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Finding Aid for the Jugtown Pottery Collection, 1956-1994

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. This collection was compiled by library staff to augment the Juliana Royster Busbee Collection (MSS 070), and it contains newspaper articles, a brief chronology, transcriptions of items from the Busbee collection, and a symposium brochure and exhibit catalog.

Administrative Information

Collection Number

MSS 122


0.5 linear feet, 1 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], Jugtown Pottery Collection (MSS 122), University Archives and Manuscripts, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Acquisitions Information

An artificial collection created by the Special Collections/University Archives staff to augment the Juliana Royster Busbee Collection.

Biographical 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

After Blackwell Robinson donated the Juliana Royster Busbee Collection to Jackson Library in 1983, library staff collected newspaper articles about Jugtown Pottery and, wrote a brief chronology of the organization. In 1994 the McKissick Museum of the University of South Carolina mounted an exhibit, New Ways for Old Jugs, and sponsored a one-day symposium in conjunction with the exhibit. The exhibit catalog included a letter written by Jacques Busbee and a magazine article written by Juliana Busbee, both from the Juliana Royster Busbee Collection at UNCG. Assistance was provided by Special Collections/University Archives staff in transcribing these items for the McKissick Museum, and copies of the transcriptions, the symposium brochure and the exhibit catalog were added to the Jugtown Pottery Collection.


A brief Jugtown chronology

Transcriptions of handwritten materials

Exhibit brochures and catalogs

Newspaper articles

Related Materials

See also the Juliana Royster Busbee Papers.

See more art-related manuscript collections housed by UNCG.

An oral history with Ben Owen is avaliable at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

According to Sandhills Community College, the Greenville County Mueseum of Art has the largest permanent public display of Jugtown Pottery in eastern North Carolina.