Overbeck Sisters

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The Overbeck Sisters were four women potters and artists of the Arts and Crafts Movement who worked in Cambridge City, Indiana, from 1911 until 1955.

The group included Margaret (July 3, 1863 – August 13, 1911), Hannah Borger (March 14, 1870 – August 28, 1931), Elizabeth Gray (October 21, 1875 – December 1, 1936) and Mary Frances (January 28, 1878 – March 20, 1955). Sisters Ida and Harriet and a brother Charles were not involved in their sisters' artistic pursuits. The family spelled their name "Overpeck" until 1911.

The sisters were known initially for their Arts and Crafts-style pottery, watercolors and distinctive matte pottery glazes. Margaret and Mary Frances studied with the influential designer Arthur Wesley Dow. In later years, the sisters produced pieces of more modern styles with shiny glazes and small grotesque figural pieces of people and animals. A number of Overbeck oil paintings, mostly of birds, are also known to exist. A number of their early designs were published in Keramic Magazine.

Overbeck pottery is widely collected and the Indianapolis Museum of Art mounted an exhibition of Overbeck work in 2007. Significant collections of Overbeck work is found at the Richmond Art Museum and in the Cambridge City Public Library, whose core collection was a gift of Overbeck scholar Kathleen Postle. The Midwest Museum of Art in Elkhart, Indiana has a room devoted to Overbeck pottery. In addition, outstanding pieces are found in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and other museums and private collections. A collection of Overbeck pottery was featured on the 2006 episode of the Antiques Roadshow from Houston, Texas.


  • Bowman, Leslie Greene. (1990) American Arts and Crafts-Virtue in Design: A Catalogue of the Palevsky Collection and Related Works in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Boston: Bullfinch Press/Little, Brown and Company.
  • Postle, Kathleen R. (1978) The Chronicle of the Overbeck Pottery. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society.
  • Newton, Judith Vale and Carol Ann Weiss. (2004) Skirting the Issue: Stories of Indiana's Historical Women Artists. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society Press. ISBN 0-87195-177-0

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