Mary Williams Butler
Newcomb College Newcomb Ceramicist
(New Orleans, Louisiana, 1873 - 1937 (October 20), New Orleans, Louisiana)
Mary Williams Butler was born in New Orleans on March 15, 1873. Butler began her career at Newcomb in 1898 as a Special Art student. In 1899, she enrolled in Newcomb College and received her Diploma in Art in the spring of 1901. She worked as a pottery decorator before her academic tenure with the College. Beginning in 1901, Butler was an instructor/graduate student in drawing and design, achieving a full professorship in 1934. She was the genesis for the metalwork program at the Newcomb Pottery, and was influential in acquiring fellowships, scholarships and exhibitions for many student. Butler spent her summers learning new pedagogy and studio techniques, in particular at Harvard with Denman Ross and at the Kalo Shop in Chicago.
Mary Williams Butler was scheduled to retire in 1938 at the mandatory age of sixty-five, but on October 20, 1937, she suffered a fatal heart attack. Newcomb College suspended classes the following afternoon in her honor.