New contacts

The last blog came online on February 26th. In the penultimate paragraph of that blog I wrote: A project like this is never completely finished. This is the last blog for now. However, I have since been put on the trail of new information. In 1978, Tera and Pico give an interview about their memories of Max Weber. I recently managed to locate those “Weber tapes”. I haven’t listened to them yet, but it could just lead to another blog. ….

These “Weber tapes” are in the archive of the University of Amsterdam, the IWO. I was able to make an appointment to listen to the tapes through Erik Zevenhuizen, who is temporarily appointed there to further map part of the archive of the Artis library.

A gigantic factory hall, or something very similar. Large filing cabinets, brimming with folders, books, filing boxes. At the very back a small table with two chairs and a cart with sound equipment from the 1980s. On it 3 tape recorder tapes and 5 small cassette tapes (DAT). The tapes contain recordings of interviews with people who knew Weber. One tape with an interview with the gardener’s son at Eerbeek. One tape with someone who graduated with the help of Anna Weber and a one-hour long tape with an interview with Pico and Tera. There at that table I listened breathlessly for an hour. Their voices, their mutual jokes, a worried Pico: “Watch out Tera, that note will soon fall out of the book”. The clock in the background that strikes half past twelve: Tera: “Then I should go to the kitchen, otherwise we won’t have lunch”. “Could I help Tera?” asks Pico helpfully.

On 5 May 1978, De Wael’s guest book states: Thank you very much for the hospitable reception and the enthusiastic conversations about Max Weber and Anna Weber-van Bosse. Signed by Florence Pieters and Jaap de Visser. Florence was curator of the Artis library at the time. Jaap used the interview for his doctoral thesis on Max Weber’s ideas. In the mail contact I had with Florence she wrote: Incidentally, I also remember very well that “Tera” and “Pico” (that’s not what we called them) only came loose after Jaap de Visser had stopped the recorder (at their urgent request).  Their daily activities at the time were divided as follows, they said: the morning for the garden, the afternoon for the household, and the evening for science. I thought that was wonderful and that’s why I remembered it – even though it was almost 50 years ago.

I have now submitted a request to digitize the tape. There has been a favorable response. So hopefully the 1978 interview will soon be available online here. Then I will also discuss the contents of the tapes in more detail. .

Fun things also happened on the website. I received a message from Peter Schuman who is working on the second part of his biography about Piet Meertens. Peter Schuman writes to me, among other things: Piet and Tera (and Pico) knew each other from Amsterdam, even before the war. There have been countless visits that Piet paid to the Parnassusweg, also for Christmas dinners and such.

Somewhere in ‘my’ part 1 there is a nice description of a bike ride, which Meertens and Tera take to the chapel of Hoogelande, at nightfall, when Meertens is on holiday in Zeeland.

Piet also attended their wedding ceremony. In ‘my’ part 2, Tera and Pico also appear very often, when Meertens is visiting Middelburg. There are countless dinner parties in Domburg, usually with Mrs Ghijsen, M.P. de Bruin and Gré and Chris and Willy (later: Jo) van Schagen. This also sheds new light on the literary and scientific club that Pico and Tera gather around them in Domburg. Meertens’ biography can be found at his publisher.

Han van Gorsel also emailed me: This afternoon I came across your website about mollusc specialist Dr. Tera van Benthem Jutting. What an impressive overview of her life and work! I haven’t read everything yet but will do soon. Too bad I didn’t see this before, for I have dedicated  a (rather short) chapter to her in my book ‘Pioneers and Milestones of Indonesian Geology’ (Bandung, 2022). With your online information and photos I could have made a little more of that.

Han is a Dutch geologist. He lives in the USA and has worked at Esso/Exxon in Indonesia, among other places. Since 2009 he has written four impressive books on the geology of Indonesia. In the third part of that he therefore devotes a section to Tera. In a revised edition, he will probably make a little more of Tera’s life and work, partly because of this website. Han’s books can be found on his website.

So it is clear that a project like this is never completely finished. Soon hopefully more about the “Weber tapes”.

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