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Breeskin, Adelyn Dohme (19 July 1896–24 July 1986), museum administrator and art historian, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the daughter of Alfred Dohme, an industrial chemist and founder of the Sharpe and Dohme drug company, and Emmie Blumner. While a student at the Bryn Mawr preparatory school in Baltimore, she planned a career as an artist. Briefly attending first Bryn Mawr College and then Radcliffe College, she graduated from Boston’s School of Fine Arts, Crafts, and Decorative Design in 1918. By this time she had become interested in museums....

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Force, Juliana Rieser (23 December 1876–28 August 1948), museum director and early champion of American art, was born in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Maximilian Rieser, a hatter and grocer, and Julianna Schmutz Kuster. As a girl she wanted to be a writer and hoped to go to college; when that proved financially impossible, she temporarily settled for teaching English and stenography at a business school in Hoboken, New Jersey, where the family had moved in 1886....

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Rebay, Hilla (31 May 1890–27 September 1967), artist and curator, was born Baroness Hildegard Anna Augusta Elisabeth Rebay von Ehrenwiesen in Strassburg, Alsace, the daughter of Baron Franz Josef Rebay von Ehrenwiesen, a German military officer and Bavarian noble, and Antonie von Eicken. Rebay’s artistic talent was apparent early, and she received lessons from private tutors. By age eleven she was painting portraits. The family moved to Cologne, where she attended secondary school and received further artistic training with August Zinkeisen, a member of the Dusseldorf Academy. At this time Rebay developed what would become a lifelong interest in theosophy, a mystical faith based on Eastern religions and occultism. In 1909 she studied at the Académie Julian in Paris; one year later, at the urging of German jugendstil painter Fritz Erler, she moved to Munich to continue her training. Her first exhibit was during the fall of 1912 in the Cologne Kunstverein. The following year she returned briefly to Paris, then in 1913 she moved to Berlin. After World War I broke out Rebay made several trips to Zurich—where she met painter Hans (Jean) Arp and the group of artists known as the dadaists—but despite the fighting she continued to live and paint in Berlin....

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Winser, Beatrice (11 March 1869–14 September 1947), librarian and museum director, was born in Newark, New Jersey, the daughter of Henry Jacob Winser, a journalist, and Edith Cox. Two months after his daughter’s birth, Henry Winser left the New York Times for a twelve-year term as U.S. consul general at the court of the Duke of Saxe-Coburg; the family later returned to New York City....