Parents were Adolph and Agnes Berdich, Czech immigrants. Sister of Lillian Berdich. The family moved frequently, following her father, a tool and die maker who wanted to live on a farm but had little experience doing so. He loved the outdoors, especially hunting and fishing, and bought property in Wisconsin sight-unseen.
She was born to Czech immigrants in Cicero, a suburb south of Chicago. She graduated from grammar
school in 1929 and worked through J. Sterling Morton High School babysitting and housecleaning to pay for her books. Her art instructor there, Claudia Stevenson, encouraged Berdich to study at the School of the Art Institute (SAIC). Berdich began night classes at SAIC, working odd jobs to save money. A friend helped her gain employment with a postcard company, where she did color separation and photo retouching. At age 26, Berdich left home and moved to Chicago, joining the Illinois Arts Project, where she first encountered printmaking. She was instantly taken with the etching medium, especially the opportunity it afforded to explore tonal effects. When World War II began, she took a course in drafting and worked for the American Steel Company. She returned to the SAIC after the war, attending full-time and graduating with a B.A. in 1946. A year later, Berdich was hired by SAIC, where she founded the printmaking department and continued teaching until her retirement in 1979 as a professor emeritus. Berdich used experimental techniques, applying various colored inks by hand to the etching plate to create one-of-a-kind works. This approach to creating layered and subtle shifts in tonality is evident in her prints Things to Be Remembered, 1949, and View Through Distorting Spectacles, 1952. The latter is a fine example of her surrealist etchings, with its repetitive eyes and references to perception couched in a symbolist, dreamlike atmosphere. Berdich was one of the first artists in the United States to develop photographic images on copper plate intaglio, and in 1956 introduced a photo transfer method to canvas and paper. -- from website for Macdowell Colony