Bessie Whitted Spence, Oil on canvas, 36" x 42," by Irene Price
Mrs. Spence (1883-1973) was a professor of Biblical literature at Duke University from 1929 to 1950. Spence became the first woman to receive full tenure on the Duke faculty. She retired in 1950 as an assistant professor emeritus. She served on many academic committees and engaged in community public service throughout her lifetime. Her portrait was placed in the Lilly Library after a fire in the Spence home. It now hangs on the first floor in the Open Reserves Room on the far wall above the mantle.
The artist, Irene Price, was a member of the 1922 Trinity College class. After graduation, she studied art at the Corcoran School of Art, Washington, D.C. and later worked under Charles W. Hawthorne of Provincetown, Massachusetts. Price also painted the portrait of William K. Boyd, which is located on Lilly Library's first floor.
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