Gay LeCleire Taylor discusses Paul Jokelson and the beginnings of the Paperweight Weekend.


Gay LeCleire Taylor

Gay LeCleire Taylor discusses Paul Jokelson and the beginnings of the Paperweight Weekend. Oral history interview with Gay LeCleire Taylor by Barb Elam, conducted via telephone, March 9, 2018, Bard Graduate Center. Clip length: 02:53.

Gay LeCleire Taylor: The sort of beginning is a little controversial, okay? I’ll give you a background that—I don’t know if Paul [Stankard] mentioned Paul Jokelson, who is the founder of the Paperweight Collectors Association—and he is a Frenchman who came to New York and settled, but was sort of this importer, and somehow he got himself involved with Saint-Louis and Baccarat and importing these new weights that they were making. And he ran this organization more as his clientele, I guess you could say, that were buying his weights and everything, and then he sort of had this club that you could join. But American paperweights seemed to never be able to break through to what he was doing and marketing and everything else, so there were a group of collectors and there were a group of artists who wanted American paperweights to be recognized. So really what we tried to do is set up an organization that was the American Paperweight Guild, I think is the correct name of it, and so this is in the seventies. And we had a meeting in 1976 in one of the casinos in Atlantic City, and tried to get this idea that American makers could be represented and American history and American weights would be discussed and everything else. And so Paul Jokelson fought it, you know, we were upstarts, and what were we trying to do? Or whatever. But after this huge feud, it sort of settled down, and Paul Jokelson eventually gives up his presidency and turns it over to the membership, and he then becomes this every other year. Wheaton Village would have it on the even years, or it just sort of fell out that way, and then the more international one would be during the PCA and our weekends really began being more focused on American weights. Now we’ll have an international speaker or, or someone come in and speak, but it really was focused more on American and American collecting and the history of American paperweights, you know, from the Boston and Sandwich Glass Company, and the New England Glass Company, and all of those things, so. It was really pushing the envelope against the Paperweight Collectors Association that we started having our weekends. And it was Mr. Wheaton who was the driving force on getting Americans represented: ‘Well, then we’ll do it here.’