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Robert Sitton

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231165785

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231165785.001.0001

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Abbott’s Fall

Abbott’s Fall

(p.339) 33 Abbott’s Fall
Lady in the Dark

Robert Sitton

Columbia University Press

This chapter describes the deterioration of Dick Abbott's health and his position at the Museum of Modern Art. As 1947 drew to a close Abbott missed work during the last half of the year and could not keep up the pretense that he was in charge, and he was “eased out.” On December 22, 1947, he wrote to Nelson Rockefeller resigning as Secretary of the Museum, effective on January first 1948. Abbott was later diagnosed with tuberculosis of the larynx and was confined to a facility on Saranac Lake where he was to keep “absolutely silent and take streptomycin daily.” By the spring of 1949 he was out of the Saranac facility but his ill health persisted. He also refused to follow his physician's advice to quit drinking. On February 7, 1952 Abbott died alone in a New York City hotel room, probably under the influence of alcohol.

Keywords:   Dick Abbott, Museum of Modern Art, Nelson Rockefeller, tuberculosis

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