SHEPHERD, DOROTHY G. PAYER (15 Aug. 1916-13 Aug. 1992), Curator of Textiles and Near Eastern ART for the CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART (CMA, 1954-81), was one of only a few WOMEN museum curators in the United States in the 1960s and was internationally known for her scholarship in medieval textiles and ancient Near Eastern and Islamic art. She was born in Welland, Ontario, Canada, to English parents, George P. and Ethel Shepherd. When she was 2, the family moved to Fenton, MI, where Shepherd attended public schools. A graduate of the University of Michigan (A.B., 1939, M.A. 1940), she worked towards a Ph.D. at the Institute of Fine Arts (NYC) and New York University. From 1942-44, Shepherd was assistant curator in decoration for the Cooper Union Museum of Arts (NYC), and during WORLD WAR II, worked for the Office of War Information in London, Luxembourg, Frankfurt and Berlin.
Shepherd came to Cleveland in 1947 as assistant curator of textiles at the CMA. In 1954, the museum designated her as official curator of textiles and Near Eastern Art. She became chief curator of textiles and Islamic Art in 1979, a position she held until retiring. She taught Near Eastern art as adjunct professor at CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY. Shepherd was a member of the Directing Council of Centre International d'Etudes des Textiles Anciens, in France, of the board of governors of the American Research Center, in Egypt, and of the board of trustees of the American Institute of Iranian Studies.
Shepherd married architect Ernst Payer on 22 March 1951; he had 2 children by a previous marriage, Peter and Mark. After her husband's death in 1981, Shepherd moved first to Florida then to Asheville, NC, where she died.