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At a Glance
The collection is made up of five series: Series I: U.S. Embassy Research Files; Series II: Foreign Embassy Research Files; Series III: Topical Research Files; Series IV: Office of Foreign Buildings Operations (FBO) Files; Series V: JCL Professional Papers; Series VI: Additional Donations
Scope and Content
The Jane C. Loeffler Collection of Research Papers on American Embassies is made up of articles, notes, correspondence, clippings, publications, drawings, photographs, negatives, slides, and other reference materials she used throughout her professional career and research work. Throughout her career, Loeffler explored the interplay of architectural design of American embassies, the evolving legislative policies of the embassy building program, and the political ramifications of embassy construction, beginning with the inception of the U.S. embassy building program. With much of the material inaccessible elsewhere, this collection is larger than other such archives, including that of the U.S. State Department. The basis for the series and order was developed from Loeffler's own organizational system from her personal reference archive and, for the majority of the collection, her folder titles have been maintained and material sorted accordingly.
The first series contains materials that reference United States diplomatic design abroad. Post files are arranged alphabetically by city, with the exception of Germany and the Newly Independent States of the Former Soviet Union (NIS). In addition to individual post files, this series contains materials that reference individuals and organizations affiliated with the U.S. State Department's foreign building program, not exclusively limited to American-born parties. Files are sorted according to the name of the individual or organization. Reference materials include articles, notes, clippings, photographs, negatives, slides, maps, and plans. In addition, there are two oversized folders, one containing Ralph Rapson drawings and one containing original embassy plan drawings.
The second series contains materials that reference foreign diplomatic design, both internationally and in the United States. Reference materials include articles, notes, clippings, photographs, negatives, maps, and plans. Post files are arranged alphabetically by country, with foreign embassies abroad distinguished from foreign embassies in Washington D.C. In addition, there is an oversized folder containing schematic portfolios of Ethiopian and Swedish embassies.
The third series contains topical reference files regarding subjects, places, or structures affiliated with the State Department's foreign building program. Alphabetically sorted by subject matter, topics include art in embassies, diplomacy, embassy design, historic preservation, security, and terrorism. This series is primarily comprised of books, articles, notes, clippings, brochures, photographs, and negatives. Additionally, there is an oversized folder with urban design and planning portfolios.
The fourth series contains documents received from either the FBO or the Office of the Historian. Spanning 1953 to 1980, these files primarily include correspondence and memos, as well as the meeting minutes of the FBO's advisory architects. Established in 1953 as the Architectural Advisory Committee (AAC), the AAC was renamed the Architectural Advisory Panel (AAP) in 1957; in the late 1970's, the AAP was briefly known as the Foreign Buildings Architectural Consultants but is currently known as the Architectural Advisory Board (AAB). Folders are sorted chronologically, keeping in accordance with Loeffler's original organization system. These records provide invaluable insight into the foreign building program, as these files are unavailable elsewhere.
The fifth series contains notes, correspondence, clippings, published articles, and collateral regarding professional lectures, organizations, and programs in which Loeffler participated. In addition, this series includes published scholastic articles written by Loeffler and course syllabi from the undergraduate courses she taught at the University of Maryland and George Mason University.
Contains related materials added to the collection at a later date.
Using the Collection
Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library
Restrictions on Access
This collection is available for use by appointment in the Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University. For further information and to make an appointment, please email email@example.com.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Permission to publish must be obtained in writing from the Director, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, 1172 Amsterdam Ave., MC 0301, New York, NY 10027.
Jane C. Loeffler Collection of Research Papers on American Embassies, 1920s-2010s, (bulk 1970s-2000s), Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Source of acquisition--Jane Loeffler. Method of acquisition--Donated;; Date of acquisition--2014. Accession number--2014.004.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library
This collection was processed by Catherine Fischer in 2014.
2015-02-21 File created.
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Jane C. Loeffler is the author of The Architecture of Diplomacy: Building America's Embassies, the extensive history of the U.S. State Department's foreign building program for which she was awarded its distinguished public service award. A noted architectural historian, she graduated from Wellesley College (1968) before earning a Master's in City and Regional Planning from the Harvard Graduate School of Design (1971) and a PhD in American Civilization from The George Washington University (1996).
Loeffler began her work with the U.S. Office of Environmental Education, and then with planner and historian Frederick "Fritz" Gutheim, author of The Potomac and Worth of the Nation. In 1973, she became the curator for the Frederick Law Olmsted/U.S.A exhibition at the National Gallery of Art and, six years later, she was invited by Bates Lowry, the founding director of the National Building Museum, to become its first curator and help organize an inaugural exhibition celebrating U.S. embassy architecture.
Considered a pioneer in the field of diplomatic architectural history, Loeffler has published numerous articles for The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Architectural Record, The Foreign Service Journal, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, among others. As a visiting professor, Loeffler also taught courses in architectural history and landscape in the Honors College at the University of Maryland (College Park) and at the George Mason University. In addition to teaching and lecturing at embassies, in Washington D.C. and U.S. embassies abroad, she has also spoken at several universities, including Columbia, Harvard, MIT, the British School at Rome, and the Oslo School of Architecture.
In 2008, Loeffler testified as an expert witness before the House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs on Fortress America Abroad: Effective Diplomacy and the Future of U.S. Embassies and was later named to the 21st Century Embassy Task Force, developed by the American Institute of Architects to advise the State Department on the future of its foreign building program. While her research travels have taken her around the globe, touring U.S. embassies Athens, Ottawa, London, Dublin, Helsinki, Oslo, Copenhagen, Paris, Prague, The Hague, Brussels, Berlin, Rome, Madrid, Tokyo, and Beijing, Loeffler currently lives in Washington, D.C.
Loeffler, Jane C. "About The Author." JaneLoeffler.com. Jane Loeffler, 6 May 2013. Web.
National Building Museum. "Jane Loeffler." National Building Museum: Biographies. National Building Museum, 18 May 2010. Web.