Experts from Corning Museum of Glass (CMOG) gave a presentation on Whitefriars stained glass windows at The Park Church in Elmira today, Sunday November 24. Jim Galbraith, Tracy Savard, and Dr. Audrey Whitty explained that the museum received a donation of many crates of drawings from a museum in London. Opening the crates, they noted that some of the drawings were of windows proposed for The Park Church in Elmira. Plans for stained glass windows aren’t always completed, so the experts wondered if the windows actually existed. A visit to The Park Church answered the question: the drawings matched windows in the church.
The drawings were in rolls. For fear of doing damage the rolls were only partially unrolled. The drawings are now at a conservator where they will be carefully unrolled and preserved. Workers at CMOG have plans to seek more information about historic church windows in NY, and to publish the information as it is developed. In addition, the museum has other Whitefriars works on display in the exhibits.
On The Park Church facebook page we read: CMOG is “researching the work of James Powell and Sons (also known as Whitefriars), which was an important glassmaking company in Britain. Look carefully at our windows and you’ll see their signatures; take a Google search of Whitefriars glass, and you’ll see how fortunate we are.”
Reportedly there is another of these windows at Trinity Church in Elmira and many at St. Stephens in Olean as well as in Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Rome, and Syracuse.
Dr. Audrey Whitty is curator of European and Asian Glass at the Corning Museum of Glass. Audrey was previously the curator of glass, ceramics and Asian collections at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin from 2001 to 2013.
Jim Galbraith is Chief Librarian of the Rakow Research Library, Corning Museum. Originally from Elmira, Jim recently returned to his home town after 20 years of travel across the country in academic library positions. Prior to coming to CMOG, he was Associate Director for the DePaul University Libraries in Chicago.
Tracy Savard is a Cataloging Specialist at the Rakow Research Library. Her love of libraries was fostered at a young age and strengthened in college when she interned in the Archives and Special Collections of Le Moyne College.
CMOG is a major tourist attraction, a frequent stop for busloads of tourists travelling between Niagara Falls and NYC.