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Guide to the Parsons Table research files

Collection Overview

Kellen Design Archives
Parsons the New School for Design. Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Design Archives.
Parsons Table research files, 1923-2006, (Bulk, 1960-1975)
0.4 linear ft: 1 box
The Parsons Table research files consist primarily of work conducted and assembled by the director and staff of the Kellen Design Archives in 2002 to support a Parsons' Design and Management Department project in which students would construct and market a version of the Parsons Table. Archives staff prepared a questionnaire for alumni to gather information about the origins of the table and its design. Several responses include sketches of the table. While furnishing no conclusive evidence, these files will be useful to researchers investigating the history of the table, its relationship to the school, and the stories that have been told about it. The Parsons Table was reportedly designed at the Paris Ateliers, the precursor to Parsons Paris, sometime in the 1920s or 1930s. A modernist design, the chair is characterized by its straight, clean lines and square legs, in which the legs are the same width as the tabletop. French designer Jean-Michel Frank (1895–1941) is often identified as the creator of the table. Frank served as a critic in the Paris Ateliers, and one hypothesis suggests that he had students follow the simple table design as part of a classroom project in furniture construction.

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Organization and Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Kellen Design Archives March 9, 2012

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

The Stanley Barrows oral history in the Kellen Design Archives includes a discussion about the origins of the Parsons Table. Course catalogs for the Paris Ateliers provide details about the goals and instructors in the program in which the table probably originated.

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Keywords for Searching Related Subjects

Corporate Name(s)

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


  • Clippings files.


  • Design -- History -- 20th century.
  • Furniture design -- France -- 20th century.
  • Tables.

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Collection Inventory

Title Box
General research and correspondence  1
Clippings  1
Correspondence with David Levy  1
Questionnaire and responses  1
Reference files on designers associated with Parsons Table 
Baughman, Milo  1
Breuer, Marcel  1
Frank, Jean-Michel  1
Neutra, Joseph  1
Rietveld, Gerrit  1

Collection guide Last Updated: 08/30/2012

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