Guide to the Washington National Cathedral Stained Glass Formulae Collection
NMAH.AC.0090

Administrative Information

Repository Information

Archives Center, National Museum of American History, 1984

P.O. Box 37012
 Suite 1100, MRC 601
 Washington, D.C., 20013-7012
 Phone: 202-633-3270
 archivescenter@si.edu

http://americanhistory.si.edu/archives/

Revision Description

 Revised by Franklin A. Robinson, Jr., archivist December 2008

Conditions Governing Access note

The collection is open for research use. Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves.

Conditions Governing Use note

Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: reproduction fees may apply.

Custodial History note

The collection was transferred to the Archives Center from the Division of Ceramics and Glass (now the Divsion of Home and Community Life) in 1984.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

The collection was donated to the National Museum of History and Technology (now the National Museum of American History) by the Washington National Cathedral, through Richard T. Feller in 1977.

Processing Information note

Processed by Robert S. Harding, archivist, Valerie Herman and Calli Ward, 1984; revised by Franklin A. Robinson, Jr., archives technician, December 2008.

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Summary Information

Repository
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Creator - Creator
Saint, Lawrence B., 1885-1961
Creator
Washington Cathedral.
Title
Washington National Cathedral Stained Glass Formulae Collection
ID
NMAH.AC.0090
Date [inclusive]
1926-1936
Extent
9.30 Cubic feet, 29 boxes
Language
English
Language of Materials note
Collection is in English.
Abstract
This collection consists of chemical formulae developed by Lawrence Saint for use in his stained glass work at the Washington National Cathedral. There are supporting samples, records, and notes.

Preferred Citation note

Washington National Cathedral Stained Glass Formulae Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution

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Biographical/Historical note

Lawrence B. Saint was born in Pittsburgh in 1885. The work he did with stained glass, especially filming (the process of making a work of stained glass, old or new, look as if it is from the Middle Ages), influenced glassmakers everywhere. At thirteen, Saint was employed in Goeddel's wallpaper store. While at Goeddel's, Saint made sketches which impressed J. Horace Ruby, a former Goeddel's employee. Saint then began working under Ruby at Ruby Brothers Stained Glass Company. Saint's chores in the studio were to grind paint, trace patterns, sweep the floors, and build fires in the pot-bellied stove. Saint worked in this studio for four years. He saved enough money to put himself through the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia.

After art school, Saint was employed by the H. F. Petgen Company of Pittsburgh to design a large rose window for the Roman Catholic Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in East Liberty, Pennsylvania. It was a mosaic of color with symbols of the four evangelists of Christ. During his last year in art school, Saint met his future wife, Katherine Wright. Their honeymoon in Europe provided Saint time to study and copy medieval stained glass. Saint made at least three visits to Europe and collected sample glass from Chartres and other cathedrals. When Saint returned to the United States he designed and painted windows for eleven years under the direction of Raymond Pitcairn, promoter of medieval arts at Bryn Athyn Cathedral in Pennsylvania. During this period, Saint started to portray figures from life to record the faces of his generation. Between visits to Europe, Saint completed six windows in eleven years. Three were figure windows, three were two small roses, and one was a grisaille window. Grisaille is a style of monochromatic painting in shades of gray, used especially for the representation of relief sculpture, or to simulate one. After his work at Bryn Athyn, Saint worked out of his own stained glass studio.

He then went to work for the Washington National Cathedral as head of its stained glass studio. He designed and executed fourteen windows for the Cathedral: the North Rose Window, nine choir aisle windows, and four others in the north transept aisles. Saint experimented with recapturing the reds, blues, and other vibrant colors achieved by medieval glass makers using formulae based on spectroscopic analyses of scraps of 13th century glass. While working for the Cathedral, a fire broke out in Saint's studio. Many windows and materials were destroyed including a window depicting Moses. Saint's most famous work for the Cathedral was the North Rose Window entitled, "The Last Judgment." This window cost $22,687 and took twelve men to create. Saint made his own glass and applied his own process for filming it. Upon completion, Saint's work was displayed at the Free Library of Philadelphia in 1957 and in other cities. Saint said, 'I trust that my material, made public, will lead others to improve on my work...".

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Scope and Contents note

This collection consists of 976 formulae developed by Lawrence Saint for making stained glass. A shoe box contains 3" x 5" index cards of the formulae. Included are duplicate formulae and some miscellaneous notes. There are also over eight hundred samples of glass for various formulae. Some of the formulae were missing when the collection was donated to the National Museum of American History. These are noted in the container list.

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Arrangement note

This collection is divided into three series.

Series 1, Formulae, 1927-1933

Series 2, Notes and Records, 1926-1936

Series 3, Glass Samples, 1927-1933

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Controlled Access Headings

Genre(s)

  • Formulae, chemical
  • Glass samples

Geographic Name(s)

  • Washington (D.C.)

Subject(s)

  • Glass manufacture
  • Glass painting and staining--United States
  • Glass, Colored
  • Stained glass artists

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Collection Inventory

 Series 1: Formulae, 1927-1933

Box

1-100

1

101-200

2

201-300

3

301-390

4

391-449

5

450-550

6

551-640

7

641-720

8

721-809 (missing 726)

9

810-1006 (missing 832-835; 861-878; 880; 883-905; 908-936; 938-945; 947-953; 955-963; 965-969; 974-975; 978-980; 984-1003)

10

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 Series 2: Notes and Records, 1926-1936

Box

Notes, undated

10

Duplicate formulae

10

Specification for Alterations to the Loggia of the Bishop's House, Washington Cathedral Close, Mount St. Alban, Washington, D.C., Frohman, Rhobb & Little, Architects, Boston, Massachusetts, 1926 May 4

10

Xerox of folders from which original formulae were taken, undated

10

Complete red formulae (notes on processes for making the red plates), undated

10

Glass house record,  1936 December 2

10

index cards (3" x 5") of formulae

29

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 Series 3: Glass Samples, 1927-1933

Box

1-42

11

43-70

12

71-130

13

131-181

14

182-218

15

219-246

16

247-279

17

280-299

18

300-329

19

330-412 (missing 367; 370; 377; 379; 381; 391)

20

413-459 (missing 420-424)

21

460-498

22

499-525 (missing 505-506)

23

526-565

24

566-614

25

615-680

26

681-749

27

750-834

28

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