Mary Hallock Greenewalt
Mary Elizabeth Hallock’s arrival in Philadelphia in 1882 at the age of eleven set into motion a forty-year career as a musician, inventor, lecturer, writer and political activist. Born in Beirut, September 8, 1871 to Sara (Tabet) Hallock, descendant of an aristocratic Syrian family, and Samuel Hallock, a U.S. consul, she was educated in Beirut and Philadelphia. A gifted musician, Hallock graduated from Philadelphia’s Musical Academy in 1893, and in 1897 studied piano in Vienna with Theodore Leschetizky. In 1898 in Johnstown, New York, Hallock married Dr. Frank L. Greenewalt, thirty-two years old and a physician-in-chief at Girard College. The Greenewalts had one son, Crawford, born in 1902. Greenewalt, a pianist noted for her interpretation of Chopin, began in the early 1900s to investigate how gradated colored lighting might enhance the emotional expression of music. By 1920 Greenewalt had obtained the first of many patents covering a color organ designed to project a sequence of colored lighting arranged for specific musical programs. In combining light and color as a single performance Greenewalt believed she had created a new, fine art which she named “Nourathar,” or essence of light. Although awarded eleven patents, Greenewalt spent a number of years pursuing patent infringements, finding recourse in the courts in 1932 with a judgment in her favor. Greenewalt’s professional activities also included lecturing on music and serving as a delegate to the National Women’s Party, which was instrumental in winning women’s suffrage. After retiring from the concert and lecture stage, Greenewalt published Nourathar: The Fine Art of Light-Color Playing in 1946. She died on November 26, 1950, in Wilmington, Delaware. (Source)
- "Time Eternal", 1900.
- "Pulse in Verbal Rhythm", 1905.
- "Light: Fine Art the Sixth", 1918.
- Nourathar: The Fine Art of Light Color Playing, Philadelphia: West-Brook Publishing, 1946.