Untitled, 12/11/03, 2:53 PM, 16C, 3450x4776 (600+0), 100%, AIA repro tone, 1/50 s, R58.9, G46.8, B59.3

Katherine Sophie Dreier

(September 10, 1877 – March 29, 1952)

Artist, patron, collector, and educator, Katherine Sophie Dreier was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Theodor and Dorothea Adelheid Dreier. Her parents came from Bremen and were first cousins. Her father arrived in the U.S. in 1849, and worked his way up in the Naylor, Benson, and Company, which distributed iron and steel internationally. He returned to Bremen in 1864, and married Dorothea. The family, which came to include five children, one son and four daughters, was financially secure and close-knit. Katherine was the youngest child, and her parents stressed the importance of German culture, combined with progressive politics and democratic ideals. They instilled in their children the need for social reform and personal achievement. Katherine was drawn to music and art, and she was able to have private art lessons starting when she was twelve. By the time she was eighteen she was studying at the Brooklyn Art Students League. Her parents died when she was a young woman, but they left her with a large enough inheritance to make her financially independent. Determined to continue her art studies, she next studied at the Pratt Institute, following her sister Dorothea there. She had not forgotten the important lessons she had learned about social responsibility and commitment to one’s community and served as the volunteer treasurer for the German Home for Recreation for Women and Children between 1900-1909. This organization held special meaning for her as it had been founded by her mother. She co-founded and served as president of the Little Italy Neighborhood Association in Brooklyn, and like her sisters supported the woman suffrage movement. To this end she served as a delegate to the International Woman Suffrage Alliance in Stockholm in 1911 and headed the German-American Committee of the Woman Suffrage party in New York City in 1915.

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