Chapter VI

The Evangeline Bergstrom Collection: The largest and one of the most complete collections of paperweights and related literature is housed in the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum in Neenah, Wisconsin. Founded in 1959, by Evangeline and John Nelson Bergstrom, the Museum has more than 700 paperweights collected by Evangeline Bergstrom.

As a child, Evangeline Bergstrom fell in love with a millefiori paperweight that her grandmother had acquired. Years later, in an antique store, she purchased her first two paperweights, a Baccarat and an American piece. Once she began to seriously collect paperweights, she also began to study and do research. In 1940 she published her findings in the classic Old Glass Paperweights. As one of the earliest books on the subject, it served as the primary reference on paperweight history and identification for many years. In addition, Bergstrom w rote articles about paperweights for a variety of publications.

Bergstrom kept detailed records concerning her paperweight acquisitions. These records, which included description, purchase price, acquisition date, and seller, have provided valuable information about her collection and the history of paperweight collecting. A complete catalogue of her collection, including details from her personal records and photographs of the weights is presented in the book Glass Paperweights of the Bergstrom Art Center by Evelyn Campbell Cloak.

The Amory Houghton Collection: Amory Houghton served for many years as an officer and chairman of the board of his family’s Corning Glass Company. He was also a trustee of The Corning Museum of Glass. Houghton became interested in paperweights during the 1930s when he acquired his first piece—a signed and dated (1848) Baccarat close packed millefiori weight. His collection grew during World War II when Houghton served as Deputy Chief of the United

States Mission for Economic Affairs in London. Many important pieces were subsequently acquired while he was Ambassador to France from 1957 to 1961.

Today the Houghton Collection of more than 500 paperweights is on permanent display at The Corning Museum of Glass. Included are remarkable examples of classic French paperweights, pieces by other European and American factories, and contemporary pieces. One of the most interesting weights in the collection is a large Clichy spaced millefiori set in patterns of concentric circles. The piece, which was made for the Crystal Palace Exhibition, is inscribed on the base “VA/Londres/ 1851.” Another rare piece is a magnum-size lizard paperweight attributed to Pantin.

The Estelle Doheny Collection: One of the largest collections of antique paperw eights available for viewing is part of the magnificent collection of rare books and art objects of Papal Countess Estelle Doheny. The wife of Edward Doheny, one of California’s pioneer oil developers, she was an avid collector of books, paintings, furniture, and other art objects. In 1936 she became interested in glass paperweights and within eight years she had collected more than 500 quality pieces.

Half of the Doheny Collection was at one time housed in Camarillo, California, until it was sold at auction. T his collection was composed of 247 w eights, including one of Mrs. Doheny’s favorite pieces, a weight w ith three lampwork swans. This rare piece w as purchased in 1937 for a mere $270.

The other part of the Doheny Collection is still on display at Saint Mary of the Barrens Seminary in Perryville, Missouri. It includes 195 paperweights as well as antique furniture, porcelain, French miniature enamels, rare books, and artifacts. The paperweights include pieces by Baccarat, Saint Louis, Clichy, Sandwich, Millville, and other makers.

The Jennie H. Sinclair Collection: The New

York Historical Society’s collection of 549 glass paperweights is made up of pieces given by Edwin Waitstill Orvis in 1939, Mr. and Mrs. J. Insley Blair in 1952, and Mrs. Jennie 11. Sinclair in 1965. The Sinclair Collection is by far the largest and most

important of the three groups; it includes 439 paperweights, paperweight-related objects, and sulphide wall plaques.

A complete catalogue and description of the Society’s paperweights is available in Glass Paperweights of the New-York Historical Society by Paul I lollister.

The Arthur Rubloff Collection: Arthur Rubloff entered into the real estate business in Chicago in 1919; he worked his way up to become one of the richest and most successful men in the country. Rubloff, who was a collector of many types of fine art, was introduced to paperweights in the early 1950s by a friend who had a collection of fine antique weights. Rubloff began acquiring weights for his friend whenever he came across them and soon began collecting for himself. Rubloff’s Chicago office was a showplace. Displayed through

out were collections of bronze sculptures, paintings, and ivories. The office was equipped with a kitchen and an elegant dining room where dozens of his most prized paperweights were on display.

In 1978 Rubloff donated his collection of over 1,200 paperweights to the Chicago Art Institute. Over the next several years he continued to collect and donate additional pieces to the Art Institute, including the celebrated Pantin silkworm weight, which he purchased at auction for Si43,000.

The entire Rubloff Collection is on permanent display in the Art Institute. A central case within the gallery includes “masterpiece” paperweights from the collection as well as examples from each factory and examples of the different types and styles of paperweights. The silkworm weight and the lily-of-the-valley weight are on display in this case. Three cases are devoted to the French factories and a fourth case includes twentieth-century

6.13 Part of the Doheny Collection on display

6.13 Part of the Doheny Collection on display

American anti European weights. Also on display are antique American and English weights and a number of sulphides. The exhibit also includes educational information about the production ol paperweights. In 1988, the entire paperweight collection was relocated in the Department of European Decorative Arts and Sculpture’s gallery in the new South Building.

The Bennington Museum: The Bennington Museum focuses on the history and art of Vermont, and Bennington in particular. The collections include examples of Bennington Pottery, over 5,000 pieces of earlv blown and pressed glass, and a collection of about thirty paperweights. The paperweights are primarily American: Nicholas Lutz and Sandwich weights; several poinsettia weights; a NEGC pear; and a large sampling of pieces by Charles Kaziun (triple overlay, pedestal flowers, large snake, perfume bottles, and about fifteen paperweight buttons).

Major Paperweight Collections Open to the Public

The Art Institute of Chicago Michigan Avenue at Adams Street Chicago, Illinois 60603 312 443-3600

.Arthur Rubloff’s collection ot over 1,200 paperweights is on permanent exhibit.

Bennington Museum West Main Street Bennington, Vermont 05201 802 447-1571

About thirty primarily American paperweights including several pieces by Charles Kaziun.

Bergstrom-Mahler Museum 165 North Park Avenue Neenah, Wisconsin 54956 414 729-4658

More than 700 paperweights collected by Evangeline Bergstrom.

I he Corning Museum of Glass One Museum Way Corning, New York 14830 607 937-5371

Approximately 500 paperweights from the collection of Amory Houghton, as well as an impressive sulphide collection.

Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers Rue St. Marin 3me Arrondissement Paris, France

  1. H. de Young Museum Golden Gate Park San Francisco, California 94118 415 221-4811

The Edison Institute

Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village 20900 Oakwood Boulevard Dearborn, Michigan 48121 313 271-1620

Collection includes approximately 200 pieces, of which a small number are on display.

Flint Institute of Arts The DeWaters Art Center 1120 East Kearsley Street Flint, Michigan 48503 313 234-1692

Glyn Vivian Art Gallery Swansea, Wales

Approximately 65 weights, mostly antiques, well displayed.

I listorical Society of Old Newbury Cushing House 98 I ligh Street

Newburyport, Massachusetts 01950 508 462-2681

Part of the Bushee collection; many good American and French examples.

Illinois State Museum Spring and Edwards Streets Springfield, Illinois 62706 217 782-7386

The Barker collection of more than 240 paperweights.

Minneapolis Institute of Fine Arts 2400 Third Avenue South Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404 612 870-3046

Muscatine Art Center 1314 Mulberry Avenue Muscatine, Iowa 52761 319 263-8282

New York Historical Society 170 Central Park West New York, New York 10024 212 873-3400

Approximately 550 paperweights made up primarily of pieces collected by Jennie H. Sinclair.

Saint Mary of the Barrens Seminary Estelle Doheny Museum Perryville, Missouri 63775 314 547-6300

Sandwich Glass Museum P.O. Box 103

Sandwich, Massachusetts 02563 617 888-0251

Seneca County Museum 28 Clay Street Tiffin, Ohio 44883 419 447-5955

Smith College Art Museum Elm Street at Bedford Terrace Northampton, Massachusetts 01063 413 584-2700

Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History Division of Ceramics and (ilass Washington, D.C. 20560 202 357-1300

Toledo Museum of Art 2445 Monroe Street Toledo, Ohio 43697 419 255-8000

V ictoria and Albert Museum Brampton Road Kensington London, England

W heaton Museum of American (ilass and Wheaton Milage Millville, New Jersey 08332 609 825-6800

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