Anne Weston

Anne Weston’s “Minnehaha Window,” photographed by Dennis O’Hara in 2009 (Image: Northern Images)

Anne Van Derlip Weston was born in 1861 in New York City. Her life is particularly interesting, partly because of her mysterious origins—she was an orphan who never knew her parents—and partly because of the particularly cultured upbringing she was privileged to receive by her adoptive parents George and Grace Van Derlip of New York City. Mr. Van Derlip was an avid art collector and patron of American artists. He was said to have one of the finest collections of American art in New York at the time, evidenced by 21 paintings from it having been exhibited at the National Academy of Design between 1861 and 1886. Her father was also involved in the formation of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and later became a trustee of that institution. Weston’s early exposure to the works of fine artists, along with her schooling at Rutgers Female College, a private school in New York City that stressed the classics, languages, and the arts, cultivated what must have been a natural talent. It was probably through her father’s contacts in the art world that she was afforded the opportunity to work and learn directly from the famous Louis Comfort Tiffany.

At age 26 Anne Van Derlip married Dr. John Burroughs Weston of Chester, Pennsylvania and soon after left her career at Tiffany Glass Company. Dr. Weston determined to set up his practice in the growing city of Duluth and the newlyweds moved here for what was to be a 25-year tenure. The family was living in their new house at 2130 East Superior Street by 1891, having moved from their first home at 114 East Fourth Street. The new house included a transom window designed by Weston for the dining room which looked out over Lake Superior. By 1900 they had a full household with three daughters and a son ranging in age from eleven to five, plus a nephew and one servant. Weston not only designed her most elegant and original works while living in Duluth, and became the city’s connection to Tiffany, but taught art as well. It is primarily due to her that so many beautiful works in glass made their way into Duluth’s homes, churches, and public buildings. Weston’s masterpiece is her “Minnehaha Window” (now on permanent display at the St. Louis County Heritage and Arts Center—“The Depot”) of 1892-93 commissioned for the World’s Columbian Exposition. Candace Wheeler, one of Tiffany’s partners in Associated Artists, was the director of the Women’s Building for the exposition and she was largely responsible for the prominence of women artists at the fair. Designs by some of these women–Agnes Northrop, Mary Tillinghast, and Lydia Emmet, most notably–were published – along with a design by Anne Weston–in the book, Art and Handicraft in the Woman’s Building of the World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893. In 1913, Weston left Duluth with her family to move to southern California as a result of her husband’s failing health, settling in Hemet, a small town in the San Bernardino Valley. Weston died on 8 September 1944, at the age of eighty-three.

The preceding biography was prepared by Jill Larson as part of the Intensive Survey of Historic Resources in Duluth’s East End (Part 1), commissioned by the Duluth Heritage Preservation Commission and published August 2007