Remembering: Sidney D. Rosoff

Remembering: Sidney D. Rosoff

Sidney Rosoff in Tim Harding kimono

Sidney Rosoff wearing a Tim Harding kimono at Harding's studio in Minneapolis.

ACC Library and Archives

Sidney D. Rosoff, longtime friend and adviser to the ACC, died Friday, January 4, at the age of 94. An attorney in New York City, Rosoff provided guidance to ACC founder Aileen Osborn Webb in the earliest days of the organization. He also served on the ACC’s board of trustees from 1980 to 1993 and was an honorary trustee from 1994 on.

In the early 1950s, as a new Harvard graduate, Rosoff was sent by a partner at the law firm where he worked to visit Webb at her brownstone on 53rd Street in Manhattan. “She has this newfangled idea of a craft organization,” he recalled the partner saying. At the time, Webb was immersed in plans for exhibitions at America House, the “Designer Craftsmen USA 1953” show, and the pivotal “Young Americans” competition, among other activities. Their meeting was the beginning of a relationship that lasted for decades, with Rosoff providing legal and business guidance to Mrs. Webb, ACC trustees, and artists.

One of his first assignments was to amend the charter of the Council to permit the operation of the Museum of Contemporary Crafts, which opened in 1956. In the early 1980s, Rosoff served on the ACC board when developers tried to buy the museum property at 44 West 53rd Street. The board refused to sell until an agreement was reached that allowed the Council to obtain a condominium within the developer’s building, which became the museum’s new home.

Beginning in the mid-1970s, Rosoff held trainings for artists at ACC shows on sales taxes and other business practices. Many artists “were virgins in the business world,” he recalled, and he relished helping them.

An avid collector, Rosoff was recognized with the ACC Award of Distinction in 2012. Working with the organization, he said at the time, “has added an element of joy and wonder to my practice of law.”