1939 - 2007
Biographer and Professor Emerita of English at Stanford University, Diane Middlebrook, partner and then wife of Carl Djerassi as well as a close friend of Pamela, was instrumental in the creation and evolution of the Djerassi Resident Artists Program.
In his 2001 memoir, Carl Djerassi attributes the conception of DRAP to a conversation he had with Diane, while they were traveling in Italy, following the death of his artist daughter, Pamela.
‘ It’s hard to think what Florence would’ve been like without the Medicis,’ I mused…. ‘But imagine what it would be today if their patronage had extended to women,’ said Diane.*
This exchange of ideas constituted the genesis of what, ultimately, became the Djerassi Resident Artists Program.
Initially, the Djerassi Foundation created a program utilizing Pamela’s home and studio at the Djerassi ranch, to provide a year-long residency to a visiting female artist, under the auspices of the Stanford Center for Research on Women, of which Middlebrook was a founder and director.
Ultimately, that Program was expanded, utilizing additional facilities on the ranch, to provide simultaneous residencies for a group of artists, women and men, of diverse background, artistic discipline and nationality.
A founding trustee and early chair of the DRAP board, Diane Middlebrook was one of the prime contributors in developing and expanding the concept of the Program, identifying artists—notably writers—for some of the early residencies, and initiating and conducting alumni Salons. She played an ongoing role in clarifying the vision and direction of the Program.
Dr. Middlebrook was a professional writer, and a Professor of English Emerita at Stanford University. Her most recent book, a biography of the creative partnership of Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath titled Her Husband: Ted Hughes & Sylvia Plath, a Marriage, was published in hardcover by Viking in October 2003, and in paperback by Penguin Books in September 2004.
Among her previous books are the highly acclaimed biography, Anne Sexton, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and on The New York Times best-seller list for eight weeks, as well as Suits Me, the biography of jazz musician Billie Tipton.
During the last years of her life, she was working on a biography of the Roman poet, Ovid, which, though unfinished, has been published posthumously in portions as “A Roman in his Prime” in the Norton Critical edition of Ovid’s Metamorphoses; and as“Ovid Is Born,” in Feminist Studies.
Dr. Middlebrook received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Bunting Institute at Radcliffe College, the Stanford Humanities Center, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and the Rockefeller Study Center at Bellagio. She was a member of the Panel on Biography for the 1995 Pulitzer Prize, and chaired the Non-Fiction Panel for the National Book Award in 2004. In 2002, she stepped down from her position as Professor of English at Stanford University to become a full-time writer. Since 1987 she had a second home in London; in 2004 she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and was appointed an Honorary Member of Christ’s College, Cambridge. Holder of a Ph.D. degree from Yale University, she was also the recipient of honorary doctorates from Kenyon College and the University of Massachusetts.
More information and her professional resume can be found at www.dianemiddlebrook.com.
Contributions to the Diane Middlebrook Building Fund will support future development of the Djerassi Program campus to be named in her honor.
Memorial Gifts to the Diane Middlebrook Building Fund
*Carl Djerassi, This Man's Pill: Reflections on the 50th Birthday of the Pill, Oxford University Press, 2001, pp.232-233