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Laura E. Leaper

(b Worcester, MA, Feb 11, 1855; d Brookline, MA, Nov 14, 1940).

American painter and printmaker. Hale was among the first generation of artists collectively known as the Boston school of painting. Her work in this group and her prominent role as an advocate for women in the arts helped future generations of American women to further their pursuits as artists. She taught classes in the 1870s and 1880s, encouraging women to develop their interests and talents, and offered support to younger generations of women looking for their place in Boston society. Hale often painted young women in interiors, which was a typical subject of the Boston school. Although her works were included in exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Paris Salon and the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, among others, she never showed her work in a solo show during her lifetime.

Hale’s family held a prominent position in American society: most notably her great-aunt, Harriet Beecher Stowe, was the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin; while another great-aunt, Catherine Beecher, was an important women’s rights advocate; her great-uncle Nathan Hale, was the noted American patriot; her paternal grandfather, also named Nathan Hale, was the editor of the ...