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Margaret Moore Booker

(b Madison, WI, Sept 25, 1847; d Washington, DC, Nov 20, 1914).

American sculptor. Born Vinnie Ream, Hoxie was a pioneer in a field long dominated by male artists and the first woman sculptor to gain a federal commission. Her strikingly good looks and controversial lifestyle sometimes led male contemporaries to dismiss her as the “pretty chiseler of marble,” but her considerable talent and skill eventually earned her praise and commissions.

Hoxie attended the Academy (part of Christian College), in Columbia, MO, where she began her artistic studies. By 1861 she was living with her family in Washington, DC, and one year later she was working for the postal service. At the age of 16 she became a student–assistant for sculptor Clark Mills (1810–83), and shortly thereafter made relief medallions and portrait busts of congressmen and other public figures. She was still in her teens when she modeled a bust of Abraham Lincoln (1865; Ithaca, NY, Cornell U. Lib.) from life—an early success that brought her national attention....