Susan Weber (historian)

Susan Weber[1][2][3][4] (born 1954) is an American historian. She is the founder and director of the Bard Graduate Center (BGC) for studies in the decorative arts, design history, and material culture affiliated with Bard College in Dutchess County, New York. She was previously married to George Soros.

Susan Weber
Born1954 (age 65–66)
EducationColumbia University (BA)
Parsons School of Design (MA)
Royal College of Art (PhD)
George Soros
(m. 1983; div. 2005)
Children2, including Alexander Soros

Early life and educationEdit

Susan Weber was born in Brooklyn, New York City, the daughter of Murray Weber, a manufacturer of shoe accessories, and Iris Weber, a housewife. Her father was born in New York City; his parents emigrated from Lithuania. Her mother passed on her fondness for the decorative arts.[citation needed] She grew up in the New York City area in a non-observant Jewish household; summing up her upbringing, Susan stated: "We were cultural Jews."[citation needed]

She attended an Episcopalian high school in Brooklyn[5] and graduated from Barnard College of Columbia University with a degree in art history.[6] In 1990, she earned a master's degree from Cooper-Hewitt/Parsons.[6]

She also studied at the Royal College of Art in London, where she earned her Ph.D. degree (1998) with a thesis on the furniture of E. W. Godwin.[citation needed]


Weber was executive director of the Open Society Institute (OSI), the umbrella name for some 24 independent foundations that support the advancement of freedom of expression around the globe. OSI also supports cultural exchange through grants to individuals and associations.[citation needed]

In 1991, Soros was turned down for the job of director of graduate education at the Parsons School of Design. So, with $20 million of her husband's money, she started her own school in 1993,[6] establishing the Bard Graduate Center where she is professor of the history of the decorative arts. BGC offers graduate degrees in history of the decorative and applied arts, cultural and design history, garden history, and landscape studies. The Bard Center is one of only four places in the United States where a student can obtain an advanced degree in the decorative arts. The others are the Winterthur Museum program affiliated with the University of Delaware, the Parsons program.,[6] and the George Washington University in partnership with the Smithsonian.

Personal lifeEdit

In 1983, Weber married billionaire George Soros, twenty five years her senior,[6] and the primary contributor to the Open Society Institute (OSI). They had two children, Alexander (born 1985) and Gregory (born 1988).[7][8] They divorced in 2005.[8]


  • Soros, Susan Weber (ed.) (2006). James 'Athenian' Stuart: The Rediscovery of Antiquity (Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design & Culture). New Haven, CT and London: Yale University Press ISBN 978-0-300-11713-4
  • Soros, Susan Weber, and Stefanie Walker (ed.) (2004). Castellani and Italian Archaeological Jewelry (Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design & Culture) . New Haven, CT and London: Yale University Press ISBN 978-0300-10461-5
  • Soros, Susan Weber, and Catherine Arbuthnott (2003). Thomas Jeckyll: Architect and Designer, 1827–1881. New Haven, CT and London: Yale University Press ISBN 978-0-300-09922-5 (Winner of the 2004 Henry Russell Hitchcock Award sponsored by the Victorian Society in America and winner of the 2005 Philip Johnson Award given by the Society of Architectural Historians)
  • Soros, Susan Weber (ed.) (1999). E.W. Godwin: Aesthetic Movement Architect and Designer. New Haven, CT and London: Yale University Press ISBN 978-0-300-08008-7
  • Soros, Susan Weber (ed.) (1999). The Secular Furniture of E.W. Godwin: With Catalogue Raisonné New Haven, CT and London: Yale University Press ISBN 978-0-300-08159-6


  1. ^ "Degree Programs - Faculty - Susan Weber". Archived from the original on 11 September 2016. Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  2. ^ "Museum Gift Shops". The New York Times. 22 July 2010. Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  3. ^ "George Soros ex-wife, Susan Weber Sells Her Legendary Design Collection to Benefit Scholarship Fund". Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  4. ^ "The Duke of Bard". Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  5. ^ Kaufman, Michael T. (29 September 2010). Soros: The Life and Times of a Messianic Billionaire. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. p. 152. Retrieved July 7, 2017 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ a b c d e Smith, Dinitia (March 7, 1996). "At Home With: Susan Soros; A Private Life, A Public Passion". The New York Times.
  7. ^ Williams, Alex (July 18, 2012). "Making Good on the Family Name" (July 18, 2012). New York Times. Archived from the original on 1 June 2018. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  8. ^ a b "George Soros Fast Facts". 22 July 2016. Retrieved 10 September 2016.

External linksEdit