The Cincinnati Art Museum is pleased to announce that it has received a generous gift
from the Rookwood Pottery Company. The gift from Rookwood proprietors Marilyn and Martin
Wade consists of award certificates, corporate records, minutes of the Board of Directors, and
eight shape books. Shape books are books of blank paper with vase shapes drawn on the pages;
each shape has a number. When Rookwood made a vase in a particular shape, the vase was
impressed with the shape number for inventory. Some pages have comments in the margins
regarding the shapes, like “sold well,” or who suggested the shape.

According to Anita Ellis, Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs, and author of four
books on Rookwood, “It is a fantastic treasure trove of Rookwood’s history that will greatly
benefit the Cincinnati community and all lovers of Rookwood. Marilyn and Martin Wade
have given the Queen City an added jewel for her crown, and we are all most grateful for this
kindness. The material is currently being processed by the Art Museum’s Mary R. Schiff Library

The donation consists of Rookwood’s primary records of the Rookwood Company. It
offers a testimony to the everyday workings of the pottery, and sheds light on the philosophy,
meaning, and purpose of the product. Ellis, a recognized authority on Cincinnati Decorative
Arts, especially ceramics, says, “It not only adds to the Art Museum’s collection of Rookwood
archives, it enhances the importance of our Rookwood pottery collection with its invaluable
historic information.”

The archival material will need to be processed and conserved before it can be available
to the public, which will involve obtaining a grant to bring in a paper conservator for the
purpose. As proprietors of the Rookwood Pottery Company, the Wades are donating the

material to the Cincinnati Art Museum.

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