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Marcella Brenner papers

Identifier: MS2304-UA

Scope and Contents

The materials of this series include correspondence, memoranda, meeting minutes, personal notes, educational materials, administrative files, reports, brochures, budgets, proposals, and promotional materials. The materials date from 1958 to 2007 and include those relating to Marcella Brenner's tenure as a student, professor, program director, and trustee at George Washington University, as well as those related to her life away from the University.


  • 1958-2005

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

Marcella Brenner was born Baltimore and received a two-year diploma in 1929 from Maryland State Teachers College, now Towson University, and an undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1934. She taught in the Baltimore public schools from 1930 to 1944, and received a master's degree in sociology from American University in 1949. From 1945 to 1952, she was a writer and editor for the U.S. Public Health Service. Returning to public education, she was a teacher and then principal at Lone Oak Elementary School in Rockville from 1952 to 1964.

In 1964, she received a PhD in Education from George Washington University and subsequently joined the faculty as an instructor. In 1974, she founded the Museum Education Program at George Washington University. She retired as director of the program in 1983 but continued to advise and instruct students in the program until 2007. In 1971, Ms. Brenner founded the Program for Innovative Teaching (the Keren) in Israel, designed to provide individual classroom teachers with funds not normally available to them in the school budget. She also supported the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem.

She contributed art works by her late husband Morris Louis, the well-known Washington colorist, to museums around the world. She founded the Morris Louis Scholarship to support art students at George Washington University and was a benefactor of the Maryland Institute College of Art, her husband's alma mater. At Jewish Social Services, she taught English to Russian immigrants and established the Brenner Escort Service Fund to transport people to and from doctor's appointments and take notes of the doctor's instructions. An avid reader who loved mystery novels, she was a member of two long-standing book clubs, as well.

Marcella Brenner passed away on Decemeber 25, 2007, in Silver Spring, MD.


7.5 Linear Feet (15 document boxes)

Language of Materials



Marcella Brenner was a long-tenured member of the George Washington University Community, serving in multiple capacities as a student, professor, program director, trustee, professor emerita, and advisor from 1964 to her death in 2007. Over the course of her long career in higher education, she became one of the foremost experts on museum education and founded the Museum Education Program at George Washington University. In her personal life, she was an avid participat and educator in the DC Jewish community, sponsored and founded philanthropic programs in the US and Israel, and was a lifelong patron of the arts.


Organized into 2 series: George Washington University Files and Personal Files.

Physical Location

Materials may be stored off-site, and may require additional retrieval time. Please contact the Special Collections Research Center for more information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Marcella Brenner Revocable Trust, 3/26/2012 (2012.037)


Guide to the Marcella Brenner Papers, 1958-2005
Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Repository

2130 H Street NW
Washington 20052 United States of America