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New-York Historical Society logo

Guide to the Architect & Engineer Collection
circa 1790-1989
  PR 3

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Susan Benz

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on September 09, 2021
The finding aid is written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 Online finding aid revised and updated 2020

Scope and Content Note

The collection includes more than 1,500 architectural and engineering drawings from 1811-1989. They are in many media, including ink and graphite drawings, renderings, sketches, blueprints, and lithographs. Of the approximately 1,400 entries in database, most entries represent one item or a group (less than 10) of related items.

Works by more than 150 locally and nationally prominent architects and engineers are represented. Designers include: Squire Whipple; Charles Bulfinch; Carrère & Hastings; Ernest Flagg; John Haviland; Peabody & Stearns; James Renwick Jr.; Richard Upjohn; Calvert Vaux; Edward Pearce Casey; Delano & Aldrich; Wendel Bollman; and Warren & Wetmore. There are usually fewer than 10 drawings by any one architect or engineer. However, the collection includes over 50 Gilbert Elevated Railway drawings, over 100 reprographic documents and original drawings by Henry P. Davidson.

The file contains such diverse material as Interborough Rapid Transit Company subway system drawings; U.S. Capitol drawings by John Trumbull, ca. 1800-1820; engineering schemes for the Gilbert Elevated Railway, ca. 1875; estate landscaping plans by Schermerhorn & Foulks, ca. 1910; Corps of Engineers plans for the Solomons Lump Light Station in Maryland, 1894; and designs for structures on Long Island by Christian F. Rosborg, 1920s-1930s. An 1858 plan for Central Park, drawn by George Waring, is also included.

The bulk of drawings feature New York architectural or engineering subjects. However, the file also includes drawings of: Memorial Continental Hall of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Alexandria Aqueduct, Walters Art Gallery, Olivet College buildings, the U.S. Chancellery building in Paris, and many churches located in Virginia, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maine, and Connecticut. Important New York subjects include: Castle Williams, Brooklyn Bridge, Astor Residence, American Radiator Building, Armory, Academy of Arts, Bowling Green Park, Battery Park, Carnegie Garden, City Hall, Halls of Justice, Customs House (Merchant Exchange), Union Square station, Manufacturers Trust Company building, Croton Aqueduct, Harlem River Bridge, Chapin School, Fort Diamond, New York Life Insurance Company Building, West Side improvement plans, New York sewers, Manhattan Market, Federal Hall, Apthorp Apartments, Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, Holland Tunnel, various residences, subway and transit lines, and commercial and factory buildings.


These series are based on the name of the architect, engineer and/or artist. Unattributed work is filed in the Unknown Creator series, and arranged thereunder by project name or building type (i.e. churches of Brookline Massachusetts are filed in series number 181, name architect and/or artist is unknown). Related materials within series are grouped into sets. Miscellaneous architecture and engineering drawings are grouped and housed together.

Hughson Hawley watercolor renderings are cataloged under series 035 with the exception of the renderings of The New-York Historical Society which are cataloged under the architecture firm Renwick, Aspinwall & Russell (series 092). Watercolor renderings of the Armory (Powell C. Karr, architect) and the New-York Life Insurance Company (McKim, Mead & White, architect) are cataloged under series 035. With the exception of the drawing mentioned above, Hughson Hawley renderings that are part of other collections, such as the Cass Gilbert collection or the Post collection, are not described in this database. Series 108 includes forts for which the architect/engineer/artist is unknown, except in the case of drawings by Henry Mehles which are also included in this series (name of fort unknown) and reproductions of miscellaneous fort drawings. Other series numbers are assigned to forts for which the architect/engineer/artist is known (see series 014 and 191). Series number order does not correspond to the alphabetical order of names of the architects/engineers/artists.

The collection is arranged in 241 series, alphabetically by architect, firm, or building.