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Parsons, Bettylocked

(31 January 1900–23 July 1982)
  • Christina Chang

Extract

Parsons, Betty (31 January 1900–23 July 1982), artist, art dealer and collector, was born Elizabeth Bierne Pierson in New York City, the second daughter of three born to Suzanne Miles, a sugar heiress, and J. Fred Pierson, Jr., a businessman. She described her ancestry as “very American,” with intellectuals and prominent political figures on her father’s side and Southern plantation aristocracy on her mother’s, and her upbringing was typical of her social class. She and her two sisters divided their time between family homes in New York City, Newport, Rhode Island, and Palm Beach, Florida, and were often left in the care of servants by absent parents. Betty (as she was known) was an unremarkable student at Miss Chapin’s School for girls, which she began attending in 1910, and didn’t show a special aptitude for art at this early age....

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