Pollitzer, Anita, 1894-1975

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Anita Lily Pollitzer (October 31, 1894 – July 3, 1975) was an American photographer and suffragist.

Anita Lily Pollitzer was born October 31, 1894, in Charleston, South Carolina. Her parents were Clara Guinzburg Pollitzer, the daughter of an immigrant rabbi from Prague, and Gustave Pollitzer, who ran a cotton company at Charleston, South Carolina. She had two sisters, Carrie (born 1881) and Mabel (born 1885) and a brother, Richard.

Anita was raised Jewish and, as a young woman, taught Sabbath school in Charleston at Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim. She was later a "non-observant" Jew and relied upon her own personal strength, rather than reliance on religion. In response to her sister Mabel, who said in prayer, "God gave me mountains to climb and the strength to climb them," Anita's response was, "I don’t want God to give me mountains to climb…I want to find my own."

Anita graduated from Memminger High School in 1913 and left Charleston to study art at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Pollitzer may be best known for her friendship with Georgia O'Keeffe, whom she met at Columbia University. O'Keeffe mailed a set of charcoal drawings she made in 1915 to Pollitzer, who took them to Alfred Stieglitz at his 291 gallery early in 1916. Stieglitz found them to be the "purest, finest, sincerest things that had entered 291 in a long while", and in April, Stieglitz exhibited ten of her drawings at 291. This was the beginning of one of the most significant relationships among artists in the 20th century, Stieglitz promoted her career and later married O'Keeffe.

Pollitzer wrote a book entitled A Woman on Paper: Georgia O'Keeffe that contained letters that she exchanged with O'Keeffe since they attended Columbia University. The memoir not only contains affection for O'Keeffe, but also anecdotes, family stories, and excerpts from their early letters. The early letters shared between the two mentioned questions of art and life and questions about the future. They remained friends until Pollitzer's death. Lynne Bundesen, who wrote a review of the book for The New York Times, said "it is a book that tells you that the voices of the most independent, far-seeing women of the times, the pioneers of women's rights and visions talked to each other as gushing, enthusiastic, eager and confused schoolgirls straight out of the Victorian era—as they may not have talked with their men." The book was published in 1988.

Pollitzer was instrumental in the passage of the 19th Amendment and held positions of leadership in the National Woman's Party serving as National Chairman from 1945 until 1949.

In December 1928, she married Elie Charlier Edson, Pete Seeger's uncle. The couple moved to New York City and lived in an apartment on West 115th St.

She died on July 3, 1975, in New York City.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Miller, Emma Guffey, 1874-1970. Papers, 1833-1975 (bulk: 1884-1972) Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Collection, 1921-1961 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn National Woman's Party Records, 1850-1975, (bulk 1913-1972) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Papers, 1943-1948 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Papers of Jane Norman Smith, 1913-1953 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Pollitzer, Anita, 1894-1975. Papers, 1923-1964, 1945-1946 (bulk) Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Miller, Emma Guffey, 1874-1970. Papers: Series III-IV, 1900-1972 (inclusive) [microform]. Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Granger, Dorothy Shipley, 1899-1998. Papers, 1914-1998 (inclusive), 1937-1978 (bulk). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Norris, Katharine Augusta, d. 1949. Papers, 1943-1948 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Pollitzer, Anita, 1894-1975. Anita Pollitzer family papers, 1845-1979. South Carolina Historical Society
referencedIn Hill, Elsie Mary, 1883-1970. Elsie M. Hill papers, 1898-1970. Vassar College
referencedIn Stieglitz, Alfred, 1864-1946. Alfred Stieglitz / Georgia O'Keeffe archive, 1728-1986 (bulk 1880-1986). Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Papers, 1938(1942-1947) 1959 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Pollitzer, Anita, 1894-1975. Anita Pollitzer papers, 1880-1996. University of South Carolina, System Library Service, University Libraries
creatorOf Pollitzer, Anita, 1894-1975. Anita Pollitzer papers, 1923-1964, 1945-1946 (bulk). Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Papers of Eleanor Flexner, 1895?-1995 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf National Woman's Party. National Woman's Party records, 1850-1975 (bulk 1913-1972). Library of Congress
referencedIn Papers of Jane Norman Smith, 1913-1953 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Papers, 1895?-1995 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Papers of of Alma Lutz,1921-1961 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Alfred Stieglitz / Georgia O'Keeffe archive, 1728-1986 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Pollitzer, William S., 1923-. Oral history interview with William Sprott Pollitzer, 1999. College of Charleston, Marlene and Nathan Addlestone Library
referencedIn Papers, (inclusive), (bulk), 1914-1998, 1937-1978 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Pollitzer, Mabel. Mabel Pollitzer oral history interview, 1973 September 5 ; [transcript / Constance Myers, interviewer]. University of South Carolina, System Library Service, University Libraries
referencedIn Myers, Constance Ashton. Constance Ashton Myers collection, 1974 June 24-19uu. University of South Carolina, System Library Service, University Libraries
referencedIn Papers of Doris Stevens, 1884-1983 (inclusive), 1920-1960 (bulk) Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Papers, 1785, 1805-1985 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Kitchelt, Florence Ledyard Cross, 1874-1961. Papers, 1885-1961 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Behlmer, Wilhemina. Wilhemina Behlmer oral history interview, 1974 June 24 / Constance Myers. University of South Carolina, System Library Service, University Libraries
referencedIn Papers of Alice Paul, 1785-1985 (inclusive), 1805-1985 (bulk) Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Pollitzer, Carrie. Carrie Pollitzer oral history interview, 1973 Sept. 26 [ typescript / interviewed by] Constance Myers. University of South Carolina, System Library Service, University Libraries
referencedIn Hill, Elsie Mary, 1883-1970. Papers, 1898-1970. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Stieglitz, Alfred, 1864-1946. Alfred Stieglitz / Georgia O'Keeffe archive, 1728-1986. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Bragg, Laura M. (Laura Mary), 1881-1978. Laura M. Bragg oral history interview, 1974 Mar. 27 / Constance Myers. University of South Carolina, System Library Service, University Libraries
referencedIn Marks, Jeannette Augustus, 1875-1964. Papers, 1938-1959 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Behlmer, Wilhemina. person
associatedWith Bragg, Laura M. (Laura Mary), 1881-1978. person
associatedWith Crawford, Mary Sinclair. person
correspondedWith Earhart, Amelia, 1897-1937 person
spouseOf Edson, Elie Charlier, 1882-1971 person
associatedWith Flexner, Eleanor, 1908-1995 person
associatedWith Granger, Dorothy Shipley, 1899-1998 person
associatedWith Guinzburg family. family
associatedWith Hill, Elsie Mary, 1883-1970. person
correspondedWith Hurst, Fannie, 1889-1968 person
correspondedWith Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973 person
correspondedWith Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963 person
associatedWith Kitchelt, Florence Ledyard Cross, 1874-1961. person
associatedWith Kuh family. family
associatedWith Lutz, Alma, 1890-1973 person
associatedWith Marks, Jeannette Augustus, 1875-1964 person
associatedWith Married Women's Association (Great Britain) corporateBody
associatedWith Miller, Emma Guffey, 1874-1970 person
associatedWith Murrell, Ethel Ernest. person
associatedWith Myers, Constance Ashton. person
associatedWith National Woman's Party corporateBody
associatedWith Norris, Katharine Augusta, 1878-1949 person
associatedWith O'Keeffe, Georgia, 1887-1986. person
associatedWith Owens, Mary E. person
associatedWith Paul, Alice, 1885-1977 person
sibling of Pollitzer, Carrie T. (Carrie Teller), 1881-1974 person
memberOf Pollitzer family. family
sibling of Pollitzer, Mabel L. (Mabel Louise), 1885-1979. person
associatedWith Pollitzer, William S. person
associatedWith Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- ) corporateBody
associatedWith Smith, Jane Norman, 1874-1953 person
associatedWith Stevens, Doris, 1888-1963 person
associatedWith Stieglitz, Alfred, 1864-1946. person
correspondedWith Thurmond, Strom, 1902-2003 person
associatedWith United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. corporateBody
associatedWith Wells, Agnes Ermima, 1876-1959. person
associatedWith Wiley, Anna Kelton, 1877-1964. person
correspondedWith Willkie, Wendell L. (Wendell Lewis), 1892-1944 person
associatedWith Wright, Alice Morgan, 1881-1975. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
New York City NY US
Charleston SC US
Subject
Equal rights amendments
Feminism
Women
Women
Women
Women
Women
Women artists
Women's rights
Occupation
Feminists
Photographer
Publicists
Suffragists
Activity

Person

Birth 1894-10-31

Death 1975-07-03

Female

Americans

English

Information

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SNAC ID: 85747517