Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ulysses Thompson Curran, Educator and Judge, and His Son Charles, Artist

Ulysses Thompson Curran was the superintendent of the public schools in Sandusky from 1872 through 1880. After leaving the field of education, U. T. Curran practiced law in Sandusky. He served as Erie County Common Pleas Judge in the Probate Division, from 1899 to 1905. He was a lifetime member of the National Education Association.
Under Mr. Curran’s leadership, the “Sandusky Training School” was founded in 1874. New teachers were mentored by more experienced teachers to prepare them for their profession. Miss Mary Alice Chenoweth was the lead teacher at the training school. Mary Alice later changed her name to Helen Hamilton Gardener. She was a suffragist leader, an author, and was appointed to the U.S. Civil Service Commission by President Woodrow Wilson in 1920. (She willed her brain to Cornell University for medical research.)

On February 28, 1914, Ulysses Thompson Curran died at the home of his son Charles Courtney Curran in New York City. Charles Courtney Curran graduated from Sandusky High School in 1879. After high school, Charles Curran attended the Cincinnati School of Design, and later the Art Students’ League, and the National of Academy of Design in New York City. In 1888, he won the Academy’s Hallgarten Prize for his painting, A Breezy Day. Also in 1888, Charles Courtney Curran married Grace Winthrop Wickham, daughter of Huron County Judge Charles Preston Wickham.

After his marriage, Charles Curran studied art in Paris, where he developed his impressionistic style. Three works by Charles Courtney Curran can be seen at the Follett House Museum, including Laurel Among the Rocks, pictured below.

Charles Courtney Curran painted a portrait of his father, which is also on display at the Follett House Museum. Local author Patty Pascoe wrote about both U. T. Curran and Charles Courtney Curran in the book, Elected to Serve, available from the Sandusky Library.

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