Catherine the Great of Russia acquired art voraciously. Cosmetics magnate Helena Rubenstein collected African and contemporary art, miniature furniture, and Victorian glass. Coco Chanel amassed an enormous hoard of French 18th-century furniture. This fresh and fascinating volume is the first to look at women who, from 1750 to the present, have assembled significant collections of art, ceramics, jewelry, glass, furniture, textiles, and other objects. The kinds of collections these empresses, queens, socialites, actresses, and entrepreneurs assembled often differed tangibly from those of their male counterparts. The authors show how and why-and explore the obstacles the women overcame to create such important collections, many of which can be seen today in major museums. This illustrated volume is an original contribution both to the study of collecting and to women's studies.