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Collection on Hans Christensen

 Collection — Folder: 1-3
Identifier: RITArc-0054

Scope and Contents

The Collection on Hans Christensen consists of materials related to the silversmith and former Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) professor. Most of the collection contains articles written on Christensen, his works, and his achievements. There are also many articles that were written in remembrance of Christensen following his death.

In addition to these articles, the collection includes a biographical sketch, an exhibition catalog signed by Christensen, a copy of one of Christensen's syllabi, event programs, and a few pieces of miscellaneous correspondence. Only one memorandum is addressed to Christensen, the rest are between other individuals regarding Christensen and his work.


  • Creation: 1954-1984

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical / Historical

Hans Jorgen Thorvald Christensen (1924-1983) was born in Copenhagen, Denmark on January 21, 1924. An aspiring artist, Christensen was exposed to the world of art from a young age. His father, Holger, was an accountant with clients involved in the fields of art and architecture, while his mother, Valborg (née Makkenbol) also expressed interest in the field. Although Holger wanted his son to enter the business world, he supported his son's interest in the art-field, pushing him toward a career in silversmithing.

In 1939, Christensen started as an apprentice at the world-renowned Georg Jensen Silversmithy, while simultaneously taking classes at the School of Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen. His journeyman project – a teapot – not only earned him his silversmith certificate on March 30, 1944, but also won him two silver medallions. A rare accomplishment, these two awards were given in the categories of design and execution and were presented by King Frederick IX of Denmark.

Christensen continued working at Georg Jensen Silversmithy in the prototype department. In 1952, he traveled to the United States as a representative for an exhibition of Jensen factory works at the Museum of Modern Art. Although encouraged to stay in America, Christensen returned to Denmark. From 1952-1954, he worked as the lead silversmith in the prototype department and in 1953 he earned the equivalent of a master's degree in the field.

Christensen immigrated to the United States in 1954 when he accepted a faculty position at the School for the American Craftsman at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He was named professor in 1963 and was chosen for the Charlotte Fredericks Mowris Professorship in Contemporary Arts in 1976 as its first recipient. Christensen taught at the school for 29 years until his untimely death in an automobile accident on January 16, 1983. He was awarded the Eisenhart Award for Outstanding Teaching by RIT posthumously in 1983.

A distinguished artist, Christensen earned many honors throughout his lifetime. He was awarded membership into the International Institute of Arts and Letter in Switzerland (1960) and the College of Fellows of the American Crafts Council (1979), as well as the Guldsmedehoikoleforeningen, Copenhagen, the Society of North American Goldsmiths, and the Nathaniel Rochester Society. In 1979, he was also chosen to represent Rochester, NY at the Rennes World Trade Fair held in Rennes, France. Internationally-renowned, Christensen's works are included in the collections of various royal families including Denmark, Norway, Sweden, England, and Iran, as well as the Vatican.


0.2 Linear Feet (3 folders)




Materials related to Hans Christensen, the world-renowned silversmith and former Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) professor. Most of the collection consists of articles written on Hans Christensen, specifically his works, achievements, and death. The collection also includes some miscellaneous documents such as a biographical sketch, exhibition catalog, and a few pieces of correspondence.


Materials are contained in three folders. The first folder contains articles written on Christensen and his works. Articles surrounding Christensen's death are included in a separate folder. All other miscellaneous materials are included in the last folder.

Physical Location

C.S. South, Shelf 813, Box 11

Related Materials

RIT Archives: Hans Christensen drawings

RIT Art Collection: Hans Christensen silver

RIT's Melbert B. Cary, Jr. Graphic Arts Collection has two pieces crafted by Christensen in its collection. Please contact the RIT Archive Collections for more information.

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Lara Nicosia in January 2011.

Collection on Hans Christensen
RIT Archives
Lara Nicosia
06 January 2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the RIT Archives Repository

Rochester NY 14623 USA