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Adam, Mary
Place Made:
Hagerstown Maryland United States of America
Date Made:
earthenware –lead-glazed
HOA: 13 1/4″; DIA: 12″
Accession Number:
This unassuming utilitarian jar is the earliest known example of southern pottery made and signed by a female potter. Thrown on the wheel and glazed on the interior with a lead glaze, the only form of decoration on the piece are two incised lines with a sine wave incised between them. The asymmetry of the piece is related to the kiln firing of the crock and the warping caused during the firing. Signed on the bottom, “Mary Adam.”

MAKER: Mary Adam, daughter of potter Jonas Knode, and wife of potter Henry Adam, inherited the pottery shop of her husband upon his death in April 1819. In August of the same year, the following advertisement appeared in the Hagerstown Weekly Advertiser: “Potter’s Ware. THE subscriber respectfully informs her friends and the public generally, that she has on hand and intends constantly keeping a complete assortment of POTTER’S WARE, at the stand lately occupied by Henry Adam, deceased, in East Washington street, Hagers-town, which she will dispose of on the most reasonable terms. MARY ADAM.” In 1825 Mary Adam sold her property in Hagerstown, presumably moving to Tuscarawas, Ohio, where she likely died after 1850.

Credit Line:
Mesda Purchase Fund