Frank A Seiberling Jr

Frank A. Seiberling Jr. — 1908-1990

Frank A Seiberling Jr

From an Obituary, Princeton Alumni Weekly, May 16, 1990 issue ...

Frank A. Seiberling '31...died, Jan. 24, [1990] after a brief illness. He lived in North Liberty, Ia., a suburb of Iowa City.

Professionally, Frank was a distinguished art historian. The youngest of three Seiberling brothers to graduate from Princeton, he came to us from Lawrenceville where he was active in dramatics and debating. At college, he was business manager of the Bric-a-Brac and the Nassau Herald. He was on the debating team and served as treasurer of Arbor Inn.

After Princeton, Frank studied abroad for three years, and in 1948 he obtained his doctorate from the Univ. of Chicago, where he was assistant to the editor of the College Art Bulletin. For several years, he was supervisor of education at the Toledo Museum of Art. During WWII, he was stationed in Italy, and later in Vienna, as an interpreter. From 1946 to 1959, Frank was professor of art history and head of the school of art at Ohio State Univ. From 1959 to 1976, he was head of the dept. of art and art history at the Univ. of Iowa. During this time, he led the effort to build the school's art museum.

Frank's many friends relished his wit and affability, his unfailing courtesy, and his stimulating intellectual and cultural interests. He is survived by his wife Nancy and by four children and two grandchildren, to whom we extend deepest sympathy.

In his 2015 thesis, University of Iowa artist and scholar Scott Siegling wrote, "Frank Seiberling, Jr. (1908-1990) was the son of a noted inventor who had co-founded Goodyear Tire and later Seiberling Tire, and who became a noted philanthropist. Seiberling studied at Princeton and abroad, and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1948. Seiberling was hired in 1959 to chair the School of Art and Art History, with a particular emphasis on trying to get an Art Museum built. Seiberling had a broad European Modernist education, but being an outsider to the quarrel he obviously didn't have the chip that Longman had on his shoulder towards representational American Art. His dissertation had been on American Realist painter George Bellows (1882-1925), who had been affiliated with the Ashcan school and was recognized as one of the most acclaimed American artists of his generation. Consequently, Seiberling was inclusive of the artistic traditions and forms on both sides of the Atlantic. This was reflected in his direct, professional approach and congenial manner. Because of his affluent background, Seiberling was also able to frequently arrange charitable donations to the School of Art and Art History for special projects and requests."

Wedding day
Wedding Day, May 1, 1941

From Louis I. Maston, Seiberling Family in America from 1741 to 2005, Colorado Springs, CO, 2005, p.48 ...

Franklin Augustus Seiberling [Frank Seiberling Jr., growing up in Akron, Ohio,] attended Portage Path School for his elementary schooling and West High School for secondary schooling. He claims to have formed a basketball team of friends who played other teams, in the gymnasium of Stan Hywet Hall. From 1923-27, he attended Lawrenceville School, NJ. The summer of 1927, he attended the University of Grenoble, in France. He entered Princeton University in 1927, graduating with a degree in history. He then attended the University of Chicago, in the Art History graduate program. He studied in Munich, Germany, for a year. He completed his graduate study, after the war, receiving his PhD from the University of Chicago in 1948. Franklin was the Director of Publicity, and later, Supervisor of Education at the Toledo Museum of Art. He also taught Art History at the University of Toledo. Between 1943-45, he was a private in the U.S. Army, stationed in Italy. After the war, he served as an interpreter in Vienna. Returning from the war, he became an Assistant Professor of Art History at Ohio State University. He later served as Chairman of the School of Art. From 1959-76, He was the Director of the School of Art and Art History at the University of Iowa. He married Nancy Pendleton Jackson, who also taught art history at the University of Toledo. Nancy was the daughter of Alton Blanchard Jackson. Franklin Seiberling [Frank Seiberling Jr.] died in 1990, apparently of cancer.

As Director of the UI School of Art and Art History, Frank's most important contribution was promotion of the visual arts on campus, which including the building of the UI Museum of Art, completed in 1969. And here is a retrospective look back at the museum's development 50 years later:

Frank A. Seiberling Jr. was an amateur radio operator in the 1920s and 30s. Click Here for a biography (in PDF format) from a ham radio perspective, by Robert R. "Pat" Ballantine (W8SU) of Warren, Ohio, posting at


Graphical items on this site, with few exceptions, were scanned from images in the private collection of the Frank A. Seiberling Jr. family. Some of those items have subsequently been given to the Stan Hywet Hall archives. No images on this site have been downloaded from other locations on the Internet. Most images from may be reproduced on request, only if full credit is maintained, including a link to the original page containing the item, and has been notified of the item's proposed use.

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