M.A. Hadley History
Owing to the abundance of ancient clay deposits in the region, Louisville has been a center of pottery-making for generations. Out of this proud tradition, Mary Alice Hadley established one of Louisville’s most iconic and well-known potteries. The story begins in the early 1900’s. Mary Alice Hadley was born into a family of clay tile makers where her knowledge of working with clay first developed. Exhibiting an early interest in art and design, she ultimately became a widely recognized painter, winning numerous awards and acclaim from New York to Los Angeles.
By the late 1930’s Mary Alice Hadley began melding her artistic talent with her knowledge of clay ware. In 1939, Mrs. Hadley made dishes for her houseboat on the Ohio River. The creative result was a set of a custom dishes that caused such a stir among her friends and acquaintances that the idea for a business was born. Supplying those early requests provided wide circulation for her hand-crafted pottery and soon orders began to arrive from across the country. With the help of her husband, George, the Hadley Pottery Company was formed early in 1940.
In 1944, George Hadley purchased a building in the Butchertown area of Louisville as a birthday present for Mary Alice. The building, constructed in 1848, has been home to a wool mill, a candle factory and a cordage mill and for 65 years has served as the production location, factory salesroom and offices of Hadley Pottery Company. Many pieces of original art created by Mary Alice Hadley are still on display at the historic structure on Story Avenue, including several wall murals all hand-painted by Mary Alice herself.
The business prospered, attracting collectors from across the nation and around the world. The warm and whimsical designs that Mary Alice Hadley created have attracted multitudes of fans over the last 70 years and are still finding their way into the hearts of new Hadley Pottery enthusiasts every day. She worked at the Pottery until her death in 1965. George Hadley continued to run the business until it was sold in 1979 to Louisville natives, Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth W. Moore. In September 2009, new partners joined the Hadley Pottery ownership group, but operations remain largely the same as they were when the company was started. The creative inspiration that Mary Alice Hadley brought to the ware still lives today.
The History of the New Owners
As of June 1, 2018, the Hadley Pottery Company will be under new ownership. It will be in the hands of the Day family, who have been involved with Hadley since its inception. When Mr. and Mrs. Hadley decided to open Hadley Pottery their first hire was Perry Day, who had been in charge of production at Louisville Pottery. Perry Day and his son, Tom Day, ran the manufacturing side of the business while Mrs. Hadley did artwork and designs.
Mary Alice Hadley died in 1965, at which time Perry Day retired and Tom Day took his place at the company. Tom's son, Jerry Day, joined Hadley Pottery in 1974 to assist his father. Tom Day retired in 1990 but continued to work part-time until his death in 1996. Jerry Day, now in charge of all production at Hadley Pottery, was joined in 1998 by his son, Josh Day. Josh is the fourth generation of Day's to be associated with the company. Jerry's sister, Judy, and her husband, Mark Snyder, are also longtime employees of Hadley Pottery. Josh Day even has a daughter named Hadley Day.
Jerry and Josh Day intend to operate Hadley Pottery the same way it has been for decades. Both believe that it would please their fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers to know that the durable quality and colorful designs of Hadley ware will continue unchanged.