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Guide to the Margaret McKay Tee papers, 1908-1993

Collection Overview


Kellen Design Archives

Collection Identifier


Creator - Artist

Tee, Margaret McKay, 1880-1955


Margaret McKay Tee papers, 1908-1993, (Bulk, 1908-1924)


0.1 linear ft: 3 folders


Margaret McKay Tee (1882-1955) came to New York from Cripple Creek, Colorado in 1902 to attend Cooper Union. Frank Alvah Parsons, whom she met at Columbia Teacher's College, later hired Tee as a student instructor at the New York School of Art (soon thereafter renamed the New York School of Fine and Applied Art). After moving back to Colorado, Tee carried on a correspondence with Parsons for many years. Tee's papers include correspondence from Frank Alvah Parsons, photographs of Tee's paintings, and an autobiographical essay in which Tee describes her upbringing in the West, and her experiences as a young art student in New York City.

Preferred Citation note

[Identification of item], [date (if known)], Margaret McKay Tee papers, KA.0094, box __, folder __, New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, New York.

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Biographical note

Margaret McKay Tee was born in 1882 and raised in Pennsylvania until her family moved to Colorado. Following her education at Colorado College, she trained at New York's Cooper Union and Columbia Teacher's College, where she met Frank Alvah Parsons. Tee subsequently worked for Parsons as a student instructor when he joined the faculty of the New York School of Fine and Applied Art (later, Parsons The New School for Design). Before her marriage to John Tee in 1913, she also apprenticed with Jean Griest, a New York decorator. The Tees returned to Colorado and eventually settled at Brinton Terrace, an artists' colony in Denver. During World War II, Tee and her husband worked at the Ogden Air Service Command base.

As part of her professional career, Tee was a consulting designer for such notable companies as Bigelow Carpet Persian Rug Company, Cyrus Boutwell, and Emden & Wormser. She served as art director and teacher at the Graland Country Day school for fifteen years. She also taught fine art and design at several other schools in the Denver area, including the Denver Academy of Art, Colorado Women's College, and Colorado University, as well as Denver's Vocational High School.


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Scope and Contents of Collection

The Margaret McKay Tee papers consist of biographical materials and black and white photographs of Tee's artwork, as well as one snapshot of Tee painting in a studio. Of note is correspondence from Frank Alvah Parsons to Tee in which he encourages her to continue her design work. The papers also include a typed, 29-page autobiographical essay on Tee's childhood in and journey from Colorado, and her experiences studying art in New York during the first years of the twentieth century. The papers do not feature extensive documentation about Tee's professional career.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Kellen Design Archives - August 11, 2010

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

Preferred Citation note

[Identification of item], [date (if known)], Margaret McKay Tee papers, KA.0094, 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

Donated by Courtney Cedarholm, 2009.

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Keywords for Searching Related Subjects

Corporate Name(s)

  • New York School of Fine and Applied Art.


  • Correspondence.
  • Manuscripts.
  • Photographs.

Personal Name(s)

  • Parsons, Frank Alvah, 1868-1930 -- Correspondence


  • Art schools -- Alumni and alumnae.
  • Art -- Study and teaching -- New York (State) -- New York -- 20th century.
  • Artists -- Colorado -- 20th century.

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Other Finding Aids note

For selected item-level description and images from the Margaret McKay Tee papers, see The New School Archives Digital Collections at http://digitalarchives.library.newschool.edu/index.php/Detail/collections/KA0094.

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Collection Inventory

Box Folder
Biographical materials, after 1930, 1993 

Includes a 29-page autobiographical essay, "Education On A Shoestring."

k_7 15
Correspondence from Frank Alvah Parsons, 1908, 1915-1924 
k_7 16
Photographs, before 1955 
k_7 17

Collection Guide Last Updated: 02/28/2017

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