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Institute of Design records, ca. 1960-1990

Identifier: 008.01.03

Institute of Design records created by the school ca. 1960-1990; includes administrative, student, and program materials, and A-V items. The collection includes several boxes of student records, arranged by name. Names frequently appearing in the materials include Jay Doblin. This collection has not been fully processed and researchers must request access to the materials.


  • Creation: 1960-1990


Language of Materials

Records are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Restricted Collection

Collection Size

58 Boxes


This collection is one of three primary collections which document the activities of Institute of Design, IIT's School of Design. The three collections represents official records of the school created and saved as administrative records of the school. The three collections are Acc. No. 1998.031, Acc. No. 2005.017, and Record Group 6.2. __The Record Group number 6.1 has been reserved for collection 1998.031 pending its re-cataloguing with that number. Acc. No. 2005.017 (which is not yet fully processed and catalogued as of Dec. 2011) should become Record Group 6.3. C. Bruck, Dec. 21, 2011

Biographical / Historical

In 1937, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, under the sponsorship of the Association of Arts and Industries, founded the New Bauhaus in Chicago. Though the New Bauhaus was short-lived, two year later Moholy opened the School of Design to continue his vision. The School reorganized in 1944 to become the Institute of Design.

After Moholy’s death in 1946, architect Serge Chermayeff took over as director. In 1949, ID merged with IIT and became a department in IIT's College of Engineering. Chermayeff resigned in 1951, and during a four-year period of architect Crombie Taylor as acting director, ID grew from a program of 50 students to over 800.

In 1955, Jay Doblin took over the role as director of the booming Institute that had moved with the College of Architecture into Crown Hall on IIT’s State Street Campus. In 1957 Doblin, formerly of the Raymond Lowey design firm in New York, established the industrial design program and broadened the curriculum to include design theory and methods, while maintaining the experimental nature of the pedagogy. Doblin worked at ID in some capacity for 24 years. In 1968 Doblin and the ID faculty revised the curriculum to include new theory, specialty and workshop classes. Doblin resigned in 1969, and a period began of several interim and shorter-term directors.

In 1970, ID began to teach computer graphics classes, well ahead of other design schools. Under Dale Fahnstrom’s direction, in 1981, the school began a Design Processes Laboratory. In 1987 Patrick Whitney signed on as director, a position he still holds. At the same time, ID was combined with the architecture program and the city planning program in a restructuring at IIT. ID did not become its own school until the following year.

In addition to these prominent designers as directors, ID boasts some of the most well-known figures in design as alumni or faculty. Photographer professors Harry Callahan, Arthur Siegel, and Aaron Siskind all worked for ID between the ‘40s and ‘70s and helped develop the first professional graduate program for photography. ID graduate students Richard Nickel, Marvin Newman, and Barbara Crane (among others) all went on to have prominent careers as photographers.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Formerly 2005.017

Related Material

Institute of Design Records, 1937-ca. 1955, Institute of Design records, 1948-2001


Catherine Bruck, University Archivist 5/11/2005

Part of the Paul V. Galvin Library. University Archives and Special Collections Repository

35 West 33rd Street
Chicago IL 60616
(312) 567-5993

Paul V. Galvin Library

35 West 33rd Street | Chicago, IL | 60616