Catherine Filene Shouse (1896-1994)Wolf Trap’s Founder


Catherine Filene ShouseCatherine Filene (Mrs. Jouett) Shouse was born in Boston, Massachusetts on June 9, 1896. A graduate of Wheaton College, she was the first woman to receive a Master's Degree in Education from Harvard University.

Mrs. Shouse was devoted to the performing arts and was also a dynamic, visionary leader in education, politics, women's affairs, and international affairs.

She gave her life to public service and was internationally honored. President Gerald R. Ford bestowed upon her the highest United States civilian award, The Presidential Medal of Freedom. Queen Elizabeth II made her a Dame Commander of the British Empire. She was the first woman to receive the German Federal Republic's Commander's Cross of Merit. The Government of France named her "Officier Dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres."

Mrs. Shouse gave the United States Government its first and only national park dedicated to the performing arts. This is Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna, Virginia.

Mrs. Shouse lived most of her life in and around Washington, DC. She knew every President from Woodrow Wilson to William Clinton. She was active and involved to the end of her life. She died December 14, 1994 at the age of 98 1⁄2.

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View from the Loge at Wolf Trap's Filene Center