Exhibitions: History of Pressed Glass (Mrs. William Greig Walker Collection)

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    History of Pressed Glass (Mrs. William Greig Walker Collection)

    • Dates: October 25, 1940 through December 1, 1940
    • Collections: Decorative Arts
    Press Releases ?
    • October 19, 1940: The Brooklyn Museum’s plans for the greater part of the 1940-41 season and the first part of the 1941-42 season have just been announced.

      The principal exhibitions of the year begin with “Art Finds a Way,” a graphic comment on the subject of skilled work, about which there is so much discussion today, and will demonstrate the great skills man has developed through the years in producing useful objects that have become recognized as objects of art. This exhibition, arranged under the direction of Dr. Herbert J. Spinden, Curator of the Department of American Indian Art and Primitive Cultures, will be made up principally from the Museum’s collections augmented by several loans. It will run from November 1 through January 2.

      Also opening in November is an exhibition of Children’s Clothing, showing the development for the last 125 years and the emergence from slavish copying of adult costume into special designs for the younger generation. Materials for this exhibition will also come principally from the Museum’s collection, enhanced by a few loans. This show is being arranged by Mrs. Michelle Murphy, Supervisor of the Department of Education, and will extend from November 9 through January 12.

      On the 23rd of January, “Paganism and Christianity in Egypt - The Art of Egypt from the First to the Tenth Century,” will open. It will be the first purely Coptic showing arranged in this country. This is being prepared by the Museum’s Department of Egyptology. The exhibition will close on March 9.

      A show for which the Museum is internationally famous, the Biennial Water Color Exhibition, will open on March 27 and close May 11. It will be arranged under the supervision of John I. H. Baur, Curator of the Department of Painting and Sculpture.

      Another exhibition arranged from the Costume collections will be a showing of millinery, past and current, from March 8 through April 20, which will also be arranged by Mrs. Michelle Murphy, Supervisor of the Department of Education.

      The last large exhibition of the season will be made up of art from the printing press, to demonstrate the problems of those who are producing art every day, week and month for the great public, and the process involved in doing so. This exhibition is being arranged by a committee composed of Ralph Halker, architect, George Welp, art director, and Edward A. Wilson, illustrator, together with representatives of the Museum.

      Following the Silk Screen Prints exhibition, arranged by the Print Department, which opened September 20 and will run through October 20, is “The Stage is Set”, running from October 4 through November 17, made up of reproductions of theatre, opera and ballet subjects selected from Library material. As the result of the continual work which is going on in the Photographic Department at the Museum of the printing of negatives from the George B. Brainard Collection of 2,500 views of this part of the country, a third showing of prints will be put on view October 11 and will continue through November 3.

      On the 24th of October the Print Department will hang an exhibition of Current Campaign Cartoons by artists well known in this field, which will continue through December 1. During the same period but opening a day later, October 25, a gift in the form of a group of pressed glass, collected by Mrs. William Greig Walker and presented to the Museum as the result of a subscription fund, will be shown for the first time. The 138 items are all impressed with subjects relating to persons and events that held public interest in the United States, and to some extent in Europe, between 1820 and 1940. The title of the exhibition is “History in Pressed Glass.

      “The Nativity in Art,” made up of reproductions of 15th Century woodcuts and medieval manuscripts, will be put on view November 22 to continue through January 5. This exhibition was arranged by Miss Alice Ford, a member of the Art Reference Library staff. A showing of Recent Accessions will open on December 5 and extend through January 12. In this same period the exhibition called “Forever Young” will be shown. The latter will be composed of illustrations for children’s books, arranged by the Print Department. January 18 through February 2 the annual showing of the work of Brooklyn artists, restricted this year to water colors, will be arranged by John I. H. Baur, Curator of the Department of Painting and Sculpture, and there will be another exhibition in January of other views of Brooklyn and Long Island from the George B. Brainard Collection, from January 9 through February 9.

      For the 1941-42 season the following exhibitions are already planned: Paintings by John Quidor (1801-1881), and also a collection of works by William S. Mount (1807-1868), both arranged by John I. H. Baur, Curator of the Department of Painting and Sculpture; and “Colonial Art of Latin America,” prepared under the supervision of Dr. Herbert J. Spinden, Curator of the Department of American Indian Art and Primitive Cultures.

      Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1939 - 1941. 10-12/1940, 181-3. View Original 1 . View Original 2 . View Original 3

    • October 19, 1940: On Thursday and Friday of next week two new exhibition opens at the Brooklyn Museum to be on view through December 1. The first is “Campaign Cartoons” and the other, “History in Pressed Glass.”

      The cartoon exhibition will be made up of the original drawings by over twenty well-known artists, many of whom are Pulitzer Prize winners for cartoons in the present Presidential campaign, selected for their graphic value.

      “History in Pressed Glass” is the first public showing of the first collection of American and English pressed glass made of commemorative dishes, plates, bowls, and ornaments issued to mark people and events that held public attention between 1820 and 1940. The 137 pieces are known as the Mrs. William Greig Walker Collection. They were assembled by Mrs. Walker and presented to the Museum through a subscription fund made possible by the efforts of Mrs. Ripley Hitchcock and Mrs. Walker.

      Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1939 - 1941. 10-12/1940, 193. View Original

    • Date unknown, approximately 1940: “History in Pressed Glass’ will be arranged as an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, opening Friday, October 25, and extending through December 1, made up of a collection of 137 pieces of pressed glass, mostly American, assembled by Mrs. William Greig Walker, and presented to the Museum through a subscription fund made possible by the efforts of Mrs. Ripley Hitchcock and Mrs. Walker. The collection is the first of its kind to be assembled.

      Yankee ingenuity developed the manufacture of pressed glass for mass production and brought glass houseware to the public in the form of dishes, commemorative plates, ornaments and pieces made especially for presidential campaigns, serving the same popular purpose as campaign buttons do today. One item is a small, thin square of glass showing a log cabin, a tree, a barrel and bottle, and the words “Harrison and Reform,” which was used as a button or token in the 1889 campaign.

      Many people and events that held public attention here between 1320 and 1940, and to some extent In Europe, are represented graphically on the twenty-five different forms of objects ranging from plates and platters through mugs, compotes and goblets to battleships, a hatchet, a hat, a wagon and an airplane.

      The oldest piece is the Lafayette salt boat, a salt dish in the form of a hull with “Lafayete” on it, in commemoration of his second visit to the United States. This dates about 1830, and is the first piece of commemorative glass made. It carries the mark of the Boston and Sandwich Glass Company. Other noteworthy items are Carrie Nation perpetuated on a bottle, Barnum’s elephant Jumbo, Jenny Lind, both on compote dishes, Plymouth Rock paperweight, George Peabody the English and American philanthropist of the 19th Century on a mug, and the Lindbergh “goodwill” plane.

      A piece in the form of a covered wagon is the rarest in the collection as it is the only one known and has been the subject of repeated offers from glass manufacturers to reproduce it. The 1889 Nelly Bly platter commemorating the Bly circumnavigation of the globe as a newspaper assignnient to beat Jules Verne’s Phineas Fogg record is one of two known to exist, and the English plate issued in Gladstone’s honor is also rare.

      The collection divides itself in subject matter into campaign items, portraits of presidents, assassinated presidents, vice presidential candidates in the 1884 campaign, world’s fair souvenirs, nautical subjects emphasizing Spanish-American War battleships, prominent Americans and Britons, animals, monuments and buildings, natives of Italy, France, Sweden and Germany including Columbus, Vespucci, Napoleon, Jenny Lind and Kaiser Wilhelm II, religious subjects, localities, and ten miscellaneous items including the opening of the Union Pacific Railroad, the gold rush, opening of the West, and the founding of the Knights of Labor, the first organization of its kind in this country.

      Eleven of the pieces were made as campaign items to fulfill in their time somewhat the same function as the current campaign button. Campaigns represented are the Grant and Wilson of 1677, Elaine and Logan, and Cleveland and Hendricks, 1884, Harrison and Morton, 1893, Bryan and McKinley, 1896, and Taft, 1908. Ten purely memorial pieces have portraits of presidents beginning with George Washington, the first person to be done in the portrait series, Grant, Garfield, McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. Two small groups are assassinated presidents, and the Democratic and Republican vice-presidential candidates in the 1894 campaign.

      Another large group is made up of seventeen world fair souvenir pieces from the Pittsburgh Exposition in 1875 through the present New York World’s Fair, with eight commemorating the Philadelphia Centennial in 1876 and others the Chicago Columbian Exposition, the Tennessee Centennial of 1897, St. Louis in 1904, Chicago Century of Progress in 1932 and 1933, and Texas Centennial of 1936.

      (See attached complete list for other categories.)

      CAMPAIGN ITEMS
      Grant & Wilson, circa 1873 (goblet)
      Blame & Logan (known as “Black Jack Logan”), 1884 (tray and platter)
      Cleveland & Hendricks, 1884 (plate)
      Cleveland, 1884 (plate)
      Blame, 1884 (plate)
      Harrison & Morton, 1889 (tray)
      McKinley (“Tariff and Sound Money”), 1896 (mug)
      McKinley, 1896 (plate)
      Bryan, 1896 (mug)
      Theodore Roosevelt, (“A Square Deal” with Big Stick, eagle, military and hunting accoutrement, and teddybears in border) circa 1904 (platter)
      Taft, circa 1906 (plate)
      Harrison (“Harrison and Reform”) (“button”) 1889

      PORTRAITS OF PRESIDENTS
      Washington (Said to be the first person to appear on the portrait series.)
      Philadelphia Centennial item, 1876 (platter)
      Washington (late 19th Century bottle)
      Grant (Inscribed “Let Us Have Peace”) Probably a memorial item, circa 1885 (plate)
      Grant (Inscribed “Patriot and Soldier”) Probably a memorial item, circa 1885 (platter)
      Garfield, circa 1861. Probably memorial items. (4 plates, pitcher and tumbler)
      McKinley, circa 1901. Probably a memorial item, (platter)
      McKinley & Roosevelt, circa 1901. Probably a memorial item. (plate)
      Theodore Roosevelt, circa 1909 (bottle)
      Washington, Lincoln & Garfield, 1881 (plate)
      Lincoln & Garfield, circa 1881 (mug)

      VICE- PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES
      Logan (Defeated Republican), 1884 (plate)
      Hendricks (Democrat), 1884 (plate)

      WORLD’S FAIR SOUVENIRS
      Pittsburgh Music Hall, circa 1875 (Pittsburgh Music Hall Society, founded. 1875 to provide a center for exhibition of Pittsburgh goods) (plate)
      Liberty & Freedom. Philadelphia Centennial item, celebrating 100th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, circa 1876. (platter)
      Liberty Bell. Philadelphia Centennial items, celebrating 100th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, circa 1876. (2 bells and 2 platters)
      Washington. Philadelphia Centennial item, circa 1876. (hatchet)
      Memorial Hall. Philadelphia Centennial item, circa 1876. (paperweight)
      Continental Hall. Philadelphia Centennial item, circa 1876. (platter)
      Old State House. Philadelphia Centennial item, circa 1876. (platter)
      Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1693 (goblet and mug)
      Tennessee Centennial, 1897 (mug)
      Festival Hall, St. Louis Exposition, 1904. (plate)
      St. Louis Exposition, 1904. (plate and tumbler)

      WORLD’S FAIR SOUVENIRS (continued)
      Washington. Probably Chicago Century of Progress items, 1932. (flask and plate)
      Century of Progress Flask, Chicago, 1933.
      Texas Centennial Exposition, Dallas, 1936. (platter and paperweight)
      New York World’s Fair, 1939. (flask)
      New York World‘s Fair, 1940. (bank)

      NAUTICAL SUBJECTS
      Lafayette Boat (Cadmus). Made by Boston and Sandwich Glass Company to commemorate Lafayette’s second visit to America, 1824. Said to be the first piece of commemorative pressed glass made, circa 1830. (salt dish)
      Merchant Ship Cadmus. Issued to commemorate Lafayette’s visit to America, 1824. Circa 1830. (cup plate)
      Battleship Maine. (Blown up in Havana Harbor, February 15, 1898.) Issued to commemorate the event, 1898. (plate, 2 battleships)
      Battleship Oregon. (Built in San Francisco, 1691-1896, under Captain C. B. Clarke, who made the famous run around Cape Horn to join the United States fleet off Cuba. Circa 1898. (battleship)
      Battleship Wheeling. Issued to commemorate the return from Manila with Admiral Dewey. Circa 1899. (battleship)
      United States Fleet (under the command of Admirals Sperry and Evans). Issued to commemorate the “Goodwill Cruise” around the world, 1908. (platter)
      American Racing Boat (Cup Defender, 1880-1890; either the Puritan, Mayflower or Volunteer). Circa 1880. (plate)
      Nautical Scene, late 19th Century. (plate)

      PROMINENT AMERICANS
      Roger Williams Statue. (Roger Williams was born in 1604, founded Rhode Island, 1636). Probably issued to commemorate the building of this statue, late 19th Century. (plate)
      John Hancock. Philadelphia Centennial item, celebrating 100th Anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Circa 1876. (platter)
      George Peabody. (English and American philanthropist. Queen Victoria offered him a title, which he refused.) Issued in England, late 19th Century. (2 mugs)
      John Coalter Bates, (Military Governor of Santa Clara, Cuban Province, 1899. Gained distinction in the Philippines.) Circa 1699. (plate)
      Henry Ward Beecher (Pastor of Plymouth Congregational Church in Brooklyn, 1847-1887.) Circa 1887. (plate and head)
      Major General Fitzhugh Lee, (of Virginia; nephew of Robert E. Lee; Governor of Virginia, 1886-1890; Consul General in Cuba, 1896; Military Governor of Cuban Province; Major General of U.S. Volunteers.) Probably issued to commemorate his achievements, circa 1898. (plate)
      Admiral Dewey. Issued to commemorate his Manila Bay achievement, circa 1899. (plate, head, battleship)
      Lindbergh. Issued to commemorate his “Goodwill Flight” to Latin-America. 1928, (airplane)
      Nelly Bly (Pseudonym of Elizabeth Cochrane), Issued to commemorate her trip around the world in less than 80 days, breaking Jules Verne’s Phineas Fogg record. Circa 1889. (platter)
      Maggie Mitchell and Fanny Davenport (best known for their roles in “Fanchon” and “Fedora”). Circa 1883. (compote)
      Carrie Nation (temperance agitator, organized and carried on campaign to destroy saloons in Kansas). Late 19th Century. (bottle)

      PROMINENT BRITONS
      Queen Victoria. Issued for her Golden Jubilee,1887. (plate and bowl)
      Queen Victoria. Issued for her Diamond Jubilee, 1897. (plate, bowl, compote)
      Gladstone, William Ewart (British statesman). Issued to commemorate his parliamentary career, circa 1898. (2 plates)
      Edward VII & Alexandria. Issued to celebrate their coronation, 1902. (plate)
      Edward VII & Alexandria. Issued to commemorate their Silver Wedding Anniversary - when Prince and Princess of Wales, 1888. (bowl)
      Kitchener, Horatio Herbert (Earl of Khartun). 20th Century. (plate)
      George VI & Elizabeth. Issued to commemorate their visit to the United States, 1939. (plate)
      MONUMENTS AND BUILDINGS
      Bunker Hill Monument. Issued to celebrate 100th Anniversary of Declaration of Independence, 1876. (platter)
      Bunker Hill Monument (Completed in 1841 through efforts of Sarah Josepha Hall, editor of Godey’s Ladies Book, who raised necessary funds by holding a fair in Quincy, Massachusetts.) Circa 1841. (plate)
      Gay Head Light House (in Massachusetts; built, 1799, rebuilt. 1859). Late 19th C. (lighthouse)

      ANIMALS
      The American Hen. Issued to commemorate the acquisition of Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Philippines. Circa 1898. (plate)
      St. Bernard Dog. Late 19th Century. (plate)
      Jumbo (great elephant, whose importation from England by P. T. Barnum created an international furore in 1882). Circa 1882. (compote)
      Polar Bear. Made by the Crystal Glass Company, Bridgeport, Conn., to commemorate the purchase of Alaska from Russia, 1667. (tray, pitcher, 2 goblets)

      ITALIAN, FRENCH, SWEDISH AND GERMAN PERSONAGES
      Columbus. Issued to celebrate 400th Anniversary of the discovery of America, circa 1892. (2 plates)
      Columbus and Vespucci. Issued to celebrate the 400th Anniversary of the discovery of America by Columbus, circa 1892. (compote and toothpick holder).
      Montefiore, Sir Moses. Probably a memorial item, circa 1885. (plate)
      Pope Leo XIII. Circa 1893. (plate)
      Napoleon. Late 19th Century. (bottle)
      Jenny Lind. Issued to commemorate her visit to America, circa 1850. (compote)
      Wilhelm I (father of present ex-Kaiser). Probably issued as a memorial item, circa 1888. (plate)

      BIBLICAL SUBJECTS
      Moses Smiting the Rock. Late 19th Century. (bottle)
      Lord’s Supper. Late 19th Century, (platter)
      Passover Festival, 19th Century. (plate)
      LOCALIT IES
      Niagara Falls. Probably issued to commemorate the construction of the steel arch bridge, the main span being the largest of its kind in the world, circa 1898. (platter)
      Plymouth Rock. Circa 1876. (paperweight)


      MISCELLANEOUS SUBJECTS
      “Uncle Sam.” (The term first used as a joke during the war of 1812. Present conception of “Uncle Sam” began to appear in cartoons about 1880.) Probably issued to commemorate the American fleet, circa 1880. (hat and battleship)
      Westward. Ho! “Westward the Course of Empire takes its Way.” Issued to commemorate the opening of the West. Probably dates from the seventies. (compote)
      Covered Wagon. Issued to commemorate the opening of the West. Probably dates from the seventies. (wagon)
      Eureka! Made by M’Kee Brothers, Pittsburgh, Pa., to commemorate the “gold rush” to California, 1849. (platter)
      Union Pacific Railroad, showing the famous engine No. 350. Circa 1869. (platter)
      Eagle and Cannon. Issued to commemorate the Spanish-American War, circa 1898. (cream pitcher and sugar bowl)
      Cuban War. Late 19th Century. (butter dish)
      Knights of Labor (forerunner of the Federation of Labor, founded in Philadelphia by U.S. Stevens, 1869), Circa 1869. (platter)
      Grand Army of the Republic. Late 19th Century. (platter)
      Lincoln Drape. Issued as a memorial item, circa 1866, (goblet)
      Lion Cable (laid August 5, 1858). Issued to commemorate the laying of the first cable across the Atlantic, circa 1858. (sugar bowl)
      Lion Cable. Issued to commemorate the laying of the second cable, 1867; a Philadelphia Centennial item, circa 1876. (paperweight)
      McCormick’s Reaper. Circa 1831. (platter)
      Coin Butter Dish (impressions of dollars and half-dollars), 1892.
      Mr. Pickwick. Issued to commemorate this character. 1837 (bottle)
      French Soldier. Late 19th Century (bottle)
      American Indian. Late 19th Century. (plate)
      Darkie Comic. (Scene said to have been taken from a Currier and Ives print.) Late 19th Century. (plate)

      Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1939 - 1941. 10-12/1940, 160-6. View Original 1 . View Original 2 . View Original 3 . View Original 4 . View Original 5 . View Original 6 . View Original 7

    • October 25, 1940: The exhibition (covered in the attached release) at first covered a period from 1830 to the New York World’s Fair, but due to a last minute gift it now includes the Willkie-Roosevelt campaign.

      The most up-to-date item now is a pressed glass water tumbler with a photograph of Wendell Willkie on the side. This glass is from the Libbey Glass Company’s most recent issue. Arrangements for permission to make it were made with Mr. Willkie by long distance telephone to Denver. The Company was unable to obtain permission for an accompanying Roosevelt glass.

      Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1939 - 1941. 10-12/1940, 194. View Original

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    The Brooklyn Museum Archives maintains a collection of historical press releases. Many of these have been scanned and made available on our Web site. The releases range from brief announcements to extensive articles; images of the original releases have been included for your reference. Please note that all the original typographical elements, including occasional errors, have been retained. Releases may also contain errors as a result of the scanning process. We welcome your feedback about corrections.
    For select exhibitions, we have made available some or all of the informative text panels written by the curator or organizer. Called "didactics," these panels are presented to the public during the exhibition's run, and we reproduce them here for your reference and archival interest. Please note that any illustrations on the original didactics have not been retained, and that the text may contain errors as a result of the scanning process. We welcome your feedback about corrections.
    For select exhibitions, we have made available some or all of the objects from the Brooklyn Museum collection that were in the installation. These objects are listed here for your reference and archival interest, but the list may be incomplete and does not contain objects owned by other institutions or lenders.
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