R.R. Donnelley and Sons Company Archive

Inclusive Dates: 
1844–2005

This record forms part of the Chicago’s Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource project funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art. For this project, the Archives surveyed archival repositories throughout the Chicago region to identify art-related materials contained in their holdings. While the Archives of American Art does not own any of the materials described herein, information about those materials and links to the original repositories have been included when available.

Descriptive Summary

1656 linear feet (1287 boxes, 14 drawers, 4 items) of material consisting of  business records, product samples and promotional material, biographical files and personal papers, historical writings and oral histories, artifacts, and thousands of documentary photographs of the R.R. Donnelley & Sons publishing company. Series VI: Exhibitions contains material related to exhibitions of fine art, the book arts, and graphic design held at R.R. Donnelley beginning in 1930, including catalogues, invitations, broadsides, photographs, correspondence, and other material related to exhibitions organized by the company, particularly those held at the Lakeside Press Galleries from 1930 to 1962. These files include correspondence with artists John Steuart Curry and Thomas Hart Benton, and collectors such as Mrs. James Ward Thorne. Among several unprocessed addenda to the collection is accession number 2013–493, box 1291, containing an otherwise unspecified “Frederic Clay Bartlett, journal, 1965.”

Biographical Historical Note

Founded in Chicago in 1864 by Canadian immigrant Richard Robert Donnelley, R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company is a leading global provider of printing and print-related services. In the early 20th century RR Donnelley established itself as the leader in commercial graphic design and typography. In 1922 the company hired William A. Kittredge, one of the leading graphic artists of his time, to direct and develop the Department of Design and Typography. The department set new standards in commercial graphic design, placing R.R. Donnelley at the center of this important field for more than three decades. Beginning in 1930, the Lakeside Press Galleries, located in R.R. Donnelley's Calumet building, hosted public exhibitions of fine art, book arts and graphic design. Contemporary photography, posters, fine printing and binding, and commercial art were particularly emphasized. Exhibitions were regularly held in this space from 1930 to the 1962, except for a short period during World War II. Additional exhibitions were held in the galleries from November 1974.