Anna Fay Albin

1880, Berea, Kentucky – 1954, Lincoln, Nebraska
(Anna Fay Hanson)

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Anna Albin applied special creativity to handloom weaving in a way that led people to regard weaving as a fine art. A major factor in this revised view was her energetic participation in exhibitions such as with the Omaha Society of Fine Arts beginning in the mid 1920s. In Lincoln in November 1922, an exhibition at the University of Nebraska Library had one display case devoted to weaving by Anna Albin and Blanche Garten. A reviewer for The Lincoln Star, November 19 edition, wrote of their entries: “The weaving is done on foot power looms in the same manner that it was done in our grandmother’s time.” The description continued with a listing of items including capes, baby blankets, a dress, and gold and silk thread bags.

Anna was also a landscape painter, and a long-time exhibiting member of the Lincoln Artists’ Guild including shows in 1937 at the C.C. White Memorial Building; Morrill Hall in 1940 and 1941; and spring exhibitions at Miller and Paine Department Store in 1940 and 1941. She served as the Lincoln Artists’ Guild Secretary in 1931.

Anna was born to Samuel and Katherine Hanson in Berea, Kentucky, and was a graduate of Berea College. She had formal art training including study at the Art Academy of Cincinnati with history painter Charles Webber and impressionist landscape painter Charles Svendsen; at the Handicraft Guild in Minneapolis; and in Vienna, Austria with landscape painter, Alfred Yirasek, in 1923 and 1924. She was in Vienna with her husband, Walter Albin, who was pursuing post-graduate work in diseases of the eye at the University of Vienna. When they returned to the United States, the couple settled in Lincoln where Anna served on the art faculty of Nebraska Wesleyan College (now University). She also was employed as an art instructor at Doane College in nearby Crete, Nebraska where an endowed scholarship carries her name.

Crete was the place where Anna and Walter married in 1913. He was raised on a farm in Missouri and, after completing his education, became a highly respected eye, ear, nose, and throat specialist in Lincoln. In addition to private practice, Walter was on the staff of Lincoln’s Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital, Bryan Memorial Hospital, and the Nebraska State Penitentiary. He also provided medical services to the Union Pacific Railroad.

In a Nebraska history biography of Walter, this was written about his wife: “Mrs. Albin was born at Berea, Kentucky, September 30, 1880. She is a lineal descendant of Gregorias, Alpine King of the Scotts (sic), is interested in art and hand weaving, and is a member of the Garden Club, the American University Club and other civic organizations. There were two children born to their union, Mary Cathern, born April 9, 1914; and Ann Hollis, born January 22, 1917, who died April 1, 1919.” (Walter Leonard Albin)

The Albins lived in Lincoln at 4621 South Street, and were unique for that era because each was respected for professional excellence in their respective fields. They also were active in community activities. Walter was affiliated with the Masonic Lodge, and Anna was a member of Thursday Morning Lecture Society and Plymouth Congregational Church.

Anna Albin died in 1954, her husband in 1961, and both are buried in Lincoln’s Memorial Park.

The Museum of Nebraska Art has one work by Anna Albin.

Sources:

Bucklin, Clarissa, Nebraska Art and Artists, p. 27, Print
Doane College Catalogue, Web, Sep. 2015
Omaha Society of Fine Arts Second Annual Nebraska Artists Exhibition October 6 to October 29, 1922, Catalogue, Print
Sheldon, Addison Erwin, Nebraska: The Land and the People, Volume II, p. 190, Print
The Lincoln Star, newspaper: 11/19/1922, 1/14/1931, 5/22/1937
Walsh, Stacey, Collections Manager, Sheldon Museum of Art, Lincoln, Nebraska, Lincoln
Artists’ Guild Exhibition Information
“Walter Leonard Albin,” Nebraskana, Web, Sep. 2015

Researched, written, and copyrighted by Lonnie Pierson Dunbier
Museum of Nebraska Art Project:
Their Place, Their Time: Women Artists in Nebraska, 1825-1945

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Anna Fay Albin, Bread Fruit, Pencil, watercolor, 1948