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 Mary Alice Leath Thomas  (1905 - 1959)

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Lived/Active: Georgia/North Carolina      Known for: cubist structure-non objective painting, abstraction

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Mary Alice Leath is primarily known as Mary Alice Leath Thomas

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Mary Alice Leath Thomas
An example of work by Mary Alice Leath
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Mary Alice Leath was born on 25 February 1905 in Hazelhurst, Jeff Davis County, Georgia, the daughter of John William and Bessie Gill Leath. John's occupation was given as merchant, retail and merchant, grocery in 1910 and 1920 censuses.

Mary studied at the Georgia State College for Women, Duke University and the Women's College University of North Carolina where she studied under Gregory Dowler Ivy. Mary was married to a man named Stewart, probably before 1930. She wrote a book titled Correlating Art With Other School Subjects,under the name Mary Leath Stewart, which was published by the Duke University Press in 1935, so likely she had been a teacher for some time by then.

She taught in Albemarle, North Carolina Public Schools, Federal Women's College, NC, University of Georgia, etc., and became an art teacher in Greensboro, North Carolina schools in the Fall of 1936.

Her art was part of an exhibition held by the Fairmont Women's Fine Art Department in Lumberton, NC in 1942, so she did work under the name Mary Stewart or Mary Leath Stewart. A possible example of her work under the name Mary Stewart may be viewed on

The notice of the Lumberton exhibition stated that she was assistant art professor at the Womens College of the University of North Carolina. Mary married Howard Wilber Thomas, also an artist, about 1945.

Mary exhibited widely under both the name Mary Leath Stewart and Mary Leath Thomas and won several awards for her work. It is possible that she may also have done some work as Mary Leath. Examples of signatures from her work indicate that she did not use her maiden name in her signature after her first marriage.

She is listed in Who Was Who in American Art by Peter Falk, several editions of Who's Who in American Art, Davenports Art Reference and Price Guide, and Women Artists in America by Collins, and other reference works. She is "listed" on
Mary Leath Thomas died on 3 May 1959 in Athens, Georgia and is buried in the Lakeside Cemetery in Conway, South Carolina, near her parents.

Sources include Georgia and South Carolina census records; files of the University of North Carolina, Greensboro; Peter Hastings Falk, Editor, Who Was Who in American Art; Google Books; and newspaper archives.

Researched, written and submitted by Kevin Daniel, University of Illinois graduate student of Library and Information Science with a focus on art cataloging.

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