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Guide to the Robert Galster and Gilbert Ireland papers, 1940s-circa 1983

Collection Overview


Kellen Design Archives

Collection Identifier


Creator - Designer

Evans, Lloyd, 1934-1989

Creator - Designer

Galster, Robert

Creator - Designer

Ireland, Gilbert, 1924-2015

Creator - Designer

Little, Roy


Robert Galster and Gilbert Ireland papers, 1940s-circa 1983


18.6 linear ft: 6 boxes, 6 oversize boxes, 8 binders

Language of Materials



Robert Galster (1923-1991) and Gilbert Ireland (1924-2015) were designers and alumni of Parsons School of Design. Galster worked as freelance illustrator and designer. Ireland designed window displays for Bergdorf Goodman for over forty years. The collection consists primarily of Galster's work and includes examples of his designs for books, album covers, and theater posters. Ireland's work is represented in photographs of the windows he designed. The collection also contains student work by both as well as pieces by other designers including Lloyd Evans and Parsons alumnus Roy Little.

Preferred Citation note

[Identification of item], [date (if known)], Robert Galster and Gilbert Ireland papers, KA.0141.01, box __, folder __, New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, New York.

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Biographical Note

Robert Galster (1923-1991) and Gilbert Ireland (1924-2015), both alumni of Parsons School of Design, had long careers in design; Galster as an illustrator and Ireland as a display designer for Bergdorf Goodman.

Galster and Ireland grew up together in Mansfield, Ohio and went on to live in Manhattan together as a couple from the late 1940s until Galster’s death in 1991. Both attended Mansfield High School and enlisted in the U.S. Army at the height of World War II, in 1943. After the war, Galster and Ireland moved to New York to attend Parsons. They both graduated in 1949, majoring in costume illustration.

Robert Galster worked primarily as an illustrator, and his career appears to have gotten off the ground quickly after his graduation from Parsons. In the 1950s, Galster illustrated dozens of album covers, primarily for Urania Records, an Italian label specializing in classical music. During this time he also began designing and doing illustrations for theater. He continued to produce posters for Broadway and off-Broadway shows through the 1960s.

Also during the 1950s, Galster began illustrating and designing for children’s books and book covers. This appears to have been the primary focus of his work for the next twenty-five years, through the early 1980s. During this period he designed scores of book covers for publishers such as Putnam, Doubleday, and Viking. Galster also designed scenery for plays and window displays, logos, and other promotional material. For many years he also designed Christmas cards that he and Ireland sent to their friends.

Gilbert Ireland’s career was much more monolithic—he worked as a window display designer for the department store Bergdorf Goodman for over forty years, eventually becoming the display director. He is known to have also done interior design work for Nena Goodman, wife of the owner of Bergdorf Goodman (unfortnately this work is not represented in the collection).

In addition to his work as a designer, Ireland had a passion for opera. For many years, he spent his spare time as an extra at the Metropolitan Opera House. He is featured in a 1984 New York Times article on extras at the Met in which he says of his hobby, "This is my 21st season. Some day I may spend my time off on an exotic beach. But for now I'd rather cut up my time and be in any opera that I can."

Opera may have brought Galster and Ireland into friendship with Lloyd Evans, acclaimed designer of sets and costumes for the New York City Opera who died of complications from AIDS in 1989. They were also likely all part of a wide circle of gay artists and designers living in New York. Galster and Ireland’s friendship with Evans is evident in this collection, which contains many of Evans's drawings of sets and costumes. A print of an Andy Warhol portrait of Tom Royal is also in the collection. Royal is said to have met Warhol while helping a friend work on a window display at Bergdorf Goodman, perhaps Gilbert Ireland.


Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. "U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012, Manhigan, 1940." Ancestry.com U.S. Accessed August 17, 2018. https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1265.

Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. "World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946." Ancestry.com U.S. Accessed August 17, 2018. https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=8939.

Christies, Inc. "Blanc de Chine: Dehua Porcelain from the Galster-Ireland Collection." Christies. Accessed August 17, 2018. https://onlineonly.christies.com/s/blanc-de-chine-dehua-porcelain-from-the-galster-ireland-collection/lots/10.

Fien, Esther B. "Extras at the Opera: A Silent but Dedicated Corps." The New York Times (New York, NY), November 19, 1984.

"Lloyd Evans, Designer, Dies at 55." The New York Times (New York, NY), May 18, 1989.

Obituary. The New York Times (New York, NY), October 27, 1991.


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Scope and Content of Collection

The Robert Galster and Gilbert Ireland papers consist primarily of Galster and Ireland’s design work from the 1950s through the 1970s. Also included is student work from their time at Parsons School of Design in the 1940s, as well as work by other designers. The collection contains only sparse material related to the personal lives of Galster and Ireland.

The bulk of the collection is illustration and design work done by Robert Galster throughout his career from the early 1950s to the early 1980s. This material represents the breadth of Galster’s professional practice, including illustrations and designs for album covers, book covers, children’s books, and theater posters. Original illustrations, mock-ups, and printed proofs are found in each area of Galster’s design practice.

The collection contains Christmas cards Galster designed from 1954-1974. These they sent to friends; some were printed and presumably sold by Bergdorf Goodman. Galster’s professional work also consists of sketches for murals and stage sets, promotional material, and fashion illustrations. The fashion work dates from the early years of his career, perhaps because he had recently graduated from Parsons, where his concentration was costume illustration.

Fashion illustration by both Galster and Ireland from their time at Parsons is found in the student work folder. This part of the collection contains student notebooks from courses including costume illustration and art history. These notebooks are a rich window into the curriculum at Parsons in the late 1940s—they include assignment instructions, completed exercises sometimes marked up by an instructor, reports, and lecture notes.

Gilbert Ireland’s professional practice is also well documented in the collection. This material consists almost entirely of photographs depicting display windows designed by Ireland for Bergdorf Goodman. Most are undated, but those that are date from the 1950s to the early 1980s. The majority of the window displays are for menswear, though there are some photographs of women’s fashion displays as well as antiques and decorations. Many of the photographs are accompanied by descriptive captions written by or for a publication called Views & Reviews, which was published by the Retail Reporting Bureau.

There is almost no documentation in the collection of the business side of either Galster or Ireland’s professional practices. The only exceptions are a small quantity of contracts for Galster’s book cover designs from 1968-1969 and a set of undated receipts for material borrowed by Ireland from Bergdorf Goodman for use in their window displays. Similarly, there is very little material in the collection that is biographical or pertains to the personal lives of Galster and Ireland. The exceptions are their diplomas from Parsons and a set of photographs of Galster and Ireland. These portraits span the decades of the 1950s thru 1970s and include two portraits of the couple together.

The small amount of biographical material found in this collection is supplemented by material by other artists, providing a window into the circle of artists and designers Galster and Ireland likely called friends. Among these artists is Lloyd Evans, who is very well represented in the collection with a number of scenery and costume designs for various operas, including an almost complete set of costume designs for the opera Francesca da Rimini, likely from the late 1960s or early 1970s. Aside from this work by Evans, there is a print of a drawing done by Andy Warhol of the yoga instructor Tom Royal, seemingly made by Royal himself in a limited edition of twenty, and a poster from a German production of the musical Hair from 1968 signed by someone, perhaps the poster’s designer. Also included are fashion illustrations by Roy Little, a designer and future Parsons faculty member who graduated the same year as Galster and Ireland. There is also work by unidentified artists, including a set of slides from a fashion photo shoot in the 1960s or 1970s.


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Organization and Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by subject in 3 series

  1. Biographical, 1940-1979
  2. Robert Galster professional work, 1950s-circa 1983
  3. Gilbert Ireland window display design work, 1950s-circa 1981

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Kellen Design Archives - November 8, 2018

66 5th Avenue
lobby level
New York, NY, 10011

Preferred Citation note

[Identification of item], [date (if known)], Robert Galster and Gilbert Ireland papers, KA.0141.01, box __, folder __, New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, New York.

Access Restrictions

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 and Special Collections. Please contact: archivist@newschool.edu.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated to The New School Archives in 2016 by the estate of Gilbert Ireland.

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Related Materials

The New School Archives holds a collection of sketchbooks by fashion designer and Parsons School of Design alumnus Roy Little (KA.0029). A few illustrations by Little are present in the Galster and Ireland papers. Another collection of interest may be the Dan Arje papers (KA.0001), a designer of display windows for Bonwit Teller during the same period when Ireland was at Bergdorf Goodman.

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Keywords for Searching Related Subjects

Corporate Name(s)

  • Bergdorf Goodman (New York, N.Y.).
  • Parsons School of Design.
  • Retail Reporting Bureau (New York, N.Y.).
  • Urania historic recording.


  • Book illustrations.
  • Posters.
  • Record covers.
  • Scenography.
  • Student projects.


  • Display designers.
  • Illustrators.


  • Costume design -- Study and teaching -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Department stores -- United States -- 20th century.
  • Display of merchandise.
  • Men's clothing -- United States -- 20th century -- Pictorial works.
  • Show windows.

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Other Finding Aids note

For selected item-level description and images from the Robert Galster and Gilbert Ireland papers, see the New School Archives Digital Collections at http://digitalarchives.library.newschool.edu/index.php/Detail/collections/KA014101

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Collection Inventory

Series I. Biographical 1940s-1970s 

Box Folder
Drawings from Europe by Robert Galster, 1944 
3 5
Evans, Lloyd circa 1966-1970s 
Unidentified set design, 1975 
OSx1 1
Birthday card, circa 1960s-1970s 
1 1
Costume designs, circa 1966-1970s 
OSxx1 1
Costume designs for Francesca da Rimini, circa 1966-1970s 
3 1-4
Costume designs for Tales of Hoffman, circa 1966-1970s 
OSxx1 2
Sets for Albert Herring, 1971 
OSxx1 3
Sets for Pelléas et Mélisande, 1969 
OSxx1 4
Parsons School of Design diplomas, 1949 
1 2
Photographs of Galster and Ireland, 1950-1964, undated 
1 3
Sketched portraits of Galster and Ireland, circa 1940s 
3 6
Student work 

Contains material by Robert Galster and Gilbert Ireland. Some of the material is signed and other pieces are unsigned and difficult to distinguish. Lecture notes from classes taught by C. Hamilton Preston, Glenn U. Boyles, E. Stewart Reushlein, Elizabeth Lyons, and a Miss. Brakow are included.

Fashion illustrations, circa 1946-1949 
3 7-11
Self portraits, circa 1946-1948 
4 1
Student notebooks, 1946-1948 
1 4-7
Work by other designers and artists 1950-1970s 

In addition to identified work there are unidentified fashion illustrations. These could be by Roy Little, Robert Galster or Gilbert Ireland, all of whom have fashion illustration work in the collection, but there is no signature on these drawings and no distinguishable way of attributing them. Additionally, slides of photographs from a fashion shoot contain no identifying or contextual information. They are estimated, based on the use of Kodachrome slide film, to be from the 1960s or 1970s.

Unidentified costume illustrations, undated 
OSxx1 5
Fashion illustrations by Roy Little, 1950 and undated 
OSxx1 6-7
Poster for German production of Hair, 1968 
MC H-2 5
Print of Tom Royal from Andy Warhol, undated 
OSxx1 8
Slides from unidentified photoshoot, 1960s-1970s 
1 8

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Series II. Robert Galster professional work 1950s-circa 1983 

Box Folder
General 1950s-1970s 

Contains assorted rough sketches and finished illustrations that are not identified as being related to a particular project or type of project (book, poster, album cover, etc.) Also included is a set of black and white photographs without any contextual information. Although these are not identified as Galster's work, they all depict illustrations in his style. Finally, a set of slides documenting an assortment of Galster's work is included here, perhaps used as a professional portfolio.

Illustrations for unidentified projects, 1956-1961, undated 
2 1-2
4 2-3
OSx1 2-3
Photographs of sets and unidentified projects, 1950s-1960s 
1 9
Slides of projects, 1970s 
1 10
Album covers 1950s 

The majority of the album covers included are for Urania Records. All of the material described below is from the 1950s.

Other record labels: original illustrations 
4 4
Other record labels: proofs 
OSx1 4
Urania Records: original illustrations 
4 5-6
5 1-2
OSx1 5-7
Urania Records: proofs 
OSx2 1-3
Books 1950s-1983 
Book cover designs 1950s-circa 1983 

Files with the name of a specific book contain a variety of materials including sketches, mock-ups, and printed covers, whereas files with generic format titles--"Mock-ups," for example--contain multiple book covers in that format.

The Fox Book, circa 1971 
OSxx2 1
The Frog Book, circa 1972 
5 3
The Grasshopper Heart, circa 1961 
5 4
Mock-ups, 1950s-1970s 
1 11-12
The Owl Book, circa 1970 
OSxx2 2
Pat Garrett, circa 1960 
1 13
Printed book covers, 1950s-circa 1983 
2 3-6
5 5
Puppet Shows, circa 1970 
5 6
Roses in December, circa 1960 
5 7
Sketches, circa 1955-1965 
5 8
Book cover design contracts, 1968-1969 
1 14
Book illustrations: Giants of Jazz, circa 1957;  A Treasury of Opera Liberettos, circa 1962 
1 15-16
2 7
Children's book illustrations circa 1960-1969 
Unidentified illustrations, circa 1960s-1970s 
1 17
Find Out by Touching, circa 1961 
5 9
Floating and Sinking, circa 1967 
5 10
How Law is Made, circa 1970 
1 18
Inertia, 1960s 
OSx2 4-5
The Mice in the Monastery, 1961 
6 1
North, South, East and West, circa 1966 
6 2
Salt, circa 1965 
1 19
Christmas cards, 1950s-1970s 
1 20
6 3
OSx3 1-2
OSxx2 3
Display for Bohn Duplicator Corporation, circa 1965 
1 21
Fashion and costume illustration, 1950s 
2 8
6 4-8
OSxx2 4
Logos and branding, 1956-1960s, undated 
1 22
6 9
Mural designs, circa 1950s 
OSxx2 5
Newspaper advertisements, 1956-1957 
OSxx2 6
Posters circa 1951-1978 

With the exception of The Back Row all of the posters in this collection are for theatrical productions, both on and off-Broadway.

Photographs of theater posters, circa 1954-1978 
1 23
2 9
Printed theater posters, circa 1951-1978 
OSxx3 1-5
Sketches, circa 1959-1967 
OSx3 3
The Back Row (film), circa 1973 
OSxx3 6
Photographs of illustrations for New York Philharmonic Young People's Concert, 1968 
1 24
Programs and brochures, 1951-circa 1977 
1 25-26

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Series III. Gilbert Ireland window display design work 1950s-circa 1981 

The majority, if not all, of the displays documented here are from Bergdorf Goodman. Some displays have backdrops or illustrations by Robert Galster.

Box Folder
Photographs of window displays 1950s-circa 1981 
Gifts and antiques, 1950s-1970s 
7 1
Menswear, 1950s-circa 1981 
7 2-3
8 4-6
Womenswear, 1950s-1970s 
Receipts for window display items, undated 
1 27

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Collection Guide Last Updated: 11/26/2018

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