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.

Southwest Pottery (Melville Collection)

  • Sityaki Revival Polychrome Bowl

    2003.5.34

    Hopi

     

  • Sityaki Revival Polychrome Bowl

    2003.5.39

    Hopi

    Artist: "Sellie"

  • Sityaki Revival Polychrome Bowl

    2003.5.51

    Hopi

  • Sityaki Revival Polychrome Bowl

    2003.5.52

    Hopi

  • Polished Red Ware Plaque

    2003.5.58

    Hopi

    Artist: Ruth Takala

  • Sityaki Revival Polychrome Bowl

    2003.5.85

    Hopi

  • Polished Red Ware Bowl

    2003.5.38

    Hopi

  • Polished Red Ware Bowl

    2003.5.40

    Hopi

  • Polished Red Ware Bowl

    2003.5.45

    Hopi