The Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) remembers Richard “Dick” Hollerith Jr., FIDSA: award-winning industrial designer, IDSA Fellow, former IDSA President, and a member when our Society was founded in 1965.
Our heartfelt condolences go out to Dick's friends and family: his wife, Romy, four children, 10 grandchilden, and two great-grandchilden.
Should you wish, please make a contribution to the charity of your choice.
Early years and education
Dick was born on October 4, 1926 in Philadelphia, PA and grew up in Riverton, NJ. He was the son of Mary Spencer and Richard Hollerith. His grandfather, Dr. Herman Hollerith (1860-1929), invented the punched-card system of data tabulation, and produced the first tabulating machine used by the U.S. Census Bureau to tabulate the 1890 census.
Dick graduated from Dartmouth College in 1947 with a B.A. in Geology and Naval Science. He was in the Navy V-12 program and received a commission as ensign USNR.
He then attended Philadelphia Museum School of Art, now called University of the Arts, and graduated in 1951 as an Industrial Designer. He began his career drafting turbine blades and working as a part-time instructor at the school. He also was the Industrial Designers Institute (IDI) student chapter chairman and cofounder of the design fraternity.
From 1951 through 1954, Dick worked as an industrial designer for Raymond Spilman in New York City. In 1954 he became the director of industrial design at the Monroe Calculating Machine Company. At Monroe, he designed packaging and products, and adapted manufacturing facilities into office space. He left Monroe after its merger with Litton Industries, opting to take a job as a consultant with Henry Dreyfuss Associates, where he was an account manager from 1956 through 1966.
After leaving Henry Dreyfuss Associates, Dick became an independent consultant. He owned Industrial Design Consultants (established in 1968) and co-founded I/O Devices Inc. (from 1969 to 1974). Both companies were located in Montville, NJ.
Dick also became a contributing editor to Industrial Design magazine. With a press pass, he spent four years on the board of the International Council of the Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) in Brussels, Belgium, representing U.S. Industrial Design.
Contributions to the industrial design profession and IDSA
After becoming a member of the American Society of Industrial Design (ASID) in 1958, Dick became involved in a multitude of activities. He bacame the New York chapter chairman and finally president, after innovatively utilizing the petition process of IDSA. IDI and ASID were two of the groups, along with the Industrial Design Education Association, that merged to form IDSA in 1965.
Dick served as president of the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) from 1977 through 1978. During his tenure, he worked to develop industrial design education and certification programs. He was an active proponent of universal design and has served as a board member for organizations that promote barrier free environments.
For many years, he was a member of the President’s Committee on Employment of the Handicapped, in support of individuals with disabilities. Other activities included representing industrial design in Project Earning Power, ANSI standards, and the National Center for a Barrier-Free Environment.
A recipient of two NEA grants for projects related to disability, Dick also was recognized by Product Engineering magazine for one of his designs. He received the IDSA New York Chapter's Bronze Apple Award for his work in 1976 and was elected a fellow of IDSA.
"I have a recollection of Dick Hollerith telling me, and others, that ”25% or 50% of Americans are handicapped.” How so? “They need eyeglasses.” Regardless of the percentage he quoted, it really brought home to me the idea of universal design. I will always remember him as a lovely smart fellow, very involved in his work, highly respected by his peers."
- RitaSue Siegel, FIDSA