Elizabeth Cornell fashion design illustrations
Available digital items: https://digital.archives.newschool.edu/index.php/Detail/collections/ka015001
This collection of 24 drawings and paintings consists of women’s and men’s fashion illustrations created by Elizabeth Cornell, probably in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The illustrations mostly depict women’s and men’s wear, accessories, and fabric patterns.
- late 1920s-early 1930s
- Cornell, Elizabeth (1907-2001) (Person)
.1 Cubic Feet (24 illustrations)
Language of Materials
This collection of 24 drawings and paintings consists of women’s and men’s fashion illustrations created by Elizabeth Cornell, probably in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The illustrations mostly depict women’s and men’s wear, accessories, and fabric patterns. The illustrations usually depict full stories: the figures are on the beach, at a rowing race, at the racetrack, at a music club, or when single figures appear, they are finished, with stylized hair, jewelry, and other accessories. The illustrations are either mixed media, or were created with ink, pencil, or watercolor.
Some illustrations also have Cornell’s full address in Richmond Hill, New York, and a price on the recto, or on a separate sheet. It is not clear whether these designs were commissioned, purchased, or Cornell hoped to sell them. The brands that appear in the collection are retail stores Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord and Taylor, and B. Altman and Co, and fabric manufacturer Darbrook Silks. Cornell also created a cover design proposal for Charm magazine, published by L. Bamberger and Co. Publishing Company of the Bamberger Department Store in Newark, New Jersey, between 1924-1932. It is unclear whether this was a commission and whether it was published. In the case of an earring advertisement for Saks Fifth Avenue, a clipping from an unidentified newspaper featuring an illustration in the same style as Cornell’s drawing is also attached to the illustration, indicating that Cornell’s illustrations were successfully published.
It is not clear whether some of the drawings in the collection are Cornell’s own original dress designs. Some drawings demonstrate Cornell’s experiments in brand typography as well. In one example, Cornell incorporated the name, “Altman,” into a series of figures engaged in leisure activities for the department store, B. Altman.
The illustrations are undated, and are signed “Cornell.” Some of the illustrations are numbered.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research use. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for appointment.
Conditions Governing Use
To publish images of material from this collection, permission must be obtained in writing from the New School Archives and Special Collections. Please contact: email@example.com.
Matilda Elizabeth Cornell was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on March 1, 1907 to Gertrude Fenton Test and William Ramsey Cornell Jr. She was known as Elizabeth, Matilda and Beth. Her father died in 1914, and her mother remarried, to George F. Miller, himself a widower with two sons. The family lived in Richmond Hill, New York.
For high school, Elizabeth attended the Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn, New York, from 1921 to 1924. She then attended Parsons School of Design (then known as the New York School of Fine and Applied Art) from 1925 to about 1928. As her daughter recalls, Elizabeth had a flair for color and design, and was always creative and coming up with project ideas. She designed and made her own clothes, and those of her mother, as well as slipcovers, curtains, and other domestic items, and decorated the interior of her home.
In June 1933, Elizabeth married Raymond Kochendorfer. They lived on Long Island, New York, and had one child, Jane Elizabeth, born in 1938. After Kochendorfer died in 1945, Elizabeth took on factory jobs and later worked as a dental assistant in New York City and Philadelphia (she had previously worked as a dental assistant for her dentist stepbrother).
In January 1952, Elizabeth married U.S. Army soldier, Guiseppe (Joe) Galati. They lived in Philadelphia and later in Mattituck, New York. In 1960, they bought a house in Oaklyn, New Jersey, where they lived until Joe died in 1997.
Elizabeth died on September 12, 2001, in Smithtown, New York. She is buried in Arlington National Cemetery with her second husband.
Biographical information supplied by Elizabeth Cornell’s daughter and grandson upon donation of the collection, 2021.
Files are arranged alphabetically by format.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated to The New School Archives by Thomas DuBois, grandson of Elizabeth Cornell, August 2021.
- Advertising -- Fashion (Subject) Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Fashion drawing (Subject) Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Fashion illustration. (Subject) Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Fashion illustrations (layout features) (Type of Material) Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Fashion illustrators (Occupation) Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Guide to the Elizabeth Cornell fashion design illustrations
- Agnes Szanyi and New School Archives and Special Collections Staff
- November 16, 2022
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description