Women's History in the Collections


Anna Cuyler
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Anna Cuyler (Mrs. Anthony) Van Schaick
Henrietta Johnston, artist
c 1725, pastel on paper

According to research conducted by the New York State Museum's Colonial Albany Social History Project, Anna Cuyler (1685-1743) married Anthony Van Schaick, Jr. (1682-1759) in 1712. Allied with several prominent early Hudson Valley families, the Van Schaicks were part of an emerging Albany middle class, and part of a Dutch cultural tradition that accorded liberal business and property rights to women. Anthony Van Schaick was a brewer. Prosperous and well-connected, Anna and Anthony raised seven children.

Henrietta de Beaulieu Dering Johnston (c1674-c1729) was arguably America's first female painter and the nation's first pastellist. The wife of Reverend Gideon Johnston (1668-1716), rector of Saint Philip's Church in Charleston, South Carolina, Henrietta and her husband immigrated from England about 1705. Her talent as a "society artist" helped support her family during and after her husband's lifetime. Between 1725 and 1727 she was in New York. One of her patrons was Anna Van Schaick of Albany.

Contributed by: Ronald J. Burch, Associate Curator


For questions or comments relating to this entry, contact Ronald Burch at rburch@mail.nysed.gov
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