This material does not cover all clients and projects undertaken by Dreyfuss. This collection consists of theater design materials, industrial design materials, primarily, though not exclusively, from the 1950s and 60s, draft copies of his books, including extensive research files for the "Symbol Sourcebook," texts of lectures delivered by Dreyfuss, and biographical material. Included is Dreyfuss's Brown Book which provides an outline of his achievements. Photographs and slides of many of his designs are included. Materials relating to three publications include original drafts of the books with author notes, drawings, photographs, correspondence, and research materials. Also contains materials relating to the symbols exhibition held at the Hallmark Gallery in New York City in 1972.This collection was the source of many of the objects and issues addressed in Cooper-Hewitt's 1997 exhibition, "Henry Dreyfuss: Directing Design", and companion book, "Henry Dreyfuss, Industrial Designer: The Man in the Brown Suit", both conceived by Russell Flinchum. 311 reels of microfilm documenting most of the projects undertaken by Dreyfuss Associates were created by the firm and added to the collection later.
Materials are arranged into four record groups: 1) Biographical information; 2) Theater design; 3) Industrial design; and 4) Publications.
The biographical material is arranged into four sub groups:1) Lectures and Articles by Dreyfuss; 2) Articles about Dreyfuss; 3) Dreyfuss firm promotional mailings; and 4) Other material (photos, awards, etc.).Each sub-group is filed chronologically.
The Industrial Design records are divided into two sub groups:Early Industrial Design, 1929-1935, and Industrial Design, 1936-1969, and arearranged alphabetically by client name.
The publication materials arearranged alphabetically by title of publication.
Industrial and stage designer. Born New York, March 2, 1904. Attended Society for Ethical Culture High School in New York. Apprenticed to designer Norman Bel Geddes, 1922-1924. Established his own industrial design firm in 1929. His clients included Bell Telephone Laboratories, Deere & Company, Honeywell, Inc., Polaroid Corporation, General Electric, the 1939-40 and 1964-65 New York World's Fairs, New York Central Railroad, Hoover Company, Singer Sewing Machine Company, Royal Typewriter Co., Lockheed Aircraft, McCall's magazine, and others.
Dreyfuss was a founding member of the Society of Industrial Designers, and the first president of the Industrial Designers Society of America. He is best known for his designs for the Bell 500 and Trimline telephones, the Westclox Big Ben alarm clock, Deere & Company tractors, Polaroid's Automatic 100, Swinger, and SX-70 Land Cameras, and New York Central Railroad's 1938 Twentieth Century Limited. In the 1950s, Dreyfuss was one of the pioneers in the application of anthropometrics (the study of human dimensions and capabilities) in his designs. In 1969, Dreyfuss retired from his firm, but remained active as a corporate consultant. He was the author of several important books including: "Designing for People", 1955; "Measure of Man", 1959; and "Symbol Sourcebook", 1972.
Location of Other Archival Materials Note:
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Applied Arts Department. Models and realized objects including control knobs for GM and Deere vehicles, plastic plates and various ceramic pieces with international symbols, Trimline telephones, an RCA Victor radio, a Westclox "Big Ben" alarm clock, and a Presco "AirClip" hair clipper.
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Drawings and Prints Department. Hundreds of drawings of designs for tractors, train, plane, and ship interiors, television and radio cabinets, product labels, logos, packaging, office buildings, and costumes.
Other archival repositories containing Dreyfuss materials include: AT&T Archives, Warren, New Jersey; Deere & Co. Archives, Moline, Iowa; Honeywell Archives, Minneapolis, MN; Hoover Company, Canton, Ohio; Polaroid Archives, Cambridge, MA; Billy Rose Theater Collection, New York Public Library; Ethical Culture/Fieldson School Archives, New York; New York Central System Historical Society, Inc.
United Scenic Artists Local 829 Archives, New York; New York World's Fair 1939-40 Archives, Manuscript Division, New York Public Library; and San Diego Aerospace Museum Archives.
Henry Dreyfuss and Doris Marks donated his papers to Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, in the fall of 1972.
Additional materials were transferred to the museum in 1973 from the University of California at Los Angeles, which held a small collection of material deeded by Henry Dreyfuss in 1962.
311 reels of microfilm were donated to the museum in 1992.
Unrestricted research use onsite by appointment. Permission of staff required to photograph material.
Biographical files cover the period from 1938-1989 and include resumes, clippings, correspondence, certificates, awards, speeches, brochures for exhibitions, and artwork. Project files cover the period from 1934-1961 and contain clippings, catalogs, brochures, and scrapbooks. This collection documents Bach's work as an industrial designer, architect, and painter from 1934-1992.
The files on the Ridgeway Center mall are particularly extensive. Photographs cover the period from 1937-1961 and document Bach's design projects, particularly the Ridgeway Center, his house in Stamford, and the Miami and New York offices of Callaway Mills. Portraits of Bach and his family are included as well. Glass lantern slides document of seven of Bach's interior and exterior design projects. Also included are several signed and numbered prints of Bach's watercolor scenes of the Riviera.
Materials are arranged chronologically within four series.
Series 1: Biographical files, 1938-1989
Series 2: Project files, 1934-1961
Series 3: Photogaphs, 1937-1961
Series 4: Glass Slides
Biographical / Historical:
Industrial designer, architect, and painter. Born in Germany, 1904. Bach studied film directing and design in Europe. He turned to industrial design upon immigrating to the United States in 1926. His design work from 1932-53 include a Philco radio, furniture for Heywood-Wakefield, carpets for Bigelow-Sanford, and appliances for General Electric. Bach designed and built his own home in Stamford, Connecticut, in 1938.
In the late 1940s, he developed a plan for one of the first shopping malls in America, the Ridgeway Center of Stamford. He remodeled the interior and exterior of Sach's furniture store, 1948-49, and redesigned the Seneca Textile Building on 34th Street in Manhattan in 1952. Bach moved to Florida in 1959, where he designed the Palm Trail Plaza, a marina apartment complex in Delray Beach, completed in 1961. In addition, Bach was also a noted painter. His watercolors were featured in numerous exhibitions in the United States and Europe.
Related Archival Materials:
431 drawings of designs for furniture, textiles, lamps, pianos, clocks, appliances, and retail, office, and home interiors.,Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Drawings and Prints Department.
All materials were donated by Alfons Bach in 1993.
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-633-3270.
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.