Mollie Davis Nicholson and Francesca Falk Miller Nielsen (1881 – 1969) co-founded the National Society of Arts and Letters in 1944. Any donation less than $10,000 is put in the memorial trust fund named to honor their vision for supporting young American artists.
Naomi Rabb Winston (1894 – 1979) was a painter, art educator, teacher, and lecturer. As a young woman, she studied painting at the Corcoran Gallery School of Art in Washington, DC. Born in North Carolina, among her many accomplishments she oil painted the final design for the Alabaman coat of arms. Her oil paintings are included in the Montgomery County (Maryland) Historical Society collection.
Shirley Rabb Winston (1920 – 2002) was the daughter of Naomi Rabb Winston. She studied voice at the Washington College of Music. During World War II, she wrote and produced entertainment for the Stage Door Canteen Junior Hostesses. She was the youngest member of the Washington Chapter of the National Society of Arts and Letters. A professional singer, she performed in Washington DC’s Constitution Hall and New York’s Carnegie Hall as well taking major roles in the Metropolitan Opera Touring Company and in Oklahoma on Broadway.
Derek Charles Oppen (1948-2017) was born in Montreal, Canada. He received an undergraduate degree from Bishop’s University in Quebec, a PhD from the University of Toronto and an MBA from Stanford University, where he was a senior researcher from 1975 to 1980. He worked as a consultant for such clients as MIT, IBM and Xerox and completed his career as Vice President of Nortel. His most important work in computer science – the Nelson-Oppen method – is still in use today. He was an accomplished pianist and had a lifelong love of classical, jazz and bluegrass music. He was an honorary member of the Virginia/North Carolina Chapter.
Mary Rich Peery Fife (1910 – 1996) was born in Ogden, Utah, and her lifelong interest in dance was apparent at an early age. She received a scholarship in her senior year for outstanding achievement in ballet, and was invited at age sixteen to join the Chicago Civic Opera Ballet Company. Although she never pursued a professional dance career, she remained passionate about the art form for her entire life.
Marina Svetlova (1922 – 2009) made her professional dance debut as a child in 1931 in Paris with the legendary experimental troupe of Ida Rubinstein. A soloist with the Original Ballet Russe, which was one of the successor companies to Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, and a ballerina with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, she later earned a reputation as a major teacher. Hundreds of young students trained with her at the Southern Vermont Art Center in Manchester from 1959 to 1964. From 1969 until 1992 she was professor of ballet and chairwoman of the ballet department at Indiana University in Bloomington. At that time, she joined NSAL’s Bloomington Chapter. She also directed her own summer school, the Svetlova Dance Center, in Dorset, Vermont, from 1965 to 1995 and choreographed for regional opera companies from the 1960s to the early 1980s.
A long-time member of the Hawaii Chapter, artist Kathy Lee Morgan endowed a fund with her name.
O. D. “Jack Masters (1921-2018) served as National President 1996-98 and a Board Member of the Nicholson-Nielsen Trust Fund. He was a participant in Jacksonville, FL community theaters for over 25 years. He often appeared in films, TV commercials, and PBS productions. Jack served on the boards of several theater organizations and was the President of the Docent Group of the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens. Jack was associated with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida for thirty years; he retired in 1988.
Audrey H. Peery (1920 – 2005) was born in New Orleans, and throughout high school and college she was a model for women’s clothing. After graduating from college, she pursued an active career in the fashion industry and had an interior decorating business. She was a long-time NSAL member who took an active leadership role, serving as president of the Washington DC Chapter president from 1984 – 1986 and as National president from 1992 – 1994.