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Nonie Gadsden: The Saturday Evening Girls
The Saturday Evening Girls’ club was established in 1899 to provide cultural activities for Italian and Jewish immigrant girls who lived in the tenements of Boston’s North End. In 1908, the reform-minded club leaders founded a pottery to provide the girls with a clean and educational venue in which to earn money. They named the enterprise the Paul Revere Pottery in honor of the patriot’s home which stood near their clubhouse, and to emphasize their own desire to be seen as Americans, not foreign immigrants. The Pottery exemplified the ideals of the early twentieth-century Arts and Crafts movement, a design reform movement which sought to alleviate the negative social effects of industrialized society by promoting handcraftsmanship, the integration of art into everyday life, and healthy working conditions for artisans.

The SEG created a range of table and display wares, all decorated using the cuerda seca (dry cord) technique that imparted dark black outlines that well-suited their children’s book illustration style. The playful ceramics feature barnyard animals, native flowers, and rural landscapes in the stylized manner of the Arts and Crafts style. Nonie Gadsden will tell the remarkable story of the SEG and their Pottery through the life of Sara Galner, a young Jewish immigrant from eastern Europe. The lecture follows Sara’s life and career, offering a unique, personalized view into the pottery, the Arts and Crafts movement, and immigrant life in America in the early twentieth century.

Dec 12, 2022 02:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Nonie Gadsden
Katharine Lane Weems Senior Curator of American Decorative Arts and Sculpture @Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Nonie Gadsden earned her B.A. from Yale College and her M.A. from the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture at the University of Delaware. At the MFA, she is responsible for a wide range of artwork including decorative arts and sculpture from North, Central and South America, from ancient times through the 20th century. She played a key role in the planning and installation of the MFA’s award-winning Art of the Americas Wing comprised of 53 galleries featuring the arts of North, Central and South America (opened 2010).