Thursday, August 25, 2011

How Morton Smith Ended Up Going to Bryn Athyn

I have been thinking about this for some time now. His parents were not members of the Swedenborgian church. So how did Morton Smith get into the academy which was 'members only'? My guess is that it has something to do with the very wealthy Pitcairn family who were always building churches in various places for the Swedenborgian community. Smith's grandfather's business - H J Smith & Sons - had up to twenty five artisans making stain glass windows. Henry J Smith used to advertise heavily in Catholic journals to get business throughout the late nineteenth century. There were lots of Catholics coming over from Europe during this period and the Catholic community was expanding and needed new buildings to house the faithful. Interestingly a similar thing was happening with the Swedenborg community in the early twentieth century (I will demonstrate this in a subsequent post).

Somehow I suspect that Smith's father Rubert Henry Smith was talking something from Henry J Smith's playbook by getting his son into the New Academy. Call me cynical. In any event, its a good working hypothesis until a better explanation comes along as we go back to 'getting inside of Morton Smith's head.' It is worth noting that H J Smith and Sons survived both the death of Morton's grandfather Henry J Smith (d. 1913) and the Great Depression lasting into 1936.

Robert O. Jones compiled the Biographical Index of Historic American Stained Glass Makers, published by the SGAA in 2002. He notes:

The Great Depression of the 1930s was a watershed in American history. The economic hardship brought about deep social, and economic change. Many stained glass businesses did not survive the Depression. The bottom had been reached by 1935, and hints of improving conditions were perceived by some. The Stained Glass Association of American membership list for the autumn of 1935, is a survivors list:

Allentown, PA, Neff-Chattoe Company
Arlington, MA, Arthur M. Dallin Studio
Atlanta, GA, American European Studios
Boston, MA, Beaumont & Aughtie
Wilbur Herbert Burnham
Charles J. Connick
Thomas J. Murphy
Margaret Redmond
Earl Edward Sanborn
Brookfield, IL, Brookfield Stained Glass Studio
Chicago, IL, H. Eberhardt & Company
Giannini & Hilgart Studios
Temple Stained Glass Studio
Cincinnati, OH, Grau Art Glass & Vitrolite Works
G.C. Riordan & Company
Columbus, OH, Rossbach Art Glass Company
The Von Gerichten Art Glass Company
Davenport, IA, Decorative Art Glass Company
Detroit, MI, Detroit Stained Glass Works
Fort Wayne, IN, Enterprise Art Glass Company
Grand Rapids, MI, Grand Rapids Art Glass & Mirror Company
High Point, NC, High Point Glass & Decorative Company
Hollis, L.I., NY, E. Zundel
Kansas City, MO, Kansas City Art Glass Works
La Crosse, WI, La Crosse Glass Company
Los Angeles, CA, Judson Studios
Milwaukee, WI, Conrad Schmitt Studios
Local Association, 17 studios
New York City, NY, G. Owen Bonawit, Inc.
A.L. Brink Studios, Inc.
Calvert-Herrick & Reddinger
Deprato Studio, Inc.
George Durham & Company
Heinigke & Smith
Henderson Brothers
J. & R. Lamb
Rambusch Decorating Company
Local Association, 11 studios
Philadelphia, PA, Century Stained Glass Works
Columbia Stained Glass Company
D'Ascenzo Studios
Philadelphia Ornamental Glass Studios
P.J. Reeves & Company
H.J. Smith & Sons
West Philadelphia Art Glass Works
Henry Lee Willet Stained Glass Company
Local Association, 10 studios
Pittsburgh, PA, Henry Hunt
A.L. Pitassi
Pittsburgh Stained Glass Studios
Local Association, 5 studios
Providence, RI, Decorative Window Company
Saint Andrew's Stained Glass Studio
Reading, PA, J.M. Kase Company
Rochester, NY, Baker Art Glass Studio
Pike Stained Glass Studio
Saint Joseph, MO, Century Ornamental Glass Company
Davis Art Glass Company
Hegger-Schmidt Art Glass Company
Jacoby Art Glass Company
Unique Art Glass Company
San Diego, CA, Wieland Studios
San Francisco, CA, Church Art Glass Company
Cummings Art Glass Company
Pacific Art Glass Company
Scranton, PA, Local Association, 4 studios
Syracuse, PA, Henry Keck
Wichita, KS, Western Glass Company

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