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Finding Aid for the Juliana Royster Busbee Papers, 1911-1981

For reference questions, please contact university_manuscripts@uncg.edu.


In 1917, Jacques and Juliana Busbee, artists from Raleigh, North Carolina, discovered a local tradition of pottery-making in Moore County, and opened a pottery shop in Greenwich Village, New York in order to create a market and keep the art form alive. The Juliana Royster Busbee Papers date from 1911 to 1981 and contain correspondence, newspaper and magazine articles, brochures and publications, and miscellaneous items.

Administrative Information

Collection Number

MSS 070


0.5 linear ft., one legal size archival box.

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Copyright Notice

Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Juliana Royster Busbee Papers (MSS 070), University Archives and Manuscripts, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Acquisitions Information

Gift of Blackwell Robinson, Professor Emeritus of History at UNCG, February 1983. Four letters were later given by Amy Charles, Professor Emeritus of English at UNCG; these items had belonged to former UNCG faculty member Anne Shamburger.

Historical Note

In 1917, Jacques and Juliana Busbee, artists from Raleigh, North Carolina, discovered an orange pie dish and traced it back to Moore County, where they found a local tradition of utilitarian pottery in orange, earthenware, and salt glazes. The Busbees saw an opportunity to help save a dying craft, and in 1918 they set up the Village store in Greenwich Village, New York in order to sell the pottery. Potters they worked with over the years included JH Owen, Charlie Teague, and Ben Owen.

Jacques Busbee died in 1947. In 1960, John Mare bought Jugtown Pottery and hired Vernon Owens as the Jugtown thrower. After the sudden deaths of John Mare and Juliana Busbee in 1962, Owens leased the business and kept it going for six years, until it was sold to Country Roads, Inc., a nonprofit organization working toward the preservation of hand crafts.

Under the direction of Country Roads, Nancy Sweezy served as director and potter. Sweezy changed the earthenware glazes to fritted lead glazes, then developed a new line of high temperature glazes in order to make them lead-free. She also developed a completely different line of complex colors, including Blueridge Blue, Cinnamon, a different Tobacco Spit, Mustard and Dogwood White. Sweezy also set up an apprenticeship program that served over thirty pottery students from 1969 through 1980.

In 1983 Country Roads moved on to another project, and Vernon Owens bought Jugtown. He has run it with his wife Pam Owens since then. Pam and Vernon opened the Jugtown Museum in 1988. Jugtown Pottery was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.

Description of Collection

Most of the material in this collection consists of holograph and typed articles, addresses, or letters written by Jacques and Juliana about art and pottery crafts in general, and Jugtown in particular. Among Juliana's papers are 4 leaves of manuscript recipes of vichyssoise, 3-crust lemon pie, Lafayette gingerbread and claystone dye formula.

Newspaper clippings, magazines in which Jacques' articles appeared, miscellaneous items in the possession of Juliana Busbee before her death, exhibit brochures, correspondence and documents relating to the legal battle over Jugtown in 1959, and recent correspondence relative to the current "Jugtown Pottery" are also included.


Essays, letters, miscellaneous, by Juliana Busbee, 1931- 1950 and n.d.
Articles, etc. by Jacques Busbee, 1911-1917 and n.d.
Articles, correspondence, etc. re: incorporation of Jugtown, 1959
Letter from Juliana Busbee to the Robinsons, 1954; letter from Jean Crawford to Blackwell Robinson, 1963
Letters to Blackwell Robinson from Nancy Sweezy, 1970 & 1981
Brochures & publications about Jugtown, 1940-ca. 1970
Material re: Juliana's honorary degree & commencement, 1959
Misc. items from personal papers of Juliana Busbee; notes by Jean Crawford
Newspaper articles on Jugtown, Dec. 22, 1926-Dec. 15, 1940
Undated newspaper clippings re: Jugtown, ca. late 1920s- ca. 1947
Newspaper articles on Jugtown, Nov. 30, 1947-Nov. 1949
Newspaper articles on Jugtown, Dec. 1950-March 29, 1951
Newspaper articles on Jugtown, May 10, 1959-Aug. 28, 1962

Related Materials

For a history of Jugtown and pottery activity in Moore County, see Jean Crawford's book, Jugtown Pottery, Winston-Salem, NC: John Blair, 1964 (in University Archives: CS1 C89j).

Note: This collection has been augmented by a small artificial collection created by the staff in Special Collections/University Archives. See the Jugtown Pottery Collection.

See more art-related manuscript collections housed by UNCG.