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Raymond Spilman Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: CMV
Date: Aug 1979

Biographical History

Raymond Spilman (1911-2000) was an American industrial designer.

Born in Wichita, Kansas, Spilman attended Kansas State University from 1933-1934. He worked for General Motors as a stylist from 1935 to 1939, joined Walter Dorwin Teague Associates in 1940 as a staff designer, and worked for Henry Dreyfuss Associates in New York. In 1942 he joined Johnson/Cushing/Nevell as director of product design before opening his own office in 1946.

Spilman was a Fellow and President (1960-1962) of the American Society of Industrial Designers (ASID), and became a Fellow of the Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA) when the two organizations merged in 1965. He also served as educational advisor and lecturer in the field of design and design curriculum.

[Portions of this biographical sketch adapted from Spilman's bio on the IDSA website.]

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Raymond Spilman Papers consists of several parts which have not been integrated.

Part I

The bulk of the material in Part I is concerned with industrial design for various companies during the 1960's. It comprises three series: business files, financial files, and personal files. Business files includes correspondence, sketches, and models and is arranged alphabetically, apart from material in Boxes 42 and 90 which is in no particular order (it is listed alphabetically in the inventory below, however, to facilitate location). The subseries Artwork and charts, Product models and samples, and Rolled charts and drawings (Boxes 43-89 and 91, and Oversize packages 1-56) are listed at the end of the inventory. They are arranged in no particular order in the packages, but are listed alphabetically in the inventory below to facilitate locating a particular project.

Financial files includes all types of financial and legal material pertaining to his company, Raymond Spilman Industrial Design, and is arranged alphabetically and then chronologically.

Personal files contains material which does not pertain to Mr. Spilman's business matters and deals mainly with his interests and hobbies outside of industrial design.

Part II

Part II comprises five series: correspondence, subject files, manuscripts, printed matter, and Spilman Designs drawings. Correspondence contains both incoming and outgoing correspondence as well as resumes of designers. Subject files contain correspondence, plans, photographs, printed material, and items related to design jobs. Manuscripts consists of addresses, notes and sketches. Printed material includes advertisements, articles, studies, reference catalogs, and other published items. Spilman Designs drawings contains oversize drawings, designs, and renderings for various projects.

Note that in Part II, box numbers restart with "Box 1" in each series. Please specify the series and box number when requesting an item.

Books and Tapes

The collection also contains ten boxes of Books comprising Spilman's personal library, and approximately 135 Tapes. The tapes contain reminiscences, reflections, interviews, and discussions; besides Spilman, the tapes include other designers such as Arthur J. Pulos and John Vassos. Researcher access to the tapes requires advance notice in order to produce a working copy.

Arrangement of the Collection

See Scope and contents, above.


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.

Researcher access to the tapes requires advance notice in order to produce a working copy.

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.

Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has the papers of numerous individuals and organizations significant in the field of industrial design. Please refer tothe SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.

Subject Headings


Bach, Alfons, 1904-1999.
BecVar, Arthur.
Diffrient, Niels.
Dreyfuss, Henry, 1904-1972.
Kibble, Edward.
Lamb, Thomas B.
Pulos, Arthur J.
Renwick, William Crosby.
Sinel, Joseph.
Spilman, Raymond, 1911-
Vassos, John, 1898-1985.
Viemeister, Read.
Wright, Russel, 1904-1976.

Corporate Bodies

Raymond Spilman Industrial Design.


Industrial design -- United States.
Industrial designers -- United States.

Genres and Forms

Bank statements.
Bills of sale.
Oral histories (literary works)
Slides (photographs)
Sound recordings.
Time sheets.


Industrial designers.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Raymond Spilman Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Table of Contents

Business files (Part I)

Financial files (Part I)

Personal files (Part I)

Correspondence (Part II)

Subject files (Part II)

Manuscripts (Part II)

Printed material (Part II)

Published material (Part II)

Spilman Designs (Part II)