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BECKWITH, ADA BEL

BECKWITH, ADA BEL (February 27, 1886-May 17, 1964) was regarded as an innovative educator during a long tenure as art supervisor in the LAKEWOOD Public Schools. Daughter of Havel and Alida (Haight) Beckwith, Ada was born and educated in Cleveland, graduating from CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL and Cleveland Normal School. She studied art at the Pratt Institute and also attended Western Reserve University (now CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY) and Columbia University. Beginning her career in the CLEVELAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS in 1906, she taught elementary art and was made assistant supervisor of art from 1913-1918. Beckwith became supervisor of art in Lakewood in 1918 and remained in that position until her retirement in 1956. Her philosophy of allowing children to express themselves with a minimum of teacher guidance became standard practice in art education, promoted in part by her many articles in educational journals. Beckwith was also a practicing artist, exhibiting in the MAY SHOW at the CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART. She was a vice-president of the Lakewood Society of Artists and a director of the WOMEN'S ART CLUB OF CLEVELAND. In retirement, she taught summer sessions at BALDWIN-WALLACE COLLEGE. She was never married.