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John Vassos Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University


Finding aid created by: JoD
Date: Oct 1991



Biographical History

Greek-American industrial designer, painter, illustrator, author, Vassos worked to establish industrial design as a profession with a strong academic foundation. A founding member of the American Designers Institute (ADI) and the Industrial Designers' Institute (IDI), Vassos played a major role in the 1965 merger of the Industrial Designers' Institute (IDI), the American Society of Industrial Designers (ASID), and the Industrial Design Education Association (IDEA) to form the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA).


Scope and Contents of the Collection

Spanning the years 1928-1981, the collection consists of the artwork and professional papers of the Greek-American artist, author, industrial designer, and illustrator John Vassos (1898-1985). Arranged in four categories (Correspondence-Subject File, Artwork, Writings, and Memorabilia),the collection focuses on Vassos' creative efforts as an arts administrator (Silvermine Guild of Artists), an innovative illustrator (Salome, The Ballad of Reading Gaol , The Harlot's House, Contempo, Ultimo, Gray's Elegy, Kubla Khan, Phobia, Humanities, ), and an industrial designer (accordians for Hohner; computers, an electron microscope, radios, and televisions for RCA; as well as corporate logos, shotguns, and turnstyles).

The collection also reflects Vassos' work in establishing Industrial Design as a profession with a strong academic foundation. Collection materials testify to Vassos' efforts to educate businessmen with the help of other designers and to speak with design students at Syracuse University, the University of Bridgeport, and the University of Cincinnati. A founding member of the American Designers Institute (ADI) and the Industrial Designers' Institute (IDI), Vassos played a major role in the 1965 merger of the Industrial Designers' Institute (IDI), the American Society of Industrial Designers (ASID), and the Industrial Design Education Association (IDEA) to form the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA).

The Correspondence-Subject File contains correspondence and related material from clients, colleagues and friends, and organizations. Among Vassos' clients were Kuljian, Prudential Lines, Inc., and the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), and material includes correspondence, designs, publications, and memorabilia relating to these companies. Colleagues and friends whose correspondence is represented include Constantinos Doxiadis, Martin Kamin, Tucker Madawick, Joseph Parriott, Arthur Pulos, and Rex Rand. Organizational material, consisting of correspondence, publications, and memorabilia, relates to the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) and the Silvermine Guild of Artists. The Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) materials pertain to the early organizational structure of the Society and also feature designs by Vassos.

Artwork includes designs (Bendix, "The Bible," M. Hohner, Inc., and Italian Lines Steamship Agency, Inc.) and drawings as well asoriginal and published illustrations. There are also photographs of some of Vassos' paintings and reproductions of some of his other work.

Books which Vassos wrote and illustrated as well as drafts and published versions of essays constitute Writings. Essays, many of which concern the contributions of industrial design to society, appeared in various design and corporate journals, regional magazines, and newspapers.

Memorabilia comprises calendars, financial and legal material, documents pertaining to Vassos' military career, and assorted printed material.


Restrictions

Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.


Subject Headings

Persons

Chapman, David.
Doxiades, K. A. (Konstantinos Apostolou), 1913-1975.
Kamin, Martin.
Kaufmann, Edgar, 1910-
Madawick, Tucker P.
Miller, Leon Gordon.
Parriott, Joseph M.
Pulos, Arthur J.
Rand, Rex.
Spilman, Raymond, 1911-
Vassos, John, 1898-1985.

Corporate Bodies

American Society of Industrial Designers.
Industrial Design Education Association.
Industrial Designers Society of America.
Industrial Designers' Institute.
RCA Corporation.
Silvermine Guild Center for the Arts.

Subjects

Art deco -- United States.
Art, American -- 20th century.
Art, American.
Design, Industrial -- United States.
Greek American artists.
Illustrators -- United States.
Industrial designers -- United States.
Painters -- United States.
Painting, American -- 20th century.

Genres and Forms

Correspondence.
Drawings.
Essays.
Illustrations.
Photographs.

Occupations

Artists.
Illustrators.
Industrial designers.
Painters.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

John Vassos Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries


Table of Contents

Biographical material

Correspondence-Subject File

Artwork

Writings

Memorabilia


Inventory