Alice Rooney, Arts Advocate

Long-time Queen Anne resident Alice Rooney has made major contributions to Seattle-area arts and culture, as administrator of Allied Arts of Seattle and of Pilchuck Glass School.

A graduate of Ballard High School (1943) and the University of Washington, Alice began her career in New York City, where she spent three years working for Mutual Broadcasting (a radio network) as a writer of radio commercials and newsletters. She returned to Seattle to take a job with Wallace V. MacKay Advertising Co., located in Seattle’s Globe Building, and in 1950 began part-time employment as Executive Secretary with the American Institute of Architects Seattle Chapter — a MacKay client. At AIA she worked with activist architects including Fred Bassetti, Ibsen Nelsen, and Victor Steinbrueck. …Continue reading “Alice Rooney, Arts Advocate”

Betty Bowen, Cultural Activist

Betty Bowen with Seattle Art Museum founder Dr. Richard Fuller

Queen Anne resident Betty Bowen (1918-1977) played a major role in Seattle cultural life — as assistant director of the Seattle Art Museum, as a civic activist on behalf of the arts and historic preservation, and a promoter of Seattle artists.

Born Betty Cornelius in Kent, Washington to a family tracing its roots to Western Washington’s early settlers, she earned an English degree from the University of Washington.  She worked briefly as a reporter for The Seattle Times, then as women’s editor for the Seattle Star. She married John Bowen, captain of ships that laid undersea cables.

During the 1950s, Bowen divided her time between volunteering and public relations work. Dr. Richard Fuller, founder of the Seattle Art Museum, hired her as publicist, then promoted her to assistant director – and she continued in that role until Fuller retired in 1973.  She came to know many of the city’s artists.

Betty Bowen played an active part in civic affairs, helping organize support for the arts and for historic preservation.  An original member of the Seattle Arts Commission (established 1971), a founding member of the Pacific Northwest Arts and Crafts Center, and a founding member and chair of the Allied Arts Historic Preservation Committee, she helped organize one of the successful efforts to preserve the Pike Place Market as a designated historic district, and served on the board of Friends of the Market. …Continue reading “Betty Bowen, Cultural Activist”

Emily Inez Denny — Seattle Pioneer

Emily Inez Denny was born in Seattle in 1853. She was the first white child born in Seattle and the oldest child of pioneers David and Louisa Boren Denny.

Louisa, Madge, David, and Emily Denny ca. 1861

Inez and her sister Madge took classes at the Territorial University when it opened in 1860. Inez later recounted that each pupil had a small slate on which lessons were written, as paper was expensive and in short supply on the frontier. The girls cleaned their slates with a sponge attached to the slate by a string and water kept in a little bottle in their pockets. The boys, on the other hand, often didn’t bother with the sponge and water, but would spit on the slate or lick it off and dry it with a sleeve. …Continue reading “Emily Inez Denny — Seattle Pioneer”