Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Guide to the California Design Collection, 1955-1984
Consult repository  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (91.79 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • History
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms
  • Arrangement
  • Organization

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: California Design Collection,
    Date (inclusive): 1955-1984
    Collection number: Consult repository
    Creator: California Design (Firm)
    Extent: 19 linear feet (48 boxes)
    Repository: Oakland Museum of California
    Oakland, California 94607
    Abstract: This collection contains documentation relating to California Design, a triennial exhibition of decorative arts and crafts, which was active during the years 1955 to 1984.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    The records are open for research with no restrictions under the conditions of the museum's access policy. Appointments may be made by calling (510) 238-2200

    Publication Rights

    Researchers are responsible for obtaining copyright permission to use material not produced by museum personnel.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], California Design Collection, Oakland Museum of California.

    Acquisition Information

    Collection donated to the museum by Mrs. Eudorah M. Moore, former director, in 1996.


    The California Design Archives were maintained at the home of Lois M. Boardman, South Pasadena, CA, until their transfer to the Oakland Museum of California in 1996.


    These records were appraised, arranged, and described in 2000 by Lori Ann Lindberg.


    California Design was a triennial exhibition of the decorative arts and crafts, active during the years 1955 to 1984. Originally an annual exhibition of the Pasadena Art Museum, the exhibition grew over time to such a size and scope that by 1961 an annual exhibition was impossible to stage. In 1962, the exhibition became a triennial survey of the best in California crafts and design. Eudorah M. Moore was the director of the exhibition from 1962 to 1978. Under her direction, California Design became an exhibition of national and international acclaim. Incorporated as a tax-exempt department of the Pasadena Art Museum in 1967, California Design was able to successfully survive on its own after the closing of the Pasadena Art Museum in 1974. It continued its mission of exhibiting the best work of California's designers and craftsmen for another ten years before ceasing operations in 1984.

    Scope and Content

    The records of California Design cover the years 1955 to 1984. The largest group of records covers the triennial exhibitions California Design 8 through California Design 76, with additional records of interim exhibitions, administrative and personal records, photographs, filmstrips, audio tapes, audiocassettes, video tape, and slides. Records of the first six exhibitions are the least represented, with not much extant beyond the exhibition catalogs and a few photographs. Some records, particularly large groups of slides, were lost to water damage after a flood in their South Pasadena storage space. Many others show some evidence of moisture exposure but are in good condition. The records are remarkably rich in photographic evidence of objects exhibited in the California Design exhibitions. The collection is a significant record of an especially creative and colorful period of craft activity in California. Records after 1972 are inconsistent, with income tax returns missing and little evidence of the dissolution of the corporation. Grant applications prior to 1973 are not in the collection and are assumed to be with the records of the Pasadena Art Museum at the Norton Simon Museum of Art, Pasadena, CA.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    California Design (Firm)
    Pasadena Art Museum
    Pasadena (Calif.)
    Boardman, Lois M.
    Moore, Eudorah M.
    Kester, Bernard
    Decorative Arts--California--Exhibitions--Periodicals.
    Decorative Arts--California--History--20th century--Exhibitions.
    Arts and crafts movement--California--Exhibitions.


    The subgroups in this collection are arranged chronologically by exhibition, based on the original order imposed by the creator of the collection. Additional subgroups of interim exhibition files (arranged chronologically), personal papers, index cardfiles (arranged alphabetically), exhibition slides, audio materials, and oversize photographs were created during processing and included at the end of the exhibition subgroups. These subgroups include important items that were not an apparent part of the original order when the collection was acquired.


    The California Design Archives were arranged into subgroups during the processing of the collection. The subgroups and series represent the groupings of the files created by California Design, unless noted otherwise. The subgroups are:
    1. California Design 1-6, 1955-1960
    2. California Design 7, 1961
    3. California Design 8, 1962
    4. California Design 9, 1965
    5. California Design 10, 1968
    6. California Design 11, 1971
    7. Islands in the Land, 1973
    8. California Design 1910, 1974
    9. California Design 76, 1976
    10. Craftsman Lifestyle, 1977
    11. Interim Exhibitions, 1964-1981
    12. Administrative Records, 1955-1984
    13. Boardman, Lois M., and Moore, Eudorah M., Personal Papers 1964-1984
    14. Index File of California Craftsmen, 1965-1976
    15. Exhibition Filmstrips and Slides
    16. Audio Material
    17. Oversize Photographs