Interior design maven Ellen Lehman McCluskey shaped the look and feel of some of the world’s most luxurious hotels and businesses, including the Plaza, the Waldorf–Astoria, and Regency hotels. McCluskey spent her childhood travelling Europe and absorbing the design aesthetic of its grand estates and museums. She studied at the New York School of Interior Design and apprenticed under design leaders like Adele Dewey and Franklin Hughes from 1937–1943. During WWII, she trained military pilots and became one of the first women granted a commercial pilot’s license. In 1948 she founded her own design firm, earning a reputation for lush, classically inspired interiors. Along with her corporate and hotel clients, she also worked for private clients like Zsa Zsa Gabor and Tallulah Bankhead. She also volunteered for a number of professional organizations, from the acquisitions committee for the Cooper–Hewitt Museum to the National Committee on Historic Preservation. She was also president of the New York chapter of the American Institute of Interior Designers. With her brother Orin Lehman, McCluskey founded Just One Break, a vocational training organization for the handicapped.
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Jewish Women's Archive. "Ellen Lehman Mccluskey." (Viewed on July 9, 2020) <https://jwa.org/people/mccluskey-ellen>.