Paul M. Hollister Collection, The Rakow Research Library of The Corning Museum of Glass
Transcribed by Bard Graduate Center
Title: Paul Hollister Consultation with Geraldine Casper, March 25, 1974 (Rakow title: Casper [sound recording] / with Paul Hollister, BIB ID: 168410).
Paul Hollister, Participant
Geraldine Casper, Participant
Location: Probably Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass, Neenah, Wisconsin
Colleen Terrell, Summary and Transcriber
Barb Elam, Editor
Duration: 20:32
Length: 11 pages

Note: This transcript is based upon an audiotaped recording that has been digitally converted. The recording is part of the Paul M. Hollister Collection at The Rakow Research Library at The Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York, and was transcribed at Bard Graduate Center, New York, New York, for the digital exhibition and archive Voices in Studio Glass History: Art and Craft, Maker and Place, and the Critical Writings and Photography of Paul Hollister. Usage requests for all or part of this transcript must be obtained from The Rakow Research Library at The Corning Museum of Glass. 

Paul Hollister often made audio recordings for research purposes in preparation for writing, including interviews with artists and curators, and lectures. The reader should bear in mind that transcriptions of these recordings reflect spoken, rather than written, prose. While every effort was made to be as accurate as possible, the sound quality of the recordings in the Paul Hollister Collection varies greatly. Transcripts have been edited for readability and occasionally condensed. They should serve as a best-effort guide to the original only and not be considered verbatim.

Geraldine Casper, née Jackson, (1917–2016) studied art and art history at the Art Institute of Chicago. From 1968 to 1989, she served as an assistant and then curator at the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass in Neenah, Wisconsin, which has a world-renowned collection of glass paperweights. Casper authored a catalog on the Bergstrom’s collection and published numerous articles on paperweights. She continued to write and lecture on weights after her retirement. Before becoming a glass scholar, Casper and her husband, Jack Casper, ran a photography business, specializing in children’s portraiture.

Summary: This recorded conversation captures part of a 1974 meeting between Geraldine Casper and Paul Hollister, in which Hollister provides advice on Casper’s list of desirable paperweight acquisitions for the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass’ collection. Hollister offers his perspective on which paperweights might best complement or fill gaps in the museum’s collection and discusses whether and where Casper might find the particular paperweights she seeks. Casper and Hollister also discuss the possibility of the museum launching a new periodical publication for paperweight collectors to meet what Hollister saw as a need in the field.

Mentioned: Baccarat, Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass, Clichy, Paul Jokelson, L.H. Selman Ltd., millefiori, paperweights, Parke-Bernet Galleries, Clara S. Peck, Saint-Louis, Whitefriars

[recording begins mid-sentence]

Paul Hollister (PH): —basket. Or a double overlay basket. There was one that just came up in London and it went for something like 250 bucks.

Geraldine Casper (GC): Mmm.

PH: And I have a photograph of it, and it really wasn’t very interesting. It was a close millefiori. The handle was messy. And I think most of the handles if you can find one are gonna be messy. But I don’t think you’re gonna find one, in a long time. [pause for four seconds] I think it’d be—a good Bacchus encased overlay [sounds as of paper being flipped over] would be interesting to have, but as I say difficult to find. Now there was another one that came up in a sale at Parke-Bernet [Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, New York] recently. It was a Bacchus encased overlay. I saw it. I had seen it before. It had been in the Norvin H. Green sale at Parke-Bernet in 19—what was it, ‘52, or ‘62 or something like—

GC: Mmm.

PH: One of the—I guess ’52, an early paperweight sale. It brought—it was called Saint- Louis—and it brought 750 dollars. In the last sale at Parke-Bernet the same paperweight came up, and I was chasing that weight around Cape Cod all summer. I saw it. It was not—a collector showed it to me—it was not good. It was filled with specks and cobwebs and chunks of things and so forth. And the bouquet was very dull, flat, and uninteresting.

GC: Mm-hmm.

PH: And it went for 800 dollars.

GC: Hmm.

PH: 50 dollars more than it had gone for 20 years ago. So I don’t think you’re gonna find an attractive one. If you do find one, you might, but they’re very hard to find, and they’re not really—what you ought to look for is a beautiful Bacchus concentric. I think you could use another one. You’ve got one. You may have two there; that other one may be a Bacchus also, in there with the lady’s head in the middle.

GC: Mm-hmm.

PH: I think you could use a good one that was either a close millefiori which had great big canes and was well done and rather jazzy, or a beautiful concentric of pastel colors, but in the mushroom field you’ve got everything there is. You’ve got the best ones. And you probably wouldn’t have to pay more than 500 dollars for it. Now there was a Bacchus on a yellow ground that came up a year ago at Parke-Bernet, and that went for 500 dollars, and it was a very beautifully done weight.

GC: Mm-hmm.

PH: It was a real good weight. It would look just great in your case. Bright sulphur yellow. Canary yellow. [pause for five seconds] Now [GC clears throat] are we ready for the next one?

[Sound of tape recorder being stopped; then recording resumes]

PH: Let me put something down [GC clears throat]—may I add something on your priority list?

GC: Mm-hmm.

PH: Walker De Waters has, at the moment, a fascinating paperweight.

GC: Now, this is—

PH: This is—

GC: —you’re under ‘notes for you,’ right?

PH: ‘Notes for me,’ right.

GC: Mm-hmm.

PH: Right. Well, you can make a photocopy of it for yourself.

GC: Mm-hmm.

PH: So you can jog me on it if I don’t do it. Walker has a sulphide basket filled with flowers, and it’s painted in various flower colors. And the basket is a pale yellow. It all rests on a very dark green cottony-looking ground, which is so dark green that in the case it’s probably going to look black, but anyway, there it is. And it is surrounded by a red and blue torsade. And it’s possibly Bohemian. I’ve seen that sulphide of the basket painted in another weight that I’ve thought—felt distinctly was Belgian, but here it is, and he’s got it, and it probably won’t cost you too much ‘cause he didn’t pay much for it. And it’s a very unusual weight. It’s one I think you ought to have.

[Sound of tape recorder being stopped; then recording resumes]

PH: —more on that same blue list there, while I think of it. There was a collector in California who had some perfectly fascinating weights, and he died, and his widow has them, and they’re friends with a dealer out there whose name escapes me for the moment. And—not Selman [L.H. Selman Ltd., Chicago, Illinois], but an older dealer. And he—I don’t know what they’re gonna do with those weights. They’ve got some real beauties, really marvelous weights. And one of them is a Val St. Lambert flower that is absolutely spectacular, on a beautiful rich blue ground with a twist ribbon around it in red and white as I remember, and a perfectly beautiful flower. And that would be something, eventually, if I ever find out—the man’s name is Loyd Graham—and if I ever find out what the disposition of that thing is, and if it ever comes up for sale. I wrote his widow when he died, and I never got an answer, which is perfectly okay.

GC: Mm-hmm.

PH: She may give it to a museum; she may sell it to this dealer in bits and pieces or—you never know with those things.

GC: Mm-hmm.

PH: She may be non compos mentis herself [GC laughs] at this point. I don’t know. But anyway, that weight exists, and he has some other perfectly superb ones. He’s the one that has that weight with the picture of the man in the—is it the picture of the man in the top hat? No, it’s a country scene in it—

GC: Mm-hmm.

PH: —made of bubbles as I remember, something like that. It had a very English look, and it was in one of the bulletins and a question of ‘what is it?’ And there was no answer to that. But anyway, he had fine taste and a bit of dough and got some very unusual things. He has a nice New England Glass pink pompon on latticinio. Do you have one?

[Sound of tape recorder being stopped; then recording resumes]

PH: —and the word on that, I think on the matter of the addenda that you [phone begins ringing] should just be able—well, go ahead. Yeah.

GC: Excuse me.

PH: Just be able to change the title without any notice and you can have a little note in the first issue [sound as of tape recorder button being pressed] just say volume one, number one ‘Bergstrom Bulletin,’ or ‘Bergstrom Paperweight Bulletin,’ or ‘Bergstrom Bulletin.’ If—

GC: Well—

PH: —if there’s opposition to calling it ‘Paperweight’—

GC:  Yes, that—I wouldn’t want—

PH: —or trying to include art.

GC: Yes.

PH: Just call it Bergstrom Bulletin.

GC: I wouldn’t want to have it be too similar to Paul Jokelson’s ‘Paperweight Collectors Bulletin’ [Annual Bulletin of the Paperweight Collectors Association].

PH: No, but a bulletin is a bulletin.

GC: And so there wouldn’t be any confusion. He’d often call that ‘the Bulletin,’ too.

PH: Yeah.

GC: Collectors do.

PH: Well, ‘BB,’ ‘Bergstrom Bulletin.’ Or BPW—no, I mean, BPB. Well, anyway—

GC: Well, there could be—

PH: Anyway. Why can’t you just start it out and have a little note in the first issue saying that this is no longer the addenda, and that we’ve got a slightly new format, and we’re gonna try and answer questions, and contribute what information we find out and so forth. And it’ll give you a wide range of stuff that you can cram into it with each issue. And it will cut down on questions at the gate here. You can just have them purchase the bulletin. Why shouldn’t it pay for itself? For a quarter, or 50 cents or something. Anybody’s gonna pay it for that amount of money. And just put out all the things that we all find out.

GC: Perhaps they could subscribe to it—

PH: Paperweight news—

GC: —for a year.

PH: They could subscribe to it for a year, for—

GC: For a dollar.

PH: For a dollar.

GC: That would pay its way—

PH: Yeah.

GC: —and we’d try to get out two issues a year.

PH: Two issues a year. Semi-annually. Right.

GC: Mm-hmm.

PH: That’s cheap enough. Nobody can gripe about that—

GC: And pay the postage—

PH: —or gripe about double at that. After all, Jokelson’s bulletin’s what, 12, 11? And —

GC: They have beautiful photography, which we don’t. [laughs]

PH: And doesn’t have any information in it. Well, I don’t think their photography’s very good now. I think the color’s terrible.

GC: Well—

PH: But, anyway, it’s all coated stock, and very expensive. And you’re gonna give some information. He never has information; it’s just rah-rah convention photos, and that kind of thing. Articles by people who don’t really know anything about it. It isn’t informative.

GC: No.

PH: You don’t learn anything from it. All you do is see weights. It’s a seed catalogue.

GC: Yes, that’s a very apt [laughs] expression.

PH: So—

GC: Planting seeds for sales.

PH: Yeah. Anyway, well, shall we get back to this—

GC: Yes.

PH: Powell’s Whitefriars, 25, on base of weight. Well that just means picking up a modern Whitefriars. I’m sure you could get them to send you one, probably free. We don’t have one; how do we get one; do you have one with a label? Their address—I could probably dig up their address—

GC: Mm-hmm.

PH: —but you may have it anyway. And you don’t have any modern Whitefriars, do you, here? Or very few.

GC: No. [inaudible. PH and GC talking over one another]

PH: They’re quite nice now. The cutting is very elaborate and tricky on them; they’re quite interesting looking.

GC: Yes.

PH: There’s a little gift shop in New York that has them.

GC: There were some included in this exhibit we had, paperweights from two private collections.

PH: Hmm. So that’s that one. [sound of tape recorder button being pressed] 26, bottle green glass weight with Kilner seal—well, I’d say that was just potluck. And I th—

GC: I know someone who has one.

PH: Oh, good.

GC: Colonel Tarsitano.

PH: Good.

GC: From Indianapolis, I believe.

PH: Mm-hmm.

GC: Who brought one in here, and whether or not we’d be able to buy it from him I don’t know. And if so, how much would one offer—

PH: Oh, I would think a hundred would be about the maximum on that.

GC: Hmm.

PH: Whatever you think would butter him up. Hundred to a hundred and a quarter; I wouldn’t pay any more for it.

GC: Mm-hmm. My other idea was to write to J.A. Kilner, and ask him—

PH: Yeah.

GC: —whether we might get one.

PH: You might get one of his, because he has quite a collection.

GC: Alright.

PH: You got his address?

GC: Yes. I—

PH: Good.

GC: —I assume I have the—

PH: Do you have that thing that he put out, that mimeographed thing on the Kilner history?

GC: I can’t remember.

PH: Well.

GC: I’d have to check.

PH: Okay. Yeah, I think you could get one of those. Or you might get—

GC: [inaudible. PH and GC talking over one another]

PH: —one with a sulphide in it that was an unusual sulphide that you don’t have. You’ve got the elephant, haven’t you?

GC: Mm-hmm.

PH: I saw another one in Philadelphia. I might find one if I’m down in Philadelphia sometime.

GC: [inaudible] [sound as of tape recorder button being pressed]

PH: 27, Clichy melon rib overlay. You’re thinking of the one that the old lady in the Pierre [the Hotel Pierre, New York, New York] has. Mrs. Peck [Clara S. Peck]. And I just don’t think you’re gonna find one. And I think if you did find one, it would go for 10 or 12,000 dollars on rarity. I wouldn’t put it in—I would just say improbable. There must be another one somewhere. Maybe even in another color. Hers was white. But I don’t think you’re gonna find it. I think it’s in some private collection, if it exists, such as hers. She’s not in very good health, I hear, and who knows what’ll happen when she dies.

GC: Mm-hmm.

PH: 28, Clichy pedestal at Old Sturbridge Village [Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge, Massachusetts], Hollister figure 152. What is that—[sound as of tape recorder button being pressed]—Hollister figure 152 [see figure 152 in Paul Hollister, The Encyclopedia of Glass Paperweights (New York: Clarkson N. Potter, 1969), p. 137] is a—the top is alright, but as you can see the basket doesn’t come down evenly on the bottom. A Clichy pedestal would be nice to have.

GC: Mm-hmm.

PH: And I think you could get one. You might get it at auction or you might get it from Louis Lyons. A miniature Clichy pedestal would be a lovely thing to have, and there’s I think two of them in the [Jennie H.] Sinclair collection and they’re absolute beauties. And Mrs. Dahlgren, Olga Dahlgren [Olga Drexel Dahlgren], had one that brought something like 3,000 dollars, 3,500. It was a miniature. But that would be a very nice thing, and I think you ought to have it on your priority list, either a regular size one or a mini. [sound as of tape recorder button being pressed] Number 29, Clichy, six Clichy roses, which make up the spray, Monsieur [probably Edouard] Tabbagh. I assume he had one. I had one letter back and forth with him, and I don’t know whether he—I guess he collects on the side. He has some very nice things. He has a Bohemian overlay vase. He has a couple of—oh, what has he got? Wait a minute. Let me think. [sound as of tape recorder button being pressed] —I can’t remember, now, if you write me a letter sometime I may look it up, because he sent me a Christmas card, or something, with a picture of this incredible Clichy paperweight on it, and I just cannot remember what it was. Whether it was a flower on a swirl, or something real wild. Very spectacular. You might be able to get something out of him. Or find out from him who would have one of these things in Paris. I suppose [Roger] Imbert’s got the market cornered in Paris. Are we off on that?

GC: [inaudible] [sound as of tape recorder button being pressed]

PH: Where are we? Green carpet ground.

GC: Yes.

PH: Well, you’ve made the notes on that. You’ve said that it’s more like—that we’ve got two green carpet grounds. We’ve got one from Saint-Louis, and we’ve got a Clichy barber pole twist green. That’s what they call ’em, barber pole twist. And you don’t have a—

GC: Oh.

PH: —and you have a Baccarat green one, too. You don’t have a Baccarat cauliflower.

GC: Let’s see, we’re on the carpet ground. We’re not talking about the che—

PH: We’re on the green—number 30, green carpet ground.

GC: Yes, right. We have a Clichy and a Saint-Louis.

PH: You’ve got a—

GC: And—

PH: You’ve got that wild—

GC: And—

PH: —Clichy moss ground—

GC: Mm-hmm.

PH: —or prairie ground, or whatever they call it now.

GC: And we need a choufleur.

PH: You lack a choufleur in Baccarat. [pause for five seconds] And you have the green in Saint-Louis. Do you have a pink Saint-Louis carpet? Let me look. [sound as of tape recorder button being pressed] —probably pick up a Saint-Louis pink carpet ground for, oh, I don’t know, in the neighborhood of 2,000, 2,500, somewhere in there. And you really ought to have that because it’s a common enough weight. As I say, George Ingham has a beauty, if you could get that out of him. Or if Anna [unknown name, but probably George’s wife or daughter] would give it to you when he dies. It’s a real beauty. It’s the best one I’ve ever seen. It’s all even, which so many of them aren’t. But that would be good. And it’s a nice big one, too. Many of them are cut down. You have to be very careful not to get one that’s pink that’s cut down. But you do need that. [sound as of tape recorder button being pressed] Number 31, snake with carrot. Oh, that’s that snake with the red tongue coming out of its mouth.

GC: Mm-hmm. And actually—

PH: I think that’s silly. I mean, I just don’t think that—if you find one, you find one. But I don’t think it’s a thing to look for. You’ve got a number of snake weights and you were looking for the green coiled latticino filigree—

GC: Mm-hmm.

PH: —coiled one. And I’d settle—

GC: That would be a more beautiful one.

PH: I’d settle for that. I think the fact that it has a carrot coming out of its mouth, which is probably meant to be a fang, isn’t significant. I’d just forget that. I’d cross that right out. Number 31.

GC: Mm-hmm. Could we go back to number 30 again and shall I cross out green and put pink? [Sound of telephone ringing]

PH: Is it the—yes, pink carpet ground.

GG: Mm-hmm.

PH: Right.

GC: Alright.

PH: That’s the one you don’t have. Now, number 33, triple overlay— [pause for three seconds]

PH and GC: Probably Baccarat.

GC: White over red over white.

PH: I don’t know. I don’t know what that refers to—

GC: White over red over white.

PH: —and I’d have to look at that old bulletin, which is upstairs.

GC: Yes.

PH: So, let’s put a question mark and we can go and look at that after.

GC: Alright. And then—

PH: And then—

PH and GC: —the signed Clichy [Junius T.] Langston collection.

PH: Well, we don’t know about Langston, do we?

GC: No. We’ll have to check that out.

PH: And I would think that signed Clichys—they’re probably four or five of them, and they’re probably all in collections that you will never even see. Either that or some ignoramus has one and doesn’t know what he’s got. [GC laughs] [pause for six seconds; PH resumes, mimicking country accent] ‘I’m told that both one there that one there gonna be worth a lotta money. I want 500 dollars for it.’ [PH drops accent] And of course you’d snap it up right away.

[telephone rings]

[recording ends]