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Guide to the S. S. Silver & Company Archive
1922-1957, undated
(bulk 1946-1956)
 PR 61

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Jenny Gotwals

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on April 07, 2023
Description is in English.

Scope and Content Note

The S. S. Silver & Company Archive spans the period from 1922 to 1957, with most photographs dating from 1946 to 1956, when the company was led by Bertram S. Silver. The collection primarily contains photographs documenting the company's interior design work for retail companies. Photographs highlight the custom fixtures and office furniture, as well as the use of new technology (innovative lighting techniques, plexiglass partitions) that were the firm's strengths. Major photographers included are Joseph Molitor (1907-1996), an architectural photographer, and Ben Schnell, another photographer of interiors. The collection is divided into four series: Commercial Interiors; Residences; Company Records; and Publicity.

The majority of the collection consists of 8 x 10 inch photographs, generally black and white with some color, which are mounted on paper board. These were originally housed in thirty-nine numbered black binders, probably for publicity or archival purposes. However, photographs of the same store were not necessarily filed in the same binder, making it difficult to view all photos of one store at the same time. As the binders were not found to correspond to a chronological or other discernable order, the pages were disbound and filed alphabetically by store for ease of retrieval. Each page has been labeled on the verso with the original binder number and page number; a list of this original order also follows this finding aid. Three of the company's original binders have been saved and are housed at the end of the collection.

The collection also includes a folder of correspondence from satisfied clients, two scrapbooks of clippings and publicity material, and some early consultant reports on the company's structure and workflow. These materials document the inner workings and history of a commercial display and interior design firm.


Missing Title

  1. Series I. Commercial Interiors
  2. Series II. Residences
  3. Series III. Company Records
  4. Series IV. Publicity Scrapbooks