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Lilian Swann Saarinen papers

Creator:
Saarinen, Lilian Swann, 1912-1995  Search this
Names:
Cambridge Art Center  Search this
Cranbrook Academy of Art -- Faculty  Search this
G Place Gallery (Washington, D.C.)  Search this
Knoll Associates, inc.  Search this
Massachusetts Institute of Technology -- Faculty  Search this
Midtown Galleries (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Otava Publishing Company  Search this
Reynal & Hitchcock  Search this
Armitage, Merle, 1893-1975  Search this
Crosby, Caresse, 1892-  Search this
Eames, Charles  Search this
Eames, Ray  Search this
Koch, Carl  Search this
Kreis, Henry, 1899-1963  Search this
Milles, Carl, 1875-1955  Search this
Moholy-Nagy, László, 1895-1946  Search this
Moholy-Nagy, Sibyl, 1905-  Search this
Saarinen, Eero, 1910-1961  Search this
Saarinen, Eliel, 1873-1950  Search this
Saarinen, Loja  Search this
Venturi, Robert  Search this
Weese, Harry, 1915-1998  Search this
Extent:
9 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Blueprints
Diaries
Illustrations
Sketches
Photographs
Scrapbooks
Date:
circa 1909-1977
Summary:
The papers of Cambridge sculptor and illustrator, Lilian Swann Saarinen, measure nine linear feet and date from circa 1909 to 1977. The collection documents Saarinen's career through correspondence with artists, architects, publishers, and gallery owners; writings and notes, including manuscripts and illustrations for children's books and publications; project and teaching files; financial records; artwork, including numerous project sketches; and photos of Saarinen and her artwork. Saarinen's personal life is also documented through diaries and correspondence with friends and family members, including Eero Saarinen, to whom she was married from 1939-1953.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of Cambridge sculptor and illustrator, Lilian Swann Saarinen, measure nine linear feet and date from circa 1909 to 1977. The collection documents Saarinen's career through correspondence with artists, architects, publishers, and gallery owners; writings and notes, including manuscripts and illustrations for children's books and publications; project and teaching files; financial records; artwork, including numerous project sketches; and photos of Saarinen and her artwork. Saarinen's personal life is also documented through diaries and correspondence with friends and family members, including Eero Saarinen, to whom she was married from 1939-1953.

Biographical material consists of resumes and biographical sketches, as well as a 1951 blueprint for the Eero Saarinen and Associates Office Building in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Correspondence documents Saarinen's personal and professional life through letters to and from Eero Saarinen and other family members, including six letters from Loja Saarinen; correspondence with artists and architects, including Merle Armitage, Charles and Ray Eames, Carl Koch, Henry Kreis, Carl Milles, Laszlo and Sibyl Moholy-Nagy, Robert Venturi, and Harry Weese; and friends and colleagues at the Cranbrook Academy of Art and Knoll Associates. Also documented is Saarinen's business relationship with Midtown Galleries and Caresse Crosby, and publishers and publications including Child Life, Interiors, Otava Publishing Company, and Reynal & Hitchcock, Inc.

Writings and Notes document Saarinen's work on several children's publications, including Picture Book Zoo (1935) and Who Am I? (1946), through correspondence, notes, manuscript drafts, and extensive sketches. This series also includes Saarinen's ideas for other publications and incorporates some early writings and notes, as well as typescripts of her reminiscences about Eliel Saarinen, the Saarinen family, and the Cranbrook Academy of Art.

Diaries consist of bound diary volumes, loose-leaf journal entries, and heavily annotated engagement calendars, documenting Saarinen's personal life, artistic aspirations, and career development from the 1930s-1970s. This material provides a deeply personal view of the emotional landscape of Saarinen's life, her struggles to balance her identity as a working artist with the roles of wife, mother, and homemaker, and the complex, and often competing, relationships within the renowned architectural family into which she married.

Project files document Saarinen's work on book cover designs, federal and post office commissions in Bloomfield, Indiana, Carlisle, Kentucky, and Evanston, Illinois, reliefs for the Crow Island School in Winnetka, Illinois, and other important commissions including the Harbor National Bank Clock in Boston, Massachusetts, the KLM Airlines installation at JFK Airport, the Fountain of Noah sculpture at the Northland Center in Detroit, Michigan, and the interior of Toffenetti's restaurant in Chicago, Illinois. Also documented is her role in designs for the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, with Eero Saarinen.

Teaching files document Saarinen's "Language of Clay Course" which she taught at Cambridge Art Center and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Financial records document exhibition and sales expenses for two exhibitions, including her show at G Place Gallery in 1944.

Printed material consists of clippings about Saarinen and her family, exhibition announcements and catalogs for herself and others, and reference files from the 1930s-1940s, primarily comprising clippings of animals.

Additional printed material documenting Saarinen's career can be found in one of two scrapbooks found in the collection. An additional scrapbook consists of clippings relating primarily to Saarinen's parents.

Artwork comprises extensive sketches, particularly animal and figure sketches, in graphite, crayon, ink, pastel, and watercolor. The sketches demonstrate in particular Saarinen's developing interest in and skill with animal portraiture from her childhood to the 1960s.

Photographs are primarily of artwork and Saarinen's 1944 exhibition at G Place Gallery. Also found are one negative of Saarinen, probably with Eero Saarinen, and a group photo including Lilian, Eero, and Eliel Saarinen with the model for the Detroit Civic Center, circa 1940s.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 11 series.

Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1930s-1960s (3 folders; Box 1, OV 12)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1920-1974 (1.9 linear feet; Boxes 1-2, 8, OV 12)

Series 3: Writings and Notes, 1920s-1973 (1.3 linear feet, Boxes 2-3, 8, OVs 13-16)

Series 4: Diaries, 1930-1973 (1.4 linear feet, Boxes 3-5, 8)

Series 5: Project Files, 1931-1966 (1.7 linear feet, Boxes 5-6, 8, OVs 17-19)

Series 6: Teaching Files, 1966-1970 (3 folders, Box 6)

Series 7: Financial Records, 1940s-1970s (2 folders, Box 6)

Series 8: Printed Material, circa 1930s-1970s (0.2 linear feet, Box 6)

Series 9: Scrapbooks, circa 1909-1974 (2 folders; Boxes 6, 9)

Series 10: Artwork, circa 1920s-circa 1960s (1.7 linear feet, Boxes 6-7, 9-10, OVs 20-27)

Series 11: Photographs, circa 1940s, 1977 (0.5 linear feet, Boxes 7, 11, OV 27)
Biographical / Historical:
Cambridge artist and sculptor, Lilian Swann Saarinen (1912-1995), studied at the Art Students League with Alexander Archipenko in 1928, and later with Albert Stewart and Heninz Warneke from 1934-1936, before moving to Michigan where she studied with Carl Milles at the Cranbrook Academy of Art from 1936-1940. Saarinen was an accomplished skier and a member of the 1936 US Olympic ski team.

At Cranbrook, Swann met architect Eero Saarinen, whom she married in 1939. She subsequently worked with Saarinen's design group on a variety of projects, including the Westward Expansion Memorial, which later became known as the "Gateway Arch" in St. Louis. Lilian and Eero had a son, Eric, and a daughter, Susie, before divorcing in 1953.

Saarinen, who had developed an affinity for drawing animals in childhood, specialized in animal portraits in a variety of sculptural media. In 1939, she exhibited her sculpture Night, which depicted Bagheera the panther from Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book, at the World's Fair. The sculpture was placed in the Boston Public Garden in 1986. In the 1930s and 1940s Saarinen was commissioned to work on a variety of architectural projects, including reliefs for post offices in Bloomfield, Indiana, Carlisle, Kentucky, and Evanston, Illinois, and the Crow Island School in Winnetka, Illinois. She also executed commissions for the Harbor National Bank in Boston, KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines) at JFK Airport, the Northland shopping Center in Detroit Michigan, and Toffenetti's Restaurant in Chicago.

Saarinen was a contributing author and illustrator for a variety of publications, including Child Life, Interiors and Portfolio: An Intercontinental Quarterly. In 1935 she illustrated Picture Book Zoo for the Bronx Zoo and in 1946 Reynal & Hitchcock, Inc. published Who Am I?, a children's book which Saarinen wrote and illustrated.

Saarinen taught ceramic sculpture to soldiers for the Red Cross Arts and Skills Unit rehabilitation program in 1945, served on the Visiting Committee to the Museum School at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, from 1959-1964, where she taught ceramics, and later taught a course entitled "The Language of Clay" at the Cambridge Art Center and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. One of Saarinen's private students at Cambridge was her cousin, Edie Sedgwick.

Saarinen died in Cohasset, Massachusetts, in 1995 at the age of 83.
Separated Materials:
The Archives of American Art also holds material lent for microfilming (reels 1152 and 1192) including a scrapbook containing clippings, copies of letters and telegrams received, and reproductions of Saarinen's work. There is a copy of Saarinen's book, "Who Am I?", and three albums containing photographs of Saarinen, photographs and reproductions of her work, a list of exhibitions, quotes about her, and writings by her about sculpture. Lent material was returned to the lender and is not described in the collection container inventory.
Provenance:
Lilian Swann Saarinen donated the collection in 1975. She lent additional materials for microfilming in 1976.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Rights:
The Lilian Swann Saarinen papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws
Occupation:
Sculptors -- Massachusetts -- Cambridge  Search this
Topic:
Women artists -- Massachusetts  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Illustrated books, Children's  Search this
Gateway Arch (Saint Louis, Mo.)  Search this
Sculpture, Modern -- 20th century -- United States  Search this
Illustrators -- Massachusetts  Search this
Art commissions  Search this
Art, Municipal  Search this
Genre/Form:
Blueprints
Diaries
Illustrations
Sketches
Photographs
Scrapbooks
Citation:
Lilian Swann Saarinen papers, circa 1909-1977. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.saarlili
See more items in:
Lilian Swann Saarinen papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-saarlili
Additional Online Media:

The architecture of Harry Weese / Robert Bruegmann ; building entries by Kathleen Murphy Skolnik

Author:
Bruegmann, Robert  Search this
Skolnik, Kathleen Murphy  Search this
Subject:
Weese, Harry 1915-1998  Search this
Physical description:
239 p. : ill. (some col.), ill., plans ; 28 cm
Type:
Biography
Place:
United States
Date:
2010
C2010
20th century
Topic:
Architects  Search this
Architecture--History  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_975147

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