Philadelphia School of Design for Women
Philadelphia School of Design for Women was an art school for women in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was the largest art school for women in the country, directed by Emily Sartain and its faculty included Robert Henri, Samuel Murray and Daniel Garber. It merged into what is now the Moore College of Art and Design.
Sarah Worthington King Peter, wife of the British consul in Philadelphia, established an industrial arts school in her home in 1848 to teach women without a means of supporting themselves a trade. The school taught lithography, wood carving, and design, such as for household items like carpets and wallpaper. Peter's husband died soon after she established the school and she returned to her Cincinnati, Ohio home.
In 1850, Peter wrote to the Franklin Institute about her drawing class of some 20 young women becoming a "co-operative, but separate branch" of the Institute. The Franklin Institute established and supervised the Philadelphia School of Design for Women from 1850 to 1853. A group of 17 men were designated the incorporators of the school in 1853. Elliott Cresson was among these 17 directors, and was elected president at the first meeting. It was the country's largest art school for women and its students included Emily Sartain and Jessie Willcox Smith.
Elizabeth Croasdale was the school's principal before Emily Sartain took the position in 1886. Sartain was the school's leader until 1920. She implemented life-drawing classes at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women, using draped male and nude women models, which was revolutionary at the time for women artists. Sartain created a professional program that was built upon technical and lengthy training and high standards. The women were taught to create works of art based upon three-dimensional and human forms, based upon her training in Paris and at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She was responsible for introducing important faculty members such as Robert Henri, Samuel Murray and Daniel Garber. In 1892, Robert Henry began teaching at the school. William Innes Homer said, "A born teacher, Henry enjoyed immediate success at the school."
Nina de Angeli Walls wrote,
As Sartain's career illustrates, art schools conferred professional status in a cultural field once dominated by men. Women artists used formal schooling to counter the accusation of amateurism frequently leveled at them. Nineteenth century design schools were the first institutions to offer professional certification for women in such careers as art education, fabric design, or magazine illustration; hence, the schools opened unprecedented paths to female economic independence.
In 1932 it merged into the Moore Institute of Art, Science, and Industry. It is now the Moore College of Art and Design, which offers both a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree and Master of Arts in Art Education.
- Marion Tinling (1986). Women Remembered: A Guide to Landmarks of Women's History in the United States. New York: Greenwood Press. p. 445. Retrieved October 16, 2014 – via Questia. (subscription required (. ))
- Donors of the Medals and their histories, The Elliott Cresson Medal - Founded in 1848 - Gold Medal (The Franklin Institute), retrieved July 13, 2009
- Nina de Angeli Walls (1998). "Design school movement". In Linda Eisenmann. Historical Dictionary of Women's Education in the United States. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. pp. 129–130. Retrieved October 15, 2014 – via Questia. (subscription required (. ))
- Katharine Martinez; Page Talbott; Elizabeth Johns (2000). Philadelphia's Cultural Landscape: The Sartain Family Legacy. Temple University Press. p. 144. ISBN 978-1-56639-791-9.
- Alice A. Carter (2000). The Red Rose Girls: An Uncommon Story of Art and Love. New York: Abrams Books. p. 18. Retrieved October 15, 2014 – via Questia. (subscription required (. ))
- Katharine Martinez; Page Talbott; Elizabeth Johns (2000). Philadelphia's Cultural Landscape: The Sartain Family Legacy. Temple University Press. p. 139. ISBN 978-1-56639-791-9.
- Nina de Angeli Walls (2001). Art, Industry, and Women's Education in Philadelphia. Bergin & Garvey. ISBN 0-89789-745-5.
- William Innes Homer (1969). Robert Henri and his Circle. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. p. 71. ISBN 0-87817-326-9.