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Department of Art + Design, Art History, Art Education records

 Record Group
Identifier: 002-006-003-001

Scope and Contents

The collection is composed of correspondence, minutes, reports, programs, announcements, and other material related to the governance and events created by the College of Fine Arts and Communication.


  • Creation: 1963-1986

Conditions Governing Use

Towson University Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) is the owner of the original materials and digitized images in our collections; however, the collection may contain materials for which copyright is not held. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials. Consult with SCUA to determine if we can provide permission for use.

Biographical / Historical

In 1866, Emil Kett was one of three teachers hired by McFadden Alexander Newell to begin classes at the Maryland State Normal School [MSNS]. The school trained future teachers for the state of Maryland, and Kett, an artist who specialized in landscape and still-life paintings, was hired to instruct MSNS students in drawing.

From the beginning instructors who taught art at MSNS were themselves practicing artists. Often they had attended the Maryland Institute, now known as the Maryland Institute College of Art [MICA], in Baltimore. The department itself fosters work done by the faculty, creating exhibits to showcase and celebrate their art.

Originally, the department focused specifically on drawing skills, but by 1906 the program had developed so students used different mediums to showcase the study of modeling, shadows, composition, and color. Time was also spent considering architecture and aesthetics. The next year, the term “Art” was used to define the classes, rather than “Drawing”. By this point art instructor Florence Snyder, a graduate of the Maryland Institute, had been teaching at MSNS for 15 years. She continued to develop the program for another 20 years, folding “Manual Training” in with Art and emphasizing the practical nature of things like basket weaving, creation of teaching resources, and personal appearance. This focus was continued under Snyder’s eventual successors, Bernice Brouwer and Marie Neunsinger. Brouwer had apprenticed in a furniture factory and worked in commercial art at Waverly Press before coming to MSNS. Neunsinger was also a graduate of the Maryland Institute and when she left MSNS, she was hired by Baltimore County to oversee construction of new county buildings, and she painted what she saw. For both Brouwer and Neunsinger, art celebrated the industrial and technological advances of the human race, and the Art program at Towson reflected those beliefs. Students studied the development of resources such as clothing, shelter, and tools as well as some art history, classroom applications, and basic art instruction.

By World War II and with the introduction of the Junior College at the now State Teachers College at Towson, various art electives were offered. Students who wished to become art teachers could also take more classes that specialized in art. The Art program continued in this way until 1955, when the courses were completely re-designed. The emphasis on the industrial and manual arts was replaced by more work in art appreciation and design. Studio classes first begin in 1956 and quickly grow as more instructors were hired to cope with both the enrollment boom due to the baby boom and the change in focus from a teacher’s college to a liberal arts institution in 1963. Those instructors, just like their predecessors, were often practicing artists.

With the change to Towson State College came a major in art. By now the department had 9 instructors and students needed to take an average of 35 art credits to complete the major. While that model has remained much the same since that change in 1963, the art program is known as the Department of Art + Design, Art History, Art Education as of Fall of 2019.


.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Guide to the Department of Art + Design, Art History, Art Education records
Felicity Knox, revised and transferred to ArchivesSpace by John Esh
undated, 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Towson University Special Collections and University Archives Repository

Albert S. Cook Library
8000 York Rd
Towson MD 21252 United States