Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Alice Ryerson Hayes  

Pen Name: Alice Judson Hayes

Genre: C:ADULT

Born: 1922


Illinois Connection

Hayes grew up in Chicago and lived in Lake Forest and Hyde Park, Illinois. She attended the Francis Parker School in Chicago, Milton Academy, Bryn Mawr College and the University of Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Alice Ryerson Hayes was a poet, leader and visionary who initiated the Ragdale Foundation in 1976 as an artists' community to be housed on her family's summer estate in Lake Forest, Illinois, continuing the four-generation tradition of the Shaw family of artists and writers. She wished that the 1898 Shaw-designed house and grounds be preserved, but not as a house museum: she saw it as a living, continuing artists' community. In 1986, she donated the property to the City of Lake Forest and established the network of partnerships that has preserved Ragdale. Many acres of virgin prairie that were part of the original Ragdale property have been given to the Lake Forest Open Lands Foundation to protect. Thanks to Hayes' efforts, the Ragdale Foundation is the fourth-largest artists' and writers' retreat in the country, and the largest in the Midwest.She was active in peace work and anti-war work. In the 1980s, she helped to found the Chicago chapter of Educators for Social Responsibility.In 2002, Hayes received the Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award, which the Illinois Humanities Council awards for exceptional contributions to the community. The Alice Judson Hayes Writing Fellowship is given out annually in her honor.

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-- *Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, 2015