Aside from being the benefactor and namesake of our school, Joseph Moore, Jr. was also a noted financier, manufacturer, traveler, and author. The Joseph Moore Jr. Collection, housed within our archives, reflects the life and interests of this accomplished individual.
Born to Joseph and Cecelia Moore in Philadelphia on July 19, 1849, Moore began his business training early in a dry goods house and later in the carriage building business. Despite a promising manufacturing future ahead of him, the young man chose instead to pursue his long held interests in study, travel and literary work.
In 1876 he withdrew from his positions and began what would end up being twelve years of traveling the world, writing books and articles, and furthering his education. Moore traveled throughout Europe, Asia Minor and Africa, and participated in several archaeological expeditions along the way. His travels around the world continued when he studied French in Blois, German in Hanover and international law under the famous Dr. Francis Wharton in Washington D.C. Upon his return to Philadelphia, Moore lectured to schools on his travels and found time to work for several years on the Evening Bulletin newspaper in Philadelphia and other magazines.
During these productive years he authored a number of books including Outlying Europe and the near Orient and The Queen’s Empire, as well as a series of papers collected as Egyptian Obelisk. In 1882, Moore was made a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and of the French Society of Geography the following year.
In addition to his scientific leanings, Moore was also interested in the arts – particularly in drama and music. In the early 1880s he was chosen as manager of the Edwin Forrest Home for Actors, located in the Holmesburg section of North Philadelphia, of which he served several years as president. Incidentally, this was close to the same time the Philadelphia School of Design for Women moved into the Forrest-Gaul Mansion, Edwin’s former home on Broad and Master streets.
Reestablishing his residence in Philadelphia, Moore embarked on a successful career in the banking industry and made a name for himself as a prominent financier. He went on to preside as the president of many companies, including the Pennsylvania Salt Manufacturing Company, the Northern Liberties Gas Company, the Philadelphia Clearing House, and the National Bank of Northern Liberties.
Moore became deeply involved with both the financial and cultural institutions of Philadelphia. At various times he acted as a trustee of the Fairmount Park Association, and the director of both the Guarantee Trust and Safe Deposit Company and the Franklin Fire Insurance Company. He served as chairman for many years on the membership committee of the Union League of Philadelphia to which he belonged for forty years, and in 1905 was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Drexel Institute of Philadelphia through his personal friendship with Anthony J. Drexel Jr.
Despite all his activities, Moore managed to lead a full social life. He loved to throw parties for society debutantes and made these an annual event for which he was famous. A lifelong bachelor, he is reputed to have had the handsomest bachelor apartment in Philadelphia, which was filled with books, curios and art objects from the world over. It was in this apartment at 1821 Walnut St. on February 11, 1921, that Joseph Moore Jr. died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 71 while preparing to receive dinner guests.
Moore’s only surviving relative was his brother’s widow, Mrs. Alfred Moore. His will stipulated that his entire estate, an amount of $1,000,000, was to be held in trust until the principal amounted to $3,000,000, at which point it should be used to establish and maintain the Moore Institute of Art, Science and Industry. Created as a memorial to his parents Joseph and Cecelia Moore, this school would be for women only and similar in style and operation to the Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry.
The Moore Institute of Art, Science and Industry merged with the Philadelphia School of Design for Women in 1932, creating Moore College of Art.
For more information on Joseph Moore Jr. :
Moore, Joseph, Jr. Autobiographical sketch of Joseph Moore, Jr. [Philadelphia] : [Moore College of Art], [19??].
Finding Aid. Joseph Moore Jr. Collection. Moore College of Art and Design Archives.
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