(Sept. 3, 1884-Jan. 15, 1973). Ruth Pratt Bobbs was born in Indianapolis. The daughter of Julius Fisher Pratt and Mary Ann Smith, she attended boarding schools abroad in Paris and in New York City. Her early art instruction was under Indiana artist and illustrator Mary Y. Robinson. She studied at the Académie Julian in Paris, the School of Fine Arts (Boston), and the Art Student League (New York), among other institutions. Pratt also took private lessons from painters William Merritt Chase, Charles Hawthorne, and Charles Woodbury.

She was married to William C. Bobbs, president of the Bobbs-Merrill Publishing Company, from 1912 until he died in 1926. Although she maintained a summer studio at Northport Point, Michigan, Bobbs lived most of the year in her Indianapolis studio-home at 11th and Delaware streets, and later at 14th and Delaware streets.

One of the leading women artists and portrait painters in Indianapolis from the 1930s through the 1950s, Bobbs was a frequent exhibitor at the Hoosier Salon, the Indiana Artists Club, and the Art Association Of Indianapolis annual shows.

In 1933 she displayed her work in the state’s exhibit at the Century of Progress Exhibition in Chicago. She was a member of the National Association of Women Artists, the Art Association of Indianapolis, the Hoosier Salon, and the Portfolio Club. Portraits by Bobbs include Robert H. Tyndall, mayor of Indianapolis; Frank H. Sparks, president of Wabash College; Thomas Carr Howe, president of Butler University; and writer Stephen Vincent Benet. Works by Bobbs can also be found in the permanent collection of the Indianapolis Museum Of Art and the Indiana Medical History Museum.

Revised February 2021

Help improve this entry

Contribute information, offer corrections, suggest images.

You can also recommend new entries related to this topic.