A Finding Aid to the Toshiko Takaezu Papers, circa 1925-circa 2010, in the Archives of American Art
Portions of this collection are digitized

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.takatosh
Creators:
Takaezu, Toshiko
Dates:
circa 1925-circa 2010
Languages:
The collection is in English and Japanese.
Physical Description:
24.4 Linear feet
12.65 Gigabytes
Repository:
The papers of New Jersey-based ceramicist Toshiko Takaezu measure 24.4 linear feet and 12.65 gigabytes and date from circa 1925 to circa 2010. The papers document Takaezu's career as an educator and ceramicist in Hawaii and Quakertown, New Jersey, through biographical material, correspondence, interviews, documentaries, artist files, organization files, personal business records, studio practice files, printed material, and photographic material.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of New Jersey-based ceramicist Toshiko Takaezu measure 24.4 linear feet and 12.65 gigabytes and date from circa 1925 to circa 2010. The papers document Takaezu's career as an educator and ceramicist in Hawaii and Quakertown, New Jersey, through biographical material, correspondence, interviews, documentaries, artist files, organization files, personal business records, studio practice files, printed material, and photographic material.
Biographical materials include Toshiko Takaezu's biographical summaries, resumes, awards, engagement calendars, honorary degrees, business cards, and other miscellany. There are also some writings by others about Takaezu and writings by her students on various subjects.
The correspondence series consists of personal and professional correspondence with friends, family, and other artists. Noteworthy correspondents include Dan Anderson, Olen Bryant, Maryette Charlton, Maija Grotell, Ivabell Harlan, Joseph Hurley, Nobuko Ise, Ernestine Kozuma, Isamu Noguchi, Hideo Okino, Alice Parrott, Carol and Francois Rigolot, Ann Shaner, Brooke Shields, Gladys Sonomura, Barbara Tiso, Carol and Katsunari Toyoda, and Lois Wittich. There is also a great deal of correspondence with Toshiko Takaezu's siblings and mother. Also included are Takaezu's letter drafts, letters of recommendations for students, greeting cards, and correspondence related to exhibitions.
Interviews and documentaries include a wide variety of audiovisual formats from videocassettes to sound cassettes, 16mm film reels, U-matic tapes, and born digital recordings, along with transcripts. The transcripts and recordings feature Takaezu's artwork, exhibitions, workshops, and award ceremonies, but they are mostly interviews. A few recordings are about other artists or ceramics in general.
Artist files include biographical information, resumes, limited correspondence, clippings, exhibition catalogs, slides and photographs on various artists. There is also a small amount of artwork by various artists in the form of sketches, etchings, prints, and watercolors.
Organization files document Toshiko Takaezu's long relationship with various museums, galleries, universities, colleges, art schools, and other institutions across the country and in Japan. The series contains a mixture of exhibition files, project files, teaching files, and gallery records. These records document exhibitions, workshops, commissions, conferences, fellowships, and donations of artwork. The Princeton University, where Toshiko Takaezu taught for over two decades, are especially noteworthy.
Personal business records consist of documents related to Toshiko Takaezu's financial and legal affairs. There are art appraisals, contracts and invoices, inventories of artwork on Takaezu's property, price lists, shipping and transportation records, ceramic restoration reports, deeds for various properties, and other material.
Studio practice files include information on kiln construction and other equipment. There are manuals, designs, contracts, instructions, regulations, and printed material related to looms, stoves, kilns, septic tanks, oil tanks, and wells for Toshiko Takaezu's New Jersey home and studio. Other miscellaneous materials include art supplies receipts, guest books, and writings by others on the subject of pottery.
Most of the printed material is about Toshiko Takaezu, but there are a few folders on other artists and subjects, such as mycology and mushroom gathering, that interested her. Printed material consists of books, clippings, exhibition catalogs and announcements, magazines, books, and posters, etc.
Photographic material includes photographs of Toshiko Takaezu in her studio, teaching workshops, and attending various events. There are many photographs of Takaezu's artwork as well as exhibition installations and opening receptions. There are a few photographs of artists such as Lenore Tawney and Lee Nordness. Most of the series consists of photographs and snapshots, but there are some slides and transparencies as well. This series also includes born digital photographs.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 9 series.
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, 1937-circa 2010 (0.9 linear feet; Box 1)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, circa 1950-2010 (6.7 linear feet; Boxes 1-8, OV 25)
  • Series 3: Interviews and Documentaries, 1970-2009 (2.2 linear feet; Boxes 8-10, FC 34-36, ER01-ER02)
  • Series 4: Artist Files, circa 1940-2010 (1.9 linear feet; Boxes 10-12, OV 26)
  • Series 5: Organization Files, 1952-2010 (5 linear feet; Boxes 12-16, OV 27-28, ER03)
  • Series 6: Personal Business Records, 1966-2009 (0.4 linear feet; Box 17)
  • Series 7: Studio Practice Files, circa 1956-circa 2010 (0.7 linear feet; Boxes 17, 24, OV 29
  • Series 8: Printed Material, 1949-2012 (2.9 linear feet; Boxes 17-20, OV 30-32)
  • Series 9: Photographic Material, circa 1925-2010 (3.7 linear feet; Boxes 20-23, OV 33, ER04-ER19)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Toshiko Takaezu (1922-2011) was a Japanese American ceramicist who was primarily based in Quakertown, New Jersey. Takaezu was born in Pepeekeo, Hawaii, on June 17, 1922. Her parents Shinsa and Kama Takaezu were Japanese immigrants and she was one of eleven children.
Starting around 1940, Takaezu worked at the Hawaii Potter's Guild in Honolulu. She later took classes at the Honolulu Academy of Arts (now called the Honolulu Museum of Art School) and attended the University of Hawaii (1948-1951) where she studied ceramics with Claude Horan. From 1951 to 1954, Takaezu attended the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where she studied under ceramicist Maija Grotell. In 1957, she participated in the American Craft Council conference in Ansilomar, California, where she befriended fiber artist Lenore Tawney.
Throughout the course of her career, Toshiko Takaezu taught at many places. She taught at the YWCA in Honolulu, Cranbrook Academy; University of Wisconsin, Madison; Honolulu Academy of Art, Cleveland Institute of Art, and Princeton University, and other art schools and institutions. In 1966, she established a studio in Clinton, New Jersey. She taught at Princeton the longest, from 1967 to 1992, and received an honorary doctorate from the university in 1996.
In 1975, Takaezu permanently settled in Quakertown, New Jersey, where she created a home and studio. From 1977 to 1981, Lenore Tawney lived with Takaezu in Quakertown and shared adjoining studio spaces. The two continued to travel together and remained close friends throughout their lives until Tawney passed away in 2007.
Toshiko Takaezu worked with painting, fiber, and even bronze, but she is most well known for her work with ceramics. In 1955, Takaezu traveled and studied ceramics in Japan for eight months. Her work is a testament to her bicultural heritage, reflecting both Japanese influences as well as her Western upbringing, and love of nature. While her early work included many functional objects, her explorations in art led to her signature "closed form" objects, which were hollow and sealed or included tiny openings to release gases during firing.
Takaezu also exhibited widely and had many solo and group exhibitions in the United States as well as Japan. Her work is in the collections of various museums such as the Art Institute of Chicago, Honolulu Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Smithsonian American Art Museum. Among the many awards and accolades she recieved over the course of her career were the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1980), being named a Living Treasure of Hawaii (1987), and being the recipient of honorary doctorates from multiple universities and colleges. Takaezu died in Honolulu on March 9, 2011.

Administration
Author
Rihoko Ueno
Sponsor
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation and the Alice L. Walton Foundation.
Existence and Location of Copies
The bulk of the collection was digitized in 2020 and is available on the Archives of American Art's website. Materials which have not been digitized include blank pages, blank versos of photographs, and duplicates. In some cases, exhibition catalogs and other publications have had their covers, title pages, and relevant pages digitized. Access copies of digital content not available online, including born-digital records and sound recordings, are available at the Archives of American Art offices.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Toshiko Takaezu papers were donated by Toshiko Takaezu in 1978 and 2006, and by Don Fletcher, a friend of Takaezu's, in 2013 and 2020.
Processing Information
The collection was processed, prepared for digitization, and described in a finding aid by Rihoko Ueno in 2020 with funding provided by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation and the Alice L. Walton Foundation..

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
The glaze recipes in the studio practice files are access restricted; written permission is required to view these documents. Contact Reference Services for more information.
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 Reference Services for more information.
Terms of 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.
Preferred Citation
Toshiko Takaezu papers, circa 1925-circa 2010. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Related Materials
Also found in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Toshiko Takaezu conducted by Gerry Williams, June 16, 2003.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Women artists Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Video recordings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Asian American art Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Asian American artists Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Japanese American artists Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ceramicists -- New Jersey Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women potters Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Educators -- New Jersey Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ceramicists -- Hawaii Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Tawney, Lenore Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Grotell, Maija Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

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