UMassD Swain School of Design 1903 - 1919

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1881-1902 1920-1929 1930-1939 1940-1949 1950-1959

1960-1969 1970-1979 1980-1988

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1903 - 1919

Clay modeling class

By 1901 the endowment limited the school’s operation, so it closed temporarily. It was felt that its general curriculum competed with the city’s public school system; many suggested Swain School find a niche not covered by other institutions within the city. 
Clay modeling class










It reopened in 1903 as a school of design with the initial expectation that graduates could find jobs in the local textile mills. In 1907 “Designing for Industry” was introduced, along with night and Saturday classes. In 1911the school established a curriculum in general art, design, manual arts for teachers, and architecture.

The following subjects are listed in the 1911 catalogue as being taught in both day and evening classes, "except those marked D which are taught only in day classes and those marked E are only taught in the evening classes:"

Elementary design and composition

Advanced Design

General free hand drawing

Modeling in clay and wax

Pottery-casting and plaster carving

Wood carving

Metal Work ( hammered copper, brass, etc.)


Book Binding

Leather Modeling



Drawing from cast in all mediums

Elements of Perspective

Principles of illustration

(E) Drawing from life

(D) Oil painting-Still life and portrait

(D) Water Color-Still life and portrait

Tone drawing

(D) Pictorial composition

History of art


Portrait Class, around 1912 
Portrait Class, around 1912 Swain School of Design

World War I affected attendance at the school, but it was the influenza epidemic of 1917 which caused classes to be interrupted. There was not sufficient student work the following year for an exhibition (1919), but after the war, attendance began to increase.

A $10 prize was offered to students during the teens and the 20s for the best design for the cover of the catalogue.

Catalogue covers
Click on the thumbnails for a larger image.

Swain catalogue cover 1904-19051904-1905 Swain catalogue cover 1910-19111910-1911 Swain catalogue cover 1912-19131912-1913 Swain catalogue cover 1913-19141913-1914 Swain catalogue cover 19141914




Swain catalogue cover 1915-19161915-1916 Swain catalogue cover 1916-19171916-1917 Swain catalogue cover 1918-19191918-1919