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Dispensing Beauty in New York and Beyond:: The Triumphs and Tragedies of Harriet Hubbard Ayer Paperback – April 18, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press; First Edition edition (April 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 160949279X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609492793
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,107,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

The book is impeccably researched, and the intriguing tale is well told. Dispensing Beauty in New York and Beyond: The Triumphs and Tragedies of Harriet Hubbard Ayer is both a fascinating read and a valuable addition to our knowledge about women business owners. --Kate Kelly, Huffington Post Books

About the Author

Annette Blaugrund, an art historian, former curator and museum director, has written a number of award-winning books about American art and artists. She has worked as director of the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts (1997-2007); as the Andrew W. Mellon senior curator of paintings, drawings and sculpture at the New York Historical Society (1990-1996); and as a curator at the Brooklyn Museum (1980-1985) and has held positions at several other institutions. Dr. Blaugrund has written twenty-nine articles and six books about American art and contributed seven chapters to other books. For her accomplishments she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy in 2008 and was named a chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government in 1992, among other honors. She currently sits on several philanthropic boards, juries art competitions and writes essays for magazines and catalogues. She holds a PhD in art history from Columbia University (1987), where for six years (1996-2001) she taught American art and culture and currently sits on the advisory council of the Department of Art and Archaeology. She has lectured on subjects from her books at museums around the world and has appeared on television and radio programs. A member of Women Writing Women's Lives, a group of sixty published biographers, she has spent the last three years researching and writing the biography of Harriet Hubbard Ayer.

More About the Author

Annette Blaugrund, an art historian, former curator and museum director, has written eight books and contributed seven chapters to other books about American art and artists, in addition to writing 29 articles. The National Academy Museum where she worked as director for eleven years (1997-2007) honored her with a Lifetime Achievement Award (2008). She was designated a Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government in 1992, among other honors. Currently, she sits on several philanthropic boards, juries art competitions, and writes essays for magazines and catalogues. She holds a Ph.D. in art history from Columbia University (1987) where for six years she taught American art and culture (1996-2001), sits on the Advisory Council of the Department of Art and Archeology, and mentors students. Because of the popularity of her, "Dispensing Beauty in NY and Beyond: The Triumphs and Tragedies of Harriet Hubbard Ayer," she gave book talks across the US from 2011-2013. Since then she has edited "Charting New Waters: Redefining Marine Painting"(2013) and written "Delight in Color: Paintings by J. Steven Manolis" (2014).

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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And it's fun to read!
Deke Simon
This book is an incredible story, and would appear more fiction than fact, if not for the author's historical telling and superb research.
ASA
A fascinating story that truly brings Harriet Hubbard Ayer to life.
RitaAngelina

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I knew very little about Harriet Hubbard Ayer before reading this riveting biography. Drawing on three years of research, Blaugrund weaves obscured facts and recent discoveries into a compelling narrative, vividly portraying the conflicts and struggles of a Victorian woman seeking to find her own creative calling in the world. Ayer's unforgettable journey, marked by triumph and tragedy, leads to her metamorphoses from a shy Chicago socialite into one of the most influential women of her time. Elegantly crafted and remarkably rich in detail, "Dispensing Beauty" is a fitting tribute to Ayer's courage, grace and style.
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Format: Paperback
This book looks demure from the cover but packs a punch - an eloquent well written description of an explosive, suspensive and inspiring life lived to the hilt despite unimaginable adversity. Quite a model to promote creativity when hope looks lost. It would make a great movie, especially at this time of economic and emotional challenge. And especially a model for women to take responsibility for their futures while still loving men and family.

When all seems lost Ayer could remake the facts and blossom. It is amazing.

A great read and a great gift to myself and others.

Looking forward to more of the same from the author. I will keep an eye on her!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is really an amazing story, totally gripping because it is True. The Book reads like a biography mystery story. Harriet Hubbard Ayer had quite a life and it is very well documented in "Dispensing Beauty in New York: The Triumphs and Tragedies of Harriet Hubbard Ayer". Although the book's title is long, the book itself is a fast and engrossing read. Sometimes I wanted to reach back 100 years and shake Harriet and say "Wake Up! You are about to lose it all! Stop trusting Bad People!". It is easy to see why another early Cosmetics Pioneer, Elizabeth Arden, is more well known 100 years later...her personal life wasn't filled with the constant drama that Harriet had. The mere fact that Harriet reinvented herself three times and was a success at each is worth the price of the Book to learn about. I am very glad I found it.
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By shelly on November 25, 2011
Format: Paperback
A fabulous depiction of a fascinating woman and her journey through life's challenges. This woman's accomplishments, especially given the time in which she lived and the obstacles she overcame, are truly inspiring. The author has created a wonderful, historical biography that reads like a great fictional novel!
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By Linda Steigleder on November 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
Even now in the USA, 90 years after ratification of the Women's Right to Vote and 45 years after the Women's Liberation Movement, we females seek inspiration from our contemporaries and also from historic figures, especially those who stepped outside their prescribed roles, attained professional success, and overcame adversity. Now we can read about and learn from a stunning achiever, entrepreneur and cosmetics company founder and executive Harriet Hubbard Ayer (1849-1903), as presented by Annette Blaugrund, Ph.D., in a carefully researched and elegantly written biography. Scoundrels threatened Mrs. Ayer's success, challenged her rights and mental competency, and alienated her from her children, but this Chicago socialite turned New York City businesswoman overcame the odds again and again. She exercised uncanny vision, ingenuity, and determination. The book Dispensing Beauty, packed with facts about the late 19th and early 20th centuries, is thoroughly engrossing and uplifting. Not just for women, this volume is for all followers of the history of business and culture. Some readers may find interest in the parallel story and achievements of pioneering female architect Theodate Pope Riddle (1867-1946), Philip Johnson's second cousin, who learned her trade on the job, became a licensed practitioner in CT and NY, and designed and built distinctive homes and entire school campuses. See James O'Gorman's Hill-Stead, The Country Place of Theodate Pope Riddle (Princeton Architectural Press).
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By Deke Simon on November 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
Dispensing Beauty is one of those rare stories that illuminates a time and place with relevance to modern personal and societal issues. And it's fun to read! Highly recommended
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By Cecile D on November 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
Annette Blaugrund wrote a fascinating biography with exquisite period details. She describes in such a poignant way the struggles of a strong, intelligent woman who faced such adversities but was determined to succeed. Harriet Hubbard Ayer was a woman ahead of her time. This book which I couldn't put down is very rich in emotions and Mrs.Ayer's life so thoroughly researched, it is a fantastic read!
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