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Whitney Atchley

Biography to Display: 

1908 Born Des Moines, Iowa

1955 Died


1932 Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, Ohio


1932-1934 Designer, Cowan Pottery, Rocky River, Ohio

1935-1937 Advisor in Ceramics, Resettlement Administration, Washington, DC

Technical Advisor in Ceramics, WPA Art Project, Washington, DC.

Instructor in Ceramics, The California School of Fine Arts, San Francisco, California


Whitney Atchley is known for vessel forms with abstract and figurative decoration in the 1930s and 1940s.

Atchley’s ceramics career started at Cowan Pottery as a ceramics designer. Together with Russel Aitken, another designer from Cowan, Atchley founded the Pottery Workshop in Cleveland. Atchley, then, headed the ceramics department at the California School of Fine Arts and became a technical advisor for the Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.). Atchley exhibited at the Syracuse Ceramic National in 1933, 1937, 1941, 1947, 1949 and 1950.

A Speech Before the Second National Conference on Handicrafts, Penland, North Carolina by Whitney Atchley September 3, 1940, is available from the Archives of American Art at:

Atchley was associated with the Cleveland School, a group that was involved in the founding of the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Cleveland May Show.

Public Collections

Public Collections to Display: 

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York, New York

Cowan Pottery Museum, Rocky River Public Library, Rocky River, Ohio

The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio

Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, Massachusetts


Bibliography to Display: 

Perry, Barbara. American Ceramics: The Collection of Everson Museum of Art. New York: Rizzoli, 1989.



Typical Marks

"Whitney" in cursive written in brown glaze

Date: 1950-1960
Materials: Porcelain
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
The Forrest L. Merrill Collection
The Forrest L. Merrill Collection

Citation: "The Marks Project." Last modified February 12, 2024.