Arthur Eugene Baggs


This picture appeared on the cover of a Rago/Craftsman Auction  Catalog featuring many pieces from the relatives of Mr Baggs.

Albert Eugene Baggs was born October 27, 1886 in New York.

Arthur Baggs was a college student studying chemistry who learned pottery making  under Charles Fergus Binns at the NY School of Clayworking and Ceramics at Alfred University in Alfred, New York.      Binns taught Baggs the practical aspects of running a pottery.   Other contemporary students at Alfred included R. Guy Cowans (who would develop his own pottery in Ohio).

In the summer of 1905 Binns sent Baggs, a college student on summer holiday, to help Dr. Herbert James Hall (1870-1923) establish a pottery for occupational therapy at his sanatorium in Marblehead, MA.  Baggs  initially was charged with teaching patients the pottery craft.  He ran the Marblehead Pottery program for Dr. Hall for many years.

In 1908 the Marblehead Pottery was reorganized on a commercial basis. Baggs designed the wares, which were mostly simply shaped vases covered with muted matt glazes and contrasting stylized decorations.

In 1915 Baggs purchased the pottery from Hall.  He moved the business to 111 Front Street in Marblehead, MA.  Baggs continued to direct Marblehead Pottery until its closure in 1936. Beginning at some point in the 1920‘s Marblehead Pottery was only open in the summer.

In the winter Baggs taught pottery at institutions including the Ethical Cultural School and the School of Design and Liberal Arts in New York and the Cleveland School of Art.

From 1925-28, Baggs worked at the Cowan Pottery in Cleveland.  While working as a glaze chemist at R. Guy Cowan's, Cowan Pottery Studio in Cleveland, Ohio Baggs developed brilliant blue and green glazes.

In 1928 Arthur Baggs became Professor of Ceramic Arts at Ohio State University in Columbus.

He was awarded the Charles F. Binns Medal in 1928 in New York.

In 1936 Alfred University awarded him an honorary degree.

During the 1930s Baggs revived interest in salt-glazing stoneware.   His 'Cookie Jar' (1938) is considered a key work in the use of this method for studio ceramics. 

Baggs exhibited in 1933 at the Robineau Memorial Ceramic Exhibition in Syracuse and at the 1937 Paris Exhibition.

After the Marblehead Pottery was closed in 1936, Baggs continued his teaching at Ohio State University.  

Arthur Baggs died February 15, 1947 at the age of 60 in Columbus, Ohio.   His papers and a study collection of his work are housed at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.