Archives of American Art

Charles Fergus Binns papers

Collection ID:
Binns, Charles Fergus, 1857-1934
Physical Description:
6 Microfilm reels

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
Biographical materials, including an autobiographical sketch, brief biographies by family members, and certificates of naturalization and membership; correspondence, 1897-1931, with family members, ceramic manufacturers, potters, art educators, museum curators and administrators, and former students; subject files on: the American Ceramic Society, the Charles Fergus Binns Medal; Ceramic Alumni Association, and exhibitions of Binns' work. Subject files include correspondence, meetings minutes, and printed materials. Also included are lectures and speeches by Binns; writings; and 10 photographs, undated & 1901-1935, of Binns and of his works of art.

Correspondence is organized chronologically and then alphabetically within each year or group of years.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Charles Fergus Binns (1857-1934) was a ceramist, educator, and art administrator. From 1900 until his retirement in 1931, Charles F. Binns was Director of the New York State School of Clayworking and Ceramics at Alfred University. Binns was a frequent contributor to ceramic periodicals and publications including monthly columns of technical advice. He helped found the American Ceramics Society in 1899 and served as its president in 1901 and secretary from 1918 to 1922. Among the awards Binns received for his work in art pottery and glazes are the Logan Medal from the Art Institute of Chicage in 1919 and the Medal of the Boston Society of Arts and Crafts in 1922.

Existence and Location of Copies
35mm microfilm reels 3606 through 3611 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
Existence and Location of Originals
Originals in Alfred University, New York State College of Ceramics.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Charles Fergus Binns papers consist of three sections, each given to the New York State College of Ceramics by different donors. Biographical materials and photographs were donated by Binns grandchildren. The "Office Files" of the collection, which primarily contain general correspondence, were discovered on the ceramic school campus in March, 1981, by W. Richard Ott, Dean of the College, and placed in the College Archives. The lectures, speeches, and writings (listed on the Alfred University inventory as "Manuscripts and Typescripts") were given circa 1978 by John McMahon, former Dean of the College.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Correspondence for the years 1910-1920 has not been found, except for the letters between Binns and Adelaide and Samuel Robineau from 1914 to 1920. In addition, no letters from Binns, filed under A-L, have been located for the year 1922. Only selected portions of the lectures, speeches, and writings have been filmed. Technical correspondence, correspondence with prospective students, and requests for clay analyses have not been filmed.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.
Charles Fergus Binns papers, 1875-1934. Alfred University, New York State College of Ceramics. Microfilmed by the Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Art.

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Ceramics Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Decorative arts Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ceramicists Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Ceramic Society Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Federation of Arts Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Society of Arts and Crafts (Boston, Mass.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
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Victor Building, Suite 2200
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