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Lester Beall collection

Topic:
American printer (New York, N.Y.)
Red Cross magazine
Time
McCall's (Los Angeles, Calif. : 1921)
Fortune
Creator:
Beall, Lester, 1903-  Search this
Names:
Abbott Laboratories  Search this
Art Directors Club (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Chance Vought Corporation  Search this
Chicago Tribune (Firm)  Search this
Cone Automatic Machine Company  Search this
Cooper-Hewitt Design Archive  Search this
George Bijur, Inc  Search this
Heim Jeunes Filles  Search this
House of Herbs, Inc.  Search this
International Paper Company  Search this
Labatt's Canada Limited  Search this
Marshall Field & Company (Chicago, Ill.)  Search this
Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, inc.  Search this
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Narragansett Brewing Co.  Search this
Stanley Works Inc.  Search this
Upjohn Company  Search this
Hauck, Fred  Search this
Extent:
1 Cubic foot
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Tear sheets
Advertisements
Exhibition catalogs
Posters
Announcements
Photographs
Design drawings
Logos
Greeting cards
Place:
Dumbarton Farm (Brookfield, Conn.)
Date:
1933-[circa 1967]
Scope and Contents:
This collection documents the career of Lester Beall, graphic designer and commercial artist from approximately 1933-1967.
Arrangement:
Record Groups include: Unprocessed; I. "Scope" Magazine; II. Modern Art 5,000 Years Ago; III. Red Cross Magazines; IV. Greeting Cards; V. Time Magazine ads; VI. Logo Designs; VII. Cone Automatic Machine Co., tear sheets; VIII. Misc. Covers; IX. George Bijur. Inc.; X. Labatt's of Canada and Catch! Narragansett Ale design campaigns; XI. Exhibition, Art Center, California; XII. Abbott Laboratories, "What's New"; XIII. Marshall Field and Company; XIV. Misc. Advertisements.
Biographical / Historical:
American designer Lester Beall (1903-1969) was educated at Lane Technical School in Chicago and received a bachelor's degree in art history from the University of Chicago. Upon discovering the work of the European avant-garde, Beall was inspired to bring American design of the 1930s and 1940s to a higher level of effective visual communication. Self-taught, Lester Beall was one of the first Americans to have his work shown in a German monthly graphics periodical, Gebrauchsgraphik, and was one of the first Americans to incorporate the New Typography, using techniques such as photomontage, collage and the use of cut-out flat colored paper in combination with photography and economical line drawing, reworking the element of European modernism into distinctive American style. He produced solutions to graphic design problems that were unique among his American contemporaries.

Beall moved from Chicago to New York in 1935 and did work that was influential to the field of editorial design. Between 1938 and 1940, he redesigned twenty magazines for McGraw Hill, in 1946 he designed two covers for Fortune and in 1944, he began designing Scope magazine for UpJohn Pharmaceuticals which he did until 1951. In 1952, Beall opened a design office on Dumbarton Farm, his home in rural Connecticut. In 1973, four years after his death, Lester Beall was inducted into the New York Art Directors Club Hall of Fame.

Philip B. Meggs credits Beall with "almost single-handedly launching the modern movement in American design". In 1973, four years after his death, the Art Directors Club of New York belatedly elected him to its prestigious Hall of Fame. Bob Plisken, who worked for Beall in the early 1940s, said on that occasion, "In my opinion, Beall did more than anyone to make graphic design in American a distinct and respected profession".
Bibliographic References:
Lester Beall. Brookfield Center, Conn. : Lester Beall, Inc., [197-?].
Nine Pioneers in American Graphic Design / Roger R. Remington and Barbara J. Hodik. Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, 1989.
Lester Beall : trailblazer of American graphic design / Roger R. Remington. New York : W.W. Norton, 1996.
Graphic Design History / Steven Heller and Georgette Balance. New York : Allworth Press, 2001.
Provenance:
All materials were donated to the museum by Mr. Lester Beall, Jr. in 1998.
Restrictions:
Unrestricted research access on site by appointment.,Unprotected photographs must be handled with gloves.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Occupation:
Graphic designers -- United States  Search this
Commercial artists -- United States  Search this
Topic:
Graphic arts -- Sources -- History -- 20th century -- United States  Search this
Commercial art -- Sources -- History -- 20th century -- United States  Search this
Genre/Form:
Tear sheets
Advertisements
Exhibition catalogs
Posters
Announcements
Photographs -- 20th century
Design drawings
Logos
Greeting cards
Citation:
Lester Beall collection, 1933-circa 1967, Archives Center, National Museum of American HIstory.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.1278
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-1278

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  • Finding aids
  • Advertisements
  • Announcements
  • Archival materials
  • Collection descriptions
  • Design drawings
  • Exhibition catalogs
  • Greeting cards
  • Logos
  • Photographs
  • Posters
  • Advertisements
  • Announcements
  • Archival materials
  • Collection descriptions
  • Design drawings
  • Exhibition catalogs
  • Greeting cards
  • Logos
  • Photographs
  • Posters
  • Art
  • Commercial artists
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  • Graphic designers
  • Art
  • Commercial artists
  • Graphic arts
  • Graphic designers
  • Abbott Laboratories
  • Art Directors Club (New York, N.Y.)
  • Beall, Lester, 1903-
  • Chance Vought Corporation
  • Chicago Tribune (Firm)
  • Cone Automatic Machine Company
  • Cooper-Hewitt Design Archive
  • George Bijur, Inc
  • Hauck, Fred
  • Heim Jeunes Filles
  • Abbott Laboratories
  • Art Directors Club (New York, N.Y.)
  • Beall, Lester, 1903-
  • Chance Vought Corporation
  • Chicago Tribune (Firm)
  • Cone Automatic Machine Company
  • Cooper-Hewitt Design Archive
  • George Bijur, Inc
  • Hauck, Fred
  • Heim Jeunes Filles
  • Dumbarton Farm (Brookfield, Conn.)
  • Archives Center, National Museum of American History