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Guide to the Dero Darwin, Jr. papers, 1951-1979

Collection Overview


Kellen Design Archives

Collection Identifier



Darwin, Dero, Jr.


Dero Darwin, Jr. papers, 1951-1979, (Bulk, 1961-1964)


8.7 linear ft: 3 boxes, 3 oversize boxes


Dero Darwin, Jr. (1929-2014) graduated from Parsons School of Design's Interior Design Department in 1964. This collection includes design work Darwin produced as a student, as well as lecture notes and course materials, and material from Darwin's professional design career.

Preferred Citation note

[Identification of item], [date (if known)], Dero Darwin, Jr. papers, KA.0051, box __, folder __, New School Archives, The New School, New York, New York.

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Biographical note

Dero Armistead Darwin, Jr. ("Ted") was born in 1929, in McMinnville, Tennessee. He graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1951 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration, and a minor in History. Following graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve. In 1954, he was assigned to the staff of Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Paris, France. After completing his military service, Darwin returned to Cookeville, Tennessee and worked in a family business until he enrolled in the Interior Design Department at Parsons School of Design in the summer of 1961.

While at Parsons, Darwin took courses in interior design, art history, and life drawing. He attended lectures on the methods and problems of interior design; visited museums, workshops, and private homes; and took a school-sponsored tour of Europe. In 1963, Darwin won the National Society of Interior Designers (N.S.I.D.) Undergraduate Scholarship, the Parsons School of Design European Summer Session Scholarship, and second prize in the Melanie Kahane Competition. In 1964, Darwin placed first in N.S.I.D. National and Senior Graduate Scholarship. In 1964, Darwin completed the three-year program, receiving a certificate of graduation with honors from the Interior Design Department.

Upon graduating, Darwin went to work for John A. Ryan Associates in Frankfurt, Germany, a position he obtained through Parsons' Placement Office (now called Career Services). Here, he was chief designer for several military officers’ clubs, including U.S. Army Europe Headquarters in Heidelberg. Over the course of his career he worked as an interior designer for such clients as Elizabeth Arden, Dan Cooper, Dean Witter, Du Pont, U.S. Plywood, Harper and Row, Hilton Hotels and General Electric. One of his final positions was with the firm Duffy, Inc. serving as chief designer of New York City's Bellevue Hospital Center. Darwin retired in 1975.


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Scope and Contents note

The collection consists primarily of the student work of Dero Darwin, a 1964 graduate of the Interior Design Department at Parsons School of Design. Materials illustrate Darwin’s development as a student from 1961 to 1964, and include academic announcements, clippings about his scholastic accomplishments, exams, drawings and renderings, notebooks of lecture notes and reports, and student projects. Of interest is Darwin’s sketchbook featuring life drawings of fellow Parsons students for a class taught by Bernard S. Carter, and renderings of decorative pieces, furniture, interiors, and exteriors.

The collection also includes a small amount of material representing Darwin’s professional accomplishments following graduation, notably a project for Bellevue Hospital in New York City. It does not include personal materials, nor does it include documentation from Darwin's life prior to his enrollment at Parsons School of Design.


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Organization and Arrangement

Organized in 2 series:

  1. Professional work, 1965-1979
  2. Student work, 1961-1963

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Kellen Design Archives - September 28, 2010

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

Preferred Citation note

[Identification of item], [date (if known)], Dero Darwin, Jr. papers, KA.0051, box __, folder __, New School Archives, 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

Donated by Dero Darwin, Jr., 1996.

External Support

The processing of this collection was supported in part by a grant from the J. Paul Getty Trust.

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Related Materials

Researchers may also wish to consult the New School Archives' holdings of student work from the Interior Design department to gain perspective on a Parsons interior design education. The Carolyn Nesbitt Wagenseller student work (KA.0124) includes student work created by a fellow Interior Design student from approximately the same time as Darwin. Additionally, a copy of Inside Your Home by Dan Cooper included in the Dero Darwin, Jr. papers will be found in the New School Archives and Special Collections.

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Keywords for Searching Related Subjects

Corporate Name(s)

  • Bellevue Hospital. -- Pictorial works
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.). -- Pictorial works
  • Parsons School of Design. Interior Design Department.


  • Drawings.
  • Lecture notes.
  • Notebooks.
  • Renderings.
  • Sketchbooks.
  • Student projects.
  • Tracings (drawings).


  • Human figure in art.
  • Interior decoration rendering.
  • Interior decoration -- Study and teaching -- New York (State) -- New York -- 20th century.

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Other Finding Aids note

For selected item-level description and images from the Dero Darwin, Jr. papers, see The New School Archives Digital Collections at http://digitalarchives.library.newschool.edu/index.php/Detail/collections/KA0051.

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Collection Inventory

Series I. Professional work 1951-1979 

This series contains records of Dero Darwin’s professional career, following his graduation from Parsons. The folders mostly highlight Darwin’s position as chief designer for New York’s Bellevue Hospital in 1971, with the design firm Duffy, Inc.

Box Folder
General, 1973-1979 

Scope and Content of Collection


1 1
Clippings, 1965-1979 
1 2
Inside Your Home by Dan Cooper (New York: Dan Cooper Publications), 1951 
2 14
Photographs and slides, between 1965 and 1979 

Renderings of Bellevue Hospital by artist Ed Carol [?] based on Darwin's designs.

1 3

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Series II. Student work 1961-1964 

Box Folder

General 1962-1964 

Box Folder
Awards and announcements, 1963-1964 
1 4
Clippings, 1963-1964 
1 5
Exams, 1962 
1 6

Drawings and renderings 1961-1963 

Drawings and renderings depict a variety of exteriors and interiors, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York Botanical Gardens. Many of the renderings are graded and feature an unidentified instructor's comments. Period room renderings are the results of second-year assignments that began with research, transitioned to drawing, and, ultimately, rendering in watercolors. Darwin notes that the assignments were as much about research as they were about technique and that an important lesson students learned was "knowing when to stop." The renderings were formerly hung in Darwin's home. The name "Voellings" on some of the renderings refers to the framer, an assistant to Darwin's first-year instructor James Woodruff.

Box Folder
Drawings 1961-1963 
1 7
OSx-1 1
Life drawings 
1 8
OSx-1 2
Perspective drawings 
OSx-1 3
"Sketch Project I: A Bed Room" [pencil] 
OSx-1 4
1 9
Villa Pisani [pencil], 1963 Aug 13 

This sketch was executed during a class tour of Italy under the supervision of instructor Stanley Barrows.

OSx-1 5
Floor plans 
1 10
OSx-1 6
OSxxx-1 1
3 1
Historic rooms 
OSx-1 7
OSxxx-1 2

The multiple watercolor renderings depicting a single room were part of a first-year assignment in which students were provided with a drawing and instructed to add color and patterns.

OSx-1 8
1 11
3 2
Museums: Metropolitan Museum of Art 
1 12
3 3-4
OSx-1 9
3 5-6

Sketchbook contains works in ink, pencil, and watercolors depicting landscapes, figure drawings of classmates, furniture, and interiors.

1 13-15
OSx-1 10

Notebooks 1961-1963 

Notebooks are organized by class and are divided into tabbed sections titled Lectures, Research, Field Trips, Book Reports. They are comprised of handwritten notes, tracings, reports, drawings, and class hand-outs. Robert Castle and James Woodruff are identified in the notebooks as Darwin's instructors.

Box Folder
Interior Design I., 1961 
1 16
Interior Design I., 1961-1962 
1 17
Interior Design: Summer 1961 
2 1-2
Interior Design II: Unit I.-III., V.-VI., 1962-1963 
2 3-7

Projects 1961-1964 

Presentation boards for first-year projects include a design for a candy shop and a "Spanish" design. Second-year projects include Darwin's entries for the Lucile Stockwell Chatain and Melanie Kahane Competitions in addition to a terrace. Third-year projects include design problems for a house in Long Island, a law firm waiting room, a restaurant in East Hampton, Long Island, and motel furniture using Dan Cooper fabrics. Darwin worked for Dan Cooper during his third year at Parsons.

Box Folder
First-year projects, between 1961 and 1963 
2 8
OSxxx-1 3-4
Second-year projects, 1962-1963 
2 9-10
OSxxx-1 5-8
Third-year projects, 1963-1964 
2 11-13
OSxxx-1 9
OSxxx-2 1-4

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Collection Guide Last Updated: 02/28/2017

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