The Harriet Maria Scott Memorial Stained Glass Window
We begin in 1854 with the birth of Harriet “Hattie” Scott in Terre Haute, Indiana. In 1873 she enrolled in the Indiana State Normal School (ISNS - now Indiana State University), which had opened in 1870. After graduating from ISNS, Scott taught in Terre Haute’s public schools, and in 1880 she accepted appointment on the ISNS faculty. In 1883, Scott’s teacher and mentor at ISNS, Amanda Parker Funnelle, urged Harriet to come to Michigan to assist her with the Detroit Normal Training School she had recently established.
When Funnelle resigned from Detroit Normal Training School in 1886, Scott succeeded her as principal and remained in that position for nearly 13 years. She thus became the second principal (dean) of what became the Wayne State University College of Education. Ms. Scott resigned her position in 1899 and moved to California, where in 1906 she died at the age of 52 at the home of her mother.
In 1907 the Detroit Normal School Alumni Association president appointed a committee to plan a memorial to Scott. It was decided that the memorial should be in the form of a stained-glass window, portraying components of teaching, knowledge and education, so in 1908 a subscription was opened among Detroit teachers to raise money for the window, and donations were received from 283 individuals, ranging from 50¢ to $10, for a total of $863 including $200 from the Alumni Association.
During 1909-1910 designs for the memorial were sought from the Tiffany and the Church Glass & Decorating companies, both of New York. The latter was chosen, having shown immediate interest and devoting much time to the effort. The designer (and company president) was the American artist Caryl Coleman.
The contract was signed in 1911 agreeing that for the sum of $700 a 4’ x 9’ stained-glass window would be created with opalescent glass depicting an allegorical subject to be set in place in the Normal School. The allegorical subject—the Education of Women—is characterized by Teta, the headmistress, a profoundly learned teacher instructing Lioba at Winburnia, an eighth century school for women in England. The window’s image of Teta immortalizes Harriet Scott’s likeness, and the pupil Lioba symbolizes all of Miss Scott’s pupils.
Intended for installation in the old Washington Normal School building, this could not be accomplished because it was deemed unsafe to open a wall to accommodate the window. In 1914 a new building – the Martindale Normal Training School – was completed, and the memorial window was to be installed in the library. But the building architects had made a square top for the window opening instead of a round top! The artist Coleman had to resolve this problem, and the window was finally installed. In lieu of an unveiling ceremony, the Alumni Association published a booklet that contained the biography, the eulogy, and a picture of the Scott Memorial Window. Unfortunately, there are no known copies of the booklet still in existence.
The Martindale building, later named Detroit Teachers College, was eventually razed. The window was removed before the building was demolished and stored at Wayne State University until 1981 when it was re-discovered, restored, and placed in the east foyer of the College of Education building as part of the college’s centennial celebration.
Take a moment the next time you enter the east foyer of the Education building to admire this artistic and beautiful window, which represents so much history that immortalizes the memory of its namesake. And, read more about the history of the College of Education at http://coe.wayne.edu/about/history.php
*The College of Education is grateful to Dr. William P. Sosnowsky, college historian and professor emeritus, for his exceptional effort in researching and writing this historical account of Harriet Scott and the stained glass window, created and named in Scott’s honor, that adorns the Education building's east foyer.
Registration with the Michigan Stained Glass Census:
Given its significance and thanks to the efforts of Dr. Sosnowsky, in 2005the College of Education’s Harriet Maria Scott Memorial Window was registered with the Michigan Stained Glass Census. The census was established in 1992 and is administered by the Michigan State University Museum. This register lists stained glass treasures in Michigan through the efforts of volunteers such as Dr. Sosnowsky, who submit information on stained glass windows throughout the state to the census. These items are then entered into a searchable database that has become an important resource for scholarly research in many fields.
The census’ website, launched in 1997, includes online census forms, a list of registered buildings arranged by location, links to other websites with images of stained glass windows, and a Window of the Month feature. The Harriet Maria Scott Memorial window was the Window of the Month in March 2005. The college has received a Certificate of Registration to confirm that it has been included in this statewide inventory of Michigan’s stained glass treasures.