Oral history interview with Ruth Adler Schnee

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.schnee02
Creators:
Schnee, Ruth Adler, 1923-
Schnee, Anita
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America
Dates:
2002 November 24-30
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
159 Pages
Transcript
Repository:

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
An interview of Ruth Adler Schnee conducted 2002 November 24-30, by Anita Schnee, at the artist's home in Southfield, Michigan, for the Archives of American Art as part of the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America.
Scope and Contents
Schnee talks about her early childhood in Germany, living in Nazi Germany and her family's emigration to the U.S. in 1939; her family's beginnings in the U.S. and her education; working in the display department at Winkleman's Department store; her scholarship to Rhode Island School of Design; experiencing New York City at the close of WWII; attending Cranbrook Academy of Art; her friendship with Eliel and Loja Saarinen; meeting and marrying Edward Charles Schnee; their first silk screening studio in Detroit; early designs; a fire that destroyed the first Adler Schnee shop in 1955; the new Adler Schnee store on Livernois; buying trips to Norway, Sweden, and Finland; difficulties and strategies for selling fabric designs; teaching herself the silk-screening process; designing for the airline industry; her love of color; and the labor intensive process of making the perfect design.
Scope and Contents
Schnee also discusses her sources of inspiration and how they have changed over the years; good design as "problem solving"; participating in tradeshows and finding clients; the shop paper, "The Bugle;" the Detroit Artists Market; significant commissions including Braniff Airlines, Ford Rotunda Auditorium, the Feld-Weisberg Clinic, and the Jewish Home for the Aged; and a research trip to Williamsburg, Virginia, to learn early American design techniques. Schnee comments on her travels to Mexico, Germany, South America, Israel, and in the U.S. She concludes the sessions by reviewing the recording and providing additional information. Schnee recalls Paul Klee, Albert Kahn, Minoru Yamasaki, Maija Grotell, Richard Savage, Al Taubman, Louis Redstone, Hans Knoll, Victor Gruen, Edward Wormley, Edgar Kaufman, Susanne Dotson, Harley Melzian, Selma Fraiberg, Hedie and Helmut Goedeckemeyer, Roberto Lago, and others.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Ruth Adler Schnee (1923- ) is a textile artist from Southfield, Michigan.
Biographical / Historical
The interviewer, Anita Schnee, is her daughter and is from Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Administration
Existence and Location of Copies
Transcript available online.
Author
Sponsor
Funding for this interview was provided by the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America. Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.

General
General
Originally recorded on 9 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 70 digital wav files. Duration is 11 hr., 9 min.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Textile crafts -- Michigan -- Detroit Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Voyages and travels Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Textile designers -- Michigan -- Detroit -- Interviews Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Design -- Study and teaching Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art -- Economic aspects Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nazis -- Germany Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women artists Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Decorative arts Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/