Archives contain records and documentation of people who are considered to be of importance in their fields. If deemed irrelevant or unimportant to the historical development of a discipline, a person’s body of work may not be collected by an archive. For this reason, many women have been excluded from the history of graphic design. The ratio of men to women represented at most graphic design archives heavily favors men, although women have been active in the field. However, there are a few women whose work is represented in archival collections. Some female designers have worked successfully to be included, while others have seen their efforts go unnoticed. Elaine Lustig Cohen represents the latter, despite the collection of her work being included in the Rochester Institute of Technology Graphic Design Archive. This thesis examines the relationship between the representation of a woman in the history of graphic design textbooks and the availability of her work in archives. This thesis will investigate the question of whether a woman can be considered part of the graphic design history without her life work being collected in an archive, and if a collection in an archive determines her spot in graphic design history.

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Museum Studies (BS)


Tina Lent

Advisor/Committee Member

Kari Horowicz


RIT – Main Campus