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Albert Hadley papers

Identifier: KA-0017


Albert Hadley (1920-2012) graduated from Parsons School of Design in 1949 and served on the faculty from 1949 through 1954. Hadley later joined Dorothy "Sister" Parish to form the interior design firm Parish-Hadley. The collection includes correspondence, design and lecture notes, student work and a mock-up for a booklet.


  • 1947 - 1999



0.5 Cubic Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents of Collection

The Albert Hadley papers include college notebooks, student assignments and class hand-outs from his education in the late 1940s and subsequent teaching post at Parsons School of Design (1949-1954); miscellaneous notes and writings about decorating, design, and the creative process; and lecture notes written by Hadley in addition to notes taken by him. Also included are a mock-up and correspondence relating to a 1999 booklet about Hadley's interior decoration projects. Of note are a memorandum regarding the possibility of Parsons offering a BFA degree independently of New York University in the 1950s and a signed letter from Van Day Truex explaining Parsons School of Design's non-profit status with regard to financial matters dating to the time immediately prior to his dismissal by the Parsons Board of Trustees.

The papers document Hadley's educational career and his later role as a frequent public speaker and commentator. They are of a professional nature and contain no personal materials. The Albert Hadley papers in the New School Archives do not contain Parish-Hadley business records. However, his professional career and his partnership with Sister Parish figure prominently in his lecture notes and speeches.

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

Albert Hadley was born in 1920 in Springfield, Tennessee. He studied art and design for two years at Peabody College (now part of Vanderbilt University) and worked as an assistant to Nashville-based decorator A. Herbert Rodgers.

Following military service in World War II, Hadley moved to New York where he enrolled in Parsons School of Design. He was offered a scholarship and completed a three-year course of study in the school’s interior design department, graduating in 1949. Parsons president Van Day Truex subsequently hired Hadley as an instructor in the Interior Design Department. Hadley taught at Parsons until 1954, but maintained what became a lifelong friendship with Truex, who died in 1979.

After a period of self-employment, Hadley joined McMillen, Inc., a prestigious interior design firm under the direction of Eleanor McMillen Brown. At the time, Hadley was one of the few men ever employed by the firm. He stayed with McMillen until 1962.

Hadley began working with decorator Dorothy “Sister” Parish in January 1963, following an introduction by Van Day Truex. Hadley introduced Parish to modernism and complemented her self-taught decorating methods with his formal design training. In 1964, Parish invited Hadley to become a partner in Mrs. Henry Parish II, Inc. The decorating firm then became Parish-Hadley. Supported by a team of young designers, Parish-Hadley built an international reputation with many high-profile clients, including William and Babe Paley, the Bronfman family, the Gore family, and Brooke Astor. In 1982, Parish-Hadley, Inc. became Parish-Hadley Associates, Inc. in recognition of the contributions by all of its designers. Sister Parish died in 1994 and Hadley dissolved Parish-Hadley Associates five years later. He opened a new business, Albert Hadley, Inc., in 2000.

Albert Hadley was inducted into the Interior Design Hall of Fame in 1986. He holds honorary degrees from Parsons and from the New York School of Interior Design, and is a fellow of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID).

Organization and Arrangement

Organized into 5 series: 1. Student work; 2. Teaching materials; 3. Lecture notes; 4. "Ideas" (booklet); 5. Notes and writings

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred from the Office of the Dean, Parsons The New School for Design, 2006.

Related Materials

The records of Parish-Hadley Associates, Inc. are held by the Smithsonian Institution's Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum Library.

Guide to the Albert Hadley papers
New School Archives and Special Collections Staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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