Born in Switzerland, Edmée de Montmollin Firth received the baccalaureate from the Lycee Francais in New York, attended Barnard College and graduated from Boston University. She spoke fluent French and German, and what she wryly termed “ambulatory” Italian and Spanish.
As the first Executive Director of the Shakespeare Globe Center North America, she headed the American effort to rebuild Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. She was Executive Director of the Musician’s Emergency Fund and the Wethersfield Foundation. Edmee served on the Boards of the MacDowell Colony, the Metropolitan Opera Guild, New York City Opera, and the Brookdale Center on Aging, as well as the Advisory Board of the New York Foundation for the Arts and the New York Council for Weil Cornell Medicine. She was Co-President of the International Friends of the Festival d’Aix en Provence. Executive Director, since 1991, of the Jean and Louis Dreyfus Foundation, she made transformative grants for Aging, Arts, Education and Social Services, supporting programming for the underserved audiences, assisting New Yorkers with basic needs and connecting them to support services to help improve and enrich their lives.
Edmée adored the opera, travel, entertaining and above all, her three children and eleven grandchildren. Edmée and Nick travelled broadly, and made homes in New York City, Bedford, NY and St. Remy de Provence. Wherever they were, Edmée found and nurtured a legion of friends, whose kindness sustained her in recent years. Edmée died on Tuesday, March 9th, after a long struggle with ovarian cancer. She approached her illness as she did her life — with gallantry, and grace.