|Avery Drawings & Archives Collections|
At a Glance
The materials are arranged chronologically by category in ten series : Garden Development - Early Years; Development of House and Outside Buildings; Interior and Exterior Furniture and Art Objects; House Interior Improvements and Alterations; Exterior Grounds and Garden - Later Years; Contracts, Specifications and Correspondence; Property Acquisition and Lakeland Freeway; Inventory and Appraisals; Miscellaneous and Photographs.
The collection consists primarily of correspondence. The collection also includes contracts, invoices, inventories, appraisals, specifications, articles, photomechanical drawings and photographs.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library
The first collection arrived at Avery already processed. The second unprocessed collection arrived later and was incorporated into the existing series with respect to the fonds. The finding aid was created by Katherine Bailey in October 1995. The collection was reprocessed by Nicole Lindberg Richard in March 2016.
History / Biographical Note
In 1905 William Gwinn Mather (1857-1951), a descendent of the New England Mathers and president of the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Co. (formerly The Cleveland Iron Mining Co.), which was founded by his father Samuel L. Mather (1817-1890), decided to move from the family house on Euclid Avenue to a five acre site on the shores of Lake Erie in Bratenahl, an eastern suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. Mather utilized the unique talents and collaborative efforts of landscape architect Warren Manning (1860-1938), architect Charles Adams Platt (1861-1933) and garden designer Ellen Biddle Shipman (1870-1950) to build Gwinn, one of the few surviving outstanding examples of the American Country Place Era of the early 20th century.
Manning, who had helped Mather with his summer residence in Michigan, helped select the site and agreed to work with Platt. Platt was responsible for the house and home grounds in relation to it. Manning had the responsibility for advice in plantings. The grounds reflected a meld of Platt's formalism and Manning's naturalistic approach. Ellen Shipman was hired in 1914 by Mather to work on the formal garden and returned again in the 1930's. Over the years, the estate expanded to almost sixty acres. Additional acreage was purchased on the south side of Lakeshore Boulevard, and a greenhouse, gardener's cottage and other buildings were erected.
Initially Mather, his half-sister, Katherine L. Mather, and a small staff of servants occupied the house. Mather was a bachelor until 1929, at which time he married Elizabeth Ring Ireland (1891-1957), a widow with one son, James D. Ireland, who lived next door. Katherine Mather moved to Cooperstown, New York and wintered in Pasadena, California. Mather lived at Gwinn until he died in 1951 at the age of 93. His widow continued to reside there until her death in 1957.
This archival collection consists of material relating to the development and evolvement of the house and grounds including interior and exterior design, selection of fine arts and furnishings, exterior buildings, additional property acquisition, development of the Lakeside Freeway, and miscellaneous material including newspaper clippings, plans and photographs.