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Donald Deskey collection

Creator:
Deskey, Donald, 1894-  Search this
Names:
Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company  Search this
Centre de recherche en économie et statistique (Paris, France)  Search this
Charak Furniture Company  Search this
Cooper-Hewitt Design Archive  Search this
Deskey Associates, Inc.  Search this
Deskey-Vollmer, Inc.  Search this
Donald Deskey Associates, Inc.  Search this
Johnson & Johnson, Inc.  Search this
New York World's Fair (1939-1940)  Search this
Procter & Gamble Company  Search this
Radio City Music Hall (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Widdicomb Furniture Company  Search this
Deskey, Donald, 1894-  Search this
Extent:
75 Cubic feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Proposals
Labels
Clippings
Renderings
Slides
Stationery
Letters patent
Financial records
Photographs
Drawings
Client lists
Correspondence
Organizational charts
Reviews
Patents
Lantern slides
Technical reports
Date:
1927-1989
Summary:
Project files containmagazine and newspaper clippings, reviews, correspondence, renderings, floor plans, perspective drawings, site plans, sketches, preliminary drawings, patents, stationery, labels, and technical reports. There is an extensive collection of photographs and slides of many of Deskey's packaging designs, interiors, furnishings, and exhibition installations. The files of Donald Deskey Associates include organizational charts, client files, proposals, and financial records. Some of Deskey's personal correspondence, speeches, articles, and family photographs are included. Materials cover the period from 1927-1975.
Arrangement note:
Arranged into six records groups: 1) architecture/interiors projects; 2)Donald Deskey Associates; 3) industrial design projects; 4) reference; 5) Donald Deskey's personal papers; and 6) photographs. A special collection of more than one thousand slides of Deskey's work are boxed separately.
Biographical/Historical note:
Industrial, interior, and packaging designer. Born Blue Earth, Minnesota, November 23, 1894. By 1943, he had established Donald Deskey Associates in New York. Along with Dreyfuss, Bel Geddes, and Loewy, Deskey was one of the great industrial design pioneers in the 1930s.

He is best known for his designs for the furnishings and interiors of Radio City Music Hall in 1932, and for his work for companies such as: Widdicomb Furniture Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan; W & J Sloane, New York; and Estey Manufacturing Company, Owosso, Michigan. Deskey is also known for his familiar packaging designs for Procter & Gamble products, such as Crest toothpaste, Prell shampoo, and Tide detergent.

Donald Deskey Associates also was responsible for lamppost #10, the streetlight still in use today in New York City. Materials from this archival collection were featured in Cooper-Hewitt's 1994 exhibition and accompanying book, "Packaging the New: Design and the American Consumer, 1925- 1975."
Location of Other Archival Materials Note:
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Drawings and Prints Department. Approximately 3,000 drawings for furniture and textile designs.
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Applied Arts Department. Two tables, handles, and a glass bottle and box designed by Deskey.
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Textiles Department. One textile designed by Deskey.
Other sources of archival information on Deskey include, the Procter & Gamble Archive, Cincinnati, Ohio, and Deskey Associates, New York City.
Provenance:
The Deskey collection was donated to the museum in three installments.

In 1975, Deskey deposited at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum,, hundreds of drawings, 3 four-drawer file cabinets of material, and several oversized packages comprising the bulk of his papers covering the period from 1927-1965. These items were officially donated to the museum in 1988.

In 1992, Deskey Associates of New York made an additional gift consisting of, approximately 1,000 35mm slides that documented projects from the 1960s through 1980s, and focused primarily on designs for packaging.

In 1994, Donald Deskey's nephew, Robert Deskey presented the Museum with, 120 postcards, letters, and family photographs.
Restrictions:
Unrestricted research use onsite by appointment. Permission of staff required to photograph materials.
Occupation:
Packaging designers -- United States  Search this
Interior designers -- United States  Search this
Industrial designers -- United States  Search this
Topic:
Packaging -- Design  Search this
Street lighting -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Buildings, Prefabricated -- United States  Search this
Plastics -- Design  Search this
Interior decoration -- United States -- 20th century  Search this
Design, Industrial -- United States  Search this
Furniture design -- United States  Search this
Art deco -- United States  Search this
Genre/Form:
Proposals
Labels
Clippings
Renderings
Slides
Stationery
Letters patent
Financial records
Photographs
Drawings
Client lists
Correspondence
Organizational charts
Reviews
Patents
Lantern slides
Technical reports
Identifier:
SIL-CH.1975-11-77
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-sil-ch-1975-11-77

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