Mary Pearsall Berenson

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Mary Pearsall Berenson's Geni Profile

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Mary Pearsall Berenson (Pearsall Smith)

Also Known As: "Mary Logan (pseudonym)"
Birthplace: Germantown, Philadelphia, PA, United States
Death: 1944 (79-80)
Florence, Tuscany, Italy
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Robert Pearsall Smith and Hannah Tatum Pearsall Smith
Wife of Frank Costelloe and Bernard Berenson
Ex-partner of Hermann Obrist
Mother of Ray Strachey and Karin Stephen
Sister of Logan Pearsall Smith and Alyssa (Alys) Whitall Russell

Managed by: Carlos F. Bunge
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Mary Pearsall Berenson

The Story of the Pearsall Smith Women By Barbara Strachey.

Mary Berenson (1864 in Pennsylvania – 1945), née Mary Whitall Smith, was an art historian, now thought to have had a large hand in some of the writings of her second husband, Bernard Berenson.


Her father was Robert Pearsall Smith, her mother Hannah Whitall Smith. She studied at the Harvard Annex in 1884-1885. Here Mary met the Irish barrister Benjamin Conn "Frank" Costelloe, whom she married in 1885. This marriage was the occasion for the whole family, including her brother Logan Pearsall Smith and sister Alys Pearsall Smith to move to England in 1888. Mary separated from Costelloe, with whom she had two children, after a few years together. She took up in Italy with Bernard Berenson, whom she eventually married in 1900. Her US lecture tours were instrumental in developing an interest in Italian Renaissance art among wealthy American collectors during the first decade of the twentieth century.

Subsequently, Berenson brought together a social circle at Villa I Tatti', the Berenson home, and developed its gardens. Through her daughters, Ray Strachey and Karin Stephen, she was related by marriage to the Bloomsbury Group of English artists and literary figures, as her son-in-law Adrian Stephen was Virginia Woolf's brother.

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Mary Pearsall Berenson's Timeline

Philadelphia, PA, United States
June 4, 1887
London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
Age 80
Florence, Tuscany, Italy