Doris Meyer Chatham Biography

Doris Meyer Chatham




Doris Meyer Chatham (née Doris Hoag Clark), printmaker, painter, and educator, was born in Toronto, Canada on 10 January 1923. She earned her BFA degree from the Rice Institute (now known as Rice University) in Houston, Texas. On 19 February 1945, she married German born Professor Heinrich Meyer, (also known by the pseudonyms Robert O. Barlow, H. K. Houston Meyer, and Hugo Cartesius) a linguist and Goethe scholar who taught at Rice Institute. In 1938 Meyer wrote a letter to then German Chancellor Adolf Hitler and requested an audience in which he wanted to explain how the Nazis' anti-Jewish campaign was affecting American feelings, the offer was refused but Meyer, who had been naturalized in 1935, was taken into custody by the FBI on March 8, 1943, and turned over to the Immigration and Naturalization Department. He spent the next three months in a concentration camp in Kenedy, Texas. Meyer's case was the first de-naturalization case in the Southern District of Texas and the first civil action filed by the U.S. attorney's office to revoke the citizenship rights of Houstonians born in Germany. Upon appeal Meyer's citizenship was reversed in April 1944 by the Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans since the court believed that a naturalized citizen had the same freedom of thinking and speaking as a native citizen.

In 1945, the Meyers moved to Emmaus, Pennsylvania to open a cooperative farming community with Jerome Irving Rodale. Doris helped edit Rodale’s Organic Farming and Gardening and Prevention magazines and assisted with planting his first organic garden, one of the first in the United States.

After divorcing Meyer in 1955, Doris moved to the Pacific Northwest where she studied printmaking with Glenn Alps at the University of Washington. Under Alps she furthered her mastery of lithography and, in the late 1950s, she travelled to France to study printmaking at S.W. Hayter’s Atelier 17 in Paris. She studied with Kaiko Moti and experimented with viscosity printing. During this era, Meyer had a brief teaching career at Everett Community College in Everett, Washington.

Meyer later moved to Marin County, California where she taught art history, drawing and printmaking at the College of Marin. It was during this time that she met and later married one of her students, the painter Russell Chatham, and they settled in Marshall, California. When their marriage failed, Meyer Chatham returned to the Pacific Northwest.

The work of Doris Meyer Chatham is represented in the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana; and the National Gallery of Art, Washington., D.C.

Doris Hoag Clark Meyer Chatham died on 8 June 2015 in Portland, Oregon.