Important Archive of Crolius Family Papers

Fall 2022 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 115

Price Realized: $7,800.00

($6,500 hammer, plus 20% buyer's premium)

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Auction Highlight:  Fall 2022 Auction | New York City Stoneware

Fall 2022 Auction Catalog

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Important Crolius Family Archive, late 18th and 19th century, extensive archive of roughly one hundred pieces of ephemera. Items include deeds related to the well-known, long-standing Chatham Street stoneware manufactory of John Crolius, Jr., including a copy of George Janeway's 1772 lease to William Crolius, Jr. for this property. William Crolius, Jr. died during the American Revolution, his 1778 will referencing this very lease when he bequeathed to his nephew John, Jr., "all the rest residue and remainder [of the] lease for ... those four Lotts or parcels of Ground Situate lying and being in the Outward of the City of New York leased of George Janeway." (Worth noting, the lease document included here does not even exist in the New York City land record books.) In this same will, William Crolius, Jr. freed the family of enslaved people that surely included young Thomas W. Commeraw. It was at William Crolius, Jr.'s pottery shop that Commeraw probably resided as a small boy; this was also the place at which Crolius fashioned his iconic 1773 heart-shaped inkstand currently residing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. While most of the documents in this archive date from later in the century and are unrelated to the potter's trade, there are many documents of import here for those interested in the history of Manhattan stoneware, including but not limited to: a 1789 indenture for John Crolius, Jr. for land in Middlesex County, NJ; an 1818 indenture of lease to John Crolius, Jr. "Stoneware Manufacturer for the term six years" of a "dwelling house" on Chatham Street; John Crolius, Jr.'s May 1, 1818 - August 1, 1841 payment ledger with original binding (John Crolius, Jr. died only a few months after the completion of this ledger); two 1839 promissory notes to John Crolius, Jr., signed by Clarkson Crolius, Sr., with a "Clarkson Crolius & Son" signature; an agreement between John Crolius, Jr. and his son (also John), the latter mentioning his shop "on the corner of Cherry & Gouverneur Streets" and "implements of vessels used in said premises for the Manufacture of Potters Ware," the document bearing John Crolius [III] and John Crolius, Jr. signatures (this somewhat mysterious pottery is discussed on pp. 173-177 of A. Brandt Zipp, Commeraw's Stoneware); a receipt for payment plus interest received from John Crolius [III] by Clarkson Crolius, Sr., for partial coverage of a New York Supreme Court ruling against the former from a suit by James Cowan and John C. Crolius, signed by Clarkson Crolius, Sr.; copy of the 1841 last will and testament with accompanying inventory of John Crolius, Jr. Also of note are various papers relating to boatbuilder, William Crolius, including the 1830's ledger of William and Joseph Crolius, with various boat orders and a letter with printed letterhead for "W. CROLIUS' / BARGE, RACE CLUB & SAIL-BOAT ESTABLISHMENT. / No. 400 WATER ST NEW-YORK," including a vignette depicting various types of boats; and various other documents featuring Crolius family signatures. This appears to be an archive maintained by the family / descendants of John Crolius, Jr., whose aforementioned Chatham Street stoneware manufactory produced countless objects at least into the 1820's, though no signed examples from this prolific pottery exist. This archive offers rare insight including previously undocumented information regarding one of America's first families of stoneware potters. All in good to excellent condition, many with typical flaws associated with early ephemera.

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