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Oral history interview with William J. Brown

Interviewee:
Brown, William J. (William Joseph), 1923-1992  Search this
Creator:
Brown, Jane Brennan, 1931-  Search this
Interviewer:
Kessler, Jane  Search this
Names:
Cranbrook Academy of Art  Search this
Flint Institute of Arts  Search this
Haystack Mountain School of Crafts  Search this
Penland School of Handicrafts  Search this
Gray, Robert Ward, 1916-  Search this
Merritt, Francis Sumner, 1913-2000  Search this
Morgan, Lucy, 1889-1981  Search this
Faculty:
University of Delaware  Search this
Extent:
203 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Interviews
Sound recordings
Date:
1991 January 19-March 2
Scope and Contents:
An interview of William J. Brown and his wife Jane Brown conducted 1991 January 19-1991 March 2, by Jane Kessler, for the Archives of American Art.
Brown and his wife Jane discuss his childhood in Michigan, his early interest in sculpture and his attitude towards education; military service in WWII; studies at Cranbrook Academy; designing for Steuben Glass; working with Francis Merritt at the Flint Institute of Arts and at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts; teaching design at the University of Delaware and working summers at Haystack; Robert Gray, director of the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild; first impressions of The Penland School of Crafts and its founder Lucy Morgan; the development of the Penland School and its various programs; craftspeople who taught at Penland; and relations with the Penland board of trustees.
Biographical / Historical:
William J. Brown, art administrator and designer. Director of the Penland School of Crafts (formerly Penland School of Handicrafts) from 1962 to 1983.
General:
Originally recorded on 4 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 8 digital wav files. Duration is 5 hr., 4 min.
2 of the cassettes are 60 min. and 2 are 90 min.
Sound quality of interview is poor.
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.
Occupation:
Arts administrators -- North Carolina -- Interviews  Search this
Topic:
Handicraft -- Study and teaching -- United States  Search this
Designers -- Interviews  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Function:
Art Schools -- United States
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Identifier:
AAA.brown91
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-brown91

Oral history interview with Cynthia Bringle

Interviewee:
Bringle, Cynthia, 1939-  Search this
Interviewer:
Kirwin, Liza  Search this
Names:
Alfred University -- Students  Search this
Anderson Ranch  Search this
Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts  Search this
Haystack Mountain School of Crafts -- Students  Search this
Penland School of Handicrafts  Search this
Brown, Jane Brennan, 1931-  Search this
Brown, William J. (William Joseph), 1923-1992  Search this
Ford, Bonnie Willis, 1907-1976  Search this
Kariher, Hunter  Search this
Morgan, Lucy, 1889-1981  Search this
Stanford, Joy  Search this
Stanford, Verne  Search this
Extent:
51 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Interviews
Sound recordings
Date:
1992 January 22
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Cynthia Bringle conducted 1992 January 22, by Liza Kirwin, for the Archives of American Art.
Bringle discusses her childhood and education in Memphis, Tennessee; her admiration for Memphis artist Dorothy Sturm; meeting Francis Merritt, the director of the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, and his assistant William (Bill) Brown; attending Haystack in Liberty, Maine in 1960 as a scholarship student; her graduate studies in ceramics at Alfred University; attending a Shoji Hamada workshop in Seattle in 1963; building the first gas kiln at the Penland School of Crafts in Penland, North Carolina; teaching at Penland; establishing a pottery studio in Tennessee; Brown's management style as the director of Penland from 1962 to 1983, and conflicts with the Board of Trustees that led to his resignation; Verne Stanford's tenure as director of Penland from 1984 to 1989; Hunter Kariher's role as the director of Penland after Stanford's resignation; and Penland in comparison with other craft schools including Haystack, Arrowmont, and Anderson Ranch. She recalls Lucy Morgan (the founder of Penland), Bonnie Ford (Penland administrator), Jane Brown, Joy Stanford, Harvey Littleton, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Cynthia Bringle (1939- ) is a potter, in Penland, N.C.
General:
Originally recorded on 2 sound tape cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 3 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr., 20 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.
Restrictions:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Occupation:
Art school directors -- North Carolina  Search this
Topic:
Pottery -- Study and teaching -- United States.  Search this
Handicraft -- Study and teaching -- United States  Search this
Ceramicists -- Interviews  Search this
Artisans -- Interviews  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Identifier:
AAA.bringl92
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-bringl92

Penland School of Crafts records

Creator:
Penland School of Handicrafts  Search this
Names:
Penland School of Handicrafts  Search this
Penland Weavers and Potters  Search this
Brown, William J. (William Joseph), 1923-1992  Search this
Morgan, Lucy, 1889-1981  Search this
Extent:
12 Microfilm reels
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Microfilm reels
Date:
1932-1991
Scope and Contents:
Correspondence, financial records, subject files, notes and writings, printed material and photographs.
Included are correspondence, 1938-1991, between students, donors, and Penland directors Lucy Morgan, William J. Brown, Richardson Rice, and Verne Stanford discussing fundraising and school activities, including correspondence of the Penland Weavers and Potters, 1948-1951, and a "Letter from Finland to Penland", 1953; 2 cashbooks, 1941?; price lists; a report on the examination of accounts, 1974; records of memorial funds for Edward Fortner, 1959-1964, Lucy Morgan, 1962, and Bertha T. McElwain, 1964; minutes of the Board of Trustees meetings, 1935-1991; enrollment lists, 1940-1955, instruction notes for weaving classes, 1932-1950; a booklet "The Robust" containing enrollment lists and handwritten comments about summer workshops, 1946;
subject files containing letters, notes, and printed material about William J. Brown, 1962-1984, the Studio Craftsmen Fellowship Program, 1962-1963, National Conference on Handicrafts, 1940, Penland School Projects, 1965, Rutledge Books, 1973-1975, Cultural Advisory Committee, 1977-1980, National Crafts Planning Project, 1980, and Critics in Residence, 1986-1987; clippings, 1944-1991; brochures, 1934-1984; annual session catalogs, 1938-1991; 7 issues of Mountain MIlestones, 1952-1961; exhibition catalogs, 1980-1988; benefit auction catalogs, 1986-1990; miscellaneous printed material, 1935-1991; and photographs of Penland buildings, Lucy Morgan, weavers, and other craftspeople.
Biographical / Historical:
Craft school; Penland, N.C. Founded 1929 by Lucy Morgan. Formerly named Penland School of Handicrafts. The directors have been Lucy Morgan, 1929-1962, William J. Brown, 1962-1983, Richardson Rice, 1983-1984, Verne Stanford, 1984-1989, and Hunter Kariher, 1989- .
Other Title:
Penland School of Crafts records (microfilm title)
Provenance:
Lent for microfilming by the Penland School of Crafts, 1991.
Restrictions:
The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.
Occupation:
Ceramicists -- North Carolina  Search this
Artisans -- North Carolina  Search this
Weavers -- North Carolina  Search this
Topic:
Handicraft -- United States -- Study and teaching  Search this
Pottery -- 20th century -- United States -- Study and teaching  Search this
Weaving -- United States -- Study and teaching  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Identifier:
AAA.penlscho
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-penlscho

William J. and Jane Brown papers

Creator:
Brown, William J. (William Joseph), 1923-1992  Search this
Brown, Jane Brennan, 1931-  Search this
Names:
Haystack Mountain School of Crafts  Search this
Penland School of Crafts  Search this
Bailey, Dan  Search this
Berensohn, Paulus  Search this
Brennan, Harold James, 1903-1989  Search this
Ebendorf, Robert, 1938-  Search this
Ehle, John, 1925-  Search this
Hallman, Ted, 1933-  Search this
Lipofsky, Marvin, 1938-2016  Search this
Morgan, Lucy, 1889-1981  Search this
Perisho, Flossie  Search this
Takaezu, Toshiko  Search this
Extent:
7.9 Linear feet
0.32 Gigabytes
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Gigabytes
Interviews
Photographs
Sketches
Sound recordings
Video recordings
Date:
circa 1940-2014
Summary:
The papers of William J. and Jane Brown date from circa 1940-2014 and measure 7.9 linear feet and 0.32 gigabytes. The collection is comprised of biographical material, correspondence, interviews, writings and notes, printed material and documentaries, photographs and moving images, and administrative records from the Penland School of Crafts where William served as director from 1962 to 1983.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of William J. and Jane Brown date from circa 1940-2014 and measure 7.9 linear feet. The collection is comprised of biographical material, correspondence, interviews, writings and notes, printed material and documentaries, photographs and moving images, and administrative records from the Penland School of Crafts where William served as director from 1962 to 1983.

Biographical materials consists of awards, business cards, annotated calendars, consignment forms, material from Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, resumes, sketches, and student documents. Correspondence is with artists, former students, instructors, local residents, Paulus Berensohn, Robert Ebendorf, Theodore Hallman, Lucy Morgan, Toshiko Takaezu, and others.

Sound and video recordings are of interviews with Bill and Jane Brown, Lucy Morgan, and "Flossie" Perisho regarding personal and Penland history. One transcript of Marvin Lipofsky's conversation with Bill is also included. Bill's writings are on industrial design, directing Penland, and mankind. Two notebooks contain daily logs, sketches, and other notes. Notes by Bill and Jane are on inventions, John Ehle, metal history, poems, and other topics. Other writings are about Bill and a manuscript on craftsman education by Harold J. Brennan.

Penland's administrative records contain files documenting the board of trustees, residents program, a special 2-week session, artwork, Bill Brown's Glass Studio dedication ceremony schedule, a certificate of incorporation, financial material, grant proposals, and maps. Also found are records of Penland's 50th birthday celebration, including a video recording of "A Quest" by Dan Bailey.

Books, booklets, four documentary video recordings, exhibition catalogs and announcements, flyers, pamphlets, periodicals, postcards, posters, and stickers and patches designed by Bill are in printed materials. Photographs and slides are of Bill and Jane; family and friends; works of art; and of Penland's grounds, students, and faculty along with photographs and video recordings documenting Penland's history.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as seven series.

Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1948-2011 (0.6 linear feet; Boxes 1, 9)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1949-2014 (1.8 linear feet; Boxes 1-3, 9)

Series 3: Interviews, 1968-1991 (0.4 linear feet; Box 3)

Series 4: Writings and Notes, circa 1950-2005 (0.2 linear feet; Box 3)

Series 5: Penland School of Crafts Administrative Records, 1954-1995 (1.1 linear feet; Boxes 3-4, 9)

Series 6: Printed Materials and Documentaries, 1942-2005 (1.8 linear feet, 0.32 GB; Boxes 4-6, 9; ER01)

Series 7: Photographic Materials and Moving Images, circa 1940-2011 (2.0 linear feet; Boxes 6-10, RD 11)
Biographical / Historical:
William "Bill" J. Brown (1923-1992) was a designer and educator who was married to Jane Brown (1932- ), an arts administrator. They lived in Bakersville, North Carolina.

Bill Brown was born in Flint, Michigan in 1923. He studied at the Cranbrook Academy of Art receiving a bachelor of fine art in 1949, a master of fine art in 1950, and was chosen to work at Corning Glass Works for a summer. After his studies, he taught at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts and at the University of Delaware. In 1962 Lucy Morgan, who founded the Penland School of Crafts in 1929 in North Carolina, retired and offered the position of director to Bill. At the time, the school focused on traditional mountain crafts. As director, Bill changed the emphasis of the school to the advancement of professional craftsmen and the expansion of media to include iron and glass. He began a resident artist program that allowed artists to develop their skills at a low cost. Together, Bill and Jane created a supportive community of craftsmen that attracted renowned artists to teach and work at Penland. Bill resigned as director in 1983 but remained a respected member of the arts community. He earned several awards including the North Carolina Award in the Fine Arts in 1991.

Jane Brown graduated from the University of Delaware with a bachelor of arts in education and a master's degree in special education. Jane studied the Alexander Technique, a technique that can be used to improve the performance of dancers and musicians.

Bill Brown died in 1992. After his death, Jane participated in the dedication of the Bill Brown Glass Studio at Penland during a Glass Arts Society conference in 1995. She continues to live in Bakersville, North Carolina.
Related Materials:
Also found at the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with William J. Brown and his wife Jane Brown conducted on January 19, 1991 and March 2, 1991 by Jane Kessler.
Provenance:
The portions of the William J. and Jane Brown papers that were lent for microfilming in 1991 by Jane Brown were subsequently donated by Jane Brown 1995 and 2015 along with additional papers.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate copies requires advance notice.
Topic:
Art schools--North Carolina  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Artisans--North Carolina  Search this
Arts administrators--North Carolina  Search this
Design, Industrial  Search this
Handicraft--Study and teaching--United States  Search this
Handicraft--United States  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Photographs
Sketches
Sound recordings
Video recordings
Citation:
William J. and Jane Brown papers, circa 1940-2014. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.browwill
See more items in:
William J. and Jane Brown papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-browwill

Howard C. and Bonnie Willis Ford papers relating to The Penland School of Crafts

Creator:
Ford, Howard C.  Search this
Ford, Bonnie Willis, 1907-1976  Search this
Names:
Penland School of Handicrafts  Search this
Morgan, Lucy, 1889-1981  Search this
Photographer:
Wooten, Bayard  Search this
Extent:
2 Items (partial microfilm reels)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Date:
1935-1995
Scope and Contents:
REEL 4515: Printed material, mostly written and illustrated by Howard C. ("Toni") and Bonnie Willis Ford, and Lucy Morgan, Penland's first director. Included are a history and a description of the school; a copy of the Penland song, 1955; an announcement of the 1940 sessions; an announcement about Penland's 10th anniversay; instruction sheets and 5 booklets, 1943, by Toni Ford concerning spinning, weaving, blockprinting, bonecraft, and the construction of a loom, flower holders, and hurricane lamps; three issues of Mountain MIlestones, 1945-1949; 2 clippings, and 2 photographs.
REEL 4973: Additional materials regarding The Penland School of Crafts, includes: a declaration and donations from the citizens of the town Penland toward the construction of the Edward F. Worst Craft House, ca. 1935, and other letters, ca. 1935-1988; notes, typescripts, a scrapbook, and maps on the history of the school; school course brochures, ca. 1929-1994, including 2 early brochures by Lucy Morgan describing The Appalachian School, Department of Fireside Industries, later to become The Penland School of Crafts; programs and announcements of school events, including the log raising of the Edward F. Worst Craft House, 1935, and "An Order of Service for Craftsmen"; 6 issues of Mountain Milestones, 1949-1961; clippings, 1941-1995; and photographs, ca. 1935-1974, including 19 of Morgan and Morgan with others, and ca. 450 of students, staff, crafts, and environs, several taken by Bayard Wooten. Also included are weaving samples and patterns, some published by the Lily Mills Company for The Penland School of Crafts, ca. 1954 and undated.
Biographical / Historical:
Howard C. "Toni" Ford was an instructor and publicity director of The Penland School of Crafts. His wife, Bonnie Willis Ford, was an administrator for the school.
Provenance:
Lent for microfilming in 1991 and 1995 by William H. Ford, son of Howard C. and Bonnie Willis Ford.
Restrictions:
The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.
Occupation:
Art teachers -- North Carolina  Search this
Artisans -- North Carolina  Search this
Topic:
Handicraft -- United States  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Identifier:
AAA.fordhowa
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-fordhowa

Gift from the hills; Miss Lucy Morgan's story of her unique Penland School, with LeGette Blythe. Including an epilogue

Author:
Morgan, Lucy 1889-1981  Search this
Blythe, LeGette 1900-1993  Search this
Subject:
Penland School of Handicrafts  Search this
Physical description:
331 p. illus., ports. 23 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1971
[1971]
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_782518

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