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“A” is for Ayers, Sara Lee Harris Sanders (1919-2002

“A” is for Ayers, Sara Lee Harris Sanders (1919-2002). Native American potter. Ayers was born on the Catawba Indian Reservation near Rock Hill. She probably learned to make pottery from her grandmother, a full-blooded Catawba. By 1939 her work was so popular that she spent half the year selling her pots in Pennsylvania and the other half working in a textile mill. In 1962 she and her family left the reservation and moved to West Columbia where they continued their pottery business until the late 1990s. For Sara Lee Harris Sanders Ayers and other master Catawba potters, the turning point in prices paid for their work occurred in 1973 at a show in the Columbia Museum of Art. Pieces that had previously sold for just a few dollars now sold for as much as $865 (in 2023 dollars).

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.