History

Charles J. Connick (1875-1945) was a preeminent American stained glass artist, whose work may be found in cities all across the United States.  Connick’s works in the Arts and Crafts movement uniquely combined ancient and modern techniques, and also sparked a revival of medieval European stained glass craftsmanship.  His profound understanding of the interaction between light, color and glass yielded a stunning depth and texture to his windows.  Connick’s methodical study and veneration of symbols allowed him to create evocative imagery in his subjects that powerfully connected his windows to their surrounding architecture.

Connick saw his windows as living beings that connected the work of the artist to the natural world through the light of the sun.  His windows were not only symbolic pictures, but fluidly moving stories of a musical beauty.  As he wrote, “I want people to hear my windows singing.”

“Evolution of a Simple Pattern” painted study.

Upon his death in 1945, Connick’s employees continued the Connick tradition of stained glass craftsmanship in Boston for four decades.  The studio created approximately 15,000 windows in over 5,000 commissions from 1912 to 1986.  In his December 1945 obituary, the New York Times called him “the world’s greatest contemporary craftsman in stained glass.”

In 2008, the Charles J. Connick Stained Glass Foundation, dedicated to preserving the Connick tradition of stained glass, generously donated to the MIT Libraries.

Collection artwork consists of stained glass windows, paintings, designs, cartoons, and sketches.  The collection also contains correspondence, financial records, personal and professional writings, film, lecture transcripts, slides, photographs, collected articles and research for windows, church bulletins, collected periodicals, tools, editions of Connick’s 1937 book Adventures in Light and Color, ephemera from both the studio and the foundation, and personal items from Connick and his staff.

The Shepherds Leaving Their Flocks” cartoon for a stained glass window.

During a grant-funded collection processing period from 2009-2010, items in the collection were evaluated for preservation needs, re-housed in archival folders, envelopes and boxes, and job files were scanned.  With the assistance of further funding, a second processing period in 2011-2012 has allowed us to conserve paper art, clean stained glass items, obtain digital images of stained glass and paper art, generate a database so that patrons may do their own job file research, create this website, and organize an exhibit in MIT’s Maihaugen Gallery featuring the Connick Collection, on display from February-July 2012.

Contact us for more information on the Charles J. Connick Stained Glass Foundation Collection.

All images ©Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial License: CC BY-NC2.