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Celebrating the Arts & Crafts: Chicago's Glessner House

  • 8 Jun 2022
  • 8:00 PM - 9:15 PM
  • Online Presentation via Zoom

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Join us to hear a virtual presentation by William Tyre, Executive Director and Curator of the Glessner House, which is a National Historic Landmark located in Chicago.

In December 1887, the Glessner family moved into their new home on Chicago’s prestigious Prairie Avenue, designed by America’s leading architect of the time, Henry Hobson Richardson. Frances Glessner was well informed on current English decorating trends and selected numerous items for her home ranging from Morris & Co. wallpapers, textiles, and rugs to Benson lamps and De Morgan fireplace tiles.

This heavily illustrated lecture will explore the house in detail through both historic and modern images, showcasing the original furnishings, more than 90% of which are still in place. Also examined will be Frances Glessner’s support for the local Arts & Crafts community, and her talents as an expert needleworker, silversmith, and jewelry maker.


William Tyre has served as Executive Director and Curator of the Glessner House in Chicago since October 2007.  Bill holds a master’s degree in historic preservation from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2008, he published Chicago’s Historic Prairie Avenue, part of the Images of America series published by Arcadia.   In his role as director of Glessner House, he oversees the daily operations of the museum including collections management, programming, tours, interpretation, and restoration projects. 

He has developed and presented numerous talks on a wide variety of topics relating to Glessner House.  These have included lectures on craftswoman Frances Glessner, designer Isaac Scott, the early history of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, William Morris and the English Arts & Crafts movement, and several on various topics related to Prairie Avenue.  In October 2017, he presented on the life and career of the Glessners’ daughter, Frances Glessner Lee, during the opening weekend of Murder Is Her Hobby: Frances Glessner Lee and the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. 

Tyre has also been an active board member of Friends of Historic Second Church since 2007.  He is primarily responsible for the interpretation of Second Presbyterian Church, a National Historic Landmark designated church, featuring a fully intact Arts and Crafts interior by Howard Van Doren Shaw, pre-Raphaelite murals by Frederic Clay Bartlett, and a collection of stained glass windows including nine by Louis Comfort Tiffany.

He resides in a restored manager’s house in Pullman, designated a National Monument by President Barack Obama in 2015.

Photo credit: James Caulfield

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