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Mary Shaffer papers, 1969-2002

Mary Shaffer papers, 1969-2002

Shaffer, Mary, 1947-

Sculptor, Glass artist

Collection Information

Size: 4.0 linear ft.

Biographical/Historical Note

Mary Shaffer (1947-) is a sculptor and glass artist working in Rhode Island, New York, N.Y., and Maryland. Shaffer is recognized worldwide as one of the founding artists of the American Studio Glass Movement. In the 1970s and 1980s Shaffer taught at the Rhode Island School of Design, Wellesley College, and New York University where she was Director of the Crafts Program in the Department of Art and Art Education. She also managed the Art Center at the University of Maryland in the 1980s. From 1975 on, she exhibited her work at O.K. Harris Gallery in New York, and other glass-specific or craft venues.


Donated 2002 by Mary Shaffer as part of the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America.

Scope and Contents

The papers of internationally renowned glass artist and sculptor, Mary Shaffer, measure four linear feet and date from 1969 to 2002. Through correspondence, subject files, printed material and photographs the collection provides an overview of many aspects of Shaffer's career, including commissions, exhibitions, her teaching appointments, and the day-to-day administration of her affairs.

Correspondence files cross-referenced with records organized by subject provide insight into Shaffer's artistic aspirations and techniques, and represent a good overview of Shaffer's important contribution to the American Studio Glass Movement. These two series document her interaction with galleries, museums, and individual clients, her work as an educator, and her participation in glass and sculpture-related conferences and programs both at home and abroad. The collection provides solid documentation of specific methods used by Shaffer in her work, particularly in Series 3: Center-Light Project, which details her choice and designs for glass notching tubes, plate glass, fiber optics, and other materials. Additional commissions and techniques are documented in Series 1 and 2.

Printed Material, Series 4, contains exhibition catalogs and announcements, clippings, magazines and other publications reproducing Shaffer's work, providing a good overview of the progress of Shaffer's career and an understanding of the significance of her work. Photographs include several of Shaffer's work, ca. 1970s-1980s, and of Shaffer attending various events, 1986-1990.

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

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