We are currently adding to the bibliographical research of Newcomb artisans. Check back in as we add to this page.
Sadie Irvine (Sarah Agnes Estelle Irvine)
Born in New Orleans, Sadie grew up at 1218 Valmont Street with her parents and one sibling. In the 1900 census, her father’s occupation was listed as “Letter carrier”, but appeared to retire by 1930. Sadie’s occupation from 1910 – 1930 was always listed as “Artist – College.” She began her studies, entering college as a Newcomb College freshman in 1902, graduated in 1906 and continued with her graduate studies immediately after, graduating in 1908. She is numbered among the Pottery’s Art Craftsman from 1908-1929 when she became a paid employee of the College until her retirement in 1952. After her retirement, she taught ceramics at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in 1967. During her career, she won numerous awards and received travel and study scholarships, including being exhibited in international expositions. She is buried in the New Orleans Masonic Cemetery along with her parents.
Mary Given Sheerer
Born in Covington, Kentucky, Mary’s family moved to New Orleans between 1865-1870. Her father, a “Wholesale Grocer” originally listed as a wealthy man, later had to surrender his goods at an auction to pay his creditors. The succession of his estate opened on January 16, 1883, and Mrs. Sheerer and her daughters moved back to Covington in 1886. Between 1886 and 1894, Mary attended the Cincinnati School of Design and at the Art Students’ League of New York City. In 1894, she moved back to New Orleans and began teaching at Newcomb. Never a homeowner, Mary lived close to campus in other people’s homes, campus housing, or sharing a residence with two other faculty members, later creating a “co-operative house” lifestyle in many different locations until her retirement in 1931. In 1932 she moved to Cincinnati and lived with her younger sister, Nan at 2116 Auburn Avenue, No. 1. They were listed at that address until Nan, also a retired teacher, died in 1942. Mary’s later address is unknown, but assumed to be in the Cincinnati area. She died at age 89 in 1954.
Paul Ernest Cox
Paul Cox is known as the first professionally trained ceramist employed by Newcomb College. He perfected the matte glaze used after 1910 and altered the techniques, designed and built kilns and “modernized the plant.” In 1918 when the new Art School building was erected, he designed the kilns and equipment. After he left Newcomb in 1918, he traveled and worked at various businesses, including Pittsburgh and later accepting a teaching position at Iowa State College where he was in charge of the Department of Ceramic Engineering. He worked there for over two decades, returning to New Orleans in 1939 and setting up a pottery business in Harahan, but it was short lived. He later retired to Baton Rouge, and died in 1968.