MIT Institute Archives & Special Collections

Robert Ormerod Preusser, 1919-1992.

Papers, 1954-1990.

Manuscript Collection - MC 219

Biographical Note | Scope and Content Note


Robert Ormerod Preusser, 1919-1992, studied at the Institute of Design, Chicago, 1939-1940, 1941-1942; Tulane University (Newcomb School of Art), 1940- 1941; and the Art Center School, Los Angeles, 1946-1947. He came to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Department of Architecture in 1954 at the invitation of Gyorgy Kepes and was a visiting lecturer, 1954-1957, professor of visual design, 1957-1985, and director of education at the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies, 1974-1985. He developed the first studio course given as part of the "Field 10" program in the Department of Humanities, which was formed to develop the visual awareness of science and engineering students. In 1965, a team of his students made the first computer-generated design printed on the cover of Fortune magazine.

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5 cubic feet (5 records cartons)

Proposals, course descriptions, teaching notes, UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program) project descriptions, information about student exhibits, and copies of Preusser's writings trace the development of the visual arts program at MIT. The collection also contains glass and 35 mm. slides of student projects on computer-generated design, optical phenomena such as mylar distortion, lens and light distortion, and modular designs, created for Preusser's classes in visual design (4.821 and 4.822) and environmental light and color (4.481). Preusser was co-editor of the art journal Leonard from 1974 to 1990, and correspondence related to this and his other outside professsional activities is also included.

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