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Susan Harnly Peterson Edit Profile

artist , writer

Susan Harnly Peterson, American artist, writer. Certified teacher secretary schools. Recipient Binns award Alfred University Ceramic College, 1998, Critics award National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, 1985, Wrangler ward National Cowboy Hall of Fame, 1978.


Peterson, Susan Harnly was born on July 21, 1925 in McPherson, Kansas, United States. Daughter of Paul Witmore and Iva Wilda (Curtis) Harnly.


Associate of Arts, Monticello College, Alton, Illinois, 1944. AB, Mills College, 1946. Master of Fine Arts in Ceramics, Alfred University, 1950.


Peterson's book publications include: Shoji Hamada: A Potter's Way and Work, The Craft and Art of Clay, and The Living Tradition of Maria Martinez. She taught at the University of Southern California, USC, the Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts and at Hunter College in New York City. She became head of the ceramics department at USC in the 1950s and spent 23 years teaching there.

She also led summer sessions at the university-sponsored Idyllwild School of Music and Arts located in the San Jacinto Mountains. She continued to teach at Hunter College in New York City and retired from working there in 1994. Peterson began to study Native American pottery and and wrote the definitive biography "Lucy M. Lewis.

American Indian Potter", in 1948. Her "Pottery by American Indian Women: The Legacy of Generations" was an exhibition catalog for the 1997 show at the National Museum of Women in Arts in Washington, D.C., that she had also curated. Throughout her career, Peterson traveled across America to lecture about ceramics and its developmental history.

She studied ceramic folk art throughout the world. Curious about every aspect of the creative process, she often spent weeks or months observing how an artist lived and worked. Peterson donated her archives and ceramic collection to the Arizona State University Ceramic Research Center.

Peterson died at her home in Scottsdale Arizona after a long illness.


  • Certified teacher secretary schools.



Fellow American Craft Council. Member World Craft Council, National Ceramic Educators Council American (Lifetime Achievement award 1997), American Ceramic Society, Philanthropic and Educational Organization, Phi Beta Kappa.


Married Jack L. Peterson, October 8, 1949 (divorced 1972). Children: Jill Kristin, Jan Sigrid, Taäg Paul. Life partner Robert Schwarz Junior.

Paul Witmore Harnly

Iva Wilda (Curtis) Harnly

Jack L. Peterson

Jill Kristin Peterson

Jan Sigrid Peterson

Taäg Paul Peterson