Kumler Chapel Window Collection
The Tillinghast Window, also known as the Brice Window, is a stained glass window designed by Mary Elizabeth Tillinghast and commissioned by Western College Class President Olivia Meily Brice (Class of 1866). Tillinghast was a well known embroidery and stained glass artist of the late 19th century, she was born in New York. Tillinghast has been listed as a pupil of Carolus-Duran and Jean Jaques Henner in the 'studio of the ladies' -- the unofficial school for women in fine arts since they were barred from entrance to the École des Beaux-Arts. Her return to New York afforded her many opportunities including an apprenticeship with John LaFarge and the La Farge Decorative Art Company.
The Tillinghast Window was originally designed and installed in the Alumnae Hall Library. In 1893, it was transferred to Chicago, Illinois to be displayed at the Chicago World’s Fair and Columbian Exposition. At the exposition the window was displayed in the women's building. It was awarded a gold medal for the beauty and inspiration of its theme. After the world's fair the window returned to Alumnae Hall.
When Alumnae hall was retired (1974) and razed in 1977 the Tillinghast Window was preserved and placed in the West Loft of Kumler Chapel. It was a gift of the eleven members of the eleventh class of the Western Seminary (class of 1866) and was meant to symbolize the class motto “Per aspera ad astra” translated as “to the stars with difficulty.” The narrative of the window stands for the new womanhood of the future and of the great progress made by women at the Western Seminary and throughout the United States. The main stained glass panel depicts a woman who has lighted the torch of knowledge, held high in her right hand, from the lamp of learning. Portraits of the upper sections of the panel represent the Greek muses Clio and Urania.