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Larsen Family Collection of Dorchester Pottery, Pottery and publications, circa 1900-1979


723 pieces of pottery and 1 box of publications


The Larsen Family of Norwell, Massachusetts, donated 723 pieces of Dorchester Pottery to the Archives and Special Collections Department of the Healey Library on March 20, 2003.


The Dorchester Pottery Works was established in 1885 by master potter George Henderson, and remained a family-run business under Henderson family ownership, until it closed in 1979. In its early years the firm produced many items for farm and factory use, including pitchers and jugs, jewelers’ jars, shellac jars, and bean pots. It also produced the “Patented Henderson Foot Warmer” which was a stoneware hot water bottle in the form of a “porcelain pig” and was one of the firm’s most distinctive products. After World War II the pottery works began shifting to decorated tableware until, by the 1960s, such items constituted the entire production.

Over the years, Dorchester Pottery has become prized by collectors. The designs are very traditional, including pinecones, blueberry, scrolls, and ships. Much of the tableware is signed by the potter and decorator. Designs were done primarily in cobalt blue and white.

The Larsen Family Collection of Dorchester Pottery serves as an important source for people interested in the history of Dorchester, collectors studying American art pottery, and researchers investigating industrial and agricultural history.

Scope and Content

The Larsen Family Collection consists of 723 pieces of pottery produced by the Dorchester Pottery Works. It contains examples of both the decorated and industrial ware created by the pottery in their one hundred year history in Dorchester. A catalog describing each piece of pottery has been created and is available in the Archives and Special Collections Department. It includes information on the form, size, color, pattern, and condition. Also, all signatures and labels on the pottery have been noted in the catalog. In addition to the catalog, the department has created a digital photograph of each piece of pottery.

The pottery is stored in 51 boxes. There is also one box of publications and clippings relating to the history of the pottery and one box of CS photo masters of the pottery.

This collection supplements the archives of the Dorchester Pottery Works which the department acquired in the 1980s.

View digital collection here