Fry, Laura A. (1857-1943) | Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections
Laura Fry (1857-1943) was the daughter of Henry Fry, a prominent Cincinnati woodcarver. She entered the McMicken School of Design (later the Cincinnati Art Academy) at the age of twelve and developed an interest in pottery decoration. She became a charter member of the Cincinnati Pottery Club, which was founded in 1879. Later, she joined the decorating department at Rookwood Pottery and proved to be an outstanding decorator and teacher. Fry developed a technique of applying pigment evenly to ceramics by using an atomizer, and gained a patent for her work. She went to work for the Lonhuda Pottery in Steubenville in 1892 and sued to prevent Rookwood from using her technique. Judge William Howard Taft ruled in favor of Rookwood, stating that her technique was a new use for an existing tool. Eventually, she settled in Indiana and taught industrial design at Purdue University.
Laura became professor of Industrial Art at Purdue in 1891. She left in 1892 but returned to teach from 1893-1922, serving as head of the Art Department. In 1898, Miss Fry was one of the founders of the Art League, later the Art Club. In 1909, this organization became the Greater Lafayette Museum of Art.
Greater Lafayette Museum of Art Press Release, December 23, 1982.
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