Francis Whitaker

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Francis Whitaker (November 29, 1906 – October 23, 1999) was a blacksmith in Carmel, California, where he established The Forge in the Forest and in Aspen, Colorado, The Mountain Forge, which he later relocated when he was named an artist-in-residence at the Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale, Colorado.[1]

He was born in Woburn, Massachusetts[2] and died in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

His training as a smith included a one year apprenticeship under Philadelphia based blacksmith Samuel Yellin followed by a two year apprenticeship under Julius Schramm in Berlin, Germany in the mid 1920s. Upon his return to the states, he began working as a smith in a career that spanned eight decades. During World War ll, Whitaker was hired by the US Navy to teach welding at the Naval Base San Diego, USA.[3]

In addition to maintaining his shop, he wrote or co-wrote four books on blacksmithing.

In 1976, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Colorado.[4] In 1995, he received the Colorado Council on the Arts Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts. In 1997, he received a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, which is the United States government's highest honor in the folk and traditional arts.[5]


  • (1986) The Blacksmith's Cookbook: Recipes in Iron. Jim Fleming Publications. ISBN 0-939415-00-3
  • (1995) My Life as an Artist-Blacksmith. F. Whitaker. ISBN 0-9646389-0-8
  • (1997) Beautiful Iron: The Pursuit of Excellence by Francis Whitaker [6]
  • (2004) A Blacksmith's Craft: The Legacy of Francis Whitaker. Volume 1, by George F Dixon.[7]


  1. ^ "Francis Whitaker: Blacksmith/Ornamental Ironworker". National Endowment for the Arts. n.d. Retrieved December 18, 2020.
  2. ^ Govenar, Alan (2001). "Francis Whitaker: Anglo-American Blacksmith and Ornamental Ironworker". Masters of Traditional Arts: A Biographical Dictionary. vol. 2 (K-Z). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio. pp. 669–671. ISBN 1576072401. OCLC 47644303.
  3. ^ Whitaker, Francis. (1995). My life as an artist blacksmith. Mansfield, Gary. [Colorado?]: F. Whitaker. ISBN 0964638908. OCLC 38935884.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "NEA National Heritage Fellowships 1997". National Endowment for the Arts. Archived from the original on August 13, 2020. Retrieved December 18, 2020.
  6. ^ Whitaker, Francis (1997). Beautiful iron: the pursuit of excellence. Colorado?: publisher not identified. OCLC 38935839.
  7. ^ Dixon, George F (2004). A blacksmith's craft: the legacy of Francis Whitaker. Volume 1 Volume 1. Huntingdon, Pa.: Blue Moon Press. ISBN 9780970766472. OCLC 57121328.

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