Ellsworth, Maud

Year Inducted: 
Maud Ellsworth
  • President of the Kansas State Art and Education organizations
  • Art Director for the Lawrence Public Schools and Professor at KU
  • Directed a free summer art school and the weekly radio program “Art by Radio” for 18years
  • 1957: received the Master Teacher Award from Emporia State Teacher’s College
  • Author of eight elementary school and one high school art books
  • 1975: one of recipients for the inaugural Fred Ellsworth Medallions

Maud Ellsworth, 1890-1978, was a vibrant Professor of Art Education at the University of Kansas and leader in the art education of children.  She was known for her positive reinforcement; as one person reminisced, “She made you think that you never did anything wrong.”

Miss Ellsworth first taught for three years in the rural schools of Linn County then nine years in city elementary schools in both Linn and Miami counties.  She began teaching Art Education at KU in 1931.  Until 1950, she taught part-time and also served as Art Director for the Lawrence Public Schools.  She then taught full-time at KU until 1960.

Her primary focus remained on the art education of young children.  She was the author of eight elementary school books on growing with art as well as the book “Art for the High School.”  For 18 years, Maud directed a free summer art school and a weekly radio program, “Art by Radio,” for students in rural Kansas schools.

She served as Vice President of the Western Art Association, President of the State Art and Education organizations, Chair of the National Art Education Association Conference held at the University in 1956, and the leader for numerous local groups.  Her artwork often celebrated certain events such as a tapestry she created in 1974 for the 100th anniversary of Gamma Phi Beta social sorority.  She created an exhibit for the the retirement community Brewster Place which included pastels, watercolors, and one of her impressive stitchery wall hangings.  Although a talented craftswoman, she kept her emphasis on education, once declaring that she thought of herself as a “teacher, not a painter.”  In 1957, she received the Master Teacher Award from Emporia State Teacher’s College.

From 1962-1970, she offered art classes for adults in the local art education program.  After retirement, Maud served as a Visiting Professor and Lecturer at other universities, but she continued to return to Lawrence where she taught informal groups of women to learn how to look and enjoy art.

Miss Ellsworth lived with her brother Fred Ellsworth, a KU legend, and his family her entire life. In 1975, her, her sister-in law and two sons were the first recipients of the Fred Ellsworth Medallions, the highest distinction given by KU’s Alumni Association, which are awarded annually to persons with long and notable service to KU. 


Growing with Art (1951)

Art for the High School (1957)

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