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Guide to the Mary L. Brandt Home Furnishings Training Course materials, circa 1946, 1953

Collection Overview

Repository
Kellen Design Archives
Creator - Author
Brandt, Mary L.
Title
Mary L. Brandt Home Furnishings Training Course materials
Extent
0.1 linear ft: 1 folder
Summary
Mary Largent Brandt was an interior decorator, author, lecturer, and merchandising expert. In the 1940s, she developed a training course for retail sales staff to promote more effective merchandising of home furnishings. Included in this collection are Home Furnishings Training Course: Handbook of Home Furnishings (1946) and a binder entitled,  Home Furnishings Training Course: Summary of Visual Chart Materials for Home Study and Reference (undated).

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Biographical note

Mary Largent Brandt was an interior decorator, stylist, and consultant. She specialized in educating retail sales personnel about residential furnishings to meet consumer demand.

A Stanford University graduate with architectural training, Brandt had an interior decoration practice based in San Francisco during the 1920s. She married in 1928 and moved to New York the following year. Beginning in 1936, Brandt was employed at Lord & Taylor in New York as a decorator. She also taught at the New York School of Interior Design and New York University and led decoration courses in her Gramercy Park home. Furniture designer Edward Wormley was among her more famous guest speakers.

Brandt published extensively throughout the 1950s. Book titles include: Teaching Fashion Trends in Home Furnishings (1947),  Decorate Your Home for Better Living (1950), and  Good Housekeeping Book of Home Design (1957).

Mary Largent Brandt died in New York in 1962. Shortly thereafter, friends established a memorial fund in her name at Parsons School of Design. Architect Eleanor Le Maire, textile designer Dorothy Liebes, and decorator Melanie Kahane were among the Parsons alumni and trustees who collected funds to support an interior decoration lectureship chair at the school.

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Scope and Contents of Collection

Mary L. Brandt developed her eponymous training course materials during the 1940s as a method of educating retail sales staff about merchandising home furnishings. Department stores and interior design schools used the course materials extensively.

Materials in the collection consist of a spiral-bound book entitled, Home Furnishings Training Course: Handbook of Home Furnishings (1946) and a binder entitled,  Home Furnishings Training Course: Summary of Visual Chart Materials for Home Study and Reference (undated), indicating it was prepared by the Retail Training Department of Spiegel, Inc., Chicago. Both are written in a breezy, informal style and anticipate a wave of consumer spending following the end of World War II. These publications are accompanied by a 1953 article Brandt wrote for college students about careers in merchandising.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Kellen Design Archives July 30, 2010

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

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

Transferred from Gimbel Art and Design Library, Parsons The New School for Design.

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Related Materials

Records pertaining to the Mary Largent Brandt Fund may be found in the Parsons School of Design Alumni Association records (PIC.03.02.001).

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Keywords for Searching Related Subjects

Genre(s)

  • Manuals (instructional materials).

Subject(s)

  • House furnishings -- Marketing -- United States -- 20th century.
  • Interior decoration.
  • Retail trade -- Employees -- In-service training.
  • Selling -- House furnishings -- Handbooks, manuals, etc.

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Collection Inventory

Title Box Folder
Home Furnishings Training Course materials circa 1946, 1953  k_8 1

Collection guide Last Updated: 08/30/2012

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