Hopi and Tewa Pottery from the Melville Collection
In 1927 Carey E. and Maud Melville and their three children set out from Worcester, MA, to see the country in their new Ford Model T. Their trip included a three-week stay on Hopi lands in northeastern Arizona. There, through missionary friends at the First Mesa Baptist Church in Polacca, they became acquainted with local Hopi and Tewa artists. They collected, not as professional art dealers or ethnographers, but as tourists. However, they didn't mindlessly acquire objects as souvenirs; the Melvilles were clearly interested in the objects' perceived function and aesthetic, in who made them (and how), and in the experiences to be had and the relationships created via their acquisition. As well as finished works produced for sale (pictured here), the Melville Collection includes samples of raw materials, an unfired pot, and correspondence from Ethel Salyah Muchvo, one of the potters. The letters document a friendship and series of gift exchanges with Maud that lasted for at least a decade after the Melvilles' initial visit. The collection was donated to Wesleyan in 1976 at the suggestion of Mrs. Melville's grandson, Robert S. Arnold '69.
Please click on thumbnails for full object views. For more
information, see the catalog edited by Willard Walker and Lydia L.
Wyckoff: Hopis, Tewas and the American Road (Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 1983) and Carolyn O'Bagy Davis's Hopi Summer: Letters from Ethel to Maud (Tucson: Rio Nuevo Publishers, 2007).
2003.5.34 (Catalog Plate 11)
2003.5.39 (Catalog Plate 2)
13.7 cm greatest diameter
2003.5.51 (Catalog Plate 11)
2003.5.52 (Catalog Plates 1 and 2)
2003.5.58 (Catalog Plate 25)
2003.5.85 (Catalog Plates 1 and 2)
2003.5.38 (Catalog Plate 23)
2003.5.40 (Catalog Plate 25)
2003.5.45 (Catalog Plate 23)