San Francisco contemporary jewelry designer Margaret De Patta, née Strong, was born in Tacoma, Washington in 1903 and raised in San Diego, California.
The Margaret De Patta papers were donated in two installments in 2003 and 2015 by Martha Bielawski, the second wife of Margaret De Patta's second husband, Eugene Bielawski. These papers were collected as part of the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America.
The papers of California jewelry designer Margaret De Patta measure 3.7 linear feet and date from circa 1930 to 2012. The papers include correspondence, writings, teaching files, exhibition files, personal business records, printed material, artwork and sketchbooks, and photographs.
Personal and professional correspondence is with family, friends, artists, galleries, museums, and universities. Notable correspondents include Fred Barson, Adelle Davis, Janet Fleisher, Alice Flory, Janet McHendrie, Victor Ries, Oppi Untracht, and Nanny's Design Gallery.
Writings include essays, personal statements, and notes. There is also an outline for a book on design and an annotated calendar.
Teaching files consist of course materials, administrative records, meeting minutes, and limited correspondence from the California Labor School. There are also a few folders from the California College of Arts and Crafts and the Oregon State System of Higher Education.
Exhibition files include announcements, correspondence, inventories, price lists, loan forms, and other material for Margaret De Patta shows at museums and galleries.
Personal business records consist of financial, legal, and administrative records on Margaret De Patta's jewelry designs and sales, as well as material related to Designs Contemporary, the jewelry production business created and managed by De Patta and her husband Eugene Bielawski. There is also material on large gifts and loans to museums and universities, and files relating to the San Francisco Metal Arts Guild.
Printed materials are mostly clippings about Margaret De Patta and other subjects, along with a few magazines and periodicals, including the San Francisco Metal Arts Guild newsletters, 1952-1964.
There is one sketchbook and several folders of drawings, jewelry designs, and flatware designs.
The bulk of the photographs are of jewelry and other objects designed by Margaret De Patta. There are a few photographs of Margaret De Patta working on jewelry and other subjects, such as a trip to Japan and her house on Laidley Street in California.
Margaret De Patta papers, circa 1930-2012. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 20560