Chapter 13 Becoming American in Salem’s Congregation Pottery

In: Moravian Americans and their Neighbors, 1772-1822
Author:
Geoffrey Hughes
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Abstract

How did potters adapt to new ideas of personal freedom, changing racial norms, and increased industrialization after the American Revolution? In 1793, Salem’s second master potter, Rudolph Christ (1750-1833), embarked on an ambitious expansion of the congregation-owned pottery in Salem. Across the street from the original pottery workshop, Christ built a small kiln and shed on Lot 38 to fire new wares, adding faience, stoneware, and figural bottles to his stock-in-trade.

Over time, the expansion grew to include two larger kilns. These were used by Christ and later his replacement, John Frederic Holland (1821-1843), until they were torn down in 1831. This study combines archeological and historical research to better understand how Moravian potters used their craft to negotiate the complex and changing relationship between religion and economics during this transformative period.

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