Pueblo Pottery in the Collections of the University of Pennsylvania Museum

Originally Published in 1994

View PDF

The University of Pennsylvania’s holdings include some 3500 pieces of Anasazi and Pueblo pottery, collected primarily in the 19th centaur. The following “gallery” of painted Pueblo pottery presents the five great collections that form the bulk of the Museum’s Southwestern holdings. The illustrations and comments have been drawn from J.J. Brody’s exhibit catalog, Beauty from the Earth (1994, The University Museums) which includes an essay on the history of the collections by Rebecca Allen.

The Hazzard-Marta Collection: “Relics from the Cliffdwellings”

The first major collection of Southwestern material to come to the Museum was put together by C.D. Hazzard of the H. Jay Smith Exploring Company, and was purchased by the Museum in 1896 with funds provided by Mrs. Phoebe Hearst. This archaeological material had been excavated and gathered during the early 1890s at Mesa Verde and Cortez, Colorado, and at Grand Gulch, Utah. Although poorly excavated and inadequately documented, the collection laid the foundation for the Museum’s Southwestern holdings.

The Donaldson Collection: Into the Pueblos

Thomas C. Donaldson was an agent for the 11th US Census who traveled through the Southwest in 1890-1893. Fascinated with the Indian people, he took extensive notes and acquired a large ethnographic collection from the Pueblos and their neighbors. In 1901, after Donaldson’s death, Stewart Culin purchased the collection for the Museum from Donaldson’s son, with funds provided by Philadelphian John Wanamaker.

The Wanamaker Expedition: Staying Ahead

Stewart Culin had been instrumental in obtaining both the Hazzard-Hearst and the Donaldson collections for the Museum. Alarmed by the rapid changes in American Indian life and the demand for their material culture by other museums and collectors, he proposed the Museum act quickly to put together systematic collections of its own before it was too late. In 1901, with funds again provided by John Wanamaker, he traveled through the Southwest, collecting both archaeological and ethnographic material. He made his purchases through traders and dealers, including the Rev. Heinrich R. Voth, who provided detailed ethnographic documentation for the Hopi pieces, and Thomas Keam, from whom he bought 108 pieces of pottery, mostly prehistoric.

The Gottschall Collection: Commerce and Collecting

Amos H. Gottschall assembled his ethnographic and archaeological collection of Indian artifacts between 1871 and 1905, while traveling through the Southwest peddling patent medicines. In 1937 the Museum received his collection of Southwestern pottery on permanent loan from the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia and in 1942 acquired a second group of his artifacts through purchase. Like Donaldson, Gottschall was careful to record the provenience for each of his objects whenever it was known; his sales catalog of 1909 provides useful information for each piece.

The Stephens Collection: An Artists’s Eye

Charles H. Stephens was a Philadelphia artist and illustrator of books and articles on American history and American Indians. According to his family, he assembled most of his collection while traveling in the Southwest in the 1880s. The Museum purchased his collections from his sons in 1945.

Rounding out the Collections

In addition to the five large named collections discussed above, many examples of Pueblo pottery came to the Museum singly or in small groups, donated bye and pur­chased from individuals or local institutions. Among these are two vessels from the village of Hano, one made by the potter Nampevo, the other by her daughter Fannie (see McChesney, this issue).

The Museum’s Contemporary Collections Development Program was established in 1994 by Robert H. Dyson, Jr., in his last year as Director of the University of Penn­sylvania Museum. His immediate goal was to bring the North American collections into the present with modest contempo­rary acquisitions from three “artistically thriving” regions: the Northwest Coast, the Southwest, and the Canadian Arctic. In March of 1994, Lucy Fowler Williams, Keeper of the Ameri­can Section, traveled to the Southwest on a study and purchase trip. With friend and consultant Marlene Sekequaptewa as her guide, she identified and located the work of many outstand­ing contemporary Hopi potters. Eight of these potters are now represented in the Museum’s collections; four of their pots are shown here.

Cite This Article

"Pueblo Pottery in the Collections of the University of Pennsylvania Museum." Expedition Magazine 36, no. 1 (March, 1994): -. Accessed April 22, 2024. https://www.penn.museum/sites/expedition/pueblo-pottery-in-the-collections-of-the-university-of-pennsylvania-museum/

This digitized article is presented here as a historical reference and may not reflect the current views of the Penn Museum.

Report problems and issues to digitalmedia@pennmuseum.org.