The papers of Reginald R. Isaacs measure 22.54 linear feet and date from 1842 to 1991, with the bulk of the material from 1928 to 1991. The collection includes Isaacs's personal and professional papers, as well as extensive research material he collected and created for his two-volume biography, Walter Gropius: The Man and His Work.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of of architect, instructor, writer, and city planner Reginald R. Isaacs (1911-1986) measure 22.54 linear feet and date from 1842 to 1991 with the bulk of the material dating from 1883 to 1985. The collection includes Isaacs's personal and professional papers, as well as extensive research material he collected and created for his two volume two-volume biography of Bauhaus architect, Walter Gropius: Walter Gropius: The Man and His Work. The bulk of Walter Gropius' papers are housed at the Busch Reisinger Museum at Harvard University, and the Bauhaus Archiv in Germany.
Series 1 to 12 contain contain biographical, legal, and financial material; personal and professional correspondence; project and subject files; writings and publications; teaching files; works of art; scrapbooks; printed material; and photographs relating to Isaacs' personal and professional career.
Series 13 forms the bulk of the collection and pertains specifically to the writing and publication of Isaacs' biography of Gropius. It contains research material, correspondence (much of it with Gropius), drafts of the manuscript, publication correspondence, photographs and illustrations, and printed material. Some of the research material, including some of the photographs and illustrations that were used in the biography, appear to have been original documents of Walter Gropius, while large portions of the material are photocopies of the originals, many of them in German.
The collection is arranged into fourteen series. Glass plate negatives are housed separately and closed to researchers.
Series 7: Writings, 1940-1986, undated (Boxes 3-4, 22; 2.0 linear feet)
Series 8: Teaching Files, 1954-1973 (Boxes 4-5; 1.0 linear foot)
Series 9: Works of Art, 1965-1967, undated (Box 5, OV 23; 3 folders)
Series 10: Scrapbooks, 1929-1969 (Box 5; 2 folders)
Series 11: Printed Material, 1842-1844, 1913-1986, undated (Box 5; 0.5 linear feet)
Series 12: Photographs, 1959-1981, undated (Boxes 5, 22; 7 folders)
Series 13: Walter Gropius Biography, circa 1880s-1991, undated (Boxes 6-22, OV 23, MGP 1, MGP 2, MGP 4; 16.0 linear feet)
Series 14: Unprocessed Addition, 1974-1985 (Box 24; 1.0 linear foot)
Born in Canada in 1911, Reginald R. Isaacs began working in architectural offices at age 14, later coming under the influence of "Beaux-Arts diplomes" at the University of Minnesota and Harvard and subsequently under that of Walter Gropius at Harvard University. He later studied sociology and planning at the University of Chicago under Louis Wirth and Rexford Guy Tugwell.
Isaacs served on the staffs of city planning commissions in Minneapolis, Syracuse, and Chicago, and in the federal government in the National Youth Agency, Public Housing Authority, and Housing and Home Finance Agency. His architectural practice in Minneapolis, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and other cities included the design of housing, colleges, and hospitals. He was director of planning and development for Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, 1945-1953, where Walter Gropius, planner Walter Blucher, and sociologist Louis Wirth collaborated with him as consultants. He was a United Nations expert on regional planning in South America, and a planning consultant for the Ford Foundation, the U.S. State Department, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
Recommended by Walter Gropius, Isaacs served as the Charles Dyer Norton Professor of Regional Planning at Harvard University from 1953-1978. He was also Chairman of the Graduate School of Design's Departments of City and Regional Planning as well as Landscape Architecture. Throughout his career he lectured at universities throughout the United States and in almost every country of Central and South America and in the Caribbean.
In 1962 Isaacs and Gropius began their collaboration on Walter Gropius: The Man and his Work, until the death of Gropius in 1969. The first volume of the biography was published in German in 1983, with the second volume following in 1984. Isaacs died of a massive heart attack in 1986, never realizing his goal to see an English-language edition which was published posthumously in 1991 by the Estate of Reginald Isaacs.
1911 -- Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
1935 -- Received Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Minnesota
1939 -- Received Masters of Architecture degree from Harvard University, Graduate School of Design
1947-1950 -- Studied sociology and planning with Louis Wirth and Rexford Guy Tugwell at the University of Chicago
1945-1953 -- Director of planning at Michael Reese Hospital, Chicago, Illinois
1951-1953 -- Guest lecturer at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design with Walter Gropius and also served a two-year term as a member of the Board of Overseers Committee to Visit the Graduate School of Design
1953-1978 -- Named the Charles Dyer Norton Professor of Regional Planning
1953-1964 -- Chairman of the Department of City and Regional Planning
1953-1958 -- Chairman of the Department of Landscape Architecture
1962 -- Began collaboration with Walter Gropius on the biography Walter Gropius - The Man and his Work
1969 -- Walter Gropius dies
1983 -- Walter Gropius, Der Mensch und Sein Werk, Volume 1 published by Gebr. Mann Nerlag, Berlin
1984 -- Walter Gropius, Der Mensch und Sein Werk, Volume 2, published by Gebr. Mann Nerlag, Berlin
1986 -- Isaacs dies
1991 -- Walter Gropius: An Illustrated Biography of the Creator of the Bauhaus, published by the Estate of Reginald Isaacs. The Papers of Reginald R. Isaacs donated to the Archives of American Art by his son, Henry Isaacs.
The collection was donated to the Archives of American Art by Henry Isaacs, son of Reginald Isaacs, in January 1991. An additional 1.0 linear foot was donated by Merry White, daughter of Reginald Isaacs, in 1997.
This collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment and is restricted to the Washington, D.C. research facility.
A symposium, "The International Style in Perspective," sponsored by Harvard University Graduate School of Design and held to commemorate the 1932 exhibit 'The International Style' held at the Museum of Modern Art. Speakers and panelists include architects, architectural historians and critics, among them: Thomas Hall Beeby, Rosemarie Bletter, Henry Cobb, Alan Colquhoun, Arthur Drexler, Peter D. Eisenman, Kurt Forster, David Handlin, William Hewitt, Henry-Russell Hitchcock, Philip Cortelyou Johnson, Neil Levine, Gerald Mallon McCue, Richard Alan Meier, Lewis Mumford, Paul Marvin Rudolph, Joseph Rykwert, Helen Searing, Eduard Sekler, Peter Denham Smithson, Robert A. M. Stern and Bruno Zevi.
The papers of architectural historian, author, critic, teacher, and museum director, Henry-Russell Hitchcock, date from 1919-1987 and measure 24.8 linear feet. Almost all of the collection is comprised of Hitchcock's correspondence files relating to academic research, teaching, curatorial interests, and professional associations. Letters are from prominent architectural historians, architects, artists, preservationists, museum directors and curators, and family and friends. Also found are two feet of writings by Hitchcock and others, scattered biographical information, printed material, and photographs of Hitchcock and architecture.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of architectural historian, author, critic, teacher, and museum director, Henry-Russell Hitchcock, date from 1919-1987 and measure 24.8 linear feet. Almost all of the collection is comprised of Hitchcock's correspondence files relating to academic research, teaching, curatorial interests, and professional associations. Letters are from prominent architectural historians, architects, artists, preservationists, museum directors and curators, and family and friends. Also found are two feet of writings by Hitchcock and others, scattered biographical information, miscellaneous records, printed material, and photographs of Hitchcock and architecture.
Among the biographical documents are Hitchcock's birth certificate, passport, and wills. Awards, citations, honorary degrees and commendations are from the University of Pennsylvania, Wesleyan University, the Friends of Cast Iron Architecture, National Institute of Arts and Letters, and the Victorian Society in America.
Chronological name and subject files consist mostly of correspondence and printed material along with a small number of photographs. They include personal and professional correspondence and subject files relating to academic research, teaching, curatorial interests, and professional associations. The correspondence includes large numbers of letters from prominent architectural historians, architects, artists, preservationists, museum directors and curators. Also included are students, friends, relatives, publishers, and representatives of organizations and institutions. Among those of note are: Jere Abbott, Everett A. (Chick) Austin, Alfred H. Barr, Bernard Berenson, Eugene Berman, Leonid Berman, Lyonel Feininger, Henry (Harry) Sayles Francis, Brendan Gill, Robert Goldwater, George Howe, Philip C. Johnson, Edgar Kaufmann, Jr., Lincoln Kirstein, Thomas J. McCormick, Lewis Mumford, J.J.P. Oud, Erwin Panofsky, Nikolaus Pevsner, Kingsley Porter, Paul J. Sachs, R. M. Schindler, Vincent Scully, Jr., Theodore Sizer, E. Baldwin Smith, Peter van der Meulen Smith, James Soby, Victor Spark, Harold Sterner, John Summerson, Virgil Thomson, Paul Vanderbilt, Theo Van Doesburg, Helmut von Erffa, Gordon Washburn, Rudolf Wittkower, and Frank Lloyd Wright.
Writings by Hitchcock consist of manuscripts and drafts of numerous published and unpublished articles, book chapters, and his masters thesis. Other writings by Hitchcock include lecture notes and texts, book reviews, notes, outlines, photo lists, and a bibliography. Among the other authors represented in this series are John Coolidge and Sir Wilfred Green.
Miscellaneous records consist of the alien registration card of Hitchcock's friend Peter van der Meulen Smith, architectural drawings by Hitchcock, book contracts, and a small number of receipts and invoices.
Printed material consists of articles about, by, or mentioning Henry-Russell Hitchcock, along with advertisements for his books, and postcards of architectural subjects.
Photographs are of architecture, art work, events, people, places, and miscellaneous subjects; also included are color slides, negatives, and transparencies. Architectural subjects include the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and Gaudi, as well as interior and exterior views of buildings identified only by location. Photographs of people include Henry-Russell Hitchcock, Chick Austin and Ernestine Carter, Alexander Dorner, Tammy Grimes, Lincoln Kirstein, the Steinway family, and Edgar Tafel. Events recorded include the Society of Architectural Historians at the Newport Casino, Hitchcock receiving honorary degrees at the University of Glasgow and Wesleyan University, and a high tea sponsored by the Victorian Society in America. Family houses and views of Greece are among the photographs of places. Miscellaneous subjects include exhibition installations and family heirlooms.
The collection is arranged as 6 series:
Series 1: Biographical Information, 1922-1984 (Box 1; 0.1 linear ft.)
Series 2: Chronological Name and Subject Files, 1919-1987 (Boxes 1-22; 21.9 linear ft.)
Series 3: Writings, 1922-circa 1978 (Boxes 23-24; 2.0 linear ft.)
Series 4: Miscellaneous Records, 1928-1977 (Box 25; 0.1 linear ft.)
Series 5: Printed Material, 1922-1984 (Boxes 25-26; 0.4 linear ft.)
Series 6: Photographs, circa 1926-1979 (Box 26; 0.3 linear ft.)
Henry-Russell Hitchcock, considered the "father" of modern architectural historiography, played a major role in bringing modern architecture to the United States. As an eminent professor for more than forty years, Hitchcock trained and influenced several generations of scholars and critics. He combined a love of architecture with criticism and scholarship to produce a large number of distinguished monographs and articles on a broad range of styles and periods.
Born in Boston in 1903, Henry-Russell Hitchcock was the son of Mayflower descendants. At Harvard University, he studied medieval history with A. Kingsly Porter as his mentor and completed the undergraduate curriculum in three years. Hitchcock spent his senior year studying architecture, graduated in 1924, and stayed to study for a master's degree, which was awarded in 1927. During his years at Harvard, he wrote for Hound and Horn and knew Alfred Barr, T. S. Eliot, Philip Johnson, Lincoln Kirstein, Virgil Thomson, and others who became leaders in the modernist movement.
Henry-Russell Hitchcock's teaching career began when he was appointed an assistant professor at Vassar College for the academic year 1927-28. In 1929, he joined the faculty of Wesleyan University, where he remained for two decades before moving to Smith College in 1949. During his tenures at Wesleyan and Smith, his services as a visiting lecturer were employed on many occasions by Cambridge University, Connecticut College, Harvard University, the Institute of Fine Arts, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Yale University. Upon retiring from Smith College in 1968, Hitchcock moved to New York City and taught briefly at Columbia University, the Institute of Fine Arts, and the University of Massachusetts, at Amherst.
Best known as a proponent of modernism, Hitchcock wrote more than two dozen books about a wide range of styles and periods, and most are considered standard works on their subjects. His first, Modern Architecture: Romanticism and Reintegration, appeared in 1929 and was the first book on the subject to be published in English; his final book, German Renaissance Architecture, was published in 1981.
Henry-Russell Hitchcock served as director of the Smith College Museum between 1949 and 1955. In addition, he was curator of several exhibitions, the first and most important of which was Modern Architecture: International Exhibition, organized in collaboration with Philip C. Johnson and held at the Museum of Modern Art. Their book, The International Style: Architecture Since 1922, was published in 1932 in conjunction with the exhibition.
During World War II, Hitchcock's civilian service included working as director of the U. S. Navy's Photographic Library and writing Pratt and Whitney aircraft engine manuals.
Henry-Russell Hitchcock was an active member of many professional associations. He served as president of the Society of Architectural Historians from 1952 to 1954. In addition, he was a founding member of The Victorian Society in Great Britain, and between 1969 and 1974 was president of its sister organization, The Victorian Society in America.
During his long and illustrious career, Henry-Russell Hitchcock won many awards and honors. Awards for Early Victorian Architecture in Britain and Architecture: Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries were conferred by the Society of Architectural Historians (1955) and College Art Association (1960), respectively. Hitchcock received the Royal Society of Arts Medal for Best Lecture (1956) and its Benjamin Franklin Medal (1970), in addition to the American Institute of Architects' Architectural Critics' Medal (1970). Other awards include: National Institute of Arts and Letters Award (1956), American Council of Learned Societies Prize for Distinguished Accomplishment in Humanistic Scholarship (1961), Friends of Cast-Iron Architecture Certificate of Commendation (1978), the American Institute of Architects Award of Merit (1978), and Municipal Art Society Certificate of Merit (1978).
He received honorary degrees from Glasgow University and the University of Pennsylvania in 1973, and in 1979 from Wesleyan University. In Search of Modern Architecture: A Tribute to Henry-Russell Hitchcock, edited by Helen Searing, was published by The Architectural History Foundation in 1982.
Due to declining health, Henry-Russell Hitchcock lectured rarely and wrote little in the three years preceding his death from cancer. He died in New York City, February 19, 1987.
The Archives of American Art also holds Henry-Russell Hitchcock letters to Dorothy Stroud and John N. Summerson, 1946-1949. Additional Henry-Russell Hitchcock papers (circa 8 linear feet) are in the Special Collections division of Wesleyan University Library.
Mosette Broderick, assistant to Hitchcock and his literary executor, donated the papers to the Archives of American Art in 1988.
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment.
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