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Henrietta Condak papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: CSC-0116

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Henrietta Condak Collection consists of her album cover designs. It contains printer’s proofs, tearsheets, and collage paste-ups exhibiting early sketches. The collection is organized into two series: I. Client work done for Columbia, CBS and Nonesuch including finished designs, printer’s proofs and presentation examples; and II. Condak’s original artwork. All series in this collection are separated by publisher and organized alphabetically. These groups include: CBS, CBS Masterworks, CBS Great Performances, Columbia, Columbia Masterworks, Columbia Odyssey, Nonesuch. The folders are then organized by the composer alphabetically.


  • Creation: 1963 - 1988


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical Note

Henrietta Condak was a graphic designer, an art director, and a design educator.

Born in Manhattan, New York, she graduated from Cooper Union and started her design career working for Gentlemen’s Quarterly (GQ) magazine and Esquire magazine. In 1963, she joined Columbia Records and CBS Records1.

Two years later, she became one of the first women to be nominated for a Grammy award in the category of Best Classical Album Cover for her design of Richard Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra. Her second Grammy award nomination was in 1968 for the design of Haydn: Symphony No. 84 in E Flat Major/Symphony No. 85 in B Flat Major La Reine2.

During her almost two decades at Columbia Records, she designed and art directed hundreds of album covers for various Columbia series and labels such as: Columbia Masterworks, Columbia Odyssey, and CBS Great Performances. She collaborated with numerous leading artists, illustrators, and designers of the time. Both Carin Goldberg and Paula Scher acknowledge Condak as an important mentor in their careers3.

Goldberg recognized Condak to be the first to introduce historical vernacular into graphic design, as can be seen in her work for CBS Masterworks Series4. In her collage work, Condak referred to the historical images she used as Archive Art, Archive Print, and Archive Photo, possibly referring to the material she used from the CBS library of historic art, design books, and magazines.

In 1982, Condak became a professor at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in Manhattan5. While continuing to teach, in 1984, she founded her own studio, Condak Design. She continued her design work for the music, dance, and publishing industries.

Condak's work was highlighted in CA, the Magazine of Communication Arts in 19666. In the 1991 article, CBS Records. The Marketing of Modern Music Philip Meggs included her designs and described her classical album covers as a "romantic and esthetic enchantment"7. Several of her album covers are showcased on AIGA Design Archives8. Her published album covers designs are documented on, a discography database9.

1. Steven Browerm, The Musical Work of Design Pioneer Henrietta Condak. AIGA Eye on Design, September 3rd, 2015. Retrieved May 17, 2024.

2. [All Grammy Awards and Nominations for Henrietta Condak. Retrieved May 17, 2024.]

3. [Ryan and Tina Essmaker, Paula Scher, The Great Discontent, November 19, 2013. Retrieved May 17, 2024.]

4. [Sean Adams, Step QandA Carin Goldberg, Step Magazine. Retrieved May 17, 2024. ]

5. [SVA NYC Instructors. Retrieved May 17, 2024.]

6. [CA Annual 7, CA, the Magazine of Communication Arts. 8: 78–79. November–December 1966.]

7. [Philip Meggs, CBS Records. The Marketing of Modern Music. January 1991. Graphis. 47: 92.]

8. [AIGA Design Archives. Retrieved May 17, 2024.]

9. [Henrietta Condak discography. Retrieved May 17, 2024.]


5.2 Linear Feet (Two 12" x 17" oversized boxes in Cary Annex 13b. One map case with six 23" x 31" oversized folders in Cary workroom 4.11.)


Henrietta Condak was a graphic designer, an art director, and a design educator. The Collection includes album covers, printer’s proofs, tearsheets and collage paste-ups.

System of Arrangement

I. Client Work, 1960’s–1987

II. Original Artwork, 1970’s–1980’s


Henrietta Condak papers
In Progress
CARSCSC - Cary Special Collections
Katie Curran, Shani Avni
3 June 2024
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Edition statement
First edition encoded by Katie Curran, 12 October 2016. Second edition encoded by Shani Avni, 3 June 2024.

Repository Details

Part of the Cary Graphic Arts Collection Repository

Rochester NY 14623 US
(585) 475-2408