Skinner, Belle [Ruth Isabel]
- Susan E. Thompson
(b Williamsburgh, MA, 30 April 1866; d Paris, France, 9 April 1928). American humanitarian, philanthropist, and instrument collector. A daughter of the silk manufacturer William Skinner, she attended the Vassar College Preparatory School and Vassar College (Class of 1887), where her interest in music was fostered. In adulthood, she divided her time between homes in Holyoke, Massachusetts, and New York City, becoming a patron of the arts and a benefactor of civic projects. In 1926 she established a fellowship that still enables Vassar College students to study history at a French provincial university. Skinner was awarded the Médaille de la Reconnaissance Française (1919) and the cross of a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur (1921) for contributions towards revitalizing war-torn villages in France following World War I. Following her death, her brother William provided the funds to erect a music building on the Vassar campus in her honour....