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brought him much fame, admiration, and perhaps capital for his later ventures. Prang's career as an art educator was anchored in his belief that art education should be provided for all children. According to Dixon Ticonderoga's biography on his life, he was quick to claim there were benefits of

Louis Prang (1824-1909)

art education to the mind and spirit. According to Stankiewicz, Prang recognized that individuals perceive

Louis Prang was an important figure in the

color differently due to heredity and prior cultivation of

development of American art education in the late 19th

the color sense, so he saw the development of the senses

and 20th centuries. While he was involved in many

as being a special advantage belonging to art education in

ventures after he arrived from Bohemia, he is perhaps

particular. He found a niche and capitalized on his belief

best known as the man who's name is printed on our

that every school should teach art education and that

watercolor and crayon boxes.

students ought to have the best quality materials to use,

Prang's early life growing up in what is now part of

so he developed and printed curriculum, guides, and

modern day Poland was less than easy, but it is perhaps

some of the first textbooks for art education, "Art in the

the place where he honed his skills in printing and dyeing

School Room" and "Art Education in High Schools.

in his father's textile factory, according to Jean Fitzgerald in her document for Archives of American Art. This likely contributed to his great success as America's first mass-producer of Christmas cards, for which American's named him, "Father of the Christmas Card". He was also the first mass-producer of checks for everyday use, according to an article by Fred Reed III, found on for those interested in financial history. Printing was a highly successful business that

It wasn't long before Prang became a full-fledged art education mogul. He was able to consistently spot a need in art education in American schools and he was capable of fulfilling these needs with his ingenuity, his connections in printing and manufacturing, and his ability to get things done. He saw there was a need for color images of famous works of art for the classroom, so he produced them. He saw a need for quality art materials, so he sourced them from Germany at first and created a virtual monopoly in supplying them to schools. When he saw the need for childsafe art materials that could be produced in America with the same quality as the German products, he looked around and found American Crayon Company, which is today Dixon Ticonderoga. While Prang's innovations were not the first and certainly not the last in the vast commercialization of educational products and materials for use in classroom, his is an iconic story of the American Dream. In fact, his name is engraved on the base of the Statue of Liberty along with other influential immigrants who made significant contributions to American commerce, culture, and lifestyle.

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Louis Prang had a young daughter and recognized the need for

child-safe art materials that could maintain his very high quality standards and be produced in the United States. He found the American Crayon Company to produce his products which would come

crayons, watercolors, markers, to include

paints, and much


Prang art materials are made by Dixon Ticonderoga today. Naturally, they have a great deal of competition these days, but Prang products are sold around the world and are still considered to be very high quality educational art materials.

Resources Fitzgerald, Jean. A Finding Aid to the Louis Prang Papers, 1848-1932 in the Archives of American Art. Retrieved February 24, 2014 from Dixon Ticonderoga Company. Louis Prang 1824-1909. Retrieved February 24, 2014 from history/prang.cfm Reed, Fred L. III, (2013). Printer Louis Prang Issued ‘Checks’. Retrieved February 24, 2014 from http:// Stankiewicz, M. A. (2001). We Aim at Order and Hope for Beauty. In M. A. Stankiewicz, Roots of art education practice (pp. 85-103). Worcester, MA: Davis Publications.

Louis Prang- Immigrant, Art Educator, Innovator  

Louis Prang's commercializes and capitalizes on art education, but creates a lasting brand and makes valuable contributions to art education...