Susan Rossi-Wilcox, an independent scholar, used her Rakow Research Grant to build on her previous research on the Glass Flowers by reading correspondence and associated documents dating from the beginning of the collection in 1886 to the last accessions in 1936.
“Although we tend to think of this collection as a 50-year effort, during the time, it was viewed as a short-term contract with extensions,” she explained. “I am interested in the collection’s development . . . from several perspectives: the desires of the correspondents, the practicality of obtaining reference materials, the cultural milieu of Harvard’s biology department . . . , [and] the impact of the benefactors on the development of the exhibition . . . and their relationship with the artists.”
Rossi-Wilcox noted her interest in answering three key questions: “In what context did the collection develop? Where did the Blaschkas take artistic license in making the models? What were the sources of the reference materials?”
Her studies included an extensive investigation of archival materials at Harvard and the Rakow Research Library of The Corning Museum of Glass, and papers pertaining to Mary Lee Ware (one of the benefactors of the collection) at the historical society in Rindge, New Hampshire, site of her family’s farm.
Rossi-Wilcox’s many publications include %%Drawing%% upon Nature: Studies for the Blaschkas’ Glass Models (2007), which she co-authored with David Whitehouse.