Sadie Cotler

Date of Award


First Advisor

Anne O'Dwyer

Second Advisor

Jennifer Daniels


Audrey Munson, often referred to as Miss Manhattan or the American Venus, was the first supermodel in America. After her career took off in the 1910’s and she modeled for over 30 different artists, she suffered a mental breakdown that put her in a mental hospital. At the age of 41, she was admitted to St. Lawrence State Hospital and was confined there for 65 years until her death in February 20, 1996. We do not know what Audrey Munson’s diagnosis was when she was hospitalized, so, drawing on the DSM and analyzing Audrey’s behaviors from James Bone’s recent biography, I explored what a contemporary understanding of Audrey Munson illness might have been, while also analyzing the exploitations and traumas she experienced. I thus discuss briefly how Audrey’s life might have been different if she were alive today and what her career might have been like. Although she was a very prevalent figure in her time, she has been largely overlooked in the history of art. However, she remains immortalized by the statues of her face and body all over New York City and beyond.

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