Thursday, August 25, 2011

Where Morton Smith Got the Money to Go to School with the Pitcairns at Bryn Athyn

Engraving | J. C. Spence & Sons, Stained Glass | M930.50.2.219

Keystone Stained Glass Works
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Henry J. Smith (1844-1913) was born in Toronto, apprenticed there with McCausland and Ryder, and then worked with JC Spence in Montreal. In 1871, he founded a stained-glass business in Philadelphia, and was first listed in the city's business directory as a glass stainer in 1872.

By December 1872, Clark was apparently no longer associated with the firm as a Catholic Standard announcement records that the firm of Magee & Smith (now of Vine Street) made sixteen stained-glass windows for St. John the Baptist Church, Pottsville. The city business directory lists Magee & Smith in 1873 at 1235 Vine Street, and in 1874 at South Broad and Kater Streets. Among the firm's documented work was the stained glass for College Hall, University of Pennsylvania, and the extant facade window in the Masonic Temple. In 1874 Magee submitted several specimens of cut, ground, and embossed glass for architectural purposes to the Exhibition of American Manufactures sponsored by Philadelphia's Franklin Institute. The judges commented that "some of the designs are very good."

Magee & Smith advertised monthly in the Catholic Standard from 3 January 1874 until 5 September 1874, when Henry J. Smith placed a separate advertisement for his stained-glass factory at 617 South Broad Street. Then in October of that year, an advertisement was placed for John A. Magee, Manufacturer of Ornamental Glass at 1235 Vine Street, the location formerly occupied by Magee & Smith. Magee continued to advertise in the Standard through June 1878, and was listed in the Philadelphia business directory at the Vine Street address from 1876 through 1883, after which his name disappeared from the directory.

Smith's business, however, continued to prosper. From 1875 through 1879 Smith's stained-glass business was listed as HJ Smith & Co., 617 South Broad Street, and in 1875 Crockery and Glass Journal reported that Smith, owner of HJ Smith & Co., was in partnership with WB Carlile and and M. Joy, house and fresco painters.

The same article noted that Smith had a thorough knowledge of the history of stained glass and had worked in the field since boyhood. Smith sold his business at 617 South Broad Street to Groves & Steil in 1879, and by 1881 Smith was managing Keystone Stained Glass Works, located at 110 Jacoby Street, with an office at 6 North 11th Street.

Keystone Stained Glass Works, owned in the 1880s by James Mulligan, was first listed in the Philadelphia business directory in 1870. By 1885 Smith and Mulligan were listed joindy in promotional announcements for the firm that then had its principal office at 271 South 5th Street and a branch office at 6 & 8 North 11th Street, and by 1890 Smith was the sole proprietor. In 1903 the firm still located at 271 South 5th Street was no longer listed as Keystone, but HJ Smith & Sons (HJ, Ernest W, and RH). HJ Smith & Sons moved to 236 South 8th Street by 1904 and to 3216 North 16th Street by 1927, where the studio continued to be located at least through 1936.

Throughout the 1880s, Keystone Stained Glass Works advertised in the Catholic Standard, and on 1 January 1881, an advertisement referred readers to St. Augustine Church and St. Joseph Orphan Asylum as locations where the firm's work could be seen. These windows are no longer extant, but there is a description from the same period of a design the firm submitted for the Chicago Board of Trade Building competition in 1884. The design was reported as "a man sowing in Medieval dress, — yellow hood, green cape, red robe, blue nether garments and brown shoes; on either side of him ripening maize; the whole is [within] a border of fruit."

In the mid- 1880s the publication Pennsylvania Historical Review: City of Philadelphia. Leading Manufacturers and Merchants reported that Keystone Stained Glass Works employed twenty-five skilled artisans and produced "modern [works of art]" [Stained glass in Catholic Philadelphia p. 450]

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