William Merchant Richardson French

William Merchant Richardson French

Birth
Exeter, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, USA
Death 3 Jun 1914 (aged 70)
Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Burial Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Memorial ID 98751692 · View Source
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Chicago Tribune (IL) - June 04, 1914

French Funeral Set for Tomorrow
Body Will Lie in State in Institute Before Service Is Held. Art Leaders Feel Loss

William Merchant Richardson French, who died yesterday at St. Luke's hospital after a short illness, will be buried tomorrow. The funeral will be held at 11 a.m. at Fullerton hall, Art institute, where the body will lie in state before the services.

Dr. Frank W. Gunsaulus, a close friend of Mr. French, will preach the sermon. He will be assisted in the funeral services by the Rev. Philip F. Matzinger, Pastor of Mr. French's church at Beverly Hills. Burial will be in Mount Greenwood.

The big thing accomplished by Mr. French during his thirty-five years as director of the Art institute was the popularizing of art in Chicago.

"Made" Art Institute. "It was due chiefly to his efforts," said Newton H. Carpenter, secretary of the Art institute, "that the Art institute was more than a cold storage place for pictures. From the inception of the institute, in which he had a part, he has worked to get the people of Chicago interested in the exhibitions at the Art institute." "He spread the cause of art to the people by getting them to the Art institute, by writing, and lecturing." "His personality has had a remarkable influence on the students who have come to the institute. He has taken the part of father toward them. He has befriended many financially and otherwise. He is loved by every employe of the institute from the scrubwomen and the janitors to the highest salaried men."

Lorado Taft Praises Work. "Chicago has lost one of her most useful citizens," said Lorado Taft, the sculptor. "As director of the Art institute he has seen it grow from little more than a tangible idea to its present position of usefulness and honor. He never lost sight of the idea that the institute was to be for all the people. Today it is the most useful of all art museums. A million people entered its portals last year. The sympathetic, clear headed, and unwavering executive throughout these years was Mr. French."

"Had Remarkable Career." "Mr. French has had a remarkable career," said Charles L. Hutchinson, president of the Art institute. "He has been director of the institute since its inception. I know of no man who has led a more ideal life. He was fond of his work and was happy in building up the great institute. He was a sterling man all along the line."

Mr. French was born in Exeter, N. H., Oct. 1, 1843. He was educated in Exeter academy and Harvard. He fought for a short time in the civil war. He came to Chicago in 1867 and for a number of years was art editor of THE TRIBUNE. He was elected secretary of the old Academy of Design out of which the Art institute grew. He came before the public prominently as manager of the art department of the world's fair. He was decorated by the French government with the title, "Officier d'Academic."

Interested in Prison Work. In addition to art, he was interested in prisoners' aid work, and was for ten years president of the Central Howard association. Dr. S. Emory Lyon, superintendent of the association, said that his work and his interest was invaluable to the association.

Mr. French is survived by his widow, Mrs. Alice Helm French, and two sons, Henry H. and Prentiss French. They, with his brother, Daniel C. French, the sculptor, were at his beside when he died.



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  • Created by: cara
  • Added: 12 Oct 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 98751692
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for William Merchant Richardson French (1 Oct 1843–3 Jun 1914), Find A Grave Memorial no. 98751692, citing Mount Greenwood Cemetery, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by cara (contributor 47072115) .