Scope and Contents
The papers of Karen Karnes measure 3.5 linear feet and 4.00 GB and date from 1953 to 2016. The papers document Karnes' career as a ceramicist in Vermont through correspondence with family, friends, and art institutions; video productions on Karnes' life, exhibitions at museums and galleries, and other professional activities; participation lists, sales documents, correspondence, and other administrative materials; artist files for various participants at the annual Old Church Cultural Center pottery show in Damarest, New Jersey; clippings, announcements, catalogs, and other printed and digital material; personal photographs and photographs and slides of pottery.
Correspondence includes letters from family, especially Karnes' grandchildren; letters from friends and colleagues in regards to the fire that destroyed her workshop and home; and correspondence with museums and galleries.
Professional activity material includes resumes, interview transcripts, some lecture notes, inventory lists, ceramic formulas and recipes, and documentation with museums and galleries in regards to exhibitions featuring her works. Also included are two VHS and one digital video recording on Karnes and her work.
Administrative files pertain primarily to Karnes' role organizing annual pottery shows for the Old Church Cultural Center in Demarest, New Jersey. Material includes correspondence, participation lists, and sales records.
Artist files are made up of material artists submitted for consideration for participation in annual Old Church Cultural Center pottery shows in Demarest, New Jersey. Files consist of resumes, photographs, slides, and some printed material. Some files include digital material containing documents and images of works.
Printed material consists of clippings, exhibition announcements, exhibition catalogs, and xeroxed copies of articles on Karnes.
Photographic material consists of personal photographs of Karnes, Karnes at work in studio, the landscape around her home, and photographs and slides of her pottery. Some photographs are in digital format.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated 2018 by Ann Stannard, executor of Karnes' estate. A kiln fire in Karnes' studio and home in 1998 destroyed most of her papers.
Also found in the Archives of American Art are two oral histories with Karen Karnes: one conducted by Paul Cumming, October 4, 1971, and one conducted by Matt Shapiro, August 9-10, 2005.
The processing of this collection received Federal support from the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund, administered by the National Collections Program and the Smithsonian Collections Advisory Committee.
The collection was processed, and a finding aid prepared by Ricky Gomez in 2021. Born-digital material was processed by Kirsi Ritosalmi-Kisner in 2021 with funding provided by Smithsonian Collection Care and Preservation Fund.