Biographical / Historical
Margaret Merwin Patch (1894-1987) was an arts administrator in Massachusetts and Florida.
Born in Bloomington, Illinois in 1894, Margaret Stone Merwin graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1915. She attended the University of Chicago Graduate School of Commerce and Administration from 1916 to 1917.
While living in London, Margaret enrolled at the London School of Economics and worked for the American Section of the Allied Maritime Transport Council, attending the Paris Peace Conference. Upon returning to the United States, she was a member of the National Industrial Conference Board and attended Columbia University in the early 1920s. She started a statistical graphic design company, Merwin-Davis Statistical Reports and Charts, which produced illustrated and varied graphs to display statistical information in the mid-1920s.
Margaret Merwin married George Patch in 1930. She and George moved between their summer home in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, New York City, where Margaret was a special consultant to the National Broadcasting Company, and Bloomfield Hills, Michigan where she studied painting under Zoltan Sepeshy and Wallace Mitchell at Cranbrook Academy of Art. During World War II, Patch worked for the Office of Price Administration. Upon her husband's death in the 1950s, Patch spent winters in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
From the 1940s until her death in 1988, Margaret Merwin Patch devoted her time to arts administration in the United States and around the world. Her passion began when she became the art chairman of the Women's Club of Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts. With that role, she helped lead the exhibition, class instruction, and retail support of local crafts. Eventually, her activity led to the formation of the Shelburne Falls Craft Center. Among the many organizations with which she was involved were the Aid to Artisans, American Craftsmen's Council, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Deerfield Valley Art Association, Michigan League of Women Voters, and the Shelburne Falls Art Center. Through her affiliation with the American Craftsmen's Council, Patch embarked on a year-long trip around the world in 1960. This trip helped lay the foundation for the World Crafts Council, which was formally established in 1964, with the aid of her colleague, Aileen Osborn Patch. A UNESCO group, the World Crafts Council sponsored international crafts conferences and cultural assemblies.
Margaret Merwin Patch died in 1988.