FRARY, IHNA THAYER (13 April 1873-18 March 1965) was a prominent designer, author, photographer, teacher, and architectural historian. He was born in Cleveland to George S. and Carrie Thayer Frary and studied at the Cleveland School of Art (see CLEVELAND INSTITUTE OF ART). Frary worked as an interior decorator and furniture designer for the Brooks Household Art Company (later Rorimer-Brooks Studios) from 1894 until 1914, when he became an independent designer. He designed automobile interiors for the F. B. STEARNS CO. for a time before serving as education director of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) for the southwest region in San Antonio, Texas in 1918. In 1920, Frary returned to Cleveland to become membership and publicity secretary for the CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART, a position he occupied until his retirement in 1946. He was a member of the faculty of the Cleveland School of Art and a lecturer at the Cleveland School of Architecture of WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY and at the JOHN HUNTINGTON POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE. In addition to his educational work, Frary authored several books in architectural history: Thomas Jefferson, Architect and Builder (1931), Early Homes of Ohio (1936), Early American Doorways (1937), They Built the Capitol (1940), and Ohio in Homespun and Calico (1942). Over the course of fifty years, Frary also collected over 15,000 photographs and slides documenting the early architecture of Western Reserve.
Frary served as president of the ROWFANT CLUB and was a member of the CLEVELAND CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, the CLEVELAND SOCIETY OF ARTISTS, the Collectors Club, and several MASONIC lodges. He also served as a trustee of the Cleveland Museum of Art and the WESTERN RESERVE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. He retired to Winter Park, Florida, in 1946, where he passed away and was buried. Frary married Mabel Amanda Guild on June2, 1904 and they had two sons, Spencer G. and Allan T.
Ihna Thayer Frary papers, WRHS.