Caresse Crosby (1891-1970)

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Caresse Crosby (April 20, 1891 - January 26, 1970) was author of five books of poetry and a memoir, as well as the co-founder of the Black Sun Press and founder of Crosby Continental Editions in Paris. Crosby invented the first modern bra to receive a patent and gain wide acceptance when she was 19.

Born Mary Phelps Jacob, in 1926 she left her expatriate life in Paris and bought Hampton Manor, a 486-acre estate in Bowling Green, VA, where she provided refuge to European artists during World War II. She lived in DC from 1937 to 1950, and opened a modern art gallery and founded the magazine Portfolio: An Intercontinental Review.

A peace activist and promoter of international artistic exchange, Crosby also founded Women Against War, and started an artist colony in a 15th c. castle in Rome, Castello di Rocca Siniblada. Her poetry books are: Crosses of Gold (1925), Painted Shores (1927), The Stranger (1927), Impossible Melodies (1928), and Poems for Harry Crosby (1930). Her autobiography is The Passionate Years (1953). Beltway Poetry Quarterly, “Three DC Editors,” Richard Peabody, Volume 7:4, Fall 2006: DC Writers’ Homes:

written by Word Works intern Monica Root, September 2013; edited by Kim Roberts, January 2016.

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