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Charles Fergus Binns papers, 1875-1934

Binns, Charles Fergus, 1857-1934

Ceramicist, Educator


Collection Information

Size: 6 microfilm reels

Summary: Biographical materials, including an autobiographical sketch, brief biographies by family members, and certificates of naturalization and membership; correspondence, 1897-1931, with family members, ceramic manufacturers, potters, art educators, museum curators and administrators, and former students; subject files on: the American Ceramic Society, the Charles Fergus Binns Medal; Ceramic Alumni Association, and exhibitions of Binns' work. Subject files include correspondence, meetings minutes, and printed materials. Also included are lectures and speeches by Binns; writings; and 10 photographs, undated & 1901-1935, of Binns and of his works of art.

Biographical/Historical Note

Charles Fergus Binns (1857-1934) was a ceramist, educator, and art administrator. From 1900 until his retirement in 1931, Charles F. Binns was Director of the New York State School of Clayworking and Ceramics at Alfred University. Binns was a frequent contributor to ceramic periodicals and publications including monthly columns of technical advice. He helped found the American Ceramics Society in 1899 and served as its president in 1901 and secretary from 1918 to 1922. Among the awards Binns received for his work in art pottery and glazes are the Logan Medal from the Art Institute of Chicage in 1919 and the Medal of the Boston Society of Arts and Crafts in 1922.


The Charles Fergus Binns papers consist of three sections, each given to the New York State College of Ceramics by different donors. Biographical materials and photographs were donated by Binns grandchildren. The "Office Files" of the collection, which primarily contain general correspondence, were discovered on the ceramic school campus in March, 1981, by W. Richard Ott, Dean of the College, and placed in the College Archives. The lectures, speeches, and writings (listed on the Alfred University inventory as "Manuscripts and Typescripts") were given circa 1978 by John McMahon, former Dean of the College. Correspondence for the years 1910-1920 has not been found, except for the letters between Binns and Adelaide and Samuel Robineau from 1914 to 1920. In addition, no letters from Binns, filed under A-L, have been located for the year 1922. Only selected portions of the lectures, speeches, and writings have been filmed. Technical correspondence, correspondence with prospective students, and requests for clay analyses have not been filmed.

Location of Originals

  • Originals in Alfred University, New York State College of Ceramics.

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

35mm microfilm reels 3606 through 3611 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

Restrictions on Access

The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.

How to Cite This Collection

Charles Fergus Binns papers, 1875-1934. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.