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Guide to the Parsons Table research files, 1923-2006

Collection Overview


Kellen Design Archives

Collection Identifier



Parsons the New School for Design. Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Design Archives.


Parsons Table research files, 1923-2006, (Bulk, 1960-1975)


0.4 linear ft: 1 box

Preferred Citation note

[Identification of item], [date (if known)], Parsons Table research files, PC.08.02.01, box __, folder __, New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, New York.

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Historical Note

The Parsons Table was reportedly designed at the Paris Ateliers, the precursor to Parsons Paris, sometime in the 1920s or 1930s. A modernist design, the chair is characterized by its straight, clean lines and square legs, in which the legs are the same width as the tabletop. French designer Jean-Michel Frank (1895–1941) is often identified as the creator of the table. Frank served as a critic in the Paris Ateliers, and one hypothesis suggests that he had students follow the simple table design as part of a classroom project in furniture construction.

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Scope and Content of Collection

The Parsons Table research files consist primarily of work conducted and assembled by the director and staff of the New School Archives in 2002 to support a Parsons School of Design's Design and Management Department project in which students would construct and market a version of the Parsons Table. Archives staff prepared a questionnaire for alumni to gather information about the origins of the table and its design. Several responses include sketches of the table. While furnishing no conclusive evidence, these files will be useful to researchers investigating the history of the table, its relationship to the school, and the stories that have been told about it.

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Organization and Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Kellen Design Archives - March 9, 2012

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

Preferred Citation note

[Identification of item], [date (if known)], Parsons Table research files, PC.08.02.01, 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. Please contact: archivist@newschool.edu.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Research compiled by archives' staff.

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Related Materials

The Stanley Barrows oral history in the New School Archives' Parsons School of Design Centenary oral history project (PC.07.01.01) includes a discussion about the origins of the Parsons Table. Course catalogs for the Paris Ateliers in Parsons School of Design course catalog collection (PC.05.01.01) provide details about the goals and instructors in the program in which the table probably originated.

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Keywords for Searching Related Subjects

Corporate Name(s)

  • New York School of Fine and Applied Art.
  • Paris Ateliers.
  • Parsons School of Design.


  • Clippings files.


  • Design -- History -- 20th century.
  • Furniture design -- France -- 20th century.
  • Tables.

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Collection Inventory

General research and correspondence 
Correspondence with David Levy 
Questionnaire and responses 
Reference files on designers associated with Parsons Table 
Baughman, Milo 
Breuer, Marcel 
Frank, Jean-Michel 
Neutra, Joseph 
Rietveld, Gerrit 

Collection Guide Last Updated: 02/28/2017

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