Born in 1867: Theodate’s Generation

October 26, 2023 – March 31, 2024

About the Exhibition


The concept of “born in 1867” came from the nearly identical birthdates of Hill-Stead’s founder, Theodate Pope Riddle, and writer Laura Ingalls Wilder, February 2 and February 7 respectively. Born just five days apart, their life experiences could not have been more different—one was the privileged and doted-upon only child of a wealthy industrialist, who sought her own path against societal expectations, the other was the daughter and wife of frontier farmers, who had a life of almost constant economic struggle and yet embarked on a late-in-life career that gained her fame worldwide. Of the two, Laura is by far the more well-known. Both women, even as young girls, displayed determination and resilience in pursuing what they wanted to do. These qualities were prevalent among many women of this generation.

This exhibition provides a cross-disciplinary survey of 20+ American women who share the birth year of Hill-Stead’s architect, museum founder and benefactor, Theodate Pope Riddle. Through various objects, we represent women from various geographic sectors of the United States, multiple cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, and a variety of professions and avocations, including the arts, medicine, literature, journalism, education, social welfare, and more. Lastly, Born in 1867: Theodate’s Generation, contextualizes the broader picture of the female demographic that in the late 19th and early 20th centuries not only overcame lingering Victorian views that frowned on women’s activities beyond school, church, and home but also found new roles and occupations for themselves in the fast-changing U.S. economy that emerged after the Civil War.

Hill-Stead will celebrate this exhibition opening with a very special evening featuring author Deborah Royce. On Thursday, October 26 she will discuss her latest book Reef Road: A Novel and her life as a present-day pioneering woman. The talk will take place in the museum’s historic Drawing Room, followed by a fundraising dinner with the author in the Glass Room. Learn more and get your tickets here.


The Women Featured

Laura Ingalls Wilder – writer, author of The Little House on the Prairie series
Annie Nathan Meyer – founder of Barnard College, writer
Madam C.J. Walker – entrepreneur
Lillian Wald – founder of the traveling nurse system and the Henry Street Settlement in NYC
Emily Greene Balch – winner of the Nobel Peace Prize
Caroline Pratt – educator, founder of the City and Country School in NYC
Margaret Tobin Brown (aka Unsinkable Molly Brown) – philanthropist, survivor of the sinking of the Titanic
Kate Campbell Hurd-Mead – first female licensed OBGYN in Connecticut
Catherine Montgomery – founder of the Pacific Trail
Ida Gray Nelson Rollins – first African-American woman dentist in the United States
Wrexie Louise Leonard – first female astronomer in the United States
Mary Chase Perry – entrepreneur, ceramicist
Alice Foote MacDougall – entrepreneur, first female coffeeshop owner and coffee distributer
Annie Fisher – entrepreneur and cook
Margaret Neilson Armstrong – writer, illustrator, botanist
Maud Powell – violinist, suffragist
Nellie Charlie – entrepreneur, weaver
Amy Beach – first American female composer
Emma Azalia Hackley – concert soprano, newspaper editor, teacher, and political activist
Cora Smith Eaton King – first licensed female doctor in North Dakota, suffragist


Entry to the exhibition is included in the general admission ticket to the historic house. Purchase tickets in the Museum Shop.

Members  | FREE
 | $18
AAA & Seniors (62+) | $16
Students | $12
Children 6-12 | $10
Children under 6 | FREE

Not a Member?  JOIN NOW


April 27 – June 30, 2024

About the Exhibition

Hill-Stead Museum is thrilled to announce its first Annual Juried Members Exhibition, which is intended to connect present day artists with the Museum’s natural beauty and collection masterworks. Calling all artists who are inspired by nature and light to submit their piece(s) to this juried show. Artists may work from the naturescape of their choice. They are warmly welcome to draw inspiration and/or work on site at Hill-Stead. Its 152 acres of rounds include gardens, meadows, trails, sweeping vistas and pastures filled with sheep and freshly-made haystacks.


Important Dates

  • September 22, 2023 – Submissions begin on CaFÉ
  • February 29, 2024 – Deadline for submissions on CaFÉ
  • March 27 – Notification on CaFÉ and hillstead.org
  • April 8 – Receiving of accepted works, 10 am-12pm, 4-6 pm at Hill-Stead
  • April 11 – Deadline for shipped artwork
  • April 27 – Exhibition Opening and Awards Ceremony, 4-6 pm at Hill-Stead
  • May 26 – Close of exhibition – EXTENDED UNTIL JUNE 30!

About the Juror

William O’Reilly has been in the art world for over 20 years. During his early career, William was part of the Old
Masters Department at Christie’s in London, where he worked with masterpieces of Western Art, by
artists like Leonardo, Raphael and Michelangelo. Later, William went on to become the head of
Impressionist and Modern Art at Bonhams Auctioneers in London, and subsequently in New York. In January 2018
William moved into the world of private dealing with Dickinson Gallery’s New York. In 2022 William
established his own private dealership, Argonaut Fine Art, which offers the full spectrum of fine art consulting
services. William has handled benefit auctions for organizations such as the United Nations Foundation, as
well as for local cultural, heritage and educational causes.

Selected Artists & Artworks


  • Mie Akatsu
  • Linda Andrei
  • Joyce Baldwin
  • Paul Baylock
  • Irina Bezsonova
  • Virginia Bilodeau
  • David Brewster
  • Helen Cantrell
  • Ellen Carey
  • Henry Cataldo
  • Leslie Civitello
  • Kay Clarke
  • Amy Conover
  • Violet Davenport
  • Robert Louis Del Russo
  • Vicki Dugger
  • Anne Eisner
  • Bobbie Emery
  • Kate Emery
  • Camilla Fallon
  • Terry Feder
  • Crystal French
  • Nancy Garceau
  • Eddie Hall
  • Robin Hammeal-Urban
  • Inness Hancock
  • Francie Brown Holmes
  • Philip Hooker
  • Karen Israel                             
  • John Johnson
  • Bill Junor
  • Charlene Kilcomons
  • Edith Skiba LaMonica
  • Lusmerlin Lantigua
  • Michele Lasker
  • Colleen McGuire
  • Donna Miller
  • Jeanette Mobeck
  • Eileen Mooney
  • Juan Moreno
  • Patricia Newsom
  • Rachael Norris
  • Christian Brechneff
  • Susan Prentice
  • Sarah Prentis-Brown
  • Susan Reeder Moss
  • Mariah Reisner
  • Tatiana Rhinevault
  • Diana Rogers
  • Jane Runyeon
  • Rachel Sclare
  • Lavell Thompson
  • Sarah Tigrett
  • Grier Torrence
  • Susan Turcotte
  • Jocelyn G Weeks
  • John Wheat
  • Eli Wilner
  • Thomas Zaccheo, M.D.
  • Richard Zita


  • First Prize – $750
  • Second Prize – $500
  • Third Prize – $250
  • Juror’s Award – $100
  • Theodate’s Choice – $100

Guidelines for Artwork

  • Up to three works per artist may be submitted.
  • All two-dimensional work must be framed and/or ready for installation with hanging hardware, wire, or d-rings already installed on work and the entire work must not exceed 60 inches in any dimension. The work cannot exceed 50 pounds. Pieces without hanging hardware will not be included in the exhibition.
  • Three-dimensional work cannot exceed 48 inches in any dimension and should be accompanied by a pedestal/or be ready for display as a freestanding or self-containing work. The work cannot exceed 100 lbs.
  • Hill-Stead Museum will not accept installations due to space constraints.
  • The Museum prohibits glitter, wet paint, sharp objects, open flames, balloons, spray (perfumes, hairsprays, etc.), dangerous chemicals, weapons, pressurized containers, plants or animals (alive or dead), hazardous materials (explosive, flammable, or perishable), decaying materials (mold or insect infestation), or anything deemed harmful to the Museum’s collection. If there are questions about this please contact Melanie Bourbeau, Senior Curator, at bourbeaum@hillstead.org or (860) 677-4787, ext. 122.

Important Information

ELIGIBILITY: National and International artists 18 years or older with current Hill-Stead Museum membership. Original works accepted in all media, executed during the past year.

ENTRY FEE: A $20.00 entry fee will be charged for the first piece submitted and $10.00 per piece after that up to a total of three total works submitted. Check, Visa, Discover, Mastercard, or American Express will be accepted through the CaFÉ website.

SUBMISSION: Hill-Stead Museum will only accept submissions through CaFÉ before the submission deadline of February 29, 2024. CaFÉ is an online application and jury management system for calls for entry. Visit www.callforentry.org and click on “Help” and follow their directions for submitting.

MEMBERSHIP: You must have a current Hill-Stead Museum Membership to be eligible to submit your work. If you are not a current member, the Museum reserves the right to remove your work from the jurying process with the loss of entry fees as a result. For membership information, please contact Megan Olver at olverm@hillstead.org or (860) 677-4787, ext. 181 or follow this link before accessing CaFÉ.

SELECTED WORKS: Selected works must be delivered ready to hang/display. Artworks considered unsuitable for hanging/presentation will be refused. Curatorial staff reserves the right to refuse an artwork that is misrepresented through documentation or is not the piece selected by the juror.

SHIPPED ARTWORK: The deadline for receipt of shipped artwork is April 11, 2024. If work is not at Hill-Stead by April 11, 2024, we reserve the right to not include it in the exhibition. Any artwork being shipped must include return postage/shipping fee that must be received before the end of the exhibition (May 26, 2024). In the case of inadequate or nonexistent return postage, works will be considered abandoned property and disposed of as the Hill-Stead sees fit. All artwork should be packaged in a manner that will allow for the materials to be re-used for return shipping. Otherwise please include materials for return packaging. Please do not ship artwork with packing peanuts.

LIABILITY: Hill-Stead Museum will not be responsible for any damage whatsoever, before, during, or after the exhibition. No works will be released without proper identification. Any work not picked up by the dates noted above will become property of the Museum and will be considered abandoned property and disposed of as Hill-Stead Museum sees fit.

SALES: We encourage the sale of artwork; however work does not have to be for sale if selected for the exhibition. Hill-Stead will not deduct a commission for any sale of work in the exhibition. Hill-Stead will not serve as a third party for sales; we will provide artist contact information to any individuals inquiring about purchases.

Alfred Pope: An Evolution of Ingenuity

December 8, 2022 – June 25, 2023

Learn more

About the Exhibition
Artists & Artworks
Exhibition Catalogue

About the Exhibition

Alfred Pope: An Evolution of Ingenuity illuminates a long-overlooked figure in the history of Hill-Stead and of American art collecting. Through this exhibition and accompanying catalog, we present Alfred Atmore Pope (1842–1913) as a bold and leading collector of European modernism and position him rightfully among his peers. Further, the endeavors position Pope as a multifaceted figure and elucidate his devoted and generous service to others, indelibly influencing his only child, Theodate Pope Riddle (1867–1946), in her pioneering life of creative and philanthropic work.

The research for this exhibition identified artworks previously unknown to Hill-Stead, such as Alfred Sisley’s La Serpentine à Londres, and revealed significant archival information about those already documented. In particular, we focused on the rapidly growing body of evidence about the ways in which Theodate’s previously unknown activities impacted our understanding of her father’s original, and by extension, Hill-Stead’s current collection. These exciting findings present a more comprehensive and nuanced picture to explore and interpret Pope as a collector.

During his active collecting years (1889–1907), Pope acquired over 40 important works of art and thoughtfully pruned his collection through sales and exchanges, retaining only those works that elicited a profound emotional response. Since Theodate, too, sold several paintings, in order to finance her own projects, only a small fraction of the original Pope collection remains intact today. Arguably, the finest examples of Pope’s turn-of-the-century connoisseurship still grace the rooms at Hill-Stead.

Alfred Pope: An Evolution of Ingenuity also examines and challenges long-held beliefs about his collecting strategies, practices, and motivations. Pope, who hailed from modest means and had no formal background in the arts, has long been revered as self-taught and ruggedly independent in the building and refining aspects of collecting. It was believed that he acted without relying on an advisor in any official capacity. American artists Mary Cassatt and James McNeill Whistler were both close friends and represented in Pope’s collection, and both tried to exert influence. To date, scholarship has shown that Cassatt indeed did.

Together, the show and catalog offer the first-ever comprehensive study and presentation on Alfred Pope, complete with a biography and a holistic assessment of his collecting pursuits and accomplishments. Through examination of his correspondence, together with consideration of the entirety of his collection, both the works in this exhibition that were divested for myriad reasons and those that were retained and now comprise the museum’s permanent collection, we elucidate an unprecedented understanding of this important historic figure.

This project was launched in autumn 2020 with preliminary research that yielded fascinating insights into Alfred, Theodate, and her decisions after his death to sell his art. Ultimately, Theodate single-handedly shaped Hill-Stead and distorted Alfred’s legacy. We are proud to share these story-altering discoveries and finally celebrate both with greater understanding and knowledge.

This exhibition is made possible by the generous support of our lead sponsor the Maximilian E. & Marion O. Hoffman Foundation Inc., the Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation, and Centerbrook Architects & Planners.

The exhibition catalogue has been published with generous support from the Maximilian E. & Marion O. Hoffman Foundation, Inc., with additional support from the McPhee Foundation and the Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation.

Artists & Artworks in Alfred Pope’s Collection

Browse the artwork featured in the show by clicking on each artist’s page.

About the Exhibition Catalogue

Alfred Pope: An Evolution of Ingenuity is the first major publication created in conjunction with Hill-Stead Museum’s new temporary loan exhibition program. The catalogue provides a comprehensive overview of Alfred Atmore Pope (1842–1913), the first character in Hill-Stead’s story. The catalogue presents a nuanced and detailed picture of the man and reunites his pioneering collection of Impressionist and fine art, built between 1888 and 1907. Essays by senior curator Melanie Bourbeau and independent historian George R. Trumbull IV offer the first biographical sketch of this important, overlooked figure, and critically examine his contributions to American and fine art collecting history. Bourbeau delves into various aspects of Alfred’s life and character, such as his business acumen, philanthropic passions, and lifelong love for adventure and learning. Her text portrays a man of deeply generous spirit and devotion of service to others. Trumbull’s piece explores how Alfred’s only daughter, Theodate Pope Riddle (1867–1946), took up his admirable mantle and devoted herself wholeheartedly to creativity and serving those around her, for the betterment of all. Additionally, a short essay by Ana Alvarez de Rosenzweig interprets exciting new research findings from the years-long endeavor to reconstruct Alfred’s fine art collection. A foreword by Hill-Stead’s executive director, Dr. Anna Swinbourne, elucidates the genesis and impact of the project and rounds out the volume.

Drawing on the vast documentation of Hill-Stead’s archives, as well as primary source material culled from sources around the globe, including archives and correspondence of private collectors, galleries, and public institutions, the book features a groundbreaking biography and reconstituted art collection, illustrated in full-color, of this virtually unknown historic figure.

If you are interested in purchasing the exhibition catalogue you can stop by the Museum Shop or contact Elena Hall (halle@hillstead.org or by phone at 860-677-4787 ex.112).


Entry to the exhibition is included in the general admission ticket to the historic house. Purchase tickets in the Museum Shop.

Members  | FREE
 | $18
AAA & Seniors (62+) | $16
Students | $12
Children 6-12 | $10
Children under 6 | FREE

Not a Member?  JOIN NOW

RADICAL SPIRITS: Tarot and Automatism in the Works of Hilma’s Ghost

June 25 to November 1, 2022

Hilma’s Ghost/Carrie Secrist Gallery

Seeking freedom within oppressive societies, women throughout history have gravitated toward alternative creative and spiritual practices. One such practice is mediumship or communication with the spirit world through a human intermediary. There have been mediums among artists, and since most mediums are women, the history of mediumship in art dovetails neatly with stories of overlooked women artists. Hilma af Klint (1862–1944) is one such figure. A Swedish artist and mystic, she was virtually unknown until 2018, when a revelatory exhibition of her work at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York secured her a place in art history alongside male counterparts such as Vasily Kandinsky and Piet Mondrian. Af Klint was inspired to create The Ten Largest—a group of ten massive abstract paintings created in 1907—through a series of séances she held with four other women who shared her beliefs. Known as The Five, they contacted spiritual beings they called The High Ones, who instructed af Klint in her groundbreaking work.

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A Perfect Perch: The Architect’s Chair

An exhibition focusing on the art of chair design!

On view April 22 – May 22, 2022

Photos: Derek Hayn/Centerbrook


Hill-Stead embodies a passion for all manner of design—architecture, interior appointments, artistic vision painted on a canvas or etched into a plate and transferred to paper, horticultural…the list goes on. At design’s most basic level, Hill-Stead is a microcosm for life.

On the occasion of its 75th birthday, Hill-Stead takes this opportune moment in its history to reflect on the past as well as looking ahead to the future. We have partnered with Centerbrook Architects and Planners, the firm that designed our award-winning renovation and state-of-the-art new galleries, to present A Perfect Perch: The Architect’s Chair. The exhibition focuses on an item that is critical to our daily lives: the chair.

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Through the Tulle – A Costume Exhibition

November 27 through January 10

Photo Credit: Thomas Giroir

Tour the museum filled with over 20 sparkling pieces from the Ballet Theatre Company’s Through the Tulle costume exhibition

Throughout Ballet Theatre Company’s 22 years, the company’s full-length classical ballet productions and intimate contemporary performances have not only been recognized for the quality of dancing and choreography, but also for their incredibly detailed costume designs. To pay tribute to the artists who have created BTC’s impressive collection of costumes, and to feature this crucial component of ballet production that is too often left out of the spotlight, Ballet Theatre Company is presenting a touring costume exhibition, Through the Tulle, in museums throughout New England. The presentation provides a rare opportunity to learn about costume creation under the direction of seamstress Tracy Dorman and examine some of BTC’s most valued costumes up-close.

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A Natural Parterre: An Environmental Garden Art Installation by Bob Chaplin

July to December 2019

Photographs by Bob Chaplin unless otherwise noted.


A New Site-Specific Artwork at Hill-Stead

In the fall of 2018, landscape artist Bob Chaplin began the installation of A Natural Parterre on the grounds of Hill-Stead Museum. Through this unique, site-specific artwork, the artist hopes to initiate a dialogue between ‘nature’ and man’s involvement to try and ‘tame’ nature. The installation is situated in the large meadow below and to the north Hill-Stead’s historic 1901 Colonial Revival house. It can be viewed from the museum’s west lawn and as part of Hill-Stead’s established, mowed, walking-path system. The parterre is designed to be experienced up-close and visitors are encouraged to walk through it.

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Diamonds in the Rough: Golfing at Hill-Stead

June 17 – November 4, 2018

Explore the game of golf as it was played at the turn of the 20th century and enjoyed by the Pope family. View vintage golf equipment, artifacts, clothing and art on loan from the United States Golf Association Museum, Connecticut Historical Society, Fairfield Museum & History Center and a private collector. An audio component will present a first-person account of golf through the eyes of Alfred Pope, drawn from archival documents. Outdoors, view a recreation of a period tee.



From Page to Stage: Broadway Costumes from the Goodspeed Musicals Collection

September 21, 2017 – January 1, 2018

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This special exhibition of Broadway costumes throughout the historic house is on view from September 21 through January 1, 2018. It honors the Pope Family’s enjoyment of literature, poetry and live performances, particularly theater and opera.

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Boundless: Altered Books in Contemporary Art

June 16 – September 4, 2017

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Boundless presents contemporary art inside Hill-Stead’s period rooms for the first time

In celebration of the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival’s 25th Anniversary, the historic Libraries will be transformed into a contemporary sculpture gallery to showcase Boundless: Altered Books in Contemporary Art, guest-curated by Carole Kunstadt, a graduate of the Hartford Art School. Installed among the many rare first editions and early volumes in the Pope family’s personal library, it is an exhibition of altered books by three contemporary artists: Carole P. Kunstadt, Chris Perry and Erin Walrath.

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