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Guide to the Parsons School of Design photograph collection (pre-2008 accessions), circa 1920s-2003

Collection Overview

Repository

Kellen Design Archives

Collection Identifier

PC.04.01.01

Creator

Parsons School of Design.

Title

Parsons School of Design photograph collection (pre-2008 accessions), circa 1920s-2003, (Bulk, 1970-2000)

Extent

3.2 linear ft: 1,425 photographs

Summary

Includes 1,425 photographs, contact sheets and negatives documenting Parsons student and campus life, including exhibitions, award and fashion shows, guest lectures, field trips, and campus construction projects.

Preferred Citation note

[Identification of item], [date (if known)], Parsons School of Design photograph collection (pre-2008 accessions), PC.04.01.01, box __, folder __, New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, New York.

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Historical Note

American artist William Merritt Chase established Parsons School of Design in 1896 as the Chase School of Art. While founded as a school of fine arts instruction, it soon added courses in "applied arts," which became the primary focus under the direction of Frank Alvah Parsons. The name of the school changed several times, to the New York School of Art in 1902, then to the New York School of Fine and Applied Art in 1909. In 1940, the Board of Trustees voted to change the school's name to Parsons School of Design in recognition of Frank Alvah Parsons' leadership and to differentiate it from other, similarly named institutions.

In 1921, Parsons School of Design's European School opened with headquarters in France called the Paris Ateliers. The Ateliers closed in 1939 due to the escalation of World War II, and never reopened in its pre-war form. Summer study tours of Europe resumed in the late 1940s. When Parsons School of Design affiliated with the New School for Social Research in 1970, students could for the first time earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the New School (before the merger, students earned either a certificate for a three-year program of study at Parsons, or a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree granted by New York University, by taking courses at both schools). A more robust, year-round overseas program resumed at Parsons in the late 1970s under the leadership of Dean David C. Levy. The 1970s also saw the growth of continuing education programs at Parsons, and the introduction of an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree track. In the 1980s, Parsons developed a number of partnerships with international schools, and launched a short-lived merger between Parsons School of Design and the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles. The first Parsons graduate program was established at Parsons in 1978, in Fine Arts, with masters programs in other areas added in subsequent years, including a Master of Architecture program begun in 1989. The 2000s saw an increase in the number of graduate programs at Parsons, with new programs introduced nearly every year.American artist William Merritt Chase established Parsons School of Design in 1896 as the Chase School of Art. While founded as a school of fine arts instruction, it soon added courses in "applied arts," which became the primary focus under the direction of Frank Alvah Parsons. The name of the school changed several times, to the New York School of Art in 1902, then to the New York School of Fine and Applied Art in 1909. In 1940, the Board of Trustees voted to change the school's name to Parsons School of Design in recognition of Frank Alvah Parsons' leadership and to differentiate it from other, similarly named institutions.

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Scope and Contents of Collection

Collection consists of photographic materials documenting Parsons The New School for Design and its affiliate schools and programs, spanning the 1920s through the early 2000s. The bulk of the collection documents the 1970s onwards. The earliest photographic documentation in the collection is of the Paris Ateliers, which became Parsons Paris. Many of the photographic materials produced in the 1970s and onwards were generated by the New School's Communications Office.

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Organization and Arrangement

Organized in 7 series:

  1. General, circa 1940-1997
  2. Departments and programs, circa 1950s-2000s
  3. Events, 1971-1998
  4. Otis Art Institute, circa 1970s-1991
  5. Parsons Paris, circa 1920s-1990s
  6. Portraits, circa 1970s-1997
  7. Oversize, 1925-2003

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Administrative Information

Bernadette Vitale.

Publication Information

Kellen Design Archives - March 3, 2010

66 5th Ave./
lobby level
New York, NY, 10011
212.229.5942
archivist@newschool.edu

Preferred Citation note

[Identification of item], [date (if known)], Parsons School of Design photograph collection (pre-2008 accessions), PC.04.01.01, box __, folder __, New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, New York.

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research use. Please contact archivist@newschool.edu for appointment.

Use Restrictions

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Source of collection has not been determined, although the nature of the collection suggests that it was compiled for use in Parsons School of Design promotional materials.

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Related Materials

Photographs documenting Parsons School of Design prior to 1970 will also be found in the Parsons School of Design Alumni Association records (PC.03.02.01).

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Keywords for Searching Related Subjects

Corporate Name(s)

  • New York School of Fine and Applied Art.
  • Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design.
  • Paris Ateliers.
  • Parsons Paris.
  • Parsons School of Design.

Genre(s)

  • Contact sheets.
  • Negatives (photographic).
  • Photographs.

Occupation(s)

  • Fashion designers.

Personal Name(s)

  • Collins, Arlene
  • Davidson, Bruce, 1933-
  • Druskis, Laima
  • Levy, David C.
  • Salem, Lee
  • Seligson, Stanley

Subject(s)

  • Art schools -- Alumni and alumnae.
  • Art schools -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • College students -- Conduct of life.
  • Fashion shows.
  • Universities and colleges -- Departments.

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Other Finding Aids note

For selected item-level description and images from the Parsons The New School of Design Photograph Collection (pre-2008 accessions), see The New School Archives Digital Collections at http://digitalarchives.library.newschool.edu/index.php/Detail/collections/PC040101.

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Collection Inventory

Series I. General circa 1940-1997 

Box Folder
Artwork for fall 1990 catalog [transparencies], circa 1990 
1 1
Artwork and exhibitions, 1970s-1993 
1 2
Class sessions: Students at work, circa 1993 
1 3
Class sessions and facilities, circa 1940 
1 4
Commencement, 1980s-1986 
1 5
Commencement, 1991-1994 
1 5a
Commencement, 1995 
1 5b
Commencement, 1996-2000 
1 5c
Exhibition: Steerage in the Ark, 1997 
1 6
Facilities circa 1970s-1995 
General, 1970s-1993 
1 7
Architecture: Models and renderings, 1970s-1987 
1 8
Photographs by Arlene Collins, circa 1994 
1 9
Student life 1990s 
General, circa 1992 
1 10
Photographs by Arlene Collins, circa 1994 
1 11
Photographs by Bruce Davidson, circa 1993 
1 12

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Series II. Departments and programs circa 1950s-2000s 

Box Folder

General 1992-1993 

Box Folder
Activities and critiques, circa 1992 
1 13
Photographs by Bruce Davidson, circa 1993 
1 14-15
Box Folder

Architecture and Interior Design, circa 1990-1995 

1 16
Box Folder

Communication Design, circa 1970-1993 

1 17
Box Folder

Design Marketing, 1990s 

1 18
Box Folder

Environmental Design, 1975-1993 

1 19
Box Folder

Environmental Design: Meeting and award dinner, 1984 

1 20

Fashion Design 1946-circa 2000 

Box Folder
General, 1960s-1980s 
Joan Rivers Selecting Clothes at Parsons  
2 1
General, 1990s-2000s 
2 2
Alumni spread, 1998 
2 3
Annual Fashion Show 1946-2000 

Additional documentation on the annnual fashion shows will be found in the Parsons School of Design Fashion Design Department records (PC.02.02.01), including student designs, programs, and posters. Consult the Parsons School of Design Alumni Association records (PC.03.02.01) for photographic documentation of fashion shows held at Parsons between 1948 and 1968.

The proper name of the annual display of Fashion Design Department student work has changed several times since its inception. For consistency, the yearly event is designated "Annual Fashion Show" here, but it was also referred to as the "Annual Fashion Critics Awards Show" and the "Fashion Critics Awards Benefit."

The Golden Thimble Award is the name of an annual honor given to student designers by visiting critics from the fashion design industry. Critics over the years have included Claire McCardell, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, and Chester Weinberg, who received a Golden Thimble Award as a Parsons student.

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1946 

Contains student designs on models.

2 4-8
1976 
General 
2 9-10
Contact sheets 
2 11-13
Betty Ford (award recipient) 
Betty Ford with Parsons Students and Faculty at Annual Fashion Show  

First Lady Betty Ford attending Parsons Annual Critics Award Show and receiving award.

2 14-16
1978 
3 1
1982 
General 
3 2-4
Golden Thimble Award winners: Design drawings 
3 5
1983: Golden Thimble Award winners: Design drawings 
3 6
1984: William S. Ruben (honoree) 
3 7
1985: Golden Thimble Award winners and critics 
3 8
1986 
General 
3 9-11
Golden Thimble Award winners: Design drawings 
3 12
Golden Thimble Award winners: Portraits 
3 13
Ed Koch (award recipient) 
3 14
1987 
Golden Thimble Award winners: General 
3 15
Golden Thimble Award winners: Design drawings 
3 16
Golden Thimble Award winners: Portraits 
3 17
1988 
Golden Thimble Award winners: Design drawings 
3 18
Golden Thimble Award winners: Portraits 
3 19
1989 
General 
3 20
Golden Thimble Award winners: Design drawings 
3 21
Golden Thimble Award winners: Portraits 
3 22
Lena Horne (honoree) 
3 23
Early 1990s, 1995-1999 

Includes Golden Thimble winner portraits, candids of critics, contact sheet with Laura Johnson and fashioh dolls.

4 10
1990 
Golden Thimble Award winners: Design drawings 
4 1
Golden Thimble Award winners: Portraits and show co-chairs 

Includes portraits of Anna Wintour and Ellin Saltzman.

4 2
1991 
Golden Thimble Award winners: Design drawings 
4 3
Golden Thimble Award winners: Portraits and show co-chairs 

Includes portraits of Jerome Chazen and Arnold Aconson.

4 4
1992 
General 
4 5
Golden Thimble Award winners: Portraits and show co-chairs 

Includes portraits of Josephine Chaus and Allen Questrom.

4 6
1993 

Includes contact sheets depicting models dressed in garments inspired by vegetables.

4 7-9
circa 2000 

Contains negatives and contact sheets.

4 11-12
2000 

Gift of Shelley Johnson.

4 13-14
Critics (guest lecturers) circa 1950s-1990s 

Until 2001, the Fashion Design Department partnered established designers with students to create collections based upon the designers' styles. Many of the designer critics were themselves Parsons alumni. Images of designer critics are arranged alphabetically and include: Geoffrey Beene, Albert Capraro, Oscar de la Renta, Louis Dell'Olio, Georgio di Sant'Angelo, Perry Ellis, Ellie Fishman, James Galanos, Rudi Gernreich, Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan, Izabel Lam, Ralph Lauren, Claire McCardell, Isaac Mizrahi, Gloria Sachs, Willi Smith, Michaele Vollbracht, Ilie Wacs, and Chester Weinberg. For examples of critic/student pairings from the 1940s and 1950s, consult the Parsons School of Design Alumni Association records (PC.03.02.01).

Additional visual documentation of critics sessions will be found in the Parsons School of Design Fashion Design Department records (PC.02.02.01).

Multiple and unidentified, 1980s-1995 
5 1
A-D, 1960s-1990s 
5 2
E-L, 1960s-1990s 
5 3
M-N, 1950s-1995 
5 4
R-W, 1970s-1990s 
5 5
Banks, Jeffrey, 1990s 
5 6
Brooks, Donald, 1980s 
5 7
Karan, Donna, probably 1980 
5 8
Klein, Calvin, 1980s 
5 9
Norell, Norman, 1960s-1970s 
5 10
J.C. Penney Fashion Show, circa 1978 
5 11-13
Recycled clothing project for critic Cynthia Steffe, 1997 
5 14
Student projects by Elmer Rask and Marion Stroehle Flenard, circa 1947 
5 15
Window display: "Parsons School of Design Originals," circa 1974 
5 16

Fine Arts circa 1970s-1998 

Box Folder
General, 1988-1993 
6 1
MFA Painting, 1970s-1980s 
6 2
MFA Sculpture, 1980s-1993 
6 3
Box Folder

Illustration, 1988-1993 

6 4
Box Folder

Photography, circa 1993-1995 

6 5
Box Folder

Printmaking, 1980s 

6 6
Box Folder

Product Design, before 1988-1998 

6 7

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Series III. Events 1971-1998 

Link to selected images from this series.  

Contains images from a Babar exhibit, a Big Apple Fix-Up Home Improvement event, a Philip Morris awards ceremony, the World Image Awards, and a 50th class reunion.

Box Folder
circa 1971-1990s 
6 8
1975-1976 

Contains documentation of a reception in honor of the establishment of the Van Day Tuex endowment in 1976.

6 9-11
1982-1986 
6 12
1992-1998 
6 13

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Series IV. Otis Art Institute circa 1970s-1991 

From 1978 until 1991, the Otis Art Institute, located in Los Angeles, was affiliated with Parsons School of Design. Its official name was the Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design. In 1993, the school was renamed Otis College of Art and Design. This series visually documents Otis during the period of its Parsons' affiliation.

Box Folder
General, 1970s-1990s 
6 14
Class sessions, 1980s-1990s 
6 15
Commencement 1988-1991 
1988-1989 
6 16
1990: Faculty 
6 17
1990: Students 
6 18
1991 
6 19
Facilities, circa 1950s-1989 
7 1
Fashion Awards Dinner, 1980s 
7 2
Fashion Awards Dinner, 1990s 
7 3
MacArthur Park, 1980s 
7 4
Student work, 1980s-1990s 
7 5

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Series V. Parsons Paris circa 1920s-1990s 

Link to selected images from this series.  

Additional photographic records of Parsons' Parisian educational facilities will be found in the Parsons School of Design Alumni Association records (PIC.03.002).

In 1921, Frank Alvah Parsons and William M. Odom established a school facility in Paris for the study of European art and design. From the Paris Ateliers, students embarked upon research tours of France, Italy, and England. The facility, located at 9 Place des Vosges, closed in October 1939 due to World War II. During the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, Parsons offered summer sessions in Paris. Parsons School of Design at the American College in Paris was established in 1980, and, in 1995, the school's facilities in France became known as "Parsons Paris."

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Box Folder
Classes and guest lectures, 1970s-1990s 
7 6
Fashion: Shows, 1970s-1990s 
7 7
Fashion: Student work, 1970s-1990s 
7 8
Paris sites, 1970s-1990s 
7 9
Students and courtyard, 1920s-1930s 
7 10
Tours: France and Spain, 1920s-1930s 
7 11
Tours: Italy, 1920s-1930s 
7 12
Tours: Italy, 1936-1938 
7 13

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Series VI. Portraits circa 1970s-1997 

Link to selected images from this series.  

Portraits of Ruth Schwartz, Helen Galland, George S. Kaufman, Gordon Franklin, Lenita Airisto, David Levy, Sophie and Adam Gimbel, Walter Herdeg, Bea Banu, Charles S. Olton, Ray Hooper, Joan F. Falk, Simon Carr, Steve Adams, Mia Solow, H. Cliff Ivester, Melanie Kahane, Kitty Carlisle Hart, Ming Cho Lee, Leo Steinberg, Bill Baird, Louise Bourgeois, Arthur Danto, Paul J. Smith, August Heckscher, Jacob Lawrence, Vincent J. Scully Jr., and John Szarkowski.

Box Folder
General, 1970s-1990s 
7 14-15
Administrators and instructors, 1960s-1990s 
8 1
Alumni, 1960s-1990s 
8 2
Honorary degree recipients, 1986-1988 
8 3
Honorees, 1980s 

Portraits of Marvin S. Traub, Ira Neimark, and Burt Tansky.

8 4
Levy, David, 1970s-1980s 
8 5-6

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Series VII. Oversize 1925-2003 

Box Folder
66 Fifth Avenue: Mills College of Education (building occupant prior to Parsons), 1925-1950s   9 photographs
p_OSx-3 3
Salvatore Cianci '58 adjusts a garment he created for the senior runway show on classmate Stephanie Bradshaw '58, his model, 1958 
p_OSx-3 12
Parsons Table, before 1999 
Link to the digital version:  

Photograph by George Chinsee.

p_OSx-3 4
Twenty celebrated alumni, 2003 

This photograph was taken at a gathering of celebrated alumni at the W Hotel, Union Square, New York in May 2003. The photo appeared along with interviews and other photographs of the alumni in the Winter/Spring 2004 issue of RE:D, the Parsons' alumni magazine.

p_OSxx-1 6

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Collection Guide Last Updated: 02/28/2017

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