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Guide to the James W. Martens Architectural Drawings
circa 1840-1869
 PR 113

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


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Kelly McAnnaney

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on June 09, 2020
Description is in English. using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Martens, James William, 1827-1899
Title: James W. Martens architectural drawings
Dates [inclusive]: circa 1840-1869
Abstract: The James W. Martens Architectural Drawings contains architectural drawings, primarily of houses and row houses, ca. 1840s-1860s, by Brooklyn architect James W. Martens.
Quantity: 1.34 Linear feet (1 box, plus 2 oversize folders; 117 drawings)
Call Phrase: PR 113

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Biographical Note

James William Martens (1827-1899), born in London, lived in New York State all of his adult life. He worked as an architect at 52 Wall Street in 1847 and practiced in Brooklyn from 1849 to 1864. In 1853, Martens married Charlotte Louisa Jones and had at least one son, James Martens, Jr. (1858-1919). After his retirement, Martens spent time in Shrub Oak, NY, where he designed St. Mary's Church. His wife passed away in 1898 and he died one year later in March 1899.

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Scope and Content Note

The collection includes architectural drawings, primarily of houses and row houses, ca. 1840s-1860s, by Brooklyn architect James W. Martens. The collection is comprised of 117 drawings: elevations, floor plans, details, tracings and patterns for cornice moldings in graphite, ink, and color wash.

The drawings, formerly part of the Architect and Engineer File, had been numbered and sorted using randomly assigned numbers. When the collection was processed, the arbitrary numbers were disregarded and the drawings were organized by drawing type as few full projects are identified. Along with single, unidentified elevations, floor plans, and details, the collection does contain four plan sets. These sets include elevations, which match floor plans for complete projects. Several complete sets of floor plans exist, without any attached elevations. There are also drawings of decorative details, mantels, doors, and windows.

The majority of these drawings are unidentified, with little information regarding location, date, or patron. However, there is one plan set for a house on Montague Place in Brooklyn, which includes an elevation and floor plans for three floors, an attic, and a basement. The collection also contains one elevation of the former Delmonico Hotel, which once stood at 27 Broadway at Morris Street.

Along with original work, the collection includes several tracings and architectural studies. This group contains two perspective elevations, front and rear, of a castle or country home and an ink and watercolor study of columns, each labeled.

Oversize drawings include one folder of elevations and floor plans. Another folder contains patterns for moldings. Many of these patterns were cut from drawings and small pieces of plans can still be seen. Several patterns are labeled with either a patron name or building location, including moldings for a house on Pierrepont Street and a cornice molding for 62 Remsen Street.

Arrangement

Drawings are arranged by type.

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Access Points

Document Type

  • Architectural drawings (visual works)
  • Elevations (drawings)
  • Floor plans
  • Watercolors (paintings)

Subject Topics

  • Architecture -- United States -- 19th century -- Designs and plans.
  • Architecture, Domestic -- United States.
  • Commercial buildings -- United States -- Design and plans.
  • Dwellings -- New York (State).
  • Row houses.

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Available by advance appointment only. To schedule an appointment, contact the Print Room Librarian at printroom@nyhistory.org.

Use Restrictions

Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to 20 exposures of stable, unbound material per day. Application to use images from this collection for publication should be made in writing to: Department of Rights and Reproductions, The New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5194, rightsandrepro@nyhistory.org. Phone: (212) 873-3400 ext. 282.

Copyrights and other proprietary rights may subsist in individuals and entities other than the New-York Historical Society, in which case the patron is responsible for securing permission from those parties. For fuller information about rights and reproductions from N-YHS visit: https://www.nyhistory.org/about/rights-reproductions

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as: James W. Martens Architectural Drawings, PR 113, Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections, New-York Historical Society.

Related Material at the Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections

Additional architectural drawings from this time period can be found in the Architect and Engineer File (PR 003), Alexander J. Davis Architectural Drawing Collection (PR 016), and Calvin Pollard Architectural Drawing Collection (PR 051).

The New-York Historical Society's museum holds two sketchbooks by James Martens' son, James Martens, Jr.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Conrad Martens, 1986.

Processing Information

The collection was processed in November 2007 by Kelly McAnnaney. At that time McAnnaney documented a summary finding aid and also prepared an item level inventory in spreadsheet form. In 2011, the summary finding aid was migrated from a Word document into a collection management system, Archivists' Toolkit, and published on-line. In June 2020 archivist Larry Weimer copied most item details from the spreadsheet into the new collection system, ArchivesSpace, and re-published the finding aid with the added details.

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Container List

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Elevations

Scope and Contents

11 drawings. Titles assigned by N-YHS are: Side Elevation of a House; Design for Mr. Woolsey's House; Elevation of a Row of Buildings; Elevation of Clark's Building; Elevation of a Row House; Elevation of an Unidentified Building Including Measurements; 2 given the title Elevation of a House; 2 given the title Elevation of a House, Gothic Style; Elevation of a Church or Mausoleum.

undated
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Elevations

Scope and Contents

9 drawings. Titles given by N-YHS are: Elevation of Building with a Temple Front; 2 with title Elevation of a House; Front Elevation of a House; Front Elevation of Unidentified Building; Front Elevation of Delmonico's Hotel; Front Elevation, Rowhouses; Side Elevation of a House; Side Elevation of an Unidentified Building.

undated
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Elevations

Scope and Contents

5 drawings. Titles given by N-YHS are: Elevation of Double House [Rowhouse]; 3 with title Elevation of Row House; Elevation of a Town House?

undated
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Floor Plans

Scope and Contents

12 drawings. Titles given by N-YHS are: 2 with title Floor Plans of a House; Floor Plans of a House, Basement; Floor Plans of a House, First Story; Floor Plans of a House, Second Story; Floor Plans of a House, Third Story; Floor Plan, Ground Floor [carriage houses]; Floor Plan, Basement [carriage houses]; Floor Plan, Upper Story [carriage houses]; Plan of Garden; Floor Plans for Two Houses; Floor Plans of a Double House.

undated
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Floor Plans

Scope and Contents

5 drawings. Titles given by N-YHS are: 2 with title Floor Plan of a Row House; 3 with title Floor Plan of a House.

undated
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Floor Plans

Scope and Contents

9 drawings. Titles given by N-YHS are: 2 with title Floor Plan of a House; Floor Plan of a Row House, First Story; Floor Plan of a Row House, Basement Story; Floor Plan of a Row House, Second Story; Floor Plan of a Row House, Third Story; Floor Plan of a House, Basement; Floor Plan of a House, First Story; Floor Plan of a House, Second Story.

undated
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Floor Plans

Scope and Contents

8 drawings. Titles given by N-YHS are: Floor Plan of a House, Cellar; 2 with title Floor Plan of a House, Cellar; Floor Plan of a Row House, First Floor; Floor Plan of a Row House, Second Story; Floor Plan of a Row House, Third Story; Floor Plan of a House, First and Second Floors; Floor Plan of Front House, Basement.

undated
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Plan Sets

Scope and Contents

Includes one Elevation of House with Two Entrances, dated September 24, 1847. Includes an undated elevation of a row house on Montague Place, Brooklyn. Also includes elevations and floor plans of row houses, a double row house, front house, house, and double house.

1847, undated
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Details

Scope and Contents

7 drawings. Titles given by N-YHS are: Cross Section Showing Sliding Doors, School No. 11; Detail of Gothic Ornamental Design on the Porch and Entrance of a House [row house]; Elevation of the Gate at the New Lodge; Elevation of a Gate; Elevation of a Paneled Door; Elevation of a Wall with 3 Windows & an Elevation with a Chimney Piece Flanked by 2 Windows; Diagram of Sliding Doors.

undated
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Details - Mantels

Scope and Contents

5 drawings. Titles given by N-YHS: 3 with title Mantelpiece with Perspective View; Two Mantelpieces with Perspective Views; Elevation of Mantelpiece.

Box: 1 Folder : 11 Details - Ornamental

Scope and Contents

12 drawings. Titles given by N-YHS are: Detail of Ornamental Molding; 2 with title Detail of Ornament, Vine; Detail of Ornament, Foliate Ceiling Medallion; Detail of Ornament, Foliate Scroll Entwined Around Twisted Pole; Detail of Ornament, Oak Branch with Acorns; Detail of Ornament, Grape Vine; Detail of Ornament, Socle with Double Volute and Acanthus Leaves; Study of Greek Capital and Entablature, Metope and Triglyphs; Detail of Ornament, Quatrefoil Design and Grape Vine Design; Detail of Ornament, Ceiling Medallion; Detail of Capital of Column, Corinthian Style.

1845-1848, undated
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Studies and Tracings

Scope and Contents

Titles given by N-YHS are: Sketches of Floor Plan and Elevations of a Church; Perspective View of Church; Perspective Views of Castle of County House (Slane?) of Lord Conyngham; Part of Lodge (September 6, 1848); Perspective View of Archway (August 28, 1848); One-Half of Truss over the Long Room of Custom House, New Castle, NY (September 1, 1848); Details of: Truss of] Roof of Temporary House of Lords; An Iron Shoe; [Truss of] Roof over Long Room Custom House, New Castle (February 1, 1848); Detail of Part of Truss of Roof; Study of Twenty-one Columns; Group of Seven Sketches of Designs for Capitals, Ceiling Ornaments, or Friezes.

1848, undated
Folder: OS-1 Molding Patterns

Scope and Contents

Group of Thirteen Stencils for Moldings.

1859
Folder: OS-2 Various Drawings

Scope and Contents

Titles given by N-YHS: 2 with title Elevation of an Unidentified Building; Floor Plans of a Row House; Floor Plans of a House, First and Second Stories; Floor Plans of a House; Floor Plan of a House, First Story; Floor Plan of a House, Untitled; Floor Plans of House, First Story, Second Story and Third Story; Floor Plans of House, Basement Story, Cellar and Yard.

undated

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