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Guide to the Records of President Sterling A. Callisen, 1955-1963

Collection Overview

Kellen Design Archives
Callisen, Sterling A., 1899-1988
Parsons School of Design. Office of the President.
Records of President Sterling A. Callisen, 1955-1963
0.8 linear ft: 2 boxes
Consists of records created and received by Sterling A. Callisen, President of Parsons School of Design from 1959 until 1963. Previously, Callisen served on the Parsons School of Design Board of Trustees. Contains correspondence, minutes, reports, proposals, and financial records on administrative matters.

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Biographical Note

Dr. Sterling Adolph Callisen served as the president of Parsons School of Design from 1959 until his resignation in 1963. Prior to becoming head of the school, Callisen served on the Board of Trustees. Callisen was preceded as president by Pierre Bedard and succeeded by Francis A. Ruzicka.

Prior to his presidency, Callisen was Dean of Education at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He received a doctorate in Art History from Harvard University in 1936. He taught Art, Archaeology, and History at Harvard University, the University of Rochester, and Wesleyan University, where he was a dean, before joining the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1949. Dr. Callisen was a World War I Navy veteran and served in the Office of Strategic Services, the predeccesor of the Central Intelligence Agency, during World War II.

In January 1963, Dr. Callisen announced his resignation from the Office of the President in order to accept a directorship at the Edward E. Ford Foundation. Dr. Callisen died in 1988.


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Scope and Content of Collection

The records in this subgroup are part of the Parsons Institutional Collections, Dean's and president's office records (PIC.01). They were created, received by, or transferred to Sterling A. Callisen during his term as president of Parsons School of Design. Some records pre-date Callisen's presidency. This may be because they were transmitted to Callisen as historical reference materials, or the files were transferred from his predecessor Pierre Bedard's office and incorporated into Callisen's working files. The Kellen Design Archives does not hold the records of President Bedard; President Callisen's records are the earliest presidential records in the Archives.

The files labeled "Faculty Council" consist of 1 to 2-page typed memoranda documenting regular meetings between the President, the Dean, and a representative of each department. A representative of the Parsons School of Design Student Council is also sometimes present. Frequent topics of discussion include competitions and exhibitions, curriculum, disciplinary actions, facilities and maintenance, finances, grading, and student activities.


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Organization and Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by folder title.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Kellen Design Archives October 31, 2011

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.

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Related Materials

A file containing the text of an anti-McCarthy commencement speech, a biographical sketch, and correspondence between the Parsons School of Design Alumni Association and Dr. Callisen will be found in the Alumni Association records (PIC.03.002.1) in the Kellen Design Archives. A transcript of an interview with Dr. Callisen conducted by Dean David C. Levy will be found in the Records of Dean David C. Levy (PIC.01.004).

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Keywords for Searching Related Subjects

Corporate Name(s)

  • Parsons School of Design. Board of Trustees.
  • Parsons School of Design. Faculty Council.


  • Correspondence.
  • Financial records.
  • Minutes.
  • Reports.


  • Art schools -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • College administrators -- New York (State) -- New York -- 20th century.
  • Universities and colleges -- Administration.

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Collection Inventory

Title Box Folder
By-laws, 1962  1 1
Board of Trustees meeting minutes, 1962-1963  1 2
Budget proposals, 1955-1963  1 3
Budgets, 1959-1963  1 4
Correspondence: General, 1958-1963  1 5
Correspondence: Budgets, 1958-1962  1 6
Curriculum proposals, 1962  1 7
Faculty Council, 1959-1962  1 8-9
Title Box Folder
Financial statements and treasurers' reports, 1956-1963  1 10-14
2 1-4
Report from Alumni Council, 1961  2 5
Visiting Committee reports, 1963  2 6

Collection guide Last Updated: 08/30/2012

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