Jacques Busbee was born on May 20, 1870, in Raleigh, North Carolina, to Charles Manly and Lydia Littlejohn Busbee. He graduated from Horner Military Academy in Oxford and went on to study at the National Academy of Design, the Chase School, and the Art Students' League. At this time in his career he painted mostly portraits and landscapes.
In November 1910 he married Juliana Royster of Raleigh who had studied photography in New York. After their marriage, Jacques supplemented their income by portrait painting, writing, and lecturing on topics relating to North Carolina and art. The couple had a fascination with local North Carolina pottery and took some of it back to New York with them. In New York, it became very popular, and the couple began to market the product. They came back to Moore County, North Carolina, where they helped revitalize the pottery trade and the old traditions of the potters, which had been brought there from England in the 1740's. Mrs. Busbee opened a tea room and shop in Greenwich Village, New York. Jacques spent his time in North Carolina obtaining pottery to be sold at market. Busbee, in an attempt to get potters to return to the old style of pottery making, opened Jugtown Pottery, where he could teach young potters traditional styles. Ben Olsen is his most famous student.
Jacques Busbee died of a heart attack on May 21, 1947. He was cremated and his ashes were spread over the Jugtown Pottery yard.
Dictionary of North Carolina Biography
, Vol. 1, 1991.