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Dero Darwin, Jr. papers

Identifier: KA-0051-01


Dero Darwin, Jr. (1929-2014) graduated from Parsons School of Design's Interior Design Department in 1964. This collection includes design work Darwin produced as a student, as well as lecture notes and course materials, and material from Darwin's professional design career.


  • 1961 - 1979
  • Majority of material found within 1961 - 1964



5.2 Cubic Feet (3 boxes, 3 oversize boxes, 5 oversize folders)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The collection consists primarily of the student work of Dero Darwin, a 1964 graduate of the Interior Design Department at Parsons School of Design. Materials illustrate Darwin’s development as a student from 1961 to 1964, and include academic announcements, clippings about his scholastic accomplishments, exams, drawings and renderings, notebooks of lecture notes and reports, and student projects. Of interest is Darwin’s sketchbook featuring life drawings of fellow Parsons students for a class taught by Bernard S. Carter, and renderings of decorative pieces, furniture, interiors, and exteriors.

The collection also includes a small amount of material representing Darwin’s professional accomplishments following graduation, notably a project for Bellevue Hospital in New York City. It does not include personal materials, nor does it include documentation from Darwin's life prior to his enrollment at Parsons School of Design.

Conditions Governing Access

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. Please contact:

Biographical note

Dero Armistead Darwin, Jr. ("Ted") was born in 1929, in McMinnville, Tennessee. He graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1951 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration, and a minor in History. Following graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve. In 1954, he was assigned to the staff of Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Paris, France. After completing his military service, Darwin returned to Cookeville, Tennessee and worked in a family business until he enrolled in the Interior Design Department at Parsons School of Design in the summer of 1961.

While at Parsons, Darwin took courses in interior design, art history, and life drawing. He attended lectures on the methods and problems of interior design; visited museums, workshops, and private homes; and took a school-sponsored tour of Europe. In 1963, Darwin won the National Society of Interior Designers (N.S.I.D.) Undergraduate Scholarship, the Parsons School of Design European Summer Session Scholarship, and second prize in the Melanie Kahane Competition. In 1964, Darwin placed first in N.S.I.D. National and Senior Graduate Scholarship. In 1964, Darwin completed the three-year program, receiving a certificate of graduation with honors from the Interior Design Department.

Upon graduating, Darwin went to work for John A. Ryan Associates in Frankfurt, Germany, a position he obtained through Parsons' Placement Office (now called Career Services). Here, he was chief designer for several military officers’ clubs, including U.S. Army Europe Headquarters in Heidelberg. Over the course of his career he worked as an interior designer for such clients as Elizabeth Arden, Dan Cooper, Dean Witter, Du Pont, U.S. Plywood, Harper and Row, Hilton Hotels and General Electric. One of his final positions was with the firm Duffy, Inc. serving as chief designer of New York City's Bellevue Hospital Center. Darwin retired in 1975.

Organization and Arrangement

Organized in 2 series: 1. Professional work, 1965-1979; 2. Student work, 1961-1963

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Dero Darwin, Jr., 1996.

Related Materials

Researchers may also wish to consult the New School Archives' holdings of student work from the Interior Design department to gain perspective on a Parsons interior design education. The Carolyn Nesbitt Wagenseller student work (KA.0124) includes student work created by a fellow Interior Design student from approximately the same time as Darwin.

Separated Materials

A copy of Inside Your Home by Dan Cooper (New York: Dan Cooper Publications), 1951 accompanying the Dero Darwin, Jr. papers was transferred to Special Collections.

External Support

The processing of this collection was supported in part by a grant from the J. Paul Getty Trust.

Processing Information

Five additional folders of Dero Darwin drawings were discovered in mixed boxes (boxes containing material from more than one collection) in November 2020 and incorporated into the collection.

Guide to the Dero Darwin, Jr. papers
New School Archives and Special Collections Staff
September 28, 2010
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • November 19, 2020: Anna Robinson-Sweet added three file-level components to the collection inventory (Chairs; Chimney piece; Apartment layout, 455 East 51st Street) and several instances to account for new materials. See Processing Information note for further details about the provenance of these materials.