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UIC logo Charles Harrison Design Collection (University of Illinois at Chicago)

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Charles Harrison. Design for Portable Electric Mixer, 1969

 

About Charles Harrison

Charles "Chuck" Harrison was the first African-American executive to work at Sears, Roebuck and Company, starting in 1961 as a designer and eventually becoming manager of the company's entire design group. He worked for Sears, Roebuck and Co., for nearly 30 years, from 1961 to 1993, and was involved in the design of over 750 consumer products, including sewing machines, hair dryers, toasters, and the first plastic trash can.

Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1931, Harrison graduated from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago in 1954, and completed his Masters in Art Education 1963 at Illinois Institute of Technology. After graduating from the Art Institute, he worked for the design firm Robert Podall and Associates, where in 1958, he led the re-design team for the popular View-Master. Harrison later served as adjunct faculty at several institutions, including the University of Illinois at Chicago and Columbia College Chicago.

In 2008, Harrison was awarded the Lifetime Achievement National Design Award by Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution. He was the first African-American to receive this accolade.

About this Digital Collection

The Charles Harrison Design Collection includes examples of Harrison's design sketches, blueprints, and product presentation boards from his time at Sears. Also included are a few examples of design work by his colleagues A. F. Eckel, Jon Hauser, A.W. Duncan, and C.G. Bjorncrants.

Related Resources

Charles Harrison Papers

Acknowledgements

The original archival material was donated to the UIC Library by Charles Harrison.

Contact Information

Special Collections & University Archives
Richard J. Daley Library
801 S. Morgan Street
Chicago, Illinois 60607
(312) 996-2742
For email inquiries, Ask A Librarian.

 
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