Suzanne E. Vanderbilt

Suzanne Vanderbilt was born in Mt. Vernon, NY. She received her Bachelor of Industrial Design degree from Pratt Institute in Brookyn and her M.F.A. from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in suburban Detroit.

After graduation from Pratt in 1955 she joined General Motors as a Junior Designer for Chevrolet Interiors. She advanced to Chief Designer for Chevrolet and finally to Design Assistant in charge of interior soft trim for all GM lines until her retirement in 1977.

Vanderbilt was part of a new group of women working in design centers for automobile companies that reflected the industry's growing awareness of the female consumer. Her work was especially evident in her three patents for an inflatable back support for seats, a safety switch on auto instrument panels, and a motorcycle helmet design.

During the month of April, 1986, an oral reminiscence was conducted with Suzanne E. Vanderbilt for the collections of The Henry Ford. Click here to read the complete Vanderbilt oral history transcript.


Inflatable Back Support

Saftey Switch

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