Collection Scope and Content Note
Show all series level scope and content notes
The collection is divided into four series: Personal Records, Correspondence, Edward J
Wormley Professional Records, and Photographs.
Series I. Personal Records. The first series is informally
divided into four subseries: Crouse Personal Records, Joint Personal Records, Wormley
Personal Records, and Unidentified Personal Records. The personal records of Crouse and
Wormley individually include basic documents such as birth certificates, passports, and
driver's licenses; biographical clippings; education records; appointment books and
notebooks; records pertaining to apartments, cars, and other property owned; family
history and genealogy, and correspondence written and received by family members other
than Crouse or Wormley themselves.
Crouse's personal records also include material on his military service and employment,
though it should be noted that most material relating to Crouse's work at the University
of Georgia was donated (by Wormley) to that university's libraries upon Crouse's death.
Sketches of stage sets and program mock-ups done in Crouse's youth are also present in
his personal records; as are a number of short stories and mini-newspapers written by
Crouse around age twelve or thirteen. Crouse's family records include extensive amateur
genealogical records of the Cass family, Crouse's maternal ancestors, dating back to
Wormley's personal records also include extensive financial and legal records, including
tax returns, expense notebooks, and correspondence between Wormley and his attorney.
This latter material is relevant to Wormley's contracts and agreements with Dunbar;
because there is personal and business-related material interspersed in the legal
correspondence, it has been filed with the personal records. A copy of Edward
Wormley: The Other Face of Modernism is also included in this section.
Joint Personal Records include a few files and three detailed scrapbooks from the
couple's travels, as well as files on the house in Weston, CT where Crouse and Wormley
lived together after 1947. Yearbooks from Rochelle Township High School are also
included in this section because there is only one copy from each year either or both
men attended the school. Unidentified Personal Records consists of one folder of
miscellaneous material that was not clearly attributable to either Crouse or Wormley and
did not obviously concern both of them.
Series II. Correspondence. The second series is informally
divided into ten subseries, with Correspondence between Crouse and Wormley being the
first and largest. This correspondence probably provides the best entry point into the
collection, as it spans (in fact, exceeds) the entire length of time Crouse and Wormley
lived apart (1925-1947). It was not unusual for the two to exchange twenty or
twenty-five letters in the course of a month, so the letters chronicle not only the
couple's relationship, but also the lives of each individually-sometimes on a day-to-day
basis. This correspondence arrived interspersed and it was decided that leaving it this
way would allow for a more intuitive navigation through the couple's long-distance
relationship. It should be noted, however, that there are some major gaps in the
correspondence, mostly affecting Wormley: Crouse did not start keeping Wormley's letters
until late 1930, and did not save them between the fall of 1942 and the spring of 1946
(during his military service). In addition, because the two often spent summers
together, there are sometimes fewer letters for the months of June, July, and
Six additional subseries are Addresses and Address Books, Incoming Correspondence, and
Outgoing Correspondence; each of these categories exists for both Crouse and Wormley.
Incoming correspondence is arranged as follows: if there are three or more letters from
a person whose last name and first initial or name are identifiable, these letters are
foldered under the sender's name; otherwise, letters are filed in chronological order at
the end of the Incoming Correspondence sections. Likewise, outgoing correspondence is
foldered under the recipient's name if there are three or more letters to that person
and chronologically otherwise. There is a very small amount of outgoing correspondence
for both Crouse and Wormley.
Joint Addresses and Christmas Card Lists and Joint Incoming Correspondence are two
additional subseries; the latter follows the same rules as the other incoming
correspondence. The final subseries is Unidentified Correspondence, for which the
recipient (and in some cases also the sender) is unknown.
Series III. Edward J Wormley Professional Records. Though
Wormley's designs and furniture specifications are the physical and intellectual
property of DUNBAR Furniture, LLC, other aspects of his career are well-documented here.
This series is divided into five subseries (A-E).
Subseries IIIA. Business Records. This subseries includes
records from Wormley's association with Dunbar-correspondence, memoranda, brochures,
legal agreements and contracts, clippings, and personal correspondence with various
figures within the company. It also includes client files, employee correspondence, and
miscellany from Edward Wormley and Associates.
Subseries IIIB. Subject Files. Subseries B contains
Wormley's files on other designers and artists, museums, and professional designers'
organizations. Clippings, article reprints, and personal correspondence are all present
in these files. Somewhat of a catch-all subseries, it also includes material such as
certificates of merit awarded to Wormley and records relating to Wormley's celebrated
work with Tiffany tiles. Also included in this subseries is a reel of film labelled
"ASID [American Society of Interior Designers] Proj." which might be a documentary about
Wormley (see Box 8, Folder 15 for files on ASID).
Subseries IIIC. Speeches and Publications. This subseries
contains over 25 of Wormley's speeches and articles, arranged alphabetically by the
audience for the speech (e.g. Industrial Designers of America) or magazine title (e.g.
Interiors). Unidentified speeches and unpublished items are found at the end of the
Subseries IIID. Design Reference Files. Subseries D
contains material that Wormley used or may have used as inspiration for his design work.
First, there are extensive files of magazine clippings that he organized and labeled;
categories include Antique Architecture, Chairs, Drawings, International Style, Living
Rooms, Rugs, and Wallpaper. In some cases, Wormley coded the categories as well (e.g.
Advertisements is coded Ad-M; Paintings is coded P-Art). It isn't immediately clear what
all of the codes mean, but anything Wormley coded is likewise coded in the box list.
An important thing to note in the clippings section is that there are a number of
folders entitled "Sketches." A small number of hand-drawn sketches were included with
the collection, one filed along with the magazine clippings under "Sketches (Sk)" Though
initially it was thought that the sketches were Wormley designs, closer inspection
revealed that a number of the sketches, including the one originally filed with the
clippings, are labeled as something else. That is, they are sketches Wormley made of
objects he did not design. To avoid misleading the researcher, all of the hand-drawn
sketches in the collection are therefore listed with the clippings. This should not be
taken to suggest that it is certain that none of the sketches represent Wormley's own
work; it is simply to say that it is not clear which, if any, are in fact his.
Second, a large number of catalogs from art exhibits and museums were included in the
collection, and it isn't clear whether these were kept as souvenirs from travels and
museum visits or as reference material for Wormley's work. The catalogs have been filed
as if the latter largely because it seems at least plausible that an interior designer
would draw inspiration from items seen in museums. It is just important to be clear that
we don't really know if the museum guides served as important references for
Third, this subseries also includes four folders of brochures, clippings, and
photographs of Shaker furniture, filed with the clippings because such information seems
obviously relevant as design reference material.
Subseries IIIE. Miscellaneous. This subseries contains
miscellaneous items and news clippings, as well as a few folders of chronological
Series IV. Photographs. The photographs are divided into
three subseries, A-C.
Subseries IVA. Personal and Family Photographs. This
subseries contains photographs of Crouse, Wormley, their families and friends, Crouse's
drama productions for the Army and the University of Georgia, the couple's house in
Weston, CT, and their hometown of Rochelle, IL.
Subseries IVB. Travel Photographs. Subseries B contains
photos, many unidentified, taken during the couple's travels. There is also a set of
photos of various sights in Europe dating from the early 20th century; it is not clear
to whom these belonged.
Subseries IVC. Miscellaneous Photographs. This subseries
contains a few photos of art objects, some photographic Christmas cards, and thirteen
folders of unidentified persons.