As a girl, in Germany, Ruth Adler Schee was artistically trained by Paul Klee, a family friend. In 1938, she and her family escaped Nazi Germany and moved to Detroit, Michigan. She enrolled at RISD five years later. Schnee was named “Detroit’s Treasure” for her leadership in bringing modernism to the city. She collaborated with renowned designers, such as Charles and Ray Eames, Buckminster Fuller, and Frank Lloyd Wright. As a woman and a Jew, Schnee was a pioneer of her profession, taking design to a world stage.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Ruth Adler Schnee |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=24 March 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>