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Amelung Excavation Papers

Identifier: BIB-72278
The Amelung Excavation Papers are arranged into 5 series:

Series I. Records of the Amelung Excavation

This series contains the records of the excavation project. These include the original research proposal, a project daybook covering the period from October 1962 to October 1963, and two notebooks, that contain correspondence, receipts, invoices, notes and other documents produced by the archaeological team. There are also two cassette tapes and a reel-to-reel tape, all containing the same content.

Series II. Background Reseach Materials

This series contains both primary and secondary resource material about John F. Amelung, the Amelung family and Amelung glasshouse, as well as glass production in general during the late eighteenth century. Primary sources include copies and transcriptions of contemporary newspapers, as well as a copy of the pamphlet, “Remarks on Manufacturers, Principally on the New-Established Glass-House near Frederick-town, in the State of Maryland,” by John F. Amelung. Secondary materials include research notes taken by researchers as well as copies from published sources.

Series III. Ivor Noël Hume's Reports about the Excavation

This series includes three typewritten reports about the project, written by Ivor Noël Hume between 1962 and 1964. Most significantly, a draft of Noël Hume’s final report on the project, entitled “Archaeological Excavations on the Site of John Frederick Amelung’s New Bremen Glass Manufactory, 1962-1963,” which includes background information about the project, the site and Amelung’s glass, as well as an account and archaeological analysis of the excavation and its findings, which includes a table of contents and subject index. Please note that this draft lacks the illustrations included in the final report. However, the library holds microfilm of final and preliminary versions of this report (with images), while additional versions of the report, with some illustrations, can be found in the Dwight P. Lanmon Papers. Finally, some of the images from the report are included in this collection in Series V: Photographs. The other reports in this series are much briefer, prepared for publication in "Antiques and Archaeology." Finally, the series includes a list of artifacts recovered from the site, drawn up by Noël Hume in 1975.

Series IV. Published Articles about the Excavation

This series contains a variety of contemporary articles describing the excavation project. The majority appeared in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore area newspapers during 1962-63, although there are also two articles which appeared in the "Corning Gaffer," a publication of the Corning Glass Works, in Corning, NY.

Series V. Photographs

This series is arranged by subject and includes photographs of the excavation site before work began and snapshots of the excavation in progress, as well as those documenting the discovery of artifacts, and of the artifacts themselves. Many of these photographs were included in the project’s final report and for publication in “Archaeological Excavations on the Site of John Frederick Amelung’s New Bremen Glass Manufactory,” by Ivor Noël Hume, which appeared in the "Journal of Glass Studies" (v. 18, 1976) and as a chapter in "John Frederick Amelung: Early American Glassmaker," by Dwight P. Lanmon et al. (Corning: Corning Museum of Glass, 1990). Finally, there are a few photos of plans of the site, and several of related subjects, including the Great Seal of the US tumbler, also used in these publications.


  • 1962-1975


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

The Copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement. The user agrees to defend, indemnify, and hold harmless the Corning Museum of Glass and the Rakow Research Library against all claims, demands, costs and expenses incurred by copyright infringement or any other legal or regulatory cause of action arising from the use of Library materials.


0.8 Linear Feet (3 Boxes)

Biographical / Historical

Early in the summer of 1961, the Corning Museum of Glass (CMoG) proposed to the Smithsonian Institution that the two organizations conduct a joint excavation of a late eighteenth century glass manufactory, near present-day Frederick, Maryland. This manufactory had been founded in 1784 by John Amelung, an immigrant from Bremen, Germany. Bringing 68 German craftsmen with him, he established a glass manufactory on 2000 acres of land, which came to be called New Bremen. Over the next six years, his business expanded to employ between 400 and 500 workers, and include an additional 1000 acre site. By 1790, however, the business faced a shortage of customers and early in the year experienced a damaging fire. Faced with these difficulties, Amelung twice appealed to Congress for assistance, but was twice turned down, and the business seems never to have reopened after the fire. In 1795, he attempted to sell most of the business and land, but could not find a purchaser. The factory was declared bankrupt at the end of 1795, and, over time, returned to woods and farmland.

The Smithsonian responded favorably to CMoG’s proposal, and the project was approved. Since neither the Smithsonian nor CMoG had a staff member trained in historic American archaeology, organizers asked the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation to allow foundation archaeologist Ivor Noël Hume to assist on the project. Noël Hume first visited the site on Feb 16th, 1962, with Paul N. Perrot of CMoG, and Malcolm Watkins, Paul Gardner and John Pearce of the Smithsonian.

The group toured the site with William R. and Dorothy Mackay Quynn, owners of the nearby house built by John Amelung. Plans were made for the excavation of a few test trenches in between October 13th and 20th, 1962, with the possibility of further excavation the following year, if the test trenches proved fruitful. During the summer, project organizers made access and use agreements with owners of the land on which the factory had stood, and a preliminary survey of the site was completed.

Excavation began as scheduled on October 13th, 1962. By the second day of excavation, one of the test trenches appeared particularly promising, so plans were changed to focus on that area for the remainder of the week. By the end of the week, workers had uncovered the corner of a large glasshouse, which they concluded merited further excavation the following year.

Excavation continued in October 1963, and by the end of the project researchers had completed excavation of the glasshouse. The researchers also found glassworking tools and quantities of glass fragments, a portion of which appeared to have been manufactured at the site. However, at least two other structures remained unexplored on the site, on which at least thirty buildings had once stood. Analysis of these findings was published in the "Journal of Glass Studies" (v. 18, 1976), and reprinted as "John Frederick Amelung: Early American Glassmaker," by Dwight P. Lanmon et al. (Corning: Corning Museum of Glass, 1990).

Note: Information in this historical sketch was found primarily in project reports contained in this collection.

Custodial History

Gift of Ivor Noël Hume, 1992.

Related Materials

Dwight P. Lanmon Papers

The Rakow also has rolled blueprints, surveys, maps and photographs pertaining to the Amelung Excavation.
Amelung Excavation Papers, 1962-1975
Rebecca Hatcher
March 2002
Description rules

Repository Details

Part of the Rakow Research Library Repository

Rakow Research Library
Corning Museum of Glass
5 Museum Way
Corning NY 14830 USA