+ Expand all text to enable full keyword searching

Guide to the Albert Hadley papers, 1947-1999, undated

Collection Overview


Kellen Design Archives

Collection Identifier



Hadley, Albert


Albert Hadley papers, 1947-1999


0.4 linear ft: 1 box


Albert Hadley (1920-2012) graduated from Parsons School of Design in 1949 and served on the faculty from 1949 through 1954. Hadley later joined Dorothy "Sister" Parish to form the interior design firm Parish-Hadley. The collection includes correspondence, design and lecture notes, student work and a mock-up for a booklet.

Preferred Citation note

[Identification of item], [date (if known)], Albert Hadley papers, KA.0017, box __, folder __, New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, New York.

Return to Top »

Biographical Note

Albert Hadley was born in 1920 in Springfield, Tennessee. He studied art and design for two years at Peabody College (now part of Vanderbilt University) and worked as an assistant to Nashville-based decorator A. Herbert Rodgers.

Following military service in World War II, Hadley moved to New York where he enrolled in Parsons School of Design. He was offered a scholarship and completed a three-year course of study in the school’s interior design department, graduating in 1949. Parsons president Van Day Truex subsequently hired Hadley as an instructor in the Interior Design Department. Hadley taught at Parsons until 1954, but maintained what became a lifelong friendship with Truex, who died in 1979.

After a period of self-employment, Hadley joined McMillen, Inc., a prestigious interior design firm under the direction of Eleanor McMillen Brown. At the time, Hadley was one of the few men ever employed by the firm. He stayed with McMillen until 1962.

Hadley began working with decorator Dorothy “Sister” Parish in January 1963, following an introduction by Van Day Truex. Hadley introduced Parish to modernism and complemented her self-taught decorating methods with his formal design training. In 1964, Parish invited Hadley to become a partner in Mrs. Henry Parish II, Inc. The decorating firm then became Parish-Hadley. Supported by a team of young designers, Parish-Hadley built an international reputation with many high-profile clients, including William and Babe Paley, the Bronfman family, the Gore family, and Brooke Astor. In 1982, Parish-Hadley, Inc. became Parish-Hadley Associates, Inc. in recognition of the contributions by all of its designers. Sister Parish died in 1994 and Hadley dissolved Parish-Hadley Associates five years later. He opened a new business, Albert Hadley, Inc., in 2000.

Albert Hadley was inducted into the Interior Design Hall of Fame in 1986. He holds honorary degrees from Parsons and from the New York School of Interior Design, and is a fellow of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID).


Return to Top »

Scope and Contents of Collection

The Albert Hadley papers include college notebooks, student assignments and class hand-outs from his education in the late 1940s and subsequent teaching post at Parsons School of Design (1949-1954); miscellaneous notes and writings about decorating, design, and the creative process; and lecture notes written by Hadley in addition to notes taken by him. Also included are a mock-up and correspondence relating to a 1999 booklet about Hadley's interior decoration projects. Of note are a memorandum regarding the possibility of Parsons offering a BFA degree independently of New York University in the 1950s and a signed letter from Van Day Truex explaining Parsons School of Design's non-profit status with regard to financial matters dating to the time immediately prior to his dismissal by the Parsons Board of Trustees.

The papers document Hadley's educational career and his later role as a frequent public speaker and commentator. They are of a professional nature and contain no personal materials. The Albert Hadley papers in the New School Archives do not contain Parish-Hadley business records. However, his professional career and his partnership with Sister Parish figure prominently in his lecture notes and speeches.


Return to Top »

Organization and Arrangement

Organized in 5 series.

  1. Student work
  2. Teaching materials
  3. Lecture notes
  4. "Ideas" (booklet)
  5. Notes and writings

Return to Top »

Administrative Information

Publication Information

Kellen Design Archives - 2009

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

Preferred Citation note

[Identification of item], [date (if known)], Albert Hadley papers, KA.0017, box __, folder __, New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, New York.

Conditions Governing Access note

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 note

Transferred from the Office of the Dean, Parsons The New School for Design, 2006.

Return to Top »

Related Materials

The records of Parish-Hadley Associates, Inc. are held by the Smithsonian Institution's Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum Library.

Return to Top »

Keywords for Searching Related Subjects

Corporate Name(s)

  • Parish-Hadley Associates.
  • Parsons School of Design. Interior Design Department.


  • Lecture notes.
  • Manuscripts.
  • Speeches.
  • Student projects.


  • Interior designers.

Personal Name(s)

  • Baldwin, Billy
  • Brown, Eleanor McMillen
  • Daves, Jessica
  • Parish, Harry, Mrs., II


  • Interior decoration -- Study and teaching -- New York (State) -- New York -- 20th century.
  • Interior decorators -- United States -- 20th century.

Return to Top »

Other Finding Aids note

For selected item-level description and images from the Albert Hadley papers, see The New School Archives Digital Collections at http://digitalarchives.library.newschool.edu/index.php/Detail/collections/KA0017.

Return to Top »

Collection Inventory

Series I. Student work circa 1947 

Contains lecture notes, handwritten and typed assignments, and hand-outs created or received by Hadley while he was a student in the Interior Design Department at Parsons School of Design. Notes are primarily from classes taught by Robert Castle. Notes taken during "special" lectures include Hadley's impressions of Nancy McClelland, William Pahlmann, and William Raiser of Raymond Loewy. Field trip reports feature Hadley’s impressions of site visits to commercial spaces and comments on a production of “Medea” and a showing of Van Day Truex’s work at the Carroll Carstairs’ Gallery.

Box Folder
Assignments and book reports 
1 1
Class notes 
1 2
Field trip reports 
1 3
Hand-outs and reading list 
1 4
Special lectures 
1 5

Return to Top »

Series II. Teaching materials 1949-1953 

Link to selected images from this series.  

Contains materials related to Hadley’s teaching career at Parsons School of Design. Items include a memorandum, “A New Plan for Parsons School of Design,” and an open letter to faculty members from President Van Day Truex regarding the school’s trustees. Faculty lecture notes refer to presentations given by other faculty members and by visiting critics Eleanor McMillen Brown and Billy Baldwin.

Box Folder
Albert Hadley lecture notes and manuscripts 
1 6-7
Design problems and competition rules 
1 8
Faculty lecture notes 
1 9
Faculty memoranda 
1 10

Return to Top »

Series III. Lecture notes circa 1960s-1999 

Link to selected images from this series.  

Contains handwritten notes for presentations, opening remarks, and introductions. Hadley is a frequent speaker at professional and fund raising events for cultural and charitable institutions. These materials collectively provide a sense of Hadley’s design philosophy and influences. His partnership with Sister Parish and the history of the Parish-Hadley firm are frequently discussed, as are influential texts and persons, such as Ruby Ross Wood, Van Day Truex, and Edith Wharton. Of note is a speech to Parish-Hadley staff informing them of the name change to Parish-Hadley Associates, Inc.

Box Folder
General, 1978-1999 
1 11-13
1 14
Design Center of the Americas 
1 15
Mint Museum and correspondence 
1 16
Text of address by Eleanor McMillen Brown with comments 
1 17
Text of commencement address by Jessica Daves to Parsons, 1960 May 31 
1 18

Return to Top »

Series IV. "Ideas" (booklet) 1999 

“Ideas” refers to a booklet produced by the book design firm Joel Avirom, Inc. Series includes a black and white mock-up and correspondence from Amy Fine Collins, Hadley’s collaborator. It is unclear if this publication was ever distributed.

Box Folder
1 19
1 20

Return to Top »

Series V. Notes and writings 1992-1997, undated 

Link to selected images from this series.  

Contains miscellaneous drafts, short manuscripts, and unidentified fragments by Hadley. "Notes and reminders" contains ideas, inspirational phrases, short statements, and sketches.

Box Folder
1 21-23
Notes and reminders 
1 24
Quotations and items from bulletin board 
1 25

Return to Top »

Collection Guide Last Updated: 02/28/2017

Creative Commons License This collection guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.