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Florence Knoll Bassett papers, 1932-2000

Bassett, Florence Knoll, 1917-

Designer, Architect

The papers of Florence Knoll Bassett in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 2008 and total 1,280 images. The papers have been scanned in their entirety.

Funding for the digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Collection Information

Size: 2 linear ft.

Summary: The papers of architect, and interior designer and planner Florence Knoll Bassett, measure approximately 2 linear feet dating from 1932 to 2000. The collection selectively documents Knoll Bassett's education and her career at Knoll Associates, Inc. from the 1940s until her resignation in 1965, in addition to personal design projects and other activities after leaving the company. It is an important source of information on the development of interior architecture and design from the 1940s to the 1970s, chronicling the Knoll mission to synthesize space, furniture, and design by creating interiors based on practical use, comfort, and aesthetics.
The collection documents the growth of Knoll's international reputation for its modern furnishings and interiors and the impact of a business philosophy that encompassed design excellence, technological innovation, and mass production. The material includes a chronology of Knoll Bassett's career; a portfolio of sketches, drawings and designs; photographs of Knoll Bassett and others; subject files containing sketches and photographic material; letters from friends, colleagues, clients and others; awards received by Knoll Bassett throughout her career; and printed material.
Much of the material is annotated with historical and biographical notes written by Knoll Bassett which provide invaluable contextual information for the materials found therein. The notes are dated 1999 in the Container Listing, under the assumption that they were written by Florence Knoll Bassett as she was arranging her archival papers.

Biographical/Historical Note

Florence Knoll Bassett (1917-) is an architect and designer from Coconut Grove, Fla. Born Florence Schust in 1917, and orphaned at age 12, Knoll began her architectural studies at the Kingswood School in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., and was virtually adopted by the family of Eliel Saarinen. She continued her studies at Cranbook Academy of Art, the Architectural Association in London, and the Illinois Institute of Technology under Mies van der Rohe, where she received her architectural degree. In 1946, she married Hans Knoll, owner of the Hans G. Knoll Furniture Company (est. 1938), NYC, and the firm became known as Knoll Associates, Inc. In 1958, she married Florida banker Harry Hood Bassett. She resigned from Knoll in 1965.


Donated 2000 by Florence Knoll Bassett.


Funding for the digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.