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Ingrith Deyrup diaries and paintings

Identifier: NA-0013-01


Ingrith Deyrup (1919-2004) was a daughter of Alvin Johnson, president of the New School from 1922-1946. The collection consists of a diary that Ingrith kept as a teenager, as well as six small landscape paintings. The diaries provide an intimate look at the life of a New York family deeply immersed in the cultural, artistic, and social life of Manhattan in the 1930s, through the eyes of the 15 and 16-year old Ingrith.


  • 1934 - 1935



0.1 Cubic Feet (3 folders)

Language of Materials


Scope and Content of Collection

The collection consists of two lined composition notebooks used by Ingrith Deyrup as a daily diary, as well as six small gouache and pastel paintings of landscapes she made in the town of Nyack, New York, where the family lived. The first diary covers one year (October 9, 1934 through October 3, 1935). The second covers three months (October 4, 1935 through December 19, 1935), ending not only mid-notebook but mid-sentence.

Ingrith's diaries furnish a rare glimpse into the home life of the Johnson-Deyrup family through the eyes of the 15 and 16-year old Ingrith. At the time, Ingrith was very interested in music, taking music classes at the New School and regularly attending and commenting upon concerts in Manhattan. She also describes lectures, classes, plays, art exhibitions and movies that she went to with various family members. The Deyrup children were home-schooled by their mother, Edith, and Ingrith writes about their routines studying French, Latin, literature, science, and arithmetic, and reports upon the burgeoning careers and domestic lives of her older siblings who were no longer living at home. Occasionally, Ingrith mentions current events and people in the news, but she does not go into much depth.

The notebooks refer frequently to New School administrative matters and events, reflecting how central the New School was to Alvin Johnson's life and, by extension, to that of his family. There are frequent mentions of social and school events with New School faculty and staff, including Arthur Feiler, Hans Simons, Clara Mayer, Emil Lederer, Felix Frankfurter, and Hans and Else Staudinger, among others.

Viewed through a broader lens, the diaries present a portrait of a busy, close-knit family committed to learning and deeply immersed in the cultural, artistic, and social life of Manhattan in the 1930s.

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research use. Please contact 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:


Ingrith Deyrup (1919-2004) was one of seven children that Alvin Johnson, president of the New School from 1922-1946, had with his wife Edith Henry Johnson. The children--Dorothy, Alden, Thorald, Natalie, Felicia, Ingrith and Astrith--adopted the surname Deyrup, a version of Johnson's Danish forebearers. The children were home-schooled by their mother, who had a doctorate in philosophy from Columbia University, at their home in Nyack, New York and at their apartment in Manhattan, where they lived during the winter of 1935. According to the diaries in this collection, the children and Edith took classes and regularly attended lectures at the New School. Later, all of the children studied at either Barnard College or Columbia University, or both, and most went on to lead distinguished academic and professional careers.

Ingrith Deyrup studied zoology at Barnard College, earning her doctorate in physiology from Columbia University. She became a full professor of zoology at Barnard in 1959, and in 1964 accepted a professorship at the University of Washington. While focused on banana slugs and the chemical structure of the mucus they produce for locomotion, Deyrup's research also contributed to the scientific understanding of cystic fibriosis in the human lung. At the University of Washington, Deyrup created an MA program for teaching biology and, in collaboration with the National Science Foundation, she worked to improve the teaching of biology in secondary schools nationally. She also launched a women's studies program at UW. Among the many awards Deyrup earned were Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships and a Distingushed Teaching Award.

Deyrup married fisheries biologist Sigurd Olsen in 1964, changing her name to Ingrith Deyrup-Olsen. After Olsen's death in 1980, she founded a scholarship for undergraduate students honoring his name. Ingrith Deyrup retired from the University of Washington in 1990. She died of cancer in Seattle at the age of 85.

Custodial History

Barry Cassidy purchased these items at an estate sale of Ingrith Deyrup's possessions after her death in 2010.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Barry Cassidy Rare Books in 2014.

Guide to the Ingrith Deyrup diaries and paintings
New School Archives and Special Collections Staff
September 14, 2017
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