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Neuhart (John and Marilyn) papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Restrictions on Access
  • Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
  • Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
  • Preferred Citation
  • Provenance/Source of Acquisition
  • Processing Information
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID
  • Biographical History
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Related Material

  • Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Title: John and Marilyn Neuhart papers
    Creator: Neuhart, John
    Creator: Neuhart, Marilyn
    Donor: Neuhart, Marilyn
    Donor: Neuhart, Benjamin
    Donor: Neuhart, Andrew
    Identifier/Call Number: LSC.1891
    Physical Description: 40.5 Linear Feet (57 document boxes, 3 record cartons, 11 flat boxes, 4 telescope boxes, 1 map folder)
    Date (inclusive): 1916-2011
    Date (bulk): bulk 1957-2000
    Abstract: John and Marilyn Neuhart were graphic and exhibition designers and UCLA professors who also worked at the Eames Design Office in Los Angeles. This collection includes research files for their books on the Eames Office, material documenting the design and organization process for Connections, an exhibition on the Eames Office which was held at UCLA in 1976, ephemera relating to the work of the Eames Office as well as the Neuhart's own design firm, Neuhart Donges Neuhart and a large volume of research files and ephemera that was assembled in preparation for a proposed book on the American designer, Alexander Girard.
    Physical Location: Stored off-site. All requests to access special collections material must be made in advance using the request button located on this page.
    Language of Material: Materials are in English.

    Restrictions on Access

    Open for research. All requests to access special collections materials must be made in advance using the request button located on this page.

    Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

    CONTAINS UNPROCESSED DIGITAL MATERIALS: Digital materials are not currently available for access and will require further processing and assessment. If you have questions about this material please email spec-coll@library.ucla.edu.
    Boxes 57, 58 and 59 have films that must be digitized in order to be viewed.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the objects belong to UCLA Library Special Collections. All other rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], John and Marilyn Neuhart papers (Collection 1891). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    This collection was donated by Marilyn Neuhart in two installments. The first donation with material on the Connections exhibition and the Eames Design and Eames House books was made in July, 2011; material on The Story of Eames Furniture and Alexander Girard were added in a second donation made in April 2012.
    Addition to the collection gift of Andrew and Benjamin Neuhart, 2022.

    Processing Information

    Collections are processed to a variety of levels depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived user interest and research value, availability of staff and resources, and competing priorities. Library Special Collections provides a standard level of preservation and access for all collections and, when time and resources permit, conducts more intensive processing. These materials have been arranged and described according to national and local standards and best practices.
    Processed by Saundarya Thapa in 2013 in the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT), with assistance from Jillian Cuellar.
    The processing of this collection was generously supported by Arcadia 
    We are committed to providing ethical, inclusive, and anti-racist description of the materials we steward, and to remediating existing description of our materials that contains language that may be offensive or cause harm. We invite you to submit feedback about how our collections are described, and how they could be described more accurately, by filling out the form located on our website: Report Potentially Offensive Description in Library Special Collections. 

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 9971280953606533 

    Biographical History

    John and Marilyn Neuhart worked in the Los Angeles area for 55 years as graphic and exhibition designers and professors. They taught several courses at UCLA, including color theory, painting, graphic design, and typography; John retired from UCLA as a Professor Emeritus in 1984. Friends and colleagues of the Eameses, John worked fulltime for the Eames Office for four years and as a freelance designer for 27 years. The Neuharts organized, designed and installed the exhibition Connections: The Work of Charles and Ray Eames at UCLA in 1976 and at other venues in the United States and Europe. They are the authors and designers of three books on the office: Eames Design (Abrams, 1989), Eames House (Ernst and Sohn, 1994) and the two volumes comprising The Story of Eames Furniture (Gestalten Verlag, 2010).
    Having moved on to UCLA's Art Department after graduating from Long Beach City College (LBCC), the Neuharts were introduced to "mid-century modern" design in their course work and through visits to galleries and local businesses that were beginning to sell products designed in the postwar years. Familiar with the work of the Eames Office, they first met Charles Eames in 1952 when Norma Matlin, one of their former LBCC instructors, invited them to an on campus lecture where Eames talked about recent works and showed a few scenes from A Communication Primer, a film that his office had made for IBM. For the Neuharts, it wasn't just the Eameses' design sensibilities that inspired them; it was also that Charles worked with his wife, Ray Eames – something uncommon for couples to do at the time. In 1957, John returned from serving two years in the army and was hired by the Eames Office as a graphic designer. This was the same year that the Neuharts got married and also started their garage-based printing business, The Hand Press.
    As freelance designers, the Neuharts also worked with other Los Angeles based designers. Their relationship with Alexander Girard, an important and influential designer who, together with George Nelson and Charles Eames, comprised the great design triumvirate at Herman Miller Furniture in the mid-twentieth century, began in 1956 when they started doing graphic work for his Santa Fe, New Mexico based firm. Over the years they worked on a number of exciting projects together. One of these was Marilyn's small, embroidered cloth dolls inspired by Medieval and Renaissance embroidery. First created for her children and nieces, Girard commissioned a hundred of these dolls for the 1961 opening of his Textile and Objects store which showcased his Herman Miller textiles as well as folk art from around the world. By the time all the Girard shops closed down, she had made nearly 2,000 dolls.
    In the spring of 1976, John proposed to Charles Eames that he use his upcoming sabbatical leave from his teaching duties at UCLA to research and design an exhibition on the Eames Office. Charles agreed to the idea and John proposed the project to the UCLA Art Council, which raised the funds to support the work. The council received a matching grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and small grants from both Herman Miller, Inc. and the IBM Corporation, two important patrons of the Eames Office. By April, the Neuharts had already begun work researching and organizing the exhibition and scheduled the opening of the 6,500 sq. ft. show in the Wight Gallery at UCLA for December 6. Working through the summer, they designed the exhibition and began to fabricate the exhibition panels and structures. The largest, most comprehensive exhibition on the work of the Eames Office to date, Connections: The Work of Charles and Ray Eames, opened on schedule to good reviews and subsequently travelled to the University of Texas, Washington University in St. Louis and a number of other venues in Britain and Europe. Co-authored with Ray Eames, the Neuharts' 1989 book Eames Design, catalogs chronologically all of the work produced by the office from 1941 to 1978 and can be seen as an extension of the exhaustive research that they did for Connections. From 1980 to 1998, the Neuharts partnered with Richard Donges in their own design firm, Neuhart Donges Neuhart, Designers, Inc. (NDN). A colleague from the Eames Office, Richard Donges began his tenure there the same year as John Neuhart (1957) and left at the end of 1979, a year after the death of Charles Eames which also marked the effective functional end of the office. Located in El Segundo, California, the firm specialized in exhibition and graphic design and had a clientele that included the IBM Corporation, Herman Miller, Inc., the Huntington Library and Art Gallery, the Doheny Library, the Getty Museum and many other local businesses and institutions. In 1984, as part of its participation in the design program for the summer Olympic Games held in Los Angeles that year, the company managed the design and production of the Olympic torch. Amongst other projects for IBM, NDN also carried on the work that was formerly performed by the Eames Office. For example, in 1980 NDN assumed the management of the Mathematica exhibition which the Eames Office designed and produced for IBM starting in 1961. The firm was retained by the company to keep the show refurbished and in good order. When the Chicago version of the exhibit moved to Boston in 1981, NDN managed the move, re-ordered the exhibition to fit in the new space, and refurbished the graphics and the addition of new material. They continued to service the exhibition in Boston and at its original site at the Science and Industry Museum in Los Angeles until IBM transferred ownership and maintenance to the individual museums in the mid-1980s. Both the Eames Design and Eames House books were also researched and designed as part of NDN's work.
    In 2010, Gestalten Verlag published The Story of Eames Furniture (2010), Marylin Neuhart's thoroughly researched and gorgeously designed book in two volumes which deconstructs the brand name that is "Eames." Thirteen years of research in the making, the book sheds light on the whole foundation of hard work behind Eames furniture by focusing on the people who did the day-by-day work. It profiles a first generation of established designers like Gregory Ain, Griswold Raetze and Herbert Matter who worked together with the Charles Eames at Evans Products Company in the 1940s and a second generation of talented designers such as Don Albinson, Charles Kratka, Dale Bauer and Deborah Sussman, who began their design careers by joining the Eames Office in the 1950s. In telling the story of Eames furniture, the book also tells the story of the many talented people behind the furniture and the significant contribution they made to the company's brand.
    Having produced comprehensive books on Eames, in the early 1990s the Neuharts began work on a proposed volume on the career of Alexander Girard. As trusted friends and colleagues, they received full participation and support from the Girard estate, resulting in the amassing of a large amount of material. Despite years of dedicated work however, the book project did not come to fruition. In September 19, 2011 John Neuhart passed away. Marilyn Neuhart continues her passion of sewing and quilting.

    Scope and Content

    Created between 1957 and 2011, this collection documents the design and research work of John and Marilyn Neuhart. Materials primarily relate to the Neuharts' work on the Eames Office. The collection includes material that documents the design and organization process for the Connections exhibition. It also contains a large amount of research files, photographs and ephemera assembled during their work on the Eames Design, Eames House and The Story of Eames Furniture books. As designers, the Neuharts' method of research and data collection was unique and an example of this in the collection is a handcrafted folding book which charts the work chronology of the Eames Office. Also included are items and ephemera relating to the work of the Eames Office which records much of its IBM-related work. Examples of the work of the Newharts' own design firm, Neuhart Donges Neuhart and their personal garage-based printing business, The Hand Press can also be found in the collection. A significant portion of the collection is made up of the Neuharts' research files on the American designer, Alexander Girard. The work was done in preparation for a proposed volume on Girard, and like the material on Eames, it contains research and work-related records, photographs and original artifacts. While there is Herman Miller, Inc. related material throughout the collection, there is also a small assortment of the company's catalogs and specification brochures and a sampling of its in-house publications from the 1960s-1980s.

    Organization and Arrangement

    The collection is arranged in eight series, four of which have been further arranged in subseries. The Neuharts were meticulous in organizing and describing their materials; therefore, the collection is organized according to the original order of the material. The series and subseries arrangement of the collection is as follows:
    • Series 1: Eames Office, 1940-2004
    • Subseries 1.1: Research Files on the Eames Office, 1941-2004
    • Subseries 1.2: Eames Office Work Material, 1940-1989
    • Subseries 1.3: Photographs, 1942-2009
    • Subseries 1.4: Eames Films, 1950-1978
    • Series 2: Connections: The Work of Charles and Ray Eames, 1970-1980
    • Subseries 2.1: Financial and Organizational Papers, 1975-1977
    • Subseries 2.2: Publicity Material, 1976-1980
    • Subseries 2.3: Design and Layout Graphics, 1976-1979
    • Series 3: The Story of Eames Furniture, 1930-2009
    • Subseries 3.1: Research Files, 1930-2009
    • Subseries 3.2: Graphics, 1930-2009
    • Subseries 3.3: Page Records, 2000-2009
    • Series 4: Eames House: Research, Page Records and Photographs, 1940-1999
    • Series 5: Eames Design: Page Records and Graphics, 1980-1989
    • Series 6: Neuhart Personal and Professional Work, 1956-1989
    • Series 7: Alexander Girard Research, 1930-2009
    • Subseries 7.1: Research Files, Photo Records and Correspondence, 1930-2009
    • Subseries 7.2: Fabric, 1950-2009
    • Subseries 7.3: Miscellaneous Ephemera, 1950-2009
    • Series 8: Herman Miller Material, 1960-1999

    Related Material

    Related materials providing visual documentation of the works of the Eames Office may be found in the following collections:
    Charles & Ray Eames ephemera and photographs, Architecture and Design Collection.  Art, Design & Architecture Museum; University of California, Santa Barbara.
    Charles Eames and Ray Eames Papers,  Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
    Mid-century graphic artist and photographer, Herbert Matter was one of the early members of the Eames design team. Documenting much of the office's output during the war years, he was responsible for the many dramatically lit photographs of the Eames plywood products from the forties. A collection of his original artwork, photographs, letters, manuscripts, process materials, memorabilia, negatives, transparencies, film, printed material, and working equipment are available at the Stanford University Special Collections:
    Stanford University Special Collections: Herbert Matter papers, M1446.  Dept. of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.
    The Neuharts' three Eames books as well as their catalog for the Connections exhibition are available at the UCLA Library:
    Connections: The Work of Charles and Ray Eames Call Number: NK1535.E122 E12
    Eames Design: The Office of Charles and Ray Eames Call Number: * NK1535.E25 N48 1989
    Eames House Call Number: NA737.E122 N48 1994
    The Story of Eames Furniture Call Number: * NK2408 .N49 2010

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Neuhart, Marilyn
    Neuhart, Benjamin
    Neuhart, Andrew