a project by Andrea Geyer. 2012 - ongoing

Lucy A. Bacon (1857–1932) was the only known Californian painter to have studied under the Impressionists. Born in New York State, Bacon studied at the Art Students League and the National Academy of Design. She moved to Paris in 1892 to study at the Académie Colarossi under Camille Pissarro, at the suggestion of American painter Mary Cassatt. She moved back to California a few years later and taught at the Washburn School in San Jose. By 1909, Bacon had become a member of Indian F air Committee of the New Mexico Association of Indian Affairs and Eastern Association on Indian Affairs.

Peggy Bacon  (1895–1987) was a printmaker, illustrator, painter, and writer known for her satirical prints and drawings. Born in Ridgefield, Connecticut and privately tutored for most of her childhood, Bacon went to boarding school in New Jersey and studied at the Art Students League in New York. There she befriended Betty Burroughs, Anne Rector, Dorothea Schwarz, and Dorothy Varian. In adulthood Bacon split her time between artist communities in Greenwich Village and Woodstock, New York. She garnered extensive critical recognition, earning a Guggenheim Fellowship and an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, among others. She illustrated over sixty books, and her artwork appeared in magazines including the New Yorker and Fortune. In the 1920s Bacon began exhibiting her work and was part of the social circle surrounding the Whitney Studio Club, which later became the Whitney Museum of American Art. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s she taught at various art schools including Hunter College, the Art Students League, and the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Alice Bailey (1880–1949) was a writer and theosophist in occult teachings and esoteric psychology and healing. She was born in England and moved to the United States in 1907, where she spent most of her life. Bailey’s works describe a wide-ranging system of esoteric thought, covering such topics as how spirituality relates to the solar system, meditation, healing, spiritual psychology, the destiny of nations, and prescriptions for society in general. She described the majority of her work as having been telepathically dictated to her by a Master of Wisdom, initially referred to only as “the Tibetan” or by the initials “D.K.,” later identified as Djwal Khul. Her vision of a unified society included a global “spirit of religion” and she wrote about numerous religious themes, including Christianity, though her writings verge fundamentally from many aspects of Christianity and other traditional religions. She had a significant influence on the modern New Age movement as well as contemporary expressions of paganism.

Abby Scott Baker (1871–1944) was a suffragist and women’s rights activist, serving as Political Chairman of the National Woman’s Party and playing a key role in publicizing the NWP leading up to the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution. Born in Tennessee, she maintained an intense travel schedule, working with local and national political offices, which earned her a significant amount of media attention. Her efforts helped begin to normalize the view of women involved in politics. After suffrage was achieved, Baker became a member of the NWP’s Committee on International Relations and the Women’s Consultative Committee of the League of Nations. She also represented the NWP at the League’s 1935 international conferences in Geneva wherethe issue of equal rights was discussed.

Josephine Baker (1906–1975) was an American-born French dancer, singer, and actress who came to be known in various circles as the “Black Pearl,” “Bronze Venus” and even the “Creole Goddess.” Born Freda Josephine McDonald in St. Louis, Missouri, Josephine became a citizen of France in 1937. Baker was the first African-American woman to become a world famous entertainer, and the first to star in a major motion picture, Zouzou (1934). Baker, who refused to perform for segregated audiences in America, has been commended for her contributions to the Civil Rights Movement. Following Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination in 1968, she was offered unofficial leadership in the movement in the United States by Coretta Scott King. Baker, however, turned down the offer. She assisted the French Resistance during World War II and later received the Croix de Guerre, a French military honor, and was made a Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur by General Charles de Gaulle.

Sara Josephine Baker (1873–1945) was the first director of New York’s Bureau of Child Hygiene. A lesbian and feminist, Baker campaigned for women’s right to vote and was a member of the Heterodoxy Club, a radical group of more than one hundred women. Known as “Dr. Joe,” she wore masculine tailored suits and joked that colleagues forgot that she was a woman. After graduating, she worked at an outpatient clinic in Boston serving the city’s poorest residents. Baker opened a private practice in New York and was appointed the assistant commissioner of health in 1907. Her focus on preventive health measures and the social context of disease within poor immigrant communities had a dramatic positive impact on maternal and child mortality rates. Baker founded the American Child Hygiene Association in 1909 and became the first woman to earn a doctorate in public health from New York University. Her work became a model for cities nationwide and the U.S. Children’s Bureau. Dr. Baker served on many national and international committees, wrote five books, and numerous journal articles and popular press pieces. In the 1930s she retired with her partner, novelist Ida Wylie, and another female physician, Louise Pearce. They shared a house until Baker’s death in 1945.

Ruth Standish Baldwin (1863- 1934) was a white, American philanthropist who dedicated her life to helping African Americans. She came from a family of New England colonists, and both she and her husband William Baldwin were interested in the health and welfare of black migrants settling in the North. There was a great need to create an infrastructure that would aid the black urban population through employment and education. Her progressive social activism was a stepping-stone in civil rights for the black community. “Let us work not as colored people nor as white people for the narrow benefit of any group alone, but together, as American citizens, for the common good of our common city, our common country.” She played an active role in the National League for the Protection of Colored Women (NLPCW) to help black female migrants in particular. After the death of her husband in 1905, Baldwin carried on their work. In 1910, she cofounded the Committee on Urban Conditions Among Negroes (CUCAN), which was later named the National Urban League. Now over a hundred years old, the National Urban League has transformed the conditions of African-American communities.

Tallulah Bankhead (1902–1968) was an American stage and screen actress, best known for her Broadway performances and her role as the reporter Constance Porter in Alfred Hitchcock’s Lifeboat (1944). After moving to New York as a teenager to pursue her acting career, Bankhead took up residence in the Algonquin Hotel, where she quickly charmed her way into the famed Algonquin Round Table. Among its artistic circles and cultural elite, she would befriend actresses Estelle Winwood and Ethel Barrymore. After a string of commercially unsuccessful plays, Bankhead moved to London where she debuted at Wyndham’s Theater in They Knew What They Wanted, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1925. She returned to the United States in 1931 to moderate success and was famous for her extravagant behavior and outrageous parties. She is rumored to have had affairs with many female stars of the time, including Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, and Billie Holiday. After the success of Lifeboat, Bankhead shot A Royal Scandal (1945), but acted primarily on stage for the remainder of her career; she did not appear on film again for twenty years, when she starred in Die! Die! My Darling! (1965).

Anna Simms Banks (1862–1923) was born in Louisville, Kentucky. She was a schoolteacher in Louisville and later moved to Winchester, Kentucky. When women gained the right to vote in 1920, she became the first African-American woman to be a fully credited delegate, serving at the 7th Congressional Republican Convention in Kentucky.

Florence Howell Barkley (1880–1954) moved to New York from Maysville, Kentucky, and worked as an illustrator for the World and as a freelance artist. Her painting Jerome Avenue Bridge (Landscape over the City) (1910–1911) was included in the 1913 Armory Show. The small but expressive canvas depicts an aerial view of the bridge under a large, turbulent sky. She also exhibited at the MacDowell Club and the Society of Independent Artists. During World War I Barkley went overseas to work with the American Red Cross. Her work can be found in the collection of the Museum of the City of New York.

Djuna Barnes  (1892–1982) was a feminist writer and illustrator. Barnes’s family moved to New York City in 1912, and she briefly enrolled at Pratt but soon left to help support her family as a journalist. She became part of the bohemian circles of Greenwich Village, joined the Provincetown Players, and wrote a number of plays. Though raised with a “free love” philosophy, she dismissed her family’s ideas of unlimited procreation and instead enjoyed affairs with women. In 1921 Barnes went to P aris and became well known in the local scene and at Natalie Barney’s salons. They became lifelong friends. Thelma Wood was Barnes’s lover during that time, and Barnes’s novel Nightwood is based on their relationship and the Parisian lesbian scene. Unable to tolerate Wood’s refusal of monogamy, Barnes separated from her soon after Nightwood’s publication. Barnes’s drinking habit made her financially dependent on Peggy Guggenheim for much of the 1930s. In 1940 Guggenheim sent Barnes back to New York where she quit drinking and wrote The Antiphon, a bitter tale based loosely on her family history. In Barnes’s words, “To be ‘one’s self’ is the most shocking custom of all.”

Laura Leggett Barnes (1874–1966) was the founder of the Arboretum School of the Barnes Foundation. She, along with her husband Albert Barnes, established the Barnes Foundation in 1922, which aimed to enhance fine arts education through its first-rate collection of Impressionist and modernist artwork. Though Laura also purchased art and served as vice president of the foundation’s board of trustees, her primary legacy lies in her contributions to horticulture studies and education. Throughout her life, she pursued the study of horticulture, attending numerous lectures, sharing specimens from the Barnes Arboretum’s collection, and cultivating a personal library of horticulture books. She became the director of the arboretum in 1928 and established the Arboretum School in 1940, at which she was also an instructor. For her dedication to the field of horticulture, she was awarded the Schaffer Memorial Medal from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and became a member of the American Society for Landscape Architects in 1955; she also received an honorary doctorate from St. Joseph’s University. After her husband’s death, she took over as president of the Foundation and oversaw the continuation of its mission. Her private art collection was donated to the Brooklyn Museum, and the Barnes Foundation Collection and Arboretum are now open to the public.

Natalie Clifford Barney (1876–1972) was a playwright, poet, and novelist. She met Eva Palmer-Sikelianos, her first romantic partner, in 1893 as a teenager in Maine. Barney eventually moved Paris, where she built a small Temple of Friendship in her backyard and lived openly as a lesbian. Her writing supported feminism and pacifism and opposed monogamy, as exemplified in her Pensees d’une Amazone. She had many overlapping relationships, yet remained continuously involved with the painter Romaine Brooks for fifty years. Barney published several books of poetry, often influenced by Sappho. For sixty years Barney held a weekly salon, bringing together a large number of influential artists, writers, and patrons such as Sylvia Beach, Nancy Cunard, Isadora Duncan, and Peggy Guggenheim to socialize and discuss literature, art, music, and their sentiments against the war. The salon was described as “a place where lesbian assignations and appointments with academics coexisted in a kind of cheerful, cross-pollinating, cognitive dissonance.” In 1927 Barney founded the Académie des Femmes to honor women writers, including Djuna Barnes, Colette, Lucie Delarue-Mardrus, Mina Loy, Gertrude Stein, Renée Vivien, and Anna Wickham.

Aline Barnsdall (1882–1946) was an heiress to an oil fortune and a patron to modern architecture. Her support of radical causes kept her under the watchful eye of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for twenty-four years. A fiercely independent feminist, bohemian, and devotee of experimental theater, Barnsdall supported causes not necessarily because she believed in them, but because they shared her opposition to all conformity. She met Emma Goldman in Chicago in 1913 and later wrote out a $5,000 check to Goldman to ease her deportation. In 1917, after receiving her inheritance, Barnsdall relocated to Los Angeles. Later that year she gave birth to her daughter. She remained unmarried and commissioned a home for herself and a loosely defined theater community. The landmark Hollyhock House was intended to be part of an arts and theater complex on Olive Hill, but this larger project was never completed. She erected news billboards on the property to advocate for various progressive political causes. In 1927, with the stipulation that a fifteen-year lease be given to the California Art Club, Barnsdall donated Hollyhock House to the city of Los Angeles. She remained at Olive Hill until her death in 1946.

Margaret Scolari Barr (1901–1987) was born in Rome. She studied linguistics at the University of Rome from 1919 to 1922 and later moved to the United States. In 1925 Barr received her M.A. in art history from Vassar College. In 1929 she relocated to New York City where she continued her studies at New York University. The same year she attended an opening of one of the first exhibitions of the Museum of Modern Art and soon became the assistant to its founding director, Alfred Barr. She worked closely on the museum’s exhibitions in its first twenty years. Barr authored a number of artist monographs and translated many others (she was fluent in French, Italian, Spanish, and German). She taught art history at the Spence School in New York for thirty-seven years and inspired many young scholars, including Joan R. Mertens, a curator of Greek and Roman art at the Metropolitan Museum. During World War II Barr organized the paperwork for many European artists seeking refuge in the United States, using the Museum of Modern Art’s letterhead. Among those admitted to the States were Marc Chagall, Max Ernst, Jacques Lipchitz, André Masson, Piet Mondrian, and Yves Tanguy.

Iris Barry (1895–1969) was an unabashed film fan—a lover of the experience of going to the movies as well as of individual films and stars. She founded the film study department at the Museum of Modern Art in 1935, the first dedicated film program of its kind. Before moving to New York, Barry was a film critic for the London Weekly and the Spectator and the motion pictures editor of the London Daily Mail. She co-founded the London Film Society and authored one of England’s first books of film criticism, Let’s Go to the Pictures (1926). Barry brought this enthusiasm for film with her when she joined MoMA’s staff in 1932. Her department helped with the important task of preserving and archiving rare films, and she supervised a library of film-related books and the film circulation program. Treating film as an art form was a novel idea, and many American film studios only agreed to deposit their prints in the library after years of her advocacy. “ The cinema provides us with the safe dreams we want,” she wrote, “and if our dreams are often not worth having, it is because we demand no better.”

Tosca Olinsky Barteau (1909–1984) was a realist painter from Florence, Italy. A graduate of the National Arts Academy and the Art Students League, she worked in New York City and Old Lyme, Connecticut, where she held a teaching position at the Old Lyme Artists Colony. Influence by Cubism and Precisionism, Barteau’s paintings were restrained in style and subject matter; she favored still lifes. She was a member of the National Academy of Design, the Audubon Artists, and the National Arts Club. Barteau’s many prizes include the National Arts Club prize (1936, 1937, 1939, and 1941), the Third Hallgarten Prize from the National Academy of Design (1938–1943), and the Gloria Layton prize from Allied Artists of America (1960).

Alice Hunt Bartlett (1869–1949) was an American poet and editor involved in literary communities in the United States and England. Bartlett was the founder and editor of the American section of the Poetry Review of London for nearly thirty years. In 1924, she received the gold medal of the Poetry Society of Great Britain.

Agnes and Maud Bartlett were friends of landscape painter Dorothea A. Dreier. The sisters were born in Brooklyn to Mary Fairbanks Buffum and Willard Bartlett, who served as an Appellate Division Justice in the Supreme Court, an Associate Justice of the New York State Court of Appeals, and Chief Justice of the New York State Court of Appeals. The Bartlett sisters’ frequent correspondence with Dreier is known through Dreier’s papers, which are archived at the Archives of American Art in Washington, D.C.

Catherine Bauer (1905–1964) was a leading member of a small group of idealists who called themselves “housers.” They were committed to improving housing for low-income families. She briefly attended Cornell University for architecture, later transferring to Vassar, where she graduated in 1926. As an adult she visited Paris and socialized with major figures from art, literature, and publishing such as Sylvia Beach. In Europe she was exposed to the architects of the Bauhaus and their ideas about addressing social issues through architecture and housing. She became a strong advocate for housing for the poor and helped to co-author the Housing Act of 1937. With her book Modern Housing, published in 1934, Bauer dramatically changed the concept of social housing in the United States and inspired generations of urban activists and public housing proponents. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1936. Bauer later moved to San Francisco, taught at the University of California, Berkeley, and was involved in founding the progressive architectural research group Telesis. Her social advocacy and activism led her to be a victim of the so-called Red Scare, but she withstood accusations of disloyalty by the Tenney Committee.

Marion Bauer (1882–1955), a gifted American composer, teacher, writer, and music critic, studied composition privately and spent many years in Paris working with prominent composers such as Nadia Boulanger. In 1926, she was hired as the first woman faculty member of the Music Department at New York University, where she taught until 1951, when she received a Ph.D. from the New York College of Music. Bauer also lectured at Julliard and Columbia University and was an influential mentor to composers Miriam Gideon and Julia Frances Smith. During her summers at the MacDowell Colony she met many other composers including Amy Beach and Ruth Crawford Seeger. Bauer helped establish sever al music organizations such as the American Music Guild, the American Music Center, and the American Composer’s Alliance. Her music criticism was regularly published in journals, and in 1947 she published Twentieth Century Music: How it Developed, How to Listen to It . “The greatest work of the composer is often sublimation,” she wrote, “the deflection of energies, thoughts, occurrences, psychological and physical reactions, into socially constructive or creative channels.”

Amy Marcy Cheney Beach (1867–1944) was an American composer and pianist who became the most successful woman composers of her time. Born in New Hampshire, Beach was trained as a pianist from an early age and had great natural talent. Her musical debut took place in 1883 when she performed in Boston’s Music Hall with an orchestra conducted by Adolf Neuendorff. One of her husbands, preferred to see Beach as a wife and not a performer, and he restricted her recitals. He did, however, support Beach as she composed her own music, and from chamber works to cantatas and church music. In 1892 Beach composed her first orchestral composition, Mass in E-flat Major, and in 1896 she composed Gaelic Symphony, her first symphonic work. Beach’s music, much of which was inspired by Romanticism, was met with great success in both the United States and Europe. Long after her death, in 1999, Beach was finally given a spot in the American Classical Music Hall of Fame.

Silvia Beach (1887–1962) was an American-born bookseller and publisher, best known for her Parisian bookstore, Shakespeare and Company. As a teenager, Beach spent a few years in Paris with her family, returning to the states before returning to Europe and working for the Balkan Commission of the Red Cross. During the last year of World War I, she returned to Paris to study French literature and met French bookseller Adrienne Monnier, who became her lover and partner of thirty-six years. Monnier helped Beach open Shakespeare and Company, an English language bookstore in central Paris. When the store hit financial troubles during the Depression, friends and colleagues started a reading series that patrons could subscribe to for 200 francs per year, temporarily saving the store and attracting considerable attention. By 1941 however, Beach was forced to close the store. In 1956 she wrote the book Shakespeare and Company chronicling the cultural life of Paris during the interwar years, including observations on writers and artists such as Berenice Abbott, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, and Gertrude Stein. Her papers are archived at Princeton University.

Mary Ritter Beard (1876–1958) was an American historian and archivist who was instrumental in the women’s suffrage movement and closely involved with labor and women’s rights movements. Her works on women’s role in history include America Through Women’s Eyes (1933), Woman as Force in History: A Study in Traditions and Realities (1946), and as editor On Understanding Women (1931). After attending DePauw University, she relocated to New York where to pursue graduate study at Columbia University. She spent a number of years in Oxford, where she crossed paths with a network of radical and progressive leaders of the socialist and labor movements, including radical suffragist Emmeline Pankhurst. She began her American activism as a member of the Women’s Trade Union League but left to join the Congressional Union (which later became the National Woman’s Party) after an invitation from Alice Paul and Lucy Burns. Beard became an executive member of its board and editor of the weekly magazine the Suffragist. She resigned from the part in 1917 and devoted her time to lecturing and writing. With the help of international peace activist and feminist Rosika Schwimmer, Beard founded the World Center for Women’s Archives (WCWA) in 1935. As director of the center, Beard hoped to not only collect any and all manner of women’s published and unpublished records, but also to establish an educational institution, a place that would aid in the writing of history and the education of women. Beard went on to work with both Smith College and Radcliffe to establish the Sophia Smith Collection and the Schlesinger Library.

Bessye J. Bearden  (1891–1943) was an American journalist who played an active part in the political, civic, and social activities for people of color. She studied journalism at Columbia University in New York City and eventually settled in Harlem. Bearden worked a variety of jobs, from cashier at the Lafayette Theater box office to New York correspondent for the Chicago Defender to and manager of the New York office of the E. C. Brown Real Estate Company of Philadelphia. In 1922 she was the first black woman to be elected to a local School Board No. 15 in New York City where she served till 1939. Bearden helped in cultivating the arts and culture in Harlem, influencing her son, Romare Bearden, who was renowned for his depictions of African-American life. Bearden also contributed to the advancement of women of color as the founder and president of the Colored Women’s Democratic League, secretary of the executive board of the New York Urban League, and treasurer of the Council of Negro Women. She was also the first black woman to serve as a member of New York City’s Board of Education.

Bessie Beatty (1886–1947) was an American journalist, editor, playwright, and radio host. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, where she began writing for the Los Angeles Herald while still in college. She had a regular column in the San Francisco Bulletin for a decade, beginning in 1907. In 1917 she traveled to Russia with fellow journalists Louise Bryant and Rheta Childe Dorr and interviewed Leon Trotsky and members of the Women’s Battalion. The Red Heart of Russia, her book about the trip, was published in 1918. She was a member of the Heterodoxy group, a feminist debate society based in Greenwich Village in the early 20th century, and wrote “A Political Primer for the New Voter” to educate women on how to exercise their new right to vote. She was a freelance journalist for much of her life, later becoming a radio host and Broadway producer.

Marion Beckett  (1886–1949) was a painter born in New York City. With Agnes Meyer and Katherine Rhoades, she was known as one of the “Three Graces.” The trio, associated with Alfred Stieglitz’s 291 gallery, visited France, and in 1908 Beckett moved there with Rhoades permanently. Described by Meyer as “the most beautiful young women that ever walked this earth,” Beckett was an inspiration for many artist colleagues. Her own work was exhibited in the 1913 Armory show in New York.

Catharine Beecher (1800–1878) was an American author, educator, and a pioneer of women’s education. She was born to a distinguished religious family that influenced the culture and arts in America, and among her notable siblings was Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of the 1852 anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Beecher is known for increasing opportunities for women and suggesting that domestic responsibilities of motherhood be extended to the larger scope of society as educators. Her own educational journey started at Litchfield Female Academy in Connecticut, and in 1821 she became a schoolteacher. After teaching for a number of years, she cofounded Hartford Female Seminary, which sought to provide moral and physical training alongside intellectual development. She opposed the ideas of corsets, of women as fragile creatures, and of education curricula limited to home economics. Beecher authored numerous publications promoting her ideas of domesticity, women’s rights, and educational reforms, including “Suggestions on Education” (1829), The Duty of American Women to Their Country (1845), and The Domestic Receipt Book (1846). A Treatise on Domestic Economy (1841) provided Catharine with financial independence and national recognition by classifying women’s labor. Catharine created an interest for her causes as a publicist and fundraiser through organizations such as the Ladies Society for Promoting Education at the West and the Central Committee for Promoting National Education. Beecher later founded the American Woman’s Educational Association in 1852, traveling across the nation to recruit female schoolteachers. Beecher provided equal opportunity in the education sector but discouraged women from using their skills outside the acceptable framework of the homemaker; she was, for example, a vehement anti-suffragist, critical of individuals supporting the women’s suffrage movement. Beecher spent her last years lecturing at Elmira College in upstate New York.

Alva Belmont  (1853–1933) was a prominent American socialite and suffragist. She was among the Metropolitan Opera’s founding group, and she was one of the first female members of the American Institute of Architects. Her work in the women’s suffrage movement led her to donate large sums of money to the cause in both the United States and the United Kingdom. Belmont founded the Political Equality League in 1909 in order to campaign for votes that would elect New York politicians who supported suffrage. After joining forces with fellow activist Alice Paul, the pair established the National Woman’s Party from the membership of their respective organizations and staged the first picket in front of the White House. She served as president of the National Woman’s Party until her death in 1933.

Eleanor Robson Belmont (1879–1979) was a stage actress and prominent public figure. Born in England, she moved to the United States as a child. At seventeen Belmont began acting San Francisco and made her New York stage debut in 1900. For ten years she was a leading Broadway actress, starring in plays such as In a Balcony, Romeo and Juliet, and Salomy Jane. She retired from acting in 1910 and went on to join the Metropolitan Opera’s Board of Directors in 1933 and founded the Metropolitan Opera Guild in 1935. These organizations helped form the model of public-private funding used today by many performing arts organizations. In 1912 she started the Society for the Prevention of Useless Gift Giving with Anne Tracy Morgan. During the Great Depression Belmont raised funds with the Women’s Committee of the Central Emergency Unemployment Relief Agency, devoting special attention to the needs of the single working women. Belmont held correspondences with such figures as Harriet Ford, Ellen Glasgow, and Amy Lowell and was a close friend to Lillie P . Bliss.

Vanessa Bell (1879–1961) was a British artist who was born into a family of writers in 1879. In the early 1900s Bell attended the Royal Academy Schools to study under the artist John Singer Sargent. Following the deaths of her parents, the family moved to Bloomsbury, England. Amid the Bloomsbury Group, which facilitated dialogue between artists and intellectuals, Bell formed relationships that influenced her artistic style. Full of stark colors and blunt shapes, Bell’s portraits and still lifes were regularly exhibited in London with the London Group and with the London Artists’ Association. Bell had her first solo exhibition in 1922 at London’s Independent Gallery. She continued painting until the final decades of her life.

Gwendolyn Bennett  (1902–1981) was a writer, artist, and teacher who played an active role in the African-American arts community for over twenty years. She attended the Pratt Institute, as well as taking classes at Columbia University. Bennett was an early participant in Harlem literary circles. She served as an evening volunteer at Harlem’s 135th Street Library, helping to arrange poetry readings, book discussions, and other cultural events. Bennett’s poem “Nocturne” was published in the Crisis in 1923 while she was still in college; in December of the same year, her poem “Heritage” was included in the Opportunity, a magazine published by the National Urban League. During 1923 to 1931, Bennett ran a support group that provided a supportive place for the young writers of Harlem and fostered associations with their peers. The group, which included Countee Cullen, Alta Douglass, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Helene Johnson, was designed to motivate young writers to support and encourage each other. The Harlem Community Arts Center was under her leadership from 1939 to 1944. Bennett was also active on the board of the Negro Playwright’s Guild and involved with the development of the George Washington Carver Community School.

Gladys Bentley (1907–1960) moved to New York City at age sixteen. A renowned blues singer, she was popular at gay speak easies during the Harlem Renaissance. In the 1930s she regularly headlined at Harlem’s Ubangi Club, backed by a chorus line of drag queens. Her recording career spanned two decades. Bentley often dressed in men’s clothes and wore a tuxedo and top hat during performances. She was open about her homosexuality, and at one point announced her marriage to a white female lover. Bentley recalled years later in Ebony magazine: “I was born different. At least, I always thought so. . . . From the time I can remember anything, even as I was toddling, I never wanted a man to touch me. . . . Soon I began to feel more comfortable in boys clothes than in dresses.” Characters based on Bentley appeared in novels like Clement Wood’s Deep River (1934) and Blair Niles’s Strange Brother (1931). Bentley’s openness made her a target for persecution during the McCarthy era. Later in life she claimed to have “cured” herself through hormone treatments and was purported to have married a man. She moved to California as the Harlem speakeasy scene declined, becoming a devout Christian during the 1950s.

Otti Berger (1898–1944) was a Croatian textile designer who was trained at the Bauhaus. She graduated in 1930, and the following year she took over for Gunta Stölzl as the head of the Bauhaus weaving workshop. While she was never given the appointment fully, she ran the program independently as the deputy to designer Lilly Reich. Berger developed her own curriculum and left the Bauhaus in 1932 to found the Atelier fur Textile in Berlin. During World War II, Berger was forced to shut down her business because she was Jewish. While waiting for her visa to immigrate to the United States, she was deported to the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz, where she died in 1944.

Ella Bergmann-Michel (1896–1971) was an abstract artist, photographer, and documentarian born in Germany. Her style was strongly influenced by Constructivism’s attempt to respond to political and economic problems through abstraction. She was one of the first to incorporate text and photography into her collages. Bergmann-Michel was forced to stop making work during World War II though she continued to make collages later in life.

Doris Fleischman Bernays (1891–1980) was an influential professional who aided in the development of modern public relations alongside her husband, Edward L. Bernays. After Bernays graduated from Barnard College in 1913, she joined the New York Tribune to write for the women’s page, interviewing Theodore Roosevelt, Irene Castle, and Jane Addams, among others. Bernays made headlines when she was issued a passport under her maiden name, the first married American to do so. She chaired the Lucy Stone League whose aim was to persuade other American women to keep their names after marriage. As an equal partner at the firm of Edward L. Bernays, she also pioneered work as a public relations consultant while continuing her writing; Bernays conceived of, wrote, and edited Contact, a four-page newsletter containing reprints of speeches and articles on public relations. In 1955 she published a memoir, A Wife Is Many Women and discontinued the use of her maiden name, explaining her reasoning in her final publication, Notes of a Retiring Feminist. In 1972 the Association for Women in Communications honored her with their Headliner Award.

Theresa Ferber Bernstein (1890–2002) was an American painter and writer. She studied at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women, which later became Moore College of Art and Design. Following her graduation she moved to New York City and enrolled in the Art Students League. Bernstein often painted what were considered “masculine” subjects like urban landscapes and urban infrastructure. Though critical acclaim for her work waned after 1920, she is now considered an important figure and was championed by the women’s movement, both for resisting gender barriers in her work and for her interest in subjects such as women at work and suffragist parades. In addition to her studio apartment in Manhattan, Bernstein also had a home in Massachusetts, which inspired many of her landscapes. Her works are scattered across the United States in many different collections, both public and private, including at the post office in Mannheim, Pennsylvania, which houses a Bernstein mural from the 1930s.

Annie Besant (1847–1933) was a prominent British socialist, theosophist, women’s rights activist, writer, and supporter of Irish and Indian self-rule. In the 1870s Besant became a prominent speaker for the Marxist Social Democratic Federation, the Fabian Society, a noted socialist organization, and National Secular Society, which preached “free thought.” She was notoriously prosecuted for her role in publishing a book by birth control campaigner Charles Knowlton and became involved with union actions, including the Bloody Sunday demonstration and the Matchgirls Strike of 1888 in London. She was elected to the London School Board for Tower Hamlets, topping the poll even though few women were qualified to vote at that time. In 1890 Besant met Helena Blavatsky; over the next few years her interest in theosophy grew and she became a member of the Theosophical Society and a prominent lecturer on the subject. During that time she also traveled to India. In 1902 she established the first overseas Lodge of the International Order of Freemasonry, Le Droit Humain, and over the next few years she established lodges in many parts of the British Empire. In 1907 she became president of the Theosophical Society, whose international headquarters were in Adyar, Chennai (formerly Madras) in India. She became involved in politics in India, joining the Indian National Congress. When World War I broke out in 1914, she helped launch the Home Rule League to campaign for democracy in India and dominion status within the British Empire. This led to her election as president of the India National Congress in late 1917. After the war, she continued to campaign for Indian independence and for the causes of theosophy.

Eva Besnyö (1910–2003) was a Dutch-Hungarian photographer who participated in the Nieuwe Fotografie (New Photography) movement. Born in Budapest, Besnyö was brought up in a wealthy Jewish home. She studied and then apprenticed at the József Pécsi Portrait, Advertising and Architecture Studio. In 1930 Besnyö moved to Berlin, where she worked briefly for the advertising photographer René Ahrlé and for the press photographer Peter Weller. She became part of a circle of socially and politically engaged thinkers and artists that included György Kepes, Lászlo Moholy-Nagy, Otto Umbehr (Umbo), and Robert Capa, and attended the Marxist Workers’ Evening Courses. Besnyö established her own studio in 1931 and was successful in receiving agency work, but threatened by the onset of National Socialism, she moved to Amsterdam the following year with filmmaker John Fernhout. In Holland, she participated in exhibitions that led to commissions in press photography, portraits, fashion, and architecture. After the capitulation of the Netherlands Army in May 1940, Besnyö—as a Jew—was forbidden to engage in journalistic activities. In 1942, when her sole source of income was a few private commissions, she went underground for two years. After the war, she received numerous commissions and remained professionally active, in addition to mothering two children. From 1970 to 1976 Besnyö was active in Dolle-Mina, a Dutch feminist movement, chronicling their events through her photographs. In 1980 she rejected the Ritterorden (knighthood), which was to have been bestowed on her by the Queen of the Netherlands. Her work was the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the Centro Português de Fotografia, Porto, Portugal, in 1999, the same year that she received the Dr. Erich Salomon Award from Deutsche Gesellschaft für Photographie.

Mary McLeod Bethune (1875–1955) was an educator and civil rights activist from Mayesville, South Carolina. Bethune was born into poverty and was the only child from her family to go to school, first receiving a scholarship to the Scotia Seminary in North Carolina and later the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. After completing her studies, Bethune returned to the South and settled in Daytona, Florida, where she founded the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute for Negro Girls in 1904. She served as the president of the Florida chapter of the National Association of Colored Women for many years and worked for the Federal Government on the Commission on Home Building and Home Ownership as well as a committee on child health. In 1935, Bethune started her own civil rights organization, the National Council of Negro Women. Around this time, she became a trusted friend and advisor to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Bethune was an early member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and helped present the group at the 1945 United Nations Conference on International Organization.

Pamela Bianco (1906–1994) was a painter and printmaker. Born in the United States, she spent much of her life traveling between New York, London, and other cities in France and Italy. Her career spanned eight decades, beginning when she was acclaimed as a child prodigy in 1918. Bianco developed her style and built her career as an American modernist painter and printmaker during the 1920s and 30s and was best known for her graphic still lifes. Bianco printed her first lithographs with George Miller in 1922 and was a member of the Studio Club from 1924–1928. In 1930 Bianco was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship and traveled to Florence and Rome for the year. Through her work and travel, Bianco was widely recognized in the art world and had many friends including Cecil Beaton, Leonora Carrington, Charlie Chaplin, George Gershwin, Eugene O’Neill, and Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. In the 1960s she produced highly detailed, surrealist paintings of New York City. The first retrospective of her work was held after her death, in 2005 by England & Co, a gallery in London.

Flora Miller Biddle (1928– ) served as president of the Whitney Museum of American Art from 1977 to 1995. Biddle wrote the memoir The Whitney Women and the Museum They Made, which chronicles the Whitney Museum from its founding by her grandmother, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney,
through the end of Biddle’s tenure as president.

Ilse Bing (1899–1998) was a German photographer who left a legacy as one of the first to use solarization, the electronic flash, and the 35-millimeter camera. In 1920 Bing began studying mathematics and physics at the University of Frankfurt; she later studied art history in Vienna. By 1929 she had abandoned her academic career and devoted herself to photography. She moved to Paris in 1930, where she worked in both avant-garde and commercial circles, photographing for newspapers and fashion magazines such as L’Illustration, Le Monde Illustré, and Paris Vogue. She also did architectural, theater, and portrait photography. Bing was drawn to the banal details of urban living and became known for her unconventional perspectives, cropping, and compositions, gaining a reputation as the “Queen of the Leica.” In Paris she exhibited alongside Brassaï, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Florence Henri, Man Ray, and André Kértesz. When Paris fell to the Nazis in 1940, Bing and her husband were placed in internment camps. They waited six weeks for US visas and made their way in 1941 to New York. By 1947 Bing’s style had changed significantly: influenced by the new city and by her experiences in Nazi-occupied France, the softness that had characterized her work in the 1930s gave way to hard forms and clear lines. Bing’s work was exhibited in New York at Julien Levy’s gallery in 1932, and in a solo show at the June Rhodes gallery in 1936. She was also included in the Museum of Modern Art’s 1937 exhibition Photography 1839–1937. In 1959 Bing declared that she had said all that she had to say with photography, and she turned to poetry and drawing for the last decades of her life.

Elizabeth Bishop (1911–1979) studied English at Vassar College and was publishing her poetry by her senior year. In 1933 she co-founded the literary magazine Con Spirito with fellow Vassar students Mary McCarthy, Margaret Miller, and Eunice and Eleanor Clark. Upon graduating in 1934 she moved to New York City. In 1946, Bishop was awarded the Houghton Mifflin Prize for poetry for her first book, North & South. After receiving a traveling fellowship from Bryn Mawr College in 1951, Bishop had intended to circumnavigate South America; instead she stayed in Brazil for fifteen years. There she met the prominent architect Lota de Macedo Soares. While living in Brazil, Bishop was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. Bishop avoided a confessional style of writing and kept much of her personal life private, including her romance with Soares. Though she did embrace the feminist label, she avoided being classified as a “lesbian poet” or “female poet,” wanting to be recognized only for the quality of her writing. Bishop won the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and a Guggenheim fellowship. She was the first woman and only American to ever win the Neustadt International Prize for Literature.

Isabel Bishop (1902–1988) was an American painter and graphic artist who focused on depicting women in realistic urban settings. Bishop grew up in Michigan, moving to New York City when she was 16 to study illustration at the New York School of Applied Design for Women. She began studying painting and attended the Art Students League until 1924. She developed a realist style of painting and was best known for her representation of working class women in everyday situations. She exhibited her work widely and was presented with the award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts by President Jimmy Carter in 1979. She was also the first woman to hold an executive position in the National Institute of Arts and Letters when she became vice president in 1946.

Lucile Linquist Blanch (1895–1981) was a painter and lithographer. She was born in Hawley, Minnesota, and studied art at the Minneapolis Art Institute. In 1918 she moved to New York City and continued her work at the Art Students League, where she met and married Arnold Blanch. Together they were a key part of the revitalization of the Woodstock Art Colony. Blanch’s often whimsical canvases of still lifes and everyday scenes became more abstract over the course of her lifetime. Her paintings were exhibited at the Whitney Studio Club in 1924 and 1929, and later at the Museum of Modern Art, the New York Society of Women Artists, and the American Artists Congress and at various galleries. By her mid-thirties, she had a number of paintings in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 1933 she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. Following her divorce in 1935, Blanch moved to Florida where she taught briefly at the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota. The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York collected her work, as did the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891), popularly called either Madame Blavatsky or simply HPB, was an occultist, spirit medium, and author who co-founded the Theosophical Society in 1875. She gained an international following as the leading theoretician of Theosophy, the esoteric movement that the Society promoted. Through her writings and her contributions to the Theosophical Society, she brought eastern concepts like karma and reincarnation to the West. Born into an aristocratic Russian-German family and largely self-educated, Blavatsky traveled widely around the Russian Empire as a child and developed an interest in Western esotericism during her teenage years. In 1849 she embarked on a series of world travels, visiting Europe, the Americas, and India. Blavatsky alleged that during this period she encountered a group of spiritual adepts, the "Masters of the Ancient Wisdom", who sent her to Shigatse, Tibet, where they trained her to develop her own psychic powers. In 1877 she published Isis Unveiled, a book outlining her Theosophical world-view as "the synthesis of science, religion and philosophy." Blavatsky was a controversial figure during her lifetime, championed by supporters as an enlightened guru and derided as a fraudulent charlatan by critics. She died of influenza in the home of her disciple and successor, Annie Besant in London.

Lillie P. Bliss (1864–1931) was an American art collector and patron and one of the lenders to the Armory Show in 1913. She played a critical role in the founding of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1929, and its in-house collection was based on the donation of 150 works from her collection after her death in 1931. She was born to a wealthy family in Boston who relocated to New York City when she was still a child. With an interest in classical and contemporary music, Bliss supported many young pianists and opera singers and promoted the Julliard School of Music. Bliss collected contemporary art by American and European painters and acquired a significant collection of impressionist painting. In 1911 she met one of the founders of the Women’s Cosmopolitan Club, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. The refusal of the Metropolitan Museum of Art to show any late-nineteenth-century or contemporary artwork inspired them to form a foundation that would be devoted to exhibiting modern art in New York City. In 1929 Bliss, Rockefeller, and art instructor Mary Quinn Sullivan would found the Museum of Modern Art.

Mildred Barnes Bliss (1879–1969) was an American art collector, philanthropist, and cofounder of the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection in Washington, D.C. Having inherited her family’s wealth, she used her vast resources to collect Byzantine and pre-Columbian artworks, as well as to found the American Ambulance Field Service in France in 1914, just after the outbreak of World War I. She donated twenty-three ambulances and three staff cars, later establishing centers in France to care for French and Belgian children orphaned in the war. She served as chairman of the executive board of the American Red Cross’s Woman’s War Relief Corps in France and was later made a chevalier in the French Legion of Honor. Bliss also served on the board of trustees of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Dorothy Block (1904–1984) was an American painter best known for her Triptych: Jazz. She and her sister, Lilian Block MacKendrick, studied art together at Mary Baldwin College. Block later attended the Art Students League of New York and later taught at the institution. She participated in the Federal Art Project and wrote about the experience. Her collected papers, as well her correspondence with Brooklyn artist Lena Gurr, are in the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art and the Frick Art Reference Library has a collection of archival information about her work.

Feiga Blumberg  (1894-1964) was a painter known for her modernist, abstract figure and portrait work. She lived in both New York and Lithuania.

Lucienne Bogaert (1892–1983) was a French film and stage actress. Bogaert began her career in theater when she joined the company at the Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier. She later worked with Louis Jouvet at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. In her career as a film actress, Bogaert was known for playing multiple roles as a mother, including in Robert Bresson’s Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne (1945) and Julien Duvivier’s Voici le temps des assassins (Deadlier Than the Male) (1956).

Rosa Bonheur (Marie-Rosalie Bonheur)  (1822–1899) was a painter, distinguished animalier and key icon of the nineteenth century. She owned many animals and believed, in the vein of Georges Sand, that all living creatures possess a soul. Blending realism and landscape painting, Bonheur created a niche for her work in Europe that was highly influence by her personal dogma. Her father was a member of the Saint-Simonians, a socialist group whose doctrine is tied to gender equality, and their ideas helped shape Bonheur’s her unconventional points of view and demeanor. Bonheur often sported cropped hair and was seen cross-dressing, smoking, and participating in unorthodox social practices, making her an instrumental figure in early feminism.

Marita Bonner (1899–1971) was an African-American writer, essayist, and playwright who contributed significantly to the Harlem Renassiance. Born in Boston to a middle-class family, Bonner majored at Radcliffe College in English and comparative literature and also studied German, graduating in 1922. She taught at the Bluefield Negro Institute in West Virginia, and later at a high school in Washington, D.C., where she became associated with the influential playwright Georgia Douglas Johnson. Bonner moved to Chicago as her work gained popularity, writing essays that chronicled the harsh living conditions for African-American women at that time. In 1925 she published “On Being Young—A Woman—And Colored” an essay that encouraged black women not to dwell on their problems but to outsmart negative situations. She also wrote a number of short stories and plays that addressed black liberation and gender identity. Bonner’s work often discussed poverty, urban life, and racial discrimination in black communities outside of Harlem. She advocated for blacks to use knowledge and learning to fight oppression, and for women to search for greater understanding and truth in the face of racism and sexism. Louise Bonney was an American author and the sister of photographer and publicist Thérese Bonney. Together they wrote a number of guides to restaurants and shopping in Paris.

Thérèse Bonney (1984–1978) was a prominent photographer and publicist. She grew up in California and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1916 with an intense interest in French language and culture. She continued her studies at Radcliffe College and at the Sorbonne. Following World War I, Bonney traveled to France as a representative of the American Association of Colleges, set up a student exchange program, and earned her doctoral degree at the Sorbonne, becoming only the tenth American of either sex to do so. She became a correspondent and photographer for newspapers in the United States, Britain, and France. In 1923 she established the Bonney Services, an American illustrated press service specializing in design and architecture that served over twenty countries. She also curated exhibitions of French design and decorative art. While covering the 1938 Olympics in Finland, the Russians invaded and she stayed on to cover the war, including the Nazi invasion and the Battle of France. Exhibitions of her work covering the war have been held at the Library of Congress and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Her heroic efforts earned her the French Croix de Guerre and membership in the Légion d’Honneur.

Lee Bontecou (1931– ) is an American sculptor and printmaker born in Providence, Rhode Island. She studied from 1952 to 1955 at the Art Students League in New York and received two Fulbright scholarships to study in Rome in 1956 and 1958. On her return to the United States Bontecou established her reputation with sculptural reliefs that consist of a web-like arrangement of strips of canvas attached to a welded steel frame around a central oval void. One such work was included in the influential Art of Assemblage exhibition held at the Museum of Modern Art in 1961. She was commissioned to create a wall relief for the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York in 1964 and was awarded first prize in 1966 by the National Institute of Arts and Letters. She taught at Brooklyn College for over twenty years though she has retired from the art world, her work has received retrospective exhibitions at institutions such as the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Renata Borgatti (1894–1964), the daughter of famed tenor Giuseppe Borgatti, was an Italian pianist known for her Debussy performances. During her short-lived romance with artist Romaine Brooks, the painter produced one of her most illustrious paintings, Renata Borgatti at the Piano (1920). Borgatti spent much of her life in Capri, a “homosexual paradise,” before moving to Switzerland and finally to Rome to teach music.

Lucrezia Bori (1887 –1960) was a Spanish operatic singer with a voice of unique timbre and transparent quality. In 1910, she made her debut at La Scala as Carolina in Il Matrimonio Segreto. Her career at the Metropolitan Opera began in the summer of 1910 during the Met's first visit to Paris. In 1915 she was forced to stop singing for a surgical operation to remove nodes on her vocal cords. Following a lengthy convalescence, she returned to the stage in 1921. During the course of her career with the Opera, she appeared a total of 654 times and sang the leading role in 39 operas. Beginning late in 1932, in the midst of the great depression, Bori began a career as fundraiser. She headed an organization called the Committee to Save the Metropolitan Opera House and, in actions that were widely reported in the press, she made appeals by flyer, letter, and in personal contacts with potential benefactors. Her tireless dedication to fundraising efforts for the Metropolitan Opera earned her the nickname "the opera's Joan of Arc." Bori’s farewell gala on March 29, 1936 was one of the great events at the Metropolitan. Bori died in New York in 1960. She had never married, believing that artists should never do so.

Helene Borner (1870–1938) was a master of craftsmanship at the weaving workshop of the Bauhaus and director of the program until 1925, when Gunta Stölz took over. During her tenure, women’s textile class merged with the weaving workshop, greatly expanding the textile methods taught to women. Ultimately, however, the program remained dominated by a male hierarchy.

Norma Jean Bothmer (1936– ) is an American artist and accomplished draftsperson who studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and Yale. Her work has been widely exhibited and is in the permanent collection of the Brooklyn Museum as well as the Finch College Museum, New York. Bothmer’s work was included in Katherine Kuh’s book My Life in Art.

Elise Djo Bourgeois (1898–1937) was a modernist textile and rug designer.

Louise Bourgeois (1911–2010) was an influential contemporary sculptor and founder of the Confessional Art movement. Originally a mathematician, her mother’s death prompted her to change direction, and she decided to pursue art. She graduated from the Sorbonne in 1935, continuing her studies at the Acádemie de la Grande Chaumière and schools such as École du Louvre and École des Beaux Arts. After moving to New York in 1938, she attended the Art Students League of New York and taught at Pratt Institute, Cooper Union, Brooklyn College and the New York Studio School of Drawing. Her work often dealt with psychologically charged themes, spurred by her father’s unfaithful marriage and her trying relationship with him. Bourgeois’s sculptures were typically constructed from hard, industrial, materials while conveying resolutely autobiographical narratives. She believed her art transcended feminism and insisted that it dealt, instead, with issues beyond gender. Despite her rejections of the feminist label, she frequently depicted the female form and encouraged attendees of her weekly salons in New York to create feminist art. Bourgeois held many esteemed honors including the Grand Prix National de Sculpture from the French Government and the first lifetime achievement award from the International Sculpture Center in Washington, D.C. She completed her final pieces the week before her death in 2010.

Marie Bracquemond (1840–1916) was a French Impressionist painter, considered to be one of the three great women of the genre with Mary Cassatt and Berthe Morisot. She began studying painting as a young teenager, progressing quickly and eventually studying under Ingres. She was commissioned by the Empress Eugenie as well as the director-general of French museums to make important copies in the Louvre. Bracquemond participated in several significant Impressionist exhibitions and had work published in La Vie Moderne. Though her husband discouraged her work, eventually leading her to stop pursuing painting professionally, she remained a staunch defender of Impressionism.

Mary B. Brady was the director of the Harmon Foundation from its conception in 1922 until its cessation in 1967. Established by a wealthy real estate developer and philanthropist, the foundation originally supported a variety of causes, including playgrounds and nursing programs, yet it remains best known for having served as a major patron of African-American art. As director Brady conceived of an annual Exhibition of the Work of Negro Artists, which was held in 1927 through 1931, 1933, and 1935. Laura Wheeler Waring was one of the artists featured the first year of the exhibitions, and the foundation commissioned her to make portraits of prominent African Americans. The traveling exhibitions awarded “substantial prizes” together with gold, silver, and bronze medals, and the exhibition was one of the most significant venues open to African-American artists .

Marianne Brandt (1893–1983) was born in Chemnitz, Germany. After training as a painter, she joined Weimar Bauhaus in 1923 to study industrial design. In 1928 Brandt became the Bauhaus workshop director and helped to fund other parts of the school through the contracts she negotiated with industrial firms. Brandt moved to Berlin the following year to work for Walter Gropius. She later worked for the Ruppel firm in Gotha. Brandt lost her job during the Depression in 1932 and struggled to find work during the Nazi regime. After World War II, Brandt continued to teach design. Her work in photography and photomontage, not publicly known until 1970, earned her recognition for her depictions of the often complex situation of women in the interwar period, as they negotiated traditional prejudices and modern freedoms. A resurgence of interest in the Bauhaus and Modernism has brought contemporary enthusiasm for her work, and Brandt’s designs for metal ashtrays, tea and coffee services, lamps, and other household objects are recognized as among the best of the Bauhaus products.

Lucy Gwynne Branham (1892–1966) was an American suffragist associated with the National Woman’s Party. Born in Virginia and raised in Maryland, she earned degrees in history from Washington College in Maryland, Johns Hopkins University (M.A.), and Columbia University (Ph.D.). In 1916 she was a NWP organizer in Utah. In 1917 she was arrested for picketing the White House as part of the Silent Sentinels, for which she served two months in the Occoquan Workhouse and the District jail. In 1919 she traveled around America speaking of her experiences in prison as part of the NWP’s “Prison Special” tour. After women’s suffrage was obtained, she led the Inez Milholland Memorial Fund Committee, which created an ongoing endowment fund for the NWP. She taught briefly at Columbia University, worked with the American Friends Service Committee, and became executive secretary of the American Society for Cultural Relations with Russia (1926– 1930). She also worked with the World Woman’s Party in Geneva and lobbied the League of Nations on equal rights issues. In the late 1950s she lived at Sewall-Belmont House and served on the NWP’s Congressional Committee to lobby for the Equal Rights Amendment.

Sophonisba Preston Breckinridge (1866–1948) was an American activist, social reformer, and innovator in higher education. Breckinridge graduated from Wellesley College in 1888. After a time as a schoolteacher in Washington, D.C., she studied law in her father’s office, and in 1895 she became the first woman to be admitted to the Kentucky bar. Unable to practice law successfully because of gender discrimination, she soon moved to Chicago and enrolled in the University of Chicago’s graduate school. In 1901 she became the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in the field of political science, and three years later she was the first woman to graduate from the University of Chicago’s Law School. After graduation Breckinridge taught in the university’s Department of Household Administration until 1912. She became involved in the Women’s Trade Union League in 1907 and joined the Hull House settlement, where she lived for over a decade. She also began working at the Chicago Institute of Social Science, which would become the Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy, a social-worker training institution. Her efforts at the University of Chicago led to the formation of the Graduate School of Social Service Administration in 1920. She was named a full professor in 1925, and her ideas about rigorous course work and training techniques set the standards for social-work education in the United States, bringing the school an international reputation. Breckinridge helped organize the Woman’s Peace Party and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). She is also known for her activities with the National American Woman Suffrage Association, the Illinois Consumer’s League, the U.S. Children’s Bureau, Chicago’s Immigrants’ Protective League, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Anne Bremer (1868–1923) was born in San Francisco where she was active as both a painter and a teacher. After studying at the California School of Design and the San Francisco Art Students League, Bremer traveled to Europe in 1901 and again in 1910–11. There she studied in Paris at La Palette and L’Academie Moderne. Bremer had her first solo gallery exhibition at Vickery, Atkins & Torrey in San Francisco in 1912. She was praised by critics as the city’s “the most ‘advanced’ artist,” and later described as an “art apostle” and “crusader for the modern movement.” Critics also commended her work as “masculine,” indicating the sexism of the time. Bremer went on to have several solo shows, including a show of twenty-seven paintings at the Arlington Galleries in New York City. Through her influence, Bremer’s cousin Albert Bender began to collect art and became a significant patron of the arts in San Francisco. After her death, Bremer’s legacy continued on, as Bender established memorials in her name, including the Anne Bremer Memorial Library at the San Francisco Art Institute.

Catherine Breshkovsky (1844–1934) was a Russian Socialist, known as “Babushka, the Grandmother of the Russian Revolution.” Raised by a wealthy family, she rebelled against class structure from an early age, relating more to peasants than her elite class. At the age of twenty-six, a pregnant Breshkovsky left her family to join the followers of anarchist Mikhail Bakunin in Kiev. In the following years she lived as a Narodnik revolutionary on the run from the police. She was imprisoned 1874 at Katorga and exiled to Siberia in 1878, where she received a harsher sentence because of her arrogant refusal to submit to the authority of the tsarist court. There she was interviewed by George Kennan, a journalist working for the Century magazine, who was later quoted to say, “All my standards of courage, of fortitude, and of heroic self-sacrifice have been raised for all time, and raised by the hand of a woman.” After her release in 1896, she organized underground circles and terrorist attacks on government officials and helped found the Socialist Revolutionary Party in 1901. She escaped to Switzerland and the United States in 1900, where she was received with enthusiasm. After returning to Imperial Russia in 1905, she was captured and exiled to Siberia again. After the February Revolution of 1917, political prisoners were released, and Breshkovsky was given a seat in Aleksandr Kerensky’s government. When the Bolsheviks organized the October Revolution, Breshkovsky actively struggled against their regime and by 1918 was again forced to flee. She traveled east, spending time in Japan and the United States. She moved to Czechoslovakia in 1924, when she continued to fight the oppressive Bolshevik regime, until her death at the age of 90.

Dorothy Brett  (1883–1977) was born into the British aristocracy. After a sheltered childhood, Brett attended the Slade School of Art in London from 1910 to 1916, along with Dora Carrington and Barbara Hiles. At school she started going only by her surname and wore her hair short like many of her female classmates. Through friends she began to associate with the Bloomsbury group and with artists and writers such as Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf. She was invited to visit Taos, New Mexico, by Mabel Dodge, an influential patron and writer. Brett eventually moved to Dodge’s ranch outside of Taos in 1924 with Freida Lawrence and her husband. When the Lawrences left New Mexico, Brett struggled to support herself through her painting, selling her work at bargain prices in a tourist-based market. Her work can be found in the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., the Millicent Rogers Museum, and the Harwood Museum of Art, both in Taos. After her death her ashes were scattered on the Red Rocks below Mount Lobo.

Bessie Marsh Brewer (1884–1952) was an artist, printmaker, and teacher. Three of her drawings, The Furnished Room, Curiosity, and Putting Her Monday Name on Her Letterbox, were exhibited as part of the 1913 Armory Show. She studied art at both the New York School of Design for Women and the Art Students League and was an illustrator for national magazines.

Anne Brigman (1869–1950) was born to British missionaries living in Honolulu, Hawaii. They relocated to California when she was sixteen, and by 1900 she became involved in San Francisco’s bohemian social scene. She started taking photographs in 1901 and exhibited her work in local salons. Brigman’s photos were often self-portraits and featured unconventional imagery and themes of female liberation. Her photos of female nudes in natural landscapes, often situated near or on trees, stood out for their emphatically staged poses. Brigman soon found recognition from the Photo-Secession Movement, based in New York, and became its only named member on the West Coast in 1906. Her photography was featured at the Secession Club in New York and in issues of Camera Work. In 1909 Brigman won a gold medal in the Alaska-Yukon Exposition followed by many other European and American photography awards. Later in her life she began writing poetry. A book of her poetry and photographs entitled Songs of a Pagan was published in 1949.

Dora Bromberger (1881–1942) was born into a family of musicians in Bremen, Germany. She attended art school beginning in 1912, first in Bremen, then in Munich, and later in Paris. Her work was shown internationally as well as in the Kunsthalle Bremen and the 1928 exhibition German Contemporary Art in Nuremberg. Bromberger worked primarily with watercolor and oils, painting Expressionist landscapes and still lifes. Born into a Jewish family, she converted to the evangelical church in 1888. With the increasing influence of the National Socialists, she was continually harassed for her religious heritage. While her brother successfully immigrated to Cuba in 1939, Bromberger was unable to leave the country. The painter Elizabeth Noltenius remained a close friend and supported her during this time despite interrogations by the Gestapo. In 1941 she was deported to Minsk and sent to the Maly Trostenets concentration camp, where she was killed in 1942.

Emma Hardinge Britten (1823–1899) is credited with defining the seven principles of Spiritualism: the Fatherhood of God; the Brotherhood of Man; the Communion of Spirits and the Ministry of Angels; the Continuous Existence of the Human Soul; Personal Responsibility; Compensation and Retribution hereafter for all the good and evil deeds done on earth; and Eternal Progress open to every human soul. Her books, Modern American Spiritualism (1870) and Nineteenth-Century Miracles (1884), are extremely detailed records of the history of early modern spiritualism movement in America. Early in life, Hardinge supported herself and her family by teaching music and acting, and she developed the amusing talent of preemptively playing songs desired by the audience on the piano. Soon she began to predict the futures of people she encountered, along with information about their—to her unknown—deceased relatives, and her reputation as a spiritual medium was established. She was drawn into the secret London occult society, which most likely gave her the surname Hardinge. Under contract with a theatrical company, she went to America in 1856 where, through the mediumship of Miss Ada Hoyt (Mrs. Coan), Hardinge became converted to the spiritualist philosophy. She began to sit for séances in the Society for the Diffusion of Spiritual Knowledge in the hopes of writing about the gullibility of Americans. Her mediumistic gifts embraced automatic and inspirational writing, psychometry, healing, prophecy, and inspirational speaking. She was best known for her eloquent inspirational addresses, which were given extemporaneously with the topic generally chosen by the audience. Her widely acclaimed lecture “The Coming Man; or the Next President of the United States” (1864) supported Abraham Lincoln’s re-election and was followed by a thirty-two-lecture tour to support his campaign that concluded with her infamous, gripping response to his assassination. Returning to New York in 1875, Hardinge became one of six founding members of the Helena Blavatsky’s Theosophical Society with Helena Blavatsky, with whom she later had a falling out. Later in life she also traveled as a spiritualist missionaries to Australia and New Zealand.

Monika Bella Bronner-Ullmann (1911–1993) was a German artist and textile designer. Bronner-Ullmann was born in Nuremberg and began her education at the Loheland School of Arts and Crafts. She moved to Dessau to join the weaving studio at the Bauhaus, studying under Gunta Stölzl and taking courses on materials, analytical drawing, and color theory by Josef Albers, Paul Klee, and Wassily Kandinsky. While at the Bauhaus, Bronner-Ullmann worked on production patterns for manufacturing woven fabrics on an industrial scale. She later founded her own film studio in Palestine before moving to the United Stated to work as a textile stylist.

Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks (1917–2000) was an African-American poet and the first African-American to win a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1950. She was appointed Poet Laureate of Illinois in 1968 and Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1985. At seventeen she started submitting her work to “Lights and Shadows,” the poetry column of the Chicago Defender, an African-American newspaper. Her characters were often drawn from the poor of the inner city. After failing to obtain a position with the Chicago Defender, Brooks took a series of secretarial jobs. In 1943 she received an award for poetry from the Midwestern Writers’ Conference. Brooks’s first book of poetry, A Street in Bronzeville (1945), earned instant critical acclaim. She received her first Guggenheim Fellowship and was included as one of the “ Ten Young Women of the Year” in Mademoiselle magazine. Brooks was also awarded Poetry magazine’s Eunice Tietjens Prize. John F. Kennedy invited Brooks to read at a Library of Congress poetry festival in 1962. She taught at Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago State University, Columbia University, City College of New York, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison, among other institutions. In 1967 she attended a writers’ conference at Fisk University where, she said, she rediscovered her blackness. This rediscovery was reflected in her work “In The Mecca” (1968), a long poem about a mother searching for her lost child in a Chicago apartment building. “In The Mecca” was nominated for the National Book Award for poetry.

Romaine Brooks (1874–1970) spent most of her childhood in New York City and at nineteen moved to P aris and Rome to study art. She returned to New York in 1901 to care for her ailing mother, who died later that year, leaving her a fortune. Brooks specialized in portraiture, painting members of her creative social circle such as the musician Renata Borgatti, the sculptor Una Vincenzo (Lady Troubridge), the artist Gluck, and her lover, Marchesa Luisa Casati. She is well known for her depictions of women in masculine dress. Despite the popularity Cubism and Fauvism at the time, Brooks preferred the style of the Symbolic and Aesthetic movements of the early nineteenth century. Her gray and muted signature palette remained present throughout her artistic career. After dating the dancer Ida Rubinstein from 1911 to 1914, Brooks began a fifty-year long relationship with the writer Natalie Barney. Because of her personal wealth, Brooks did not need to rely on selling her work and freely concentrated on depicting her lovers and friends. Mostly forgotten after World War II, her work gained recognition with the revival of figurative painting in the 1980s. She is acknowledged as a precursor to contemporary portrayals of queer life and androgyny.

Fannie Miller Brown exhibited a work of embroidery in the 1913 Armory Show.

Sybil Clement Brown (1899–1993) was a British pioneer in the development of mental health social work and an influential theorist in the field. While studying philosophy, psychology, and sociology at Bedford College in London, Brown became critical of the socio-economic conditions in early-twentieth-century Britain, eventually engaging with the field of social work through visits to a settlement in Bermondsey. In 1925 Brown was awarded a scholarship to look at social work in the United States. Her experiences and new ideas on child guidance and psychiatric mental health proved influential upon her return to Britain. In 1931 Brown was asked to develop a mental health course at the London School of Economics, where lectured throughout the war, even during a V-2 rocket attack on London. Brown was one of seventeen members of the powerful Curtis Committee. The committee, a result of the public outcry about a twelve-year old boy who died after brutal treatment by his foster parents provided recommendations for the Children Act of 1948, which significantly altered British child care by establishing a children’s committee and a children’s officer in each local authority.

Mathilda Maria Petronella Brugman (1888–1958), or Til, was the oldest of nine children in a Dutch Roman Catholic family. Her earliest contacts with the artistic avant-garde were through Piet Mondrian, whom she met in Amsterdam at dance lessons in 1908. Soon Brugman became acquainted with a number of writers, architects, and artists affiliated with Dutch Dada and De Stijl circles. Brugman co-authored Dutch Dada manifestos, translated a number of articles for the magazine De Stijl, and managed the magazine Merz in the Netherlands. Her sound poems and use of experimental typographic techniques reflected her proximity to notable avant-garde figures like Kurt Schwitters. In addition, her early artistic production demonstrated her remarkable linguistic abilities. Fluent in more than a dozen languages, Brugman’s sound poems were published in Dutch, German, and French magazines. Brugman engaged with a variety of themes exposing and examining the dangers of capitalism, consumer culture, and sexism. In 1952 she received the Marianne Philips Prize and the Novels Prize (Amsterdam) for her work.

Louise Bryant (1885–1936) was an American journalist and feminist known for her sympathetic coverage of Russia and the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution. Bryant grew up in Nevada and attended the University of Nevada in Reno and the University of Oregon, graduating with a degree in history in 1909. During her years in Portland (1909–1915), she became active in the women’s suffrage movement. In 1915 she moved to Greenwich Village. Bryant wrote about leading Russian women and men, including Katherine Breshkovsky, Vladimir Lenin, Maria Spiridonova, and Leon Trotsky. Her news stories, distributed by Hearst during and after her trips to Russia, appeared in newspapers across the United States and Canada following World War I. A collection of articles from her first trip was published in book form as Six Red Months in Russia in 1918. In 1919 she defended the revolution in testimony before the Overman Committee, a Senate subcommittee established to investigate Bolshevik influence in the United States. Later that year she undertook a nationwide speaking tour to encourage public support of the Bolsheviks and to discourage armed U.S. intervention in Russia.

Pearl S. Buck (1892–1973) was born in West Virginia but spent most of the first forty years of her life in China, where her missionary parents were stationed. She began to publish stories and essays in the 1920s, and her first novel, East Wind, West Wind, was published in 1930. Buck published The Good Earth in 1931, and the novel became the best-selling book of both 1931 and 1932, won the Pulitzer Prize and the Howells Medal in 1935, and was adapted as an MGM film in 1937. In 1938 Buck became the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. By the time of her death in 1973, Buck had published over seventy books. Upon moving to the United States in 1934 Buck became active in American civil rights and women’s rights activities. She published essays in both the Crisis and the Opportunity and was a trustee of Howard University for twenty years. In 1942 Buck and her husband founded the East and West Association, dedicated to cultural exchange and understanding between Asia and the West. In 1949 Buck established Welcome House, the first international, interracial adoption agency. She established the Pearl S. Buck Foundation, which provides sponsorship funding for thousands of children in half-a-dozen Asian countries, in 1964.

Adele Sloan Burden (1873–1960) was the granddaughter of a Vanderbilt and the daughter of William Sloane, but she was known more for her captivating beauty and spirit than for her family tree. Burden was a girl of Protestant, almost Calvinist humility, and she rejoiced in the fact that she wasn’t a “real heiress” like her cousins Gertrude and Consuelo Vanderbilt. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis edited Burden’s diary, published in 1983 as Maverick in Mauve.

Selma Burke (1900–1995) showed an early interest in art, but she was encouraged by her family to pursue a more marketable career. She studied nursing and moved to New York City to work. The Harlem Renaissance reignited her interest in art, and in the 1930s she earned grants to study sculpture in Vienna and Paris. Burke completed her M.A. in fine arts at Columbia University in 1941. While at Columbia, Burke also taught sculpture at the Harlem Community Art Center, directed by Augusta Savage. Her work was heavily influenced by Social Realism, European Modernism, and the art of the Harlem Renaissance. Burke’s sculptures were often made through both direct carving and wax casting, a labor-intensive and expensive process. She participated in the government-funded Works Progress Administration and was well connected with leading African-American artists of the time. She also seriously pursued teaching, founding the Selma Burke Art School in New York as well as the Selma Burke Art Center in Pittsburgh. She taught in the Pittsburgh public school system for seventeen years. Burke’s plaque of President Franklin D. Roosevelt hangs in the Recorder of Deeds Building in Washington, D.C.

Lucy Burns (1879–1966) was born in Brooklyn. She studied at Columbia, Vassar, and Yale and went abroad to study in Germany and later at Oxford University, where she met women’s rights activist Emmeline Pankhurst. Burns remained in England to work with the Women’s Social and Political Union as a salaried organizer from 1910 to 1912. After being arrested at a demonstration, Burns met Alice Paul at a London police station. Their shared criticisms of the women’s rights movement in America inspired them to combine forces and return to the United States. They joined the National American Women’s Suffrage Association, but soon split off into another, more militant group called the Congressional Union in 1914. With the support of Jane Addams, one of NAWSA’s leading members, Burns and Paul founded the National Woman’s Party in 1916, a bipartisan group dedicated to direct action for the women’s suffrage movement. Burns spent more time behind bars than any women’s rights activist at the time. Having worked tirelessly towards the passage of the 19th Amendment, Burns dropped out of political life once it passed in 1919.

Betty Burroughs  (1899–1988) was a sculptor, writer, and the curator of education at the Rhode Island School of Design’s Museum of Art. She was the daughter of two artists, one of whom was a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. She studied at the Art Students League in New York and in Paris and lived in Little Compton, Rhode Island.Elinor Byrns was an American activist, suffragist, and lawyer. A staunch pacifist, she was a founder of the Women’s Peace Society in 1919, fighting for disarmament and the end to government’s power to wage war. Byrns was also a member of the Heterodoxy Club, a feminist debate society based in Greenwich Village in the early 20th century. She graduated from New York University School of Law and maintained a full-time law practice in Manhattan.

Edith Woodman Burroughs (1871–1916) was an American sculptor who began studying at the Art Students League at the age of fifteen. In just three years she began supporting herself by designing objects for churches and Tiffany and Co. Burroughs spent two years studying in Paris. In 1907 she won the Shaw Memorial Prize from the National Academy of Design, New York, and in 1913 exhibited a bust at the Armory Show and was elected into the National Academy of Design. Burroughs designed two fountains at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, one of which won a silver medal. Her work is among the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Yale University, New Haven; and the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence.
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