Authors, scholars and activists

Authors, scholars and activists

Marianne Margaret Compton, Viscountess Alford (generally known as Lady Marian Alford), was an art patron and author, who was particularly known for her work to support embroidery and the Royal School of Needlework. She was the author of Needlework as Art, an influential book published in 1886.

Helen Louise Allen (1902-1968) was an American professor and collector of (ethnic) textiles from around the world. She was associated with the University of Wisconsin (USA). She is regarded as a pioneer in her field, using historical and anthropological perspectives in the study of textiles.

Emilie Bach was an Austrian artist and author, who in 1873 founded the Imperial and Royal Vocational School of Art Embroidery, Vienna. She wrote various publications on the subject of art needlework, including Muster Stilvoller Handarbeiten für Schule und Haus (1883; 2 vols., Vienna) and Neue Muster im Alten Stil (1887; Vienna; later published in the Th. de Dillmont/DMC series, as New Patterns in Old Styles). 

Louisa Bellinger (1900-1968) was an American curator and writer about textiles. She was the daughter of Hiram Pauling Bellinger (1865-1930) and Elizabeth Dwight Raymond (1868-1963). Her brother was Alfred Raymond Bellinger (1883-1978), Dean of the Classics Department of Yale University and a well-known Classicist and Byzantine scholar specialising in Byzantine period coins.

Pierre Belon was a French diplomat, explorer and naturalist. He travelled through Greece, Egypt, Arabia and Palestine between 1546 until his return to France in 1549. He is known for various books, among which Les observations de plusieurs singularitez et choses memorables trouvées en Grèce, Asie, Judée, Egypte, Arabie et autres pays étrangèrs (Paris, 1553).

Cuesta Benberry (1923-2007) was a teacher in St. Louis, Missouri (USA). She began studying quilting after a visit to her husband’s family in a small village in western Kentucky. She was struck by the pride the women showed in their quilts and by the names of the block patterns (for example, flying geese, carpenter’s wheel, schoolhouse, ocean’s waves, etc.).

Sophia Frances Anne Caulfeild was born in Teighmouth (Ireland) in 1824, the daughter of Edwin-Toby Caulfeild and Frances Sally (née Irwin). The Caulfeilds were a local, aristocratic family of Anglo-Irish origins based in Raheenduff (County Wexford, Ireland).

Tracy Chevalier is an American author of historical fiction. She was born in Washington D.C., USA. In 1983 she moved to England. Chevalier has a degree in English from Oberlin College (1984). She now lives in London. Chevalier is most famous for her second novel, Girl with a Pearl Earring (1999).

Grace Christie (née Chadburn; often known as Mrs. A.G.I. Christie) was an English writer and teacher on embroidery techniques and embroidery history. She is regarded as one of the most influential people in the early twentieth century with respect to the development of embroidery and embroidery studies in Britain and elsewhere.

Young Yang CHUNG (c. 1936) is a South Korean textile historian and vembroiderer who specialises in traditional East Asian textiles. She was born in Seoul, but during the Korean War (1950-1953) she and her family sought refuge in a village southwest of the capital. Here she is said to have taught local women to embroider in the Western (French) style and where she learnt about Korean styles of embroidery.

Pamela Clabburn was an English museum curator and writer about textiles, including decorative needlework. She was particularly interested in Norwich shawls, because of family connections with the production of this form of clothing accessory.

James Fenimore Cooper was a prolific American author, most famous for his novel The Last of the Mohicans, which was published in 1826. In his Autobiography of a Pocket Handkerchief, which is a short novel first written for a magazine in 1843, he follows the life of a decorative linen handkerchief.

Charles Frederick Cross (1855-1935) was an English chemist who helped to develop rayon and viscose. Cross was born in Brentford (England). He studied chemistry at King’s College London, the Zurich Polytechnic (Switzerland) and later at Owens College, Manchester (England).

Grace Mary Crowfoot was an English scholar who published numerous articles and books about European and Middle Eastern textiles and textile production. She is regarded as one of the Grandes Dames of the study of archaeological textiles.

Thérèse de Dillmont (1846-1890) was an Austrian embroideress, designer and writer, who grew up in Vienna and became famous for her association with the firm of DMC in Mulhouse. She trained as a governess and a teacher, an upbringing that included embroidery. During her time in Vienna and afterwards, she was in contact with Mrs Emilie Bach, the director of the Imperial and Royal School of Art Embroidery.

Dr. John Forbes Watson (1827-1892) was a British physician who initially, from 1850, worked for the Bombay Medical service. In 1858 he was appointed Director of the The India Museum in London, and Reporter for the Products of India at the India Office. He held the appointments until 1879. He was involved in the Indian sections of International Exhibitions held in Europe, including London 1862, Paris 1867 and Vienna 1873

Elizabeth Fry (née Gurney) was a social reformer, who is most noted for her work in prisons. She was born in Norwich, England, into a Quaker family. In 1799 she married Joseph Fry (1777-1861), a banker in London, with whom she had eleven children. Elizabeth Fry became a Quaker minister in 1810.

Conrad Gesner (1516-1565) was a Swiss physician and naturalist who published a five volume natural history book called Historiae Animalium (Zurich, 1551-1558). The series includes illustrations of birds, fish and mammals, and became a popular source of inspiration for embroidery designs in Europe in the sixteenth century and later.

Susan Glaspell was an American author and playwright, most famous for A Jury of Her Peers, a play that Susan Glaspell later turned into a short story. In the play a woman has murdered her husband, but the (male) officials cannot find any evidence.

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