Thomas W. Commeraw


This project was announced in 2010, but it is now about fifteen years old. Around 2003, a chance encounter with a census record embarked me on a quest that has more or less consumed my research life ever since.

Commeraw's Stoneware PotteryThomas W. Commeraw (his name heretofore usually bastardized as "Thomas H. Commereau") was a Manhattan stoneware potter who produced thousands of vessels--many of which survive--from around 1796 until 1819. He was, until the announcement of this project, believed to be a white potter of French descent. But he was not. He was an African American whose work would be considered historically important at face value. But Commeraw's historical importance transcends his pottery: by the end of his life, he sought to affect nothing less than world history.

This website is growing in anticipation of the completion of my book on the life and times of this remarkable man. I have been accumulating photographs of Commeraw's work, and as I come down the home stretch of this project, I am asking for your help. Please click here if you would like to participate.