A Finding Aid to the Robert Chapman Turner Papers, circa 1917-2005, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.turnrobe
Creators:
Turner, Robert Chapman, 1913-2005
Dates:
circa 1917-2005
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
13.3 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of ceramicist Robert Chapman Turner measure 13.3 linear feet and date from circa 1917 to 2005. The papers document Turner's career as an educator and studio potter through biographical material, correspondence, writings, teaching files, professional files including lectures, subject files, printed material, and photographs.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of ceramicist Robert Chapman Turner measure 13.3 linear feet and date from circa 1917 to 2005. The papers document Turner's career as an educator and studio potter through biographical material, correspondence, writings, teaching files, professional files including lectures, subject files, printed material, and photographs.
The bulk of Turner's papers relate to his role as an educator and a lecturer at various institutions including Alfred University, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Black Mountain College, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, and Penland School of Crafts. Records, including two sound cassettes, regarding his time at these institutions may be found among his teaching and professional files as well as among photographs. Turner's professional files document his long affiliations with professional organizations such as the York State Craftsmen, National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts, and the International Academy of Ceramics. Correspondence is with artists, family, and friends. Notable correspondents include Margaret Carney, Kenneth Ferguson, Alice Parrott, Toshiko Takaezu, and Frans Wildenhain among many others and may be found in both the correspondence series and professional files. Photographs of note are by John Wood and depict the building of the pottery studio at Black Mountain College.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 8 series.
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, 1930-2002 (0.4 linear feet; Boxes 1, 14)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, circa 1938-2005 (1.8 linear feet; Boxes 1-3)
  • Series 3: Writings and Notes, 1950s-2000s (0.6 linear feet; Box 3)
  • Series 4: Teaching Files, 1957-2005 (0.8 linear feet; Boxes 3-4)
  • Series 5: Professional Files, 1952-2005 (5.5 linear feet; Boxes 4-9)
  • Series 6: Subject Files, 1950s-2000 (0.8 linear feet; Boxes 9-10)
  • Series 7: Printed Material, 1939-2000s (1.5 linear feet; Boxes 10-12, 14)
  • Series 8: Photographs, circa 1917-2000s (1.9 linear feet; Boxes 12-14)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Robert Chapman Turner (1913-2006) was a ceramicist who was known for functional and abstract pottery. He was active in Alfred Station, New York where he was a longtime faculty member at Alfred University.
Robert Turner was born in Port Washington, New York in 1913. He attended Swarthmore College and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts where he studied economics and painting. With his wife Sue Turner, Robert lived in Europe to study Old Master paintings but returned to the United States after the start of World War II. A Quaker, Turner was a conscientious objector and served at multiple Civilian Public Service (CPS) camps in the United States during the war.
After leaving the CPS camps, Robert Turner enrolled at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University to study ceramics and graduated in 1949. Turner was a faculty member at Black Mountain College (1949-1951) and Alfred University (1958-1979). He conducted numerous ceramics workshops throughout his career at many institutions including Haystack Mountain School of Crafts and Penland School of Crafts. Additionally, he was an active member of the (New) York State Craftsman.
Turner died in 2005 in Sandy Spring, Maryland.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was processed, and a finding aid prepared by Jayna Josefson in 2019.
Author
Jayna M. Josefson
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Robert Chapman Turner donated some of his papers in 1982. Additional materials were donated in 2005-2006 by Rosalind Turner Zuses, Turner's daughter.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
The 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 audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies. Contact Reference Services for more information.
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 permissions to access, use, reproduce, and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Preferred Citation
Robert Chapman Turner papers, circa 1917-2005. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Related Materials
Also found in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview of Robert Turner conducted 2001 June 11, by Margaret Carney, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America,

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Ceramicists -- New York (State) -- Alfred Station Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American studio craft movement Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ceramics -- Study and teaching Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Conscientious objectors -- World War, 1939-1945 Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Black Mountain College (Black Mountain, N.C.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Haystack Mountain School of Crafts Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
York State Craftsmen 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/