Hollywood Forever Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Blanche Coates Matthias (July 16, 1887 – January 11, 1983) was a poet and one-time Chicago art critic. She was friend and mentor of hundreds of struggling artists and writers over the years. Her personal friends include Evelyn Ames, Andrey Avinoff, Caroline Singer Baldridge, Cyrus LeRoy Baldridge, Fanny Butcher, Frederick Mortimer Clapp, Una Call Jeffers, Georgia O'Keeffe, Ruth Fuller Sasaki, Alex Shoumatoff, Carlos Suarez, Noel Sullivan and Zona Gale. Her letters mention friends and celebrities who spent time in the Carmel area, including Bennett Cerf, Charlie Chaplin, Tim and Maud Clapp, Muriel Draper, Mabel Dodge Luhan, Edna St. Vincent Millay, John Steinbeck and Margery Latimer Toomer.
She was born on July 16, 1997 in Chicago, the only child of a wealthy family, Frank J. Coates and Victoria S. Coates (died 1936). Matthias’s wealth enabled her to seriously practice and study art and literature without needing to make a career of her work.
Although she never earned a college degree, Matthias was an enthusiastic student of the arts and a poet. For several years she was an art critic for the Chicago Herald and Examiner and Chicago Evening Post. Her poetry, essays, and criticism appeared often in local, national, and international magazines, including Prairie, Poetry, and transition. She also became a Fellow of the Gleeson Library.
She married Russell James Matthias (died 1974).
Matthias and her husband traveled extensively and were especially interested in the Far East. Matthias settled in San Francisco in the 1940s. Her home on Nob Hill, San Francisco, was a mecca for artists and writers, both famous & aspiring.
She died at 95 in San Francisco after a brief illness.
Her Papers were donated to Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library by Blanche Matthias between 1967 and 1980 and by her estate in 1984.
The Blanche Matthias Society, Glaucoma Research Foundation, is named after her.
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