Published: March 25, 2003
CHICAGO, ILL. — Susan Bagdade, 61, a well-known author of books on antiques and a regular contributor to Antiques and The Arts Weekly, died Tuesday evening, March 18, after a brief illness.
A petite, vivacious woman with close-cropped dark hair, Mrs Bagdade was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on March 2, 1942, to Lillian and the late Frank Ingber. At 20, she married Dr Allen Bagdade, a pediatric dentist. She studied at the University of Michigan before receiving a bachelor’s degree at Northwestern University.
The Bagdades reared two children, David Bagdade and Felicia Bagdade Clements, in suburban Northbrook, Ill., before moving to downtown Chicago, in part to be closer to the antiques scene they loved.
Mrs Bagdade began her career in antiques 25 years ago as a collector and dealer in Quimper pottery, selling the colorful Brittany faience decorated with images of costumed peasants in cheerful, everyday pursuits out of her home. Dr Bagdade joined his wife in the business, which they called The Country Peasants, as his medical practice allowed. The firm, which continues, is known for unusual pieces as well as for figures and early decorative examples of the French pottery.
The Bagdades’ enormous enthusiasm for antiques regularly took them to shows and auctions all over the United States. They visited New York several times a year, timing their visits to coincide with important shows in the city and the surrounding area. They worked as a team, Dr Bagdade photographing objects of interest, while Mrs. Bagdade interviewed subjects and took notes.
As an outgrowth of their pursuit, the Bagdades became well-known journalists and authors. In addition to Antiques and The Arts Weekly, they contributed to AntiqueWeek, Antiques & Collecting Hobbies, Antique Trader Weekly, Great Lakes Trader, The New York-Pennsylvania Collector and Yesteryear.
Mrs Bagdade was perhaps best known for co-authoring, with her husband, Warman’s English & Continental Pottery & Porcelain. The book, now in its third edition, is published by Krause, which bills it as the “bible” for pottery and porcelain collectibles.
The couple also wrote Warman’s American Pottery & Porcelain, now in its second edition; Collectors Guide to American Toy Trains; and Antique Trader – The Best Of…Answers on Antiques. At Mrs Bagdade’s death, the couple was working on the fourthedition of Warman’s English & Continental Pottery & Porcelain.
When we last saw her in October at the International Antique and Fine Art Dealers Show in New York, Mrs Bagdade, still healthy, energetically described two other projects near and dear to her heart: the House & Garden Television Network shows At The Auction and The Appraisal Fair, both hosted by the Bagdades’ longtime friend, Chicago auctioneer turned dealer Leslie Hindman. The Bagdades participated as guest appraisers in the shows, which recently stopped taping after eight seasons. HGTV is still airing reruns of both programs. They also contributed to Eppraisals, an online appraisal service founded by Ms. Hindman.
“I don’t think the Bagdades ever missed an antiques event,” said Ms Hindman, who met Mrs Bagdade in 1979. “Susan and Al have been generous, caring people — the sort of people who make the antiques community the wonderful place that it is.”
In addition to her husband, children and mother, Mrs Bagdade is survived by a grandson, Josh Bagdade; and a sister, Marcia Mermelstein. Services were March 21 at Shalom Memorial Park in Arlington Heights, Ill. Contributions in Mrs Bagdade’s memory may be made to the American Cancer Society, 77 East Monroe, Chicago, IL 60603.
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