Anna Ben-Yusuf

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Madame Anna Ben-Yusuf was a German-born milliner and teacher based in Boston and New York. She wrote The Art of Millinery (1909), one of the first reference books on millinery technique.[1] She was the mother of the portrait photographer Zaida Ben-Yusuf.

Early life[edit]

Born Anna Kind in Berlin in around 1845, she married an Algerian man, Mustapha Moussa Ben Youseph Nathan, who lived in Hammersmith, London.[2] They had four daughters - Esther Zeghdda Ben Youseph Nathan, better known as Zaida (1869-1933), Heidi (c.1873-?), Leila (c.1877-?) and Pearl (c.1878-?), before the marriage fell apart.[2] Anna and her daughters moved to Ramsgate, where she supported her family by working as a governess.[2] Her ex-husband remained in London, occasionally giving lectures on Arab culture for the Moslem Mission Society. In 1891, he and his second wife Henrietta Crane, had a daughter, also called Zaida (1891-?) and a son, Mussa, who died in infancy in 1893.

Career[edit]

During the late 1880s, Anna Ben-Yusuf emigrated to the United States, where by 1891, she had established a milliner's shop on Washington Street in Boston.[1][2] Her eldest daughter Zaida also emigrated to the USA in 1895, setting up a milliner's at 251 Fifth Avenue, New York before becoming a successful portrait photographer.[2] Zaida published occasional articles on millinery for Harpers Bazaar and the Ladies Home Journal.[3][4]

From September 1905 to June 1907, Anna Ben-Yusuf was an instructor in millinery at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York.[5][6] She resigned in 1907 to set up a school of her own on West 23rd Street.[6]

Her book, The Art of Millinery: Practical Lessons for the Artiste and the Amateur was published in 1909. It was one of the first reference books for teaching the art of hat-making in all its aspects, and remains a useful resource for leading contemporary milliners such as Stephen Jones.[1] It was formatted as a series of lessons, each dealing with a particular aspect of constructing a hat, treating the fabric, or creating different types of trimming. On a more practical note, it also advised on correct storage, renovating fabrics, and the business side of millinery, and included a glossary of terms used in millinery.[7] In 1992, a revised edition was reprinted as Edwardian Hats: The Art of Millinery.[8]

Death[edit]

Anna Ben-Yusuf died in New York on 8 December 1909.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Jones, Stephen & Cullen, Oriole (editor) (2009). Hats: An Anthology. V&A Publishing. ISBN 1-85177-557-9. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Chronology of Zaida Ben-Yusuf, 1869-1898 on the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery website, accessed 30 March 2009
  3. ^ Chronology of Zaida Ben-Yusuf, 1898-1900 on the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery website, accessed 30 March 2009
  4. ^ Harpers Bazaar, Vol. 30 No. 5, published Jan 30 1897
  5. ^ Chronology of Zaida Ben-Yusuf, 1901-1906 on the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery website, accessed 30 March 2009
  6. ^ a b c Chronology of Zaida Ben-Yusuf, 1907-1933 on the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery website, accessed 30 March 2009
  7. ^ Ben-Yusuf, Madame Anna (1909). The Art of Millinery: Practical Lessons for the Artiste and the Amateur. Millinery Trade Publishing Co. 
  8. ^ Ben-Yusuf, Madame Anna (1992). Edwardian Hats: The Art of Millinery. R.L. Shep. p. 118. ISBN 0-914046-15-2.