Historical Facts About Moore

Moore College of Art & Design
Historical Facts

Dates & Name Changes for
Moore College of Art & Design

1848-1850Philadelphia School of Design for Women (PSDW)

1932-1963Moore Institute of Art, Science, & Industry

1963-1989Moore College of Art (MCA)

1989-presentMoore College of Art & Design (MCAD)

History of Moore College of Art & Design

1848 Sarah Worthington Peter establishes the Philadelphia School of Design for women in her Society Hill home.

1850 The Franklin Institute takes over the PSDW.

1853PSDW is incorporated after formally breaking its ties with the Franklin Institute. 

1873Elizabeth Croasdale becomes principal of PSDW.

1880PSDW moves into the Edwin Forrest Mansion at Broad Street.

1886Emily Sartain becomes principal of PSDW.

1909  Board of Lady Managers given a direct voice in the management of the school. Edward Gombert becomes Principal.

1919Harriet Sartain becomes principal of PSDW.

1921The Young People’s Art Workshop (now Young Artists’ Workshop) is founded.

1931The State of Pennsylvania authorizes the PSDW to grant Bachelor of Science in Art Education degrees, becoming the first independent art school in the country able to grant a degree of any kind.

1932PSDW merges with the Moore Institute of Art, Science & Industry.

1941 Moore is the first art & design school to be accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges & Universities.

1946Harold R. Rice becomes first President of Moore.

1948Moore begins its continuing studies program.

1950Moore engaged architect, Roy F. Larson (Harbeson, Hough, Livingston and Larson) to draw up plans for a new campus.

1953Moore was accredited by the American Assn. Of Colleges for Teacher Education and by the PA Assn. Of Colleges and Universities.  It also held official membership in the National Commission on Accrediting, the only professional art school in PA so recognized.

1953-1957Acquired site for new campus.  Planning stages and construction for new location on Logan Circle

 1959Moore moves into its present location at the Parkway & Twentieth Street, in the heart of the Philadelphia cultural community.


Moore’s building program was completed at an investment of more than $4,000,000. May 21, 1960 was the opening ceremony at which time Mayor Dilworth proclaimed “MIA day”.  More than 1300 guests attended the opening. 

1960Crozier Hall located at 2039 Cherry Street which housed the “overflow” students from the dormitory was bought.  After extensive improvements were made the building was opened in 1961 as a freshman dormitory.  With room for 80 students it was renamed Sartain Hall

1963 The Moore Institute becomes Moore College of Art.

1964Mayo Bryce becomes President of Moore.

1968First Moore Gallery is established.

1976 Millicent Brown Allen becomes President of Moore (?)

1978Herbert J. Burgart becomes President of Moore (?)

1983 The Goldie Paley Gallery is established with the mission to showcase international artists.

1986The Library space & resources are doubled.

1987The Levy Gallery for the Arts in Philadelphia is established, with the mission of featuring emerging artists & minority artists from Philadelphia.

1989Moore becomes Moore College of Art & Design.

1990Moore inaugurates its Computer-Assisted Design Drafting (CADD) lab.

1991Dr. Mary-Linda Merriam is appointed as Moore’s first woman president. A new computer graphics lab is established.

1992Collaborative efforts are started with colleges in Korea & Japan.

1993Barbara Gillette Price is appointed 6th president of Moore.

1999Happy Craven Fernandez is appointed 7th  president of Moore.

2000New Wilson Hall opened.

School Locations

1848-1850Sarah Peter’s home, 320 South 3rd Street (below Spruce Street—no longer exists)

1850-1853 72 South Walnut Street

1853-1855 8th & Locust Streets

1855-1864Chestnut Street (opposite of U.S. Mint)

1864-1880Merrick & Filbert Street (now Broad & Filbert)

1880-1959Broad & Master Street (Edwin Forrest Mansion)

1960-presentLogan Square, 20th & the Parkway

“The Moore Institute of Art, Science & Industry merged in 1932 with The Philadelphia School of Design for Women. The Moore Institute was founded under the terms of the will of Joseph Moore, Jr. [Philadelphia banker & philanthropist], which provided [a generous $3 million bequest] for an institute of Art, Science & Industry offering practical education & training to young women, in memory of his father & mother, Joseph & Cecilia Moore”—Training for the Useful & the Beautiful, P. 1.

Sara Worthington Peter (1800 –1877) philanthropist & humanitarian with an interest in art, founder in 1848 of Philadelphia School of Design for Women (the first school of design exclusively for women). Peter realized that Philadelphia had become a hub for the nation’s production of textiles, wallpapers, floor coverings, upholstery material, lithography, bookmaking, illustration & wood engraving. There could be no better location for a school of design for women. At the time, to establish such a school was a true pioneering, especially as a means to financial independence for women.

Emily Sartain (1841-1927) Foremost etcher, engraver, & portrait painter & for 33 years served as principal of the Philadelphia School of Design for Women (1886-1919). During her years as principal, the number of departments had grown, the faculty was first rate & the Philadelphia School of Design for Women was establishing an international reputation.  Emily served a longer tenure than had any other principal, dean, president or chairman.  When she retired in 1919, the Board appointed Harriet Sartain, Emily’s niece & John Sartain’s grand-daughter & a member of the faculty for 16 years to be the college’s first dean. 

Harriet Sartain (1873-1957) Artist, Educator, & world traveler; teacher of drawing & painting; first dean of the Philadelphia School of Design for Women, served 27 years (1919-1946) Harriet Sartain was a competent successor to Emily Sartain.  After graduation from the Philadelphia School of Design for Women, she accepted commissions & taught private classes.  She was graciously outspoken in her views on education & the role she anticipated for women.  At various times she said:

“Careers for women are limited only by the woman.”

“Art means beauty in its broadest sense-from Mona Lisa to a well designed subway car…today’s art must necessarily be different from the art of other ages, since the people are different.”

“Art for art’s sake is not for America.  The imagination of this country is a practical one & the artist should direct his talents to the esthetic needs of the public, to design & create objects of art which fit into the average person’s scheme of living.  The classical, intellectual person prefers design; the emotional type leans toward color.”    

Read more about the History of Moore on the Connelly Library's Blog.