Otis Kidwell ’41

Otis Kidwell graduated from Buxton Country Day School in Short Hills, NJ in 1941. What is Buxton Country Day School you might ask? It is the school that Buxton, as we know it, evolved from. Buxton came to be when Ellen Sangster who was the director of Buxton Country Day School, wanted to move the high school and chose her family’s summer estate as the sight. Otis had been attending a school on Staten Island and hated it. When her family moved to NJ she started attending Buxton Country Day. She thrived in the progressive environment where boys and girls were in class together and played sports on the same team. She was able to study Chemistry and German and take Shop which was unheard of in those days. She played hockey and football and performed in plays.

After graduation she attended Bennington College. She went on to study Zoology at NYU and ultimately graduated from Cornell in 1946. As part of her studies in Zoology she learned sculpture. She studied under Simon Moselesic. She married and had 2 daughters with Knox Burger, who at the age of 26 was a fiction editor at Colliers. At the beginning of their marriage they were broke and lived in a basement apartment on West 73rd Street in NYC. She sold her sculptures to make ends meet. Otis and Knox moved to a 5 story walk-up in the Village in 1949.

The first sculpture accepted into the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit in Greenwich Village in was created by Otis. It was 1946. She was a juried artist in the show for many years. After she became a mother Simon & Schuster asked her to write a book about the experience of pregnancy. She wrote An Interesting Condition under the pen name, Abigail Lewis, so her mother wouldn’t find out. She has published several books including poetry and science fiction and hosts well attended poetry readings on Sunday evenings in her townhouse she has lived in since 1959.


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