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Prepared by Edith Serkownek, November 2, 2005
1 record storage box, 1 cubic foot, 11th floor
These administrative records were created by the KSU presidential offices of Brage Golding and Michael Schwartz and relate directly to the development of the Silverman-Rodgers Project, resulting in the creation of the KSU Museum and the Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising (School of Fashion).
Shannon Rodgers, a successful clothing designer, and Jerry Silverman, a lawyer and businessman, met in 1946 while working for the clothing company, Martini Designed. In 1959 Silverman and Rodgers formed their own company, "Jerry Silverman Inc," with Shannon Rodgers acting as principal designer. In 1970 their successful company merged with Waranco, Inc. Privately, Shannon Rodgers became an important collector of art and historic costumes, and without heirs, Silverman and Rodgers began to consider the disposition of their estates.
Silverman and Rodgers' association with KSU began in the 1979 and in November of 1980 Silverman and Rodgers formally proposed that Kent State University "argree to establish a school or department of design disciplines" modeled after the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. In exchange, Silverman and Rodgers promised to earmark their important collection of art and costumes for donation to the school, and to make an initial monetary contribution for the development of the school. This offer was eventually accepted, laying the groundwork for the establishment of the KSU Museum and the School of Fashion. Collectively, the project was termed the "Silverman-Rodgers Project." Resulting KSU studies put the pricetag on the project at approximately $6 million and a massive fundraising campaign began in the early 1980s with Robert Broadbent of Higbee's, and William Arnold of Associated Dry Goods, serving as co-chairs.
KSU's Rockwell Hall, built in 1927 and added onto in the late-1950s, was selected to house the new museum and school. Jerry Silverman died on October 25, 1984 and a memorial service was held at KSU. The KSU Museum opened on September 27, 1985. The Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising was dedicated April 20, 1990. Shannon Rodgers died on January 9, 1996.
These records document the proposal, planning and development of the museum and school through the administrative records of KSU presidents, Brage Golding and Michael Schwartz, both important activitsts for the project. With the acquisition of additional presidential administrative records relating to the KSU Museum and School of Fashion this collection may continue to grow.
The collection is divided into four series. Series 1 encompasses the correspondence produced and received by the offices of President Brage Golding and President Michael Schwartz relating to the Silverman-Rodgers Project. As such it includes both general correspondence and inter-school correspondence and memorada. Series 1 is organized by date. Series 2 includes specific topical files related to the Silverman-Rodgers Project, the KSU Museum and the School of Fashion and includes reports, fundraising campaign information, special events, and planning documents. Series 2 is organized alphabetically by subject and within each folder by date. Series 3 includes newspaper clippings and periodical articles related to the Silverman-Rodgers Project, The KSU Museum and the School of Fashion. Series 3 is organized by date. Series 4, which is largely undated, includes blueprints of Rockwell Hall. Rockwell Hall was renovated during the 1980s to house the KSU Museum and the School of Design. Series 4 is oversized and housed separately from the main collection.
Folder -- Contents