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James S. Plaut papers

Creator:
Plaut, James S. (James Sachs), 1912-1996  Search this
Names:
Expo 67 (Montréal, Québec)  Search this
Exposition universelle et internationale (1958 : Brussels, Belgium)  Search this
Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston, Mass.)  Search this
Institute of Modern Art (Boston, Mass.)  Search this
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston  Search this
World Crafts Council  Search this
Adenauer, Konrad, 1876-1967  Search this
Berman, Eugene, 1899-1972  Search this
Bernstein, Leonard, 1918-1990  Search this
Breuer, Marcel, 1902-  Search this
Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969  Search this
Gandhi, Indira, 1917-1984  Search this
Gropius, Walter, 1883-1969  Search this
Kirstein, Lincoln, 1907-  Search this
Kokoschka, Oskar, 1886-  Search this
Milles, Carl, 1875-1955  Search this
Peirce, Waldo, 1884-1970  Search this
Ruckstull, F. W. (Fred Wellington), 1853-1942  Search this
Sachs, Paul J. (Paul Joseph), 1878-1965  Search this
Wright, Frank Lloyd, 1867-1959  Search this
Extent:
1.4 Linear feet
2.2 Linear feet (Addition)
4 Volumes (Reels 581 and 5139: Scrapbooks)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Volumes
Interviews
Scrapbooks
Sketchbooks
Sound recordings
Place:
Israel
Date:
[ca. 1929]-1980
Scope and Contents:
Correspondence, business files, academic papers, photographs, clippings, sketchbook, sketches, and miscellaneous notes.
REEL 581: Selected items from 2 family scrapbooks, 1933-1943 and 1946-1956; including clippings, photographs, correspondence, invitations and awards. Most material pertains to Plaut's work as director of the ICA and advisor to the government of Israel. Also included are correspondence from Georges Rouault, Carl Milles, and Oskar Kokoschka; and 6 drawings by Waldo Peirce.
REEL 5139: Two family scrapbooks, 1956-1959 and 1960-1980, containing clippings, invitations, photographs and miscellaneous material from Plaut's work World's Fairs at Brussels, 1958, New York, 1964 and Japan, 1970. Also found are family snapshots of the Plaut's travels, their children and grandchildren and include 7 earlier photographs of Plaut and his parents, ca. 1906-1932, and one photograph of Eleanor Roosevelt, 1959.
UNMICROFILMED: Travel sketchbook of Rome; term papers, honors thesis, and sketches for an architectural history course; files relating to Plaut's positions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the ICA, the World Crafts Council, and other professional and personal concerns; correspondence, including letters from Eugene Berman, Carl Milles, Lincoln Kirstein, Paul Sachs and others; personal and work related photographs; lecture notes; slides from the World's Craft Fair Council, 1974; 2 untranscribed sound tape reels of an interview made by Plaut for Alfred Auerbach concerning the Brussels World's Fair 1958 and typed list of questions for the interview; and miscellaneous papers.
ADDITION: Resumes and obituaries; correspondence; the book, Waldo Peirce, by Margit Varga, 1941, with insertions of a caricature by Peirce, illustrated postcards, and a letter; photographs of Walter Gropius House, Lincoln, Mass. and 7 photographs of Plaut with Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer, Konrad Adenauer, Indira Gandhi, Leonard Bernstein, and Dwight David Eisenhower; scrapbook and slides pertaining to Plaut's work for the World's Fair, Brussels, 1958; writings and publications; publications of the ICA and the WCC; the book, The Overcoat, by Nikoli Gogel, presented to Plaut upon retirement from the WCC; publications by others on art and design; and a file on James and Mary Plaut's personal art collection, ca. 1935-1990s.
Biographical / Historical:
Art administrator and museum director; Boston, Mass. Plaut was born to a wealthy family in Cincinnati, Ohio, graduated from HarvardCollege, and received an M.A. from Harvard University. His uncle was Paul Sachs, a connoisseur and influential museology professor at Harvard andsor. Plaut held curatorial positions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and became Director of Boston's Institute of Modern Art in 1939 (later the Institute of Contemporary Art or ICA) where he staged early exhibitions of contemporary design and European avant-garde paintings and sculpture until his resignation in 1956. Plaut was also involved in many international exhibitions and expositions, serving as Deputy U.S. Commissioner to the World's Fair in Brussels, 1958, and was Secretary General of the World Crafts Council, 1967-1976 and a consultant on industrial design in Israel.
Provenance:
Scrapbooks on reel 581 lent for microfilming by Plaut, 1973; his estate, via the executor Edward M. Condit, Jr., lent those on reel 5139 in 1996. Plaut donated the unmicrofilmed material in 1985 and 1992, and additional papers were received as a bequest in 1996 via the executor of his estate.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Occupation:
Arts administrators -- Massachusetts -- Boston  Search this
Museum directors -- Massachusetts -- Boston  Search this
Function:
Art museums -- Massachusetts -- Boston
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Scrapbooks
Sketchbooks
Sound recordings
Identifier:
AAA.plaujame
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-plaujame

Florence Knoll Bassett papers

Creator:
Knoll, Florence, 1917-  Search this
Names:
Cranbrook Academy of Art  Search this
Cranbrook Kingswood School (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.)  Search this
Hans G. Knoll Furniture Company  Search this
Knoll Associates, inc.  Search this
Knoll International, inc.  Search this
Cheek, Leslie, 1908-  Search this
Eames, Charles  Search this
Gandhi, Indira, 1917-1984  Search this
Graham, Katharine, 1917-  Search this
Helm, John  Search this
Johnson, Philip, 1906-2005  Search this
Knoll, Walter C.  Search this
Miller, R. Craig  Search this
Milles, Carl, 1875-1955  Search this
Raseman, Rachel de Wolfe  Search this
Reagan, Nancy, 1923-  Search this
Saarinen, Eero, 1910-1961  Search this
Saarinen, Eliel, 1873-1950  Search this
Slavin, Maeve  Search this
Extent:
2 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sketches
Drawings
Photographs
Sketchbooks
Date:
1932-2000
Summary:
The papers of architect and designer Florence Knoll Bassett, measure approximately 2 linear feet dating from 1932 to 2000. Through correspondence, sketches, drawings, designs, subject files, photographs, and printed material, the collection selectively documents Knoll Bassett's education, her work with Knoll Associates from the 1940s until her resignation in 1965, and projects undertaken since her retirement. It is an important source of information on the development of interior architecture and design from the 1940s to the 1970s.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of architect, and interior designer and planner Florence Knoll Bassett, measure approximately 2 linear feet dating from 1932 to 2000. The collection selectively documents Knoll Bassett's education and her career at Knoll Associates, Inc. from the 1940s until her resignation in 1965, in addition to personal design projects and other activities after leaving the company. It is an important source of information on the development of interior architecture and design from the 1940s to the 1970s, chronicling the Knoll mission to synthesize space, furniture, and design by creating interiors based on practical use, comfort, and aesthetics.

The collection documents the growth of Knoll's international reputation for its modern furnishings and interiors and the impact of a business philosophy that encompassed design excellence, technological innovation, and mass production. The material includes a chronology of Knoll Bassett's career; a portfolio of sketches, drawings and designs; photographs of Knoll Bassett and others; subject files containing sketches and photographic material; letters from friends, colleagues, clients and others; awards received by Knoll Bassett throughout her career; and printed material.

Much of the material is annotated with historical and biographical notes written by Knoll Bassett which provide invaluable contextual information for the materials found therein. The notes are dated 1999 in the Container Listing, under the assumption that they were written by Florence Knoll Bassett as she was arranging her archival papers.
Arrangement:
Before donating her papers to the Archives of American Art, Knoll Bassett organized the material in portfolios and color-coded files and designed four containers for them. Because the method of arrangement in itself provides insight into Knoll Bassett's style and creativity the collection has been minimally processed with the addition of acid-free materials for preservation reasons and the transcription of labels which may, over time, become detached. The original order of the collection has been retained throughout.

The collection was organized into what Bassett termed "storage units," the first container being divided into three units and the collection as a whole being divided into six units. Knoll Bassett supplied a detailed inventory of the contents of each container and the subjects represented in each porfolio or folder. Subject headings from this inventory have been used in the Series Description/Container Listing. Knoll Bassett also supplied a vita summarizing her career and copies of this, and her original container inventory are enclosed with the collection and can be consulted at AAA's research center in Washington D.C.

The collection is arranged as seven series. These series represent the categories into which Knoll Bassett organized the material, with the exception that Letters and Awards are presented as two series in the finding aid. Most of the items in Series 1 to 4 are presented as portfolios in spiral-bound notebooks and the remainder of the collection is organized in folders.

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1932-1999 (Box 1; 1 portfolio)

Series 2: Selected Publications, 1946-1990, 1999 (Box 1; 1 portfolio)

Series 3: Drawings, Sketches, and Designs, 1932-1984, 1999 (Boxes 1-2; 2 portfolios)

Series 4: Photographs and Printed Material, 1956-1997, 1999 (Box 2; 1 portfolio)

Series 5: Subject Files, circa 1930s-1999 (Box 3; 1.0 linear ft.)

Series 6: Letters, circa 1930s-2000 (Box 4; 7 folders)

Series 7: Awards, 1954-1999 (Box 4; 6 folders)
Biographical Note:
Florence Knoll Bassett was born Florence Schust in 1917 and was affectionately known as Shu by her colleagues and friends. She was orphaned at age 12 and then cared for by Emile Tessin, a friend of the family whom her mother had appointed as Florence's legal guardian in the event of her death. When arrangements were being made for Florence to attend boarding school she was given the opportunity to make the selection. Kingswood School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, held a strong aesthetic appeal for her and she "made an immediate decision that it was the right place for me," beginning her architectural studies under the school's art director, Rachel de Wolfe Raseman.

At Kingswood Knoll Bassett met the Saarinen family, studying under Eliel Saarinen and developing her interest in texture and color through her friendship with Loja Saarinen who supervised the school's weaving studio. Following Florence's graduation from Kingswood in 1934, Eliel Saarinen encouraged her to spend some time at Cranbrook Academy of Art before attending an accredited architecture school. She spent the next two years at Cranbrook working closely with advanced students and artists such as the Saarinens and Carl Milles, and gaining experience in all aspects of design.

Knoll Bassett then studied for two years at the Architectural Association in London, spending summers with the Saarinens in Europe. She completed her formal training at the Illinois Institute of Technology where she studied under Mies van der Rohe, whom she credits with having "a profound effect on my design approach and the clarification of design."

After graduation Knoll Bassett worked for architecture firms in Boston and New York where she met Hans Knoll who was then in the process of establishing a furniture business. In 1943 she began working for him in her spare time as an interior space planner and designer. In 1946 the two were married and formed Knoll Associates, Inc.

As director of the Knoll Planning Unit, Knoll Bassett established herself as one of the most important and influential interior planners and designers of the second half of the twentieth century. Believing that intelligent design "strikes at the root of living requirements and changing habits," she established the practice of working closely with the corporate sector to determine the needs of the people who would actually use the spaces that her company designed. Her connections with leading contemporary architects and designers, and the company's commitment to crediting designers by name and paying them royalties, laid the foundations for the strong working relationships upon which the commercial success of Knoll Associates was built. Drawing on a pool of top architects and designers, many of whom were personal friends, Knoll Bassett directed the company's Bauhaus approach, incorporating design excellence, technological innovation, and mass production in a seamless package of "total design."

While Knoll Bassett oversaw the creative process of the Planning Unit's operations in its entirety, she was also directly responsible for many of the individual elements used in the Unit's projects. During the war years, she worked with her designers to overcome the scarcity of materials, establishing Knoll Textiles in response to the dearth of available fabrics and textile colors, and developing the company's hallmark style of spare clean lines and vibrant colors in a functional, comfortable, and aesthetically appealing space. Finding that much of the "fill-in" furniture, primarily cabinetry, that she envisaged in many of her plans was not available, Knoll Bassett designed the pieces herself. She used the Knoll showrooms as "experimental laboratories" to convince clients to use modern ideas and materials, showcasing and putting into production the classic designs of people such as Eero Saarinen, Mies van der Rohe, Jens Risom, Harry Bertoia, Isamu Noguchi, and Marcel Breuer.

After the war Knoll Associates expanded to Europe through a series of government contracts which resulted ultimately in the formation of Knoll International. When Hans Knoll died suddenly in an automobile accident in 1955 Florence became president of the company. She married Harry Hood Bassett in 1958 and began to divide her time between New York and Florida. In 1959 she sold her interest in Knoll Associates to Art Metal and retired as President of the company the following year, while continuing to work as a consultant and serving as Design Director. In 1961 she became the first woman to be awarded the Gold Medal for Industrial Design by the American Institute of Architects, one of many awards received over the course of her career. In 1965 she resigned from Knoll Associates entirely after completing the interior design for the CBS headquarters in New York.

Following her retirement Knoll Bassett devoted more time to private commissions and other interests such as her campaign against billboards in Miami in the mid 1980s. She spent summers in Vermont and winters in Florida with her husband, until his death in 1991. In July 2001, Metropolis magazine published a rare interview with Knoll Bassett in which she reflects upon the life she so skillfully documented in the extraordinary gift of her archival papers to the Archives of American Art.
Provenance:
The collection was donated to the Archives of American Art by Florence Knoll Bassett in 2000.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Topic:
Interior decoration firms  Search this
Interior decorators  Search this
Furniture designers  Search this
Architects  Search this
Women architects  Search this
Interior decoration  Search this
Design, Industrial  Search this
Women designers  Search this
Designers  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sketches
Drawings
Photographs
Sketchbooks
Citation:
Florence Knoll Bassett papers, 1932-2000. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.knolflor
See more items in:
Florence Knoll Bassett papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-knolflor
Online Media:

Prime Minister Indira Gandhi Visits Woodrow Wilson Center

Creator:
Unknown  Search this
Subject:
Ripley, S. Dillon (Sidney Dillon) 1913-2001  Search this
Gandhi, Indira 1917-1984  Search this
Smithsonian Institution Building (Washington, D.C.)  Search this
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars  Search this
Smithsonian Institution Photographic Services Division  Search this
Physical description:
35mm;
Type:
Black-and-white negatives
Date:
1971
November 4, 1971
Local number:
SIA Acc. 11-009 [71-2626]
Restrictions & Rights:
No access restrictions Many of SIA's holdings are located off-site, and advance notice is recommended to consult a collection. Please email the SIA Reference Team at osiaref@si.edu
No Copyright - United States
Data Source:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_385298

Indira Gandhi Receives First Medal for Conservation

Subject:
Gandhi, Indira 1917-1984  Search this
Gandhi, Rajiv  Search this
Ripley, Sidney Dillon 1913-2001  Search this
Medal for Conservation  Search this
Place:
India
Date:
January, 1986
Topic:
Awards  Search this
Firsts  Search this
Honor  Search this
Nature conservation  Search this
Zoology  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Archives - History Div
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sic_1986

Indira Gandhi visits the Smithsonian, 1982

Subject:
Gandhi, Indira 1917-1984  Search this
Hughes, Phillip Samuel  Search this
Blitzer, Charles  Search this
Weil, Stephen E  Search this
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden  Search this
Modern Indian Paintings from the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi (Exhibition) (1982: Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden)  Search this
Type:
Exhibit
Date:
July 30, 1982
Topic:
Dignitaries  Search this
Visits of state  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Archives - History Div
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sic_11617

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