No previous knowledge of drawing required
Keen competition characterized the American market for higher education in the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Commercial design schools, normal institutes, business colleges, and four-year liberal arts colleges competed for overlapping pools of potential students. By the turn of the century, schools of commercial art and design, a major innovation in women's education in the 1850s, struggled to retain a small niche in the private education market. Aided by flexible admissions criteria exemplified by the 1919 catalog statement above, the Philadelphia School of Design for Women, a pioneer in the American design school movement, survived as a single-sex commercial art school from its founding in 1848 into the twentieth century. By 1932, when a merger with another women's school brought a name change that symbolized the end of an era, the School of Design had enrolled more than four thousand students. Familiar to Philadelphians today as Moore College of Art and Design, the school remains committed to its original mission of educating women for careers in the arts.