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Spencer H. MacCallum Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography/Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • Additional collection guides

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Spencer H. MacCallum Papers
    Dates: 1975-2004 (bulk 1976-1984)
    Collection Number: 1997.002
    Creator/Collector: MacCallum, Spencer Heath
    Extent: 15 linear feet
    Repository: Museum of Us
    San Diego, California 92101
    Abstract: Papers and photographic records of Spencer H. MacCallum (b. 1931) documenting the artistic development and early public career of the master potter Juan Quezada (b. 1940).
    Language of Material: English


    The collection is open to on-site reserachers. Research visits must be arranged with the collections department in advance by contacting collections@museumofman.org.

    Publication Rights

    The museum can only claim physical ownership of the collection. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the San Diego Museum of Man as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item]. Spencer H. MacCallum Papers. Collection Number: 1997.002. Museum of Us

    Acquisition Information

    The MacCallum papers were included in the purchase of the Spencer H. MacCallum Mata Ortiz pottery collection, comprising over 300 pieces, arranged by Dr. Richard O’Connor, a trustee of the museum.

    Biography/Administrative History

    Spencer H. MacCallum, born in 1931, studied art history and anthropology at Princeton, the University of Washington, and the University of Chicago. He met the potter Juan Quezada in Mata Ortiz, Chihuahua in 1976 and received Quezada’s permission to represent him among organizations and collectors whom MacCallum believed would take an interest in his work, which was almost unknown in the US at that time. MacCallum promoted Quezada’s work full time for almost eight years, coordinating the artist’s introduction to major museums, universities, agencies, private galleries, and individual arts patrons. MacCallum’s full-time involvement with the potters of Mata Ortiz ended in 1984, by which time the work of Mata Ortiz artists was represented in museums and private collections worldwide.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The collection comprises detailed photographic and textual documentation of the master potter Juan Quezada's (b. 1940) work, and that of other Mata Ortiz potters, during the years 1976 – 1979. During this time Quezada was developing technically and artistically at a remarkable pace, with innovations visible in the chronology of pieces produced over short intervals. MacCallum’s comprehensive records of this period in Quezada’s mastery complement his collection of the works themselves, which includes many of the individual pieces treated in the archives. Several thousand of the images in the archival collection are professionally shot documentary views of individual works. Hundreds more provide a real-time record of production methods, techniques, and of the daily life of the Mata Ortiz artists. Photographic documentation of exhibits, shows, pottery-making demonstrations, and other public events is also extensive. The papers in the collection document MacCallum’s role in the early public careers of Quezada and his family, and the establishment of their home village of Mata Ortiz (Chihuahua, Mexico) as a center of fine-art pottery production. They include MacCallum’s correspondence, drafts, notes, and the administrative records of his promotion of the Mata Ortiz artists. Exhibit announcements, news coverage, publications, and audiovisual items make up the remainder.

    Indexing Terms

    Pottery, Mexican--Mexico--Mata Ortiz
    Potters--Mexico--Mata Ortiz
    Quezada, Juan

    Additional collection guides