Kathryn Evelyn (Bard) Cherry, 1870–1931
Kathryn Evelyn (Bard) Cherry, St. Louis-based ceramic painter and artist, was born in Quincy, Adams County, Illinois, on 27 April 1870, the daughter of Jacob Bard, a cigar maker, and Catherine Richards. Called “Katie” as a child, in 1880, she was the oldest of four girls in the Bard household.
Educated in the Quincy public schools, Kathryn went on to study art at the St. Louis School of Fine Arts, then part of Washington University, now the St. Louis Art Museum. She continued her education in New York, Europe, and Pennsylvania. She met her future husband when they were both teenagers. They both planned and achieved professional goals.
On 4 April 1892, Katie Bard married William W. Cherry in Adams County, and by 1900, they had moved to St. Louis, where they lived on Russell Avenue. The federal census that year shows that William was a physician (actually, he was a dentist), and Kathryn was an artist.
Kathryn’s artistic life began in earnest when she became the only woman to win a gold medal for painting at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. This began a long list of honors, awards, and recognition she won for her paintings. For a time, she worked in the People’s University in University City, painting ceramics and instructing other young women in that skill.
In 1905, Kathryn applied for a U.S. passport. The passport application is marked “Form for person claiming citizenship from husband,” indicating her father had not naturalized and she was deriving her citizenship from William, who was born in Missouri in 1867.
By 1914, Kathryn had become internationally known and was head of the art department at Principia. An article in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat explained that as a young woman, she began painting flowers on china, as “It was the only ‘ladylike’ thing a young girl was permitted to do.” This early interest, however, led to her becoming what the Globe described as a “superb interpreter of landscape and still life.” In addition, she especially loved the outdoors, capturing the beauty of snow scenes, flowers in California, and coastal fishing villages in Massachusetts, where she summered (See the painting to the right.)
Kathryn and her husband had no children. She died after a two-year battle with stomach cancer at home in St. Louis’s Central West End on 19 November 1931. Her funeral was held at the Artists’ Guild, on Union Boulevard, “of which she was a member and where a number of her paintings are on display.” She was cremated at Valhalla Cemetery in St. Louis.
At a time when women were denied many rights, Kathryn (Bard) Cherry excelled. Throughout her prolific career as an artist she won multiple gold medals, exhibited her paintings globally, and was a member of multiple art groups in Missouri, Illinois, Massachusetts, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania. Her work is still on display in many locations, including the St. Louis Art Museum.
Written by Ilene Murray
© 2023 St. Louis Genealogical Society
Kathryn (Bard) Cherry
Photo by Takuma Kaiiwara, The Ogden Standard (Ogden City, Utah), 08 Nov. 1913. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress. Public Domain
Gloucester Harbor, c. 1920
Photo from Wikimedia Commons; Public Domain
Return to St. Louis City/County Biographies.
Last Modified: 18-Mar-2023 14:02