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Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington
(Cambridge, MA, 1876 - 1973, Redding, CT)
Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington of Cambridge, Massachusetts, was ranked among New York City’s most prominent sculptors in the early 20th century, resulting in a thriving career. She was born Audella Beebe and Alpheus Hyatt, a professor of paleontology and zoology at Harvard University and MIT. Her father encouraged her early interest in animals and their anatomy.
Her artistic training began with Henry Hudson Kitson in Boston, who threw her out after she identified anatomical deficiencies in some of his work of animals. She later studied with Hermon Atkins MacNeil and Gutzon Borglum at the Arts Students League of New York. In addition to her academic studies she spent hours watching and drawing animals at various zoos and circuses. In 1927 she contracted tuberculosis. While she struggled with the complications of the illness for decades, she survived. Her fame started for her animal sculptors in which she was able to combine emotional depth with skillful realism. In 1915, she created the first public monument to be erect in New York City by a woman. Her Joan of Arc is the city’s first monument dedication to a historical woman.
She entered her work in the sculpture event in the arts competition of the 1928 Olympics. In 1932 she became one of the earliest women to be elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She was one of 250 sculptors who exhibited in the 3rd sculpture International held in the summer of 1949 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She exhibited often, traveled, was critically acclaimed at nationally and abroad and brought home many awards.
She married Archer Milton Huntington, and together they founded Brookegreen Gardens. They kept the gardens and the nearby plantation taken care of as it was listed on the list of National Historic Landmarks. She was a member of the National Academy of Design, and the National Sculpture Society. She and her husband’s mutual interests and wealth lead them to finding fourteen museums and our wildlife preserves. They also donated land for the Collis P. Huntington State Park, in Connecticut.