Skip to main content

Aline and Eero Saarinen papers, 1906-1977

Aline and Eero Saarinen papers, 1906-1977

Saarinen, Aline B. (Aline Bernstein), 1914-1972

Art critic

The papers of Aline B. (Aline Bernstein) and Eero Saarinen in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 2006. The papers have been scanned in their entirety, and total 17,399 images.

Funding for the preservation and transfer of motion picture film provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee. The microfilm for this collection was digitized in 2007 as part of the Terra Foundation for American Art Digitization Grant.

Collection Information

Size: 13.7 linear ft.

Summary: The Aline and Eero Saarinen papers measure approximately 13.5 linear feet and date from 1906 to 1977. The bulk of the collection consists of Aline Saarinen's papers which document her relationship with her husband Eero Saarinen and other aspects of their personal lives, as well as Aline's work as an art and architectural critic, author, and television correspondent. Papers include research files for published and planned books (in which can be found scattered original letters of Stanford White, John Quinn and Edward Root) and other projects, NBC correspondent files, writings, committee files, correspondence, photographs, printed material, and miscellaneous personal papers.

The portion of the collection relating to personal aspects of Aline and Eero Saarinen's lives consists of: Aline Saarinen's diary, guest book, notebooks, personal writings, biographical material, awards and honorary degrees; scattered papers of Eero Saarinen, including biographical material, drawings of furniture designs, various sketches and drawings, and some project timelines and notes; correspondence between Aline and Eero Saarinen (the bulk of which dates from the year they met and married), as well as general and family correspondence received by Aline Saarinen and some miscellaneous and personal correspondence of Eero Saarinen; printed material, mostly clippings, documenting aspects of the life, work, and achievements of both Aline and Eero Saarinen; and photographs, including ones of Aline Saarinen, Eero Saarinen, Aline and Eero Saarinen together, and family members, as well as ones from various trips and of various residences, and various slides.

The bulk of the collection consists of material, including research and writing files, NBC correspondent files, and committee files, stemming from Aline Saarinen's various professional activities. Writings include manuscripts, typescripts, notes, notecards, and clippings of Aline Saarinen's various articles, lectures and speeches on art and architecture, scripts for television, creative and college writing. Research files include material for Saarinen's published book on art collectors, The Proud Possessors, and her planned, but never completed, biography of the architect, Stanford White. Research material for The Proud Possessors includes files of notes, manuscripts, correspondence, photographs and printed material on art collectors, and related material such as scrapbooks of correspondence and clippings in response to the book.

Files also include scattered original material, such as correspondence and photographs, belonging to the collectors, John Quinn and Edward Root. Research material on Stanford White includes correspondence, notebooks, writings, printed material, photographs, and copies of architectural drawings. Also found is scattered original material belonging to Bessie White, Stanford White, and the firm of McKim, Mead and White. NBC material consists of files, including correspondence, printed material, notes, scripts, motion picture films and video transfers, and photographs, kept by Aline Saarinen while working as a television correspondent. Also found are miscellaneous research files on artists that may relate to television or other projects and files stemming from her involvement in various arts-related and other committees.

Biographical/Historical Note

Aline Saarinen (1914-1972) was an art and architectural critic in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.; She worked for the New York Times as an art and architectural critic. She married architect Eero Saarinen, the architect, after the dissolution of her first marriage to Joseph Louchheim. Aline Saarinen was the sister of art dealer Charles Alan. Eero was born in Helinski, Finland, son of architect Eliel Saarinen.

Provenance

Donated in 1973 by the Aline Saarinen estate via Charles Alan, art dealer and brother of Saarinen. The NBC TV material was donated 1974 by NBC Studios. Additional material donated 1991 by the Parrish Art Museum, who had received it from Aline Saarinen.

Related Materials

Also found in the Archives are: the Museum of Modern Art exhibition correspondence concerning Eero Saarinen, 1958-1959; the Lily Swann Saarinen papers, 1924-1974; an oral history interview with Lily Swann Saarinen, 1979-1981; and an oral history interview on Aline Saarinen with Charles Alan, 1973 February 17.

Other related material includes: Eero Saarinen Collection, Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.

Funding

Funding for the preservation and transfer of motion picture film provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee. The microfilm for this collection was digitized in 2007 as part of the Terra Foundation for American Art Digitization Grant.

Location of Originals

  • The originals of the microfilmed correspondence of Richard Grant White and Stanford White found in Series 2.3.4 are located in the Huntington Art Library.

A Finding Aid to the Aline and Eero Saarinen Papers,
1906-1977
, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.saaralin
Finding aid prepared by Jennifer Meehan
Scope and Content Note
The Aline and Eero Saarinen papers measure approximately 13.7 linear feet and date from 1906 to 1977. The bulk of the collection consists of Aline Saarinen's papers which document her relationship with her husband Eero Saarinen and other aspects of their personal lives, as well as Aline's work as an art and architectural critic, author, and television correspondent. Papers include research files for published and planned books (in which can be found scattered original letters of Stanford White, John Quinn and Edward Root) and other projects, NBC correspondent files, writings, committee files, correspondence, photographs, printed material, and miscellaneous personal papers.
The portion of the collection relating to personal aspects of Aline and Eero Saarinen's lives consists of: Aline Saarinen's diary, guest book, notebooks, personal writings, biographical material, awards and honorary degrees; scattered papers of Eero Saarinen, including biographical material, drawings of furniture designs, various sketches and drawings, and some project timelines and notes; correspondence between Aline and Eero Saarinen (the bulk of which dates from the year they met and married), as well as general and family correspondence received by Aline Saarinen and some miscellaneous and personal correspondence of Eero Saarinen; printed material, mostly clippings, documenting aspects of the life, work, and achievements of both Aline and Eero Saarinen; and photographs, including ones of Aline Saarinen, Eero Saarinen, Aline and Eero Saarinen together, and family members, as well as ones from various trips and of various residences, and various slides.
The bulk of the collection consists of material, including research and writing files, NBC correspondent files, and committee files, stemming from Aline Saarinen's various professional activities. Writings include manuscripts, typescripts, notes, notecards, and clippings of Aline Saarinen's various articles, lectures and speeches on art and architecture, scripts for television, creative and college writing. Research files include material for Saarinen's published book on art collectors,
The Proud Possessors
, and her planned, but never completed, biography of the architect, Stanford White. Research material for
The Proud Possessors
includes files of notes, manuscripts, correspondence, photographs and printed material on art collectors, and related material such as scrapbooks of correspondence and clippings in response to the book. Files also include scattered original material, such as correspondence and photographs, belonging to the collectors, John Quinn and Edward Root. Research material on Stanford White includes correspondence, notebooks, writings, printed material, photographs, and copies of architectural drawings. Also found is scattered original material belonging to Bessie White, Stanford White, and the firm of McKim, Mead and White. NBC material consists of files, including correspondence, printed material, notes, scripts, motion picture films and video transfers, and photographs, kept by Aline Saarinen while working as a television correspondent. Also found are miscellaneous research files on artists that may relate to television or other projects and files stemming from her involvement in various arts-related and other committees.
Biographical Note
Aline Bernstein Saarinen was born on March 25, 1914 in New York City. She attended Vassar College, where she took art courses and became interested in journalism, and graduated with a B.A. in 1935. She went on to receive her M.A. in the history of architecture from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University in 1941. She married Joseph H. Louchheim in 1935, and they had two sons, Donald and Harry (or Hal). They divorced in 1951.
Aline joined the staff of
Art News
Magazine in 1944 and served as managing editor from 1946 to 1948. She edited and provided commentary for the book,
5000 Years of Art in Western Civilization
, which was published in 1946. She served as associate art editor and critic at
The New York Times
from 1948 to 1953 and then as associate art critic from 1954 to 1959. She received awards for her newspaper work, including the International Award for Best Foreign Criticism at the Venice Biennale in 1951, the Frank Jewett Mather Award for best newspaper art criticism in 1953, and the American Federation of Arts Award for best newspaper criticism in 1956.
In 1953, Aline interviewed the architect Eero Saarinen for an article. Eero was born in 1910 in Kirkkonummi, Finland, and received his B.F.A. in Architecture from Yale University in 1934. He began work as an architect in his father Eliel Saarinen's firm and went on to start his own firm, Eero Saarinen and Associates. Among his best-known works are the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, the Trans World Air Lines Terminal Building at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, and Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, Virginia.
Aline and Eero became romantically involved shortly after they met and were married in December 1953. The following year, they had a son, Eames (named after Eero's friend, the designer and architect Charles Eames). After their marriage, Aline relocated to Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where she continued to work as associate art critic for
The New York Times
and where she served as Director of Information Service in the office of Eero Saarinen and Associates (from 1954 to 1963).
In 1957, she received a Guggenheim Fellowship to work on a book about major American art collectors,
The Proud Possessors
, which was published by Random House in 1958. Thereafter, she began work on a biography of the architect, Stanford White, also for Random House; this work continued for several years, but the book was never completed. Over the years, she wrote numerous freelance articles on art, architecture, socio-cultural history, travel, and theater for magazines such as
Atlantic Monthly
,
Vogue
,
Saturday Review of Literature
,
Reader's Digest
, and
Cosmopolitan
.
After Eero's sudden death in 1961, Aline edited the book,
Eero Saarinen on His Work
(1962). She then embarked upon a new career in television, appearing on shows such as "Today" and "Sunday" where she reported on manners, morals, culture, and the arts, and eventually becoming, in 1964, an NBC News correspondent for such shows as "The Huntley-Brinkley Report" and "The Frank McGee Report" in addition to the shows on which she was already appearing. In 1971, she was appointed chief of the NBC News Paris Bureau, becoming the first woman to hold such a position in television.
In the 1960s, Aline served on various arts-related committees, including the Design Advisory Committee of the Federal Aviation Administration, the Fine Arts Commission, and the New York State Council of the Arts. She received honorary degrees from the University of Michigan in 1964 and Russell Sage College in 1967.
Aline Saarinen died from a brain tumor on July 13, 1972.
This biographical notes draws from the one on Aline Bernstein Saarinen by Seymour Brody in
Jewish Heroes and Heroines of America: 150 True Stories of American Jewish Heroism
, and from the one on Eero Saarinen in the Guide to the Eero Saarinen Collection at Yale University Library.
Arrangement
The collection is arranged into two series:
Series 1: Aline and Eero Saarinen Personal Papers, 1928-1977 (Boxes 1-4, 15, OV 16; 3.7 linear feet)
Series 2: Aline Saarinen Professional Papers, 1906-1969 (Boxes 4-15, OV 16, FC 17-18; 10 linear feet)
Provenance
Donated in 1973 by the Aline Saarinen estate via Charles Alan, art dealer and brother of Saarinen. The NBC TV material was donated 1974 by NBC Studios. Additional material donated 1991 by the Parrish Art Museum, who had received it from Aline Saarinen.
Location of Originals
  • The originals of the microfilmed correspondence of Richard Grant White and Stanford White found in Series 2.3.4 are located in the Huntington Art Library.
Processing Information
The collection received a preliminary level of processing after being donated in 1973 and 1991, and portions of it were microfilmed on reels 2064, 2069, 2076, and 2084. A graphite portrait of John Quinn received conservation treatment at the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts in 1987. Two 16 mm motion picture films, "Eyes Opening" and Untitled (John Lindsay at the Metropolitan Museum of Art), were transferred to video for preservation and access. Previously microfilmed and unmicrofilmed portions were merged, arranged, and described in accordance with archival standards, and the collection was fully processed by Jennifer Meehan in 2006 as part of the Terra Foundation for American Art Digitization Grant. The collection was digitized in 2007. Two additional motion picture film reels ("Mobile Homes" and "outtake") were inspected and re-housed in 2016-2017 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund.

Additional Forms Available

The collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website. Material not scanned includes the NBC correspondent files (due to restrictions on the material), and typically duplicates, negatives, slides, and printed material easily accessible elsewhere. For publications found in the research and other project files, only relevant portions are scanned.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

Restrictions on Use

NBC TV material: Authorization to quote from scripts or film prepared for television must be cleared for rights with: NBC Studios, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, N.Y.

How to Cite This Collection

Aline and Eero Saarinen papers, 1906-1977. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

  • No downloads available