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Collection Scope and Content Note


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 1831.

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 August.

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.

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 Wormley.

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 business-related correspondence.

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.

Show all series level scope and content notes