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Gene Dekovic Papers

Identifier: Wing-Modern-MS-Dekovic

Scope and Content of the Collection

Business and professional records of designer and photographer Gene Dekovic, including correspondence, design specifications, art work, and finished products for clients as varied as textbook companies, general and art publishers, and the California wine industry. Included are many proposals from freelancer Dekovic to authors and publishers, records concerning photographs commissioned by or sold to publishers and other designers, and copies of books and booklets published by Dekovic and those that include his photographs.


  • Creation: 1951-2006



Materials are mostly in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Gene Dekovic Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Gene Dekovic Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of Gene Dekovic

Chicago and California designer, author, and photographer.

Gene Dekovic was born June 9, 1922 in Chicago. He graduated from Crane Technical High School, studied at Northwestern University before World War II, served in the U.S. Air Force during the war, and resumed studies at the Institute of Design (Chicago). While working in a design partnership with Harry B. “Hap” Smith in the1950s, he took course work towards an M.A. in Communication at the University of Chicago. Although primarily a freelancer, Dekovic taught at Columbia College of Chicago and served on its Board of Trustees (1963-1971). With his wife, the former Gerry Walker (d. 2004), he traveled extensively, photographing in Europe and Latin America. In 1978 the couple settled in California’s Napa Valley. Dekovic conducted business under various corporate names: Dekovic-Smith Design Organization (1951-1957), Communications Research Planning (1958-1971), and Illuminations Press (1981-2006). His photographs appeared in a variety of magazines and in many direct-mail advertising pieces, especially for the California wine and travel industries. He died on November 4, 2012 at the Veterans Home in Yountville, California.


6.5 Linear Feet (15 boxes)


Professional and some personal papers of Chicago and California designer and photographer, Gene Dekovic, who worked as a freelancer for most of his life. These files include professional papers relating to design and publishing ventures, and to a lesser extent his career as a photographer and author.


Papers are organized in the following series

Series 1: General Correspondence, 1959-2006
Boxes 1-2
Series 2: Communication Research/Planning, 1958-1971
Boxes 3-4
Series 3: Columbia College, 1966
Box 4
Series 4: Illuminations Press, 1981-2001
Boxes 5-9
Series 5: Other Dekovic-authored Works, 1980-2000
Box 10
Series 6: Other Design Work, 1975-2000
Boxes 10-14
Series 7: Photographs
Box 15
Series 8: Biographical, 1951-2005
Box 15
Series 9: Ephemera
Box 15

Collection Stack Location

4a 28 1


Gift of Gene Dekovic, 2006.

Processed by

Mette Shayne and Paul F. Gehl, 2014.

Inventory of the Gene Dekovic Papers, 1951-2006
Mette Shayne, Paul F. Gehl
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States