THE PAN AMERICAN WOMEN SCULPTORS
It is clear that the Board of Women Managers strongly believed in employing and promoting the work of women from all professions. Among those officially hired for the Exposition were nine women sculptors whose names are listed in the “Catalogue of the Exhibition of Fine Arts” and are as follows: Eloise Lawrence Breese, Martha Jackson Cornwell, S. Cecilia Cotter, Jane Nye Hammond, Anna Vaughn Hyatt, Helen Mears, Janet Scudder, Bessie Potter Vonnoh and Enid Yandell.
Born in Kentucky, Enid Yandell studied with sculptor Auguste Rodin and was the first woman to become a member of the National Sculpture Society. Her Pan Am installation was a plaster version of a fountain called “Struggle of Existence,” described as the immortal soul’s attempt to break free from what binds it to the earth. Yandell also committed herself to numerous social causes. She was a suffragette, chair of the Women’s Committee for the Council of National Defense and director of the Bureau of Communications for the American Red Cross in New York.
Janet Scudder was born in Indiana and studied under Frederick MacMonnies. Known for her memorial sculptures and medallions, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York loaned their Scudder-designed official seal for exhibition at the Pan Am. An award-winning artist, suffragette and Red Cross volunteer during World War I, she was outspoken in her disdain for separate exhibitions based on gender. She was named a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor.
Bessie Potter Vonnoh
Bessie Potter Vonnoh studied at the Art Institute of Chicago after moving from Missouri to Chicago following her father’s death. She worked alongside Scudder as a studio assistant for sculptor Lorado Taft. She won a bronze medal for her "Young Mother" statue at the 1900 Exposition Universelle, which was subsequently shown at the 1901 Pan Am. A skilled artisan, she was elected an academician of the National Academy of Design and to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
MEET ME AFTER THE FAIR
The women on the Board of Women Managers were just as ambitious as the women they hired. If they didn’t have their own careers, they were actively involved in numerous causes and philanthropic endeavors. The board members were as follows: Mrs. John Miller Horton, Mrs. William Hamlin, Mrs. George W. Townsend, Mrs. Charles Cary, Mrs. William A. Rogers, Mrs. Herman Waterman, Mrs. David Gray, Mrs. Elizabeth B. McGowan, Mrs. Lester Wheeler, Mrs. Herman Mynter, Miss Marian De Forest, Mrs. Joseph Desbecker, Mrs. Robert Keating Root, Mrs. Norman E. Mack, Mrs. Adelbert Moot, Mrs. Alfred G. Hauenstein, Mrs. Joseph E. Gavin, Mrs. Charles F. Kinglsey, Mrs. J. F. Schoellkopf Jr., Mrs. Tracy C. Becker, Dr. Ida C. Bender, Mrs. John W. Bush, Miss Frances G. Stanton, and Miss Annie Damer. Some of their stories can be found below.
Mrs. John Miller Horton [Katherine Lorenz Pratt] – BOWM President and Chairman
As President and Chairman of the Executive Committee, Mrs. Horton wielded significant power over the inclusion of women in the Pan Am. As a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, she held the positions of vice-regent and chairman of the reception and entertainment committee. She was also a member of the Daughters of the War of 1812, the Twentieth Century Club and the Women’s Educational and Industrial Union. The local chapter of the D.A.R. was named for her.
Miss Frances G. Stanton – BOWM Secretary of the Committee on Publicity and Promotion
One of the few single women on the board, Frances Stanton was on the editorial staff at the Buffalo Courier and Buffalo Express. She married Charles Bennett Smith, who later became a state congressman. In 1919, she became the first woman to be appointed to the New York State Civil Service Commission. An avid musician, she was also an active in the suffragette movement, a member of the Scribblers, the League of American Pen Women, the Women’s National Press Club and the Congressional Club of Washington, DC.
Dr. Ida C. Bender – BOWM Chairman of the Committee on Education
Ida Catherine Bender was awarded the Jesse Ketchum Award Gold Medal for excellence in academics. After earning her teaching degree from the Buffalo Normal School, Ida Bender then received her MD from the University of Buffalo. She was principal at the School of Practice of the Buffalo State Normal School, head of the Department of School Administration at the Teachers’ College Association of Buffalo, supervisor of the primary grades in the Buffalo Department of Public Instruction and president of the Women Teachers’ Association of Buffalo. She also served as director of the Scribblers, on the executive committee of the New York State Federation of Women’s Clubs and director of the Women’s Educational and Industrial Union. [See William R. Greco, Ph. D, “Grace Celia Taylor and the Jesse Ketchum Medal: A Triumphant Scholar of the Gilded Age” in Winter 2019 issue of Western New York Heritage.]