Immigration and the South Jersey Glass Tradition Symposium

Left to right: 1 (white & clear). Pitcher made by John Ruhlander at Whitall Tatum Co. c. 1900. Gift of Frank H. Wheaton, Jr.; 2 (blue & white). Pitcher made by John Ruhlander at Whitall Tatum Co. 1901-1905. Gift of the Glass Research Society of New Jersey in memory of John Braniff; 3 (green & white). Pitcher made by John Ruhlander at Whitall Tatum Co. 1901-1905. Gift of the Glass Research Society of New Jersey in memory of Blanche Jost. Photo by Al Weinerman.

Immigration and the South Jersey Glass Tradition Symposium

Friday, October 23 through Saturday, October 24, 2020

Join us online as we explore South Jersey’s immigration patterns, the history of the glass industry in the region, and applications of traditional European techniques in today’s glass studios. We are bringing together scholars of different disciplines – folklorists, historians, glass historians, and artists – to develop future research project questions and new partnerships based on the discussions at the intersection of these fields and themes.

The conference sessions will focus on a variety of topics, include: 

  • An overview of historic European glass techniques and how they appear in contemporary glass studios.
  • The immigration patterns broadly and specifically in glassworkers of the South Jersey/Philadelphia area.
  • Immigrant experiences, occupational traditions of South Jersey immigrants, and how immigrant traditions translated into American glass factories.
  • The impact of immigration on SJ glassmaking and the transition from backyard shops to glass art studios. 

The wrap-up discussion with all speakers will focus on the possible future research into the various themes and questions that have emerged during the individual panel discussions.

Friday, October 23 

11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – Session 1
Overview of historic European glass techniques and how they appear in contemporary glass studios. Presenters: Mary Cheek Mills, Historical Techniques in South Jersey Glass, and Alexander Rosenberg, Influence of European Glass Traditions in My Work as a Contemporary American Artist, with moderator Gay Taylor. 

1 p.m. to 2 p.m. – WheatonArts Studio Experience
German Glass Making Techniques with Skitch Manion.

2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. – Session 2
Immigration patterns broadly and specifically in glassworkers of South Jersey/Philadelphia area. Presenters: William Westerman, Unexpected Routes: An Overview of South Jersey’s Unique Immigration Stories, and Brian Albright, Itinerant Glassworkers and the Glassmaking Industry of the Southern Delaware Valley: Philadelphia’s Kensington District and Franklin Township, Gloucester County, New Jersey; with moderator Dr. Rita Moonsammy.

Saturday, October 24 

11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – Session 3
Immigrant experiences, occupational traditions of SJ immigrants and how immigrant traditions translated into American glass factories. Presenters: David Steven Cohen, Blackberry Winter Redux: Emily Fogg Mead, the Dillingham Commission, and the Italians of South Jersey, and John Hawley, The Influence of Immigration on 19th Century American Glass Production: The Birth of the Glass Paperweight; with moderator Dr. William Westerman.

1 p.m. to 2 p.m. – WheatonArts Studio Experience
Italian Glass Making Techniques with Skitch Manion.

2p.m. to 3:30 p.m. – Session 4
Impact of immigration on SJ glass making and the transition from back yard shops to glass art studios. Presenters: Gay LeClaire Taylor, The Impact of Immigration on South Jersey Glassmaking, and Don Friel, My Journey into the Story of South Jersey Glass; with moderator Mary Cheek Mills.

3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. – Wrap-up Discussion (all presenters)
A conversation discussing possible future research into the various themes and questions that emerged during the previous panels, with moderators Dr. Iveta Pirgova and Kristin Qualls.

Please check back as we continue to update this page with more information. Thank you! 

 

This symposium is presented in partnership between the Down Jersey Folklife Center and the Museum of American Glass with support from the New Jersey Historical Commission.

NJ Historical Commission Logo

Top image, left to right: 1. Pitcher made by John Ruhlander at Whitall Tatum Co. c. 1900. Gift of Frank H. Wheaton, Jr.; 2. Pitcher made by John Ruhlander at Whitall Tatum Co. 1901-1905. Gift of the Glass Research Society of New Jersey in memory of John Braniff; 3. Pitcher made by John Ruhlander at Whitall Tatum Co. 1901-1905. Gift of the Glass Research Society of New Jersey in memory of Blanche Jost. Photo by Al Weinerman. 

Bottom image: Lily Pad Pitcher South Jersey early 19th c. Photo by Al Weinerman.

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