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Archives at The Museum of Flight

Weems, Katharine Lane, 1899-



  • Existence: 1899-1989

Biographical Note

Katharine Lane Weems was a family friend of Norman Archibald and Hazel and Eben Draper, and corresponded frequently with Archibald.

Katharine Lane was born in Boston on February 22, 1899, the only child of Gardiner Martin and Emma Louise (Gildersleeve) Lane. In 1915 she began to study drawing and sculpting at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. She began to show her work in 1920 and gained a national reputation when her sculpture of a whippet dog Narcisse Noir won the George D. Widener Memorial Gold Medal at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1927. A number of her sculptural works can be found in Boston, Massachusetts, including several pieces at the Harvard Biological Labs.

Lane led an active social life and corresponded extensively with a number of artists, friends, and admirers, including Archibald and Fontaine Carrington Weems. During World War II, she became a speaker and fund raiser for the Red Cross. The title of Weems' autobiography, Odds Were Against Me: A Memoir (as told to Edward Weeks) referred to her resistance to social expectations, which threatened her artistic aspirations. Lane refused several proposals of marriage over the years; however, after a twenty year correspondence, she married Fontaine Weems in 1947. They moved to New York City, where she turned to drawing until her husband's death in 1966. In the 1970s Katharine Lane Weems resumed sculpting, took part in animal rights campaigns, and occasionally gave lectures about her work. She died in Boston in 1989.


Ambler, Louise Todd. Katharine Lane Weems: Sculpture and Drawings (Boston Athenaeum, 1987)

Weems, Katharine Lane. Odds Were Against Me: A Memoir (New York, Vantage Press, 1985)

Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University. Papers of Katharine Lane Weems, 1860?-1991: A Finding Aid.

For an extensive collection of diaries, correspondence, lectures, slides, photographs, films, and exhibition lists documenting Katharine Weem's work, contact the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, New England Regional Center in Boston.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Norman "Jim" S. Archibald Collection

Identifier: 1986-10-10A
Abstract Norman "Jim" Silas Archibald (1894-1975) of Seattle, Washington served in the U.S. Army Air Service, 95th Aero Squadron during World War I, and later published a bestselling book on his experience. He served again in the Air Force during World War II at home in Seattle. The collection contains correspondence, military documents, photographs, and other materials relating to Archibald's life and military service.

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