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Women Designers in the USA, 1900-2000: Diversity and Difference (Bard Graduate Center) exhibition records

Identifier: 2021-002

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of records that pertain to the research, curatorial planning, publicity, and presentation of the exhibition and its accompanying catalogue. Many materials throughout the collection include handwritten annotations.

Series I: Catalogue - Materials related to the contents and production of the catalogue Women Designers in the USA, 1900-2000: Diversity and Difference [ed. Pat Kirkham]. Includes research notes, essay drafts, author files, meeting notes, correspondence, illustration lists, checklists. Also includes files on a “Context Line” timeline, created for the exhibition by designer Deborah Sussman.

Series II: Checklists and Objects - Materials documenting the checklist of objects in the exhibition and its development through drafts and prospective loan research. Includes final checklist, preliminary checklists, object captions, notes on revisions and changes, correspondence, loan prospect lists, and slides. Includes a series of file folders covering objects by exhibition section (labeled A-F), with annotated research files.

Series III: Interpretation - Interpretive materials relating to the exhibition, including wall labels.

Series IV: Publicity and Press - Press, publicity, and marketing materials for the exhibition and catalogue. Includes press clippings and reviews, opening invitations, brochures, listings, promotional materials, and posters.

Series V: Correspondence - Curatorial correspondence, mostly regarding object research and loans, the catalogue, or image permissions. Some correspondents are internal, others include include designers, authors, lenders, and image vendors. Lender correspondence is filed alphabetically. A folder of notable correspondents includes notes from Isabel and Ruben Toledo, D.D. Tillett, and Cristina Grajales. Note: some correspondence also appears in other series.

Series VI: Exhibition Planning and General Curatorial - General files related to curatorial activities. Includes files on funding, exhibition tour prospectus, relevant conferences and public programs, gallery installation planning, curatorial planning notes, correspondence, objects lists.

Series VII: Loans and Registrar - Records related to object lenders and prospective lenders. Includes loan agreements, loan requests, lender lists, image reproduction agreements, correspondence, installation and condition photographs. Files include institutional, commercial, and individual lenders and are arranged alphabetically.

Series VIII: Research - This series includes primary and secondary sources gathered in the development of the exhibition and catalogue. Most items include handwritten annotations. It primarily consists of folders on individual designers, firms, schools, or organizations, arranged alphabetically. It also includes a run of file folders arranged by exhibition theme or subtopic. Note that the extent of each folder's contents varies from a single item to many pages. FOR A LIST OF ALL FOLDERS IN THIS SERIES, please see the Series VIII description at the end of this finding aid, or click on "Series VIII: Research" under Collection Organization at right.

Files include reprints, clippings, periodicals, bibliographies, designer resumes/CVs, conference materials, newsletters, and promotional materials. Some contain photographs and slides, and correspondence.

Also included are notes and transcripts from interview conducted by the project team with designers including Ruth Carter, Deborah Nadoolman Landis, Lella Vignelli, Lucia DeRespinis, Jackie Peters, Rose Ransier Piper, Dorothy Hafner, Anita Stewart, and Carole Bilson.


  • Majority of material found in c. 1997-2000

Access Restrictions

Some materials may be restricted, such as files relating to private lenders or to object values (such as insurance forms). Please contact archives staff for details.

Use Restrictions

Collection use subject to all copyright laws.

Exhibition History

Women Designers in the USA, 1900-2000: Diversity and Difference (November 15, 2000–April 8, 2001) was curated by Dr. Pat Kirkham.

The research project explored women designers working in the United States during the 20th century. Its broad scope allowed for comparisons between the different areas of design and signaled Bard Graduate Center’s consideration to all aspects of design—from ceramics to cinema, from furniture to fashion, from interiors to industrial products, and from gardens to graphics.

As a faculty member of Bard Graduate Center and international scholar, Dr. Kirkham has written widely on areas of design, film, gender, and culture.

The exhibition and catalog were the result of a research project on which Bard Graduate Center students and alumni worked with Dr. Kirkham. The exhibition catalog was selected for the George Wittenborn Memorial Book Award by the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA).


13 Linear Feet (7 record cartons and 10 manuscript boxes )

1.79 Gigabytes

Language of Materials



Records of the 2000 Bard Graduate Center exhibition Women Designers in the USA, 1900-2000: Diversity and Difference, curated by Dr. Pat Kirkham. The exhibition and its accompanying catalog were the culmination of a landmark project for Bard Graduate Center which aimed to revise and augment the story of women designers in the United States in the 20th century. Among the records are a series of research files (mostly brief) on both individuals and firms, as well as on themes and subtopics of the exhibition.


The collection has been arranged into eight series. Within each series, original order of files has been maintained, except instances where they were consolidated and interfiled from multiple locations.

Series I: Catalog

Series II: Checklists and Objects

Series III: Interpretation

Series IV: Publicity and Press

Series V: Correspondence

Series VI: Planning and General Curatorial

Series VII: Loans and Registrar
(alphabetical by lender/prospective lender)

Series VIII: Research (alphabetical by designer/firm or by exhibition theme/topic)


Materials were consolidated from Bard Graduate Center’s Exhibitions department, Library, and from Dr. Pat Kirkham’s teaching files.

Related Materials

As part of the Women Designers exhibition and research project, Bard Graduate Center published a special issue of the journal Studies in the Decorative Arts (Vol. 8, No. 1). Please contact for details.

Photographs of the exhibition installation and catalogue illustrations can be accessed from Bard Graduate Center via Artstor. Please contact archives staff for details.

Women Designers in the USA, 1900-2000: Diversity and Difference (Bard Graduate Center) exhibition records
Mike Satalof
Created 2021 (last update: 2023)
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bard Graduate Center, New York, NY Repository

38 West 86th St.
New York NY 10024