Gladys Bates was born in 1896 in Hopewell, New Jersey. She first studied at at the School of Industrial Arts in Trenton, New Jersey where Henry MacGinnis was her teacher. When she was 13, MacGinnis recommended she attended the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C. She and her younger sister Beatrice then studied there for six years. In 1916 the sisters entered the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. Gladys studied under Daniel Garber, and then sculptor Charles Grafly. In the summer of 1920 and 1922, she spent the summer at the PAFA Country School at Chester Springs, studying under Albert Laessle. In 1921 she was awarded the Cresson Traveling Scholarship, and traveled to England, France and Italy. Kenneth Bates was also in Europe on a Cresson scholarship. In 1923, dressed in their camping clothes, the two were married at the Edgerly summer home in Hopewell. They then took off and spent the summer painting in Canada.
Gladys Bates then spent most of her professional life at the Burrows Homestead, which they renamed “Stonecroft”, presumed to be the oldest house (1729) in Mystic, Connecticut. They had three sons. In 1931 the artists who often gathered at their house organized the Mystic Art Association, who included younger artists many Philadelphia artists. In 1932 Gladys Bates joined the Philadelphia Ten. She also exhibited in group shows in New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Dallas. She exhibited most every years at the PAFA from 1928 to 1951. In 1932, 1934, 1937 and 1942 she exhibited at the National Academy of Design. She was an associate member of the National Sculpture Society in 1941, and a fellow in 1945. She won the Third Purchase Prize for the Artist for Victory exhibition held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1942. In 1945 she had her first solo sculpture exhibition at the Pen and Brush Club in New York. In 1948 the Woodmere Art Gallery in Philadelphia exhibited her and her husbands works as a duo exhibition. In 1950 she was one of 12 women who mounted an exhibition at the Art Alliance of Philadelphia. In the late 1950 she taught at the Madison Art Gallery and Studios, and the Hartford Art School of the University of Hartford.
Kenneth Bates died in 1973. In 1995 Gladys moved from Stonecroft to an apartment at her youngest sons home. Today she has 11 grandchildren and great grand children.
Submitted by Rachel McKay Laskowski in June of 2006.