Anne Whitney was born in Watertown on September 2, 1821. Her family were abolitionists. They also fought for women’s rights. Most of her education was by private tutors. She was interested in writing poetry and sculpture.
For two years, when she was 26 years old, she ran a private school in Salem. For the next two years, she traveled to New Orleans to visit her cousins. Since she was a woman, she could not take life drawing classes. Anne had limited opportunities to study. Anne began to create portrait busts of her family in 1855. She went to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts to study drawing and modeling. Although she enjoyed expressing herself through her poetry, she wanted to express herself through her art.
She had a studio in Watertown in 1860 and moved to Boston two years later. Whitney moved to Rome in 1867, where Anne studied and traveled. She returned from Europe to form a studio in Boston.
Throughout her adulthood, Anne Whitney advocated for forest conservation, women’s rights, the abolition of slavery, and equal educational opportunities for African Americans.
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