Early Leaders: A Rich and Artful Legacy
Florence Doub, Founder and President
Florence Doub, known locally as “Miss Floy,” lived her entire life in a house on North Market Street in Frederick City. Early on, amidst the natural beauty that is abundant in the community, she developed a love for nature and art that reflected it.
Miss Doub graduated from the Frederick Female Seminary and in 1878 began teaching art at the Women’s College of Frederick, located in the building that housed the Frederick Female Seminary and is now Winchester Hall, the seat of Frederick County government.
In 1881 Miss Doub extended her teaching to the Maryland School for the Deaf, where she taught for 51 years. Here and at the Seminary, she managed to work art and sketching into the curricula. In a report to the Board of Visitors in 1881, School Superintendent Dr. Charles Ely said, “The success of the teacher of drawing has thus far been very gratifying. I feel very confident that we shall be able to show in time that this branch of study is of great practical value to the deaf… there is no good reason why many of our pupils should not become good draftsmen, designers, engravers, lithographers.”
In 1893 she began a 27-year tenure as head of the Art Department at the Women’s College of Frederick, later to become Hood College. Miss Doub also taught art to children in her own studio and added parents and other adults to her student roster. One young student recalled that Miss Doub permitted her pupils to study only one component of art at a time, with extensive practice of the techniques and study of the development of that element before she would allow them to advance. Inspiration, cooperation, joy, and happiness in the studio described Miss Doub’s character and approach to teaching.
Although she had offered much to her students, Miss Doub wanted to give back to her beloved Frederick in a way that would expand an appreciation and understanding of the arts among women. When she approached her friends about starting a local art club, the ladies were eager. The group began with dedicated intentions to expand the knowledge of the arts among club members, and to use art to encourage the Frederick community to absorb the beauty that surrounded it. The Frederick Art Club was born.
A talented artist, a great organizer, and a woman recognized for her kindness, compassion and generosity, Florence Doub was an inspiration to many in the Frederick area. Though her life was confined to Frederick, she held a wide-ranging view of what constituted art, and felt that everyone had some sort of creativity if it could be identified and nurtured. Miss Doub served as club president for 35 years until 1932, instilling the goals and ideals that are the foundation of our organization’s continued growth.
Margaret Scholl Hood
Margaret Scholl Hood was a charter member of The Frederick Art Club and later donated the 28 acres on which Hood College now stands. The Women’s College of Frederick became Hood College in 1913 to honor Mrs. Hood.
When Miss Doub died, Miss Helen Smith, also born in Frederick County, took over the president’s role from 1932 to 1937. A member of The Frederick Art Club for 81 years, she also served as director of the Art Department at Hood College and for many years produced numerous forms of art commissioned by regional patrons. She was known for her watercolors and provided countless versions of decorative arts, including painted furniture, trays, lampshades, china, family coats of arms, silhouettes, and more.
“Justice,” a large-scale example of her work, was commissioned by the Daughters of the American Revolution. Painted in the 1920s and restored in the 1980s (she did both despite her advancing age), the artwork hangs in the lobby of Frederick City Hall. Helen became a legend in her own time that covered a productive and meaningful 103 years. For many years during her lifetime, female artists were not well recognized or acknowledged. Noting Miss Smith’s inexhaustible productivity, one member quipped on the occasion of the club’s 120thanniversary, “If Helen had been a male, she would be honored by the largest statue in the park!”
Mrs. Bessie Clapp, another prominent woman artist in the Frederick community, served as club president from 1937-1950. Respected and loved for her leadership, she was presented in 1939 with a certificate of appreciation, illustrated by Helen Smith and signed by all the club members.
Every club president has made her specific imprint, but one more deserves special mention. Miss Louise Doty was president from 1970 to 1974. In her will she left a significant sum of money and a selection of art objects to the club. Her gift enabled the establishment of art scholarships that continue to this day, supported by the Art Club and administered by the Community Foundation of Frederick County.
Margaret Scholl Hood