Last Updated: Aug 23, 2018     Views: 440

CMoG 2009.2.31. St. Matthew Stained Glass Window.
Image: St. Matthew. Stained Glass Window. Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones(British, 1833-1898), Artist. Morris & Company, Manufacturer. CMoG 2009.2.31.


Thank you for your question! We've developed the checklist below for researching individual church windows that may be helpful in guiding your research.

Checklist for Researching Individual Church Windows

  1. If the date of the window is known, check old invoices in church records.
  2. Many windows were done as memorials, so check the church’s book/log/files for memorials.
  3. There was probably a dedication service, and if you know the dates of installation, you can check old church bulletins.
  4. There may be a published history of the individual church.
  5. The windows may have been done in conjunction with major sanctuary renovations. This would be documented in church files, either in the church office, or building committee files. There may also be information in trustee records and/or session minutes.
  6. Older individual church records may have been archived with the church’s denominational headquarters.
  7. Local or regional historical societies, and the public library, may have compiled information from newspaper clippings about the church. If the donor of the windows is known, an obituary might hold a clue. Preservation organizations may also have information.
  8. Sometimes, there are small signatures in corners of windows or logos. Dates can be included in memorial inscriptions.
  9. Knowledgeable stained glass historians, ornamental glass experts, and conservators use the appearance and construction of the window’s details to help in identifying period of manufacturer, and possible firm:
    • The type of glass used (mouth blown antique, machine made, or opalescent);
    • Style of design, drawing and glass painting;
    • Texture of the glass painting (smooth or rough stipple), the use of items such as pearls or peacock feathers for wings, strong lines or soft lines, etc. Major artists and well known professional studios often have individual styles. However, many windows (whether stenciled, gauge or catalog art glass) will not be attributable to one specific firm.
  10. A local stained glass studio may also be able to assist, because the artists might be familiar with similar windows in the area.

(Points 8-10 appeared on the listserv, contributed by Roy Coomber and Neal Vogel, 16 August 2009.)

The checklist should serve as a good starting point for your research if you have not already exhausted the mentioned possibilities.

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Selected Books, Chapters, and Articles

Borrowing Library Materials

If you wish to borrow copies of library items, please contact your local library. The Rakow Research Library will lend designated books from its collection and will send copies of articles requested by other libraries. Your library can request items through the OCLC WorldShare Interlibrary Loan (ILL) system or by direct request through email at For more information, please see our ILL policies and procedures.

Please let us know if there is anything specific that we could assist you in finding.


More extensive lists of resources on stained glass windows and firms in the United States and internationally are available upon request. Please let us know if we can be of further assistance via Ask a Glass Question ( or by email ( or phone (607-438-5300).




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