Edith Emerson, Cartoon for the "Elijah Window"

Date
1919
Medium
Black ink, charcoal, conté, and graphite on brown wove paper
Credit Line
Gift of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 2012
Dimensions
182 x 92 ½ in.

This full-scale cartoon is for the multi-panel stained glass window Emerson was commissioned to create for Keneseth Israel as a memorial to Theodore Roosevelt, when the synagogue, now in Elkins Park, was located on Broad Street and Columbia Avenue. Designed by Emerson and executed by the D'Ascenzo Studios, the window stands at an impressive fourteen feet high.

Explaining in The American Magazine of Art in 1920 why she chose the Prophet Elijah as her subject, Emerson wrote, "Elijah was chosen as the subject of the Roosevelt Memorial window because of the many qualities possessed in common by the great prophet of Israel and this great leader of the American people, among them fearlessness in any kind of personal danger; the courage to assail evil in high places; the decisive mind which does not 'halt between two opinions;' the ability to inspire his followers and the younger generation with an equal zeal and fervor; tenderness toward the suffering and oppressed; obedience to 'the still, small voice,' which alone gives the ability to command others; active, vigorous, effective service in every cause which seemed right and good."

Emerson, a gifted artist and lecturer, served as director of Woodmere from the early 1940s through her retirement in 1979. Much of the preservation of Woodmere’s holdings and of its ephemera of local artists is due to her diligence and commitment to the art and artists of the Philadelphia area.

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