The New School Through 100 Archival Objects

A key component of the First Year course, Integrative Seminar 1, is to introduce students to the New School’s Archives. This lesson is meant to demonstrate how to conduct archival research, and how to find valuable primary sources. Many students progress in their academic journey by visiting archives around the city that are related to their areas of interest during Integrative Seminar 2. While all classes are online this fall semester, in Professor Anastasia Aukeman’s section of Integrative Seminar 1, students were given the following prompt to improve their research methods:

  1. Introduce digital primary sources available through the New School Libraries and Archives
  2. Demonstrate the difference between archiving and curating
  3. Model the importance of citing sources and why we do it, without resorting to complicated style manuals that confound
  4. Introduce students to clear, concise interpretive writing
  5. Introduce first-year Parsons students to the ethos of their college by connecting the exercise to its namesake, Frank Alvah Parsons

In following these directions and goals, Professor Aukeman’s students were asked to create their own Archival Object cards based on the ones made by The New School’s Archives for last year’s Centennial. Using the rich digital database available online from the Archives, students identified sources that peaked their interest to complete this assignment. Below, you will find examples of the completed Archival Object cards.

Student: Audrey Park

Havoline Oil Print (1917-1919) 

Adele Mowton DuBreuil, a 1920 Parsons graduate, designed this photographic print meant to advertise Havoline oil sometime between 1917-1919. At this time Parsons focused on using industrial art to advertise new products, like Havoline oil, arising at that time. DuBreuil has provided the public with an artistic visual capturing the product’s purpose by including a speeding race car driven by a man wearing goggles and a scarf during a time where cars started becoming a normal form of commute.

part of

Student: Haripriya (“Priya”) Ramkumar

Angela Davis and Betty Friedan at a Guest Lecture (1975)

This contact sheet is a photographic display of film captured by photographer and videographer Stanley Seligson of a guest lecture at The New School with Angela Davis and Betty Friedan in September of 1975. At the time, both women were at the forefront of the second wave of American feminism, with Friedan having written The Feminine Mystique and founded the National Organization for Women.

part of  New School Photograph Collection: Guest Speakers and Performers

Student: Jamilla Zahir

Student Notebook for First Year Costume Design and Illustration (1938-39) 

Belonging to Margaret Lange, this notebook explores her studies throughout her fashion design (then called costume design) course. It shows a development of her work, by including many exercises and notes, and progresses into more complicated designs. This notebook is both a show of the history of process-based learning and Parsons and clothing trends in the late 1930s.

part of Kellen Design Archives

Student: Amelia Aquavella

Public Health Nurse (1940)

Critic and Lecturer at Parsons, Edith d’Errecalde, designed this uniform for public health nurses in the 1940s. She worked for Mainbrocher in the 1940s and started her own sportswear company. Once WWll began in the 1940s many job positions were left open when American men went off to war. Many women then took on the working roles of men. One of the common jobs women took on in the 1940s was nursing. d’Errecald helped provide a uniform for these women empowering them to take working roles.

Other Source:

Student: Audrey Chang

Charles LeMaire costume and fashion sketches (1924)

This sketch, part of an eleven-piece set, was drawn by Oscar-winning costume designer Charles LeMaire in 1924. The commission by Earl Carroll’s Vanities Orchestra of showgirl costumes brought LeMaire’s dress designs onto many musical theatre stages known to display burlesque-style dancers. The controversial style is featured in many of LeMaire’s sketches. (Featured Design: Dancer’s Costume with Wrap Coat and Multi-Tiered White Skirt with Black Dots)

Part of Charles LeMaire costume and fashion sketches

Student: Vritika Mehta

Casey Danson Student Work (1972-1975)

Casey Danson graduated from Parsons School of Design in 1975 with a BFA in Environmental Design. She created a film which discusses the effects of an artificial environment on the people who live in it.

This assignment relates to Parson’s history as it shows the dynamic of the streets of New York. The New School building has an interesting shape and I feel that this archival object helps us understand the New School building today. It can also relate to the building of The New School as the openness of this film shows us how Parsons welcomes everyone no matter where they are from. This relates to Casey’s idea of showcasing the effect of the man-made environment on the lives of the people who live in it.

Part of Casey Danson student work (Architectural Drawings)

Student: Monique Fang

Jell-O A Luscious Dessert (1929)

Roselaine Boylan Carpenter, a 1930 Parsons Graduate, used pastel colors to design this  advertisement promoting Jell-O. The advertisement, which was created in 1929, is  important as one is unable to discern whether it was created in the 20th or 21st century  when looking at it. Carpenter used tempera and watercolor to design this piece, yet one  might think it was created digitally when looking at it.

part of Roselaine Boylan student work