Skip to main content

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 bulk of the papers have been scanned in their entirety, and total 17,399 images. Material not scanned includes the NBC correspondent files (due to restrictions on the material), duplicates, negatives, slides, and printed material easily accessible elsewhere. For publications found in the research and other project files, only relevant portions were digitized.

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: 14.2 linear ft.

Summary: The Aline and Eero Saarinen papers measure approximately 14.2 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.


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 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.