Women of the Rochester Institute of Technology During the Arts and Crafts Movement

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Women of the Rochester Institute of Technology

During the Arts and Crafts Movement

Jenny Hung

This paper will explore the role of the Rochester Institute of Technology, then known as the Mechanics Institute, during the advent of the American Arts and Crafts movement. The focus will then shift to the position and function of women in the development of both the Institute and the Arts and Crafts movement. Largely overlooked in the writing of art history, women were promoters and practitioners of the Arts and Crafts movement, and were vital to its development and success.

England: the origin of the Arts and Crafts movement

In the mid-nineteenth century art critics began to see the Industrial Revolution as having made English art and life increasingly commercial and ugly. Social and industrial changes threatened traditional methods of craftsmanship with low-cost, inferior-quality, and monotonous mass-produced objects; the effect was the cluttering of homes with cheap and superfluous objects. In a time of rapid industrial expansion, the Arts and Crafts movement emerged as an effort to counter the social consequences of industrialization by re-establishing what its members perceived to be the more humanistic values of pre-industrial times. Not only was it an artistic movement that sought an authentic and meaningful style, it was also a social movement comprised of populist ideals and socialist undertones.1

More than any other individual, art critic and writer John Ruskin had the greatest influence on public taste in Victorian England. He brought to society an awareness of the welfare of the working man, as well as the nature and beauty of his work. Ruskin formulated many of the ideas behind the Arts and Crafts movement, but the critical link between Ruskin’s ideology and the Arts and Crafts movement was forged by the design philosophy of William Morris and his firm, which became the chief influence on the development of the movement.2

Both Ruskin and Morris distrusted machines and industrial capitalism. They criticized the repetitive nature of factory work as being dehumanizing, since it alienated workers from their own nature and deprived them of any satisfaction derived from their work. Not only did they call for a return to skilled production by hand, but they advocated an art that would be available to the masses because they believed that art was a key to improving the conditions of their lives. This populist attitude carried over into the art produced by the members of the Arts and Crafts movement, whose works shared a number of stylistic elements. Objects were based on natural forms, repeating designs were common, vertical and elongated forms predominated, and gothic influences were frequent. In rebellion against the Victorian style, artists placed emphasis on the harmony of interiors, the reduction of décor, and the clarity of line. William Morris urged, “we should at all events take as our maxim the less, the better; Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”3 Proponents of the movement were dedicated to producing functional objects with high aesthetic value. High quality and honesty of materials and workmanship were crucial to their work, thus objects were often left slightly unfinished to express the beauty inherent in craft, resulting in a certain rustic effect.

As the history of the Arts and Crafts movement is customarily taught, it was mainly Ruskin and Morris who shaped the core philosophies of the movement. Apart from the history of its leaders, the success of the movement depended on its adoption by a large number of artists, many of whom were women. Reflecting the general perception of art history being constructed from a patriarchal perspective, the position and function of women in the history of the Arts and Crafts movement have been largely ignored and unacknowledged.4

New York: the hub of the American Arts and Crafts movement

The Arts and Crafts movement eventually progressed from England to the United States. Americans were prompted to improve their handicrafts and applied arts instruction after seeing the superior foreign crafts that were exhibited at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, the first official world’s fair held in the United States. By the end of the nineteenth century, the Arts and Crafts principles of simplicity, honesty, and craftsmanship drove American design.5

Although the American Arts and Crafts movement drew most of its inspiration from its English counterpart, the American style was eclectic, with regional nuances.6 The huge size of the country made a uniform nationwide impact difficult, and instead encouraged greater local diversity. In contrast to England, there were fewer precedents in traditional craft industries in America, and artists were much more willing to embrace the use of machinery if it aided quality and commercial viability.7

The movement influenced designers and craftspeople across the country, but no region made a greater contribution to the Arts and Crafts movement in America than New York State. It was home to many leaders of the movement, as well as the site of numerous workshops, factories, programs, publications, and communities. Elbert Green Hubbard’s Roycroft Press and the Rochester Arts and Crafts Society were among the earliest organizations to embrace the ideals of the movement. The Rochester Institute of Technology, known then as the Mechanics Institute, was one of the pioneer institutions for training in the Arts and Crafts, and one that was exceptional in its extension of this training to women.8

The Mechanics Institute: an institute for the people

Not coincidentally, manual training began to grow rapidly in America soon after the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. The public became aware of the importance of developing manual skill, as well as developing an appreciation for good design and construction. In 1885 the Mechanics Institute was established to train designers and skilled workers for local manufacturing industries that flourished in the Rochester area. In 1891, the Rochester Athenaeum merged with the Rochester Mechanics Institute to form an educational institution (RAMI) that combined manual training with traditional academic instruction. It was renamed the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1944.9

The principles of the Mechanics Institute were comparable to the populist attitudes of the Arts and Crafts movement. It was viewed as the “people’s institute” aimed to “appeal to the people of both sexes.”10 From the time of its founding, the Institute proved to be remarkably adaptive to changing local needs. When the spreading Arts and Crafts movement increased demand for professional designers and craftspeople in the art industries, the Institute responded by hiring Theodore Hanford Pond in 1902 to develop and expand the Decorative Arts and Crafts Program. Classes were offered to train students for work in art industries, such as wallpaper and textile printing, carpet weaving, metalworking, furniture building, stained glass, architectural decoration, book design, pottery, and embroidery. Over the next eight years the department evolved into the Department of Applied and Fine Arts, providing more than ten programs of instruction. Many notable designers and craftspeople identified with the Arts and Crafts movement during this era taught in the Department of Fine Arts at the Mechanics Institute, including Frederick E. Walrath, M. Louise Stowell, and Lulu Scott Backus.11

The popularization of the American Arts and Crafts movement was in large part the result of good networks of communication among its advocates and the diverse channels for disseminating information to the public.12 Publications, exhibitions, competitions, workshops, discussions, and lectures brought public attention to the movement, and the Mechanics Institute was an active site for such events.

An article in The Athenaeum, a monthly, student-run publication of the Mechanics Institute, acknowledged the design concerns of the time:

since the time of Ruskin and Morris it is again becoming understood that it is impossible to detach design from craft.... The crafts have suffered on the one hand from the methods introduced to compete with machinery and the lack of thought or design; and on the other hand there is a danger from elaborateness of design and poor workmanship.13
The same article also expressed a positive outlook for craftspeople of the Institute, claiming there was a “demand for artistic craft workers [in the county], and there is every possibility that all who will devote an earnest and sufficient study to design and workmanship will reach a measure of success.”

The Arts and Crafts aesthetic philosophy was thoroughly entrenched at the Mechanics Institute. The association of beauty and utility was a frequent topic of discussion at the Institute during the height of the Arts and Crafts movement and seems to have followed the views expressed by Gustav Stickley, the leading promoter of the movement in America, that the home “should never be encumbered with things of doubtful use, or questionable aesthetic value.”14 In a series of talks given to the Ceramic Society in 1894, Eugene C. Colby, the first principal of the Mechanics Institute and first director of its art school, addressed the subject of the application of ornament, asserting that the great principle of ornamentation was the adaptation to purpose; decoration should not be considered before utility. In line with Arts and Crafts ideals, he believed that ornamentation should be truthful, not deceitful, and should be consistent with the utility of the article.15 A local celebrity, Frederick E. Walrath, famed for his ceramic works, joined the faculty of the Applied Arts Course at the Mechanics Institute in 1908 as Professor of Modeling and Pottery. Walrath’s beliefs conformed to Arts and Crafts aesthetic philosophies. He wrote, “All good pottery should show skill, beauty, and use.”16 Walrath’s unpublished essay reveals a personal design philosophy that was heavily influenced by the Arts and Crafts, particularly by the beliefs of Ruskin. In that essay, he warned fellow craftspeople against over-decorating, as well as against profiting from inferior articles made through cheap production; Walrath believed that every article should be carefully selected to provide utility and harmony to its surroundings.

Indeed, one objective of the Arts and Crafts movement was to harmonize the home environment in order to achieve physical and mental wellbeing. The home must be well planned. Functionality and simplicity of form, honest construction, and integrity of materials were stressed.17 As an alternative way of presenting student works at the end of the year, the gallery space at the Mechanics Institute was remodeled several times into habitable rooms furnished by the works of students, who practiced the “proper restraint…necessary in the creation of a harmonious ensemble.”18 Photographs from the exhibitions of 1903 and 1907 show furnishings influenced by the Arts and Crafts style, particularly in the metalwork of such objects as candleholders, and in the designs of tablecloths, folding screens, and wall borders.

The Mechanics Institute was also the site of several important Arts and Crafts exhibitions in Rochester. The Arts and Crafts Exhibition in 1903 was first held in Syracuse and then at the Mechanics Institute. It was the first decorative arts exhibition of its kind to be held in Upstate New York, and was the upstate audience’s first exposure to a wide range of works produced by leading Arts and Crafts designers from both Europe and America. Exemplary of the Institute’s emphasis on practicality, the exhibition pamphlet describes the exhibition as a “practical demonstration” of the Arts and Crafts.19 Due to the popularity of the exhibition, a second Arts and Crafts exhibition was organized in 1905 at the Institute.20 The Institute was also the location of the annual exhibition of the work of the National Society of Craftsmen of New York and the Arts and Crafts Society of Boston in 1918.21

The movement reached its peak in the first decade of the century and is particularly evident in the student work from that period, which was the subject of frequent praise from local newspapers. 22 Each academic year concluded with an exhibition of students’ works done in the various classes offered at the Institute.23 The metal and ceramic works in the exhibition photographs from 1910 show the heavy influence of the Arts and Crafts style, especially in the curvilinear designs, the flattened forms, and the peacock motifs. Exhibition photographs show numerous examples of metalwork in the Arts and Crafts style done by students at the Mechanic Institute. The design of this metalwork enhanced the natural quality of the material, often with the embellishment of hammer marks on the surface, as evident in these student works.24 Exhibition photographs also reveal examples of Arts and Crafts jewelry made by Institute students. The Arts and Crafts aim to provide beautiful, well-made yet affordable, objects for the masses led to an alternative fashion in jewelry. Instead of being made from gold and precious stones, Arts and Crafts jewelry was handmade from sterling silver or brass, with hammer marks frequently visible, and with enamel and semi-precious stone accents. Jewelry designs were often based on natural leaf and floral motifs, and influenced by ornaments worn by women in Pre-Raphaelite paintings, which were based on Renaissance prototypes.25

Period photographs show a classroom of women at the Mechanics Institute working on designs, many of which are of leaf forms. The design pieces displayed in exhibition photographs recall the style of Morris and his company. Designs have clearly structured, flat patterns and recognizable naturalistic motifs, usually in the form of flowers and leaves, which are organized decoratively into a framework.26 The Athenaeum cover design from October, 1912, and border design from January, 1913, also share these characteristics.

The ceramic pieces in exhibition photographs also are representative of the Arts and Crafts style that pervaded the Mechanics Institute. Art pottery was the most prolific product of the American Arts and Crafts movement, and was an important field for craftswomen in America. Schools like the Mechanic Institute provided training and links to local craft industries; such schools are also an example of the efforts made in America to find honorable work for needy women who, despite their absence from written histories, were largely responsible for the growth and promotion of pottery in America.27 According to a newspaper article written in 1894, the Institute’s art training was essential to Rochester’s ceramic art scene, as manifested in the achievements of the Rochester Ceramic Society.28

Inspired by examples at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, and the spirit of the Arts and Crafts movement, American potters created innovative, high-quality ceramics that quickly rivaled their international competitors. American pottery is characterized by variety, and reveals influences from European countries and Japan. Aesthetic concerns of the pottery, such as its paint, decoration, shape, or glaze, grew in importance. A widely practiced technique among craftspeople in the applied arts during the Arts and Crafts era was the simplification of natural forms to emphasize their decorative features and the arrangement of these forms into a harmonious composition.29 Members of the Institute produced exquisite ceramic works during this period. A photograph of a ceramic tile attributed to a Mechanics Institute potter dating to around 1910, shows water and fish forms that are flattened and simplified into curvilinear shapes and arranged into a decorative composition. In photographs illustrating vases produced at the Institute between 1907 and 1918, some by Walrath and some by his students, one sees the stylized plant motifs and the distinctive glazes for which Walrath was well known.

An Arts and Crafts shop was formed by the Arts Students’ League, a society composed of students from the Mechanics Institute, later renamed the Rochester Art League, to serve as both workshop and sales room.30 Some of the items offered for sale included jewelry, tooled leather bags and book covers, basketwork, pottery, metal work, curtains, and stenciled fabrics. The Institute’s constitution stated, “The object shall be to promote such practical education as may enable those persons receiving instruction to become better fitted for their occupation in life.”31 Quite in fitting with its emphasis on practicality, the Mechanics Institute took a very practical view of the Arts and Crafts:

[The works produced by the shop] reflect credit on the institute and are a lesson in the school’s practical ideals. The idea which underlies the whole endeavor is that a craftsman also may be an artist. He was an artist in Florence, when the arts were in their prime; he was an artist at the Kelmscott with William Morris. But there is no Roycroft make-believe and nostrum-worship here. The workers are craftsmen in the old artistic sense of the word.32

Crafts produced by the students at the Mechanics Institute were also sold at the Henry C. Wisner Company, a local art shop that also sponsored craft exhibitions.33

Even the certificates given by the Institute in this period show the influence of the Arts and Crafts style. One extant example, a diploma given to a student named Naomi Lilly Spindelman in 1912 for her completion of the Decorative Design course, includes heavy Gothic-inspired typeface, ornamentation, and decorative borders, that are comparable to the book designs of William Morris’ Kelmscott Press.

A 1908 advertisement claimed that the Department of Applied and Fine Arts of the Mechanics Institute stood at the head in the application of art to industry.34 The growing reputation of the Institute, and a thriving commercial art market in the early twentieth century provided bountiful employment opportunities for the former students of the Applied and Fine Arts program.35 The Rochester Herald reported that registration for the fine arts course was unusually heavy for the 1907 school year, because “many of the recent graduates were placed in lucrative positions, and the demand that comes from all parts of the country for teachers of domestic science and art shows how wide a reputation the local institute has.”36

Women during the Arts and Crafts movement

A study of women’s involvement in the Arts and Crafts movement would be incomplete without an understanding of the social and cultural position women found themselves in during Victorian times. In the Victorian era, a woman’s place was in the home, and marriage was her only proper vocation and means of achieving social recognition and economic security. Society gave little thought to the likelihood that a widow, or even a married woman, may need to support herself and her dependents; it was inconceivable that a woman should earn her own living as a matter of achieving self-respect or independence. Paid work was considered debasing for women, yet it was the duty of men.37 Up until 1870, when there was a gradual increase in the number of girls’ schools, women customarily received little or no formal education because their lives were oriented towards their anticipated future roles as wives, with only social duties and society aspirations.38

By the mid-nineteenth century, the long-standing problem of untrained women with no means of support was becoming acute in England. Paid employment for middle-class women remained strictly limited to such occupations as governess or teacher. In view of the limited roles and characteristics imposed upon them by society, it was essential for women to find work that was considered appropriate and would not compromise their ability to attract a husband. The work had to reflect feminine capabilities and maintain the Victorian ideal of womanhood. Arts and crafts became recognized as a suitable area of employment for women as it could be seen as an extension of women’s “instinctive taste and natural grace.”39 The arts and crafts could be seen to comply with Ruskin’s ideal of the woman’s place and the qualities essential to her being a good wife. Although there was anxiety over the possible erosion of the traditional division of labor between the sexes, arts and crafts occupations were viewed as posing little threat to the established occupations of men who monopolized the dominant positions.40 Moreover, women were often relegated to the most menial tasks and restricted to very few areas of designing, such as flower painting. Women were encouraged to take employment in subordinate positions and were all but excluded from those reserved for men; their talents were thereby limited to only a small segment of the craft. It was generally the designers, usually men, who received recognition for their creativity, while the executants of the design, usually women, remained anonymous.41

The situation for American women was not dissimilar from that of women in England. Women were increasingly dependent on their own resources due to the drain of available men caused by emigration to the West. And as in England, art education was on the rise in America due to industries’ growing demand for native designers to cut the cost of importing foreign designs.42 Handicrafts, an integral part of the Arts and Crafts movement, were viewed as suitable work for women in America as in England. In an Arts and Crafts exhibition held at the Mechanics Institute in 1902, the works of craftswomen were praised for being “done by feminine hands” by “women’s unique methods.”43 Women in the nineteenth century were often taught home crafts, such as needlework, in preparation for their expected roles as housewives. Not only was the development of handicraft skills encouraged as a means to earn a living, it was also a productive hobby that could be carried out at home, as it required little space and simple tools.44 The emerging Arts and Crafts movement, with its emphasis on handicrafts, gave numerous women the opportunity to exert influence outside the home.45 The Arts and Crafts movement coincided with the emergence of the Progressive Era in America, which disseminated the idea that economic independence was desirable for women.46
Women at the Mechanics Institute

The Mechanic Institute was co-educational from the beginning. At the time of its founding in 1885, more than ninety percent of men and women who entered the public schools did not go beyond high school, and fewer than one percent of public school students attended colleges.47 The Institute provided an opportunity that could not be found elsewhere for the local working class people, and was especially appealing to women who had very few options for post-primary education.

In sharp contrast to Victorian ideals, the population of Rochester in the early twentieth century comprised a large percentage of unmarried women; additionally, numerous married, widowed, and divorced women were contributing their earnings to support their families. Rochester manufacturers relied on their women workers, and in a changing industrial economy, the Mechanics Institute offered the education and training women needed.48

Compared to similar schools of the time, the Mechanics Institute was exceptionally supportive of its women students. They were awarded scholarships, were allowed into every program, and were well represented on the faculty and the Board of Trustees.49 In this respect, the Institute’s populist attitude toward education was decades ahead of its time.

Similar to art classes offered in English schools, the Mechanics Institute offered classes in china painting, relief modeling, drawing from casts, drawing from life, embroidery, metalworking and painting. And like the earliest schools that were open to women in England, the Mechanics Institute saw large numbers of women eagerly taking up that opportunity.50 Approximately twenty-five hundred students were enrolled at the Mechanics Institute during 1898–99, and more than half of them were women.51 Indeed, photographs of classes offered by the Department of Applied and Fine Arts reveal classrooms comprised mostly, if not exclusively, of women. Women often outnumbered men, and were even found in classes that were generally oriented to men, like furniture making.

The ceramics industry was the first to respond to the growing demand for unique handcrafted objects. In the 1870s, art pottery decoration and china painting became an extremely popular pastime among middle-class women as they were seen as suitable outlets for feminine talents. With this social sanction, art pottery decoration rapidly came to be seen as a dignified means of employment for middle-class women.52 China painting classes were offered at the Mechanics Institute, appearing in course catalogs as early as 1890, when three classes were offered each week.

Women were active participants in the student life at the Mechanics Institute. Some served as class president.53 Half or more of the officers of the Art Students’ League consistently were women.54 A reporter for the Evening Post newspaper, upon visiting the Institute, claimed that women of the design classes “generally exhibit more talent than do the men.”55

M. Louise Stowell and Lulu Scott Backus were prominent figures among the many women in New York engaged in both the theoretical and practical aspects of the Arts and Crafts movement. They were both instructors at (and former students of) the Mechanics Institute. Stowell was one of the earliest students at the Mechanics Institute to take the freehand drawing class. She became a member of the faculty at the Mechanics Institute in 1890 where she taught drawing, color, composition, and Saturday classes; she also arranged for an Arts and Crafts exhibition to be held at the Institute in 1902. She was a member of the Rochester Art Club and the American Watercolor Society, and secretary of the Rochester Arts and Crafts Society, the first Arts and Crafts society in New York State. Although known mostly for her watercolors and her influence as a teacher, she was also a practitioner of the applied arts.56 Like many other artists in the Arts and Crafts movement, Stowell’s works were influenced by elements of Japanese design, including sparseness and restraint in ornament and color and an intimacy with nature.57

Lulu Scott Backus was also a former student of the Mechanics Institute where she took teacher-training courses and did her postgraduate work with Theodore Hanford Pond. She was the director of the Department of Ceramics at the Institute and was a ceramic instructor for thirty-four years. She was a successful artist, head of the YWCA Arts and Crafts Hobby Shop, and member of the American Ceramic Society and New York Society of Ceramic Arts.58

An American success short of the ideal

Despite Morris’ intention to provide beautiful art to all people, in reality only the wealthy were ever able to afford the objects produced by his firm. In contrast to England, the success of the American Arts and Crafts movement relied on artists’ willingness to use machines and molds to aid quality and increase commercial viability. Although proponents of the movement regarded the medieval craftsman as the pre-industrial ideal, they were not entirely anti-industrial or anti-modern; they were simply opposed to the abuse of industry, which they defined as the compromise of originality and integrity in favor of the commerciality of an object. It was the extent to which machines should be incorporated into the work process that was the subject of contention. For the Americans, the Arts and Crafts movement was less a philosophy than a style of design. They were more concerned with aesthetics and commerce. The Roycroft Community, an Arts and Crafts organization founded in 1895 by Elbert Hubbard in East Aurora, New York, for example, was not a commune as the name suggests, but a business enterprise that employed more than five hundred workers during its most prosperous period, around 1910.59

The craftspeople behind the artists, who were mostly women, were often not credited for their work, further differentiating the American movement from the European concern for valuing craftspeople and honoring their work.60 Traditional ideas also remained rooted in the culture. Most women did not want to work, nor were they expected to have a career. One student writing for The Athenaeum claimed, “The study of art may serve in the case of many young ladies to fill in the period between high school and matrimony.”61 According to H. S. Greenleaf, one of the first five women appointed to the Institute’s Board of Trustees, in a speech given at a graduation ceremony, “The days when it was improper for young ladies to be educated have passed forever. The time has come when it is recognized that a girl will make a better housewife, a better mother and a better companion, for having an education.”62 The Mechanics Institute was lauded for becoming a “power in the matrimonial market.”63 It should be noted that while it was acceptable for women (even married women), to work, it remained taboo for mothers to do so.64

While educational opportunities for women expanded, actually earning a satisfactory livelihood remained a difficulty, especially when women’s work was constantly undervalued. Cheap labor and low wages were accepted facts of life for women. Even the Mechanics Institute showed salary discrepancies that were clearly sex based. In addition, jobs remain scarce for women. Despite their education or training, women were not welcomed in traditionally male dominated fields.65 Without a realistic way to make a decent living, the only way for women to be upwardly mobile continued to be to marry someone who was upwardly mobile.66 If they had to work, or chose to do so, women were encouraged to take up teaching art because of the long-standing attitudes toward the suitability of the profession. Teaching was considered the woman’s “special” work.67 The alumni sections of The Athenaeum showed numerous women who went on to teach, while only a few went on to do commercial work. By 1923, almost ninety percent of the home economics teachers and half of the art teachers in Rochester public schools were graduates of the Mechanics Institute.68 The creation of the domestic science program at the Mechanic Institute, and its subsequent popularity, also continued to separate and channel women into traditionally feminine fields.69

Women’s positions in the Arts and Crafts movement were limited by Victorian ideology, which discouraged women from professional work or any serious artistic pursuits. Working class women were exploited as low-wage laborers—executants of designs that were often credited to men—while society’s domestic ideology upheld women’s place as being in the home. Limited by “feminine” crafts and the shame of having to engage in the paid labor force, women faced continual prejudices against their working. According to Callen, the Arts and Crafts movement had radical social and political aims, yet there was a general blindness to the oppression of women within the movement. In turn, it reinforced the traditional patriarchal structure that dominated contemporary society. 70


With the approach of World War I, the Arts and Crafts movement began to loose its momentum. However, the movement continued to influence the work of its devotees long after the societies and publications ceased to exist. The craftspeople, who were trained as a result of the movement, continued their trade into the 1920s and beyond; and for many years, American life continued to be shaped by the philosophies of the movement.71

Despite the ideological barriers women faced, the Arts and Crafts movement furthered employment and creative opportunities for large numbers women. The Rochester Institute of Technology was instrumental in promoting the movement and providing an active ground for artists, both men and women. By opening its doors to women at a time when few other similar institutions were doing so, RIT possessed a populist spirit akin to that of the Arts and Crafts movement. Just as the inclusion of women helped to propel the success of the Arts and Crafts movement, the participation of women at RIT became an influential force in the early growth of the institution. As much as this paper attempts to cover, much more can be said about the women of this period who contributed greatly to the developments of both the Institute and the Arts and Crafts movement, yet remain excluded from the writings of history.


Austin, Bruce A. The American Arts and Crafts movement in western New York, 1900–1920: RIT 9 December 1991 through 22 January 1992. Rochester, New York: Rochester Institute of Technology, 1992.

Bowman, Leslie Greene. American arts & crafts: virtue in design. Los Angeles, California: Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Boston: Bulfinch Press/Little, Brown, 1990.
Callen, Anthea. Women Artists of the Arts and Crafts movement, 1870–1914. New York: Pantheon Books, 1979.
Fidler, Patricia J. Art with a Mission: Objects of the Arts and Crafts Movement: Spencer Museum of Art, the University of Kansas, March 31–May 26, 1991. Lawrence, Kansas: Spencer Museum of Art, 1991.
Jeffery, Michael. Christie's arts and crafts style. London: Pavilion, 2001.
Gordon, Dane R. Rochester Institute of Technology: industrial development and educational innovation in an American city. New York: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1982.
Ludwig, Coy L. The Arts and Crafts Movement in New York State, 1890s–1920s. Hamilton, New York: Gallery Association of New York State, Inc., 1983.
Menz, Christopher. Morris & Company: Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide. Adelaide: Art Gallery of South Australia, 2002.
Rogers, Susan M. “Women at the Rochester Institute of Technology, 1885–1925.” Unpublished essay.
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Course Catalog 1885–1901.

Folder “Backus, Lulu Scott.”

Folder “Stowell, M. Louise.”

Photographs. Box A01, A02, A03, A04: Academics.

Scrapbook. Clifford Ulp, Vol. I.

Scrapbook. Colby.

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Scrapbook. 1896–1898.

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2 Ludwig 2–3.

3 Ludwig 3.

4 Callen, preface.

5 Ludwig 9.

6 Ludwig 10.

7 Jeffery 44.

8 Ludwig 9.

9 Gordon 50; Ludwig 14–15, 19.

10 “The Mechanics Institute.” Scrapbook 1891–1896, p. 15. RIT Archives.

11 Ludwig 19, 25.

12 Ludwig 55.

13 The Athenaeum, Feb 1911, p. 14–15. RIT Archives.

14 Times, Nov. 26, 1907. Clifford Ulp scrapbook, Vol. I. RIT Archives. The Athenaeum, Feb 1911, p. 15. RIT Archives. Ludwig 27.

15 “Professor Colby Talks to the Ceramic Society,” Democrat & Chronicle, Mar. 30, 1894. Colby scrapbook. RIT Archives.

16 Walrath, “Commercial and Art Pottery.” Unpublished essay, 1909. Clifford Ulp scrapbook, Vol. I. RIT Archives.

17 Ludwig 27.

18 “Rochester, N.Y.” Art Bulletin, Apr. 6, 1907. Clifford Ulp scrapbook, Vol. I. RIT Archives.

19 Exhibition pamphlet, 1903. Clifford Ulp scrapbook, Vol. I. RIT Archives.

20 Ludwig 57.

21 “Annual Exhibition of Arts and Crafts.” Democrat, Apr. 1913. Clifford Ulp scrapbook, Vol. I. RIT Archives.

22 Ludwig 10; Scrapbook 1891–1896. RIT Archives.

23 Gordon 42.

24 Fidler 28.

25 Fidler 35.

26 Menz 43.

27 Callen 46.

28 “News of Artists.” Dec. 19, 1894. Scrapbook 1891–1896, p. 92–93. RIT Archives.

29 Fidler 45 and Ludwig 21.

30 Democrat and Chronicle, Sept. 13, 1911. Clifford Ulp scrapbook, Vol. I. RIT Archives.

31 Course Catalog 1885–1901. RIT Archives.

32 “Mechanics Institute Exhibit,” Post, Oct. 14, 1908. Clifford Ulp scrapbook, Vol. I. RIT Archives.

33 Fidler 53.

34 Clifford Ulp scrapbook, Vol. I. RIT Archives.

35 Rogers 20.

36 Rochester Herald, Sept. 4, 1907. Clifford Ulp scrapbook, Vol. I. RIT Archives.

37 Callen 8.

38 Callen 20.

39 Callen 22–25.

40 Callen 26–27.

41 Callen 42, 52–54, 162.

42 Callen 43–44.

43 Mar. 16, 1902. Unidentified clipping, “Stowell, M. Louise” folder. RIT Archives.

44 Ludwig 22.

45 Ludwig 16.

46 Rogers 5.

47 “For the Young” Jun. 11, 1892. Scrapbook 1891–1896, p. 35. RIT Archives.

48 Rogers 4–5.

49 Rogers 6–8.

50 Callen 34.

51 Gordon 71.

52 Bowman 134, Callen 54.

53 Democrat and Chronicle, Jun. 13, 1915 and Jun. 20, 1919. Clifford Ulp scrapbook, Vol. I. RIT Archives.

54 Times, April 8, 1909. Clifford Ulp scrapbook, Vol. I. RIT Archives.

55 “Institute for Art-Artisans.” Evening Post, Sept. 22, 1894. Colby scrapbook. RIT Archives.

56 “Stowell, M. Louise” folder. RIT Archives.

Ludwig 34, 77.

57 Ludwig 4.

58 Reprint from The Bulletin of The American Ceramic Society, Vol. 21, No. 5, May 15, 1942. “Backus, Lulu Scott” folder. RIT Archives.

59 Jeffery 54, Ludwig 35.

60 Bowman 33.

61 The Athenaeum, Jan. 1912, p. 21–22. RIT Archives.

62 “Another Year Ended,” Jun 1893. Colby Scrapbook. RIT Archives.

63 “Industry and Fine Art.” Jun. 5, 1895. Scrapbook 1891–1896, p. 116. RIT Archives.

64 Rogers 14–15.

65 Rogers 6, 12.

66 Rogers 18.

67 Callen 34.

68 Rogers 15.

69 Rogers 21.

70 Callen 17, 219.

71 Ludwig 10.

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