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Hobart Cowles Outstanding Teaching Award digital audio recording

 Collection — Folder: 1
Identifier: RITArc-0624

Scope and Contents

The Hobart Cowles Outstanding Teaching Award audio recording includes an interview with Hobart Cowles on his winning the Outstanding Teaching Award. He talks about his philosophy on teaching, the founding of the School for American Craftsmen, the equipment at the school and the nature of the craft in a school of technology.

Original cassette recordings were digitized on 12/14/2013.


  • Creation: 1975

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical / Historical

Hobart Cowles was born in Madison, Ohio early in the roaring twenties. Cowles was born in a predominantly farming community, and became acquainted with clay early in life. His early experiments with clay were conducted in the "crick," baked in the sun and eventually were returned to the "crick." It was some twenty years before he learned that firing his works would make them more permanent if not more noteworthy.

His contact and investigations of the material continued in the forties on golf courses in Ohio and on location in Texas, Wisconsin, England, France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany, with the 76th Infantry Division. Finding study in Europe at that time difficult, he returned to the United States to continue his investigations into the subject of clay. Georgia seemed to be a promising locale. In reviewing his course of study, his advisor suggested that a course in "ceramics" might be taken during an open period in his schedule. After asking what "ceramics" meant, he elected to take the course and thus he slipped into a B.F.A. in ceramics in 1949. Returning to Ohio, he earned a M.A. in ceramics from the Ohio State University in 1950.

In 1951, he was permitted to join the faculty of the School for American Craftsmen, presumably because he was an American. Due to the excellence of his fellow faculty and a steady stream of remarkably talented students, he has been able to retain this position.

Despite the discriminating and untiring efforts of juries and selection committees, his work has been shown in the Syracuse Ceramic National, Syracuse Regional, Rochester Finger Lakes Exhibition, the Brussels World's Fair, the New York State Exposition, the Museum of Contemporary Crafts, the York State Craft Fair and several others which it might be best not to mention.

The most extensive collections of his work are owned by his mother, his wife, Barbara, and The Three Crowns in Pittsford, New York. The latter, being a retail outlet, is attempting to reduce the size of its collection. Although there is a lack of appreciation for his work in this country, he is recognized in Turkey, Korea, Viet Nam, the Philippines and Japan; at least by former students from those countries. He has executed works on commission for several churches and individuals in the Rochester area indicating the benevolent and forgiving attitude of such individuals and institutions. Another benevolent and forgiving group in Fishers, New York has for some years sponsored and encouraged him in his work: his wife, Barbara, and his children Judy, Becky, Jon, Meg and Dave.

-exert from Hobart Cowles: A Retrospective... by Barbara Cowles


1 Digital File(s) (Digital Audio file)




Audio recording of Hobart Cowles receiving the Outstanding Teacher Award.


The collection consists of one item.

Physical Location

For access, contact RIT Archive Collections.

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Jennifer Roeszies in September 2015.

Hobart Cowles Outstanding Teaching Award audio recording
RIT Archives
Jennifer Roeszies
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Repository Details

Part of the RIT Archives Repository

Rochester NY 14623 USA