Bertha Schaefer helped pioneer a new era in interior design, creating collaborations between architects, interior designers, and craftspeople to create new homes for the post-war era. Schaefer studied at the Mississippi State College for Women and the Parsons School of Design before opening Bertha Schaefer Interiors in New York in 1924. In 1944 she also opened the Bertha Schaefer Gallery of Contemporary Art, where she highlighted American and European painters and sculptors, but also ran exhibits of crafts and interior design. For her interior design business, she worked to balance economic mass production with craftsmanship and state-of-the-art advances like fluorescent lighting in the 1930s. She also designed furniture for M. Singer and Sons Furniture Company from 1950–1961. Her determination to see interior design as comparable to architecture and fine art led to her participation in lectures and round table discussions, as well as design juries for museums and universities. She won a design award from the Museum of Modern Art in 1952 and from the Decorators Club of New York in 1959. She had served two terms as president of the Decorators Club from 1947–1948 and 1955–1957.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Bertha Schaefer." (Viewed on December 15, 2017) <https://jwa.org/people/schaefer-bertha>.