University of Rochester Library Bulletin: The Lillian Fairchild Award, 1924-74

Volume XXIX  ·  Number 1  ·  Autumn 1975
The Lillian Fairchild Award, 1924-74

Rochester is distinguished and notable among cities in many ways, but in few ways more striking to the artist than in its annual recognition of the finest contribution to art and literature by a citizen of the Rochester area.1 Almost every year since 1924, on or near 12 November, a Rochesterian has been selected as the annual winner of the Lillian Fairchild Award, in recognition of his or her single contribution of a creative work during the past year. The record of the Fairchild Award over the past fifty years demonstrates not only the viability of the concepts which established the award, but also the varied and conscientious judgment of the committee which has selected the winners; in addition, the fifty-year history of this award provides an index to the changing taste of Rochesterians and to the development of the creative arts in the twentieth century. Patterns of selection can be discerned and these patterns, in showing a few clear things about Rochester's judgments in the past, give good warnings for the future as well as suggestions for pride in the collective wisdom of our ancestors.

On 2 July 1910, at the age of thirty-two, Lillian Fairchild died in Colorado Springs, where she had gone in vain hopes of conquering tuberculosis. Miss Fairchild was the second child and second daughter of Herman Leroy and Alice Egbert Fairchild and had been a special joy to them throughout her short life. H. L. Fairchild was an internationally known geologist, a founder of the Geological Society of America and its president in 1912. Later, he was general secretary of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He also reorganized the Rochester Academy of Science, served as its president, and established the publication of its Proceedings. His scholarship was vast and important, and his bibliography lists over 260 titles. Lillian had been his special joy, largely because her inclinations were so different from his own. She was born on 12 November 1878 in Brooklyn, Pennsylvania, not long after her father had left an instructorship at Vassar to do a wide variety of lecturing in New York City and nearby suburbs. When she was almost ten she moved with her family to Rochester, where her father had accepted a professorship in geology at the University. Her education in private schools in New York was continued at Rochester Grammar School No. 14 and Rochester Free Academy. From the age of seven, Lillian had done charming and remarkable drawings and by the time she was twelve her drawings were particularly elegant. After some study at Rochester's Mechanic's Institute, she went to Philadelphia for full-time work at the Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry. In 1902 she completed the course in design and decoration and returned to Rochester.

Many examples of Lillian Fairchild's work survive in the collections of her niece Mrs. J. Sheldon Fisher, of Fishers, New York. Miss Fairchild's primary efforts were in design and she left stencils or fully executed plans for wallpaper, rugs, tile, upholstery, posters, ceramics, embroidery, manuscript illumination, curtains, china, etc., as well as watercolors of flowers, fully executed drawings, and paintings. Her work exemplified the philosophy of Art Nouveau: to make beauty a part of all sorts of objects common in daily life. Miss Fairchild tried her hand at poetry, leaving five finished poems, three of which were published. She read poetry assiduously and committed many verses to memory. Shortly after her graduation from Drexel, the infection with tuberculosis which was to prove fatal was discovered and after a period of initial recuperation in the Adirondacks her mother and sister took her to Colorado, where "she regained her health sufficiently to work part time at the Van Briggle Pottery in Colorado Springs. She began as an etcher and later designed a few pieces"2 before the disease disabled her once more and took its final toll in the summer of 1910.

Professor Fairchild retired from the University of Rochester in 1920 at the age of seventy, having served as registrar, museum curator, and secretary of the faculty, in addition to the duties of his professorship. In 1923 he began to think of establishing a permanent memorial to his daughter Lillian and, after long talks with John Slater, then the chairman of the Department of English at the University, and Gertrude Herdle, then the director of the University's Memorial Art Gallery, he arrived at the intent and terms of his memorial.

On 2 January 1924 he presented the University of Rochester with the sum of two thousand dollars to be invested and held in perpetual trust, with the annual income designated to make "an annual gift in recognition of the creative spirit in art and literature."3 The fund was to be "a permanent memorial to the lovable personality of Lillian Fairchild and her appreciation of all things beautiful and good." Professor Fairchild made four conditions, two positive and two negative:

  1. The award was "to be presented as a free gift, at each twelfth of November, to the resident of Rochester, or of the immediate vicinity, who shall have produced within the previous year the most meritorious and praiseworthy creation in art, poetry, or literature of the imagination." This first condition, largely intended, one might suppose, as a residence requirement, also sets the date of the award and gives the fullest description of the artistic media which are within the province of the award.
  2. The award must never be an open contest or prize competition, but must "be in recognition of the spontaneous work or product of the individual."
  3. There must be no sexual or racial or linguistic barriers to receiving the award.
  4. No work of "science, politics, or religion as those terms are commonly understood" was to be eligible for the award. The "spiritual" qualities  "as distinguished from the utilitarian and the conventional" were to be honored.

Professor Fairchild went on to note the difficulty of discovering "each year, the creative product which most deserves recognition," for it "is often modest, retiring and elusive." He warned that the standard should not be too high and requested that, if at all possible, the committee should make an award each year.

The committee of selection, Professor Fairchild decided, should always "consist of the head of the Department of English Literature at the University of Rochester, the director of the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, and the superintendent of education of the City of Rochester." Thus, his two associates, Professor Slater and Miss Herdle, were officially appointed to continue their concern for the award with a long-term role in its development.

If this select group could not one year agree on any choice, one half of the annual income should go to the Drexel Institute as a memorial to Lillian Fairchild and the other half would be added to the principal of the fund. The terms were complete and elaborate, even for so modest an endowment.

The terms of the award reflected Lillian Fairchild's primary artistic interests -- art and poetry -- and the professional concerns of the members on the committee reflected those dominant interests as well. But why the superintendent of education? There are no records or recollections now available which answer this question, but perhaps in this selection Professor Fairchild was guaranteeing committee contact with very young talent as well as guaranteeing consideration of larger public sentiment. The award was not set up for all the creative arts and its terms excluded the polemical, the evangelical, and the scientific.

Gertrude Herdle, now Gertrude Herdle Moore, recalls early conversations with Professor Fairchild about the appropriateness of an award for musical composition under the terms of his deed of gift. He replied that he was willing to have the award be given for music but that he did not want the word "music" in the text. He was much more interested that the award be given to young people for whom the recognition would mean a great deal and in Rochester he feared that most composers of music would already be accomplished professionals.

While the text of his deed of gift emphasized the work which was to be recognized, his discussions with Professor Slater and Mrs. Moore emphasized the importance of timeliness in the award; he wanted the award to encourage people, not to be a mere record of achievement. Although he was not willing to put any of these more personal emphases in writing, he also mentioned a reluctance to have the award given to professional academics whose fame had already been assured by their position. Mrs. Moore also recalls specific discussion about a possible award for a great biography. Professor Fairchild said no; he wanted to honor the creative spirit, not a meticulous re-creation. Thus, actors, scholars, and performing musicians were out, while imaginative writers and composers were in. But in his plans the more elusive quality of "promise" clearly dominated a more easily assessed solid achievement.

Mrs. Moore also recalls that the first selection committee asked Professor Fairchild two additional questions: First, did he want to make any nominations for the award during his lifetime? He answered an emphatic no and never once interfered in a selection. Second, should the committee have a chairman? His response was to suggest that Professor Slater preside since the two of them had been especially close during the formation of Fairchild's ideas for the prize.

The selection committee seems to have operated for fifty years as a group of three equals. The tradition of having the chairman of the Department of English coordinate the procedures and call the meetings has been held without change from the beginning; Kathrine Koller recalls, however, that when she served on the committee, the presiding person seems to have been Dr. James Spinning, then the superintendent of education. Records have been kept at the Memorial Art Gallery and the Department of English and in the University Archives. (A complete list of all who have served on the selection committee is provided in Appendix B.)

In the past fifty years, the Fairchild Award has been presented in all but two years, 1931 and 1946. One person, Frans Wildenhain, has received it twice, in 1953 and 1963; on two occasions the award has been given to collaborators: two designers of a set of stained glass windows in 1934 and two authors of a musical play in 1941. Thus, in all, the award has been presented to fifty different individuals, thirty-eight men and twelve women. (A complete chronological list of all award winners is provided inAppendix A.)

There is no question but that the pattern of the Fairchild Award has shown an emphasis on the visual arts.

Nine awards have been given for painting and drawing:

1924, Carl W. Peters; 
1940, John C. Menihan; 
1945, Hilda Altschule Coates; 
1953, Frans Wildenhain (see ceramics); 
1954, Ralph Avery; 
1955, Kurt Feuerherm; 
1958, Elmer R. Messner;
1961, Alfonsas Dargis; 
1970, Jack Wolsky; 
1974, Kathy Calderwood.

Three awards have gone to printmakers:

1929, Norman Kent; 
1932, Walter H. Cassebeer; 
1938, Erik Hans Krause (see textile design); 
1939, James Dexter Havens; 
1940, John C. Menihan (see painting and drawing).

Six awards have been presented for sculpture:

1930, Blanca Will; 
1933, Marion Loretta Leek; 
1942, William Ernest Ehrich; 
1948, Jocelyn Macy Sloan; 
1950, Lola Konraty; 
1953, Frans Wildenhain (see ceramics); 
1966, Archibald Miller.

And there have been seven awards in the closely related crafts. Three awards have been made for ceramics:

1927, Lulu Scott Backus; 
1953, Frans Wildenhain; 
1963, Frans Wildenhain.

Two presentations have been made for textile design:

1938, Erik Hans Krause;
1957, Karl Laurell.

One award was given to a silversmith: 1956, John Prip.

And one was given for work in stained glass: 1934, Herman J. Butler and Norman Lindner (of Pike Stained Glass Studio).

The awards for architecture should also be considered in this general division. There have been five:

1936, Gustave Fassin; 
1952, Donald Q. Faragher;
1965, James H. Johnson; 
1968, Carl F. W. Kaelber, Jr.; 
1972, Robert J. Macon.

Thus, with the eighteen selections for painting, drawing, printmaking, and sculpture; the seven for the crafts, and the five for architecture, the visual arts clearly dominate the awards.

In contrast, there have been only nine awards for literature:

1926, Eleanor Chapin Slater; 
1928, Elizabeth Hollister Frost;
1937, Carleton Burke; 
1943, Julia Lina Sauer; 
1949, Ruth Walker Harvey;
1959, Hyam Plutzik; 
1960, Nancy Newhall; 
1967, Anthony Hecht; 
1974, Jarold Ramsey.

Only three awards have been made for drama:

1941, Walter T. Enright and Sherman A. Clute; 
1947, Harold G. Sliker; 
1951, Paul J. Smith, Jr.

And composers of music have been honored but seven times:

1925, Alfred C. W. Kroeger; 
1935, Wayne Barlow; 
1944, Jack Beeson; 
1962, Bernard Rogers; 
1964, Howard Hanson; 
1969, Samuel Adler; 
1971, Warren Benson.

The balance among the various arts is not the product of any set goal, but the result of many small decisions. No strict policy has determined the distribution of fifty years, but the spread is curiously reflective of the interests Miss Fairchild herself had and of the emphases her father established in the deed of gift.

For an award in honor of a woman, it is particularly interesting to examine the record of fifty years to see the recognition woman artists have actually had. Of the twelve female recipients, one was a ceramist (Lulu Scott Backus in 1927), two were painters (Hilda Altschule Coates in 1945 and Kathy Calderwood in 1974), four were sculptors (Blanca Will in 1930, Marion Loretta Leek in 1933, Jocelyn Macy Sloan in 1948, and Lola Konraty in 1950), and five were writers (Eleanor Chapin Slater in 1926, Elizabeth Hollister Frost in 1928, Julia Lina Sauer in 1943, Ruth Walker Harvey in 1949, and Nancy Newhall in 1960). It is interesting to note that from the date the prize was established, 1924, until 1961, there was a woman on the selection committee (Gertrude Herdle Moore) and that for eleven of those years, the selection committee had a female majority (Mrs. Moore and Kathrine Koller). Eight women were chosen winners in the twenty-five years that there was one female committee member; three women were winners in the eleven years of the female majority. With such ratios, the committee could hardly be accused of favoritism to women. It is notable, however, that in those thirteen years (1961-1974) when there was no woman on the selection committee, there was no female winner until this last year, when Kathy Calderwood was chosen. In the history of the award, the years between the 1960 award to Nancy Newhall and the 1974 award to Kathy Calderwood do represent the longest period without a female winner and also the period when no woman was on the selection committee.

But the most significant trend in the Fairchild Award has nothing to do with sex. In the gradual evolution of criteria for selection, a clear tendency is visible for the committee to move away from the promising amateur toward the accomplished professional. This generalization is not meant at all to denigrate the quality of the early award winners. Some of them indeed went on to considerable fame and achievement. Wayne Barlow, for example, the first Ph.D. in composition at the Eastman School of Music, received the award in 1935 for the first of his significant student compositions. Not surprisingly, much greater work was yet to come. The same can be said for Carl Peters, the skillful painter who received the first award in 1924; for John Menihan, who won the award in 1940 and went on to a remarkable career in the visual arts; for the imaginative artist Hilda Altschule Coates, who was honored in 1945, and for the sculptor, Jocelyn Macy Sloan, who received the award in 1948. Jack Beeson, now professor of music at Columbia University, won the prize in 1944 for a student composition. For others, the award may well have been a high water mark. Marion Loretta Leek, the first undergraduate at the University of Rochester to receive academic credit for sculpture, won the prize in 1933 when she was a senior, and only much later in life resumed her work as a teacher of art.

The intimate and encouraging tone of the early awards was epitomized in a tender gathering at the Memorial Art Gallery at eight o'clock on the evening of 29 April 1938. That evening, Professor Fairchild, then nearly eighty-eight years old, met with all the previous winners and listened with great satisfaction as each winner spoke informally about what the prize had meant to him or her. Two years earlier a handsome certificate of award had been designed for each year's winner and had been executed retroactively for each of the twelve previous honorees.

But changes were soon to come. In 1941, Professor Slater retired from his chairmanship of the Department of English and, consequently, from his membership on the Fairchild Award Committee. Two years later Professor Fairchild himself died, at the notable age of ninety-three. The tradition of the timely award to the gifted amateur did not fade at once, however. In 1951, the committee wrote of Paul Smith's award-winning play "Eight and Twenty Mansions":

This play was not selected because it represented a finished product of great power. It has all the faults of a first play-bookish, derivative, and imitative, but in it the Committee found creative imagination, freshness, and joy, a rich outpouring of the spirit of a young poet as well as the wit, humor, and philosophy which a thoughtful man possesses. This Fairchild award was established to encourage creative minds to further effort by recognition of their earliest works.

Within the next three years, however, an established architect (Donald Q. Faragher), an internationally known ceramist (Frans Wildenhain), and a nationally known watercolorist (Ralph Avery), had won the prize. Gertrude Herdle Moore, one of the original members of the committee, was still active in the selection group, but the transition from early recognition of talent to reward for solid accomplishment had been made.

By 1962, George H. Ford, himself then a member of the committee for only two years, was able to write to Harris Prior, then the freshman member of the committee:

. . .it would be understood that a strict and literal interpretation of a twelve month period should not be always rigidly adhered to, but that the committee would, when appropriate, consider the general creative effort of possible recipients in making their choices.

This decision, set forth for that year and for future policy, was based on "the general experience of the committee over the past twenty-five years or so." The stricture of having to recognize only the work of a single year had obviously been just a little too confining.

Another change in the sixties underlines for the historian the movement away from the early recognition of "spontaneous" creativity. In the earlier years of the award, when the committee had made its selection, the chairman, after consultation with a member of the winner's family, made a surprise visit to the winner, presented the citation and check, and then ushered in photographers and reporters. These unannounced visits were not always social successes, however. Despite all advance warnings to the wife of Bernard Rogers, George Ford's "surprise" visit to the distinguished composer in 1962 was a near disaster. Rogers took him for a burglar and proved quite hostile until his wife gave repeated reassurances. Beginning with the award to Howard Hanson in 1964, the surprise visits ended. From that time on, the award has been confidentially announced by letter and followed by arrangements for an informal presentation ceremony at a mutually convenient time.

The fifty-year record of the Fairchild Award is distinguished, whether judged by the early selection policy or by the later one. Many persons of established national reputation have received the prize: the writers Frost, Plutzik, Newhall, Hecht, and Ramsey; the composers Beeson, Rogers, Hanson, Adler, and Benson; the painters Avery, Dargis, Wolsky, and Calderwood; the ceramist Wildenhain; the printmakers Kent and Havens; the cartoonist Messner; and the silversmith Prip, to name only the chief ones. Several of these have clearly established international fame as well: Dargis, Hanson, Hecht, Rogers, and Wildenhain, for sure, and perhaps others as well. Any such estimate of reputation can err in the particular, but the overall record is clearly impressive. Perhaps it cannot be wholly accidental, however, that all but four of these eighteen particularly famous winners received the award in the second twenty-five years of its existence. Rochester may have been attracting more creative artists in mid-twentieth century, but clearly the emphasis of the award had veered toward the work of the professional.

Recognition of architecture came along relatively late in the history of the Fairchild Award. Other than the award in 1936 to Gustave Fassin for interior design, the first choice for an entire structure was in 1952. In this year, the committee made perhaps its most controversial choice: Donald Q. Faragher (as head of his firm) for Hanover Houses on Joseph Avenue. From the perspective of 1975, with the building largely abandoned and regularly proposed for demolition, it is hard to see this design as "a meritorious production in creative art." But Gertrude Herdle Moore recalls the choice clearly and describes the deliberations as quite controversial even at the time. Government subsidy to housing was strongly opposed by many of Rochester's leaders, but Mrs. Moore herself nominated Faragher, in recognition of his attempts to use an art form to better the physical living conditions of a substantial number of people. The committee visited the site, inspected model apartments, and was impressed with the clean lines of a clearly functional set of buildings, constructed within a special set of conditions on a limited budget. The award was an openly anti-establishment decision by Mrs. Moore, Professor Wilbur D. Dunkel, and Dr. Spinning. The later administrative failure of the complex cannot fairly be allowed to erase the original excitement over art shaped for the betterment of human life.

The decline of Hanover Houses influenced the committee's deliberations twenty years later. In 1972, the committee was strongly moved to give the award to Robert Macon, the talented architect of Fight Square, another highly regarded housing project for people with low incomes. Jean R. France, a local architectural historian, had suggested the complex for the award, pointing to its use of simple, inexpensive materials for beautiful as well as functional effects. Her description was carefully expanded by the committee to emphasize aesthetic, not socio-economic, considerations. In all probability, the selection committee of 1992 will be interested to see whether the low-rise resident-owned solution to low-cost housing (Fight Square) has survived its first twenty years better than the high-rise government-owned solution (Hanover Houses), or, for that matter, whether either project at that time bears any visible claim to artistic achievement.

Creative efforts by groups bring special problems to designation. In 1934, the award went to the iconographic designer Herman J. Butler and the draftsman Norman Lindner for the stained glass windows in the Church of St. John the Evangelist on Humboldt Street. But the correspondence files of the committee reveal that these artists could not fairly be named without overt mention of the firm in charge of the project, the Pike Stained Glass Studios, founded and maintained by the dedicated William J. Pike. A different solution to this same problem was followed in 1952 in the naming of Faragher and in 1968 when Carl Kaelber received the award for the Strasenburgh Planetarium. He received the prize "for his role as an architect in the designing and building" of the structure; he (like Faragher) was the architect in charge and the head of the firm. But the selection committee had scarcely made its presentation before oral and written protests were made that James M. Cunningham, a young architect in the firm of Northrup, Kaelber, and Kopf, had done a great deal of the design work on the planetarium and should also have been recognized. The cases of 1934, 1952, and 1968 at least present clear evidence for public awareness of the prize and for the general desirability of this public honor.

No history of the Fairchild Award can be complete without musing on why some artists were honored at curious points in their careers, or examining choices which were not made by the committee, the artists who could have been honored but were not. The general move toward recognition of professional artists is nowhere more evident than in the choice of Bernard Rogers in 1962 and Howard Hanson in 1964. Rogers was honored for "compositions which artfully combine individuality of expression with technical mastery of the medium," but no specific work was mentioned. He was then nearly seventy and almost all of his major compositions were behind him. His operaThe Warrior received its première at the Metropolitan Opera House in 1947, the year the award was given to Harold G. Sliker for a choric drama, Unto Us the Living, which opened at Monroe High School. Similarly, the choice of Howard Hanson in 1964 was in recognition of his entire career. The work specifically designated was Four Psalms, which was not particularly well received by critics and which was preceded by most of his great works: five of his six symphonies, Lament for Beowulf, and many others.

However curiously late in their careers Rogers and Hanson may have been honored with the Fairchild Award, others of great merit were left out entirely. Gertrude Herdle Moore looks back on John Wenrich, the painter, as a serious omission. He was generally considered a famous and enormously accomplished architectural renderer, as his many versions of the proposals for Rockefeller Center clearly show. But he was also a great imaginative painter, notably revealed in recent months by the exhibition of his watercolors of locomotives at the headquarters of The Landmark Society. Fletcher Steele, the accomplished landscape architect, must also be recorded as a notable omission. And the architect J. Foster Warner should certainly have been a serious contender in 1928, the year he completed the Rochester Savings Bank building, now a designated landmark.

But the most stunning omission from the Fairchild list is the absence, especially notable for Rochester, of any award for photography. At no time in the fifty years has the award been given either to a moviemaker or a still photographer, and this in a city uniquely equipped to grasp the importance of this art form. The closest the committee ever came to this medium was the 1960 award to Nancy Newhall for her collaboration with Ansel Adams in This is the American Earth. But the award went to the Rochesterian for the captions, and could not recognize the photographer, who did not meet the residence requirement.

Gertrude Herdle Moore recalls that she once brought up the subject of an award to a photographer but the notion was rejected by Professor Slater because the medium was too dependent on technical devices and too little on expression of the "creative spirit." Mrs. Moore had been particularly taken by the merits of the pioneering work of James Sibley Watson. Indeed, with the advantages of hindsight, no historian can help but wonder at the omission of any award to Dr. Watson for moviemaking. In 1929, when his revolutionary and superb film The Fall of the House of Usher opened The Film Art Guild theatre in New York, the award was given, for his woodcuts, to Norman Kent, a distinguished competitor, to be sure, but not so compelling a rival from the vantage of 1975. Watson's second major, and extremely innovative, film, Lot in Sodom, was finished in 1931 and had been seen in Rochester; that year the committee made no award. In 1933, Lot in Sodom was released and seen around the nation, at least in avant-garde movie theatres; that year the committee recognized the promising undergraduate sculptor Marion Loretta Leek. Nor has James Sibley Watson been the only significant Rochester filmmaker not to be given a Fairchild award. John Flory, to name only one more, was a clearly important creative force in the thirties and later. His film Mr. Motorboat's Escape and others have been shown and admired at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, but have not received Rochester's annual prize for creative work.

All told, however, the Fairchild Award has done well for its first fifty years. In financial terms, an original investment of two thousand dollars has gone a long way; because of its investment in the general endowment portfolio of the University of Rochester, the annual income has grown. The earliest prizes were one hundred dollars; recent ones have been four times that amount. The prize has, with some notable exceptions, recognized the chief contributions of Rochesterians to the creative arts. It has given honor to refugees, to newcomers, and to natives. It has recognized Rochester's unique position as a center for significant work in the crafts, even if it has failed to honor Rochester's similarly unique place in the world of photography. Even if only one work of prose fiction, a book for children, has been chosen, significant writers have been honored and Rochester's poetry has been shown to rival the best anywhere. The gradual change to recognition of more professional achievement has been clear, but even this change has not defeated Professor Fairchild's desire to have young people receive timely recognition. Macon and Ramsey, winners for 1972 and 1973, both received the award in their thirties; the 1974 winner, Kathy Calderwood, was in her late twenties. Indeed, this most recent winner, Ms. Calderwood, accepted the award in terms which would clearly have pleased Professor Fairchild:

Sometimes painting seems to be such an unreasonable profession and then something like this happens and it's such a sweet relief. Approval. A touch on the shoulder. You couldn't have picked a more appropriate time to tell me of this. Thank you, dear committee.

I'm not sure I deserve it, but I'll accept it with joy.4

One can only hope that the next half century of the Fairchild Award, with its inevitable mix of hits and misses, will produce the same record of merit, sweetness, and joy as the first fifty years.


  1. The earliest version of this essay was presented at a meeting of The Pundit Club in Rochester on 21 January 1975. In preparing the history, I have received welcome assistance from Mrs. J. Sheldon Fisher (granddaughter of Professor Fairchild), from Gertrude Herdle Moore, Kathrine Koller, and George H. Ford (former members of the selection committee), from Ruth Watanabe (librarian of the Sibley Music Library), from Janet Otis (secretary to the director of the Memorial Art Gallery), from Marshall Deutelbaum (assistant to the director, film department, International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House), and from Richard O. Reisem. Photographs have been generously furnished from several sources. Mrs. J. Sheldon Fisher supplied the photographs of her aunt Lillian Fairchild and of her grandfather Professor Fairchild, her aunt's bookplate, and the woodcut by Norman Kent. The Memorial Art Gallery has furnished photographs of works by Hilda Altschule Coates, Ralph Avery, Kurt Feuerherm, Alfonsas Dargis, Walter H. Cassebeer, William Ehrich, Archibald Miller, Frans Wildenhain, Karl Laurell, and John Prip. The following Fairchild Award winners furnished reproductions of their own work:

    Carl W. Peters, John C. Menihan, Elmer R. Messner, Jack Wolsky, Jocelyn Macy Sloan, James H. Johnson, Carl F. W. Kaelber, Jr., and Robert J. Macon. The Public Relations Department of the University of Rochester furnished photographs of Kathy Calderwood's "Cartoon Street" and of Blanca Will's bronze bust of Professor Fairchild; James O'Hara, director of The Pike Stained Glass Studios, furnished drawings and photographs of the work of Herman J. Butler and Norman Lindner; Allen Macomber of Faragher and Macomber furnished the photograph of Hanover Houses.

  2. From a letter by Jessie Fairchild Bogart, sister of Lillian Fairchild, to George H. Ford, 20 May 1968.
  3. The deed of gift is preserved in the archives of the University of Rochester.
  4. From a letter to Rowland L. Collins, 10 November 1974.


Recipients of The Lillian Fairchild Award

1924 -- Carl W. Peters, painting, for Winter landscapes in oil.

1925 -- Alfred C. W. Kroeger, music, for S.P.D.S., a symphonic poem for orchestra, performed by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, November 25.

1926 -- Eleanor Chapin Slater, literature, for Quest, a volume of poems. New Haven: Yale University Press.

1927 -- Lulu Scott Backus, ceramics, for pottery and new ceramic glazes, shown at the Memorial Art Gallery in May.

1928 -- Elizabeth Hollister Frost, literature, for The Lost Lyrist, a volume of poems. New York: Harper & Brothers.

1929 -- Norman Kent, printmaking, for woodcuts.

1930 -- Blanca Will, sculpture, for portraits and "Penguin Fountain."

1931 -- No award.

1932 -- Walter Henry Cassebeer, printmaking, for lithographs of Rochester and western New York.

1933 -- Marion Loretta Leek, sculpture.

1934 -- Herman J. Butler and Norman Lindner of Pike Stained Glass Studios, stained glass, for windows in the Church of St. John the Evangelist, 549 Humboldt Street.

1935 -- Wayne Barlow, music, for False Faces, a ballet suite for orchestra, performed by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, October 30.

1936 -- Gustave Fassin, architecture, for the interior design and decoration of his new residence, Wisner Road (at the north entrance to Huntington Hills).

1937 -- Carleton Burke, literature, for Symphony Iroquoian, a volume of poems based on ancient Indian legends. Rochester: Rochester Museum of Arts and Sciences.

1938 -- Erik Hans Krause, textile design, for decorative designs for textiles, mural panels, and posters.

1939 -- James Dexter Havens, printmaking, for wood block prints.

1940 -- John C. Menihan, painting, for watercolors and lithographs.

1941 -- Walter T. Enright and Sherman A. Clute, drama, for the words and music of Ring, Freedom, Ring, presented by the public schools of Rochester, July 6-7.

1942 -- William Ernest Ehrich, sculpture.

1943 -- Julia L. Sauer, literature, for Fog Magic, a novel for children. New York: The Viking Press.

1944 -- Jack Beeson, music, for Concerto for Piano and Orchestra.

1945 -- Hilda Altschule Coates, painting.

1946 -- No award; $50.00 sent to Drexel Institute.

1947 -- Harold Sliker, drama, for Unto Us The Living, a choric drama presented at Monroe High School.

1948 -- Jocelyn Macy Sloan, sculpture, for work in alabaster, stone, and terracotta.

1949 -- Ruth Walker Harvey, literature, for Curtain Time, a memoir of the Walker theatre in Winnipeg. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

1950 -- Lola Konraty, sculpture.

1951 -- Paul Smith, drama, for Eight and Twenty Mansions, a poetic drama presented at Strong Auditorium by the University of Rochester Stagers, May 11-12.

1952 -- Donald Q. Faragher, architecture, for Hanover Houses, Joseph Avenue.

1953 -- Frans Wildenhain, ceramics, painting, and sculpture.

1954 -- Ralph Avery, painting, for watercolors.

1955 -- Kurt K. Feuerherm, painting, for expressive painting techniques.

1956 -- John Prip, silversmithing.

1957 -- Karl Laurell, weaving.

1958 -- Elmer R. Messner, drawing, for drawings and cartoons.

1959 -- Hyam Plutzik, literature, for Apples from Shinar, a volume of poems. Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press.

1960 -- Nancy Newhall, literature, for This is the American Earth, an exhibition book of photographs and commentary (with Ansel Adams). San Francisco: Sierra Club.

1961 -- Alfonsas Dargis, painting, for abstract oils.

1962 -- Bernard Rogers, music.

1963 -- Frans Wildenhain, ceramics, for a mural at The National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland.

1964 -- Howard Hanson, music, for Four Psalms, for baritone, solo cello, and strings, first performed at the Library of Congress, October 31.

1965 -- James H. Johnson, architecture, for the Church of St. John the Evangelist, 2400 Ridge Road West.

1966 -- Archibald Miller, sculpture, for "creative experiments in adapting new materials to an old art form," shown at the Isaacs Gallery, Toronto, October 4-24.

1967 -- Anthony Hecht, literature, for The Hard Hours, a volume of poems. New York: Atheneum.

1968 -- Carl F. W. Kaelber, Jr., architecture, for the Strasenburgh Planetarium, 663 East Avenue.

1969 -- Samuel Adler, music.

1970 -- Jack Wolsky, painting, for oils shown at the Schuman Gallery.

1971 -- Warren Benson, music, for Capriccio for Violin, Viola, Cello and Piano.

1972 -- Robert J. Macon, architecture, for Fight Square, 282 Troup Street.

1973 -- Jarold Ramsey, literature, for Love in an Earthquake, a volume of poems.

1974 -- Kathy Calderwood, painting, for oils shown at the Allan Stone Gallery, New York.

1975 -- Albert R. Paley, Jr., sculpture, for the entrance gates for The Renwick Gallery of the National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., and for the wrought iron fence sculpture for the sculpture garden at the Hunter Museum of Art, Chattanooga, Tennessee.

1976 -- Philip Bornarth, painting, for his retrospective exhibition, "Earth, Air, and Water: Drawings and Paintings of The American Landscape," shown at The Bevier Gallery of The Rochester Institute of Technology, 25 September to 21 October 1976.

1977 -- Wendell Castle, sculpture, for the walnut spiral staircase in the corporate headquarters of The Gannett Co.

1978 -- William R. Stewart, ceramic sculpture.

1979 -- Joan Lyons, for painting, photography, and graphic art.

1980 -- Linda Allardt, literature, for The Names of the Survivors , a volume of poems (Ithaca, N.Y.: Ithaca House).

1981 - Honore Sharrer, for painting.

1982 -- Garth Fagan, music, for general direction and choreography for The Bucket Dance Theatre, particularly for "Of Night, Light, and Melanin" (1982).

1983 -- The Cleveland Quartet, music

1984 -- Joseph Schwantner, music, for his composition "New Morning for the World," for narrator and orchestra.

1985 -- Frank Grosso, architecture, for coordinating the neo-classicial and the gothic styles in the new wing that will join the Memorial Art Gallery with the Cutler Union.

1986 -- Batiste Madalena, painting, motion picture posters for the Eastman Theatre (1924-28)

1987 -- Nathan Lyons, photography, for the Visual Studies Workshop.

1988 -- Ross Talarico, literature, for All Things as They Are: Recollections of the Sixties and Beyond...

1989 -- Christopher Rouse, music, for Symphony No. 1.

1990 -- Joanna Scott, literature, for Arrogance.

1991 -- William Stewart, sculpture, for The Council.

1992 -- Garth Fagan, choreography, for Griot New York.

1993 -- Joe Hendrick and Colleen Hendrick choreography and set design, for Days Swinging Home.

1994 -- Thomas Gavin, literature, for his third novel, Breathing Water.

1995 -- MurMur (Michael Ives, Robert Kulik, and Richard Scott), performance.

1996 -- William Heyen, poetry, for Crazy Horse in Stillness.

1997/98 -- Andrea Barrett, literature, for The Voyage of the Narwhal; Carl Chiarenza, Fanny Knapp Allen Professor Emeritus of Art History and artist-in-residence at the College, photography, for an exhibit of large-scale photographs that were displayed at Niagara University and Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

1999 -- Elizabeth Lyons, glass sculpture, for "Ritual Vessels."

2000 -- Kathleen Wakefield, poetry, for Notations on the Visible World

2001 -- Lawrence Williams, sculpture, for "Sledges and Piers: Water and Ice."

2002 -- Judith Kitchen, literature, for The House on Eccles Road.

2003 -- James Longenbach, literature, for Fleet River.

2004 -- Judith Olson Gregory, mixed media art, for "The Season Series."

2005-- David Liptak, music composition, CD of "Music of David Liptak."

2006-- Michael Rogers, glass sculptor, for pieces displayed as part of the 2nd Rochester Biennial Exhibition at the University's Memorial Art Gallery in 2006.

2007-- Heather Layton, for contributions made in art and literature

2008 -- Anne Panning, literature, for Super America

2009 -- Shawn Dunwoody, for "his multifaceted involvement in the Rochester artistic community and efforts to bring the arts and underserved communities together outside of traditional venues."

2010 -- Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, music composition, for CD entitled "Cantos."

2011 -- Jennifer Grotz, for her second selection of poems, The Needle 

2013 -- Cary Peppermint, for Basecamp.exe, a workshop and art installation that explores environmental awareness, and INDUSTRIAL WILDERNESS, an online and community-based artwork that explores connections between industry and nature.

2014 --  N’jelle Gage and Guy Thorne, of FuturPointe Dance

2015 -- Nate Hodge, for his mural ‘City and Sky’ on Atlantic Avenue as part of Wall/Therapy

2016 -- Darren Stevenson, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, and Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon for their collaborative opera "Don't Blame Anyone"

2017 -- Sarah Rutherford, for her mural project "Her Voice Carries"

2018 -- Kaija Straumanis



Fairchild Award Selection Committee

Chairman, Department of English, University of Rochester

1924-1941: John R. Slater

1942-1945: Richard L. Greene

1946-1951: Kathrine Koller

1952: Wilbur D. Dunkel, as Acting Chairman

1953-1957: Kathrine Koller

1958-1959: Wilbur D. Dunkel

1960-1962: George H. Ford

1963: Howard C. Horsford, as Acting Chairman

1964-1969: George H. Ford

1970: Rowland L. Collins, as Acting Chairman

1971: George H. Ford

1972-         Rowland L. Collins

Director, Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester

1924-1961 Gertrude Herdle Moore

1962-1974 Harris Prior

Superintendent of Education, City of Rochester

1924-1933: Herbert Weet

1934-1954: James Spinning

1955-1960: Howard C. Seymour

1961-1963: Robert L. Springer

1964-1970: Herman R. Goldberg

1971-         John Franco


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