Isetta studied art education at Thomas Normal School in Detroit

Isetta studied art education at Thomas Normal School in Detroit

In January 1918 when Isetta Stetson married James Bennett, the event was reported not just in the Montana society news but also back in Delaware County, Iowa, where Isetta had been raised before her family moved west. 

In fact, the article in the Manchester (Iowa) Democrat is rather more informative. Presumably it is based on information the Stetsons provided for the purpose of keeping their old Iowa friends informed of family news.

The tidbit we find in the Iowa article that is especially interesting is this: Isetta "attended the Thomas Training School at Detroit, where she took a course in art and teaching."

Looking up the Thomas Normal Training School in Detroit, Mich., we learn that it was not just a teacher training institute like those attended by Isetta's parents, it was one that specialized in arts education. It trained teachers for special subjects including music and drawing, home economics and physical education.

The school was founded in 1888 by music educator Emma Thompson, and was directed after 1906 by her daughter Jennie Louise Thomas. According to Sondra Wieland Howe, author of Women Music Educators in the United States: A History, Thomas was the supervisor of music education for Detroit Public Schools, as well as a teacher of vocal culture at the old Detroit Conservatory of Music.

Women first received their music education through private instruction, in teach-training schools of urban school systems, summer institutes, and normal schools....

From the 1870s to the early twentieth century, summer school teacher-training institutes, usually sponsored by publishing companies, were popular for men and women....

Emma A. Thomas, Supervisor of Music for the Detroit public schools, was responsible for moving the National Summer School of Music from Chicago to Detroit in 1891....

The outgrowth of these summer schools in Detroit became the Thomas Normal Training School, directed for many years by Emma Thomas's daughter. 

If Isetta attended Thomas Training School right after finishing high school, she might have gone there as early as 1910 or '11. Or perhaps she was in Detroit a few years later, in 1916 or 1917, closer to her wedding date.

The article says she attended Thomas but doesn't say she graduated. That may be an oversight or perhaps she did not complete the entire two-year curriculum.