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Henry Dreyfuss collection

Topic:
McCall's magazine
Creator:
Dreyfuss, Henry, 1904-1972  Search this
Names:
Bell Telephone Laboratories  Search this
Cooper-Hewitt Design Archive  Search this
Deere & Company  Search this
General Electric Company  Search this
Henry Dreyfuss Associates  Search this
Honeywell, Inc.  Search this
Hoover Company  Search this
Industrial Designers Society of America  Search this
Lockheed Aircraft Corporation  Search this
New York Central Railroad Company  Search this
Polaroid Corporation  Search this
Royal Typewriter Company  Search this
Singer Manufacturing Company  Search this
Westclox  Search this
Dreyfuss, Henry, 1904-1972  Search this
Extent:
130 Cubic feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Biographies
Slides
Drawings
Photographs
Reports
Clippings
Client lists
Correspondence
Book drafts
Mechanicals
Renderings
Journal
Speeches
Date:
1927-1972
Summary:
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.
Arrangement note:
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.
Biographical/Historical note:
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.
Provenance:
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.
Restrictions:
Unrestricted research use onsite by appointment. Permission of staff required to photograph material.
Occupation:
Theater designers -- United States  Search this
Industrial designers -- United States  Search this
Topic:
Measure of Man  Search this
Symbol Sourcebook  Search this
Trimline telephone  Search this
Designing for People  Search this
anthropometry  Search this
Design, Industrial -- United States  Search this
Thermostats  Search this
Tractors -- United States -- History  Search this
20th Century Limited (Express train)  Search this
Human engineering  Search this
telephone  Search this
Signs ad symbols  Search this
Set design -- United States  Search this
Genre/Form:
Biographies
Slides
Drawings
Photographs
Reports
Clippings
Client lists
Correspondence
Book drafts
Mechanicals
Renderings
Journal
Speeches
Identifier:
SIL-CH.1972-88-332-4
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Libraries
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/sc203430ed5-d8e7-42b8-b16b-839393b39d1d
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-sil-ch-1972-88-332-4

Edward McKnight Kauffer collection

Topic:
Brighton warp and weft
Seventeen
Advertiser's weekly
Australasian
Creator:
Kauffer, E. McKnight (Edward McKnight), 1890-1954  Search this
Names:
American Airlines  Search this
American Silk Mills  Search this
Brighton (Firm)  Search this
British Federation of Master Printers  Search this
British Institute of Industrial Art  Search this
British South American Airways  Search this
Container Corporation of America  Search this
Cooper-Hewitt Design Archive  Search this
Imperial Airways  Search this
London Underground Limited  Search this
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
National Aid Society  Search this
New York (State). Metropolitan Transportation Authority  Search this
Pan American World Airways, Inc.  Search this
Victoria and Albert Museum  Search this
Beddington, Jack  Search this
Dorn, Marion, 1896-1964  Search this
Ehrlich, Grace  Search this
Eliot, T. S. (Thomas Stearns), 1888-1965  Search this
Fry, Roger Eliot, 1866-1934  Search this
Haworth-Booth, Mark.  Search this
Huxley, Aldous, 1894-1963  Search this
Kauffer, E. McKnight (Edward McKnight), 1890-1954  Search this
Moore, Marianne, 1887-1972  Search this
Pick, Frank, 1878-1941  Search this
Symon, D. E. (David E.)  Search this
Waldman, Bernard.  Search this
Extent:
3 Cubic feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Clippings
Awards
Correspondence
Writings
Posters
Drafts (documents)
Announcements
Obituaries
Calendars
Negatives
Photographs
Sketches
Reviews
Date:
1915-1954
Summary:
This collection documents Kauffer's work as a theater designer, and graphic designer from 1915-1954.The collection includes allusions to correspondences between Kauffer in America to T.S. Eliot (1888-1965) in London, between 1930 and 1955. (There are no letters between the two men in the collection.) Although Kauffer and Eliot were to become friends after 24 July 1930, they were professionally related before that time. Kauffer illustrated the Ariel edition of Eliot's "Marina." Kauffer and Eliot met in London. In the collection are also posters of Kauffer's works, biographical pieces, and obituaries as well as photographs of the artist.
Arrangement note:
Unprocessed; The archive material consists of sketches, posters, manuscript leaves, photographs, clippings, and other related items that document Mr. Kauffer's career from 1915-1954.
Biographical/Historical note:
Edward McKnight Kauffer (1891-1954) was born at Great Falls, Montana. He grew up in the small town of Evansville on the Ohio River in Indiana, where the Kauffer grandparents had settled. After the divorce of his parents, he spent two years in an orphanage. By the age of four or five he had begun to draw. His mother remarried in 1899. Kauffer left school at the age of 12 or 13 to be helper to the scene painter in the City Directory.

In the Elder Bookshop and Art Rooms in San Francisco Kauffer acquired not only a speaking voice of marked attractiveness and distinction but also a life-long passion for books. He continued his studies as a painter by receiving his first formal training at evening sessions at the Mark Hopkins Institute. He met Professor McKnight, who became his patron; in homage to him Kauffer adopted the name of McKnight. A small exhibition of Kauffer's paintings was held at the Elder Art Rooms. He also studied at the Chicago Art Institute, and in Munich and Paris, and started his career as a theatrical scene painter. He was returning from Germany to this country in 1914 and was in London when World War I broke out.

In 1914 Kauffer would marry American Pianist, Grace Ehrlich and they would have a daughter. In 1921 Kauffer would move to New York City leaving his wife and daughter. In the spring of 1922 Kauffer returned to London with Marion Dorn, American textile designer. They would stay in London just prior to the beginning of World War II when they would return once again to New York. They would eventually marry in 1950.

In the Twenties in London, he went to work in a soldiers' canteen and began designing posters for the London Underground Railway in his spare time. His posters were so strikingly successful that he soon got further orders, and built up a reputation in his field. The posters would indicate to the war-weary British the normal resumption of public transportation. The posters made history in art circles and have been regarded ever since as revolutionary concepts of art-cum industry. A 1926 exhibition given at the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford furthered Kauffers notoriety.

His recognition in America began in 1937, when the Museum of Modern Art presented his work in its first one-man show ever given to an American poster designer. He returned to this country to live in 1940. While Kauffer was widely recognized abroad and the MOMA show brought attention, very few Americans knew of him and fewer advertisers were willing to accept the poster as an art form. His clients, since his return to America have included the National Red Cross, American Airlines, the New York Subways, Ringling Brothers Circus, the Container Corporation of America, the American Silk Mills and many others.

Kauffer was among the first in the early Twenties to respond to the impact of modern art, particularly the work of the cubist painters Picasso and Braque. The influence of cubism can be seen in his posters and was the basis of his dynamic geometrical style. The emphatic angular forms of Kauffer's posters shocked the public into attention. His artistry, and in particular his color sense, held that attention and, in a few short years just after the First World War, laid the foundations of his reputation as a designer, not only among the leading business men of the time, but particularly among critics and art students. T.S. Eliot, a friend of Kauffer's, describes his marriage of the public and modern art, "He did something for modern art with the public as well as doing something for the public with modern art."

In addition to his involvement in advertising, Kauffer was a book illustrator as well illustrating editions of many classics, including Burton's "Anatomy of Melancholy," Cervantes' "Don Quixote," Carl Van Vechten's "Nigger Heaven," and works by Herman Melville, T.S. Eliot, Arnold Bennett, Lord Birkenhead and others.

His work is represented in the South Kensington Museum in London and in the Corcoran Art Gallery in Washington, and there are examples of it also in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and in Milan. He edited a survey, The Art of the Poster, in 1934. He was a Fellow of the British Institute of Industrial Art and a member of the Council for Art and Industry. When the Royal Society of Arts established its high diploma of R.D.I. (Designer for Industry) in 1937 he was ineligible as a foreigner, but was granted honorary status. He was asked to be Honorary Advisor to the Department of Public Information for the United Nations. He was Advisory Council for the Victoria and Albert Museum. His biography appears in the English "Who's Who" and in the American "Who's Who", as well as in the Columbia Encyclopedia.

Kauffer began to lose interest in the New York advertising scene. A friend of his said that he chose to kill himself with drink. He continued to work to the end, almost obsessively. Kauffer died on 22 October 1954.
Provenance:
All materials were donated to the museum by Grace Schulman in 1997.
Restrictions:
Unprocessed; access is limited; Permission of Library Director required; Policy.
Occupation:
Theater designers -- United States  Search this
Illustrators -- Great Britain  Search this
Illustrators -- United States  Search this
Draftsmen (artists) -- Great Britain  Search this
Draftsmen (artists) -- United States  Search this
Topic:
Theaters -- Stage-setting and scenery -- History -- 20th century -- Sources  Search this
Graphic arts -- History -- 20th century -- Sources  Search this
Illustration of books -- 20th century -- Sources  Search this
Genre/Form:
Clippings
Awards
Correspondence
Writings
Posters
Drafts (documents)
Announcements
Obituaries
Calendars
Negatives
Photographs
Sketches
Reviews
Identifier:
SIL-CH.1997-134-1
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Libraries
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/sc2e766e647-b491-4b2a-ae55-4be292be34dd
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-sil-ch-1997-134-1

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