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Cecilia Beaux’s Brother and Sister: Charles Sumner Bird and His Sister Edith Bird (Mrs Robert Bass)

Emily B. Collins, MPhil
Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2009;11(6):436-437. doi:10.1001/archfacial.2009.83.
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The portrait artist Cecilia Beaux was born to an average household in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1855. Cecilia's mother (née Cecilia Kent Leavitt) came from a family who had retained their social status despite the failure of the family business. Her father, Jean Adolphe Beaux, had immigrated from France and was on his way to becoming a successful businessman in his new country. They had 1 surviving child before Cecilia, a daughter named Aimee Ernesta Beaux. Unfortunately, within days of Cecilia's birth her mother died, most likely of an infection related to childbirth. This devastated Cecilia's father. The pain of his wife's death was so great that he turned the family business over to his brother, left his daughters in the care of their maternal grandmother and their 2 aunts, and returned to his native France. Although he returned to Philadelphia 2 years later, this stay would be brief, and after 2 years he left again, this time not returning for more than a decade and a half.1(pp7-14)

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Cecilia Beaux (1855-1942). Brother and Sister: Charles Sumner Bird and His Sister Edith Bird (Mrs Robert Bass),1907. Oil on canvas. 94⅝ × 53½ in. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts. Gift of Mrs Charles Sumner Bird (Julia Appleton Bird), 1981.720.

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