The Glassmakers Exhibit 2010-2011

November 13, 2010 - February 19, 2011

Location: Peterborough Historical Society ~ Map

In the century between the Revolutionary War and the Industrial Revolution, glasshouses in Temple, Keene, Stoddard, Lyndeborough, and Suncook manufactured window glass, bottles, flasks, and other tableware for distribution to markets throughout the Northeast. Working under primitive working conditions, early NH glassmakers conquered their harsh environment to produce some of the greatest glass in American history. “New Hampshire Glassmakers” will include more than 200 rare examples -- many never before exhibited -- from these five historic sites. Some are elegant pieces of art, others are simple and utilitarian; all represent the superb workmanship of New Hampshire craftsmen.

An important component of the exhibit will showcase the archeological dig performed by Boston University scientists in 1975-78 at the New England Glassworks in Temple, a site of prime importance in American industrial history. Lectures by eminent glass historians will round out this stimulating, informative event for collectors, historians, and scholars across New England and beyond -- the most important visual and historical story ever offered of this vital New Hampshire industry.

Glassware, tools, photographs and drawings, and artifacts will tell the story of the individual factories, the glass-manufacturing process, and the industry’s impact on New England history.

And at the heart of “New Hampshire Glassmakers” is the beauty of the glass objects, whose honest, sturdy forms and delicate hues bear witness to the skill and artistry of New Hampshire craftsmen of the 1780s through the 1880s.

About the 2011 Glassmakers Exhibit

The Historical Society of Temple, in conjunction with the Peterborough Historical Society and the Historical Society of Cheshire County, presents a comprehensive overview of one of the Granite State’s leading early industries. “New Hampshire Glassmakers” will make available the most complete story of this important New Hampshire industry ever exhibited to the public.

Anne Lunt, a professional editor and past director of the Sharon Arts Center, serves as co-curator along with Dr. David R. Starbuck, Alan F. Rumrill, and Michael George. Lunt is president of the Historical Society of Temple, which originally spearheaded the exhibit. Starbuck will curate the exhibit’s archeological component, focusing on the 1970s excavations at the New England Glassworks site in Temple, of which he was co-director. He also serves as an overall advisor to the project, as does Alan Rumrill, a well-known glass historian with special knowledge of glass made in Stoddard and Keene. Both men are scheduled to present lectures, as is glass historian and collector Michael George.

Michelle Stahl, director of the Peterborough Historical Society, serves as coordinator and the host organization’s representative to the project. The Temple Historical Society’s long-time curator, Priscilla Weston, adds her expertise to the project. Rose Lowry, graphic designer and marketing professional, was heavily involved in the months leading up to the exhibit. Lilliane LeBel came on board to oversee the Opening Symposium and Luncheon.

(Click here for brief bios of the organizers.)

Research and coordination efforts for “New Hampshire Glassmakers” began in October 2009. With our team in place, we quickly lined up a roster of eminent glass scholars to present lectures, and began approaching museums, historical societies, and private collectors in quest of objects for the exhibit.

A Selective Bibliography

Compiled by The Rakow Library

The Corning Museum of Glass

Click here to download the Word Document.

Group of early Keene Masonic flasks

Blown Three Mold Tableware

Stoddard Lily Pad Pitcher 1850

Henry Schoolcraft Masonic flask

Suncook Tableware

Rare Stoddard Flag Flasks

Keene Blown Molded Decanters 1815