Throughout its history the department devoted the larger part of its interest to design. Instruction in the lower division, which had for years included the practical study of clothing, turned more emphatically toward general theory of design in the years immediately preceding the second world war. Since that time studio work in several materials was expanded and more extensive historical work in numerous areas was offered. Development culminated in a balance between the theoretical and practical studies in the curriculum. Graduate instruction leading to the M.A. degree was offered from the department's inception.
The core staff in the department in the 1920s consisted of Mary F. Patterson, who served as chairman for some 15 years, and Hope M. GCladding. With the appointment of anthropologist Lila M. O'Neale as associate professor in 1932, the department began a continuing association with the University's Department and Museum of Anthropology. In the late 1930s, Lucretia Nelson and Winfield S. Wellington joined the department. After the war, the members who achieved the professorship were Mary Dumas, Anna H. Gayton, Lea Miller, Charles E. Rossbach and Herwin Schaefer. Willard V. Rosenquist and Peter H. Voulkos served as associate professors. Professors Nelson, Rossbach and Wellington served as chairmen during a period of the expansion of the department to 17 members and of corresponding growth in the curriculum. Over the years the department also developed a considerable collection in textiles, ceramics, glass and other materials.
In 1964-65, the department began to turn even more intensively toward the design field in the framework of the new college. Karl Aschenbrenner of the Department of Philosophy served as acting chairman during this transitional year. After being housed for many years in a redwood frame building overlooking the women's playing fields, the department settled into quarters in Wurster Hall. source
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