Marcel Breuer Associates/Architects and Planners Search this
37.6 Linear feet
The Marcel Breuer papers, 1920-1986, contain biographical material, correspondence, business and financial records, interviews, notes, writings, sketches, project files, exhibition files, photographs, and printed material that document the career of architect and designer Marcel Breuer.
Scope and Contents note:
The Marcel Breuer papers span the years 1920 to 1986 and measure 37.6 linear feet and 0.14 gigabytes. They consist of biographical material, correspondence, business and financial records, interviews, notes, writings, sketches, project files, exhibition files, photographs, and printed material that document Breuer's career as an architect and designer. This material reflects the prolificacy and diversity of his creations, from tubular steel chairs to private residences, college campuses, factories, department stores, and international, municipal, and corporate headquarters and complexes.
The Biographical Material Series contains documents that list or certify significant events or associations attained by Breuer during his career, such as résumés, licenses, and certificates. The number of awards contained in this series attest to the esteem in which he was held by his colleagues.
Breuer's Correspondence Series illustrates the interaction of his various colleagues and the operation of his architectural offices in the execution of their projects, many of which were in progress simultaneously. This series includes letters from Joseph Albers, Jean Arp, Herbert Bayer, Alexander Calder, Serge Chermayeff, Naum Gabo, Sigfried Giedion, Walter and Ise Gropius, Louis I. Kahn, György Kepes, László Moholy-Nagy, Henry Moore, Eero Saarinen, and José Luis Sert.
The Business and Financial Records Series contains documents which reflect Breuer's commercial transactions that do not directly relate to one specific project. Two project books pertain to 36 architectural projects and record their basic physical and financial details, such as site measurements and cost projections. There are also miscellaneous invoices and receipts, and one of Breuer's personal income tax returns.
The Interviews Series contains typescripts of interviews. Of particular interest is the audiotape interview of Breuer, who discusses his early years as a student and his first impressions of the Bauhaus. There are also untranscribed audiotape interviews of his colleagues György Kepes and Harry Seidler, and his patrons Mr. A. Elzas, and the Koerfers, who discuss their business relationships with Breuer.
There are address lists of colleagues and patrons and résumés from architects contained within the series on Notes, while the Writings Series contains typescripts of lectures and articles written by Breuer concerning architecture and its history. Writings by others are about Breuer and his work, including typescripts, galleys, and photographs of architectural and design projects used in the publication of the book Marcel Breuer Buildings and Projects, 1921-1961 by Cranston Jones.
The Sketches Series consists of 3 small, hand-drawn depictions of unidentified floor plans.
The largest and most comprehensive series houses the Project Files, which consist of approximately 300 project files containing letters, legal documents, and photographs that record the planning and execution of many of Breuer's most important architectural projects. These include the UNESCO Headquarters Building (Paris, France), St. John's Abbey and University (Collegeville, Minnesota), the IBM Corporation Research Center (La Gaude, France), the HUD Headquarters Building (Washington, D.C.), the De Bijenkorf Department Store (Rotterdam, The Netherlands), and the third power plant and forebay dam for the Grand Coulee Dam (Washington state). The file for the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York contains an interesting set of photographs of Breuer showing Jacqueline Kennedy through the construction site.
Of equal importance are the additional Project Files for the 100 residences designed by Breuer, including prefabricated houses such as Kleinmetalhaus and Yankee Portables, and commissioned residences such as the two Gagarin Houses (Litchfield, Connecticut), the two Harnischmacher Houses (Wiesbaden, Germany), Koerfer House (Moscia, Switzerland), the Neumann House (Croton-on-Hudson, New York), the Saier House (Glanville-Calvados, France), the Staehelin House (Feldmeilen, Switzerland), the Starkey House (Duluth, Minnesota), and the three Rufus Stillman Houses (Litchfield, Connecticut). There are also files concerning the four houses Breuer designed for himself in Lincoln and Wellfleet, Massachusetts, and in New Canaan, Connecticut.
The Project Files for Breuer's furniture designs are not as comprehensive as those for his architectural creations but contain many photographs of his early conceptions for chairs, tables, desks, cabinets, rugs, and tapestries.
The Exhibition Files Series contains primarily photographs of exhibitions in which Breuer participated. The extent of his participation is sometimes difficult to determine, because it ranged from designing a single chair, designing rooms for an apartment or an entire house specifically to be shown in an exhibition, to designing an exhibition building. Breuer was also the subject of a retrospective exhibition sponsored by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This traveling exhibition was seen in New York City, Chicago, Paris, and Berlin.
Images contained in the Photographs Series are of Breuer, including one of him in Philip Johnson's house, Breuer family members, and colleagues, including Herbert Bayer, Alexander Calder, Serge Chermayeff, Walter and Ise Gropius, and Matta. Three photograph albums in this series contain more than 1,000 photographs of 59 architectural projects.
The Printed Material Series houses general clippings that concern groups of projects, rather than one specific project. There is also a scrapbook of tearsheets concerning architectural projects, exhibition announcements, and catalogs for others, and miscellaneous press releases and brochures.
The Marcel Breuer papers are arranged into 11 series, based on type of document. Each series, except Project Files, has been arranged chronologically. The Project Files Series has been divided into 19 subseries of related architectual and design project types. The overall arrangement reflects Breuer's original arrangement. Each subseries or file group within is arranged alphabetically according to the surname of an individual, or a location name of a university. The contents of each project file have been arranged according to material type and a chronology that best reflects the progression of the project toward completion.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1920-1981 (Boxes 1, 36; Reel 5708; 0.4 linear ft.)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1923-1986 (Boxes 1-6, OV 47; Reels 5708-5717; 5.3 linear ft.)
Series 3: Business and Financial Records, 1933-1980 (Box 6; Reels 5717-5718; 0.4 linear ft.)
Series 4: Interviews, 1963-1985 (Boxes 6-7; Reel 5718; 0.4 linear ft., ER01; 0.14 GB)
Series 5: Notes, 1934-1976 (Box 7; Reel 5718; 0.4 linear ft.)
Series 6: Writings, 1923-1981 (Boxes 7-8; Reels 5718-5720; 1.0 linear ft.)
Series 7: Sketches, circa 1920s-circa 1980 (Box 8; Reel 5720; 1 folder)
Series 8: Project Files, 1921-1986 (Boxes 8-23, 36-40, OVs 43-57; Reels 5720-5737; 27.6 linear ft.)
Series 9: Exhibition files, 1922-1974 (Box 34, OV 49; Reels 5737-5738; 0.8 linear ft.)
Series 10: Photographs, 1928-1979 (Boxes 34, 41-42; Reel 5738; 0.3 linear ft.)
Series 11: Printed Material, 1925-1984 (Boxes 35, 42; Reels 5738-5739; 1.0 linear ft.)
Marcel Lajos Breuer was born on May 21, 1902, in the Danube valley town of Pécs, Hungary, to Jacques Breuer, a physician, and Franciska (Kan) Breuer. His siblings were Hermina and Alexander. Throughout his life, Breuer used his first name only on official documents and preferred that his friends use his middle name, the Hungarian form of "Louis." The diminutive form of this name was usually spelled "Lajkó" and pronounced "Lye-ko."
In 1920, Breuer graduated from the Magyar Királyi Föreáliskola in Pécs. He had received a scholarship to study art in Vienna but took an immediate dislike to the Art Academy there, so searched elsewhere for training. He started working in the studio of a Viennese architect and soon became interested in training in the cabinetmaking shop of the architect's brother. Breuer was not satisfied with this arrangement either, and, upon hearing about the year-old Bauhaus school in Germany, he departed for Weimar in 1921.
Founded and directed by Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus combined the teaching of the pure arts with training in functional technology. Breuer received a master's degree from the Bauhaus in 1924, then studied architecture in Paris, where he first met Le Corbusier.
In 1925, Gropius enticed Breuer to return to the Bauhaus, now relocated in Dessau, by offering him a post as master of the carpentry workshop and a commission to design the interiors of the new Bauhaus buildings. Inspired by his new bicycle's handlebars, Breuer designed his first tubular steel chair, the Wassily chair, named for his friend Wassily Kandinsky. This chair and dozens of other Breuer designs for furnishings were mass-produced by the Thonet Brothers in Germany.
Two years later, in 1928, Breuer left the Bauhaus to begin a private architecture practice in Berlin, emphasizing prefabricated housing and the use of concrete in building. During this time Breuer worked on a designs for the Potsdamer Platz, Spandau-Haselhorst Housing, and a hospital in Elberfeld, and he completed work on the Lewin House and the Harnischmacher Apartment. Due to the deteriorating economic and political conditions in Germany, Breuer closed his Berlin office in 1931 and traveled to Budapest, Zurich, Morocco, Greece, and Spain. Returning to Germany in the following year, he began designing furniture in aluminum. Breuer established his reputation as an architect upon completion of the Harnischmacher House in Wiesbaden, a house notable for the use of contrasting materials and distinctive interiors.
The Nazis closed the Bauhaus in 1933. The following year, Breuer designed the Dolderthal Apartments in Zurich for the Swiss architectural historian Sigfried Giedion. From 1935 to 1937, Breuer settled in London, and became partners with F. R. S. Yorke. During this time he designed for the Isokon ("isometric unit construction") Control Company laminated plywood furniture that became widely imitated.
In 1937, Breuer accepted an invitation from Walter Gropius to join the faculty of the School of Design at Harvard University to teach architecture, and he moved to the United States. Among his students were Edward Larrabee Barnes, Ulrich Franzen, Philip Johnson, I. M. Pei, and Paul Rudolph. Breuer formed a partnership with Gropius in Cambridge, Massachusetts, from 1937 to 1941. Their firm was engaged primarily in the design of private homes.
In 1946, Breuer moved to New York City, where he established an office in an East 88th Street townhouse. The number of his commissions began to grow slowly, and it was during this time he constructed his own notable residence in New Canaan, Connecticut. He developed the bi-nuclear, or "two-center" house, which was designed to meet the living requirements of modern families by creating functional areas for separate activities.
Breuer's architectural reputation was greatly enhanced when, in 1953, he was commissioned to design, in collaboration with Pier Luigi Nervi and Bernard Zehrfuss, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Headquarters in Paris. During this year, he also began work on a series of innovative buildings for St. John's Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minnesota.
Between 1963 and 1964, Breuer began work on what is perhaps his best-known project, the Whitney Museum of American Art, in New York City. He also established an office with the name Marcel Breuer Architecte, in Paris, to better orchestrate his European projects. Also during this time, Herbert Beckhard, Murray Emslie, Hamilton Smith, and Robert F. Gatje became partners in Marcel Breuer and Associates. When Murray Emslie left a year later, he was replaced by Tician Papachristou, who had been recommended by Breuer's former student, I. M. Pei.
After several moves to increasingly larger office space in New York, Breuer established his largest office at 635 Madison Avenue and 59th Street in 1965. After suffering the first of a series of heart attacks, Breuer reduced his travel to Europe, eventually leaving the management of the Paris office in the hands of Mario Jossa.
Between 1965 and 1973, Marcel Breuer and Associates continued to receive many diverse and important commissions, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development Headquarters Building (Washington, D.C.), showrooms for Scarves by Vera (New York City), the IBM Corporation (La Gaude, France), the Baldegg Convent (Lucerne, Switzerland), Bryn Mawr School for Girls (Baltimore, Maryland), a third power plant for the Grand Coulee Dam, the Australian Embassy (Paris, France), the Armstrong Rubber Company (New Haven, Connecticut), and the State University of New York Engineering Complex (Buffalo). Breuer also designed residences including a second Gagarin House (Litchfield, Connecticut), the Saier House (Glanville-Calvados, France), the Soriano House (Greenwich, Connecticut), and a third Rufus Stillman House (Litchfield, Connecticut).
Due to failing health in 1972, Breuer sold his New Canaan house and moved into Manhattan so he could more easily commute to the office. By 1976, Breuer's health had declined further, and he retired from practice. The name of his firm was subtly changed from Marcel Breuer and Associates to Marcel Breuer Associates, and later to MBA/Architects and Planners.
Marcel Breuer died on July 1, 1981, in New York City.
This chronology below is based on evidence found within the Marcel Breuer Papers. The dating of projects reflects the range of dates encompassed by the files for each project, not the project's actual construction time. Most architectural projects have several equally significant dates from which it is difficult to assign a single date. Significant dates for a building may include the date of groundbreaking, the laying of the cornerstone, or the first opening day. When a project's dates are unknown or uncertain, a question mark in brackets appears at the end of the entry.
1902 -- Marcel Lajos Breuer is born on May 21 in Pécs, Hungary.
1920 -- Breuer graduates from Magyar Királyi Föreáliskola (high school) in Pécs. Breuer travels to Vienna to study art.
1921 -- Breuer enrolls at the Bauhaus, Wiemar, Germany. Furniture designs: tea table; wooden cabinet.
1923 -- Architectural project: apartment house (multistory duplex with continuous terrace gardens). Furniture designs: miscellaneous bureaus.
1924 -- Breuer earns a master's degree from the Bauhaus. Breuer studies architecture in Paris, where he meets Le Corbusier. Furniture designs: desk and bookcase.
1925 -- Breuer returns to the Bauhaus, now located in Dessau, and takes post of master of the carpentry workshop. Architectural projects: Canteen, Bauhaus-Dessau, Germany; Kleinmetallhaus (prefabricated house in steel); Gropius House, Dessau, Germany; Wissinger Apartment, Berlin, Germany [1925?]. Furniture designs: Wassily chair; Rückenlehnstuhl ("back-leaning chair"); tubular steel stool; modular system for cabinets.
1926 -- Breuer marries Martha Erps. Architectural projects: Gröte Residence, Dessau, Germany; Moholy-Nagy Apartment and Studio, Berlin, Germany; Muche House, Dessau, Germany; Piscator Apartment, Berlin, Germany; Thost House, Hamburg, Germany. Furniture designs:(modular) system for unit furniture; dining room chair; tubular steel chair; office chair; storage wall unit. Exhibition: Bauhaus Exhibition, Dessau, Germany; table for Kandinsky's Master's Studio.
1930 -- Breuer meets György Kepes in Berlin. Architectural project: Boroschek Apartment, Berlin, Germany. Exhibitions: Bauhaus Exhibition, Berlin-Germany, House for a Sportsman, Cork Industry Display; Paris Werkbund Exhibition, Paris, France, Wohn Hotel, Vitrine and Cabinets, and Klubraum Gropius.
1931 -- Breuer closes the Berlin office and travels in Europe and North Africa. Architectural project: Reidemeister Residence, Berlin, Germany. Furniture design: bookcase. Exhibition: Bauausstellung Exhibition, Berlin, Germany, Mitarbeiter Hassenpflug Apartment.
1932 -- Breuer returns to Germany.
1933 -- Nazis close the Bauhaus. Architectural project: Harnischmacher House I, Wiesbaden, Germany. Furniture designs: aluminum chairs; aluminum tables.
1934 -- Breuer divorces Martha Erps. Architectural project: Dolderthal Apartments, Zurich, Switzerland. Exhibition Building Competition, Budapest Spring Fair, Budapest, Hungary.
1935 -- Breuer moves to London and forms partnership with F. R. S. Yorke. Furniture designs: Isokon chairs; plywood nesting tables; plywood dining table. Exhibition: Heal's "Seven Architects" Exhibition, London, England; Designs for two chairs.
1936 -- Architectural projects: Motley Fashion Shop, London, England; London Theatre Studio, London, England; Clifton House (Crofton Gane House), Bristol, England; Sea Lane House, Angmering-on-Sea, Sussex, England; Ventris Apartment, London, England. Exhibitions: Royal Show, Bristol, England, Gane's Pavilion; British Cement and Concrete Association Exhibition, London, England, Garden City of the Future (civic center).
1937 -- Breuer and Yorke dissolve their partnership. Breuer moves to the United States to teach at Harvard. Breuer and Walter Gropius establish Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer, Associated Architects. Architectural project: Obergurgl Ski Lodge, Obergurgl, Austria.
1938 -- Architectural projects: Wheaton College Competition, Art Center, Norton, Massachusetts; Fischer House and Studio, Newtown, Pennsylvania; Gropius House, Lincoln, Massachusetts; Haggerty House, Cohasset, Massachusetts; Margolius House, Palm Springs, California. Furniture design: cabinet with hinged drawers. Exhibition: "Marcel Breuer and the American Tradition in Architecture," Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
1939 -- Architectural projects: Black Mountain College, Black Mountain, North Carolina; Breuer House, Lincoln, Massachusetts; Ford House, Lincoln, Massachusetts; Frank House, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Exhibition: New York World's Fair, Flushing Meadows, New York; Pennsylvania Pavilion.
1943 -- Architectural projects: South Boston Redevelopment Project, Boston, Massachusetts; Stuyvesant Six (housing development), New York, New York; Wellfleet Housing Development, Bi-Nuclear "H" House, Wellfleet, Massachusetts.
1944 -- Architectural projects: Van Leer Vatenfabrieken N.V., Office Building, Amstelveen, The Netherlands; 1200 Square Foot House, Florida; Geller House I, Lawrence, Long Island, New York; East River Apartments, New York, New York; Long Beach Nurses' Residence, Long Beach, Long Island, New York.
1945 -- Architectural projects: Eastern Airlines Ticket Office, Boston, Massachusetts; Smith College Competition, Dormitories, Northampton, Massachusetts; Unidentified Memorial, [location unknown]; Cambridge War Memorial, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Florida House, Miami Heights, Florida; Tompkins House, Hewlett Harbor Village, Long Island, New York.
1946 -- Breuer and family move to New York City. Breuer establishes an office on East 88th Street. Architectural projects: Small House Competition; Martine House, Stamford, Connecticut; Preston Robinson House, Williamstown, Massachusetts.
1947 -- Architectural projects: Breuer House I, New Canaan, Connecticut; Scott House, Dennis, Massachusetts; Thompson House, Ligonier, Pennsylvania.
1948 -- Architectural projects: Ariston Club, Mar del Plata, Argentina; Breuer Cottage, Wellfleet, Massachusetts; Kniffin House, New Canaan, Connecticut; Witalis House, Saddle Rock, Kings Point, New York; Wise Cottage, Wellfleet, Massachusetts. Exhibition: Low Cost Furniture Competition, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Cutout plywood chair.
1949 -- Publication of book, Marcel Breuer: Architect and Designer, by Peter Blake. Architectural projects: United States Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); Headquarters, Paris, France; Clark House, Orange, Connecticut; Herrick House, Canajoharie, New York; Hooper Residence Additions, Baltimore, Maryland; Marshad House, Croton-on-Hudson, New York; Smith House, Aspen, Colorado; Tilley House, Middletown, New Jersey; Wolfson Trailer House, Pleasant Valley, New York. Exhibition: Museum of Modern Art Exhibition, New York, New York, House in museum garden.
1950 -- Breuer moves his office to East 37th Street, New York. Architectural projects: Alaska Air Terminal, Anchorage, Alaska [1950?]; Sarah Lawrence College, Arts Center, Bronxville, New York; Vassar College, Dwight Ferry House (a cooperative dormitory), Poughkeepsie, New York; Aspen House, Aspen, Colorado; Englund House, Pleasantville, New York; Hanson House, Lloyd Harbor, Huntington, Long Island, New York; Lauck House, Princeton, New Jersey; McComb House, Poughkeepsie, New York; Mills House, New Canaan, Connecticut; Pack House, Scarsdale, New York; Rufus Stillman House I, Litchfield, Connecticut.
1951 -- Architectural projects: Grosse Pointe Public Library, Grosse Pointe, Michigan; Aufricht House Addition, Mamaroneck, New York; Breuer House II, New Canaan, Connecticut; Caesar House, Lakeville, Connecticut. Furniture design: Canaan desk.
1952 -- Architectural projects: Scarves by Vera, Showroom, New York, New York; Levy House, Princeton, New Jersey; George Robinson House, Redding Ridge, Connecticut; Tibby House, Port Washington, New York.
1953 -- Architectural projects: Bantam Elementary School, Litchfield, Connecticut; Litchfield High School, Litchfield, Connecticut; Northfield Elementary School, Litchfield, Connecticut; St. John's Abbey and University, Monastery Wing, Abbey Church and Bell Banner, Collegeville, Minnesota; Torrington Manufacturing Company, Oakville, Ontario, Canada; De Bijenkorf Department Store and Garage, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Calabi House, Lagrangeville, New York; Crall House, Gates Mills, Ohio; Gagarin House I, Litchfield, Connecticut; Neumann House, Croton-on-Hudson, New York; Snower House, Kansas City, Missouri; Edgar Stillman House, Wellfleet, Massachusetts. Exhibition: Tile Council of America Exhibition, New York, New York, Patio-Bathroom.
1954 -- Architectural projects: New London Railroad Station, New London, Connecticut; Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey; Grieco House, Andover, Massachusetts; Harnischmacher House II, Wiesbaden, Germany; Karsten House, Owings Mills, Maryland; Starkey House (formerly Alworth House), Duluth, Minnesota.
1955 -- Publication of book, Sun and Shadow: The Philosophy of an Architect, edited by Peter Blake. Architectural projects: New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad, Train "X," Budd "Hot Rod," Budd "Flying Cloud," and ACF Talgo Locomotives and Passenger Cars, Rye Railroad Station, Rye, New York [1955?]; Connecticut Junior Republic Association Dormitory, Litchfield, Connecticut; Torrington High School, Torrington, Connecticut; Hunter College, Library, Classrooms, and Administration Building, Bronx, New York; Annunciation Priory, Bismarck, North Dakota; O. E. McIntyre, Inc. Plant, Westbury, Long Island, New York; Laaff House, Andover, Massachusetts; McGinnis Apartment, Biltmore, New York, New York; McGinnis House, Charlmont, Massachusetts. Exhibition: Good Design Exhibition, Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York, Hyperbolic Paraboloid.
1956 -- Breuer moves his office to Third Avenue and 57th Street, New York. Breuer is the first recipient of La Rinascente's Compasso d'Oro Prize. Architectural projects: U.S. Embassy, The Hague, The Netherlands; Boston and Maine Railroad, North Station Industrial Building; Boston and Maine Railroad, Fairbanks Morse Locomotive and Passenger Cars; New Haven Railroad Station, New Haven, Connecticut; New York University, University Heights Campus, Bronx, New York; Torrington Manufacturing Company, Van Nuys, California; Wohnbedarf Furniture Showroom, Zurich, Switzerland; Hooper House, Baltimore, Maryland; Krieger House, Bethesda, Maryland; Staehelin House, Feldmeilen, Switzerland.
1957 -- Breuer receives an honorary doctorate from the University of Budapest. Architectural project: Westchester Reform Temple, Scarsdale, New York. Exhibitions: International Autumn Fair, Vienna, Austria, U.S. Pavilion; "Amerika Baut" ("America Builds"), Marshall House, Berlin, Germany.
1958 -- Breuer becomes a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. Architectural projects: El Recreo Urban Center, Caracas, Venezuela; St. John's Abbey and University, St. Thomas Aquinas Residence Hall, Collegeville, Minnesota; Halvorson House, Dryberry Lake Area, Kenora, Ontario, Canada; Recreational Apartments, Tanaguarena, Venezuela. Exhibitions: "Ars Sacra" Exhibition, Louvain, France; Concrete Industries Exposition, Cleveland, Ohio, The Pavilion.
1959 -- Architectural projects: Whitby Elementary School, Greenwich, Connecticut; Ustinov House, Vevey, Switzerland. Exhibitions: "U.S. Architecture in Moscow," Moscow, U.S.S.R.; "1960 National Gold Medal Exhibition of the Building Arts," Museum of Contemporary Crafts, New York, New York, Photographic Displays of Various Breuer Projects; "Form Givers at Mid-Century" (traveling exhibition), Photographic Displays of Various Breuer Projects.
1960 -- Architectural projects: Flaine Ski Resort Town, Haute-Savoie, France; St. John's Abbey and University, Library, Collegeville, Minnesota; Brookhaven National Laboratory (for Nuclear Research), Upton, Long Island, New York; Torrington Manufacturing Company, Rochester, Indiana; Abraham & Straus Department Store, Facade, Hempstead, Long Island, New York; McMullen Beach House, Mantoloking, New Jersey.
1961 -- Architectural projects: St. Francis de Sales Church, Church and Rectory, Muskegon, Michigan; Temple B'Nai Jeshurun, Short Hills, Millburn Township, New Jersey; One Charles Center, Baltimore, Maryland; International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), Research Center, La Gaude, France; Fairview Heights Apartments, Ithaca, New York. Exhibitions: "Bauhaus" [location unknown]; "New Forms in Concrete," American Federation of Arts (traveling exhibition).
1962 -- Publication of book, Marcel Breuer Buildings and Projects, 1921-1961, by Cranston Jones. Architectural projects: Torrington Manufacturing Company, Machine Division, Torrington, Connecticut; Scarves by Vera, Showroom, Los Angeles, California; Kacmarcik House, St. Paul, Minnesota. Exhibition: "Fourth Biennale of Present-Day Christian Art," Salzburg Dome, Salzburg, Austria.
1963 -- Herbert Beckhard, Murray Emslie, and Hamilton Smith become partners in Marcel Breuer and Associates. Architectural projects: Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Headquarters Building, Washington, D.C.; Hoboken Terminal Building, Hoboken, New Jersey; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York; Grand Central Air Rights Building, 175 Park Avenue, New York, New York; Torrington Manufacturing Company, Nivelles, Belgium; Koerfer House, Moscia, Tessin, Switzerland; Van der Wal House, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Exhibitions: "Recent American Synagogue Architecture," The Jewish Museum, New York, New York; "Churches and Temples: Postwar Architecture," American Institute of Architects, Pepsi Cola Gallery, New York, New York; "On Campus: Recent Buildings," American Federation of Arts (traveling exhibition).
1964 -- Breuer establishes an office near the Parc des Expositions, Paris, France. Robert F. Gatje becomes a partner in Marcel Breuer and Associates. Murray Emslie leaves, and Tician Papachristou joins Marcel Breuer and Associates. Architectural projects: Boston Redevelopment Parcel 8 Competition, Boston, Massachusetts; ZUP (Zone à Urbaniser par Priorité/"Zone Designated for Priority Urbanization") Community, Bayonne, France; New York University, University Heights Campus, Technology Building II, Bronx, New York; St. John's Abbey and University, Science Hall, and Auditorium, Collegeville, Minnesota; Yale University, Becton Center for Engineering and Applied Science, New Haven, Connecticut; St. Luke's Church, Fairport, New York; Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Washington, D.C.; Scarves by Vera, Showroom and Offices, 417 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York; De Gunzburg Houses, Megève, Haute-Savoie, France; Rufus Stillman House II, Litchfield, Connecticut. Exhibition: "Art in the United States" Part III, ("Architecture in the U.S.A."), Brearley School, New York, New York.
1965 -- Breuer's Paris office (Marcel Breuer Architecte) moves to 48 rue Chapon in the third arrondissement. Breuer's New York office moves to 635 Madison Avenue and 59th Street. Breuer suffers the first of a series of heart attacks while in New York in August. Architectural projects: Interama (Community for Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay), Miami, Fla.; Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) Headquarters, Washington, D.C.; State School for the Mentally Retarded, Nassau County, New York; Cardinal Stritch College (Tri-Arts Center), Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Mary College, Bismarck, North Dakota; University of Massachusetts, Murray Lincoln Campus Center and Parking Structure, Amherst, Massachusetts; Laboratoires Sarget, Corporate Headquarters and Pharmaceutical Plant, Bordeaux, France; Purdue Frederick Company, Corporate Headquarters, Bordeaux, France; Torrington Manufacturing Company, Swindon, England; Torrington Manufacturing Company, Administration Building, Torrington, Connecticut. Exhibition: "Architecture of Industry," Architectural League of New York, (traveling exhibition).
1966 -- Breuer and Robert F. Gatje move back to the New York office. Eric Cercler and Mario Jossa are left in charge of the Paris office. Architectural projects: Sports Park, Corona-Flushing Meadow Park, Queens, New York; Charlotte Hungersford Hospital, Torrington, Connecticut; Stables Competition, Central Park, New York, New York; St. John's Abbey and University, Student Residence Hall II and Student Center and Swimming Pavilion, Collegeville, Minnesota. Furniture design: Tapestries. Exhibitions: Svoboda & Company Furniture Exhibition," Selection 66," Vienna, Austria; School of Architecture Exhibition, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma; "Rugs," Stephen Radich Gallery, New York, New York; "Bauhaus: A Teaching Idea," Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
1967 -- Architectural projects: Campus High School, Secondary Education Complex, Madison Park Urban Renewal Area, Boston, Massachusetts; Kent School, Girls' Chapel, Kent, Connecticut; St. John's Abbey and University, Ecumenical and Cultural Research Center, Collegeville, Minnesota; Cleveland Museum of Art, Education Wing, Cleveland, Ohio; Baldegg Convent, Mother House Institute, near Lucerne, Switzerland; Cleveland Trust Company, Bank and Office Building, Cleveland, Ohio; Grand Coulee Dam, Columbia Basin Project Third Power Plant and Forebay Dam, Douglas County, Washington; Geller House II, Lawrence, Long Island, New York; Kreizel House Addition, [location unknown]; Soriano House, Greenwich, Connecticut.
1968 -- Breuer is awarded the Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects. Breuer is awarded the Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture from the University of Virginia. Architectural projects: Olgiata Parish Church, Rome, Italy; Harrison-State Development Corporation, Office Building, Bristol Center, Syracuse, New York; Armstrong Rubber Company, New Haven, Connecticut; International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), Expansion of Headquarters Facility, Armonk, New York; International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), Offices, Laboratories, and Manufacturing Facility, Boca Raton, Florida; Scarves by Vera, Showroom, 1411 Broadway, New York, New York; Rosenberg House, [location unknown].
1969 -- Mario Jossa is made sole director of the Paris office. Architectural projects: West Queens High School, Long Island City, Queens, New York; Harvard University, Bio-Chemistry Building, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Boston Office Building, 60 State Street, Boston, Massachusetts. Exhibition: "Le Bauhaus: 1919-1969," Musée National d'Art Moderne et Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France.
1970 -- Breuer receives an honorary doctorate from Harvard University. Publication of book, Marcel Breuer New Buildings and Projects, by Tician Papachristou. Architectural projects: Australian Embassy, Paris, France; Bryn Mawr School for Girls, Baltimore, Maryland; State University of New York at Buffalo, Engineering and Applied Science Complex, Buffalo, New York; University of Virginia, Physics Building, Charlottesville, Virginia. Exhibition: ["Marcel Breuer"?], Szépmuvészeti Múzeum (Museum of Fine Arts), Budapest, Hungary.
1971 -- Architectural projects: Acquitaine Coast Resort, Port Contis, France; Atlanta Central Library, Atlanta, Georgia; Pine Ridge High School, Pine Ridge, South Dakota; Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, New York, New York; European Investment Bank, Kirchberg Plateau, Luxembourg; Torin Corporation, Tech Center, Building 1, Torrington, Connecticut.
1972 -- Breuer suffers another heart attack in Kabul, Afghanistan. Breuer sells his house in New Canaan and moves to 63rd Street, New York. Architectural projects: Clarksburg Public Library, Clarksburg, West Virginia; Southern New England Telephone Company (SNET), Traffic Service Position; Systems Building, Torrington, Connecticut; American Press Institute, Conference Center, Reston, Virginia; Afghanistan Hotels, Kabul and Bamyan, Afghanistan; Picker House, Lake Carmel, New York; Saier House, Glanville-Calvados, France. Exhibitions: "Breuer en France," Knoll International, Paris, France; "Marcel Breuer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art" (traveling exhibition), Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York.
1973 -- Architectural projects: Heckscher Museum, Expansion Project, Huntington, New York; Defendon Pharma, Limburg an der Lahn, Germany; Torin Corporation, Sculpture, Torrington, Connecticut; Torin Corporation, Assembly Plant, Lawton, Oklahoma; Gagarin House II, Litchfield, Connecticut; Rufus Stillman House III, Litchfield, Connecticut. Exhibition: "Marcel Breuer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art" (traveling exhibition), Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Illinois.
1974 -- Architectural projects: Strom Thurmond Courthouse and Federal Office Building, Columbia, South Carolina; Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority, Red Line Subway Expansion, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Exhibitions: "The Flowering of American Folk Art," Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York, Installation designed by Breuer and Hamilton Smith; "Marcel Breuer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art" (traveling exhibition), Centre de Création Industrielle, Pavillon de Marsan, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, France.
1975 -- Architectural projects: Lawton Community, Lawton, Oklahoma; Mundipharma, Limburg, Germany; Andrew Geller Shoes, Inc., Showroom, New York, New York; Mt. Tochal Hotel, Tehran, Iran. Exhibition: "Marcel Breuer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art" (traveling exhibition), Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin-Charlottenburg, Germany.
1976 -- Breuer retires from practice. Marcel Breuer and Associates becomes Marcel Breuer Associates and later MBA/Architects and Planners. Architectural projects: Sadat City Ministries Complex, Cairo, Egypt; National Museum of American Amusement, [location unknown]; Torin Corporation, Penrith, Australia; Mideast Market (fish, meat, and vegetable market), Kuwait; Cairo Airport Hotel, Cairo, Egypt; Bratti House, New Canaan, Connecticut.
1977 -- Mario Jossa becomes a partner in MBA/Architects and Planners. Architectural projects: BAFO Warehouse, Springfield, Virginia; ITT Palm Coast Condominiums, Flagler Beach, Florida. Exhibition: "Art and Contemporary Architecture," David Findlay Galleries, New York, New York.
1978 -- Breuer receives the Grand Médaille d'Or from the Academy of Architecture, France. Architectural projects: Litchfield County Courthouse, Litchfield, Connecticut; Grand Coulee Dam, Columbia River Basin Project, Visitors Arrival Center, Douglas County, Washington.
1979 -- Architectural project: Boyarsky House, Lawrence, New York.
1980 -- Breuer receives an honorary doctorate from the Parsons School of Design. MBA/Architects and Planners moves to 26th Street, New York. MBA/Architects and Planners sells the Paris practice to Mario Jossa. Architectural projects: Pall Corporation, Headquarters and Parking Structure, Glen Cove, New York; Philip Morris, Inc., Manufacturing Facility, Cabarrus County, North Carolina; Pittsburgh Convention Center Hotel, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
1981 -- Marcel Breuer dies on July 1 in New York City. Architectural projects: N F & M Corporation, Jericho, New York; Garces House, Cali, Colombia.
1982 -- Herbert Beckhard leaves the partnership in November. Architectural projects: Xerox Corporation, [location unknown]; General Electric Company, Waldorf Towers Apartment, New York, New York; General Electric Company, Chairman's Office Competition, New York, New York; General Electric Company, Corporate Guest Facility and Helipad, Lewisboro, New York.
1983 -- Partnership now called Gatje Papachristou Smith, and is located in offices on lower Fifth Avenue, New York. Architectural project: 44th Street Precinct House, Bronx, New York.
1986 -- Partnership of Gatje Papachristou Smith dissolved.
Related Archival Materials note:
Additional blueprints and drawings by Breuer are located at Syracuse University.
A presentation book for the IBM Research Center in La Gaude, France, is located in the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.
The collection was donated to the Archives of American Art in five installments, 1985-1999, by Constance Breuer, widow of Marcel Breuer.
The microfilm for this collection has been digitized and is available online via the Archives of American Art website.
Saarinen, Aline B. (Aline Bernstein), 1914-1972 Search this
Box 1, Folder 9
The collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website. Use of material not digitized requires an appointment.
NBC TV scripts or film prepared for television: Authorization to publish, quote or reproduce requires written permission from NBC Studios. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Aline and Eero Saarinen Papers, 1906-1977. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by Terra Foundation for American Art
An interview of Rosanne Somerson conducted 2006 August 7-2007 June 22, by Thomas Michie, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at the Rhode Island School of Design, in Providence, Rhode Island. In part one of this interview, Somerson speaks of growing up outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; attending RISD beginning in 1971; being asked to teach there nine years later; creating a new department of furniture design; tailoring that furniture design program to encompass the development from design to manufacture; introducing materials other than wood into the program; garnering international attention through worldwide exhibits; her first show at the Richard Kagan Gallery in Philadelphia; participating in a group show in New York City for female woodworkers; making connections through the Snyderman Gallery and Pritam and Eames Gallery; working directly with clients on commissioned pieces; the financial stability of teaching; designing a piece for the headquarters of Khon, Peterson Fox, and Conway in New York; the sculptural elements present in many of her works; moving from a small studio in Boston, Massachusetts, to a larger studio in Westport, Connecticut, and finally to a shared studio in Fall River, Massachusetts; the supportive and proud reaction of her children to her work; creating a production company with colleagues and designing furniture for the RISD dormitories; attempting to make these designs both flexible and environmentally-friendly; putting aside teaching for an administrative position in the department; recent travel to Japan, Australia, England, Israel, and France; enrolling in summer programs with art schools like Haystack Mountain School of Craft in Maine and others; and excitement for her upcoming sabbatical.
In the second portion of the interview, she discusses living in a house built by her father in Wyncote, Pennsylvania; enjoying the location of the house on a former cherry orchard and consequently being drawn cherry wood as a medium; the feeling of her parents that anything could be accomplished with a certain amount of study; her mother's interest in weaving and spinning later in life; the creative pursuits of her older brothers, including creative writing and photography; verbally communicating the outside world to her blind grandfather and gaining an aptitude for interpreting visual imagery; being more academically than artistically focused in her youth; visiting art museums and having other cultural experiences with her family; being fascinated with photography by seeing her brother's work; deciding to put off college in order to spend a year in Denmark studying photography; enrolling in RISD and feeling overwhelmed at first by her inexperience; taking a winter course in wood-working and preferring it to photography; being advised by her teacher Tage Frid to gain a wood-working education by pursuing sculpture at RISD; transferring into industrial design later; learning a great deal from and being extraordinarily influenced by Tage Frid as a furniture designer and teacher; taking a semester off to attend Peters Valley Craftsmen in New Jersey; spending a few years after graduation assisting Frid with the writing and publication of his articles; working as an assistant editor for Fine Woodworking magazine; being offered a job at RISD in the furniture department; creating the furniture design program; using RISD's collection as inspiration for her work and as a teaching tool; moving towards using more local woods in her designs; her recent lecture and travel in China; and looking forward to focusing on her work in the new studio.
Somerson recalls John Dunnigan, Dick Kagan, Ned Cooke, Jonathan Fairbanks, Wendy Maruyama, James Krenov, Dan Jackson, Jere Osgood, Alphonse Mattia, Peter Joseph, Ron Abramson, Charlie Swanson, Eck Follen, Peter Walker, and others. In the second part, Somerson recalls Merlin Szasz, LeRoy White, Hardu Keck, Gracia Melanson, Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, Paul Crot, Paul Capanigro, Tage Frid, Hans Wolfe, Mark Sfirri, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Rosanne Somerson (1954- ) is a professor of furniture design and furniture designer and maker in Westport, Massachusetts. Thomas Michie is a curator of decorative arts, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California.
Originally recorded on 5 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 3 hr., 3 min.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Letters (1921-1961), writings, art work, photographs, a scrapbook (1925-1933), and printed material (1788-1968) document the life and career of Peter Hunt.
Thirty-five Christmas cards, some silkscreened, contain notes and letters from friends (1921-1961). Art work consists of 44 Christmas card designs, most silkscreened, and 11 watercolor sketches by Hunt (undated, 1915) and a watercolor painting by A. W. Stette. Writings consist of 3 essays about Hunt by Colin Clements, Guy Pearce Jones, and an unidentified author. Photographs show Hunt, his works of art, a workshop, actress Cecile Sorel, and others. A scrapbook contains clippings about society figures and a photograph of Baron Willy (1925-1933).
Printed material consists of clippings (1922-1967), 2 exhibition announcements (undated, 1938), 3 brochures (1944-1945), posters, THE SANTA CLAUS PICTURE BOOK (1901), a fragment of PETER HUNT'S WORKBOOK (1945), a catalog from the auction of Hunt's estate (1968), a sample of Hunt's stationery from his shop The Peasant Village, and 62 almanacs (1788-1854) including THE AMERICAN ANTI-SLAVERY ALMANAC (1838-1840), BICKERSTAFF'S BOSTON ALMANACK (1788-1789), THE CHRISTIAN ALMANACK (1826-1827), THE FARMER'S ALMANACK (1798-1854), and THE TEMPERANCE ALMANAC (1836-1842).
Biographical / Historical:
Folk artist, furniture decorator; Provincetown, Massachusetts. Born Frederick L. Schnitzler in New York City, Hunt was raised in New Jersey. In 1919, he settled permanently on Cape Cod.
Donated by family friends Muriel P. Strout and Nancy Whorf Kelly.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Furniture designers -- Massachusetts -- Provincetown Search this
An interview of Joyce Anderson conducted 2002 September 18-19, by Donna Gold, in Morristown, New Jersey, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America.
Anderson describes her training in economics at New York University, and her interrupted career in that field; her childhood, "a good bringing-up," and her family; dating Edgar Anderson in high school, and marrying him after World War II; and on the early years of their partnership and her own self-education as a woodworker; the design and construction of their home, the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright, and living briefly in Wright's Robie House in Chicago; Scandanavian furniture as an important early influence on their work, as well as the enduring influence of the local environment; the general spirit of the early period, infused with a sense of "breaking tradition"; the New Jersey Designer Craftsmen, and friends such as George Nakashima and Wharton Esherick; on her status as a woman in the movement, which was "never" problematic; projects executed for institutional clients, including furniture designed for public libraries, churches, and synagogues; private clients, and their relationships with clients; her design approach, which differs greatly from her husband's, as well as shared attitudes towards applied decoration and problem solving; her inclusion in the exhibition "Women Designers in the USA 1900-2000: Diversity and Difference," at the Bard Graduate Center for Studies; the difficulties of the spousal partnership, on her own health which was compromised by sawdust, and on the future of the house which is being donated to a preservation trust; large parties they hosted at the house, which included children in elaborate performances. She also recalls Tom Tibbs, Lou and Sandy Grotta, Sam Maloof, Hugh Wiley, Zelda Strecker, Emil Milan, Gustav Stickley, Bob Stocksdale, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Joyce Anderson (1925- ) is a woodworker from Morristown, New Jersey.
Originally recorded 3 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 16 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr., 50 min.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
United States of America -- North Carolina -- Durham County -- Durham
United States of America -- Massachusetts -- Suffolk County -- Boston
United States of America -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia County -- Philadelphia
United States of America -- New York -- New York
Scope and Contents:
The Philip G. Freelon Architectural Archival Collection documents the life and career of architect, educator, cultural heritage preservation advocate and artist Philip G. Freelon. The collection highlights his distinguished career from its inception to his role as the "architect of record" for the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Freelon was one of the leading African American architects of his generation and he created a focus designing and constructing buildings that paid reverence to African Americans and other underrepresented communities. This collection is comprised of business records, photographic materials, ephemera, correspondence, architectural drawings, and clippings.
The materials in this collection have been separated into seven series. The materials have been ordered and organized based on the content and chronology. Within each series and sub-series, the folders are organized as close to the collection's original order as when it was acquired.
Biographical / Historical:
Philip Goodwin Freelon was born March 26, 1953, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Allan Freelon, Jr. and Elizabeth Neal Freelon. Freelon was greatly influenced by his grandfather, Allan Freelon Sr., a notable Harlem Renaissance visual artist, educator, and civil rights activist. His grandfather's values and artistry inspired him to create a career that focused on creating historical and cultural spaces in African American communities. Freelon attended high school at the former predominantly white elite all-boys school, Central High School located in upper North Philadelphia from 1967 to 1971. His attendance at this school during of the Civil Rights Movement afforded him the unique experience that inspired him to attend a historically Black college (HBCU). Freelon selected Hampton Institute (Hampton University) to develop his veneration of the composition and design of the buildings that held cultural and artistic treasures. Located in the Tidewater area of Virginia, Hampton was renowned among HBCUs for its architecture program. His professor and mentor at Hampton, John Spencer, pushed Freelon academically as he moved easily through the school's curriculum. After two years at Hampton, Spencer helped Freelon transition to a more challenging program at North Carolina State University (NCSU) in Raleigh, North Carolina. Freelon graduated in 1975 with a bachelor's in environmental design in architecture.
Later in the fall of 1975, Freelon enrolled at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to pursue a master's in architecture. During the summers, Freelon worked with one of former his NC State professors at the architectural firm of John D. Latimer and Associates. After graduating from MIT in 1977, Freelon returned to North Carolina to take his Architecture Registration Examination (ARE), becoming the firm's youngest person to receive licensure. He also began teaching classes at his alma mater, NC State. It was there that Freelon met his future wife, Nnenna Pierce. Pierce, a Massachusetts native was attending Simmons College in Boston at the time. The connection was immediate, and the pair was married in 1979 and welcomed their first son, Deen in 1980. After a brief employment for a large Texas firm 3/D International, Freelon returned to Durham to join O'Brien Atkins Associates. He was the firm's youngest partner, eventually serving as principal and vice president of architecture. Freelon worked on a wide variety of projects throughout the state including learning centers, university buildings, churches, and parking garages. Along with Freelon's budding career, his family was expanding as well. Phil and Nnenna welcomed their daughter Maya in 1982 and their son, Pierce in 1983. During this time, Freelon was being highly recognized for his work. The American of Institute of Architects (AIA) awarded him the Honor Award for his design of Terminal 2 of the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, which has since been rebuilt.
By the end of the decade, Freelon and his wife Nnenna needed a change of pace. Nnenna pursued a professional career in music while Phil took a break from his career to expand his skillset and reinforce his intellectual approach to design. In 1989, Freelon was granted the Loeb Fellowship for one year of independent study at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He also pursued a longtime hobby of furniture design, calling the practice "small architecture". He received industry awards like first prize in the PPG Industries, Inc. Furniture Design Competition as well as AIA Honor Award for conference table designs. With a year away from the field to clarify his vision, Freelon opened his own firm, simply titled, the Freelon Group in 1990. Beginning as a one-man operation, the Freelon Group grew to become one of the largest African American owned architectural firms in the country with over 50 employees, forty percent of which were women, and thirty percent were people of color. With freedom within his own firm, Freelon focused on designing learning centers, libraries and museums and vowed to never build anything that did not bring cultural and intellectual value to a community.
Over the next twenty years, Freelon would assert himself as a force in designing notable cultural institutions and community-driven projects in and around the country including the Sonja Haynes Stone Center at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC), Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture (Baltimore, MD), Museum of African Diaspora (San Francisco, CA), Harvey B. Gantt for African American Arts and Culture (Charlotte, NC), the Anacostia and Tenley-Friendship branches of the District of Columbia Public Library , National Center for Civil Rights and Human Rights (Atlanta, GA), Mississippi Civil Rights Museum (Jackson, MS) and Emancipation Park (Houston, TX).
Alongside his architectural career, Freelon served as a lecturer and adjunct professor at several colleges and universities including North Carolina State University, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of Maryland College Park, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Syracuse University, and the Florence, Italy program at Kent State University. Freelon was awarded a full-time appointment as professor of Professional Practice at MIT in 2008. The Professional Practice (4.222) course was a requirement for the master's in architecture and he used examples from his extensive career and personal experience to illustrate legal, ethical, and management concepts. Nnenna's music career was also thriving. She would go on to record twelve albums and be nominated for six Grammys. This fusion of education, the arts, and music inspired another generation of Freelons: their son, Pierce Freelon is a hip-hop artist, educator, and political activist; daughter Maya Freelon is a visual artist; and son Deen Freelon is a professor.
In 2001, George W. Bush established a commission to create a new museum on the National Mall. Freelon wanted to enter his firm to participate in the international design competition. Freelon would partner with famed African American New York City architect, J. Max Bond, Jr. and by 2006 the two officially formed the Freelon Bond Architects.The Freelon Bond group submitted their proposal and soon after were elected to create programming and pre-design work for the museum. When the official design competition for the museum was announced in 2008, UK-based architect David Adjaye joined the team as the lead designer, and along with the partnering firm SmithGroup, the new architectural team became Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup. The three black architects combined a variety of distinctive elements from Africa and the Americas to create the building's unique, historically significant design. The Freelon Group served as the "architect of record" and were responsible for ensuring that key design ideas were upheld. Freelon and key firm members such as Zena Howard were active as on-site project managers during the museum's construction process to certify that the building would be developed according to plan.
Freelon, Adjaye, and Bond were tasked with taking the collective history of the African American experience-- generations of pain, triumph, and perseverance-- and forming it into a structure. The team looked to African sources, such as Yoruban architecture, for inspiration. They sought to connect the building's design to the geographic and cultural roots of African Americans. Their design choices also reference the contributions of enslaved and free black metalworkers made to the landscape of the American South. Their goal was to make the museum an extension of its contents, and an expression of the stories told inside.
By the groundbreaking for NMAAHC in 2012, Freelon had been appointed to the U.S. Commission of the Fine Arts by President Barack Obama. In an effort to broaden his resources and expand his firm, The Freelon Group merged with Perkins & Will, a firm originating in Chicago that grew to have offices across the United States. Freelon was appointed the managing director and later lead design director at the firm's North Carolina offices in Charlotte and Durham in 2014. By the next year, Freelon understood that his work in architecture and education was a necessary voice to preserve, which he did through donation of the bulk of his personal papers to his alma mater, NC State University. The year 2016 proved to be a year of triumph for Freelon as NMAAHC opened its doors on September 24th to much jubilation and celebration. That same year, Freelon's legacy was further cemented as the Phil Freelon Fellowship Fund was established at Harvard University Graduate School of Design, a fellowship designed to broaden opportunities for African Americans and other underrepresented communities in architecture and design.
Unfortunately, this triumphant year was met with difficulty as Freelon was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive disease that affects the nervous system. He would continue to work and lecture for the next two years until it became too challenging. One of those projects was the renovation and opening of The NorthStar Church of the Arts in early 2019. A passion project with his wife and son, Pierce, a former church was renovated and repurposed as an arts and cultural space for all. This space was created in an effort to support the Durham cultural community as it began to feel the effects of gentrification. When Freelon lost his battle with ALS on July 9, 2019, in his home in Durham, North Carolina, the family requested that in lieu of flowers that donations be sent to the NorthStar Church to continue the center's mission and Phil's dream to give back to the Durham community.
1953 -- Philip Goodwin Freelon was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Allan Freelon Jr. and Elizabeth Neal Freelon.
1971 -- Freelon graduated from Central High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and entered School of Architecture, Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia as a design student.
1973 -- Freelon transferred to College of Design at the North Carolina State University in Raleigh.
1975 -- Graduated with a Bachelor's in Environmental Design in Architecture from NC State University. He received the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Book Award for Outstanding Work in Architectural Design. In the fall, he began his master's program in architecture at MIT.
1976 -- Began working as aide for architectural firm, John D. Latimer and Associates.
1977 -- Graduated with a Master's in Architecture and Design from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT.)
1978 -- Freelon became youngest architect to pass the North Carolina Architecture Registration Exam. Freelon started teaching at North Carolina State University.
1979 -- Married Chinyere "Nnenna" Pierce. Freelon began working for, 3/D International in Houston, Texas.
1980 -- Son Deen Freelon was born.
1981 -- Freelon returned to Durham, NC to join O'Brien Atkins Associates as the firm's youngest partner.
1982 -- Daughter Maya Freelon was born.
1983 -- Son Pierce Freelon was born.
1989-1990 -- Received Loeb Fellowship for independent study at Harvard University. Freelon received AIA Honor Award for American Airlines Terminal 2 at Raleigh-Durham Airport, NC (RDU).
1990 -- Freelon left O'Brien Atkins Associates to open his own firm The Freelon Group.
1991 -- Won first prize in the PPG Furniture Design Competition.
1992 -- Won the AIA Honor Award for Conference Table Designs.
2001 -- Won the AIA Firm Award for The Freelon Group and the AIA Design Award for Parking Structure, RDU Airport. Began attending meetings of President George W. Bush's commission on new National Mall museum dedicated to African American history and culture.
2003 -- Freelon merged his firm with New York architect Max Bond to create Freelon Bond Architects.
2004 -- Sonja Haynes Stone Center at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC) was completed.
2005 -- Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture (Baltimore, MD) and Museum of African Diaspora (San Francisco, CA) were both completed.
2008 -- UK-based architect David Adjaye and Washington, DC based architecture firm, Smithgroup joined the team, creating the Freelon Adjaye Bond Group/SmithGroup Freelon began teaching at MIT's school of Architecture and Design.
2009 -- Freelon Adjaye Bond/Smithgroup won the official design for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). Harvey B. Gantt for African American Arts and Culture (Charlotte, NC) was completed.
2010 -- Anacostia branch of the District of Columbia Public Library (Washington, DC) was completed.
2011 -- Tenley-Friendship branch of the District of Columbia Public Library (Washington, DC) was completed.
2012 -- Construction began on NMAAHC.
2014 -- The Freelon Group merged with Perkins & Will, a much larger architectural firm. Freelon became managing director and lead design director of the North Carolina branches in Durham and Charlotte. National Center for Civil Rights and Human Rights (Atlanta, GA) was completed.
2016 -- Freelon was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
2017 -- Mississippi Civil Rights Museum (Jackson, MS) and Emancipation Park (Houston, TX) were completed.
2019 -- Freelon died in his home in Durham, North Carolina at age 66 on July 9.
Phil Freelon Papers, 1975-2019 at North Carolina State University Libraries.
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Philip G. Freelon.
Collection is open for research. Access to collection materials requires an appointment.
The NMAAHC Archives can provide reproductions of some materials for research and educational use. Copyright and right to publicity restrictions apply and limit reproduction for other purposes.
The bulk of the collection consists of renderings of sewing machines and related products by industrial designers such as Henry Dreyfuss, Robert P. Gersin, Eliot Noyes, and Malcolm S. Park; by designers of Singer's in-house design department; and by consultants to the firm. Materials include decals, photographs, negatives, patents, and renderings and sketches. This collection documents the influence of industrial design on Singer sewing machines as well as other household products such as vacuum cleaners.
Scope and Contents:
The bulk of the collection consists of drawings by industrial designers such as Henry Dreyfuss, Robert P. Gersin, Eliot Noyes, and Malcolm Park; by designers of Singer's in-house design department; and by consultants to the firm. These materials show the influence of industrial design on Singer machines.
Series 1, Photographs, 1927-1979, is divided into three subseries: Subseries 1, Editorial Department, 1927-1979; Subseries 2, Competitors, undated; and Subseries 3, Miscellaneous, 1977 and undated.
Subseries 1, Editorial Department, 1927-1979, consists of camera-ready art presumably for catalogs and advertising created by the editorial department at Singer Manufacturing. The photographs are black-and-white (8" x 10") and depict "cut away" views of the internal workings of Singer sewing machines before the casing was put on the machine. When the machines are not Singer, it is noted. The model number is provided, and the photographs are arranged chronologically.
Subseries 2, Competitors, undated, consists of images depicting mostly competitor sewing machines that are mounted on pages with captions. The images are black-and-white (2" x 2") and include companies such as Adler, Bernina, Elgin, Juki, Meister, Necchi, Sewmaid, Veritas, and Zundapp. The series is arranged alphabetically by manufacturer name.
Subseries 3, Miscellaneous, 1977 and undated, consists of black-and-white and color photographs (8" x 10" or smaller) for the 560 machine and a sewing cabinet.
Series 2, Decalcomania, undated, consists of one album of decal samples and loose decal/transfer cards created for Singer sewing machines and other sewing machine companies. Decalcomania is a decorative technique by which engravings and prints are transferred to other materials, such as the body of a sewing machine. Today, the use of the word "decal" is more widely used.
Some of the decals are on tracing paper, tin, and poster board. Some are in color with floral designs, and the size and style of font vary. Other decals include patent marks, the name "Singer Manufacturing Company," "Singer," oil level, and there are custom decals for specific sewing machine companies such as the Camel Sewing Machine Company, Ltd.
The decals are arranged numerically by transfer numbers, and there are two distinct groups of decal design/transfer cards. One group is numbered 63 to 141 (not inclusive) with the majority of the designs in color; the other set of decal cards is arranged in an unbound portfolio book numbered 1 to 41. Many of the decal/transfer cards have additional information about which machine or class of machines the transfer was designed for. For example, transfer #316 was used for the 99-13 machine. Machine 99-13 is also labeled with a sticker titled "SD-37." Presumably this indicates that the decal was Singer design number 37. If a decal was cancelled this is noted with a date.
Series 3, Industrial Designers' Materials, 1936-1983, consists of industrial designers and is divided into twelve subseries: Subseries 1, Henry Dreyfuss Associates, 1964-1978; Subseries 2, Robert P. Gersin Associates, Inc., 1980-1983; Subseries 3, Industrial Design Group and Industrial Design Laboratory, 1970-1975; Subseries 4, Innovations and Development, Inc., circa 1977-1979; Subseries 5, Leo Jiranek, circa 1960-1964; Subseries 6, Monte L. Levin, 1961-1962; Subseries 7, Mezey Macowski, 1967-1969; Subseries 8, Eliot Noyes, 1969, 1978; Subseries 9, Malcolm S. Park, 1936-1978; Subseries 10, Schmitz, 1973; Subseries 11, Eric Schneider, 1980. The series is arranged alphabetically.
Subseries 1, Henry Dreyfuss Associates, 1964-1978, consists of storyboards and renderings (20" x 25" or smaller) in ink, colored pencils and crayon for sewing machines and sewing machine carrying cases. Many of the renderings are preliminary. The subseries is arranged sequentially by assigned drawings numbers designated "D." Drawing D18 is heavily annotated on the reverse side
Subseries 2, Robert P. Gersin Associates, Inc., 1980-1983, consists of twenty drawings mounted on foam core board for various sewing machine concepts from 1980-1983. Many of the drawings depict side and front elevations. Gersin (1929-1989) was an award-winning industrial designer. He founded Robert P. Gersin Associates, Inc., in 1959 and worked on a wide range of designs, including interiors, products and corporate identity programs. In 1984 the company designed the logotype and corporate identity program for Sears, Roebuck & Company, and in 1988 it designed the interior for Casual Corner stores.
Subseries 3, Industrial Design Group and Industrial Design Laboratory, 1970-1975, consists of renderings ( 20 1/2" x 26") and storyboards (15" x 20") created by the the Singer Technical Center in Elizabeth, New Jersey. The majority of the work is stamped with "Industrial Design Group" or "Industrial Design Laboratory." The storyboards consist of color photographs mounted to poster board and depict a variety of sewing machines, a hand stitcher, and electric pinking scissors. The majority of renderings are not attributed to a specific designer, but some were drawn by designer W. Current.
Subseries 4, Innovations and Development, Inc., circa 1977-1979, consists of renderings created by consultants to Singer Manufacturing of Fort Lee, New Jersey. The renderings are ink on tracing paper (19" x 24") and they are not numbered or dated.
Subseries 5, Leo Jiranek, circa 1960-1964, consists of three drawings (19 1/2" x 24") for a 1964 World's Fair house and World's Fair chair. Jiranek (1900-1990) was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He graduated from Princeton University in 1922 and went to work for Turner Construction Company. In 1924 he took over his father's furniture design business. Considered by many to be the "Dean of Furniture Designers," one of the industry's first freelancers, he contributed to more furniture companies than any other designer, including Magnavox, Thomasville, Ethan Allen, Kroehler, Haywood Wakefield, The Lane Co., Bassett, Broyhill and Garrison. In the 1960s, Jiranek founded and was president of the Jiranek School of Furniture Design and Technology in New York City.
Subseries 6, Monte L. Levin, 1961-1962, was an industrial designer who founded Monte Levin Associates in 1945. The renderings (18 1/2" x 22" or smaller) are ink on tracing paper and depict Singer sewing machine cases.
Subseries 7, Mezey Macowski, 1967-1969, consists of seven (14" x 16 1/2") ink- colored drawings depicting a sewing table.
Subseries 8, Eliot Noyes, 1969, 1978, consists of two colored ink on vellum renderings of electric scissors. Noyes (1910-1977) was an American architect and industrial designer who worked on projects for IBM. The renderings for Singer sewing machines (A-E) were done by Gordon Bruce while at Eliot Noyes Industrial Design, Inc.
Subseries 9, Malcolm S. Park, 1936-1978, consists of a 130-page portfolio depicting Park's (1905-1991)work as an industrial designer for Singer Manufacturing Company. The pages are 13" x 16" and materials are mounted on the pages with captions. In some instances, materials have come loose. The types of materials include, patents, patent drawings, ephemera, correspondence, renderings, advertising, photographs for sewing machines, sewing machine cabinets, irons, buttonholers, vacuum cleaners, floor polishers, timers, clocks, and stitching attachments.
Subseries 10, Schmitz, 1973, consists of one drawing (17 1/2" x 21") for a portable sewing machine called the Easy Egg.
Subseries 11, Eric Schneider, 1980, consists of six ink on tracing papers renderings (17" x 23") for sewing machines.
Subseries 12, Unknown Designers, undated, consists of two renderings (18" x 23") for sewing machines with parts labeled in German and renderings (12" x 16") depicting views of sewing systems, household items, and storage systems. Some of the items include sewing machines, vacuums, cash registers, canisters, intercoms, alarms, and fire and smoke detectors.
Series 4, Design Patents, 1936-1980, is divided into four subseries: Subseries 1, United States Design Patents, 1936-1980; and Subseries 2, Foreign Design Patents, 1961-1968. Design patents may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture.
Subseries 1, United States Design Patents, 1936-1980 consists of design patents that were assigned to the Singer Manufacturing Company by the inventors, Adam Baker Barnhart, Herbert S. Barnhart, Henry Dreyfuss, Christian Julian Felix, Russell A. Fritts, Donald M. Genaro, Hans Hacklander, Lloyd G. Kent, Jr., Monte L. Levin, Abbot Lutz, Michael McCann, L.C. Marsac, Charles F. Neagle, Malcolm S. Park, W. J. Peets, Robert E. Redman, Edgar P. Turner, Julian U. Von der Lancken, Tobin Wolf, Thaddeus J. Zylbert.
The majority of the patents are in patent jackets which were maintained by the Singer Manufacturing Company Patent Department. Patent jackets or patent folders are typically pre-printed with standard information such as patent number, actions, references, assignment, application serial number, and fee paid. This permitted easier documentation for the patent department. The jackets contain correspondence with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, foreign patent and trademark offices, as well as the inventor/designer, company attorneys and other company officials; drawings; photographs; newspaper clippings, and a sample of embroidery stitching. The three-way folders (10" x 15") are designed to house all of the legal documentation about the patenting process. In some instances, patents were abandoned, and this is noted. Additional file jackets include those for foreign applications and patents corresponding with United States application serial numbers. These pre-printed jackets contain the names of countries (such as Great Britain, Brazil, Italy, Japan and Sweden) where Singer Manufacturing was filing for design protection.
The majority of the design patents are for sewing machines and sewing machine cases, but there are some designs for vacuum cleaners, electric scissors, an embroidery attachment, a floor polishing machine, a display stand for needles, and a statuette. For example, the statuette was used as an award in the Singer World Stylemaker Contest and was intended to represent anyone that a person desires as well as signifying the craft of home sewing with an unrolled bolt of cloth draped around the statuette. The United States Design Patents are arranged numerically by design patent number, and the foreign design patents are arranged alphabetically by country, then numerically by patent number.
Subseries 2, Foreign, 1961-1968, consists of foreign design patents from the Congo, England, France and Italy.
Series 5, Utility Patents for Henry Dreyfuss, 1961-1965, is divided into two subseries, Subseries 1, United States Utility Patents, 1964-1965 and Subseries 2, Foreign Utility Patents, 1961-1964. Utility patents are granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new, useful, and non-obvious process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof. The United States and foreign utility patents are issued to industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss.
Series 6, Posters, 1985, consists of two posters from the National Museum of American History's exhibit titled "Industrial Design, An American Case History." The exhibit ran from July 24, 1985 to September 30, 1985.
Series 7, Miscellaneous, 1980, consists of a North Atlantic Consumer Products Group Research and Development Department report about the combination carrying case for 400/500K and 250/362m Series flat bed machines. The report contains project specifications and photographs.
The collections is divided into seven series.
Series 1, Photographs, 1927-1979
Subseries 1, Editorial Department, 1927-1979
Subseries 2, Competitors, undated
Subseries 3, Miscellaneous, 1977 and undated
Series 2, Decalcomania, undated
Series 3, Industrial Designers' Materials, 1936-1983
Subseries 1, Henry Dreyfuss Associates, 1962-1978
Subseries 2, Robert P. Gersin Associates, Inc., 1980-1983
Subseries 3, Industrial Design Group and Industrial Laboratory, 1970-1975
Subseries 4, Innovations and Development, Inc., circa 1977-1979
Subseries 5, Leo Jiranek, circa 1960-1964
Subseries 6, Monte L. Levin, 1961-1962
Subseries 7, Mezey Macowski, 1967-1969
Subseries 8, Eliot Noyes, 1969, 1978
Subseries 9, Malcom S. Park, 1936-1978
Subseries 10, Schmitz, 1973
Subseries 11, Eric Schneider, 1980
Subseries 12, Unknown designers, undated
Series 4, Design Patents, 1936-1980
Subseries 1, United States Design Patents, 1936-1980
Subseries 2, Foreign Design Patents, 1961-1968
Series 5, Utility Patents for Henry Dreyfuss, 1961-1965
Subseries 1, United States Utility Patents, 1964-1965
Subseries 2, Foreign Utility Patents, 1961-1964
Series 6, Posters, 1985
Series 7, Miscellaneous, 1970
Biographical / Historical:
In 1851, I.M. Singer and Company, with headquarters in New York, was founded by inventor Isaac Merrit Singer and businessman/lawyer Edward Clark. In 1863 the business was incorporated as the Singer Manufacturing Company. After 1867 the company became the dominant firm in the industry despite the fact that it sold more expensive products than any of its competitors. Business expanded in the United States and abroad while designers focused their efforts on making mechanical improvements in the machines in the last half of the nineteenth century. America's industrial design profession emerged during the Great Depression and began to influence the design of the sewing machine. Many compnaies mass-produced technological goods and designers began to play a crucial role in American industry. After the Stock Market crash of 1929 and during the Great Depression, goods were made to look more attractive and increase sales. Many firms, such as Singer Manufacturing Company, employed industrial designers as consultants. Other industrial designers established their own firms and agencies.
Materials in the Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, Sewing Machines (AC0060)
Landor Design Collection, circa 1930-1994 (AC0500)
Francis M. Mair Papers, circa 1938-1990 (AC0548)
Freda Diamond Collection, 1945-1984 (AC0616)
Lucian Bernhard Advertising Art Collection, 1920s-2000 (AC1161)
Materials in Other Organizations
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
Belle Kogan papers, 1920-1986
Philip McConnell typescripts, [circa 1957]
Arthur J. Pulos papers, 1935-[circa 1980s] (bulk 1947-1960)
Oral history interview with Arthur J. Pulos, 1980 July 31-1982 December 5
Oral history interview with Wendell Castle, 1981 June 3-December 12
The Newberry Library, Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections
Singer Manufacturing Company Records, 1861-1871
Wisconsin Historical Society
Singer Manufacturing Company Records, 1850-circa 1975
The Singer Company of Fairfield, New Jersey donated the collection on July 17, 1985.
The collection is open for research.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning intellectual property rights. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.