HARRIET HOSMER, American sculptor, born (d: 1908); Hosmer’s widowed father raised her as a boy, encouraging her to become a physician, but absolutely supported her decision to become a sculptor, too.
At about the age of 20, she fell under the spell of Charlotte Cushing, who convinced her to study sculpting in Italy, where Cushing presided over a colony of Lesbians who called themselves the “Jolly Bachelors.” Hosmer, with her masculine demeanor and habit of dressing, fit right in. While in Rome, she was associated with Nathaniel Hawthorne, Thorvaldsen, Flaxman, Thackeray, George Eliot and George Sand; and she was frequently the guest of the Brownings at Casa Guidi, in Florence. Later she also lived in Chicago and Terre Haute, Indiana.
Novelist Henry James snidely referred to the Jolly Bachelors as “The White Marmorean Flock,” borrowing a term from Hawthorne in The Marble Faun. These artists included Anne Whitney, Emma Stebbins, Edmonia Lewis and others.
Hosmer and Cushing would shock the Roman gentry by riding astride horses as men rode. Hosmer went on to become one of the most successful sculptors of her day. Her most famous work, “Puck” was perhaps one of the most frequently reproduced words of the late 19th century. Her body of work [in some cases literally many beautiful bodies] is exquisite.