Collecting Depression Glass

Depression glass is mass-produced clear or colored translucent glassware that was distributed free, or at low cost, in the United States and Canada around the time of the Great Depression. Popular colors included pastel pink, yellow, green, amber, and blue. The Grand and other movie theaters would hand out a piece simply for coming in the door on slow days. Patrons would try to collect a full set by coming back for shows several weeks in a row. The glassware is highly collectable now, and many Alton area antique shops have dazzling pieces on their shelves. There are clubs and societies dedicated to Depression glass all over the country (and world).  The National Depression Glass Association offers a list of glass clubs in the United States and Canada, as well as articles on glass collecting. The Glass Society of Illinois hosts a large Depression glass show and two collectors’ markets every year.

The cheerfully colored glass offered a bright spot in a somber era, and Ted Kooser, 13th Poet Laureate of the United States, wrote a beautiful poem called “Depression Glass” that describes his grandmother’s pink coffee cups. You can read and listen to it here:

We have several books on Depression glass available in the library. My personal favorite is The Collector’s Encyclopedia of Depression Glass. And there are plenty of copies for everyone!

depression glass

Hayner downtown library, call number 748.2913 COL 2002 15th ed.

Alton Square library, call numbers OVERSIZE 748.2913 COL 2006 17th ed. and

R 748.2 FLO 1992

There is also a copy in the reference section at Alton Square, so there will always be at least one available.

R 748.2913 COL 2006 17th ed.