A photo of Dr. Jane Perkins Claney

Dr. Jane Perkins Claney

December 25, 1931 - November 1, 2018


Dr. Jane Perkins Claney, age 86, of Arden, DE, passed away on Thursday, November 1, 2018.

Born in Bryn Mawr, PA, on December 25, 1931, she was a daughter of the late Dwight Perkins and Esther (Williams) Perkins. Jane was raised in Merion, PA. She graduated high school from The Baldwin School and went on to receive her BA in psychology from the University of Wisconsin.

As is often the case for women whose adult lives spanned the second half of the 20th and early 21st century, Jane took on many roles. Jane’s professional life began as an editor working on the weekly TV Guide. Offered a job in 1961 as a reporter for Life Magazine, Jane instead chose to marry Dr. Jonathan Holt Claney and make a home in Bryn Mawr, PA. While raising their two children, Jane volunteered in the arts community of Philadelphia both on the board of directors of The Philadelphia Print Club and as a guide at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In her work at the museum, she achieved the rare distinction for a volunteer of curatorial duties, including curating the rooms which were used to train other guides and the American ceramics section of the 1976 Bicentennial Exhibition.

After the Bicentennial, Jane’s focus turned to professional writing and editing of works on material culture. She was a co-author and principal editor of 18th century Wedgwood: A Guide for Collectors & Connoisseurs. One of the joys of her life was a collaboration with Arts & Crafts period scholar and furniture dealer Robert Edwards, which began with co-authoring and co-editing The Byrdcliffe Arts & Crafts Colony: Life by Design and culminated in crafting the twelve issues of Tiller: A bimonthly devoted to the Arts and Crafts Movement.

In the 1990s, Jane earned her master’s and Ph.D in American Civilization from the University of Pennsylvania. Her thesis, Rockingham Ware in American Culture, 1830-1930: Reading Historical Artifacts, was published in 2004 and received international recognition in 2006 with the James Deetz Award from the Society for Historical Archaeology.

Jane’s interests were wide-ranging. She particularly enjoyed art, theater and musical performances, traveling, hiking, skiing, and summering in Maine and New Hampshire. She created homes that were always warm and welcoming places to host dinners with family, friends and honorary aunts and uncles. She felt lucky to have many long-standing friendships, and was never happier than when sharing a good meal and conversation.

Jane was preceded in death by her parents and her stepbrothers, Clark Perkins and Gordon Perkins. She is survived by her husband of 57 years, Dr. Jonathan Holt Claney; children, Jonathan Holt Claney, Jr., of Wilmington, DE, and David Dodd Claney of Arden, DE; brother, David Dodd Perkins of Amherst, NH; and grandchildren, Leo and Eli.

A memorial service will be held from 2 pm until 4 pm on Sunday, January 13, 2019, at The Gild Hall, 2126 The Highway, Arden, DE 19810-4059. Click here for a map and directions.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the American Civil Liberties Union (125 Broad Street, 18th Floor, New York NY 10004, 1-888-567-ACLU, https://action.aclu.org/give/make-gift-aclu-someones-memory or a charity of your choice.

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5 Guestbook messages for Dr. Jane Perkins Claney

  • I remember when Jane and Jonathan moved to Arden. Jane waisted no time making friends and volunteering for the many committees right away. I loved seeing them all at the community dinners. She will be missed.

  • I knew Jane late in her life as a resident of Ivy Gables Assisted Living, where my mother also lives. I always enjoyed talking with her whenever I visited. My sincere condolences to her husband and sons.

  • A long rich life. Condolences to the Dave and the rest of the family.

  • Jane was a close friend of my sister Joanne Lewis Todd from Baldwin School and Bradford College.
    and I knew Jane from those years. My thoughts and prayers go to her husband and family.
    With love, Ed Lewis

  • Jane and I met at age 10 and remained best friends throughout our whole lives. My heart is so saddened by her passing but I will forever cherish the multitude of wonderful memories we shared .
    My most sincere sympathy to you Jonathan, Jon, David Claney, and David Perkins.