Guide to the Lester Beall Collection

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.1278
Creators:
Beall, Lester, 1903-
Dates:
1933-[circa 1967]
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
1 cubic foot
Repository:

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
This collection documents the career of Lester Beall, graphic designer and commercial artist from approximately 1933-1967.

Arrangement
Arrangement
Record Groups include: Unprocessed; I. "Scope" Magazine; II. Modern Art 5,000 Years Ago; III. Red Cross Magazines; IV. Greeting Cards; V. Time Magazine ads; VI. Logo Designs; VII. Cone Automatic Machine Co., tear sheets; VIII. Misc. Covers; IX. George Bijur. Inc.; X. Labatt's of Canada and Catch! Narragansett Ale design campaigns; XI. Exhibition, Art Center, California; XII. Abbott Laboratories, "What's New"; XIII. Marshall Field and Company; XIV. Misc. Advertisements.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
American designer Lester Beall (1903-1969) was educated at Lane Technical School in Chicago and received a bachelor's degree in art history from the University of Chicago. Upon discovering the work of the European avant-garde, Beall was inspired to bring American design of the 1930s and 1940s to a higher level of effective visual communication. Self-taught, Lester Beall was one of the first Americans to have his work shown in a German monthly graphics periodical, Gebrauchsgraphik, and was one of the first Americans to incorporate the New Typography, using techniques such as photomontage, collage and the use of cut-out flat colored paper in combination with photography and economical line drawing, reworking the element of European modernism into distinctive American style. He produced solutions to graphic design problems that were unique among his American contemporaries.
Beall moved from Chicago to New York in 1935 and did work that was influential to the field of editorial design. Between 1938 and 1940, he redesigned twenty magazines for McGraw Hill, in 1946 he designed two covers for Fortune and in 1944, he began designing Scope magazine for UpJohn Pharmaceuticals which he did until 1951. In 1952, Beall opened a design office on Dumbarton Farm, his home in rural Connecticut. In 1973, four years after his death, Lester Beall was inducted into the New York Art Directors Club Hall of Fame.
Philip B. Meggs credits Beall with "almost single-handedly launching the modern movement in American design". In 1973, four years after his death, the Art Directors Club of New York belatedly elected him to its prestigious Hall of Fame. Bob Plisken, who worked for Beall in the early 1940s, said on that occasion, "In my opinion, Beall did more than anyone to make graphic design in American a distinct and respected profession".

Administration
Processing Information
Collection is unprocessed.
Author
NMAH Staff
Immediate Source of Acquisiton
All materials were donated to the museum by Mr. Lester Beall, Jr. in 1998.

Bibliographic References
Bibliographic References
Lester Beall
. Brookfield Center, Conn. : Lester Beall, Inc., [197-?].
Bibliographic References
Nine Pioneers in American Graphic Design
/ Roger R. Remington and Barbara J. Hodik. Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, 1989.
Bibliographic References
Lester Beall : trailblazer of American graphic design
/ Roger R. Remington. New York : W.W. Norton, 1996.
Bibliographic References
Graphic Design History
/ Steven Heller and Georgette Balance. New York : Allworth Press, 2001.

Using the Collection
Restrictions on Access
Unrestricted research access on site by appointment.,Unprotected photographs must be handled with gloves.
Preferred Citation
Lester Beall collection, 1933-circa 1967, Archives Center, National Museum of American HIstory.
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.

Custodial History
Custodial History
The collection was transferred to the Archives Center in 2012.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Tear sheets Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Advertisements Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Exhibition catalogs Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Posters Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Graphic designers -- United States Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Announcements Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American printer (New York, N.Y.) Title Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Red Cross magazine Title Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs -- 20th century Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Time Title Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Design drawings Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Graphic arts -- Sources -- History -- 20th century -- United States Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
McCall's (Los Angeles, Calif. : 1921) Title Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fortune Title Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Commercial art -- Sources -- History -- 20th century -- United States Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dumbarton Farm (Brookfield, Conn.) Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Commercial artists -- United States Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Logos Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Greeting cards Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Heim Jeunes Filles Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Labatt's Canada Limited Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art Directors Club (New York, N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Marshall Field & Company (Chicago, Ill.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
International Paper Company Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Upjohn Company Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cone Automatic Machine Company Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Chicago Tribune (Firm) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Abbott Laboratories Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Chance Vought Corporation Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Narragansett Brewing Co. Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
George Bijur, Inc Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Stanley Works Inc. Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cooper-Hewitt Design Archive Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hauck, Fred Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, inc. Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
House of Herbs, Inc. Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
archivescenter@si.edu
http://americanhistory.si.edu/archives