REVOLT, THEY SAID.
a project by Andrea Geyer. 2012 - ongoing
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BIOGRAPHIES OF WOMEN NAMED / LAST NAMES IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER
A’Lelia Walker (1885–1931) was a wealthy socialite born in Vicksburg, Mississippi. She attended Knoxville College before joining her mother’s haircare company, the Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company. The company was incredibly successful; her mother had become known as the first self-made African-American millionaire. Walker became president of the business in 1919, after her mother’s death, but quickly lost interest and became more involved in the social scene of 1920s Harlem, entertaining wealthy friends and prominent figures of the Harlem Renaissance such as Zora Neale Hurston. Almost six feet tall, Walker was a noticeable figure, frequently seen in silk dresses and fur coats while carrying a riding crop. She often sat for portrait photographers like Berenice Abbott. In 1927, she opened her famous salon “The Dark Tower” in a converted floor of her Harlem townhouse; it was intended as a space to entertain and support Harlem writers and artists. During the Great Depression, her company’s earnings fell sharply, and she was forced to sell much of her antique and art collection. Walker passed away in 1931 and over 11,000 people attended a viewing of her casket in a Harlem funeral home.

Margaret Walker (1915–1998) was an American poet and writer. She was part of the African-American literary movement in Chicago. Her notable works include the award-winning poem “For My People” (1942) and the novel Jubilee (1966), set in the South during the American Civil War. Walker was the first of a generation of women who began to publish more frequently in the 1970s. In 1975 she released three albums of poetry on Folkways Records: Margaret Walker Alexander Reads Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar and James Weldon Johnson and Langston Hughes; Margaret Walker Reads Margaret Walker and Langston Hughes; and The Poetry of Margaret Walker. Walker was inducted into the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame in 2014.

Ingrid Warburg (1910–2000) was a member of one of the leading Jewish families in Europe,  which provided her with the best possible education a Jew could hope for in the mid-1930s: Salem College, the University of Heidelberg, Sommerville College at Oxford, and Hamburg University. While in England she struck up an affair with Adam von Trott, who was studying at Balliol College as a Rhodes scholar, and was thus introduced to German underground movement. After graduating from Hamburg University in 1936, being one of the last Jews to receive a degree, she took a six-week vacation in New York in the care of her American cousins. She briefly returned to her native Kösterberg in Hamburg, but found that Germany had changed irreparably. Warburg decided to return to New York in the winter of 1936 and was recruited by her father’s American Jewish Joint Agricultural Corporation to do a speaking tour throughout the United States. From the end of that year into 1937, Warburg spoke in over two hundred cities about the Nazi atrocities in the Third Reich. The trip led to her acquaintance with Eleanor Roosevelt and served to radicalize her politics. When she returned to New York, she became involved with a number of socialist circles, most prominent of which was the American Friends of German Freedom. After the war she moved with her husband to Rome, and in 1946 created the magazine L’Italia Europea, which pursued the ideal of a socialist society. She published her autobiography Die Dringlichkeit des Mitleids und die Einsamkeit, nein zu sagen in 1990.

Hilda Ward (1878–1950) was a New York–based painter included in the 1913 Armory Show. She is known for her 1908 book The Girl and the Motor, which chronicled her journey to learn to drive, maintain, and repair automobiles, a feat quite uncommon for women in the early 1900s.

Laura Wheeler Waring (1887–1948) was an artist of consummate skill and imagination, as well as a dedicated art educator. She studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, traveling throughout Europe in 1914 with a William E. Cresson Memorial Scholarship. She studied briefly at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris, but her trip was cut short with the beginning of World War I. Returning to Europe a decade later, Wheeler completed her studies at the Académie de la Grande Chaumiére. Wheeler Waring is best known today for her portraits of prominent African Americans, but her murals and landscapes of both America and Europe also gained her wide acclaim. Upon her return from Europe, she worked at the all-black Cheyney Training School for Teachers in Philadelphia, where she established both art and music programs that she directed for over thirty years. In 1927 the William E. Harmon Foundation—founded in New York City with the mission to honor African-American artists and encourage awareness of their accomplishments—hosted the first exhibition in history to showcase only African-American artists. The show included Wheeler Waring’s portrait Anne Washington Derry, for which she was awarded a gold medal. Wheeler Waring also wrote and illustrated a short story, “Dark Algiers and White,” for the NAACP’s Crisis magazine. Her work was displayed in many American institutions, including the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C., the Brooklyn Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.

Ethel Waters (1896–1977) was an American blues, jazz, and gospel vocalist as well as an actress. Beginning her career in vaudeville, Waters eventually headed to Atlanta and sang in the same nightclubs as notable blues singers of the era like Bessie Smith. In 1919 Waters moved to Harlem and became a popular performer there. She signed to Columbia Records in 1925 and released her hit song “Dinah,” which was awarded a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1998. She recorded many vaudeville and blues classics, and her records were often a part of Columbia’s 14000 race series. During the 1930s she began performing with major jazz acts as well as those on Broadway. Waters performed at the Cotton Club and in the Broadway musical revue As Thousands Cheer, becoming the first African-American woman to perform in an otherwise all-white show. At the time, she was the highest paid performer on Broadway. By the early 1940s Waters was also acting in films and making guest appearances on television. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the film Pinky and won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award in 1950.

Nan Watson (1876–1966), born Agnes Patterson, was an American painter born in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her work is in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.

Helene Weigel (1900–1971) was a distinguished German actress, artistic director, costume designer, and social activist. Born in Vienna to a Jewish family, Weigel began acting lessons in 1917, eventually obtaining engagements with the New Theater in Frankfurt am Main and with the Frankfurt Playhouse. In 1922 she moved to Berlin, and for the next decade acted in numerous plays by the prominent contemporary playwrights Marieluise Fleisser, Ernst Toller, and Bertolt Brecht. Weigel joined the Communist party in 1930, the same year she married Brecht. Weigel’s distinctive acting style consisted of a subtle combination of realistic and stylized dialogue and gestures, resulting in her own interpretation of Brecht’s “alienation effect.” In both her personal and professional life, she was known for her generosity, strength, diplomacy, and good humor. When Hitler took power, Weigel and Brecht became refugees, and they spent the years 1941 to 1947 in Los Angeles, where she faced many challenges: a lack of acting opportunities, an openly unfaithful husband, and the surveillance of the F.B.I. Yet Weigel is said to have kept her sense of humor, as demonstrated when, during a particularly cold day in California, when she invited an undercover agent inside so that he could observe her more easily. She also maintained connections to artists in Europe, sending care-packages and financial support. Upon their return in 1949, Weigel and Brecht founded the Berliner Ensemble in East Germany, with Weigel as artistic director and lead actress, most notably as Pelagea Vlassova in The Mother and as Antigone in Señora Carrar’s Rifles. Her role in Mother Courage made her Berlin’s best-known actress. She also did costume designs, a talent enhanced by her art-historical knowlege. Weigel engaged in social issues, including the country’s lack of bottled baby food, and generously donated to orphanages, even though this contradicted official socialist doctrine, which claimed that such aid was unnecessary in a classless, “egalitarian” society. Many of the iconographic roles she created with Brecht remain in the Berliner Ensemble’s repertoire today.

Berthe Weill (1865–1951) was a French art dealer, born in Paris into an Alsatian Jewish lower-middle-class family. She played a vital role within the Parisian avant-garde in the creation of the market for twentieth-century art. Her career started with an apprenticeship in an antique shop, where she learned the business and met collectors, writers, and other dealers. After developing a specific interest in contemporary painting, Weill arranged the first sales in Paris for Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. In 1901 she inaugurated Galerie B. Weill, which launched the careers of Suzanne Valadon, Emilie Charmy, and Jacqueline Marval. Despite her success in developing and maintaining careers of artists, the gallery closed in 1939, and Weill never had much financial success and in 1946 many of the painters she had championed donated artwork to an auction to raise funds to ensure that Weill could live in comfort for the last years of her life. In 1948 the Republic of France recognized Weill as a Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur for her contribution to modern art. Her memoir, published in 1933, is an account of thirty years as an art dealer; the book was reissued in 2009. In February 2012 the City of Paris put a memorial stone at 25 rue Victor Massé, the site of her gallery.

Ida B. Wells (1862–1931) was born in Mississippi and work ed as a teacher in order to help support her siblings. When she was twenty-two, W ells was thrown off of a railroad car for purchasing a seat in the whites-only first class and refusing to sit in the Jim Crow section. She sued the railroad and won, but the Tennessee Supreme Court overturned the ruling. She began writing for local publications and often cover ed American race issues. Wells became the owner and editor of anti-segregationist newspaper Free Speech and Headlight in 1889. She actively began an anti-lynching campaign after three of her friends were lynched. Her life was threatened numerous times because of her investigative reporting; Wells was forced to move to Chicago for her own safety. She organized a boycott of the W orld’s Columbian Exhibition in 1893, citing its failure to produce exhibits representing African-American life. Wells then distributed over 20,000 pamphlets entitled “Reasons Why the Colored American Is Not in the World’s Columbian Exposition,” which detailed achievements by African- Americans, as well as the realities of Southern lynching. Wells founded the National Association of Colored Women and is also considered to be one of the co-founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Julia Bracken Wendt (1870–1942) was a notable American sculptor who earned a reputation as “the foremost woman sculptor of the West.” Born in Apple River, Illinois, she ran away at the age of thirteen after the death of her mother. At sixteen she found work as a domestic servant for a woman who recognized her talent and paid to enroll her at the Chicago Art Institute. During the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition she was one of several women nicknamed the “White Rabbits” who helped produce the architectural sculpture that graced the buildings. She originated the idea of placing sculptured figures typifying the attributes of women in the exposition’s Women’s Building. Wendt was also commissioned to produce Illinois Welcoming the Nations, one of the most important sculptures of the fair. Her bronze portraits, fountains, and bas-relief medallions were often regarded as virile by her colleagues, and through she was not a modernist in terms of style, she proclaimed her feminist sensibilities, as in her contribution to the Panama Pacific International Exposition, held in San Francisco in 1915 and in San Diego in 1916. After some of her pieces were stolen, Wendt became a vocal advocate for artists’ rights to reproduce their work. She moved to Los Angeles in 1906 and taught at Otis College of Art.

Dorothy West (1907–1998) was an acclaimed novelist and short-story author. She published her first short story in the Boston Post at the age of fourteen. West attended Boston Latin Academy, Boston University, and the Columbia University School of Journalism. In a writing contest sponsored by Opportunity, she tied with novelist Zora Neale Hurston for second place for her short story “The Typewriter.” West befriended Hurston, who brought her to New York, and they became affiliated with the burgeoning art scene in Harlem. “We didn't know it was the Harlem Renaissance, because we were all young and all poor,” West told The Associated Press in 1995. “We had no jobs to speak of, and we had rent parties to raise rent money.” In 1934 West founded and published the literary magazine Challenge (and later the magazine’s successor, New Challenge), which became a major contribution to the Harlem Renaissance during the Great Depression. West worked for the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Writers’ Project until the mid-1940s. During this time, she wrote a number of short stories for the New York Daily News, where she was the first black writer published. In 1948 she wrote her first novel, The Living Is Easy, which was revived in a 1982 reprint by the Feminist Press, bringing renewed attention to West and her work. At the age of eighty-five, West finished a second novel, The Wedding, which was published in 1995. The novel immediately became a best-seller, and Oprah Winfrey turned it into a two-part television miniseries. The publication of West’s collection of short stories, The Richer, the Poorer, soon followed. In 1996, West won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Rebecca West (1892–1983) was a British author, journalist, literary critic, and writer. She was educated at George Watson’s Ladies College, but left school in 1907 and did not have any formal schooling after the age of. She trained as an actress in London where she took on the name “Rebecca West” after the rebellious heroine in Ibsen’s Rosmersholm. She also became involved in the women’s suffrage movement and worked as a journalist for the feminist weekly Freewoman and the Clarion. In so doing, West established her reputation as a spokesperson for feminist and socialist causes and as a critic, writing for the New Republic, New York Herald Tribune, New York American, and New Statesman. West began visiting the United States in the 1920s for the purpose of lecturing, interacting with artists, and getting involved in the political scene. In 1948, she was presented with the Women’s Press Club Award for Journalism. She documented the Nuremberg trials in her book A Train of Powder (1955), and in 1960 reported on Apartheid in South Africa series of articles for the Sunday Times. In 1950 West was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was made Commander of the British Empire in 1949, and Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1959. Dame West published her last work, 1900, in 1982. Several additional works were published posthumously, including Family Memories (1987), The Only Poet (1992), and Survivors in Mexico (2003).

Edith Wharton (1862–1937) was an American Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist and writer. Her family was among New York City’s elite, and her novels and over 85 short stories often dealt with insights on America’s privileged class. She built her estate, The Mount, in Lenox, Massachusetts, in 1902. She wrote many of her novels there, including The House of Mirth, until she moved permanently to France in 1911. While living in France during World War I, Wharton was one of the few foreigners allowed to observe the front lines, which she chronicled in a series of articles published as Fighting France: From Dunkerque to Belfort. She was an active philanthropist for charities benefitting war refugees and founded the American Hostels for Belgian refugees. She was an open supporter of French imperialism, however, traveling to Morocco and writing on her experiences with abundant praise for the French administration. She completed her novel The Age of Innocence in 1920, for which she won the Pulitzer Prize.

Candace Wheeler (1827–1923) was an artist known particularly for her glass design and textile work. She was the first woman to apply domestic arts and crafts, on a large scale, as a business-making venture. This was in part motivated by the economic consequences of the Civil War, when large numbers of women found themselves in a position of having to make a living on their own. As a result, women like Wheeler were spurred into action to open paths by which women could make a living in the arts, particularly home-based arts. Wheeler’s founded the Society of Decorative Art and was the co-founder of the New York Exchange for Women’s Work and the interior decorating firm Tiffany & Wheeler, which later became Louis C. Tiffany and Company, Associated Artists. In 1893 she was commissioned to decorate the Woman’s Building at the World’s Columbian Exposition, overseen by Bertha Palmer. She was a prolific writer and ardent supporter of women’s education throughout her life.

Dora Wheeler (1856–1940) was an artist known for her needle-woven tapestries, a technique she patented in 1882. The technique uses stiches that are passed in and out of the web of loosely woven silk. Though it was rare for a woman to be accepted as a private pupil, Wheeler studied painting with William Merritt Chase. She later started a decorating firm with her mother, one of the first successful businesses in the country to be run entirely by women.

Mary Cabot Wheelwright (1878 – 1958) traced her ancestry to eighteenth-century Yankee merchants who made Boston a major economic center. Mary’s mother Sarah raised Mary in the religious liberalism of the Transcendentalists and the Unitarian Church. In 1918, shortly before her 40th birthday, Mary Wheelwright arrived in the town of Alcalde, New Mexico. In no time she was an enthusiastic Westerner—devoted to trail riding, camping, and convincing cowboys “that it was possible to be a good sport and also drink tea.” The Southwestern traders she met introduced her to Navajo sacred rituals and ceremony, which she despite the existing taboos started to document as a do-it-yourself ethnologist, who devised her own methods to suit circumstances she encountered along the way. Her meeting and subsequent friendship with the Navajo Medicine man Hosteen Klah, lead to their teaming up to found what is today called the Wheelwright Museum in 1937. Wheelwright became increasingly committed to the preservation of New Mexico’s historic and cultural legacies and made significant contributions to the Indian Arts Fund, the New Mexico Historical Society, and the Spanish Colonial Arts Society. Later in life she also traveled to India, China, Europe and Egypt. In addition to her ethnographic writings, Wheelwright left and unpublished autobiography “Journeys Towards Understanding.”

Mayme White was A'Leila Walkers, right-hand woman and possible lover. She was one of her closest friends and she was with her, when she died. Mayme White’s nickname was Abundance, a tribute to her size and ebullience. She wore two dozen gold bracelets up her bare arms and an extravagant mink scarf wrapped around her neck. She carried a long gray-fox coat, whose left arm often dragged along the sidewalk behind her.

Dorothy Payne Whitney (1887–1968) was an American philanthropist and social activist who came into a significant inheritance at a young age. Whitney supported women’s trade unions and educational and charitable organizations such as the Junior League of New York, becoming the first president of the Association of Junior Leagues International in 1921. Whitney was also the cofounder of the New Republic and the New School for Social Research in New York. Her philanthropic work was widespread, and she supported many arts, feminist, and pacifist causes as well as social and labor reform. She was the sister-in-law to Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, founder of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1875–1942) was an American sculptor, art collector, and founder of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. From the time she started studying sculpture in 1900, her interest in art grew, as did her particular concern for American art and artists. In 1918 Whitney opened the Whitney Studio Club, which served as pioneering organization for American art, putting on exhibitions and offering social space and recreational amenities to its members. At one point the club included over four hundred artists living in New York. In 1928 the Whitney Studio Club became known as the Whitney Studio Galleries and was directed by Juliana Force, who had been Whitney’s secretary for many years. It became the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1931. Over the years, her patronage of art included buying, commissioning, sponsoring, and exhibiting work and financially supporting artists in America and abroad. Whitney’s sculptures won numerous prizes and she was commissioned to design a number of war memorials after World War I.

Anna Wickham (1883–1947), the penname for Edith Alice Mary Harper, was a prolific British poet. Born in London, Wickham was raised in Australia before returning to her hometown in 1904. She began taking voice lessons and pursing a singing career, but she gave up a career in music when she married Patrick Hepburn. Together they had four sons. In 1911 Wickham publish her first book titled Songs under the penname John Oland. Some of her other published poetry collections include The Contemplative Quarry (1915), The Man with a Hammer (1916), The Little Old House (1921), and Thirty-Six Poems (1926). Wickham had ties to many leading modernist figures of the time such as D. H. Lawrence, David Garnett, and John Gawsworth. She also developed an unrequited love for writer and poet Natalie Clifford Barney. After the death of her husband and third son, Wickham continued to host literary gatherings in her home throughout the 1930s. During that time, she befriended Malcolm Lowry. Wickham committed suicide in 1947, leaving thousands of unpublished poems. Wickham’s lyrical, often acerbic feminist poetry attracted the attention of Louis Untermeyer, who republished her work in the United States.

Mary Wigman (1886–1973) was a German dancer and a pioneer of modern dance. Wigman was a pupil of Émile Jaques-Dalcroze and Rudolf Laban, and she made her debut as a dancer in 1914. Her first solo performance, Witch Dance, paved the way for her successful career and proved that dance could be performed without traditional music. In 1920 Wigman established her own dance school, Dresden Central School, also known as Mary Wigman-Schule. In 1933 Wigman dismissed her Jewish employees and pupils and became involved in Laban’s Master Workshops formed under the auspices of Goebbels’s Ministry of Propaganda. She and her company performed for the opening ceremony of the 1936 Olympics. After Laban’s falling out with the Nazis around the same time, Wigman tried to retain close connections to Goebbels and involvement with the Master Workshops with little success. She retired from the stage in 1942, and moved to Berlin after WWII. From 1950 until her death Wigman taught at a studio in West Berlin. Her pupils included Yvonne Georgi, Margarethe Wallmann, Susanne Linke, and Hanya Holm, all of whom went on to become major influences in modern dance. The Mary Wigman-Schule toured the United States in 1930 and Hanya Holm opened a Wigman school in New York City, which was to be renamed Hanya Holm School, due to Wigman’s involvement in Nazi Germany. In America Wigman’s work became an inspiration for Communist dance troupes.

Dolly Wilde (1895-1941) was an Anglo-Irish socialite, known for her family connections as well as her charm and humor at Parisian salons during the inter-war years. The niece of author Oscar Wilde, Dolly was raised in London and moved to France in 1914 to drive an ambulance during World War I. While living in Paris a few years later, she began an affair with the heiress to the Standard Oil fortune, Marion “Joe” Carstairs. Her longest relationship was with the openly lesbian writer Natalie Clifford Barney, who was her partner from 1927 until Wilde’s death in 1941. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1939 but refused to undergo surgery, seeking alternative treatments instead. Wilde battled heroin addiction for most of her life and died of unknown causes when she was only 45 years old.

Marian Willard Johnson (1904–1985) was a contemporary art dealer who opened the East River Gallery in New York in 1936. The gallery remains operational under the name Willard Gallery. She was a well-respected figure of the New York art world, resisting trends and fighting for the acceptance of new American and European art.

Mary Lou Williams (1910–1981) was an American jazz pianist who played professionally from a young age. Williams was hired as composer and arranger for Andy Kirk’s band Twelve Clouds of Joy. After two hits in the 1930s, she was signed as Kirk’s permanent second pianist and continued to play solo gigs and compose songs for Earl Hines, Tommy Dorsey, and Benny Goodman. In 1942 she moved to New York to form her own group and briefly worked as a staff arranger for Duke Ellington. Her composition Zodiac Suite was performed at Carnegie Hall by the New York Philharmonic, one of the earliest instances of jazz being recognized by a symphony orchestra. She was long regarded to be the only significant female musician in jazz both as instrumentalist and as composer, and her skills and performance style evolved through the decades maintaining her status as a modernist. Later in her career, her compositions focused on sacred music; one of her masses was choreographed and performed by the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater on the Dick Cavett Show in 1971. She continued performing until the end of her life, including at Carnegie Hall with Benny Goodman in 1978.

May Wilson (1873–1949) was an artist born in New York. She studied at Oberlin Art School and the Arts Students League of New York. Wilson became involved in the struggle for women’s rights when her art school denied her admission to its life drawing classes. Her paintings and drawings prominently feature women’s social and political activities, as well as the social conditions that affect them. Her painting and drafting style contains a great deal of movement and texture, visibly fighting the stagnancy of domestic life. Preston was active in the National Woman’s Party and contributed to Women Voter. She also illustrated the 1915 book How It Feels to Be the Husband of a Suffragette. Wilson exhibited her work at the Armory Show held in New York in 1913.

Catharine Lorillard Wolfe (1828–1887) was an American philanthropist and art collector. Her collection focused on contemporary paintings, which she left to the Metropolitan Museum of Art along with an endowment of $200,000—the first permanent endowment fund ever given to a major American museum. Her collection provided the Metropolitan with its first group of paintings used to attract the general public, transforming the institution into a more publicly oriented venue. She also donated money to Grace Episcopal Church, Union College, as well as the American Museum of
Natural History.

Mary Wollstonecraft (1759–1797) was a writer and one of the founding feminist philosophers. Born in Spitalfields, London, Wollstonecraft endured her father’s violence toward his wife, and often tried to protect her mother by lying outside of her door. In an effort to escape her home life, she took a job as a lady’s companion to Sarah Dawson; she wrote Thoughts on the Education of Daughters about the experience in 1787. Wollstonecraft returned home to care for her mother and set up a school with her sisters in Newington Green, a Dissenting community, although she dreamed of living an independent life with her friend Fanny Blood. After Blood’s untimely death, the devastated Mary wrote Mary: A Fiction (1788), and obtained a position as a governess. Stories from this time would become a part of her children’s book, Original Stories from Real Life, and she left the position only a year later to attempt a career as an author. In her most famous work, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), Wollstonecraft asserted that the appearance of inequality between the sexes was largely due to lack of female education. At the time, however, her attempts at suicide and relationships with men gathered more attention than her writing. She eventually married William Godwin, although the two maintained their independence through separate houses, and their daughter, Mary Shelley, would later write Frankenstein. Wollstonecraft died of complications from childbirth, and became an inspiration for the feminist movement of the twentieth century.

Beatrice Wood (1893–1998) was born into a socialite family in San Francisco, California. She studied acting and art in France but was forced to return to the United States due to the start of World War I. She was introduced to many avant-garde artists and worked on one of the earliest Dada art magazines in New York, The Blind Man. While in New York, Wood befriended art patron Louise Arensberg, and together they held regular discussion groups with artists, writers, and poets. Her close relationship with much of the avant-garde earned her the nickname “the Mama of Dada.” She returned to California during the 1930s and settled in Ojai, where she took up pottery and began teaching at the Besant Hill School. She lived to be 105 years old and when asked to comment on her longevity said, “I owe it all to chocolate and young men.”

Thelma Wood (1901–1970) was an American sculptor. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, she moved to Paris in 1921 to study sculpture. More is known about her social life than her artwork, little of which remains. She was involved briefly with photographer Berenice Abbott and the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, but was best known for her tumultuous affair with the writer Djuna Barnes, who immortalized their relationship in her novel Nightwood. The novel was written after Wood left Barnes for a wealthy businesswoman, Henriette McCrea Metcalf. During their relationship, Wood produced a series of silverpoint drawings that pictured erotic renderings of nature, animals, and fetishistic objects such as shoes. When their relationship ended, Wood would spend the following sixteen years living with Metcalf.

Virginia Woolf (1882–1941) was an English writer best known for her books Mrs. Dalloway (1925), To The Lighthouse (1927), and Orlando (1928), as well as her feminist essay “A Room of One’s Own.” During the interwar period, Woolf was a significant figure in London literary society and a central figure in the influential Bloomsbury Group of intellectuals. She began writing professionally in 1910, to critical and popular acclaim, also self-publishing much of her own work through Hogarth Press. In 1922 she met writer Vita Sackville-West, with whom she had a romantic affair and based much of her novel Orlando. They remained friends for the rest of Woolf’s life. Woolf is considered an innovator of the English language, experimenting with stream-of-consciousness writing and exploring the psychological motives of her characters. She is seen as a major 20th century novelist and modernist, earning much contemporary acclaim from feminist scholars. Suffering from depression for much of her life, Woolf drowned herself at the age of fifty-nine.

Emilie Worringer (1878–1961) was an artist and friend of the expressionist painter Olga Oppenheimer. The two studied together with Adolf Hölzl in Dachau as well as at the Academy in Munich. They later shared a studio in Cologne and cofounded the Gereonsklub, an avant-garde artists’ association, in 1911. Worringer booked lecture programs and organized exhibitions for the group until it disbanded in 1913.

Alice Morgan Wright (1881–1975) was an artist, suffragist, and animal rights activist. Wright worked for the Collegiate Equal Suffrage League and also studied sculpture at the Art Student League in New York. After winning numerous prizes, she left to study in Paris at the École des Beaux-Arts and at the Académie Colarossi. During her stay in Europe, Wright immersed herself in the suffrage movements of both France and Great Britain, later speaking in Paris for English suffragist Emmeline Parkhurst in 1910. Her activism landed her in prison, where she modeled a bust of Pankhurst from smuggled art supplies. By 1913 despite her concentration on political efforts, Wright’s artwork had won several prizes and been exhibited internationally. In 1914 Wright returned to New York, where she worked as a recording secretary for Women’s Suffrage Party, only returning full time to her artistic practice after the passage of the 19th Amendment. Wright’s life partner, Edith J. Goode, was a classmate at Smith and an ally in Wright’s political struggles. Their collective passion about animal rights led to her found of the National Humane Education Association in 1945.

Elinor Wylie (1885–1928) was an American poet and novelist, one of the central figures in New York’s elite literary circles during the early 20th century. Her friends in these circles included writer and poet Marianne Moore. Wylie’s poetry earned her much critical acclaim, and she published her first book of poetry, Nets to Catch the Wind, in 1921. Two years later she published her first novel, Jennifer Lorn. Wylie was the poetry editor of Vanity Fair from 1923 to 1925 and was a contributing editor for the New Republic between 1926 and 1928.

Ida Alexa Ross Wylie (1885–1959), who used the pen name I. A. R. Wylie, was an established poet and novelist, who enjoyed both popular and critical success in her lifetime. A farmer’s daughter from Australia, the self-educated Wylie spent many hours making up stories in her spare time, and by the age of nineteen, she had sold her first short story. She spent three years in finishing school in Belgium, before studying in England and Germany, and many of her experiences abroad were reflected in her stories. Her novel Towards Morning (1918) was notable for its positive depiction of the Germans from an English perspective, and she also wrote books about India based on her roommate Esme’s stories. She returned to England just before the war, and provided a safe house for women to recover from hunger strikes without police surveillance. There she joined the suffragette movement and met a woman named Rachel, with whom she traveled to America in 1917. After an extended period of nomadic wandering across the United States, the two women settled in Hollywood, where Ida found success selling her stories. Over thirty movies were made based on her writing, including Torch Song (1953), Phone Call from a Stranger (1952), and Keeper of the Flame (1942) starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn.

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