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 Genevieve <I>Lyon</I> Anderson

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Genevieve Lyon Anderson

  • Birth Jul 1892 Madison, Dane County, Wisconsin, USA
  • Death 25 Jun 1916 Denver, Denver County, Colorado, USA
  • Burial Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA
  • Memorial ID 107144725

Genevieve Lyon began life as the eldest daughter of the Rev. F. Emory Lyon, a leading figure in American prison reform. At the age of seventeen, however, her beauty led to her being chosen from hundreds of girls to model for the sculptor Josef Korbel. She trained as a dancer and was soon discovered by future theatrical director and producer John Murray Anderson, who was an exhibition ballroom dancer and teacher at the time. He ran one of the best-known dance schools in New York, which at one time employed Martha Graham. Together, John and Genevieve won many dance contests and became an exceptionally popular act in cabarets and revues. They were eventually married in 1914, and that same year were advisors to the authors of Social Dances of Today, an instructional dance manual which had great influence on the teaching of dance nationwide.

Tragically, Genevieve became ill with tuberculosis not long after her marriage. She sought treatment in sanatoriums in Phoenix and Denver, where the dry air was thought to be curative, but was unable to recover her health. She died of the disease in Denver in June 1916. John was heartbroken and never remarried. He eventually founded an acting school in Manhattan which counted Bette Davis and Lucille Ball among its students.

From The Inter Ocean (Chicago, IL), 9 Jan 1910:

Miss Genevieve Lyon's Features Will Be Carved in Marble at Entrance to New Sherman House. Face Typically American.

Miss Genevieve Lyon has been declared the most beautiful schoolgirl in Chicago. She was chosen as the model for the marble keystone at the entrance of the new Hotel Sherman, now being erected. Her picture was the last of several hundred to be submitted to the judges, but it was unanimously selected as the most beautiful. When Miss Lyon herself appeared, the decision was made more emphatic and the 19-year-old girl was awarded the prize of $100 and a scholarship at the Art Institute, given by Joseph Beifeld, president of the hotel company. Besides Mr. Beifeld the judges were B.J. Mullaney, secretary to the mayor, and the members of the architectural firm of Holabird and Roach, designers of the building.

The brown-eyed, brown-haired beauty is the daughter of F. Emory Lyon, 623 West Sixty-Seventh street, superintendent of the Central Howard Association. She is a junior at the Englewood high school. Josef C. Korbel, the sculptor who was awarded the John C. Shaffer prize at the Art Institute for his "Inspiration" will chisel the face of the schoolgirl in the marble that will present her likeness to millions of people every year as they pass the hotel. Although Miss Lyon is proud of the honor she does not agree with the judges. She does not believe she is the prettiest girl in Chicago. "I am very proud of the prize." she said last evening. "I did not know my picture had been sent in until the day after. I am glad I won because my little sister is the artist of the family, and I want to give the art scholarship to her."

Miss Lyon plans to become an actress or a singer or a player or all three someday, she says. She has a contralto voice which her friends praise enthusiastically and she plays the piano with a skill that has attracted attention. Her talent for the stage found expression last summer when she appeared in the appropriate character of a fairy with the Ben Greet players at Ravinia Park, at the University of Chicago and at Oak Park. As a member of the high school dramatic club she also appeared in its play, "The Mousetrap." two years ago. She has since continued her studies of the "drama." With all her aesthetic tastes, which include great fondness for French, Miss Lyon plays tennis with the skill of the athletic American girl.

She is 5 feet 3 inches and has a symmetrical figure, with a 20-inch waist and a 32-inch bust. "I have never seen a more lovely face," said Korbel. "Hers does not follow any of the classic types but is a fusion of the old races in a modern perfection which can be seen only in America -- the melting- pot of the races.

Family Members






  • Created by: Greg Kimberley
  • Added: 23 Mar 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 107144725
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Genevieve Lyon Anderson (Jul 1892–25 Jun 1916), Find A Grave Memorial no. 107144725, citing Mount Hope Cemetery, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Greg Kimberley (contributor 47221479) .