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About Albert H. Munsell

Author of A Color Notation and the Atlas of the Munsell Color System

Franc Grum

Professor Albert H. Munsell

Professor Munsell was born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 6th, 1858 and died June 28th, 1918 at age 60. Author of A Color Notation (1905) and the Atlas of the Munsell Color System (1915). Both an artist of distinction and a gifted teacher of art, he developed the first widely-accepted color order system to make the description of color accurate and convenient and to aid in the teaching of color. The Munsell color order system has gained international acceptance and has served as the foundation for other color order systems.

Albert Munsell founded the Munsell Color Company in 1917. Later, in 1942, the Munsell Color Foundation was formed by the company to promote the advancement of the science of color. Ultimately, the Munsell Color Foundation led to the founding of this laboratory, the Munsell Color Science Laboratory, in 1983, at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Related Scholarly Research and Imagery

Unfortunately, no high-quality photo of Professor Munsell is available. In 1998, Munsell graduate student Doug Corbin restored the photo from Munsell's book, A Color Notation. The details of the procedure appeared in the February 1999 issue of Color Research and Application. Doug has provided the following information pertaining to this restoration:

     The full text of the CR&A submission can be found here
     The LARGE uncorrected image can be found here (21MB TIFF file).
     The scientific diaries of Albert Munsell are available here.

For some other insights into the work of Professor Munsell, here is a self-published work from 1907 entitled "Color and an Eye to Discern It." This was provided by Rolf Kuehni, who originally retrieved it from The Hagley Museum and Library.