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Aline and Eero Saarinen papers, 1906-1977

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.