WHITING, FREDERIC ALLEN (26 Jan. 1873-20 Dec. 1959) established the CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART as an accessible community asset during his 17-year term as its first director. He was born in Oakdale, Tenn., but reared in his ancestral state of Massachusetts, where he was educated by public schools and private tutors. After a period in business, in 1900 he became secretary of the Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston. His interest in skilled craftsmen also led him to organize the National League of Handicraft Societies and establish the journal Handicraft. In 1904 he had charge of the handicraft exhibition at the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition at St. Louis in conjunction with his wife Olive Cook Whiting, whom he had married the previous year. Named director of the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis in 1912, Whiting left after only 1 year to assume the directorship on 1 May 1913 of the yet unbuilt Cleveland Museum of Art. His first task was to supervise construction of the museum, which opened in 1916. Whiting developed a collection of handicrafts to aid the city's craftsmen and an educational program for both adults and children. He promoted local artists through the annual MAY SHOW and the development of UNIVERSITY CIRCLE through organization of the Cleveland Conference for Educational Cooperation. From 1921-23 he served as president of the American Assoc. of Museums. Whiting resigned the CMA directorship in 1930 to assume the presidency of the American Federation of Arts in Washington, D.C. After 6 years there, he retired to Framingham, Mass., where he died survived by a son, Frederic A. Whiting, Jr.
Witchey, Holly Rarick. The Fine Arts in Cleveland (1994).
Last Modified: 23 Jul 1997 01:53:44 PM
Wittke, Carl. The First Fifty Years: The Cleveland Museum of Art, 1916-1966 (1966).