Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson

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Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson
Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson Dec 1903.jpg
in 1903
Theo Alice Ruggles

(1871-01-29)January 29, 1871
DiedOctober 29, 1932(1932-10-29) (aged 61)
Known forSculpture
Spouse(s)Henry Hudson Kitson (m.1893-div.1909)

Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson (January 29, 1871 – October 29, 1932), also known as Tho. A. R. Kitson and Theo Alice Ruggles, was an American sculptor.


Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson, a woman of the century

Kitson was born in Brookline, Massachusetts to Cyrus W. and Anna H. Ruggles.[1] As a young child she displayed artistic talent, but when her mother attempted to enroll her in the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, she was informed that she was too young to be admitted. Her mother then approached other schools, which gave her the same advice. One of the school directors, however, suggested that she find a tutor for her and pointed her in the direction of a rising star, Henry Hudson Kitson.

She began studying with sculptor Henry Hudson Kitson in 1886, and married him in Boston in 1893 in the social event of the season. They had three children together, sons Theo and John and daughter Dorothy.

In 1888, she won honorable mention at the Salon des Artistes Francais, becoming the youngest woman, and the first American woman, ever to receive the honor. She was lionized when she returned to the United States for this award and was asked to comment on everything from the state of American art to men's fashions. In 1895 she was the first woman to be admitted to the National Sculpture Society.

In the early 1900s, she designed seventy-three sculptures now located at various sites within Vicksburg National Military Park. Predominantly busts and portrait reliefs honoring the general officers from both sides that fought there, Kitson is the most prolific of the artists represented there. The Massachusetts state monument, dedicated on November 14, 1903, was the first state monument to be placed and dedicated in the park.[2]

After the Kitsons separated in 1909, she moved to Farmington, where she maintained a studio until her 1932 death in Boston, Massachusetts. Her work is featured on the Boston Women's Heritage Trail.[3]

In the course of her career she created many public monuments, both in conjunction with her husband and on her own. Her best known statue is The Hiker, a monument commemorating the soldiers who fought in the wars of the United States' turn of the 20th Century Manifest Destiny territorial expansion, the Spanish–American War, the Philippine–American War and the Boxer Rebellion. Around 50 versions of this work can be discovered spread over much of the United States.

World's Fairs[edit]

Kitson exhibited at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. She was one of four female painters or sculptors who exhibited more than three works of art, including: A New England Fisherman (1892); On the Banks of the Oise (1889); Portrait Bust of an Italian Child (ca. 1887); and Young Orpheus (ca. 1890).[4]

Additionally, she won a bronze medal at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair.

Selected works[edit]


  1. ^ "Massachusetts Births, 1841-1915". FamilySearch. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  2. ^ "Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson". Vicksburg National Military Park. National Park Service. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  3. ^ "Back Bay East". Boston Women's Heritage Trail.
  4. ^ National Museum of American Art; National Portrait Gallery (Smithsonian Institution) (1993). Revisiting the white city: American art at the 1893 World's Fair. Washington, D.C.: Hanover: National Museum of American Art and National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution ; Distributed by the University Press of New England. pp. [82, 376]. ISBN 0-937311-01-4.
  5. ^ "The Volunteer, (sculpture)". Smithsonian Institution Research Information System. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  6. ^ "Historic and Architectural Resources of North Providence, Rhode Island: A preliminary report" (PDF). Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission. April 1978. p. 26.
  7. ^ Caranci, Paul F (31 July 2012). North Providence: A History and the People Who Shaped It. Arcadia Publishing. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  8. ^ "The Volunteer, (sculpture)". Smithsonian Institution Research Information System. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  9. ^ "The Volunteer, (sculpture)". Smithsonian Institution Research Information System. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  10. ^ "Mother Bickerdyke Memorial, (sculpture)". Smithsonian Institution Research Information System. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 16 December 2016.


  • Opitz, Glenn B, Editor, Mantle Fielding's Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors & Engravers, Apollo Book, Poughkeepsie NY, 1986.
  • Rubenstein, Charlotte Streifer, American Women Sculptors, G.K. Hall & Co., Boston, 1990.