Sarah Wyman Whitman stained glass and book design work, ca. 1904
Sarah Wyman Whitman (1842–1904) was a Boston artist who specialized in stained glass and book design. Her career in stained-glass work began as an apprentice with John La Farge. Whitman went on to establish her own stained glass studio, Lily Glass Works, where she created important pieces for many New England buildings, including Harvard’s Memorial Hall.
As one of the period’s preeminent book designers and the first woman designer for Houghton Mifflin, Whitman eschewed the ornate style of Victorian bindings in favor of a refreshingly simple yet graceful aesthetic that adorned books produced for a mass audience. In the Library’s Radcliffe Room, visitors will find her posthumous portrait by Helen Bigelow Merriman, c. 1909, and opposite, Whitman’s stained glass
Courage, Love, and Patience, her final piece, which was created for the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition.
An important figure in Boston society, Whitman befriended artists and writers—including Sarah Orne Jewett, whose books are among the group here—and was a generous benefactor to Howard University, the Tuskegee Institute, and Berea College as well as Radcliffe College.
See the Schlesinger Library's research guide on artists.