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Jens Risom Design, Inc. Records

An inventory of its records at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Jens Risom Design, Inc.
Title: Jens Risom Design, Inc. Records
Inclusive Dates: 1949-1969
Quantity: 1.5 linear ft.
Abstract: American manufacturer of residential and office furniture, founded in 1946 by Danish-American designer Jens Risom. Collection includes furniture catalogs (1951-1969), price lists (1949-1969), photographs, and scrapbooks of furniture designs.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Jens Risom (1916- ) is a Danish-born American industrial designer known for his modern furniture.

Born in Copenhagen, the son of Danish architect Sven Risom, Risom studied in Copenhagen at the School for Arts and Crafts. He came to the United States in 1939 and began doing freelance design work for architects and companies such as Oak Knoll. During World War II he served with General George Patton's Third Army, but after the war, in 1946, he opened his own design firm, Jens Risom Design Inc. (JRD). For nearly thirty years JRD designed and sold high-quality modern furniture but in 1970, wanting to explore new areas of work, Risom sold the company. A few years later, in 1973, Risom opened a new firm called Design Control whose clients include the Howe Furniture Company and Gaylord (library furniture and supplies).

Risom's work is in the permanent collections of museums across the United States, including the Museum of Modern Art, Cooper Hewitt and the Smithsonian. He has received numerous awards and honors such as the Russel Wright Award, the Brooklyn Museum/Modernism Design Award for Lifetime Achievement, and an honorary doctorate from the Rhode Island School of Design (of which he has been a trustee since 1970). In 1996 he received the prestigious Danish Knight’s Cross from Queen Margrethe of Denmark.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Jens Risom Design, Inc. Records contains printed material and memorabilia.

Printed material contains furniture catalogs and price lists. Memorabilia contains photographs, scrapbooks, and design drawings.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has the papers of many notable industrial designers. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.

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Subject Headings


Risom, Jens.

Corporate Bodies

Jens Risom Design, Inc. -- Archives.


Furniture -- United States -- Danish influences.
Furniture design.
Furniture designers.
Furniture industry and trade -- United States.
Industrial Design -- United States.
Industrial designers -- United States.

Genres and Forms

Catalogs (documents)


Industrial designers.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Jens Risom Design, Inc. Records,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Jens Risom, 1970.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: [Summit record]
Date: 17 Feb 1978
Revision history: 5 May 2010 - converted to EAD (MRC); 7 Jun 2017 - corrected scrapbook listings (MRC)

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Printed material
Box 1 Furniture catalogs 1951-1969, undated (3 folders)
Box 1 Price lists 1949-1969 (2 folder)
Box 1 Photographs undated - mix of black and white glossy prints and photocopies (35 items)
Box 1 Floor plan of Poulsen/Risom display, Chicago 1969
Oversize 1 Scrapbook undated
Volume contains blue-line presentation drawings of various items of furniture, as follows:
  • Sofas, upholstered (11)
  • Sofas, open or no arms (12)
  • Easy chairs, upholstered (8)
  • Easy chairs, open or no arms (15)
  • Sectional pieces (5)
  • Ottomans (5)
  • Other sofas and easy chairs (1)
  • Arm chairs (25)
  • Side chairs (6)
  • Stools (5)
  • Swivel chairs (3)
  • Other chairs (5)
  • Beds (5)
  • Headboards, separate (3)
  • Studio couches (3)
  • Chest of drawers (8)
  • Cabinets with drawers (7)
  • Bookcases (3)
  • Sideboards (7)
  • Tables, bedside (3)
  • Record cabinets (6)
  • Bar cabinets (7)
Oversize 2 Scrapbook undated
Volume contains blue-line presentation drawings of various items of furniture, as follows:
  • Dining tables (15)
  • Work/conference tables (26)
  • Coffee tables (42)
  • End tables (40)
  • Sewing and wall tables (11)
  • Dressing tables (7)
  • Nesting tables (3)
  • Card/game tables (5)
  • Other tables (11)
  • Pedestal tables, single foot (17)
  • Pedestal tables, two feet (16)
  • Desk tables or cabinets (14)
  • Desks, hanging (6)

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