relationship. But I don’t remember much about it.
Mrs. Grigg: Where did you get married?
Mrs. Gardner: Carl is from Paris, Illinois. My father said I could not marry him until I went out
to Paris, Illinois, and met his parents. So I got on the train and I went out to
Paris, Illinois, and he met me and took me to meet his parents. Then we went
uptown in Paris and we ran into a leading citizen and he said, “Oh, you’ve come
out to look us over have you?” He was so right! And, anyway, I did that. Then
when I was going home my friend Barbara McNomee, who lived in Albany,
invited me to come and visit her. So my train from Paris, Illinois, went right
through Albany where she lived so I just got off there. She thought that I was
coming from Boston. She was on the track where the trains were coming from
Boston, whereas I was on the track over where they were coming from Paris,
Illinois. It was quite funny. She finally caught on.
– 14 –
Mrs. Grigg: Did Carl make this trip with you?
Mrs. Gardner: No, he was going out to California. He was involved in oil in naval oil fields. We
went our separate ways. He left Paris to go to California and I left Paris to go to
Mrs. Grigg: When you went to Paris were you already engaged?
Mrs. Gardner: Yes, I guess, except we weren’t allowed to be.
Mrs. Grigg: Was there a formal moment when he asked you to marry him or did you just
understand it was going to happen?
Mrs. Gardner: I got married in January.
Mrs. Grigg: And in the fall were you both in D.C. then?
Mrs. Gardner: I was at home.
Mrs. Grigg: You were in Boston and had left the OSS?
Mrs. Gardner: Because Carl was furious at them and my parents were furious at him and I was
in the middle. It was a very unhappy time for me I can tell you. Well, anyway, it
all turned out fine. They gave me a lovely wedding, I have to say that.
Mrs. Grigg: Did your siblings come to your rescue? Did they weigh in on this?
Mrs. Gardner: They weren’t particularly helpful.
Mrs. Grigg: And you were married in Boston? And that was January of 1945. Then did you
go from there to Chicago or come back to D.C.?
Mrs. Gardner: We came back to D.C. because he was still in the Navy. Then when he got out of
the Navy he went into a law firm in Washington for a couple of years. And then
we went to Chicago and he went back to Northwestern Law School where he had
been teaching before the war.
– 15 –
Mrs. Grigg: When he was in the Navy he was already a lawyer? Where had he gone to law
Mrs. Gardner: Columbia.
Mrs. Grigg: So how much older was Judge McGowan than you?
Mrs. Gardner: Nine years.
Mrs. Grigg: Do you remember the name of the law firm in D.C.?
Mrs. Gardner: No.
Mrs. Grigg: By then had you started having your children?
Mrs. Gardner: Yes. I had a baby in ten months. Mary was born in D.C.
Mrs. Grigg: Did you socialize with the law firm wives?
Mrs. Gardner: Not particularly. It was a very small firm, for starters.
Mrs. Grigg: You could stay out of the politics of it then? And when did you move to
Chicago? What year was that?
Mrs. Gardner: 1948.
Mrs. Grigg: I’m sorry, when you went to Chicago he went to teach at Northwestern? Is that
the reason for going to Chicago?
Mrs. Gardner: Yes. By then I had two children. Two little girls. He had the most dreadful
house for me.
Mrs. Grigg: In Chicago or here?
Mrs. Gardner: In Chicago. In Evanston, Illinois. He rented this house. It was a big house. It
was awful. Mother and Daddy sent me out with a temporary nurse for the two
girls which was very nice. And when we arrived at Chicago in this house, the
first night we caught seven mice in the fireplace! That should tell you something.
– 16 –
It was just a dreadful house. We lived there about six dreary months and then we
bought a house in Wilmette. We moved into this house in April. And then in
August we went back to Dover, Massachusetts, where my parents were living to
visit. We went out to cocktails at my brother’s house in Dover. There was a
telephone call for Carl and he came back and said, “Well, I‘m going to
Springfield. That was Governor Adlai Stevenson, he wants me to come to
Springfield to be his lawyer.” I said, “What about me?” He went to Springfield
and left me and the two girls in this house in Wilmette where I didn’t know
anybody. And he had a wonderful time. He lived in the governor’s mansion. He
had all his meals with the governor, which was wonderful.
Mrs. Grigg: He was in the governor’s mansion?
Mrs. Gardner: Yes. The governor was the best company in the world. All these people from all
around the world came to visit. And Carl loved it. I was up there in Wilmette
with two children, no help, didn’t know anybody, didn’t have any sitters. We
didn’t have television in those days. How did I survive?
Mrs. Grigg: Was he able to visit you on the weekends?
Mrs. Gardner: Oh yes. He came home every weekend. He had the best of both worlds. He
really did. And he was supposed to be looking for a house. But why should he
look for a house? He was in heaven. Finally in April — Mary, meanwhile, was in
junior kindergarten – so in April I went down and found a house right away and
then in June when Mary was through kindergarten we moved down.
Mrs. Grigg: And Carl had to move out of the mansion?
– 17 –
Mrs. Gardner: Yes he did. He still worked there, had lunch there. We both went there quite
Mrs. Grigg: What was he doing for the governor then?
Mrs. Gardner: Everything.
Mrs. Grigg: He was his right-hand man?
Mrs. Gardner: Yes.
Mrs. Grigg: This is before he ran for president.
Mrs. Gardner: He was governor. He ran for president in 1952. Carl went down there in 1950.
Mrs. Grigg: He moved to Springfield in 1950?
Mrs. Gardner: I guess so. John was born somewhere along there. I can’t remember which year
he was born in. He was born in Springfield.
Mrs. Grigg: In Springfield, did you develop your own group of friends?
Mrs. Gardner: We were pretty connected with the mansion. The governor had a lot of friends.
All sorts of people from all around the world came. We would always go to
dinners. One nice thing, I did have a very good sitter.
Mrs. Grigg: Did you develop your own group of women friends separate from the mansion?
Mrs. Gardner: They were part of the mansion.
Mrs. Grigg: Do you want to tell some stories about the world leaders you met?
Mrs. Gardner: It was pretty exciting. You see, Harry Truman announced that he was not going
to run in February. Then everybody, the whole country, turned to Adlai. He
faced a great deal of pressure. We took a trip in June out to the West Coast for
him to give a speech. By then he was being considered by everyone. He gave a
speech in Portland. Then we were to go down to see the governor of California.
– 18 –
This couple said they would drive us to San Francisco. So we started out driving
to San Francisco – the governor, Carl and me, and this man and his wife. The
governor could see that this was not going to work out. So after about a half an
hour he and Carl got out and got on a plane and flew, leaving me with this
dreadful couple driving on. We drove through the mountains in the dark and the
car lights went out. It was the most horrendous trip of my life. We stayed in a
motel. Then the next day as we were driving into San Francisco, he hit a woman!
Mrs. Grigg: A pedestrian or a car?
Mrs. Gardner: A pedestrian. He stopped. He finally dropped me off at my hotel.
Mrs. Grigg: Did you speak to your husband?
Mrs. Gardner: When they arrived I gave them quite a story of what I’d gone through. We had a
good time in San Francisco once they got there.
Mrs. Grigg: When you went from Chicago out to Portland, did you fly?
Mrs. Gardner: We flew. Then from San Francisco we went down to Santa Barbara.
Mrs. Grigg: When you flew from Chicago to Portland were you on a private governor’s plane
Mrs. Gardner: Commercial. But then we were on a State of Illinois plane. We had lunch with
Bob Hutchins, the president of the University of Chicago. Hutchins said, “I think
Taft is going to be the candidate.” I said, “Is that your opinion or did somebody
tell you?” Carl’s and the governor’s mouths fell open. You don’t say that to Bob
Hutchins. And Carl teased me about that the rest of my life.
Mrs. Grigg: Sounds fine to me. I was going to ask you that when you were sitting at meals
with all this political talk, did you speak up? You are a very forthright person.
– 19 –
Mrs. Gardner: Well I apparently did!
[STOPPED THE TAPE]
Mrs. Gardner: There was a lot of pressure, a lot of people coming from all over the country to
urge Stevenson to run. Remember I had three children.
Mrs. Grigg: Who stayed with your children when you went out to California to do the West
Mrs. Gardner: This comes later. I have a terrible story where Carl and I went out as soon as we
lost the election out there in Arizona with Adlai. As I went out the door the sitter
asked me, “When do the children get their aspirin?” I didn’t find that very
reassuring. And the night before we came home they stayed up all night!
Mrs. Grigg: You came home to very cranky children then.
Mrs. Gardner: It was a little bit of a problem, but I got sitters because I traveled during the
Mrs. Grigg: Let me ask you before we get to the campaign which we will do the next sessions,
when Carl was working for the governor where did your children go to school?
Some of them were babies but at least Mary was old enough.
Mrs. Gardner: Mary went to public school. She was in kindergarten. I guess Becky went to a
nursery school. John was a baby.
Mrs. Grigg: I think this might be a good stopping point. Then we’ll pick up next time with the
[THIS ENDS THE FIRST SESSION]
– 20 –
ORAL HISTORY OF JODIE GARDNER
Second Interview, August 10, 2006,
This is Tape 2 of the oral history of Jodie Gardner being conducted for the D.C. Circuit
Mrs. Grigg: All right, Mrs. Gardner, before we go forward, we’re going to go back a little bit
to the year you came out.
Mrs. Gardner: That was quite significant. A portrait painter lived next door. She came to dinner
and she saw me in my black velvet dress.
Mrs. Grigg: So the portrait —
Mrs. Gardner: She wanted to do my portrait in my black velvet dress but my parents didn’t think
they wanted my portrait in black velvet. My coming-out dress was yellow, they
opted for that. It was really fascinating; the artist entertained me the whole time
she was painting. She talked to me and told me her experiences and it was really
Mrs. Grigg: Do you remember her name?
Mrs. Gardner: Yes, Adelaide Chase.
Mrs. Grigg: And now that portrait is hanging in your daughter’s house, one of your daughter’s
Mrs. Gardner: Yes. It was in my parents’ house first and then I had it in Spring Valley. Now
Becky has it.
Mrs. Grigg: Do you like it; do you like the way it came out?
Mrs. Gardner: Yes.
– 21 –
Mrs. Grigg: The yellow dress instead of a white dress for coming-out; it was yellow back
Mrs. Gardner: It was a yellow dress.
Mrs. Grigg: Did you have it custom-made?
Mrs. Gardner: Oh, somewhat.
Mrs. Grigg: A seamstress. I realized when we talked last time, I don’t think I got your full
maiden name —
Mrs. Gardner: You actually want the whole thing?
Mrs. Grigg: The whole thing.
Mrs. Gardner: Josephine Vail Perry. Vail was my grandmother’s middle name. My
grandmother’s name was Agnes. Mother didn’t want to name me Agnes so she
gave me Vail. I don’t like Josephine, but I don’t like Agnes either. I guess she
did all right.
Mrs. Grigg: What was your father’s name?
Mrs. Gardner: Arthur Perry.
Mrs. Grigg: And your mother’s name?
Mrs. Gardner: Rebecca Hutton Perry.
Mrs. Grigg: And your grandparents on both sides?
Mrs. Gardner: Well, my grandmother was Agnes Vail Hutton and my grandfather was Finley
Hutton on my mother’s side and on my father’s side my grandmother was Emma
Foster Perry and my grandfather was Arthur Perry.
Mrs. Grigg: Was your dad a junior?
Mrs. Gardner: He was a junior and my brother was the III and my nephew was the IV.
– 22 –
Mrs. Grigg: Are they continuing the Arthur Perry name?
Mrs. Gardner: Yes, my great-nephew.
Mrs. Grigg: Oh, I see. Last time we left off, we were about to talk about Adlai Stevenson’s
run for the presidency and your role and your husband’s role in that.
Mrs. Gardner: Well, it all began when Harry Truman announced, I think, in March that he
wasn’t going to run. Then, all the attention centered on Adlai and everyone
flocked to Springfield, all the reporters and from then on he was watched –
everything he did – until the convention, which was in August. And in August –
the convention was in Chicago, which was very nice. He was the governor of
Mrs. Grigg: Yes.
Mrs. Gardner: And Bill Blair was an aide of Adlai. His parents gave their house in Chicago to
host Adlai for the week, and Adlai and Bill and Carl and I and Bill Blair’s butler
— five of us — stayed at this house for the week, which was quite exciting because
outside the door was the press. You couldn’t get in and out, and I couldn’t use
the telephone because Adlai needed it. I left three children in Springfield with a
sitter and I was a little anxious to check in on them. I couldn’t have the
telephone, I couldn’t get out the door, but Bill did help me in that there was a side
door that went to a garden; and on the other side of the garden was his
grandmother’s house. So I could go out there, across the garden, and into the
other house and call up and find out how my children were.
Mrs. Grigg: That’s fabulous.
– 23 –
Mrs. Gardner: Because that was the only way out. Otherwise, I would never have gotten
through. At the opening of the convention, the last governor of Illinois welcomed
everybody and he gave a fantastic speech. I spent the whole week at the
convention in the governor’s box with his sons. I felt a little bit responsible for
his sons because here was their father, this important man. I don’t know whether
he was divorced by then. Well, Mrs. Stevenson certainly wasn’t anywhere to be
Mrs. Grigg: How old were his sons?
Mrs. Gardner: Well, one was in middle school; I don’t know —
Mrs. Grigg: They were teenagers.
Mrs. Gardner: Yes. But anyway, I don’t think they felt they needed me.
Mrs. Grigg: A little chaperoning?
Mrs. Gardner: I felt a little responsible for them, but they didn’t need me. Anyway, so we lived
there and I guess I must have gone out every day and sat in the box to see what
was going on. Then, all day Friday the voting was going on. Adlai and Carl were
on the second floor writing his acceptance speech; and I was on the third floor by
myself with the television going. And I don’t even understand much about
politics. I thought Kefauver was winning. I was having a fit on the third floor all
by myself. Finally, I came down and found out Mr. Stevenson had been
nominated and this was 1:00 in the morning.
Mrs. Grigg: Oh, my goodness.
Mrs. Gardner: It was pretty late. The limousine was waiting outside, so we went out with all
these people screaming and yelling, and Bill put the governor in first so he would
– 24 –
be next to the window — and then he put me in next and then Carl — I think Bill
was in the jump seat and I think maybe the bodyguard in the front seat. As we
started off, Adlai who had just been nominated to be the president of the United
States, turned to me and said, “You must miss the children terribly.”
Mrs. Grigg: Oh, that was so sweet.
Mrs. Gardner: “Actually, Adlai,” I said, “I don’t miss them at all.” I didn’t say Adlai, I called
him Governor. “Governor, I don’t miss them at all.” So we went through the
streets, you know, people yelling and it was very exciting and got to the
stockyards where the convention was held. You know, it was terribly late but
everybody was there. It was exciting.
Mrs. Grigg: You had been watching it at the Blair house?
Mrs. Gardner: Right.
Mrs. Grigg: And then went down to the convention?
Mrs. Gardner: Right.
Mrs. Grigg: Wow, and so he gave his acceptance speech at 1:30 in the morning?
Mrs. Gardner: Yes, which was too bad in a way because a lot of people missed it because they
had gone to bed.
Mrs. Gardner: Right.
Mrs. Gardner: My aunt, who is a loyal Stevenson person, was watching on TV. She saw me in
the box. My parents had long since gone to bed. Besides, they were Republicans.
The next day I took the train back to Springfield to my children. Carl stayed
because they had to nominate the vice president and they returned to Springfield
on Sunday. From then on it was just wild. Carl spent all his time traveling and
– 25 –
working on the campaign. I went on a wonderful campaign trip. We went to
Hyde Park and Mrs. Roosevelt was on the platform to greet the governor, and we
went to the Roosevelt home and out to the garden. I think FDR was in the garden
and there was a little ceremony there. Then we went through the house. And that
was pretty incredible, seeing that house.
Mrs. Grigg: Oh, yes.
Mrs. Gardner: There was a rally in New York. Then we went across Massachusetts whistlestopping.
The governor of Massachusetts had no wife but he had a sister and the
sister was my responsibility. Oh, on the train, the governor had the last car; so,
again, it was the governor, Bill Blair, Bill’s butler, Carl and me – the same five
people were in that car all the way across Massachusetts. But I had to sit at the
table with the Massachusetts governor’s sister all the way, which was quite a
strain. Also, Bogie and Lauren Bacall were on the train; so, whenever we came to
a stop – there was always a stop – they were in some car further up and they
would walk through to be on the platform with Adlai. His sister was also on the
train, but I don’t think she was ever with them, just Bogie and Lauren – anyway,
finally, we got to Boston.
My parents knew we were coming to Boston, so they were waiting for us. Adlai’s
party was going to the Statler Hotel, so my parents were on the street corner
outside the Statler Hotel. When we arrived in Boston, Carl and – well, I should
say, the governor and Carl – went in the limousine and I was put in another
limousine with James Michael Curley – do you remember him? He was the
governor of Massachusetts who ended up in prison.
– 26 –
Mrs. Grigg: Could you say on the tape why he had gone to prison, do you recall?
Mrs. Gardner: No. He was a big Democrat and my parents were big Republicans. So, they were
standing on the corner to greet us and along comes the limousine and out comes
the governor; and, in a little while, out comes another limousine with their
daughter and James Michael Curley. It was quite a shock to them. The crowd
was all yelling for Curley so he pushed himself up so he was sitting on the back
of the seat and could wave to everybody. That was quite amusing. Then I went
home with my parents to 10 Marlborough Street. Carl stayed at the hotel with the
governor’s party. The next night they all came to dinner at my parents’ house,
which was pretty exciting. All of the governor’s party and all my brothers and
sisters, and this aunt who was for him. It was good fun; it was a nice party.
Mrs. Grigg: Your parents were able to entertain a Democrat?
Mrs. Gardner: Yes, they were, they were. In fact, when it came to vote, my mother was crazy
about Eisenhower so she was going to vote for Eisenhower. My father said
mother all his life had voted with him and done other votes the way he had told
her. He said, “I can’t vote against her but I can’t vote against Carl either, so I’m
not going to vote.”
Mrs. Grigg: Oh, that’s interesting.
Mrs. Gardner: Well, the next day we got on the train again and went through Connecticut. He
didn’t do so well in Connecticut. There was a rally where we were a little
disappointed in Bridgeport, or someplace like that. Then we went back to New
York. Well, I can’t really remember – then we were heading toward Illinois and
there was a prison riot in Illinois.
– 27 –
Mrs. Gardner: Oh, my goodness.
Mrs. Gardner: The governor got off the train, didn’t tell anybody, with Carl. They flew to
wherever the riot was, but they didn’t tell anybody because the train went on and
Mr. Fulbright – Bill Fulbright, I think – sort of took over and spoke to the crowds
because Adlai wasn’t there. When I got back to Chicago – of course, Carl wasn’t
with me – so I went back to Springfield.
Mrs. Grigg: Did you do any campaign swings through the South?
Mrs. Gardner: No, I didn’t.
Mrs. Grigg: Did Carl go on all of them?
Mrs. Gardner: Yes, he went on all of them. They usually flew; I mean, this whistle-stopping was
Mrs. Grigg: Was there a problem that there wasn’t a Mrs. Stevenson? Did the press make a
big deal out of the fact that there was no Mrs. Stevenson present?
Mrs. Gardner: No, they didn’t; they didn’t. I remember at one point we were in New Jersey and
the governor got kidnapped by —
Mrs. Grigg: Kidnapped?
Mrs. Gardner: Some candidate who was running, I guess, came and swept him away. I mean,
we were all sitting there and these people actually – I was with future governor
Harriman. He and I were left. Carl went off with the governor and somebody
that Harriman was with, I guess, went off and he and I were sort of stranded at
this luncheon in a tent. Very odd things happen in politics, you know.
Mrs. Grigg: Where did they take him? Where did they take the governor?
– 28 –
Mrs. Gardner: I don’t know. They took him away somewhere, talked to him, and then they
brought him back.
Mrs. Grigg: Oh, okay.
Mrs. Gardner: What they wanted was his attention and that’s how they got his attention, by just
swooping him away. It was odd.
Mrs. Grigg: Do you think that —
Mrs. Gardner: I think that was the only time that happened.
Mrs. Grigg: I hope so. Do you remember any of the dirty tricks that were played? Did you
come across any of the opposition politics? Was it more subtle than it is today?
Mrs. Gardner: Perhaps. Of course, you know, Eisenhower was a nice guy.
Mrs. Grigg: Right.
Mrs. Gardner: I don’t think Carl ever thought that they were going to win, really, and they
didn’t. Anyway, on election night, we went to dinner at the mansion; but, by the
time we got there Connecticut had already gone for Eisenhower – so we pretty
much knew before dinner that it was all over. We had dinner there with the
governor. Carl went with him over to the hotel to make his concession speech.
Mrs. Grigg: Did he make it before all the states were in, or did he wait until the West Coast
voting came in?
Mrs. Gardner: Oh, there’s no question he made it before.
Mrs. Grigg: Why did your husband think all along he wouldn’t make it?
Mrs. Gardner: Well, I think he had a feeling – a good feeling about the country and he just didn’t
think the country was ready for Adali.. A friend of ours, Keith Kane, – Carl had
worked for him in the Navy – had flown out to Chicago because he wanted to be
– 29 –
there when Adlai won. He was a great man. He was going to take a plane to
Springfield to be with Adlai, but he realized that Adlai was defeated. But he got
in a taxi and the taxi driver said, “Oh no, Stevenson won,” and so Keith went to
the airport and came to Springfield only to find that Stevenson had lost. But the
next day he came to see me to bring me a dozen long red roses!
Mrs. Grigg: Oh.
Mrs. Gardner: I remember specifically it was quite touching.
Mrs. Grigg: That was very sweet.
Mrs. Gardner: It was sad. To recover from this —
Mrs Grigg: I was about to ask.
Mrs. Gardner: The governor went to a ranch in Arizona and Carl and I went with him, and I
think we had the mayor of Louisville and his wife with us. We were going to go
on the teeny bitty coal company plane. So we went down and picked up the
mayor, Wilson Wyatt, and his wife. Then we were flying out, and we were flying
over the mountains and all of a sudden – we were in a small plane, there were just
five of us passengers and the pilot and the copilot – the pilot opened the door and
said, “The copilot has passed out.” So Carl and Adlai got up and dragged his body
in the back. I had left three children at home and I thought if the copilot fainted,
well, maybe the pilot might faint, too.
Mrs. Grigg: That would be scary.
Mrs. Gardner: I was not very happy, but we made it to Tucson and we stayed at the ranch in
Tucson for a few days to recover.
Mrs. Grigg: Did Carl stay on with the governor?
– 30 –
Mrs. Gardner: Well, this is November, you see, the election and his term was up in January. It
was so sad and we took him to the train and he left on – I don’t know what date in
January it was. He came to lunch, actually, because the new governor came right
to the mansion and all his people were spreading out before the Stevensons had
left, which was pretty unpleasant. The Stevensons all came over to our house and
I think I had a ham; I gave everybody ham sandwiches. Stevenson’s sister, Mrs.
Ives, was a very close friend of mine. She was one fine lady. She came. We
took them to the train and my daughters went too; they were five and seven,
something like that. I had a little boy and this is the only time I ever did this; I
left him alone in the house. He was in his crib. I did knock on the neighbor’s
door and tell them that he was alone, but this was just something we had to do.
We took the governor to the train and it was one of the children – I don’t know if
it was Becky or Mary – but she looked up at Mrs. Ives and said, “Will I ever see
Mrs. Grigg: Oh.
Mrs. Gardner: Mrs. Ives was very touched. She wrote a book about her life and she put that in
the book. That was sad.
Mrs. Grigg: And did you see the governor again?
Mrs. Gardner: Oh, yes, many times but not as governor – his term was up. Carl went to
Chicago and started working in a law firm; and, as usual, I had to find a house. I
found a great house in Winnetka so we moved there for several years and were
Mrs. Grigg: What was the name of the law firm, do you recall?
– 31 –
Mrs. Gardner: It ended up with Carl’s name but I can’t remember the name now.
Mrs. Grigg: How long was he at the law firm before you moved to Washington?
Mrs. Gardner: About ten years.
Mrs. Grigg: Okay, so now you’re living in Chicago and you have three children?
Mrs. Gardner: Yes, and it was a great place to live, Winnetka. I had my fourth child there.
Winnetka was on the lake and so there’s a beach in the summer. We’d go to the
beach every day. It had great public schools. The children could walk to school.
It was really a wonderful place to bring up children; I loved it. We had a lot of
very good friends. And Carl could take the train into the office every day. He did
eventually become a name partner. He also became the general counsel for the
North Western Railroad, so he had two offices on opposite sides of the Loop, one
at his law firm and one at the railroad. He was a busy man but a very happy man.
Mrs. Grigg: Was his practice general, just giving general business advice?
Mrs. Gardner: Oh, yes.
Mrs. Grigg: Back then lawyers didn’t specialize as much as they do now. Did you have to
socialize a lot with the spouses of this law firm?
Mrs. Gardner: Not so much with the law firm. We had a lot of friends on the south side at the
University of Chicago Law School. We used to go down to the south side often.
The president of the railroad was a close friend, so we saw him a lot. Those were
Mrs. Grigg: Did you have your fourth – you have four children, right?
Mrs. Gardner: Yes, I had my fourth child there. We went out to California and Carl taught for a
month at Stanford. It was great fun. We rented a house and we took our friend’s
– 32 –
cleaning lady along as a babysitter, which was very important to have. So that
was a happy event in our lives. And we would go back to New England — back to
see my parents – every August. They had moved to the country. Finally, we
went to Dover and got off the train at Framingham and my father and his
chauffeur met us. I remember Daddy sitting in the front seat and we were in the
back. He leaned back and said, “Oh, I got a lot of calls from the press all
morning. They want to talk to Carl.” When we got home, when we were sitting at
the table at lunch, and the phone rang and Carl went and came back. He said,
“I’ve taken the veil,” meaning he had accepted the judgeship. Did he ever ask me
how I felt?
Mrs. Grigg: What did you say?
Mrs. Gardner: Never in all the years of our moving here and there did he ask me. Then we went
through a difficult period because he was not confirmed because the head of the
Senate committee was mad at Bobby Kennedy for some reason, and he was
darned if he was going to accept Bobby’s appointment.
Mrs. Grigg: Confirm.
Mrs. Gardner: Yes. He wasn’t going to do that for Bobby Kennedy, so Carl was in limbo.
Nobody wanted to give him any law practice because he was about to leave. But
anyway, in January his appointment died – but Kennedy reappointed him again
and he was finally confirmed in March.
Mrs. Grigg: Can we go back a little bit to the discussions that led up to this. I’m going to put
this on stop for a moment. There we go. Before he got the call at your parents’
– 33 –
place, had there been lots of discussions? Had people – someone from
Washington – come and interviewed him in Chicago?
Mrs. Gardner: No.
Mrs. Grigg: How did his name rise to the top?
Mrs. Gardner: His name had been floating around. The Seventh Circuit is in Chicago and there
had been some talk he might be going to the Seventh Circuit. There is a funny
story. There was a man in Washington who thought he had the appointment to
the D.C. Circuit. Everybody thought he was going to get it. But he had the
misfortune of sitting next to Bobby Kennedy at dinner one night and after that
dinner Bobby Kennedy said that man is never going to be a federal judge.
Mrs. Grigg: Okay.
Mrs. Gardner: The funny thing about that man is that he turned out in the end to be the partner
of my second husband.
Mrs. Grigg: Oh, small world.
Mrs. Gardner: My second husband never knew that story until I told him. He said, “It was very
odd. We thought that my partner was going to be appointed a judge and we were
adjusting our lives and then he wasn’t.” I said, “No, he wasn’t. It’s a lucky thing
because my husband would not have met you and I never would’ve married you.”
So that was quite funny. Anyway, when Carl came down here – he came down
by himself because, of course, as usual, I was going to have to come and find a
house – but he came down by himself and he was very lonely and it was so
different. He had been so busy with these two jobs, with the telephone ringing
every minute or so, and the life of a judge is very different and he was miserable
– 34 –
at first. But anyway, I did come down and we bought a house but we couldn’t
have it for a few months. We moved in August and bit by bit things began to pick
up so that he loved the job.
Mrs. Grigg: Now, the house you bought, is this the house in Spring Valley?
Mrs. Gardner: Right.
Mrs. Grigg: And what street was that on?
Mrs. Gardner: Quebec Street. Well, as I say, he did love it and he was a very good judge.
Mrs. Grigg: Do you want to tell any stories from those days when he first came to
Washington and getting into the Washington social scene?
Mrs. Gardner: The first thing we did, David Acheson, who was Dean Acheson’s son, was
interested in Carl for some reason, so he invited us out to his parents’ country
place for dinner and that was my introduction to Washington elite. I found that
very interesting having dinner with Dean Acheson, who was a charming man.
Carl became quite devoted to him and they used to have lunch. Well, David
Bazelon was chief judge so they had a dinner for us because I didn’t know
anybody. It was a little overwhelming and then some of the others had us for
dinner, so I got to know the court. Other people gave parties, so we did quite a bit
Mrs. Grigg: Was Judge McGowan close with his clerks – his law clerks?
Mrs. Gardner: Oh, very.
Mrs. Grigg: Were there annual dinners or picnics?
Mrs. Gardner: Yes, yes. He had an annual dinner at the Metropolitan Club with the clerks, and
then the next day, Saturday, I had them all to lunch with their wives. At the
– 35 –
beginning, wives didn’t go to the dinner. I think maybe at the end the wives were
going. Of course, at the end, he had woman law clerks, but he didn’t at first. He
loved his clerks and they loved him.
Mrs. Grigg: All right. I’m going to stop for today. This ends Tape 2.
– 36 –
ORAL HISTORY OF JODIE GARDNER
Third Interview, June 20, 2008
This is Tape 3 of the oral history of Jodie Gardner, being conducted for the DC Circuit
Historical Society. We are redoing Tape 3 today, June 20, 2008, for technical reasons.
Mrs. Grigg: Mrs. Gardner, when we left off at the end of Tape 2, we were talking about Judge
McGowan’s role on the court and various functions you may have gone to as the
Judge’s wife. At one point you mentioned a dinner party at the White House
under President Ford. Do you want to tell me about that?
Mrs. Gardner: I went to dinner at the White House because Ed Levi was the attorney general.
He and his wife were great friends of ours which is why we were invited. There
was a vacancy on the Supreme Court – I’ve forgotten why – which at the Judges’
dinner made it sort of exciting.
Mrs. Grigg: Judges’ dinner at the White House?
Mrs. Gardner: Yes, at the White House. I sat next to a Judge Gignoux from Maine. Judge Bork
was at the table and two other judges. Judge Stevens was at the table and none of
us even considered him! We talked about all these other people and, of course, it
was Judge Stevens who got the nomination. That was my only White House
dinner party and I found it exciting.
Mrs. Grigg: Lots of “pomp and circumstances”?
Mrs. Gardner: In between courses, the strolling strings came in and played which was great. I
suppose people made speeches, but this was quite a while ago and I don’t
remember very well. Ford was president at the time. After dinner, there was
– 37 –
dancing in the East Room. The Wirtzes must have been there which means the
Wirtzes had a large government car and we came in the diplomatic entrance.
Anyway, it was all quite exciting.
Mrs. Grigg: We should probably back up. Did you go to Judge McGowan’s Senate
Mrs. Gardner: No. I was in Illinois.
Mrs. Grigg: Did he call back at night and tell you what was happening? Was it a friendly
hearing or an adversarial one?
Mrs. Gardner: It was a friendly hearing. Actually, Senator Dirksen was a Republican but he was
very friendly. Of course, Senator Douglas was a Democrat and he was very
friendly to him. Did I say in there about his going to talk to Senator Douglas?
Mrs. Grigg: No. Please tell us.
Mrs. Gardner: Well, Douglas and Stevenson were not close and Carl was a Stevenson man, so he
was a little nervous about how Douglas would feel about him. Apparently, Carl
had been talked about for the court in Chicago, which is the Seventh Circuit, and I
think Douglas prevented that because Chicago was Douglas’s bailiwick. So, Carl
was afraid Douglas would prevent his appointment to the Washington court here.
But, Douglas was very friendly. When Carl went to his office he had a whole
wall of pictures and Senator Douglas said, “How many of those can you
recognize?” Of course, Carl knew them all. (laughter) The Senator was
impressed. Nobody else had ever known all of them. Anyway, he went through
the hearings like a breeze. There weren’t any problems with his confirmation.
Mrs. Grigg: Did you go to his swearing-in ceremony?
– 38 –
Mrs. Gardner: Oh yes.
Mrs. Grigg: What was that like?
Mrs. Gardner: We were first taken to Judge Bazelon’s chambers where Justice Frankfurter and
Bobby Kennedy and Judge Bazelon were waiting. Justice Frankfurter was a great
admirer of Carl so he wanted to come to this event. We had our pictures taken.
There was a picture of Bobby Kennedy, Justice Frankfurter, Judge Bazelon and
Carl. Then the photographer said, “Judge Bazelon, will you please step aside and
Mrs. McGowan will step in your place.” Judge Bazelon didn’t like that much.
Bobby Kennedy said, “She’s prettier.” (laughing) I found that amusing. Anyway,
then we went to the courtroom and I sat with the other wives, but, for some
reason, Justice Frankfurter was called on to speak. And, he spoke and he spoke
and he spoke and he spoke. Until finally, the recording machine went off. I
suspect Judge Bazelon had pulled it off. His wife denied that. I don’t even
remember what Justice Frankfurter was talking about. So, Carl was sworn in and
there was a reception afterwards in the Judges’ dining room.
Mrs. Grigg: That sounds very nice. Were you and the judge friends with other judges on the
circuit court and the district court?
Mrs. Gardner: Well, sure. Carl got along with everybody. He wasn’t on one side or the other.
He wasn’t a conservative. He wasn’t a liberal. So, he got along with them all. We
had dinner with the judges and their wives. Bazelon was chief judge when Carl
went on the court. Skelly Wright came after that. Skelly Wright had to give up the
chief judgeship when he became seventy. So, on Skelly’s birthday, January 14,
– 39 –
Carl became chief judge. I had a birthday party for Skelly and had all the court
and their spouses.
Mrs. Grigg: That was nice.
Mrs. Gardner: It was the only time I had everybody. Carl could only be chief judge from
January 14 to May 7, when he became seventy. I didn’t have a party then!
(laugher) He went on being a judge, he just wasn’t chief judge any longer.
Mrs. Grigg: How long did he go on being a judge?
Mrs. Gardner: Always. He never stopped. He took senior status on his seventieth birthday.
Mrs. Grigg: Do you remember when Judge McGowan was on the panel that ruled that
President Nixon had to turn over the White House tapes? What was happening
around then? Is there anything the judge told you that you could share?
Mrs. Gardner: It was pretty important. They took it very seriously.
Mrs. Grigg: Was the judge up in the middle of the night, pacing the halls, thinking about it?
Mrs. Gardner: No. He never did that. I tried to think about the people who appeared before him.
It was all so long ago. Anyway, it was a very important case. The tapes had to be
Mrs. Grigg: That decision paved the way for everything that followed. Judge McGowan
spoke at Adlai Stevenson’s funeral. Would you like to talk about that whole
Mrs. Gardner: I was visiting my sister in Massachusetts when Carl called with the sad news that
Adlai had died in England. So I went home for the funeral. Carl gave the eulogy
at the National Cathedral. I joined him for the procession out to National Airport.
We got on Air Force II with the coffin and flew to Springfield, Illinois, where
– 40 –
Adlai had been governor. We drove in a procession of cars and the hearse drove
by places important to Stevenson, particularly the Lincoln home and tomb and the
Capitol. Actually, he lay in state at the Capitol. We stayed at the courthouse with
Judge Schaefer, a close friend of ours who had an apartment in the courthouse.
Stevenson lay in state for a day and then there was another procession to
Bloomington, Illinois, where the funeral was held in a church.
Mrs. Grigg: President Johnson attended?
Mrs. Gardner: Oh yes. President Johnson attended. He arrived with Arthur Goldberg. My
husband Carl and Bill Wirtz, who had come with us, winked at each other. They
realized that Johnson was about to appoint Goldberg to Adlai’s job as U.S.
ambassador to the United Nations. And, indeed he did. After the funeral, we went
out to the local airport and we got on a helicopter to ride to the president’s plane,
which was parked at a larger airport. That was my first time on a helicopter. We
flew back to Andrews Air Force Base on Air Force One. At one point during the
flight Jack Valenti came and said, “The president would like you to come back to
his cabin.” So we went back to the president’s cabin. Goldberg and his wife were
there. Goldberg was looking very nervous. I don’t think he had actually been
asked yet to go to the U.N. We stayed there, not for long, and then we went back
to our seats.
When the plane landed, Johnson’s close assistant said to Carl, “Come. You’re
going to join the president on his helicopter.” No one said anything to me. I got
off the plane. Over here was the president’s plane with my husband happily on it.
Over there was Lady Bird’s plane. I didn’t know which way to go – I was going
– 41 –
both ways at once! Apparently, President Johnson saw me and said to one of his
aides, “Get the hell out there and take care of Mrs. McGowan.” (laughter) So the
assistant came and took me over to Lady Bird’s helicopter. We flew back to the
Mrs. Grigg: How exciting
Mrs. Gardner: Bill Wirtz was also with us. He had a car at the White House waiting, so he
dropped us off at our house. That was the end of a memorable day.
Mrs. Grigg: No kidding. A memorable couple of days. I want to ask you to summarize what
you thought of Carl as a judge.
Mrs. Gardner: He was a wonderful judge because he didn’t have any preconceived ideas. He
wasn’t liberal or conservative. He took each case as it came. He was really very
good at making people agree and they would get along. He was a very fine judge.
Mrs. Grigg: I understand that all the other judges respected him as did the lawyers that
appeared before him.
Mrs. Gardner: I think they did all respect him. It was just a very happy time for him and
everybody else. He was a very good judge.
Mrs. Grigg: Did he stay in touch with his law clerks over the years? Did he have annual
Mrs. Gardner: Oh yes. He was devoted to his clerks. Every spring he would have a dinner at the
Metropolitan Club. First, just for the clerks. The clerks and their wives would
come to lunch at our house the next day. But, eventually, he had female clerks. I
think maybe the wives must have been included eventually at the dinner. Hmm, I
– 42 –
don’t know. I never went to the dinners. He did have women clerks in the later
years. Everybody would come to lunch and that was great fun.
Mrs. Grigg: Did any of his clerks go onto become judges themselves?
Mrs. Gardner: Douglas Ginsburg. He is not in the McGowan image because he is very
Republican. I was rather hurt because, of course, we went to his swearing in. He
made his speech without mentioning Carl. He mentioned how grateful he was to
Meese, and how grateful he was to this person, and how grateful he was to that
person, and there was Carl sitting there. He had worked as a clerk for Carl and
Carl was so enthusiastic about his becoming a judge. I did think he could have
mentioned, perhaps, that he had enjoyed clerking for Carl, but no, absolutely no
nod. It didn’t bother Carl. It bothered me. That was the only clerk who became a
Mrs. Grigg: We are now skipping way ahead and wrapping up this oral history, even though
this is Tape 3, but this tape is being recorded after Tape 4. I’m going to let Mrs.
Gardner say a few last words.
Mrs. Gardner: It was a privilege to be able to talk about my two husbands, both of who were
wonderful men. I was very, very lucky to have had each one of them as my
husband. It has been fun to talk about them.
Mrs. Grigg: They were very lucky to have you.
Mrs. Gardner: You’re nice to say that. I’m sorry that I’m very aged and my memory’s not great
Mrs. Grigg: Your memory has been great.
Mrs. Gardner: Thank you so much for the opportunity to talk about them.
– 43 –
Mrs. Grigg: Thank you, Mrs. Gardner. This ends Tape 3.
– 44 –
ORAL HISTORY OF JODIE GARDNER
Fourth Interview, October 5, 2006
This is Part 4 of the oral history of Jodie Gardner being conducted for the D.C.
Circuit Historical Society. Today is October 5th, 2006.
Mrs. Grigg: Mrs. Gardner, we’re going to talk about your activities during all these years. So
do you want to start with your role in forming hospice?
Mrs. Gardner: Well, I was tremendously interested in hospice because I had just lost a friend
through cancer – a long, miserable time. I was thrilled to hear that there was such
a thing as hospice but was very sad that it came too late for my friend. I certainly
wanted to get involved in it right away.
Mrs. Grigg: About what time period was this?
Mrs. Gardner: 1972. I did get involved right away. There was one in Washington which was
just starting. I worked with people who were dying which was sad, but
worthwhile. I eventually became chairman of the board for a while and it was
just very important in my life. Later on, after I served as chairman of the board, I
became involved in another hospice, which is the Washington Home Hospice.
Actually, they were kind of rivals and I had tried to get them together to be one
hospice without any luck. So then I really was more involved in Washington
Home and that lasted quite a while.
Mrs. Grigg: Is this the one up by Wisconsin Avenue behind the Post Office?
– 45 –
Mrs. Gardner: Right, which is connected to what used to be called the Home for the Incurables,
a wretched name.
Mrs. Grigg: I remember that.
Mrs. Gardner: But now it’s the Washington Home and this is the Washington Home Hospice,
which is a part of it.
Mrs. Grigg: Where was the other one? Where was the first one that you were involved in?
Mrs. Gardner: Well, we didn’t have an in-house facility; these patients were all at home.
Mrs. Grigg: Is it still around?
Mrs. Gardner: Well, it’s been taken over, it’s now in Virginia. I think it’s called the Capital
Mrs. Grigg: When you were chairman of the board, did you get involved with all of the
Mrs. Gardner: Yes, but it wasn’t terribly hard because it’s such a wonderful feeling — it really
was – to be involved in it.
Mrs. Grigg: That segues into your volunteer work at Sibley. Did that overlap with your work
Mrs. Gardner: It may have something to do with my time at Sibley. I don’t know. I did go to
Sibley and I loved it. I was there for 30 years and I worked at a desk outside the
operating room, and I was the go-between with families of the patients and the
– 46 –
doctors. I would tell the doctors that the family was waiting and I would tell the
family that their patient was either still in the operating room or that they were in
the recovery room. It was a lot of fun, a lot of nice people.
Mrs. Grigg: How many days a week did you do that?
Mrs. Gardner: I just did that on Mondays.
Mrs. Grigg: And how did you get involved in this?
Mrs. Gardner: On the 4th of July, at a friend’s swimming pool, a friend told me that that is what
she was doing and I said, I’d like to do that.
Mrs. Grigg: And when did you start doing that – ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s?
Mrs. Gardner: In the 1970s.
Mrs. Grigg: Seventies. I think this takes you back even further, though, then that would be the
American Field Service —
Mrs. Gardner: Right.
Mrs. Grigg: What kind of work did you do?
Mrs. Gardner: A friend of mine, right after I moved here, asked me to join that committee. We
would take care of the American Field Service students who were in the area, we
would have a party at Christmas, etc. In the summer the American Field Service
students from all over the country came to Washington just before they went
home and they went to the White House where the president spoke to them. We
– 47 –
had to put them up, as I remember. I didn’t put anybody up but we had to find
places for them to stay. My own daughter went to Turkey – this had happened
before – which is the reason I was so interested in the American Field Service.
She had had this experience, and had a wonderful time. It led to her joining the
Peace Corps when she graduated from college.
Mrs. Grigg: When the students come here from other countries, did they live with a family?
Mrs. Gardner: They lived with a family.
Mrs. Grigg: Did they attend a university or was it just a summer program?
Mrs. Gardner: I think they attend school. They are about 16 years old. That would be high
Mrs. Gardner: Yes, I think they were in high school. They went home in the summer.
Mrs. Grigg: Does your daughter do anything with them now?
Mrs. Gardner: Not specifically, but she does wonderful things all over the world. She’s gone
beyond the American Field Service. She’s recently been in Rwanda —
Mrs. Grigg: Oh.
Mrs. Gardner: And, unfortunately, she fell there and broke her shoulder but she found the
Rwanda Hospital very satisfactory. She thought they took good care of her. She
has just been to Outer Mongolia. This is supposed to be about my husbands, but
she is a remarkable girl. She’s married and lives in Paris with her husband and
– 48 –
three children. They’re over here now, but she’s quite a girl and I think that the
American Field Service helped get her started.
Mrs. Grigg: And when she’s traveling the world what is she doing? When she goes to
Mongolia or Rwanda?
Mrs. Gardner: She’s a lawyer interested in human rights.
Mrs. Grigg: Something she learned at the dinner table. All right, Woman’s National
Mrs. Gardner: I don’t think I did anything.
Mrs. Gardner: That’s right, I never took an active part.
Mrs. Grigg: Were there any memorable speakers that you remember?
Mrs. Gardner: All the Democrats. Cabinet members. It was interesting – interesting speakers –
I just went and listened so I really wasn’t involved in it. Actually, as the wife of a
federal judge, I couldn’t be.
Mrs. Grigg: Were your husbands able to get involved in politics once they were on the court?
Mrs. Gardner: No. Warner wasn’t on the court. He argued before it.
Mrs. Grigg: I was wondering if that applied to spouses as well?
Mrs. Gardner: Yes.
– 49 –
Mrs. Grigg: Did that bother you? Did you ever want to get involved in a campaign, whether
it was local or national?
Mrs. Gardner: Of course. I was terribly involved in the Stevenson campaign, that was before
Carl went on the court. I never got involved again. Of course, in Washington,
anyway we didn’t have any local senators or anything like that.
Mrs. Grigg: Other clubs? You mentioned the Sulgrave Club?
Mrs. Gardner: Oh that’s right — not much to do with my husbands. It’s just a social club and
where I would have birthday parties for my family rather than cooking at home.
We would go to the Sulgrave Club; it was just very pleasant.
Mrs. Grigg: Are you still a member?
Mrs. Gardner: Oh, yes, but I don’t go very often – occasionally.
Mrs. Grigg: We’re going to move on now. You mentioned, in passing, so I want to get more
about this, about the night you met President Kennedy.
Mrs. Gardner: Well, the presidents used to have parties for the judges, like a reception once a
year. I’m not sure if they still do that. Anyway, President Kennedy had a
reception for the judges; and, when we arrived, we came through the entrance
downstairs and, as we walked by, we saw all the bags waiting to go to Texas.
They were all ready to be put on the plane. We went upstairs and we were all in
the East Room and then they played “Hail to the Chief” and the President and
Mrs. Kennedy came in. She was lovely in a red velvet gown. It was the first time
– 50 –
I’d seen her. Instead of having a receiving line the way presidents usually do,
they split up, she would see half the room and he would see the other half. Carl
and I opted to see him. We waited around but we did finally meet him. He said
he had just been in Chicago for a football game. I thought he was wonderful. I
had not been particularly enthusiastic before, but that night I fell in love with him!
Mrs. Grigg: He had a lot of charisma.
Mrs. Gardner: The next day he was shot, which was very sad.
Mrs. Grigg: Do you remember where you were when you found out he was shot?
Mrs. Gardner: Yes, indeed, it was a Friday. My children had the day off from school; I think
there was a teachers’ meeting or something. I was taking them sightseeing. We
had only been living in Washington for three months and they hadn’t seen much.
So we went to the mosque first and then we went to some museum down near the
Watergate. As we walked in, the women said, “The president’s been shot.” I said,
“Oh well, he’ll be all right,” because I thought he had been shot just in his
shoulder. She said he had been hit in the head; but I still didn’t pay much
attention and we went on sightseeing. As we were driving home, we drove up
Massachusetts Avenue by the embassies – the flags were at half-mast.
Mrs. Grigg: Oh.
Mrs. Gardner: I went home and turned on the radio and heard the terrible news and I called
Carl, of course, immediately. He had been lunching at the Metropolitan Club
with John Harper, the minister of our church, and they were walking across
– 51 –
Lafayette Square, and some man said to them, “The president’s been shot.” He
had the same experience that I did. It was unbelievable. The next day it poured
rain. We went to the White House where the president was lying in state in the
East Room. It was very moving.
Mrs. Grigg: Did you go in with the general public or was this because your husband was on
Mrs. Gardner: I think it was with the judges. The next day, was it Sunday or Monday, it
probably was Monday – anyway, we went that day to the Metropolitan Club and
looked out the window and we watched the procession. We did not go to church.
It was impressive to see General de Gaulle and the dignitaries from all over the
world. Of course, there was Jackie with her black veil walking along – she
walked between Bobby and Teddy, but it was an unforgettable experience, as you
can see, is still very clear in my mind.
Mrs. Grigg: That was followed not that long after with the assassination of his brother and
Martin Luther King; do you remember the riots in Washington?
Mrs. Gardner: Oh, yes. Carl had gone to Chicago to make a speech so I was alone when Martin
Luther King was shot. Carl said when he left Washington, Washington was on
fire. And, when he arrived in Chicago, Chicago was on fire.
Mrs. Grigg: Wow.
Mrs. Gardner: Again, I was driving down Wisconsin Avenue when I heard – maybe I had the
radio on – I heard that Martin Luther King had been shot and then there was all
– 52 –
that rioting. I was glad when Carl got home safely. I was shocked. Were you
alive in those days?
Mrs. Grigg: Yes. I don’t remember the president being shot, but I do remember Bobby
Kennedy’s assassination. I was thinking, if we’re still in the ’60s, what about the
landing on the moon? Did you have a television when they landed on the moon?
Mrs. Gardner: Yes. We did have one. Now there is something that was happy. Yes, that was
the summer that Mary came back. Mary went to Senegal with the Peace Corps.
After she graduated from college she went right out there; and there she met Fred
Davis, who was also in the Peace Corps and they got married there which was
great fun. Carl and I went over for that, but they came home from Senegal, I
think, on the day of the moon walk, so there was a lot of excitement in our house.
We did watch it on television and that was exciting for us.
Mrs. Grigg: It’s so interesting listening to you talk about seeing the president’s luggage in the
hallway. You would never see that today. If you heard this kind of news on the –
these big events – you’d be on your cell phones; it is just so different.
Mrs. Gardner: It is very different.
Mrs. Grigg: Well, since we are still in the ‘60s, why don’t we talk about the Vietnam War.
Do you have any memories of protests in Washington?
Mrs. Gardner: I don’t really have anything interesting to say about it because I wasn’t involved,
fortunately. My son-in-law was in the Peace Corps instead. John was too young,
I guess, so he could not serve. I was not happy about the war. They were not
– 53 –
terribly pleasant times because of Johnson’s being very unpopular; it was a very
Mrs. Grigg: I think we may have already talked about President Nixon resigning. Did we talk
about the day he resigned?
Mrs. Gardner: I wasn’t involved in any way. I have this picture in my mind of President and
Mrs. Nixon walking across the lawn on their way to the helicopter, and I suppose
we watched the whole thing on television, but that’s the picture that remains in
my mind, that of his getting on the steps and waving goodbye.
Mrs. Grigg: Do you remember if your husband was in court that day, or was court in session
or did the federal government shut down that day?
Mrs. Gardner: No, I can’t remember what day of the week it was even. I sort of think he was
with me, but maybe he wasn’t – I’m sorry.
Mrs. Grigg: It just occurred to me to wonder what happens on a day like that.
Mrs. Gardner: I should’ve kept a diary, which I didn’t.
Mrs. Grigg: This was a big news event. I’m going to stop the tape for a moment. We’re
going to talk about your trip to Senegal for your daughter’s wedding.
Mrs. Gardner: Well, we were quite surprised when she went off to the Peace Corps. We didn’t
expect her to get married over there, but indeed she called us and told us that she
wanted to marry Fred Davis from New York, and apparently I knew his
stepmother. I didn’t realize it, but we all flew over together – Fred’s parents and
– 54 –
Carl and I all flew over and our children met us at the airport in Senegal. This
was just after Bobby Kennedy was shot. Mary drove us to the country the day
before the wedding. All over Senegal people were worried about Bobby
Kennedy. It was amazing, they all had their radios on and they were
sympathizing with us. It was quite amazing. The wedding was in a nice little
church in Dakar. The next day at 11:00 o’clock there was a memorial service in
the same church with all the same people and even Fred and Mary came to the
memorial service for Bobby.
Mrs. Grigg: Wow.
Mrs. Gardner: It was amazing to me how deeply they felt as well.
Mrs. Grigg: You met the ambassador while you were over there?
Mrs. Gardner: Yes. The ambassador had a little party for us at the time and then, actually, after
the Kennedy’s service, we went back to the ambassador’s for lunch and they were
very nice. After that, we flew off to Florence where we visited Adlai Stevenson’s
sister; she rented a villa in Florence. We had a wonderful visit there.
Mrs. Grigg: That sounds lovely. Do you want to talk about any other travels in your time?
Mrs. Gardner: Well, we were invited – I didn’t realize how important this was going to be – but
we were invited to go to Salzburg, Austria, to the Salzburg —
Mrs. Grigg: Music festival?
– 55 –
Mrs. Gardner: No, it was not the music festival; it was to the Salzburg Seminar for American
Studies. It was a session on law and students came from all over Europe to this
session and there were four professors and their wives. Actually, we took our two
youngest children. We lived in a castle.
Mrs. Grigg: When was this, approximately? Was Judge McGowan on the court yet?
Mrs. Gardner: It was 1967. Carl went on the court in 1963. It was a wonderful experience. We
went back three more times.
Mrs. Grigg: Did you stay in a castle each time?
Mrs. Gardner: We stayed in the castle – the same apartment – each time but the children didn’t
go. It was lovely. We would take a weekend and go to Vienna – all the faculty –
and that was great fun. We went to the “Merry Widow,” I remember, in Vienna
and it was a terrific experience.
Mrs. Grigg: (Clock ringing). Let’s stop while the clock rings. When you were in Salzburg,
how long was the session? Was it a week, two weeks?
Mrs. Gardner: I think it was three weeks. It was in August. The students came from around
Europe and the professors from the U.S. I think Carl was the only judge. They
were teaching – we were teaching – about American law.
Mrs. Grigg: To European law students?
Mrs. Gardner: Yes. We had an Egyptian, I remember. What’s that, is that Europe. Egypt is –
Mideast, I don’t know.
– 56 –
Mrs. Grigg: Do you remember what Judge McGowan was teaching?
Mrs. Gardner: It was American law. I don’t remember the specific subject. One year when we
were there, Justice Burger was there from the Supreme Court. We had a trial – a
mock trial – and I was something. I don’t know if I was the criminal or whether I
was the one who was attacked; it was sort of fun. We saw a lot of the Burgers.
They were in the next apartment to us and we enjoyed them. One night he
disappeared and Mrs. Burger said he just went out for a walk. I don’t think – I
don’t know if chief justices can do that anymore. Anyway, he went out for a walk
and picked up some friends, had a lovely time. I don’t know if you could do that
in this day and age or not.
Mrs. Grigg: Again, it was pre-cell phone; he couldn’t call and tell her where he was.
Mrs. Gardner: That’s right.
Mrs. Grigg: Did you get to know any other Supreme Court justices over the years?
Mrs. Gardner: Yes, of course. Lewis Powell and his wife Jo became close friends. Potter
Stewart and his wife Andy were also close friends. Of course, Carl knew them
all. Those were the ones we knew best.
Mrs. Grigg: How did you get to know them? Through Judge McGowan’s world?
Mrs. Gardner: I got to know Andy Stewart because she was on the American Field Service
Committee. My son-in-law was Potter’s law clerk. I don’t know how I got to
– 57 –
know the Powells, but we became very close friends. The others, well, let me
think — judges, I guess, are thrown together. Carl knew them all.
Mrs. Grigg: We are going to shift gears now and talk about Warner Gardner?
Mrs. Gardner: It is interesting that both my husbands went to Columbia Law School. Warner,
after Columbia Law School, clerked for Justice Stone. Later, Warner was in the
solicitor general’s office which he loved because he tried cases before the
Supreme Court. After that, he moved on to the – let’s see, what was Frances
Mrs. Grigg: I don’t remember, I think Labor but I could be wrong.
Mrs. Gardner: Well, he went to work for her, but he found her pretty difficult. So, he left there
and went to Interior. Ickes was head of Interior. He was interviewing Warner
and Warner said, “I didn’t get along very well with Frances Perkins,” and Ickes
said, “I wouldn’t have you if you did.” He got along very well with Ickes and
was very happy there until he went off to the war. He had a wonderful job in the
war. He was at Bletchley where he —
Mrs. Grigg: Decoded?
Mrs. Gardner: Decoded it and told the generals what to do. He was sent to Africa first and then
Italy and then up to France. He was called to talk to General Eisenhower. He had
one position and somebody else had another position. They argued in front of
Eisenhower and Eisenhower opted for Warner. That was very, very nice. When
he came home he thought he would have to go to the Far Eastern war, but
– 58 –
fortunately that ended. I think he went back to the Interior Department for a
while. He was thinking about his future and he was thinking of moving to
Berkeley to be the dean of the Law School at Berkeley. Well, fortunately, his
wife was expecting a baby (that was obviously before my marriage to Warner) –
they already had two children and his wife was expecting – but she had twins and
he decided that he couldn’t move her to California. They were lucky because
what happened in Berkeley. I mean, it was a terrible place to be – it would’ve
been awful. He was very glad that the twins had saved him, and so he joined with
Frank Shea and started a law firm and called it Shea & Gardner until he retired at
age 90. He died in 2003.
Mrs. Grigg: He worked until he was 90? Wow. [Tape stopped.] We’ve got to go back – I’m
sorry, you were saying?
Mrs. Gardner: Warner did appear in Court a lot, in the Supreme Court, and then in the court of
appeals. Warner was an appellate lawyer, really. He loved the Supreme Court
and when he was going to argue a case, he would go out horseback riding in the
morning. It relaxed him before he went to court. He told me this. He did this all
long before I met him. I thought that was an interesting way to relax.
Mrs. Grigg: Do you know where he went horseback riding?
Mrs. Gardner: I think it was Virginia, but I don’t know. He never rode any horses when I
appeared on the scene. But apparently it helped him to relax. He would say that
he just loved arguing and I have his notebook here which he treasured. It is the
one he used always when he was arguing.
– 59 –
Mrs. Grigg: Did it have his outline for his arguments?
Mrs. Gardner: I don’t know. I just know it’s in the drawer right over here; I don’t know if it
does have that but I know that it looks sort of battered, but he wasn’t going to
throw that notebook away because that’s the notebook he used when he was
Mrs. Grigg: Was he still arguing cases in front of the appellate court when you were married?
Mrs. Gardner: Yes. He was a great friend of Carl’s and they played tennis together. They had
a court Thursday mornings at 11:00 o’clock and the days when Warner couldn’t
play I would play with Carl, and the days that Carl couldn’t play I would play
with Warner. We would often have lunch together, all of us afterward. They
were very good friends. They had great respect for each other. Their senses of
humor jived very nicely. That was nice that they were such good friends.
Mrs. Grigg: I think we’ll wrap it up for today.
Mrs. Gardner: Okay.
Mrs. Grigg: Well, we’ll turn the tape off. This is the end of Tape 4.
Oral History of Josephine (Jodie) McGowan Gardner
Acheson, David, 34
Acheson, Dean, 9, 34
American Field Service, 46–47, 48, 56
Bacall, Lauren, , 25
Bazelon, David, 34, 38
Blair, William M., Jr., 22, 23–24, 25
Bogart, Humphrey, 25
Bork, Robert, 36
Burger, Warren E., 56
Chase, Adelaide, 20
Clement, Alice, 11
Crosby, Lettie, 8, 9
Curley, James Michael, 25–26
Davis, Fred, 47, 52, 53–54, 56
Davis, Mary McGowan, 15, 16, 19, 47–48, 52, 53–54
de Gaulle, Charles, 51
Democratic National Convention (1952), 22, 23–24
Dirksen, Everett, 37
Douglas, Louis, 8
Douglas, Paul H., 37
Eisenhower, Dwight D., 26, 28, 57
Ford, Gerald R., 36
Frankfurter, Felix, 38
Fulbright, J. William, 27
Gardner, Jodie McGowan (nee Josephine Vail Perry)
American Field Service work, 46–47
aunt, 24, 26
Bryn Mawr College, 7–8
Charles River School, 2, 6
in Chicago, 15–16
children, 15, 19, 22, 24, 30, 31, 50, 55
See also Davis, Mary McGowan; McGowan, John H.; McGowan, Rebecca
courtship with McGowan, 11–14
daughter’s wedding in Senegal, 52, 53–54
debut, 6–7, 20–21
father, 1, 3, 5–6, 13, 15, 21, 25–26, 32
friends, 8–9, 13, 17, 31, 56–57
husbands. See McGowan, Carl E.; Gardner, Warner W.
grandparents, 3–4, 21
marriage (to McGowan), 1, 5, 14
marriage (to Gardner), 1
on McGowan as judge, 41, 42
mother, 1, 3, 6, 15, 21, 25–26
in Office of Strategic Services (OSS), 8, 10–11, 14
at Salzburg Seminar for American Studies, 54–56
Sibley Hospital volunteer, 45–46
siblings, 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 11, 14, 26
in Springfield, IL, 16–17
on Stevenson campaign trail, 17–19, 22–29, 49
at Stevenson funeral, 39–41
and Sulgrave Club, 49
and tennis, 59
in Washington, DC, 34
Washington Home Hospice board chairman, 44–45
Westtown School, 6
White House dinner, 36–37
in Wilmette, IL, 16
in Winnetka, IL, 30–31
Winsor School, 6
World War II years, 8–12
Gardner, Warner W., 6, 33
Columbia Law School, 57
decoder at Bletchley, England, 57
and horseback riding, 58
law clerk to Justice Harlan F. Stone, 57
and McGowan, 59
in Office of Solicitor General, 57
with Shea & Gardner, 48, 58
solicitor of Interior Department, 57, 58
Supreme Court arguments, 48, 58–59
and tennis, 59
Gignoux, Edward T., 36
Ginsburg, Douglas H., 42
Goldberg, Arthur, 40
Great Depression, 5
Harper, John, 50
Harriman, W. Averell, 27
Hutchins, Robert Maynard, 18
Hutton, Agnes Vail, 21
Hutton, Finley, 21
Ickes, Harold L., 57
Ives, Elizabeth Stevenson, 30, 54
Johnson, Lyndon B., 40, 41, 53
Kane, Richmond Keith, 28–29
Kefauver, Estes, 23
Kennedy, Edward M., 51
Kennedy, Jacqueline, 49–50, 51
Kennedy, John F., 49–50
assassination of, 50–51
Kennedy, Robert F., 32, 33, 38,
assassination of, 51, 52, 54
King, Martin Luther, 51–52
Levi, Edward H., 36
McCloy, John J. (“Jack”), 8
McGowan, Carl E., 10, 50, 51–52, 56–57
Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, 39
Columbia Law School, 15, 57
counsel to Adlai Stevenson, 5, 16–19, 22–30
courtship of Jodie, 11–14
faculty at Northwestern Law School, 14, 15
faculty at Salzburg Seminar for American Studies, 55–56
faculty at Stanford University, 31
and Gardner, 59
general counsel for Chicago and North Western Railway, 31
Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, 32–35, 36, 37–38, 41
and law clerks, 34–35, 41–42
in Navy Intelligence, 12, 13
partner with Ross, McGowan, Hardies & O’Keefe, 30–31
private practice in Washington, DC, 14
Stevenson eulogist, 39–40
and tennis, 59
McGowan, John H., 17, 19, 52
McGowan, Rebecca, 15, 19, 20
Meese, Edwin, 42
Metropolitan Club, 34, 41, 50, 51
moon landing, 52
Nixon, Patricia, 53
Nixon, Richard M., 39, 53
Office of Strategic Services (OSS), 8, 10
Peace Corps, 47, 52, 53
Perkins, Frances, 57
Perry, Arthur, 3–4, 21–22
Perry, Emma Foster, 21
Perry, Finley, 2, 7, 11
Perry, Josephine Vail, 21
Perry, Rebecca Hutton, 21
Powell, Josephine, 56
Powell, Lewis F., 56
presidential election of 1952, 28–29
Resor, Helen, 8, 9
Roosevelt, Eleanor, 25
Roosevelt, Franklin D., 5, 25
Salzburg Seminar for American Studies, 54–56
Schaefer, Walter V., 40
Shea, Frank, 58
Stevens, John Paul, 36
Stevenson, Adlai E., 5, 13, 37
governor of Illinois, 16, 30
presidential candidate, 17–19, 22–29
Stevenson, Ellen Borden, 23, 27
Stewart, Mary Ann (“Andy”), 56
Stewart, Potter, 56
Stone, Harlan Fiske, 57
Sulgrave Club, 49
Supreme Court justices, 56–57
Taft, Robert A., 18
Truman, Harry, 17, 22
Valenti, Jack, 40
Vietnam War, 52–53
Washington, DC, 8–10, 51
Wirtz, W. Willard, 37, 40, 41
World War II, 8–12
Wright, Skelly, 38
Wyatt, Wilson W., 29
Zinsser, Nancy, 8
Jodie McGowan Gardner
Mrs. Gardner was born in Dover, Massachusetts and graduated from Bryn Mawr College. After
graduation, Mrs. Gardner moved to Washington, D.C. to work for the OSS during World War II.
There she met her first husband Carl McGowan. They moved to Chicago when Mr. McGowan
accepted a teaching position at Northwestern Law School. He then worked for Governor Adlai
Stevenson during which time the McGowans campaigned for the Governor when he ran for
President. When the election was over, Carl McGowan returned to private practice in Chicago.
Several years later, he was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of
Columbia and the McGowans returned to Washington, D.C. Mrs. McGowan was an active
volunteer for the Washington Hospice Home, Sibley Hospital, and the American Field Service.
The McGowans have four children and four grandchildren. After the death of her first husband,
Mrs. McGowan married Warner Gardner. Jodie McGowan Gardner resides in Washington, D.C.
Traci Stegemann Grigg
Traci S. Grigg graduated from Williams College in 1983 (B.A., cum laude) and
from Georgetown University Law School in 1986 (J.D., magna cum laude). After law
school, she served as a law clerk to Judge Thomas F. Hogan of the U.S. District Court for
the District of Columbia. Mrs. Grigg worked as an associate at Latham & Watkins,
Perkins Coie, and Shaw Pittman Potts & Trowbridge in the areas of environmental and
occupational and safety law. With Anthony J. Thompson and Ian T. Moar, she coauthored
the “OSHA Environmental Compliance Handbook.” In 1996, Mrs. Grigg left
the practice of law to be at home with her children and to pursue a writing career. She is
currently involved in numerous volunteer and consulting projects.
JOSEPHINE (JODIE) McGOWAN