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Barr, Alfred Hamilton, Jr. (1902-1981), museum official and art historian  

Hellmut Wohl

Barr, Alfred Hamilton, Jr. (28 January 1902–15 August 1981), museum official and art historian, was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Alfred Hamilton Barr, Sr., a Presbyterian minister, and Annie Elizabeth Wilson. Barr attended Princeton University, receiving a B.A. in art history in 1922 and an M.A. in the same subject in 1923. The teachers at Princeton who made the most lasting impression on him were ...


Baur, John I. H. (1909-1987), museum director, curator, and art scholar  

Julie Mellby

Baur, John I. H. (09 August 1909–15 May 1987), museum director, curator, and art scholar, was born John Ireland Howe Baur in Woodbridge, Connecticut, the son of Paul V. C. Baur, a Yale University professor of archaeology, and Susan Whiting. Jack Baur, as he was known, attended Yale, graduating in 1932 with a degree in English. He had difficulty finding teaching jobs because of the depression, and he was lured back to Yale by an art history scholarship, although he had little background in the subject. Baur studied under Henri Focillon, the author of ...


Belknap, Waldron Phoenix (1899-1949), art historian  

David Meschutt

Belknap, Waldron Phoenix (12 May 1899–14 December 1949), art historian, was born in New York City, the son of Waldron Phoenix Belknap, a banker, and Rey Hutchings. Both of his parents were descended from early colonial settlers, and Belknap’s awareness and appreciation of his own family’s history, nurtured by his parents, developed into a deep and lasting interest in American history and material culture. He graduated magna cum laude from St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire, in 1916 and was admitted to Harvard that same year; he interrupted his studies to join the army shortly after the United States entered World War I. He graduated from the heavy artillery school at Fort Monroe, Virginia, in 1918 with a commission as a second lieutenant, returning to Harvard at war’s end. He still was able to graduate with his class in 1920, and he then spent eight years in investment finance, working in New York, Boston, and London....


Berenson, Bernard (1865-1959), art historian  

N. Elizabeth Schlatter

Berenson, Bernard (26 June 1865–06 October 1959), art historian, was born Bernhard Valvrojenski in Butrimonys, Lithuania, the son of Alter (later Albert) Valvrojenski and Eudice (later Julia) Mickleshanski (or Michliszanski). Many different spellings of his hometown have been recorded, including Biturmansk, Butrymanz, and Butremancz. After immigrating to Boston in 1875, the family changed their surname to Berenson. Berenson completed his undergraduate degree at Harvard University in 1887 with honorable mention in Semitic languages and English composition....


Bieber, Margarete (1879-1978), archaeologist and art historian  

Larissa Bonfante

Bieber, Margarete (31 July 1879–25 February 1978), archaeologist and art historian, was born in Schoenau, Kreis Schwetz, West Prussia (now Przechowo, Kreis Swiece, Poland), the daughter of Jacob Heinrich Bieber, an industrialist, and Valli Bukofzer. In 1899 she went to Berlin, prepared privately and passed her ...


Breeskin, Adelyn Dohme (1896-1986), museum administrator and art historian  

Martin R. Kalfatovic

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....


Coomaraswamy, Ananda Kentish (1877-1947), historian of the art of Ceylon and India, metaphysician, and champion of Indian culture in the West  

Arnold Berleant

Coomaraswamy, Ananda Kentish (22 August 1877–09 September 1947), historian of the art of Ceylon and India, metaphysician, and champion of Indian culture in the West, was born in Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), the son of Sir Mutu Coomaraswamy, a distinguished Ceylonese barrister and legislator, and Elizabeth Clay Beeby, an Englishwoman from a wealthy Kent family. Although his father died during Coomaraswamy’s infancy, his wealth, high social position, scholarly learning, and cross-cultural involvement strongly influenced his son. Coomaraswamy was brought to England in 1879, where he lived with his mother until he was sent to Wycliffe College, a preparatory school, at age twelve. In 1897 he entered University College, London, from which he graduated in 1900 with a B.S. in geology and botany. He received a D.Sc. from London University in 1906, writing on Ceylonese mineralogy and other scientific topics. Coomaraswamy was married four times: in 1902 to Ethel Mary Partridge, a weaver and needlewoman; in 1911 to Alice Richardson (also known as Ratan Devī), a singer and performer of Indian music, with whom he had two children; in 1922 to Stella Bloch, a dancer and painter; and in 1930 to Doña Luisa Runstein, a photographer, with whom he had one child. Coomaraswamy’s earliest occupation was as director of the Mineralogical Survey of Ceylon (1902–1907), during which time he was also active in nationalistic movements to revitalize traditional Ceylonese culture. This was a concern of his that later broadened to encompass Indian art and culture and remained a lifelong commitment. In 1917 Coomaraswamy came to the United States as curator of Indian art at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. He remained at the Boston Museum for the remainder of his life, becoming fellow for research in Indian, Persian, and Mohammedan art in 1933....


Ferguson, John Calvin (1866-1945), educator, art historian, and Chinese governmental adviser  

Peter Yuichi Clark

Ferguson, John Calvin (01 March 1866–03 August 1945), educator, art historian, and Chinese governmental adviser, was born in Lonsdale, Ontario, Canada, the son of John Ferguson, a Methodist minister, and Catherine Matilda Pomeroy, a schoolteacher. Because of his father’s itinerant occupation, he rarely lived in one location longer than two years. This did not dissuade him from pursuing a career in the clergy, however. He attended Albert College in Ontario before moving to Boston University, where he received the bachelor of arts degree in 1886. After some further study at the school of theology there, he was ordained a minister in the Methodist Episcopal church....


Cover Frick, Helen Clay (September 3, 1888–November 9, 1984)

Frick, Helen Clay (September 3, 1888–November 9, 1984)  

Corp author Bain News Service


Portrait of Helen Frick, between ca. 1915 and ca. 1920 by Bain News Service

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 [LC-B2- 5094-8]


Frick, Helen Clay (3 Sept. 1888–9 Nov. 1984), philanthropist and art historian  

Melanie Linn Gutowski

Frick, Helen Clay (3 Sept. 1888–9 Nov. 1984), philanthropist and art historian, was born Helen Childs Frick in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the third child of Henry Clay Frick and Adelaide Howard Childs Frick. Her upbringing was one of extraordinary privilege as her father, the controversial industrialist and art collector, showered his family with every luxury. Little of her father’s public reputation as a ruthless businessman and strike breaker would touch her idyllic childhood at Clayton, the family home. Helen was intensely devoted to her father, seen especially in her decision around age ten to change her given middle name to his own....


Friedlaender, Walter Ferdinand (1873-1966), art historian  

Creighton Gilbert

Friedlaender, Walter Ferdinand (10 March 1873–06 September 1966), art historian, was born in Glogau, Germany (now Poland), the son of Sigismund Friedlaender, a merchant, and Anna Joachimsthal, both of whom died when Walter was young. Though their background was Jewish, he was brought up a Lutheran, like nearly everyone in Glogau. From age thirteen on he lived with an older sister in Berlin, where he was nicknamed “Fridolin” and was a member of a club called the Sharp Tongues. He received a Ph.D. in Sanskrit from Berlin University in 1898, studying under Albrecht Weber, generally held to have been the leading Sanskrit scholar of the time. Unusual for his generation in Germany, he did not travel among universities, except for one semester in Geneva studying with the linguist Ferdinand Saussure....


Frothingham, Arthur Lincoln (1859-1923), archaeologist and historian of art and architecture  

John Donahue

Frothingham, Arthur Lincoln (21 June 1859–28 July 1923), archaeologist and historian of art and architecture, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Arthur Lincoln Frothingham, an author and amateur art collector, and Jessie Peabody. The Frothinghams enjoyed a certain degree of prosperity, moving to Italy when Arthur was five years old in order to protect his delicate health. Living first in Florence, the family later moved to Rome, where Frothingham spoke and wrote Italian as his first language. He attended the Academy of the Christian Brothers from 1868 to 1873 and the Catholic seminary of St. Apollinare and the Royal University from 1875 to 1881. In 1883 he received a Ph.D. from the University of Leipzig in Germany. Having become a fellow in Semitic languages at Johns Hopkins University in 1882, Frothingham remained there as lecturer until 1887, when he accepted a position at Princeton University. He was appointed full professor at Princeton, first of archaeology and the history of art (1896–1898), and then, of ancient history and archaeology (1898–1905). He remained at Princeton until retiring in 1906. In January 1897 he married Helen Bulkley Post; the couple had no children....


Cover Gardner, Helen (1878-1946)
Helen Gardner Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-112004).


Gardner, Helen (1878-1946), art historian and art history textbook author  

Beverly Gordon

Gardner, Helen (17 March 1878–04 June 1946), art historian and art history textbook author, was born in Manchester, New Hampshire, the daughter of Charles Frederick Gardner, a merchant tailor and Baptist deacon, and Martha W. Cunningham. In 1891 her family moved to Chicago, where her father set up a successful shop downtown. Helen attended Hyde Park High School and later the University of Chicago. She was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in 1900 and graduated with a B.A. with honors in Latin and Greek in 1901. After earning the degree Gardner taught at Brooks Classical school in Chicago, where her sister was principal. She herself served as assistant principal from 1905 to 1910. Like most other professional women of her era, she never married....


Goodrich, Lloyd (1897-1987), author, art historian, and museum officer  

Avis Berman

Goodrich, Lloyd (10 July 1897–27 March 1987), author, art historian, and museum officer, was born in Nutley, New Jersey, the son of Henry Wickes Goodrich, a lawyer and amateur artist, and Madeleine Lloyd. Interested in art from early boyhood and encouraged by his friend and neighbor ...


Janson, Horst Woldemar (1913-1982), art historian  

Anthony Janson

Janson, Horst Woldemar (04 October 1913–30 September 1982), art historian, was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, the son of Friedrich Janson, a German merchant, and Helene Porsch. The Russian Revolution forced the family, which by then included a second son, Halmar, to flee to Hamburg, Germany, via Finland. After the revolution, his father continued to trade with the Russians until his death in 1926. To avoid the limits placed on the earnings of foreigners in Germany, his mother became a German citizen. After graduating from the Wilhelm Gymnasium, Janson enrolled in 1932 at the University of Hamburg, where ...


Jarves, James Jackson (1818-1888), journalist, diplomat, and art connoisseur  

Rhoda E. A. Hackler

Jarves, James Jackson (20 August 1818–28 June 1888), journalist, diplomat, and art connoisseur, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Deming Jarves, the inventor of Sandwich glass, and Anna Smith Stutson. Jarves received some formal education at Chauncy Hall School in Boston and enhanced his knowledge by extensive reading. At fifteen he was bedridden by what was diagnosed as a “rush of blood to the head” that left him temporarily blind and unable to continue at school. Gradually he improved but when the doctors recommended that he live in a milder climate than New England he had to forgo a Harvard education....


Mather, Frank Jewett, Jr. (1868-1953), writer, art collector, and museum director  

A. Richard Turner

Mather, Frank Jewett, Jr. (06 July 1868–11 November 1953), writer, art collector, and museum director, was born in Deep River, Connecticut, the son of Frank Jewett Mather, a lawyer, and Caroline Arms Graves. An 1889 graduate of Williams College, Mather received his Ph.D. in English philology and literature from Johns Hopkins University in 1892. As an undergraduate he had caught the chronic virus of art collecting, and by 1892 he had begun his studies of Italian painting. After a year of study in Berlin Mather returned to Williams to teach Anglo-Saxon and Romance languages from 1893 to 1900, taking a year off for study in Paris....


Meiss, Millard (1904-1975), art historian  

Amy Winter

Meiss, Millard (25 March 1904–12 June 1975), art historian, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of Leon Meiss, a businessman, and Clara Loewenstein. Educated in public schools, he entered Princeton University in 1922, where he studied art history and architecture. In 1926 he won the Wanamaker Prize in English. After receiving a B.A. in 1926, he chose to continue studies in art history. His father did not approve of his son’s choice, so Meiss worked for two years as a supervisor of building construction for a New York City architectural firm while he attended evening language classes at Columbia University....


Miner, Dorothy Eugenia (1904-1973), curator of manuscripts, librarian, and art historian  

Elizabeth Burin

Miner, Dorothy Eugenia (04 November 1904–15 May 1973), curator of manuscripts, librarian, and art historian, was born in New York City, the daughter of Roy Waldo Miner, a marine biologist, and Anna Elizabeth Carroll. In 1905 Miner’s father became a curator at the American Museum of Natural History in New York....