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Barney, Alice Pike (14 January 1857–12 October 1931), artist and arts patron, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, the daughter of Samuel Napthali Pike, an arts patron and successful businessman, and Ursula Muellion “Ellen” Miller. She grew up and was educated at various schools in Cincinnati and New York City, her family having moved there in 1866. Although Barney courted the famous British explorer ...

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Gardner, Isabella Stewart (14 April 1840–17 July 1924), patron of the arts and museum founder, was born in New York City, the daughter of David Stewart, an importer and businessman, and Adelia Smith. Educated at a series of private girls’ schools in New York, Gardner (known as “Belle” from early childhood) was sent to a French Protestant school in Paris at age sixteen. Her parents soon joined her in Paris, where the Stewarts befriended the family of John L. Gardner, a Boston businessman involved in shipping. Belle Stewart and Julia Gardner, a girl of her own age, quickly became close friends....

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Kahn, Otto Herman (21 February 1867–29 March 1934), investment banker and patron of the fine arts, was born in Mannheim, Germany, the son of Bernhard Kahn, a banker, and Emma Eberstadt. Reared in a home with a rich cultural atmosphere and with valuable works of art, Otto was privately tutored and displayed a keen interest in music. He became familiar with banking and in 1883 began to work in a small bank in Karlsruhe....

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Luhan, Mabel Dodge (26 February 1879–13 August 1962), writer and patron, was born in Buffalo, New York, the daughter of Charles Ganson and Sarah Cook, members of the upper class who lived on inherited wealth. Like most Victorian women of her class, Luhan was educated to charm and groomed to marry. Stultified emotionally and intellectually at home and at the various finishing (or boarding) schools she attended, she worked throughout her life to create a world that would simultaneously establish her identity and serve as a model for the larger European and American communities that surrounded her. She moved from one “cosmos,” as she called them, to the next, with the expectation that each would provide the answer to her own and her contemporaries’ need to connect with something larger than the dying legacy of individualism left them by late Victorian culture....

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Mellon, Paul (11 June 1907–01 February 1999), philanthropist, art collector, horse breeder, and conservationist, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Andrew W. Mellon, a banker, secretary of the treasury (1921–1932), and ambassador to Britain (1932–1933), and Nora McMullen Mellon. His parents divorced when he was five and his sister Ailsa was eleven. Under the terms of the divorce settlement, the children were to spend eight months with their father and four months with their mother, who was living in England. (When they reached the age of fourteen, the children were to decide how long they wished to stay with either parent.) As a child, Paul was afraid of his father, whom he described in his autobiography, ...

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Shouse, Catherine Filene (09 June 1896–14 December 1994), philanthropist, patron of the arts, and advocate for careers for women, was born Catherine Filene in Boston, Massachusetts, the eldest daughter of A. Lincoln Filene and Thérèse Weil. As a child, she was known as Catherine; as an adult, she was always Kay. She grew up in a wealthy, progressive home where politicians, businessmen, musicians, and social reformers were frequent visitors. Her father, who never finished high school, engaged in civic, educational, and labor reforms while president of William Filene and Sons, the Boston retail store founded by her grandfather. Her mother, a talented amateur musician, supported the Boston Symphony Orchestra and founded a music settlement house....

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Warburg, Edward (05 June 1908–21 September 1992), philanthropist and art collector, was born Edward Mortimer Morris Warburg in White Plains, New York, the son of Felix Warburg, a banker and philanthropist, and Frieda Schiff. Warburg's family connections and long-standing philanthropic activities, combined with his education in art history at Harvard University, contributed significantly to his success as a patron of culture and humanitarian causes throughout his life....

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Whitney, Gertrude Vanderbilt (09 January 1875–18 April 1942), sculptor and patron of the arts, was born in New York City, the daughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt II, considered the wealthiest man in the United States, and Alice Claypoole Gwynne. She was raised in a neo-Renaissance palazzo in her native New York City. She attended the Brearley School and became a debutante, as befitted her social position. Vanderbilt graduated in 1894 and married ...