Art, Industry, And Women's Education In Philadelphia

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Separate education for American women in the arts began in the mid-19th century as an innovative vehicle for middle-class women to move into a new and genteel profession. The 20th century evolution of the Philadelphia School of Design for Women, lone survivor as an autonomous school of many similar institutions founded at the same time, presents an unusually well-documented case study of meeting the changing needs of women students.

The first American institutions devoted to women's professional art education, design schools appeared in industrial northeastern cities in the 1850s, modeled on Philadelphia's pioneering School of Design for Women, which opened in 1848. Sponsored by business leaders and philanthropists, design schools gave women unprecedented access to craft skills, and eventually helped professionalize the work of women as art teachers and practicing artists. Separate education in the arts constituted an innovative vehicle for expanding Victorian-era middle-class gender prescriptions into new professional opportunities. Through the 20th century, the Philadelphia School of Design and its successor, Moore College of Art, survived as the nation's only autonomous women's art college, offering new educational options for women.

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Editorial Reviews

The story of the Philadelphia School of Design for Women, and its successor, the Moore College of Art and Design, from the 1850s to the 1990s, illustrates the challenges and opportunities facing female professionals in their training and careers over the past century and a half. This chronicle of the school focuses on the period from 1880 to 1932, and is told from the perspectives of students and of managers and administrative staff. Themes that emerge include the role of single-sex education, professionalism for women in art, and the influence of business and industry on art education. The author is an independent scholar in the Philadelphia area. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780897897457
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/30/2000
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

NINA DE ANGELI WALLS is an independent scholar who lives near Philadelphia.

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Table of Contents

Illustrations xi
Acknowledgments xiii
Abbreviations xv
Introduction xvii
1. Calicos and Carpets: Creating the School of Design, 1848-1880 1
Early Pupils 3
American Design School Movement 5
A Practical Curriculum 8
Building for the Future, 1870s 10
2. "Designing Women" as Students 15
Student Life 16
Typical Students 19
Ethnicity 27
Scholarships 30
Judging Performance 33
3. Managing a Women's Art School 39
Early Governing Boards 43
The Sartain Era 48
Business and the Arts 51
Promoting Art Education 53
A New Era 57
4. The Sartain Legacy, 1886-1946 69
Portrait of an Artist: Emily Sartain 73
Emily Sartain as Principal 79
Harriet Sartain and the New Era 84
5. Pround Alumnae, "Wage Earners and Artists" 95
Marriage and Career Conflicts 98
Teaching Art 103
Technical Design 109
Painters and Illustrators 116
6. Moore College in the Twentieth Century 129
A School for Women Only 130
Managing in Turbulent Times 135
Renewed Purpose, 1990s 137
Modern Alumnae Careers 139
Twentieth-Century Curriculum 142
Toward the Twenty-First Century 143
Administrative Heads of School 153
Appendix 155
Bibliographic Essay 159
Index 171
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