Sheldon Museum of Art



Fred N. Wells

Date of this Version



Nebraska Art Association, 1972


All images are copyright by the original artists. Publication copyright 1972 The Regents of the University of Nebraska


In this history of the Nebraska Art Association emphasis has been placed on the development of policies which governed the formation of the collections, the close relationship between the Association and the University, and especially the family interests which have made possible many generous gifts.

It all began with Sarah Wool Moore, as dedicated a disciple of the visual arts as ever wielded a crayon or a camel's hair brush. Miss Moore had come to Nebraska University in 1884 as a teacher of drawing and painting. She had been a pupil of August Eisenmenger, rector of the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, but her salary from the fledgling University was $75.00 per quarter. The remainder of her income came from tuition fees paid by her students.

Miss Moore made many friends and her devotion to the Fine Arts drew support from a large- group both on and off campus who wished to enhance the cultural advantages of the capital city.

So it was no surprise when, on the evening of May 3, 1888, in response to her call, sixty-seven men and women gathered in the University Chapel to discuss the formation of a Society of Fine Arts. Charles H. Gere acted as temporary chairman, and nine directors were charged with forming a permanent organization:

Mrs. A. P. S. Stewart Miss Sarah W. Moore Miss Sarah B. Harris John R. Clarke Charles H. Gere Mrs. Frank M. Hall Mrs. Mary E. Wing Mrs. A. J. Sawyer Prof. George E. Howard

The program of action outlined that evening and printed in the next morning's edition of the Nebraska State Journal could well have been written today, so well did it set forth all the aspirations of the infant society: To study and prepare papers on art, to form a collection, to acquire a suitable art museum, to encourage young artists, to interest public school children and "to attract industry and keep abreast of a growing city."