A Finding Aid to the Hobart E. Cowles papers, 1924-1980, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.cowlhoba
Creators:
Cowles, Hobart E., 1923-1980
Dates:
1924-1980
Languages:
English
.
Physical Description:
2.5 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of ceramicist and educator Hobart E. Cowles measure 2.5 linear feet and date from 1924-1980. The collection sheds light on Cowles's career through personal papers, writings and notebooks, professional files, printed material, photographs, artwork, and one video recording.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of ceramicist and educator Hobart E. Cowles measure 2.5 linear feet and date from 1924-1980. The collection sheds light on Cowles's career through personal papers, writings and notebooks, professional files, printed material, photographs, artwork, and one video recording.
Personal papers include resumes, an interview transcript, a video recording of a documentary on Cowles, and correspondence. Writings and notebooks include course notebooks, papers, and more pertaining to Cowles's undergraduate and graduate work, and an annotated outline for a slide presentation given by Cowles.
Professional files primarily deal with exhibitions, Cowles's years teaching at R.I.T., and his involvement with professional organizations.
Printed materials consist of articles and newspaper clippings, book excerpts, exhibition ephemera from solo and group shows, and an advertisement for a workshop conducted at R.I.T. Photographs are of Cowles and his family, his artwork, and events including organizational gatherings, exhibitions, and teaching at R.I.T.
Artwork consists of 5 sketchbooks as well as loose sketches and designs for various projects.

Arrangement
Arrangement
This collection is arranged as 6 series.
  • Series 1: Personal Papers, 1924-1980 (Box 1; 11 folders)
  • Series 2: Writings and Notebooks, 1947-1980 (Box 1-2; .8 linear feet)
  • Series 3: Professional Files, 1948-1980 (Box 2; .5 linear feet)
  • Series 4: Printed Material, 1947-1980 (Box 2; 10 folders)
  • Series 5: Photographs, 1924-1980 (Box 2-3; 9 folders)
  • Series 6: Artwork, 1947-1980 (Box 3, OV 4; 6 folders)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Hobart E. Cowles (1923-1980) was a ceramicist and educator in Rochester, New York. He was an early experimenter with the firing of clay and is credited with playing an important role in the introduction of chemistry to clay processes.
Cowles, who was originally from Madison, Ohio, earned a BFA in ceramics from Wesleyan Conservatory in Macon, Georgia, in 1949, and completed his MFA at Ohio University in 1950. Cowles subsequently began teaching at Rochester Institute of Technology's School for American Crafts, working alongside Frans Wildenhain. He taught courses in glaze chemistry and ceramic history at R.I.T up until his death in 1980.
Cowles began showing his work, predominantly boxes, lidded jars, and sculptures decorated with self-designed glazes, almost immediately upon his arrival in Rochester. Although he went on to have his work featured in group exhibitions around the world, including at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts in New York and at the Brussels Worlds Fair, he focused primarily on his craft and his teaching throughout his career.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Christopher DeMairo in 2021.
Author
Christopher DeMairo
Sponsor
The processing of this collection received Federal support from the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund, administered by the National Collections Program and the Smithsonian Collections Advisory Committee.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was donated by Barbara Cowles, Hobart Cowles's widow, between 1981-1982.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Researchers interested in accessing born-digital records or audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies. Contact References Services for more information.
Citation
Hobart E. Cowles papers, 1924-1980. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Use
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Sketchbooks Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Video recordings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Educators -- New York (State) -- Rochester Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ceramicists -- New York (State) -- Rochester Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
School for American Crafts Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rochester Institute of Technology Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/