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Guide to the Bruce Buttfield renderings and photographs, circa 1930s-circa 1950s

Collection Overview

Kellen Design Archives
Buttfield, Bruce
Bruce Buttfield renderings and photographs, circa 1930s-circa 1950s
2.4 linear ft: 2 boxes, 4 oversize folders
Interior decorator Bruce Buttfield (1897-1969) made his mark in the 1930s by creating distinctive furniture and rooms. In 1931, he designed the interior of the original Whitney Museum building on Eighth Street in New York City. The collection includes photographs and color renderings of Buttfield interiors.

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Biographical note

Arthur Bruce Buttfield (1897-1969) was born in Plainfield, New Jersey. He is known for his decoration of the original Whitney Museum, including furniture and administrative offices. The interior of the museum was unusual for its time in its resemblance to a private residence more than an institution. In 1929, Buttfield decorated rooms in the New York Junior League headquarters. Among his residential clients were Juliana R. Force, Charles S. McVeigh, G. Macculloch Miller, and John Nickerson.

The offices of Bruce Buttfield, Inc. -- billed as "interior architects and decorators"-- were located on East 73rd Street. Buttfield designed original furniture for clients.


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Scope and Contents of Collection

The collection consists of photographs and renderings of residential spaces and furniture. The collection also includes a certificate from the American Institute of Interior Decorators, a client list, and a clipping about a residential project. The collection is divided into two main series by format.

The photographs are black and white prints, many by Samuel H. Gottscho. They depict bathrooms, bedrooms, decorative elements and furnishings, and living rooms. There is also one photograph of a swimming pool area. Many of the photographs and renderings in this collection are unidentified and undated. Identified photographs include Buttfield's clients: the Whitney Museum, Charles S. McVeigh, and G. Macculloch Miller, the architect of the Whitney Museum. Photographs of the Whitney feature various areas of the facility.

Renderings consist primarily of small-scale interior elevations, furniture, and three exploded plans. Several are signed, "F. Haag." Many of the elevations are unidentified by project, although furniture renderings are identified by client. Clients include the architect J. Lakin Baldridge, Madame Helena Rubinstein, and Lady Holton. None of the renderings feature dates.


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Organization and Arrangement

Organized in 3 series:

  1. Biographical, 1931-1935, undated
  2. Photographs, circa 1930s-circa 1940s
  3. Renderings, circa 1930s-circa 1950s

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Kellen Design Archives August 31, 2010

66 5th Ave./
lobby level/
New York, NY, 10011

Use Restrictions

To publish images of material from this collection, permission must be obtained in writing from the Kellen Design Archives. Please contact: archivist@newschool.edu.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Collection donated to the Gimbel Library of Parsons School of Design prior to the establishment of the Kellen Design Archives.

Two renderings and a photograph received with donation of Stanley Barrows papers (KA.0002). These materials possibly constituted part of the original donation to Gimbel Library.


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Related Materials

The Museum of the City of New York holds photographs taken in the early 1930s of interiors designed by Bruce Buttfield.

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Keywords for Searching Related Subjects

Corporate Name(s)

  • Whitney Museum of American Art. -- Pictorial works


  • Photographs.
  • Renderings.


  • Furniture design -- United States -- 20th century -- Pictorial works.
  • Interior decoration rendering.
  • Interior decoration -- United States -- 20th century -- Pictorial works.
  • Interior decorators.

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Collection Inventory

Series I. Biographical 1931-1935, undated 
Title Box Folder
Certificate from American Institute of Decorators, 1931 and client list, undated  k_3 12
Clipping: Mccullough Miller apartment decorated by Buttfield, 1935  1 1

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Series II. Photographs circa 1930s-circa 1940s 
Title Box Folder
General, 1920s-1940s  1 2
k_3 13-14
Presentation and editorial photographs, circa 1930s  OSx-1

Six matted, black and white prints, possibly created in conjunction with Buttfield's affiliation with the American Institute of Interior Decorators, and three prints, which may have been furnished to Vogue magazine.

Table setting, undated  1 3
Whitney Museum and apartment of Juliana Force, 1930s  k_3 15

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Series III. Renderings circa 1930s-circa 1950s 
Title Box Folder
Exploded plans  k_OSxxx-3 5
Title Box Folder
Furnishings: General  1 4-6
k_3 16
k_OSx-2 8
Title Box Folder
Furnishings: Lady Holton [London]  1 4
k_OSx-2 9
Title Box Folder
Interior elevations  1 7
k_3 16-18
k_OSx-2 10
Shells  k_3 16

17 cut-outs shaped and painted as seashells.

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Collection guide Last Updated: 08/30/2012

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