The People:
Rupert Peters

Gerald Rupert Peters (1877-1961) and his wife, Myrta May Kirkland Peters (1868-1957), first came to Penland as students in 1935 to study weaving under Edward F. Worst.   By summer’s end Rupert, as he was known, had become an accomplished weaver and was invited to return the following year as Worst’s assistant.

Rupert Peters taught weaving at Penland every summer until his retirement in 1946 as Director of Visual Education in the Kansas City Public Schools.  Peters was instrumental in helping Lucy Morgan secure summer instructors during the years of World War II, when gas rationing greatly impacted travel.  Writing to Peters in June 1942, Lucy Morgan lamented the craft school’s low enrollment.

Monday was the opening of our main session, and we have eight students.  So far, that is the greatest number registered for any period during the summer.  As I wrote you before, registrations were heavier than usual until gas rationing went into effect, and immediately they fell off, and cancellations were made.  I have thought there might be some who would come at the last minute, but that has not happened.

After the war, Mr. and Mrs. Peters built a retirement home within walking distance of the Penland campus where Rupert embarked upon a second career as Penland’s Director of Craft Instruction and Head of the Weaving Department, positions he held until his second retirement in 1960.   During this postwar period, Rupert Peters not only taught at Penland but also authored several articles on weaving published by the Lily Mills textile company in their “Practical Weaving Suggestions” series.

Known affectionately as “Mr. Penland” by members of the Penland staff, Rupert Peters died of complications from a back injury at the home of his daughter Dorothy Peters Long on February 9, 1961.  His retirement home, purchased by Penland School of Crafts from Dorothy Long in 1970, now serves as instructor housing for the Penland School of Crafts.

- Michelle A. Francis, 2007


Bibliography

  • Doug Long to Clay Griffith and Michelle Francis, Sept. 1, 2003. Doug Long Correspondence Files, Jane Kessler Memorial Archives, Penland School of Crafts.
  • Lucy Morgan (ed.), Mountain Milestones (1961). Penland School of Handicrafts, Penland, NC.
  • Lucy Morgan to Rupert Peters, June 9, 1942, Lucy Morgan Files, Rupert Peters Correspondence, Jane Kessler Memorial Archives, Penland School of Crafts.
  • Rupert Peters, “A Simple Method for Keeping Samples of Weaving.”  The Weaver Vol. IV, No. 3 (July 1939) 
  • Rupert Peters, “Cloth Analysis,” Practical Weaving Suggestions, Vol. II, No. 55 (1955).  Lily Mills Company, Shelby, NC. 
  • Rupert Peters, “Some Notes on Crackle Weave," Practical Weaving Suggestions Vol. II, No. 57 (1957).  Lily Mills Company, Shelby, NC.  
  • Rupert Peters, “Weaving Records,” Practical Weaving Suggestions Vol. IV, No. 60 (1960).  Lily Mills Company, Shelby, NC.