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Bachelder, Oscar Louis

by Robert O. Conway, 1979
See also: Pottery

14 July 1852–26 June 1935

O. L. Bachelder at the potter's wheel, created by Umann, Doris. Image courtesy of Western Carolina Hunter Library Digital Collections. Oscar Louis Bachelder, master potter, was born in Menasha, Wis., the son of Hannah Tipley Bodwell (or Bothwell) and Calvin B. Bachelder. He came from many generations of potters on Vase by Bachelder. Courtesy of WCU Digital Collections. both sides, and his father worked in the noted potteries at Bennington, Vt. Bachelder moved from Wisconsin to North Carolina in 1911 and established the Omar Khayyám Pottery at Luther, west of Asheville. Initially, he made such practical pieces as jugs, churns, and crocks, but later he switched to artistically designed work, explaining: "I wanted to create beauty unmarred by the hand of commerce." An advertising card that he distributed asserted: "Each article has merit and individuality. No replicas. O. L. Bachelder, artist."

In 1919 he won the Logan Prize awarded by the Chicago Art Institute, where his pottery was displayed. Bachelder's work was also exhibited in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Detroit, Buffalo, and Paris.

Called "a dreamer, philosopher, artist, and lover of nature," Bachelder died in 1935 at the age of eighty-two, survived by his widow, Mrs. Pink Bachelder.


Antiques Journal, September 1974.

Asheville Citizen, 23 Dec. 1928, 27 Oct. 1929, 26 June 1935.

Additional Resources:

Oscar Louis Bachelder in the Western Carolina University Digital Collections:

North Carolina Pottery Collection at the Mint Museum:

Image Credits:

O. L. Bachelder at the potter's wheel, created by Umann, Doris. Image courtesy of Western Carolina Hunter Library Digital Collections. Available from (accessed February 13, 2013).

Vase by Bachelder. Courtesy of WCU Digital Collections. Available from (accessed February 13, 2013).


A friend who buys and sells pottery on e-bay in Leeds England sent me three photos of pottery by Oscar Louis Bachelder. The family name is not common in Engaland. My late American husband from eastern Massachusetts had a "t"after the "c"- the spelling of the name is variable.
I was very interested to read your article. Oscar's father's birthplace in Bennington, Vermont seems a very likely place for a Bachelder to come from. The family name seems to date from the 1630's when Puritan Minister, Rev
Stephen Bachiler arrived by boat in MA with 5 sons. They wend forth & multiplied. I lived in Princeton , NJ in 1971 and met a resident married to a Batchelder. She introduced me to the Family Newsletter which made me aware that the family name was wide-spread in the USA.. Best wishes Sian Batchelder

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