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Amelung Excavation Records

Identifier: MS-0001

Scope and Contents

These records comprise documents produced between 1962 and 1966, during excavation at the John Frederick Amelung glasshouse site in Maryland. They also include as well as more recent material, such as reports on the excavation and photographs of the excavation selected for exhibition.

The records are arranged into five series:

(1) Records of the Amelung Excavation, 1962-1966

(2) Background Reseach Materials, Circa 1962-1963

(3) Ivor Noël Hume's Reports about the Excavation, Circa 1963-1975

(4) Published Articles about the Excavation, 1962-1963

(5) Photographs and Slide Presentation Soundtrack, Circa 1962-1976


  • Creation: 1962-1976


Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for public research. Researchers must make an appointment to view this collection.

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.

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.


10.6 Linear Feet (6 Hollinger boxes, 3 half Hollinger boxes, 3 roll boxes, and 3 oversize folders)

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Box 1/Folder 7 and some of the photographs in Box 2 appear to be mildly to severely flood damaged. Follow the flooded materials protocol when consulting these materials.

Rolled materials in Box 6 may require assessment by a conservator prior to research use.

Custodial History

Gift of Ivor Noël Hume, 1992.

Amelung Excavation Records, 1962-1976
A Guide to the Records
Rebecca Hatcher
March 2002
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Rakow Research Library Manuscript Collection Repository

The Rakow Research Library
The Corning Museum of Glass
Five Museum Way
Corning NY 14830 USA