- Cassandra Langer
Brooks, Romaine (01 May 1874–07 December 1970), painter, was born Beatrice Romaine Goddard in a hotel room in Rome, Italy. She was the youngest of three children of Major Henry Goddard and Ella Waterman Goddard, wealthy Americans. In her unpublished autobiography, “No Pleasant Memories” (c. 1938), Brooks recounts surviving numerous instances of mental and physical abuse by her mother and others. True or not, this was her interior world. Her heartbreaking narrative includes early rejection by her mother, abandonment by her father, being left by at the age of six with a laundress in the slums of New York City, and a four-year education at an Episcopal school before reuniting in London with her mother at the age of twelve. The family then traveled to northern Italy, where her mother enrolled her in a prisonlike Catholic convent where she attempted suicide. Further, her mentally ill brother, St. Mar, likely sexually molested her. This abuse underlies her art and her feelings of vulnerability. Against this background Brooks studied art in Rome and later moved to Capri, where she lived on next to nothing as she struggled to become an artist....