Thursday, September 18, 2014

NEW! N.C. Curtis Finding Aid

The Southeastern Architectural Archive recently finalized the processing of the Nathaniel C. Curtis, Sr. Illustrations. The collection includes drawings, maps, publications and educational records linked to New Orleans architect, preservationist and educator N.C. Curtis (1881-1953). Many of the drawings were selected as illustrations for Curtis’ book New Orleans, Its Old Houses, Shops, and Public Buildings (Philadelphia, 1933). Two drawings reflect Curtis’ work in association with architect Moise H. Goldstein.

Learn more about the collection and N.C. Curtis here.

Image above:  Nathaniel C. Curtis, Sr. Dauphine Street from St. Louis Street. Gouache on heavy paper. 1925. Nathaniel C. Curtis, Sr. Illustrations, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Planning New Orleans

As the New Orleans City Planning Commission and City Council consider revising the municipal zoning ordinance for the first time in 44 years, it reminded us to post these images from the mid-twentieth century. There was definitely a code book for representing urban planning; typically planners appear standing in front of a large municipal wall map while they gesticulate down towards a table map.  While the wall map usually represents the city at the macro level, the table map represents the specific area(s) undergoing transformation.

In the top image, which was published by the American Institute of Architects-New Orleans Chapter in January 1954, planners J.B. Rouzie (left) and Louis G. Bisso (right), point towards the Lakefront Airport area, located in the Third Municipal District. Bisso, then the director-secretary of the City Planning and Zoning Commission, advocated for "comprehensive rehabilitation" of neighborhoods and the discontinuation of "checkerboard" planning:

"In these days when the word 'planner' seems to be associated in some quarters with oppressive control and general loss of freedom, I believe we should never forego an opportunity to assert a rational point of view. Design must precede construction. A general design for the city must precede specific designs for improvements. I am not alone in believing that a general design for the future can be achieved in American cities, that such a design will be followed with relatively few deviations, and that its substantive effect will be a vast improvement in the conditions of life for our future population."(1)

After 22 years with the Commission, Bisso resigned in the late 1950s. Charles F. O'Doniel, Jr. (bottom image, center) filled the vacancy. Mayor "Chep" Morrison's 1958-59 report featured this picture above the caption, "THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME." O'Doniel stands with his chief assistants, Jack Different (left) and Stuart H. Brehm, Jr. (right) , directing his attention towards the Second Municipal District. In 1958, the Commission processed nearly 40 zoning petitions for changes in zoning classification and reviewed or acted upon nearly 300 subdivision proposals. It adopted a street plan for the area of the city bounded by Paris Road, Lake Pontchartrain and the Intercoastal Canal, and it began to consider the proposal to build a $40 million elevated expressway through the French Quarter.

Images above:

Top:  "Planners at Work." The American Institute of Architects - New Orleans Chapter Bulletin I:1 (January 1954): p. 1.

Bottom:  "THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME." Annual Report of the Mayor. City of New Orleans. 1958-1959: n.p.

(1) "City Planning Philosophy Outlined by Official." The American Institute of Architects - New Orleans Chapter Bulletin I:1 (January 1954): pp. 1, 4, 7.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

NEW! Grace Dunn Finding Aid

The Southeastern Architectural Archive recently finalized the processing of the Grace Dunn collection.

The collection consists of Dunn's drawings, some of which were considered as illustrations for the Works Project Administration’s (WPA) New Orleans City Guide (1938) and Louisiana: A Guide to the State (1941).  Related studies are rendered in pen and ink, with strong contour lines and restrained shading effects.  The largest number of  drawings are softly toned graphite sketches representing historic structures located in the city of New Orleans.  None are dated, but terminus post quem is assumed to be 1940, when the Louisiana guide went to press. Many of the buildings she illustrated are no longer standing, razed during various twentieth-century urban planning initiatives.

The drawings once formed a part of Howard-Tilton Library’s Reference Department picture files, but were transferred to the Southeastern Architectural Archive when it was founded in 1980.

Learn more about Grace Dunn here.

Image above:  Grace Dunn, illustrator. Head piece for "New Orleans -- Old and New."  Federal Writers’ Project of the Works Progress Administration.  New Orleans City Guide. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1938. Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Monday, September 15, 2014

New Orleans Business Archive: Sciambra & Masino

In  August 1924, plumbing, heating and ventilation contractors Sciambra and Masino opened a new plant located at 636-642 North Broad Street. Designed by New Orleans architect Emile Weil (1878-1945) and constructed by builder J.A. Petty & Sons, Inc., the Spanish Mission style structure boasted 8,000 ft.with a receiving area, model shops, an equipment room and a  mezzanine gallery. The first floor served as showroom and office space, and the mezzanine was divided into drafting rooms and a ladies' resting lounge.

Proprietors A.J. Sciambra and P. Masino, Jr. established their partnership in 1917, first operating out of Sciambra's residence at 2500 St. Peter Street, and then moving to 915 North Broad Street prior to acquiring the plant site.  When the new building opened, the partners described the rationale for choosing this location:

"'We were offered sites in other parts of the city, and received the usual advice to locate in the heart of the commercial district, but we adhered to North Broad. It best suits our purpose now, and in the years to come will be one of the main thoroughfares. Since the opening of the bridge at the New Basin the automobiles have multiplied to an amazing extent. During the racing season and at other special times Broad already rivalled Canal street. When both sides of the wide boulevard are paved, as they soon will be, Broad street will be as populous as any highway. There also was the consideration of the cheapest property before the great improvement in conditions and confidence, and the business, and we get all the benefits of the saving. Above all, there was the sentimental view. Most of our career has been spent here."

Image above:  Emile Weil, architect. Illustrations of Selected Work. New Orleans, Louisiana. 1926. Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries. NA737.W4 A45

Quoted matter:  "Plucky Plumbers Build Big Plant on Broad Street." The Times-Picayune 10 August 1924.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Tulane & Bellocq

We have posted a number of entries about New Orleans photographer E.J. Bellocq (1873-1949) because his business largely centered on architectural and industrial photography. It's worth mentioning that he also supplied photographs to the Tulane University of Louisiana and Newcomb College. For example, his images appeared in the institutional yearbook, Jambalaya.

Tulane's  University Archives recently digitized the yearbooks, which are available via the Tulane University Digital Library (TUDL) and the Internet Archive.

Images above: E.J. Bellocq, photographer. "Faculty of Newcomb College;" "Law Department" Jambalaya. New Orleans: The Tulane University of Louisiana, 1902.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

NEW! Louis Goldstein Finding Aid

The Southeastern Architectural Archive recently finalized the processing of the Louis Goldstein Office Records and Papers. For researchers interested in Louisiana’s contributions to World War II, the history of Dillard University and the Goldstein family, this collection will prove noteworthy. As a non-commissioned officer in the United States Army, Goldstein participated in the liberation of the Philippines, and his papers include photographs of structural damage to buildings, local residents and soldiers engaged in everyday activities and posed group portaits.  Architectural drawings reflect Goldstein’s contributions to Goldstein, Parham and Labouisse firm projects at Dillard University, including the Lawless Memorial Chapel and the Art Center.  Biographical information extends beyond his architectural training, for correspondence files consist of personal letters and cards, essays and notes taken while attending public lectures, as well as legal documents pertaining to Goldstein’s relationship with his architect-father.

Read more here.

Special thanks to Tulane University Libraries' Candace Maurice for all her assistance helping the SEAA launch its new finding aids!

Image above:  Louis Goldstein (center) in the Philippines. 1946.  Louis Goldstein Office Records and Papers, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

NEW! Moise Goldstein Finding Aid

The Southeastern Architectural Archive (SEAA) recently finalized the processing of the Moise H. Goldstein Office Records.  The collection consists of architectural drawings, specifications, photographs and correspondence associated with New Orleans architect Moise H. Goldstein (1882-1972), who practiced in Louisiana and Mississippi from 1905-63.

Read more here.

Image above: Moise H. Goldstein, architect.  Passport Photograph. 1942. National Archives and Records Administration. As viewed 8 September 2014 via Ancestry Library Edition.