Paying Tribute: Victor Margolin

It was with great sadness that Bloomsbury learned of the passing of the esteemed design historian Victor Margolin.

Through his writing and editing, research, teaching, and his encouragement of and forging connections between colleagues working in the field, particularly early career researchers and academics from the Global South, Victor made an immeasurable contribution to the development of design history as an international discipline. With colleagues at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he taught during his entire career until his retirement in 2006, Victor founded the academic journal Design Issues, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2014. He was the author and editor of a number of foundational works in design history, culminating in 2015 in his magisterial two-volume World History of Design, representing the distillation of years of careful research which drew on Victor’s personal (and immense) library to tell the story of craft and design throughout the world from prehistoric times to 1945.

Victor also had a playful side, evidenced in his founding and curating of the Museum of Corn-Temporary Art, a private collection that he maintained in his university office before bequeathing it to the permanent collection of the Wolfsonian in Miami Beach, Florida. As an author, he was a delight to work with, always full of enthusiasm, always bursting with ideas for new projects or new people to be in touch with, and, with his keen visual sense and outreach to the design community, a true collaborator, working with us to achieve the highest standards of product design for his own publications. After suffering a life-changing accident in 2015, Victor continued to work on the third volume of the World History of Design, with support from his wife Sylvia and in collaboration with Rebecca Houze. We will be publishing chapters from the third volume in the Bloomsbury Design Library from 2020 onwards.

Victor Margolin 1941-2019
May his memory be a blessing.

In tribute to Victor’s unique contribution to the field of design history, we present below a selection of his work drawn from the Bloomsbury Design Library: