Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Oral history interview with Margret Craver Withers

Online Media

Catalog Data

Interviewee:
Withers, Margret Craver, 1907-  Search this
Interviewer:
Brown, Robert F.  Search this
Names:
Handy & Harman (Firm)  Search this
Fleming, Erik, Baron  Search this
Heinrich, Leonard  Search this
Kirk, Arthur Neville  Search this
Stone, Arthur J., 1847-1938  Search this
Weir, Wilson  Search this
Withers, Charles C.  Search this
Extent:
5 Sound cassettes
35 color slides
115 Pages (Transcript (1983-1984))
12 Pages (Transcript (1985))
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sound cassettes
Color slides
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1983-1985
Scope and Contents:
An interview with Margret Craver Withers conducted 1983-1985, by Robert F. Brown, for the Archives of American Art.
Withers discusses her childhood in Kansas; early education; and aptitude for drawing.Education in art and design, including studying crafts at the University of Kansas, 1925-29; her position as a grade school teacher in Kansas and as a crafts instructor at Wichita Art Association, 1930s; study with various master metalworkers, including Arthur Nevill Kirk, Arthur J. Stone, Leonard Heinrich and Wilson Weir in the USA, and Baron Erik Fleming in Sweden.Development of Hospital Service Program, with the support of Handy and Harman, precious metal refiners, during World War II, to train army therapists in metalworking for disabled soldiers; supervision in post-War period of Handy and Harman's Craft Service Department, producing films on hand-wrought silver, a traveling exhibition of outstanding contemporary silver, instructional brochures, and a series of workshops for American silversmiths, taught by European masters.Marriage in 1950 to Charles Withers, president of Towle Silver, and that company's policy of employing top designers; Towle's commissioning of works in silver from top modern sculptors; her making of silver holloware and jewelry for private clients; her re-invention of the en resille process for enameling (1959) and in the early 1980s her invention of a process for combining enamel, glass, and silver and gold leaf in jewelry; and her involvement in crafts organizations.She discusses her en resille enameling technique. [The 1985 session is transcribed, and is accompanied by slides of the work discussed].
Biographical / Historical:
Margret Craver Withers (1907-2010) was a silversmith in Boston, Massachusetts.
General:
Originally recorded on 5 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 10 digital wav files. Duration is 6 hr., 58 min.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Topic:
Silversmiths -- Interviews  Search this
Jewelers -- Interviews  Search this
Metal-workers -- Interviews  Search this
Silverwork  Search this
Enamel and enameling  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.wither83
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-wither83