The Dolls and Daughters of Frank Weston Benson Open Access

Scheving, Caroline (Spring 2019)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/x633f1952?locale=en
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Abstract

Between 1903 and 1910, the Boston artist Frank Weston Benson and his daughters Eleanor and Sylvia created a collection of paper dolls. Together with Benson’s portraits of his daughters, these dolls help illuminate the artist’s understanding of the proper roles of American women in upper middle-class society. While the collaborative production allowed Benson’s daughters the opportunity to express their creativity, the collection’s family format and fashion options define the limits of the feminine realm. As didactic tools, Benson’s paper-doll set prepared his daughters for their future stations, both in their families and their careers as artists.

Table of Contents

Introduction………………………………………………………………………………………......1

A Brief Benson Biography……………………………………………………………………….....2

Girlhood in American Painting………………...……………………………………………......9

The Colton Family in Context………………………………………………………………......25

The Art of Dressing………………………………………………………………….………….....33

Crafting the Idealized Woman……………………………………………………………….....42

Eleanor and Sylvia Benson…………………………………………….………………………...48

Conclusion…………………..……………………...….………………………………………......52

Sources Cited………..……………………………………………………….………………….....56

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