Frederick Hamilton Daniels (1872-1966)

Frederick Hamilton Daniels (1872-1966)

The artistic legacy of Frederick Hamilton Daniels exists not only in the charming views of Martha’s Vineyard that comprise a large portion of his known work, but also through his teaching and writings that guided both students and instructors as well as the general public. Born in Massachusetts in 1872, Daniels attended the Massachusetts Normal Art School from 1889 until 1895, an institution that specialized in the training of art teachers, before moving two years later to Buffalo, New York, where he worked as the Director of Art Education for the city’s public schools. 

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By 1901, he had transitioned again and was teaching drawing classes for the Prang Educational Company in Boston, but grew unhappy with their methods of working only from textbooks. He found an ally in Henry Turner Bailey, a fellow alumnus of the Normal Art School and believer in a hands-on approach to art lessons, and in September of that year they published the first issue of the Applied Arts Book (now School Arts Magazine). Still in circulation today, the periodical was an extension of the Applied Arts Guild, a group of likeminded artist-teachers devoted to the “perpetual interest in the coming of Beauty into life” [1] and offered valuable advice from colleagues for the practical application of curricula. Daniels served as editor from 1901 to 1903, and in addition to his teaching and painting was also a gifted writer, publishing The Teaching of Ornament in 1900, The Furnishing of a Modest Home in 1908 (later abridged for an article in the March 1917 issue of School Arts Magazine) and School Drawing: A Real Correlation in 1909.

Daniels’ impressive career as a supervisor in art education brought him to several Massachusetts communities, including Chicopee, Warren, Worcester and Newton, and from as early as 1897 he was leading drawing classes at the Martha’s Vineyard Summer Institute, a workshop for teachers. Described in the school’s advertisement as “one of Massachusetts’ most progressive and successful directors of drawing,” [2] Daniels certainly must have enjoyed his time there and produced charming scenes of island life well into the 1920s and 1930s.

References: Falk, Who Was Who in American Art, 1999; Massachusetts College of Art, Archives; “The M. V. S. I.,” The School Journal, September 3, 1898, p. 188; Prang advertisement in Journal of Education, Vol. LIII, No. 13, p. 212, March 28, 1901; Art Education, Vol. III, No. 4, May 1, 1897

[1] “A Lusty Lad of Twenty,” by Henry Turner Bailey. The School Arts Magazine, Vol. XX, No. 1, September 1920, p. 6

[2] Art Education, Vol. III, No. 4, May 1, 1897

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