Visual Music: Mary Greenewalt at HSP

A University of the Arts alumna’s work is at the center of a Historical Society of Pennsylvania event on Thursday, January 27, 2011. Mary Elizabeth Hallock Greenewalt, an 1893 graduate of the Philadelphia Musical Academy (today’s UArts School of Music), was known for her invention of the nourathar, an organ that displayed color scored to music (she also invented the rheostat, or light dimmer!). The Historical Society event will feature composers performing their own work inspired by Greenewalt and her papers, now available to researchers at the Historical Society and on exhibit for the event. One of the composers is UArts faculty member Andrea Clearfield.

Greenewalt seated at one of her inventions. This image taken from

Intrigued by the nourathar? To find out more you can read UArts Music Librarian Mark Germer’s essay on Greenewalt, published in an earlier library newsletter.

“Undefeated Since 1876”? As a matter of fact, yes!

The UArts School Store’s “Undefeated Since 1876” football t-shirt is a perennial best-seller, and it turns out that there’s some truth to the joke.

An item in a Pennsylvania Museum & School of Industrial Art (today’s UArts College of Art, Media and Design) student publication from 1936 is entitled “P.M.S.I.A. Blanks Academy 18-0“, and dramatically (and tongue in cheek) recounts the football game incidents on and off the field. The Academy mentioned is the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

from the Winter 1936 "Sketchbook"
from the Winter 1936 "Sketchbook"; note that we also beat the Academy at ping-pong

Further proof of the athletic prowess of our students appears in a 1964 yearbook for the Philadelphia Musical Academy (PMA), today’s UArts School of Music. PMA played the Philadelphia Museum College of Art (yet another name change, but still today’s UArts College of Art, Media & Design) twice, with both games ended in a tie (12-12 and 2-2). The PMA students did beat the art students in a basketball game (score: 72-65), but now that we’re all one institution we can honestly say that (as far as we know!) we remain undefeated since 1876.

Philadelphia Musical Academy cheerleaders
Philadelphia Musical Academy cheerleaders from a 1965 yearbook

UArts History: Rose Valley and William L. Price

An article in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer Home & Design section is about the restoration of a Rose Valley house designed by William Lightfoot Price (1861-1916). Many of you, especially if you’re interested in the Arts and Crafts movement, may have heard of Rose Valley, but you may not be aware of the Price family’s strong ties to UArts.

Siblings Frank L., Mary Louisa, Susanna Martin, Walter Ferris and William L. all attended the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art (PMSIA, now the UArts College of Art and Design) from approximately 1887 to about 1893. Walter was William’s architectural partner, and Frank seems to have collaborated with William as well. Susanna became an art teacher at Miss Irwin’s School (better known today as Agnes Irwin School), and Mary married architect Carl deMoll (Carl and Mary are both listed in the PMSIA 1888-1889 roll of students, as are Frank Price and Susanna Price). While little documentation exists in the UArts archives to show that William attended, he is listed as a former student in several school catalogs and is listed twice in a March 13, 1888 program of tableaux vivants performed by PMSIA and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts students.

PMSIA student design work by Mary Louisa Price, circa 1888.
PMSIA student design work by Mary Louisa Price, circa 1888.

For more about the fascinating Price family, consultĀ William L. Price: Arts and Crafts to Modern Design by noted architectural history scholar George E. Thomas, and the Rose Valley Museum & Historical Society Web site.

You’ll find more information about the Price siblings on our Notable Alumni page (scroll down for all the Prices).