Nancy Wilson Ross
New York Times 1986 obituary for Nancy Wilson Ross
Nancy Wilson Ross was a good friend of the SFZC, came with Margo Wilkie (four mentions of Ross) to visit in the city in the sixties, met with Suzuki and a few other elegant seemed to be high society women into the arts, meditation. She and Margot had gone to India together as part of a serious study of Eastern religions. Here's something I wrote in the last century about Margot, that she was in a "women's discussion group there in 1958 which included the writers Nancy Wilson Ross and Ann Morrow Lindberg. Suzuki-roshi met with them a few of the few times he went to the East Coast. Elsie Mitchel, founder of the Cambridge Buddhist Association was close with Nancy. I remember hearing once from Richard Baker I think that Alan Watts had first connected us to Nancy. Baker sent students to live with her and help her out. Some thrived there like John Bailes. I recall John telling me how through Nancy he'd been invited by someone from the Mellon family to spend some time in a Caribbean resort and was flown there in a private jett with a Matisse? hung on the cabin wall. I recall that Robert Lyttle hated being there.
From an interview with Deborah Madison: I loved Nancy Wilson Ross - she was into loving kindness. She was hard to live with and we didn't always get along and after Dan came we really didn't get along. A lot of people didn't get along with her but I loved it. I was so happy to be away from Zen Center. I got to go to lunches and have Manhattans in the afternoon. Dan didn't want to drink at cocktail hour and I said you have to so he got into it. When John Bailes first arrived he was depressed and she'd say at breakfast I see you're wearing your lead suit but he got closer to her than anyone.
I remember John Bailes telling me he was going through security with Nancy at an airport and she got a little haughty about it and said, "Well, I'm not very likely to be carrying a bomb on the plane," or something like that. They pulled elderly sophisticate Nancy into a room for interrogation and she missed her flight.
Nancy Wilson Ross (November 22, 1901 – January 18, 1986) was an American novelist. A native of Olympia, Washington who graduated from the University of Oregon in 1924, she became an expert in Eastern religions and wrote fifteen novels. Her 1957 novel The Return of Lady Brace was nominated for the National Book Award for Fiction. - from her Wikipedia page with a list of her books. She sure didn't act like she was from the West Coast.
This is interesting - Nancy was into John Cage
Nancy Wilson Ross' contributions to the New Yorker