Biography: Dr. Virginia Chieffo Raguin
The 1990 Rakow Grant for Glass Research was awarded to Dr. Virginia Chieffo Raguin, an associate professor in the Department of Visual Arts at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.
The grant was used in completing The Stained Glass Heritage of America, 1800–1980s, a book commissioned by the Cambridge University Press. This volume, which consisted of more than 250 pages and included more than 200 illustrations, surveyed the wide variety of architectural stained glass in American buildings.
“Such a study, incorporating an analysis of architectural setting, religious imagery, and painting styles, reveals much of the social and artistic context of the era,” Dr. Raguin wrote in her application for the Rakow Grant. “Stained glass, like other aspects of public art, is a corporate enterprise, dependent on a patron for whom the artists/studios bend their voices. Since in most instances patronage was predicated on ethnic/religious context, the heterogeneous American monuments contain examples of virtually all European developments as well as American historical styles ... The book will be an even-handed analysis of all styles of glass found in American buildings, with no preconceived value distinctions between imported or American-made work, or the ‘correctness’ of one style over another. I hope that a well documented and comprehensive work on the subject will encourage a far more serious attitude by historical and preservation organizations and help remedy their neglect of glazing commissions when assessing architectural installations.”
Although much of the research for this project was already completed, Dr. Raguin said she still needed to “verify many issues through library work and site visits.”