NYSID Interior Design Special Collections

Burge-Donghia rendering of a living room. Rendering by R. Martin [1966-1972]

Burge-Donghia rendering of a living room from the Yale R. Burge Antiques and Interiors Collection. By R. Martin, circa 1966.


The NYSID Interior Design Special Collections collects, preserves and provides access to the records of interior designers.  The archives collections include a variety of formats and represent a range of interior design projects and specializations within the field.  Materials within these collections include drawings, plans, sketches, furniture and textile designs, business records, photographs, materials samples, presentation boards, and publicity materials.

The NYSID Interior Design Special Collections supports research in the history of interior design practice and is comprised of the collections listed below.

The Sarah Tomerlin Lee and Tom Lee Collection contains materials related to the lives and careers of Sarah Tomerlin Lee and her husband Tom Lee. Sarah Tomerlin Lee was a magazine editor and advertising executive before taking over her husband’s design firm, Tom Lee, Ltd., after his untimely death.  Tom Lee was a noted designer of sets, displays, and interiors who died the height of his career in 1971.  The collection is comprised of Sarah Tomerlin Lee’s editorials, transcripts of speeches and other published works, personal correspondence, and interior design project research.  The collection also contains renderings, drawings, photographs and other materials related to Tom Lee’s career and influence and dates from the 1930s-2001.

The Yale R. Burge Antiques and Interiors Collection contains materials created by and related to the business of Yale R. Burge Antiques. Yale Burge was a well-known interior designer and purveyor of antique furniture, décor and furniture reproductions and served as President of the National Society of Interior Designers. The collection dates from the 1950s through to 2013 when the business was finally dissolved, and includes renderings, furniture drawings, catalogs, and publicity materials.  Collection material also contains design records from when Angleo Donghia became partner and the firm’s name changed to Burge-Donghia (1966-1972) and other material attributed to designers at the firm such as Melvin Dwork, Gloria Kaplan, Donald Hess, Jack Hartwick, John Fitzgibbons and Ronald Bricke.

The Neal A. Prince Special Collection and Archives documents the career of Neal A. Prince, Vice President of Interior & Graphic Design Division for the InterContinental Hotels Corporation from 1961-1986.

The Joann Nelsen Collection consists of of hand-painted textile and wallcovering designs created by Joann Nelsen.  Nelsen was active in the industry from the 1970s -1990s and designed for companies including Schumacher, Waverly, and First Editions, as well as established her own design collective, Half Drop Designs.

The Joseph Grusczak, ASID & William DeGraff Archival Collection consists of the records of Grusczak Associates, a design firm headed by Joseph Grusczak, a NYSID alum who received his Design Diploma in 1956.  Grusczak Associates was contracted by InterContinental Hotels from the mid-1960s through 1990s and completed a number of international hospitality design projects during this time.  The collection contains working drawings, renderings, project specifications, and photographic documentation of projects he completed for InterContinental Hotels as well a number of residential projects.

The Archives of Interiors and Contract Magazines consist of back issues of the two publications from1940s through to present day.

Collection Development Guidelines

The NYSID Interior Design Special Collections actively seeks to collect the following:

  • Interior design works such as drawings, renderings, sketches, plans, and furniture and textile designs
  • Business records
  • Photographs
  • Oral histories
  • Newspaper and magazine clippings
  • Ephemera related to the professional practice and history of:
    • Residential interior design
    • Commercial interior design
    • Interior designers and decorators
    • Interior design organizations
    • Interior and architectural photographers
    • Interior design and architectural renderers
    • Interior design and furniture illustrators
    • Interior textile designers and vendors
    • Furniture designers and vendors

For more information about donating materials to the NYSID Interior Design Special Collections, please review the Special Delimitations below and contact the Archivist:

Julie Sandy
jsandy [at] nysid.edu


Specific Delimitations

  • Acquisitions are primarily by donation and will be reviewed by the Archives Advisory Committee along with the NYSID Library Director and Archivist/Librarian.
  • The NYSID Archives & Special Collections infrequently accepts secondary sources such as books and periodicals unless they are essential to the context of the collections with which they are associated.
  • At this time, the NYSID Archives & Special Collections is unable to accept the following:
    • Architectural models
    • Artifacts
    • Family archives
    • Large-scale textile collections
    • Materials not related to the practice or history of interior design
    • Items which are too large for available storage and/or display space
    • Materials in which the donor’s ownership is in question or disputed
    • Moldy or damaged items
  • Records in all formats are collected with an emphasis on paper-based materials. Exceptions will be made for materials such as film, textiles, and others when the subject matter is important to the focus of the collections.
  • The NYSID Archives & Special Collections recognizes the importance of digital archives and is actively working towards establishing an infrastructure to support the collection of electronic records. Until that time, however, NYSID Archives & Special Collections is best suited for the collection of printed materials. 
  • While English-language materials predominate, materials in other languages are acquired as appropriate.

Mission Statement and Scope of Collections
NYSID Institutional Archives
Rights & Reproductions
Donating Your Materials


Spring Semester

January 16 – May 6*

Monday 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
Tuesday 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
Wednesday 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
Thursday 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sunday 12 p.m.-8 p.m.


*Closed: Feb. 19, March 9-10 & 30-31; Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: March 4-8

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