Featured Windows, March 2005
College of Education at Wayne State University
Building: College of Education at Wayne State University
The Harriet Maria Scott Memorial Window, now located in the east foyer of Wayne State University's Education Building, was created in 1912, to honor the second principal (or dean) of the Detroit Normal Training School, an institution that would eventually become the Wayne State University College of Education.
Its allegorical subject is the education of women, an endeavor to which Harriet Scott (1854-1906) devoted her life. The scene, set in an eighth-century English school for women, depicts a learned woman, Teta, instructing her student Lioba. Teta's face bears Harriet Scott's likeness, while the image of Lioba represents the many women she trained. The window is inscribed, "In Memoriam, Harriet Scott, Principal, Detroit Normal Training School, 1885-1899."
Born in Terre Haute, Indiana, Harriet Scott graduated from Indiana State Normal School (now Indiana State University). She taught for some time in the public schools and at the Normal School, then came to Detroit in 1883, to help with the Detroit Normal Training School--founded in 1881 by her former teacher and mentor, Amanda Parker Funnelle. In 1885 she succeeded Funnelle as the school's principal, a position she held until her resignation in 1899. During those years she supervised the training program that prepared many young women to become teachers.
After Scott's death in 1906, the Detroit Normal School Alumni Association organized a drive to raise funds for a memorial window that would express her dedication to teaching, knowledge and the education of women. With $863 in donations from Detroit teachers and the alumni association, the window committee approached several firms for window designs, including New York's Tiffany Studios and the Church Glass & Decorating Company. When Caryl Coleman (c. 1846-1930), designer and president of the latter firm, showed great interest in the project, he was chosen to design the window, which his company would fabricate. The 1911 contract called for a 4-foot-by-9-foot opalescent glass window, depicting the Education of Women in an allegorical scene, to be installed in the Normal School, all for the sum of $700.
Several problems delayed the final installation of the memorial window. In 1912, after the committee learned that the wall of the old school building could not be safely opened to accommodate the window, they decided to place it in storage until a proper location could be found. When the completed window was shipped to Detroit and unpacked, several breaks in the glass were discovered, and the window was returned to New York to be repaired by the Montague Castle-London Company, under Coleman's supervision. It was 1915 before the window could be placed in a new building, the Martindale Normal Training School, later renamed Detroit Teachers College. Because the new building's architects had provided an opening with a square top, the top of the window had to be redesigned by Coleman for its intended location. To mark the successful installation of the modified window, the committee published a booklet that included Scott's biography, a picture of the window and its history. When the Martindale building was later razed, the window was removed and stored at Wayne State University, where in 1981 it was rediscovered, restored and installed in its present location as part of the college's centennial celebration. Its final home, constructed in 1960, was designed by noted Michigan architect Minoru Yamasaki.
The Harriet Maria Scott Memorial Window was registered in the Michigan Stained Glass Census by William P. Sosnowsky of Grosse Pointe Farms, MI, Professor Emeritus and Historian of the College of Education, Wayne State University, Detroit.
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Text by Betty MacDowell, Michigan Stained Glass Census, March , 2005.