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Syracuse University College of Fine Arts Collection

An inventory of its collection at the Syracuse University Archives


Creator: Syracuse University. -- College of Fine Arts.
Title: Syracuse University College of Fine Arts Collection
Dates: 1873-1980
Size: 5 boxes, 2 packages, loose volumes (8.25 linear feet)
Abstract: The College of Fine Arts Collection contains information on the inner workings of the College, including bulletins, faculty and Executive Committee meeting minutes, as well as student works from the classes of Edward C. Fricke.
Language: English
Repository: University Archives,
Special Collections Research Center
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Ave., Suite 600
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Historical Note

Photograph of George F. Comfort

The College of Fine Arts at Syracuse University was founded by George Fisk Comfort in 1873, and he served as its first dean until 1894. Inaugurated on June 23, 1873, it was the first fine arts college of its kind established in America. The College was founded to "equate the study of art with the other elements of a liberal education" and students and faculty worked closely with the College of Liberal Arts. The original majors offered by the College were architecture and painting. In its first year, fifteen students matriculated. A Department of Music was inaugurated in 1877, but others such as sculpture, photography, oratory, and industrial art would eventually arise. Originally housed in the Hall of Languages, the College took up residence in the John Crouse Memorial College when it was finished in 1889. The founding of the College was met with both positive and negative commentary but, as enrollment and approval steadily grew over the years, dissent quickly vanished.

Photograph of Crouse College

The College continued to grow rapidly over the years. After a brief reprieve from Syracuse, Comfort returned to establish the Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts (now the Everson Museum) in 1900. Students of the College worked closely with the museum, adding fine arts exhibitions to the long list of events in which they partook. After the turn of the century, the College gained momentum. Seen as a cultural center, it had adapted well to the changing times and growth in student population, developing more fine arts programs, unique classes, and ways to open itself up to the surrounding community. Student groups began to sprout up as well. The Boar's Head Dramatic Society was founded as a performance group in 1905 and would continue for many decades. In 1910 the Department of Oratory was founded, which would eventually evolve into the School of Speech and Dramatic Arts in 1913. The early twentieth century was a period of great growth for the College.

In 1945, after the end of World War II, the College was reorganized into three schools: the School of Architecture, the School of Art, and the School of Music. This change was made to ensure that each field, and its subsequent programs, received the best direction and most attention possible. Enrollment boomed post-war and, coupled with the new design of the College, the Schools were in search of places to expand. In the years after the war, art study rooms were developed, as well a photography center, new music rehearsal spaces, and a ceramics lab. Operatic performance was added to the long list of potential areas of study, and the College thrived under the new, fortified leadership.

In 1972, the College of Fine Arts was disbanded and the College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) took its place, comprising of the School of Art, the Drama Department, the School of Music, and the Department of Speech Communication.

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Scope and Content Note

The Syracuse University College of Fine Arts Collection is divided into three series:

The Bulletins series contains individual and multi-volume bound bulletins that describe courses and policies relating to the College.

The Office files series contains general information files, meeting minutes from the Executive Committee, faculty, and Board of Graduate Studies, financial award information, and information on foundations the College worked with.

The Works by students of Edward C. Fricke series is comprised of artworks from the students of Fricke's design classes in the 1960s.

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Access Restrictions

Please note that the collection is housed off-site, and advance notice is required to allow time to have the materials brought to the Reading Room on campus.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from the Syracuse University Archives and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Related Material

More information on the College of Fine Arts can be found in the clipping files, the Photograph Collection, and the George Fisk Comfort Family Collection in the Syracuse University Archives.

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Selected Search Terms


Comfort, George Fisk, 1833-1910.
Fricke, Edward C.
Syracuse University -- History.
Syracuse University.
Syracuse University. -- College of Fine Arts.

Types of material

Minutes (administrative records)
Works of art.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Syracuse University College of Fine Arts Collection,
University Archives,
Special Collections Research Center
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Materials in the College of Fine Arts Collection were collected from the College by the Syracuse University Archives.

Processing Information

All materials are housed in acid-free folders and boxes.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: Erin Carter
Date: 2015
Revision history: 2016 - additional inventory added (AES)

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Materials are arranged by series and in alphabetical or chronological order.

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REF-Box 1 1874-1887
REF-Box 1 1901, 1916-1921
REF-Box 1 1932, 1945
REF-Box 1 1953-1956
1921-1930 (bound volume)
1930-1940 (2 bound volumes)
1940-1950 (bound volume)
1942-1949 (bound volume)
1949-1956 (bound volume)
1950-1956 (bound volume)
1954-1956 (4 bound volumes)
Office Files
Box 1 Afro-American Studies 1969-1970
Box 1 American Craftsmen's Council 1961-1970
Box 1 American Federation of Arts 1960-1963
Box 1 American Federation of Arts 1964-1967
Box 1 Annual Report of the College of Fine Arts 1956-1957
Box 1 Art Deanship 1969
Box 1 Art Literature Club 1895
Box 1 Board of Graduate Studies - Minutes 1950-1954
Box 1 Brochures and Fliers 1880-1894
Box 1 Centennial Catalog 1972
Box 1 Central New York Architectural Historians 1962-1967
Box 1 Childe Hassam Foundation 1962
Box 1 City Seal Competition 1970
Box 1 Class Admission Card 1892
Box 1 Cleveland Institute of Art 1961-1968
Box 1 Cleveland Museum of Art 1962
Box 1 Collection Catalog 1970-1971
Box 1 College Art Journal 1957-1969
Box 1 Commencement 1895-1917
Box 1 Correspondence - Fine Arts Degree 1946
Box 1 Course Offerings 1878-1929
Box 1 The Dean Project 1969
Box 1 Design by Computer 1965
Box 1 Drawing Books 1913-1914
Executive Committee Meeting Minutes
Box 1 1945-1949
Box 1 1949-1950
Box 1 1950-1951
Box 1 1952-1953
Box 1 1953-1955
Box 1 1955-1956
Box 1 1956-1957
Box 1 Enrollment Statistics 1953
Box 2 1873-1883
Box 2 1884-1889
Box 2 1890-1892
Box 2 1893-1895
Box 2 1902, 1917
Faculty Meeting Minutes
Box 2 1922-1928
Box 2 1929-1934
Box 2 1935-1939
Box 3 1940-1946
Box 3 Financial Award Records 1952-1957
Box 3 Fine Arts News 1925-1935
Box 3 Fulbright Awards - Institute of International Education 1961-1963
Box 3 Graduate Council - Minutes 1949-1955
Box 3 Harry N. Abrams, Inc. 1967
Box 3 Hiram Gee Fellowship Winners 1896-196957
Box 3 Industrial Design - Forestry Program Collaboration 1969-1970
Box 3 Institute de Estudios Superiores de Administracion Program 1967
Box 3 Instructions for All Students Entering the College of Fine Arts for the First Time 1930
Box 3 International Graphic Arts Society 1956-1964
Box 3 Lectures 1872-1875
Box 3 National Society of Interior Designers Symposium 1967-1971
Box 4 New York State Council on the Arts 1968-1970
Box 4 Normal Institute of Drawing and Painting - Descriptive Brochure 1876
Box 4 Notes on the History of the College of Fine Arts - A.L. Freundlich undated
Box 4 Painting Department 1907-1914
Box 4 Paper Presentation on College of Fine Arts - Mary Ann Stankiewicz 1980
Box 4 Performances - Faculty and Student Concerts and Recitals 1890-1924
Box 4 Performances - Orpheus undated
Box 4 Print Council of America 1966-1969
Box 4 Publication - Study Art undated
Box 4 Report of the Dean of the College of Fine Arts September 10, 1923
Box 4 Society for the Advancement of the Visual Environment 1967
Box 4 Special Events - Addresses 1874, 1890, 1933
Box 4 Student Paper - "Development of the Graphic Arts Excluding Architecture at Syracuse University 1871-1890" - L.F. Bartz undated
Box 4 Student Paper - "A History of the Fine Arts College from 1870-1900" - Elizabeth Schulte undated
Box 4 Various Foundations 1957-1964
Box 4 Various Foundations 1965-1968
Works by Students of Edward C. Fricke
Package 5 Bookplate by Gail Blizzard 1962
Package 5 Bookplate by Laurence Longley 1962
Package 5 Untitled Figure by Reed Thomason 1960
Package 5 Sagittarius by Kevin McIntyre 1964
Package 6 Untitled Four-Panel Cartoon by Everett Adelman 1969

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