Editor's note: The following essay, with notes, was rekeyed and reprinted on July 25, 2002 in Resource Library Magazine with permission of the The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, a publication of The Historical Society of Pennsylvania. The essay was previously published in PMHB Volume CXXIV, No. 3 (July 2000), pp. 249-291. Images accompanying the text in the PMHB publication were not reproduced with this reprinting. If you have questions or comments regarding the essay, or if you have interest in obtaining a copy of the PMHB issue containing the essay, please contact The Historical Society of Pennsylvania directly through either this phone number or web address:


Aimée Ernesta and Eliza Cecilia: Two Sisters, Two Choices

by Tara Leigh Tappert


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1. Several Drinker relatives kept diaries, wrote family histories, or penned autobiographies. See Elaine Forman Crane, ed., The Diary of Elizabeth Drinker (3 vols., Boston, 1991); Henry Sturgis Drinker, Autobiography of Henry Sturgis Drinker ([Philadelphia], 1931); Henry Sandwith Drinker, History of the Drinker Family (Philadelphia, 1961); Henry Sandwith Drinker, Autobiography of Henry Sandwith Drinker ([Philadelphia], 1960); Catherine Drinker Bowen, Family Portrait (Boston, 1970); Cecilia Beaux, Background with Figures (New York, 1930).

2. Bowen, Family Portrait, 206-7.

3. Jean Adolphe Beaux (ca. 1810-1884) and Cecilia Kent (Leavitt) Beaux (1822-1855) of Suffield, Connecticut, are listed in a Leavitt Family Bible. Beaux/Drinker/Leavitt Family Papers, Cecilia Drinker Saltonstall (hereafter cited as the BDL Papers); Drinker, History, 64.

4. The emotional development of a child from birth to age three must be considered in understanding the ensuing interpersonal dynamics between the two Beaux sisters. Etta was two-and-a-half years old when her younger sister was born and when her mother died. At this stage in life a child begins to develop "a more stable and complex sense of individuality." But Etta lost both her mother and father during this phase of development and had to transfer her sense of identity and security to her grandmother and aunts. It is quite possible that Etta directed her sense of rage and blame over the loss of her parents toward her infant sister Leilie, and while Etta's early anger toward Leilie would not have been a part of her younger sister's conscious memory, Leilie's later decisions not to marry and to not have children, in part, may have stemmed from these early experiences with her sister. See Margaret S. Mahler, Fred Pine, and Anni Bergman, The Psychological Birth of the Human Infant (New York, 1975); N. Gregory Hamilton, Self and Others: Object Relations Theory in Practice (Northvale, N.J., 1990), 35-57; Judith Viorst, Necessary Losses (New York, 1986).

5. The Leavitts traced their ancestry back to seventeenth-century New England, and back to England before that. Drinker, History, 64-65; Beaux, Background, 7-8; Leavitt Family Bible, BDL Papers; John W. Leavitt listing in Doggett's New York City Directory for 1847-1848 (New York, 1847) and Doggett's New York City Directory for 1851-1852 (New York, 1851).

6. Leavitt Family Bible, BDL Papers; McElroy's Philadelphia City Directory for 1854-1857 (Philadelphia, 1854-1857), (hereafter, McElroy's PCD, [year].); Philadelphia Merchants & Manufacturers Business Directory for 1856-1857 (Philadelphia, 1856).

7. Philadelphia had a long history of silk manufacturing. By the 1830s, the city was acknowledged as one of the industry's major American centers. Silk produced in Philadelphia was known in France, where the Beaux family may have first heard of it as a manufacturing center. McElroy's PCD, (1858-1860); Edwin T. Freedley, Philadelphia and Its Manufacturers: a Handbook of the Great Manufactories and Representative Mercantile Houses of Philadelphia in 1867 (Philadelphia, 1867), 270

ff.; J. Thomas Scharf and Thompson Westcott, History of Philadelphia, 1609-1884 (3 vols., Philadelphia, 1884), 3: 2311-12.

8. Adolphe Beaux was a devout Huguenot who carried a hatred for the Roman church for its persecutions of the Huguenots in the sixteenth century. Beaux, Background, 10-11, 84; Aimée Ernesta Drinker to Mrs. Bedford, April 10, [1902], correspondence, 1863-1968, letters dated by day and month only, Cecilia Beaux Papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. (hereafter, Beaux Papers, AAA).

9. Bowen, Family Portrait, 136-37.

10. Beaux, Background, 11-12; Drinker, History, 64; Woodland Presbyterian Church Register, 1866-83, Archives, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia.

11. Bowen, Family Portrait, 138; Beaux, Background, 9.; McElroy's PCD, [1861]; Gopsill's Philadelphia City Directory 1873 (Philadelphia, 1873), (hereafter Gopsill's PCD, [date]).

12. Siblings bond because they have access to one another, they need each other for meaningful personal identity, and because there is insufficient parental influence. In the case of the Beaux sisters, their circumstances activated a loyal acceptance and mutually dependent relationship, each drawing on the other's strengths. While acknowledging their differences, they always needed and cared for each other. Stephen P. Bank and Michael D. Kahn, The Sibling Bond (New York, 1982), 18-21, 96-99; Helene S. Amstein, Brothers & Sisters/Sisters & Brothers (New York, 1979), 146-50; Elizabeth Fishel, Sisters; Love and Rivalry Inside the Family and Beyond (New York, 1979), 149-209).

13. Beaux, Background, 9-12.

14. Ibid., 3-8; Bowen, Family Portrait, research notes, box 10, Catherine Drinker Bowen Papers, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. [hereafter, Bowen Papers, LC]; Leavitt Family Bible, Kent Saltonstall; Beaux diary, Aug. 30, 1906, Beaux Papers, AAA; Bowen, Family Portrait, 135.

15. Biddle was an aide with the rank of captain on the staff of General George B. McClellan. Henry D. Biddle, Notes on the Genealogy of the Biddle Family (Philadelphia, 1895), 35.

16. Beaux, Background, 33-34; Arthur C. Bining, Pennsylvania's Iron and Steel Industry (Gettysburg, Pa, 1954), 21; Statistical Charts on the Iron Industry in Pennsylvania in 1850 (n.p., 1850), Collections, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

17. The Leavitts are listed in West Philadelphia at 44th and Spruce between 1864 and 1867; no listing for 1868, and at 4309 Spruce in 1869. Will Biddle is first listed at the same address as the Leavitts -- 4359 Spruce -- in the 1870 directory. The two families remained at this address until 1872. McElroy's PCD, [1864-1866]; Gopsill's PCD, [1867-1873]; Family Portrait, research notes, box 10, Bowen Papers, LC.

18. Beaux, Background, 7.

19. Charles is listed as an accountant, clerk, foreman, and bookkeeper, Samuel as a coal dealer, and John as a rubber-goods merchant (McElroy's PCD, [1858-1867]; Gopsill's PCD, [1868]).

20. Beaux, Background, 29.

21. Ibid., 29, 33-34; Drinker, History, 69; Bowen, Family Portrait, 139-42; Bining, Pennsylvania's Iron and Steel Industry, 21.

22. An absent father has a profound effect on a daughter, particularly on her later relationships with men. Fathers who leave do so because they lack self-esteem that makes holding a job or overcoming problems exceptionally difficult. Such men feel useless as fathers. Their daughters often idealize them and become obsessed with understanding why they left, blaming their absence on their own shortcomings. Such daughters struggle to earn their fathers' acceptance or seek a father surrogate. Many of these dynamics were in play in the relationships between Leilie Beaux, her father, and her Uncle Will Biddle. See Barbara Goulter and Joan Minninger, The Father-Daughter Dance: Insight, Inspiration, and Understanding for Every Woman and Her Father (New York, 1993), 17-55.

23. Cecilia Leavitt was a charter member of the Woodland Presbyterian Church and reared her granddaughters there. She insisted on home schooling and domestic training for them. Emily taught them to read and write, and introduced them to poetry and literature. Eliza tutored them in history and French, and stimulated their appreciation of the arts. Etta took piano and Leilie had drawing lessons. Emily also taught them such domestic skills as furniture waxing, silver polishing, and sewing. See Mary Brainerd Smith, A History of the Woodland Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia, 1865-1948 (Philadelphia, [ca 19481), 7-8, 15, 71; Woodland Presbyterian Church Register, 1866-1883, and Year Book of the Woodland Presbyterian Church, 1911-1912, MS Col., Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia; Beaux to Mrs. Brown, Feb. 9, 1939, correspondence other than Bowen's, box 74, Bowen Papers, LC.; Beaux, Background, 22-27, 29-30, 40, 73, 75; Beaux and Emily Biddle to Adolphe Beaux, Nov. 9, 1863, Beaux Papers, AAA; Bowen, Family Portrait, 139.

24. Lyman students ranged in age from ten to eighteen, and were segregated into classes by ability rather than by grade. Leilie was with younger girls for Latin, algebra, and arithmetic, with older girls for French, English composition, and natural history, and with girls her own age for American history. Both sisters excelled at poetry recitation. Gopsill's PCD, [1869]; Beaux, Background, 44-56.

25. Bowen, Family Portrait, 145-47.

26. Judith Stein cites the work of sociologist Rela Monson, who found a positive correlation between female achievement and the all-female-sibling family noting that the first female sibling is more likely to marry and fulfill familial expectations, thus relieving some of the pressure to conform for the younger female who may be freer in her choice of lifestyle. Stein, "Profile of Cecilia Beaux," The Feminist Art Journal 4 (1975-76), 31, n. 9.

27. At least one of the sketches in the Beaux sketchbooks at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is initialed ESL -- Eliza Smith Leavitt.

28. Beaux noted that nearly one hundred paintings were hung in "three tiny marble rooms" in Gibson's Walnut Street mansion. The showpiece of his collection was a replica of Alexandre Cabanel's Birth of Venus. Gibson's collection also included work by Thomas Couture, Jules Breton, Gustave Brion, Jean-Léon Gérôme, Eugène Fromentin, and Rosa Bonheur -- all well-regarded French academic artists of the day. Beaux, Background, 14, 20-21, 35-36; Stein, "Profile of Cecilia Beaux," 26; "Private Art Collections of Philadelphia--II, Mr. Henry C. Gibson's Gallery," Lippincott's Magazine 9 (1872), 571-72.

29 Beaux, Background, 43; see also Christine Swenson, Charles Hullmandel and James Duffield Harding--A Study of the English Art of Drawing on Stone, 1818-1850 (Northampton, Mass., 1982), 12-13.

30. Four companies ruled the early existence of chromolithography in Philadelphia -- Thomas Sinclair, Peter S. Duval, Wagner and McGuigan, and L. N. Rosenthal. Beaux, Background, 44, 75; Peter C. Marzio, The Democratic Art: Chromolithography 1840-1900, Pictures for a 19th Century America (Boston, 1979), 23, 32.

31. Beaux thought this was the Julien who managed the atelier, but this was the French artist Bernard-Romaine Julien (1802-1871) who published several series of lithographic studies for use as copy work for beginners. Beaux, Background, 58-59; Gopsill's PCD, (1874); E. Benezit, Dictionnaire Critique et Documentaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, (Paris, 1956), 5: 194; Hans Vollmer, ed., Thieme-Becker Allgeimeines Lexikon der Bildenden Künstler, (Leipzig, 1926), 19: 305-306.

32. For a discussion of Catharine Ann Drinker's life, her artistic and literary accomplishments, and a list of her known work, see Tara L. Tappert, "Choices -- The Life and Career of Cecilia Beaux: A Professional Biography" (Ph.D. diss., George Washington University, 1990), 35-46, 446-48; Bowen, Family Portrait, 149-60; see also Christine Jones Huber, The Pennsylvania Academy and Its Women, 1850 to 1920 (Philadelphia, 1973), 19, 21-23; Beaux, Background, 71; Camille Piton, China Painting in America, trans. C. A. [Drinker] Janvier, (2 vols., New York, 1879); Catharine A. Janvier, Practical Keramics for Students (New York, 1880); "Our Working Women -- Their Progress in Art," newspaper clipping, Emily Sartain file, Moore College of Art, Philadelphia; Louisville Industrial Exposition, Catalogue of Paintings and Statuary, (Louisville, Ky., 1880), Pre-1877 Art Exhibition Catalogue Index, National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. [hereafter, NMAA]; Dictionary of American Biography, (New York, 1932), 5: 613 [hereafter, DAB]).

33. Francis Adolf Van der Wielen, a Dutch-Flemish artist, trained at the Antwerp Academy, emigrated to Philadelphia in 1868. Hampered by failing eyesight he abandoned his career and took up teaching, training young women in the design arts. His school opened in 1869 at 1334 Chestnut Street. Beaux, Background 64; "An Employment for Young Ladies," Godey's Lady's Book and Magazine 80 (1870), 287; Benezit, Dictionnaire des Peintres, 10: 726; Vollmer, Thieme-Becker, 35: 534; Gopsill's PCD, [1868, 1869]).

34. The nearly two years of training that Leilie received at the Van der Wielen School introduced her to enlarging and linear and aerial perspective, and to the principles of light and shade; she also experimented with lithographic crayon on paper. When she mastered these exercises she advanced to drawing from plaster casts of Greek and Roman sculpture. The bedroom she shared with her sister was transformed into a makeshift studio, and during the Van der Wielen years the sisters slept surrounded by casts that Etta later noted depicted "all the heathen gods and goddesses." Beaux, Background, 64-69, 75; Bowen, Family Portrait, 161.

35. Leilie supplemented her studies by constantly sketching, filling note pads with drawing-book assignments of flowers, fauna, architectural details, geometric forms, and people. She also drew landscapes, her family, and renderings of shells, fossils, and bones. Eight or nine of her early sketchbooks survive. Beaux, Background, 69-70.

36. Leilie's sketch work was undoubtedly based on early American and English drawing book assignments. These manuals followed a structured system of drawing based on the theory that lines were the essence of form, an aesthetic system developed by Sir Joshua Reynolds. At least 145 how-to-draw manuals were published in the United States between 1820 and 1860. See Peter C. Marzio, The Art Crusade: An Analysis of American Drawing Manuals, 1820-1860 (Washington, D.C., 1976), unpaginated; Diana Korzenik, Drawn to Art: A Nineteenth-Century American Dream (Hanover, N.H., 1985), 37-53; Beaux, Background, 43, 181; Pevsner, Academies of Art, Past and Present (Cambridge, 1940), 227, 229.

37. Sanford's school was in operation from 1857 to 1891 Beaux, Background, 84, 71; Gopsill's PCD, [1874]; Gertrude Bosler Biddle and Sarah Dickinson Lowrie, eds., Notable Women of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, 1942), 170; Bowen, Family Portrait, 160.

38. Thomas A. Janvier, "'The Brighten Cats,' Lithograph by Miss E. C. Beaux," Philadelphia Press, Dec., 1, 1874, in Beaux scrapbook, Beaux Papers, AAA.

39. Frank Willing Leach, "Genealogies of Old Philadelphia Families -- Cope Family," The North American (Philadelphia), April 13, 1913, 67; Henry Fairfield Osborn, Cope: Master Naturalist -- The Life and Letters of Edward Drinker Cope (Princeton, N.J., 1931).

40. Her plate in Cope's essay, "The Vertebrata of the Cretaceous Formations of the West," contains seventeen carefully drawn specimens. E. C. Beaux, Plate I, Cionondon Arctatus, in Ferdinand V. Hayden, Report of the United States Geological Survey of the Territories, vol. 2, Department of the Interior (Washington, D.C., 1875).

41. Born in France, in 1844, Camille Piton immigrated to Philadelphia. From 1878 to 1880 he managed his art school, located on the "S.E. Cor. [of] Tenth and Walnut Streets," set up a kiln, and sold china-painting supplies -- "china palettes, putois and Lacroix's colors." Catharine Drinker made an English translation of Piton's book, China Painting in America. In March 1879, for a fee of ten dollars, Cecilia "took a month's lessons in china painting" from Piton. Beaux, Background, 84-85; John Foster Kirk, A Supplement to Allibone's Critical Dictionary of English Literature and British and American Authors, [Philadelphia, 1891], 2: 1238; Piton, A Practical Treatise on China Painting in America; Benezit, Dictionnaire des Peintres, 8: 367; Account Book, 1879-1884, Beaux Papers, AAA; Gutzon Borglum, "Cecilia Beaux -- Painter of Heroes," The Delinator 98 (1921), 16.

42. Even though Beaux denied studying at the Academy, she was registered there in 1876, 1877, and 1878. She primarily attended classes in 1877. Both Beaux and Drinker exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy, and at the Louisville Industrial Exposition in 1880. Student cards and student register, 1860-1884, Exhibition records, Archives, PAFA; Beaux, Background, 62, 86-87; Huber, The Pennsylvania Academy and Its Women, 67; Louisville Industrial Exposition, Catalogue of Painting and Statuary (Louisville, Ky., 1880), Pre-1877 Art Exhibition Catalogue Index, NMAA.

43. Beaux, Background, 59; Drinker Family Papers, box 75, Bowen Papers, LC; DAB, 5: 613; Who's Who in America, (Chicago, 1966), 7: 1097.

44. Some of Beaux's earliest suitors were young men from the Woodland Presbyterian Church. "Sam, Harry, and Robinson" all vied to walk her home, take her to a "sociable," or share a supper with her. Beaux, Background, 86; Diary of 1875, Beaux Papers, AAA; Bowen, Family Portrait, 135.

45. Henry Sturgis Drinker (1850-1937) was the third child of Sandwith and Susanna Budd (Shober) Drinker. Raised in the Orient, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, Henry attended Lehigh University and earned an Engineer of Mines degree in 1871. After graduation he began his professional life with the Lehigh Valley Coal Company, supervising the construction of the Musconetcong tunnel, an experience he recorded in, Tunneling, Explosive Compounds & Rock Drilling (1878). With the completion of the tunnel, Drinker determined to become a lawyer, passing the Philadelphia bar in 1877. When Henry and Etta married in 1879, he was working for the attorney Byerly Hart, and by 1883 he was a rising corporate lawyer for the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company. (Drinker, Autobiography of Henry Sturgis Drinker, 19-28; Drinker, History 63-64). While Henry was apparently interested in Cecilia, she was never taken with him. On one occasion she had been away from home when Catharine and Henry dropped by for a visit. She later noted in her diary "I don't mind missing him." Diary of 1875, Beaux Papers, AAA.

46. Beaux, Background, 86.

47. The Academy's cast was taken from an antique statue owned by the Vatican Museum. Cecilia Beaux: Portrait of an Artist (Philadelphia, 1974), 45; Student register 1877, Archives, PAFA; Beaux, Background, 98; William C. Brownell, "The Art Schools of Philadelphia," Scribner's Monthly 18 (1879), 737.

48. Elaine was known as the Fair Maid of Astolat, the daughter of Sir Bernard of Astolat. In love with Lancelot, her father tried to dissuade her by telling her of Lancelot's devotion of Queen Guinevere. Elaine begged her father to desist and to let her pass from life with her illusions intact. While dying, she prepared a farewell letter to the knight and then arranged to float past him on a barge so that she could deliver it to him by her own hand after her death. Le Morte d'Arthur was popularized in the nineteenth century by Tennyson's Idylls of the King and several artists depicted the Elaine story. Tobias Edward Rosenthal's painting, exhibited and awarded a bronze medal at the Philadelphia Centennial in 1876, was probably the best known and may have been seen by Beaux. In her receipts for 1880 Beaux earned $60 from EIaine paintings, and exhibited an Elaine, priced at $50, at the 1880 Louisville Industrial Exposition. Quest for Unity: American Art Between World Fairs 1876-1893 (Detroit, 1983), 62-63; Sir Paul Harvey, The Oxford Companion to English Literature (Oxford, 1969), 265; Account book, 1879-1884, Beaux Papers, AAA; Louisville Industrial Exposition, Catalogue of Paintings and Statuary (Louisville, Ky., 1880), Pre-1877 Art Exhibition Catalogue Index, NMAA.

49. For a discussion of Beaux's experiences as a student of William Sartain, see Tara Leigh Tappert, "William Sartain and Cecilia Beaux: The Influences of a Teacher," Philadelphia's Cultural Landscape; The Sartain Family Legacy, 1830-1930 (Philadelphia, 2000); Beaux, Background, 87-88; Autobiography of William Sartain, roll P-14, frame 204, AAA.

50. The painting is a contrived, imaginative, and illusionistic image. Family heirlooms brought to the studio created the setting. Etta sat in an old steamer chair and wore a frock concocted from an old black jersey of Cecilia's, to which was added a closely fitted "black satin sleeve with a little rich lace at the wrist." Draped across her lap was their grandmother's "canton crepe shawl." Henry owned the costume that he wore. The panelling in the background was from a carpenter's shop and dyed to look like mahogany. A highlight of the painting is the group of four hands at the center of the composition. For further information see Beaux, Background, 90-99.

51. Ibid., 99; Autobiography of William Sartain, p. 76, roll P-14, frame 204, AAA.

52. Thuron was Catholic and poor, and Bacon was looking for a replacement for his departed wife Susan. Elizabeth G. Bailey, "The Cecilia Beaux Papers," Archives of American Art Journal 13 (1973), 16; William Biddle to Beaux, July 24, 1888, Beaux Papers, AAA.

53. Balch was a young, wealthy, and socially well-connected Philadelphia bachelor who painted miniatures, and was an author, scientist, and explorer. Throughout the 1880s he kept a studio in the same building in Philadelphia as Beaux. Peter Hastings Falk, ed., Who Was Who in American Art (Madison, Conn., 1985), 30; Gopsill's PCD [1888], 133.

54. Beaux to William Biddle, Sept. 30, 1888, Beaux Papers, AAA.

55. The characteristics of the nineteenth-century ideal man were as clearly defined as those of the true woman. See Rev. Daniel Wise, The Young Lady's Counselor, or Outlines and Illustrations of the Sphere, the Duties and the Dangers of Young Women (New York, 1852), 243-245, in Lee Virginia Chambers-Schiller, Liberty, a Better Husband -- Single Women in America: The Generations of l780-1840 (New Haven, Conn., 1984), 37; Beaux, Background, 86.

56. Louise is either seated in a "camp chair" wearing a "brown breton cloak with the hood thrown back" or "standing, her grand pale countenance lifted toward the light, in profile, a pearl against the shadowy suggestions of her dark costume and the darker background." Beaux to her family, Jan. 6, 1889, .Beaux Papers, AAA, Beaux, Background, 177-78.

57. Cecilia described Louise as looking "like one of the English Millais heroines -- Lucy Ashton or the Huguenot, golden hair tumbling around her ears and down her back." Lucy Ashton was a heroine in Sir Walter Scott's Bride of Lammermoor. First betrothed to Edgar Ravenswood, Lucy's mother forces her into a loveless marriage to Frank Hayston. Grief drives her insane and she dies on her wedding night. John Everett Millais' The Huguenot (1852) is based on Giacomo Meyerbeer's 1836 opera Les Huguenots, which in turn recalls the 1572 Catholic massacre of the French Huguenots. Millais portrays the moment when the Catholic Valentine declares her love for the Huguenot Raoul, who is about to leave for battle and what she believes to be certain death. Valentine later becomes a Huguenot, and at the end, she and Raoul perish together, united in their faith. Louise also reminded Cecilia of Gertrude of Wyoming, the beautiful heroine of an 1809 stanza by Scottish poet Thomas Campbell. Set in the Wyoming valley of northeastern Pennsylvania in the late eighteenth century, Gertrude loses her mother and is raised by her widowed father, Judge Albert, who also raises Henry Waldegrave, a young boy brought to him by the Indian chief Outalissi. Gertrude and Henry later marry, but their bliss ends when the aged Outalissi returns to warn them of an invasion, a battle in which Gertrude and Henry are killed. Beaux to her family, July 15, 1888, and to her Grandma Leavitt, Dec. 15, 1888, Beaux Papers, AAA; Clarence L. Barnhart, ed., The New Century Cyclopedia of Names, (New York, 1954) 1: 239; John Guille Millais, The Life and Letters of SirJohn Everett Millais, (2 vols., New York, 1919), 1: 130-143; Roger B. Stein, Susquehanna: Images of the Settled Landscape (Binghamton, N.Y., 1981) 130-31, n. 18.

58. Henry James, "The Lessons of the Master" (1888) in Daisy Miller and Other Stories, ed. Michael Swan, (New York, 1963), 94, 116, 117, 119.

59. Changing roles, career opportunities, and shifting societal expectations of women fuel the story lines of these writings. The consequences of an artistic woman's choices and her fate are graphically described in Ward's unsettling Story of Avis. The author intimates the life of the artist and that of wife and mother are utterly incompatible as marriage and motherhood destroy all possibility for creative achievement. This view is confirmed in Howells' The Coast of Bohemia when Cornelia Saunders gives up her dream of an art career to marry her mentor. Craik's Olive was initially independent and artistically successful because she was crippled and considered ineligible for a woman's natural destiny. Yet she too marries and gives up her career, depriving the Scottish Academy of "no one knows how many grand pictures." See Louisa May Alcott, An Old Fashioned Girl, (1870, reprint, Boston, 1950), 258; Sarah Orne Jewett, A Country Doctor (Boston, 1884); Henry James, Portrait of a Lady, ed. Leon Edel (1881; reprint, Boston, 1956); Elizabeth Stuart (Phelps) Ward, The Story of Avis (Boston, 1877); William Dean Howells, The Coast of Bohemia (New York, 1893); Dinah Maria (Mulock) Craik, Olive (New York, 1851).

60. Louise conformed to an Aesthetic ideal of feminine beauty, reminding Beaux of the heroine in Millais's The Huguenot, a tall, thin woman with classical Greek features, and an "appearance of other-worldness." By the 1880s, the stylish looks of the classically natural English woman, epitomized by the tall, spare, and athletic Princess Alexandra and the actress Lillie Languy were the height of fashion. Paintings by such Aesthetic artists as Millais, Lord Leighton, and James A. McNeill Whistler further popularized the type. Leighton's The Last Watch of Hero (ca. 1887) suggests how fully these artists embraced the classical model of beauty. They believed that the Greeks had achieved an unparalleled sense of face and form, and viewed the classical style as grand and asexual. The Venuses de Medici and de Milo were considered precursors of the natural woman, and it followed that they represented an unsurpassed ideal of asexual female beauty. Beaux, who had chosen to sketch cool antiques during her days at the Pennsylvania Academy, was "perfectly satisfied" when she saw the classical and asexual Venus de Milo in the Louvre. Beaux to Etta Drinker, Feb. 7, 1888, to her family, July 15, 1888, and to her family, January 20, 1889, Beaux Papers, AAA; Beaux, Background, 177-178 Lois W. Banner, American Beauty (Chicago, 1983), 5, 110, 129-30, 136-37.

61. See Judith Waiter Leavitt and Whitney Walton, "Down to Death's Door': Women's Perceptions of Childbirth in America," in Leavitt, ed., Women and Health in America -- Historical Readings (Madison, Wis., 1984), 155-65; Leavitt, Brought to Bed: Childbearing in America, 1750-1950 (New York, 1986).

62. The "cult of single blessedness" developed out of early-nineteenth-century Perfectionism. Its exponents believed that "no true Christian should regard marriage as either a primary or sole goal in life." Through marriage one might serve God's will, but marriage was, in and of itself, neither everyone's calling nor anyone's salvation. The idea of remaining single appealed to many women in the nineteenth century. Besides the decision to pursue a career, some found the marital institution wanting and in conflict with autonomy, self-development, and achievement, consciously rejecting the self-abnegation inherent in domesticity. Others internalized a "beau ideal" and refused to bind themselves legally, sexually, or intellectually to lesser men. Some shied away from sex or feared pregnancy and childbirth. See Chambers-Schiller, Liberty, a Better Husband, 2, 18-19, 21-22.

63. Chamhers-Schiller references the author of Single Blessedness (1853) who wrote that noble work was given to the unmarried woman at the inspiration and command of her God. The idea of a vocation was not new to the nineteenth century, but when applied to the well-bred Victorian woman who was for the first time choosing a career, societal approval was accorded if she regarded her work as a spiritual "calling" and remained celibate and single. It often followed that a woman described her commitment to a certain chosen profession with language that created the illusion of participation in a formal religious order, expressing her purpose through images of godliness, sanctification, and the novitiate. Ibid., 2, 2~22; Beaux, "Why the Girl Art Student Fails," Harper's Bazaar 47 (1913), 221; Beaux, "Portraiture," Lecture at Simmons College, May 14, 1907, in The Paintings and Drawings of Cecilia Beaux (Philadelphia, 1955) 112.

64 European culture traditionally identified dark hair with passion and blond hair with purity and innocence. Blond hair as a signifier of purity and insipidness began changing in the early 1870s with America's fascination with the British Blondes, a British burlesque troupe brought to the States by music-hall performer Lydia Thompson. The troupe embodied the type of woman defined as voluptuous, sensual, sturdy, and buxom. With their arrival, blond hair became the vogue, and its old associations with purity and innocence were now combined with a new sensuality. America soon had its own symbol of sensual purity in the blond-haired, white-skinned actress Lillian Russell. Innocence was the major ingredient of her beauty, while her popularity rested on her portrayal, in her acting roles, of romanticized sensuality. Banner, American Beauty, 63, 124, 121-27, 135-36."Cecilia Beaux, Artist, Her Home, Work and Ideals," Sunday Herald (Boston), September [23], 1910, magazine section, 7, Jesse Wilcox Smith papers, AAA.

65. Beaux to Etta Drinker, Feb. 4, [1889], Beaux Papers, AAA.

66. Beaux to May Whitlock, [May 21, 1889], Beaux to her family, Monday, June 1889, Beaux to Etta Drinker, July 1, 1889, and Beaux to [Etta Drinker], [ca. late July 1889], incomplete letter; Beaux to William Biddle, [Aug. 1889]; George Dudley Seymour to Beaux, Nov. 11, 1897, Beaux Papers, AAA.

67. Gopsill's PCD, [1890]; Beaux, Background, 203-204.

68. Drinker, History, 71, 76.

69. Ibid., 80-81.

70. Stylistically, grand-manner portraits were synthetic expressions of realism, the decorative aesthetic, Impressionism, and the classical academic. Iconographically, sitters were accorded status and glamour through exquisite costumes, fashionable accessories, and lavish backgrounds. Thematically, the images expanded beyond the mechanical influence of the camera and its emphasis on true likeness to the use of sentimental, moralistic, pictorial, or commemorative themes. The most useful scholarship on grand-manner portraiture in America is Michael Quick, American Portraiture in the Grand Manner, 1720-1920 (Los Angeles, 1981).

71. "'The Academy of Design' -- Some of the paintings in the sixty-seventh Annual Exhibition," newspaper clipping, 1892, Beaux scrapbook, Caroline Lewis to Beaux, April 4, 1894 Beaux Papers, AAA; newspaper dipping, May 13, 1896, Family Portrait, research notes, box 10, Bowen Papers, LC; Mrs. Arthur Bell, "The Work of Cecilia Beaux," International Studio 8 (1899), 220; Homer St. Gaudens, "Cecilia Beaux," The Critic and Literary World 47 (1905), 39.

72. Just as Beaux's portrayal of the blond-haired Louise Kinsella, painted two years earlier, can be read as an interpretation of "innocent sensuality," the depiction of her dark-haired, pregnant sister, can be read as a representation of fulfilled passion.

73. Beaux resisted the contemporary view that educated and intellectual women were unattractive and sexually undesirable. She refused to submerge her femininity to an androgynous identity where she was neither man nor woman but an intermediary sex comprised of qualities of both. See J. C. Nicoll, corresponding secretary for the National Academy of Design, to Beaux, May 10, 1894, "An Art Club Reception," newspaper clipping [1894], Beaux Papers, AAA; "The New Woman as Androgyne: Social Order and Gender Crisis, 1870-1936," in Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, Disorderly Conduct -- Visions of Gender in Victorian America (New York, 1985); Linda K. Kerber, "Separate Spheres, Female Worlds, Woman's Place: The Rhetoric of Women's History," Journal of American History 75 (1988), 9-39; Banta, Imaging American Women.

74. Lorado Taft, "Work of Cecilia Beaux," Chicago Record, Dec. 21, 1899, Family Portrait, research notes, box 10, Bowen Papers, LC.

75. Nancy Hale, Mary Cassatt (New York, 1975), 236, 261; Nancy Mowll Mathews, ed., Cassatt and Her Circle -- Selected Letters (New York, 1984), 277; Mary Cassatt to Beaux, Oct. 19, n.y., Frederick Arnold Sweet Papers, AAA; John B. Caldwell, director of fine arts, U.S. Commission to the Paris Exposition 1900 to Beaux, Aug. 29, 1899; Ferdinand W. Peck, commissioner general, U.S. Commission to the Paris Exposition 1900, to Beaux, Sept. 19, 1899, Beaux Papers, AAA.

76. Etta never allowed herself "the stimulation of companionship with people outside the home circle" and never developed "outside interests such as games, gardening, church work or social services of various kinds, or even music." Her life was "bound up in service to her family, a kind of "self imposed" restrictive commitment. Drinker, Autobiography of Henry Sturgis Drinker, 88; Drinker, History, 82, 84.

77. Beaux recounted the weeks of her sister's breakdown in a series of letters to Thornton Oakley. Beaux to Oakley, May 3, 9, and 26, 1934, Thornton Oakley Papers, Brandywine River Museum, Chadds Ford, Pa.; Beaux to Oakley, June 24, 1934, Lansdale Humphreys, Isle of Man, Great Britain.

78. For a discussion of Beaux in Gloucester see, Tappert, "Choices," 399-409; and "Leisure and Work -- Cecilia Beaux in New York and Gloucester, 1890s-1940s," (paper presented at The Enchantress of Philadelphia: A Symposium on Caroline Sinkler and her Friends, the Highlands Mansion and Gardens, Ft. Washington, Pa., April, 1998).

79. Hildegarde Hawthorne, "A Garden of the Heart," Century Magazine 80 (1910), 581-87; Beaux, Background, 340-41.

80. "Cecilia Beaux, Artist, Her Home, Work and Ideals," Sunday Herald (Boston), Sept. [23], 1910, magazine section, 7, Jesse Wilcox Smith Papers, AAA; Hawthorne, "A Garden of the Heart," 585.

81. Ernesta Barlow, "Gloucester Summers," typescript, Cecilia D. Saltonstall; Bowen, Family Portrait, 207-08.

82. Interview with Ernesta Barlow by Frank Goodyear at Green Alley, Gloucester, Mass., Aug. 16, 1973, Beaux Papers, Archives, PAFA.

83. Henry Davis Sleeper's Beauport attracted a steady stream of curiosity seekers. His guest book lists about thirty of Beaux's sitters. Andrew Gray and E. Parker Hayden, comps., "Beauport Guest Book 1907-1921," unpublished MS, Cape Ann Historical Association.

84. See Thornton Oakley, (Chadds Ford, Pa., 1983), 10-11; Thornton Oakley, Cecilia Beaux (Philadelphia, 1943), 1-4; Lansdale (Oakley) Humphreys to the author, Sept. 10, 1984.

85. Bowen, Family Portrait, 208; Beaux diary, March 25, April 15, and May 25, 1911, Beaux Papers, AAA.

86. Beaux diary, Nov. 28, 29, Dec. 12, 15, 21, 27, 1911 and Jan. 1, 1912, Beaux Papers, AAA.

87. The request from the Uffizi was an honor extended to few other Americans: Frank Duveneck, William Merritt Chase, and John Singer Sargent. Minister, della Pubblica Istruzione, to Beaux, June 20, 1924, Beaux Papers, AAA; "Self Portrait by Cecilia Beaux," American Magazine of Art 17 (1926; Leila Mechlin, "Self Portrait by Cecilia Beaux," The Sunday Star (Washington, D.C.), Jan. 17, 1926; Alice Booth, "America's Twelve Greatest Women -- Cecilia Beaux -- Who Has Given Back to the World Almost as Much Beauty as She Has Received From It," Good Housekeeping 93 (1931), 166.

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About the author

At the time of publication of the essay in The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Volume CXXIV, No. 3 (July 2000), the following biographical notes for the author were included in the "Contributors" section:

TARA LEIGH TAPPERT is an independent scholar and consultant in American art and archives. She has written and lectured extensively on Cecilia Beaux, the Emmet family, and on twentieth-century American crafts. Tappert's article on Beaux and her sister was developed from an unpublished study of the artist's life and work.

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