Mary Cassatt Self Portrait 1880

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Cassatt was born in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, which is now part of Pittsburgh. She was born into an upper-middle-class family: Her father, Robert Simpson Cassat (later Cassatt), was a successful stockbroker and land speculator. He was descended from French Huguenot Jacques Cossart, who came to New Amsterdam in 1662. Her mother, Katherine Kelso Johnston, came from a banking family. Katherine Cassatt, educated and well-read, had a profound influence on her daughter. To that effect, Cassatt's lifelong friend Louisine Havemeyer wrote in her memoirs: "Anyone who had the privilege of knowing Mary Cassatt's mother would know at once that it was from her and her alone that [Mary] inherited her ability. " The ancestral name had been Cossart. A distant cousin of artist Robert Henri, Cassatt was one of seven children, of whom two died in infancy. One brother, Alexander Johnston Cassatt, later became president of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The family moved eastward, first to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, then to the Philadelphia area, where she started her schooling at the age of six. [citation needed]