|Avery Drawings & Archives Collections|
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Series IV: Office Records
At a Glance
This collection is made up of six series: Series I: Project Photographs, Series II: Office Records, Series III: Personal, Series IV: Personal Photographs, Series V: Correspondence, and Series VI: Architectural Plans and Drawings.
Scope and Content
The collection documents the architectural projects by the firm Kahn & Jacobs through photographs primarily, but also through some architectural plans and drawings, and office records. Additionally, the collection includes a number of Robert Allan Jacobs' personal and professional papers, the confluence of which helps to contextualize his work vis-a-vis his broader milieu while helping to delineate the unique design impulses of Jacobs as distinct from his partner Ely Jacques Kahn. This collection's rich diversity of project records and photographs, office records, personal papers, correspondence, and ephemera offers a way into understanding the influences that formed the underpinnings of Jacobs' design ethos--from the Beaux-Arts spectre of his father Harry Allan Jacobs and the deeply traditional nature of his architectural education through his modernist awakening under Le Corbusier and finally the brutalism that would dominate the world of architecture by the end of his career.
This series includes all of the architectural plans and drawings within the collection, ranging from blueprints to plans, sections, and elevations. Included within this series are drawings ranging from Jacobs' time as a student through his career and retirement as well as plans and drawings from his father, Harry Allan Jacobs, and his partner, Ely Jacques Kahn.
Arranged alphabetically by project name, this series includes all photographs of projects contained within the collection--ranging from entire buildings to interiors.
Because the line between Jacobs' personal and professional life was often blurred, all correspondence-both professional and personal-has been organized into one series. Substantial materials from a particular project or event have been organized around that project or event name while more general correspondence has been organized alphabetically by the last name (or when no last name is provided by the first letter of the first name) of the correspondent.
This series, organized around individual projects or general themes as appropriate, includes a broad range of materials, from Kahn & Jacobs firm publicity and presentations to appointment books and firm financial records, scrapbooks, personnel photographs, and awards.
This series includes material that correspond more directly to Jacobs' personal rather than professional life. Included are books and monographs found in Jacobs' office, school yearbooks, a portfolio of watercolors, diplomas, journals, and military ephemera. The series includes photographs of a more personal nature found within the collection. Included within the series are studio portraits-both of Robert Allan Jacobs himself and of his family-and more informal snapshots, especially from Jacobs' vacations and hunting expeditions.
This series contains papers of Robert Allan Jacob's father Harry Allan Jacobs. The papers include clippings, ephemera, scrapbooks, firm ledger, portrait, and a play script.
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.
Unique time-based media items have been reformatted and are available onsite via links in the container list. All original copies of audio / moving image media are closed. Email email@example.com for more information.
Restrictions on Use
Columbia University is providing access to the materials in the Library's collections solely for noncommercial educational and research purposes. The unauthorized use, including, but not limited to, publication of the materials without the prior written permission of Columbia University is strictly prohibited. All inquiries regarding permission to publish should be submitted in writing to the Director, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University. In addition to permission from Columbia University, permission of the copyright owner (if not Columbia University) and/or any holder of other rights (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) may also be required for reproduction, publication, distributions, and other uses. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of any item and securing any necessary permissions rests with the persons desiring to publish the item. Columbia University makes no warranties as to the accuracy of the materials or their fitness for a particular purpose.
Robert Allan Jacobs papers, 1890s-1990s, (bulk dates 1909-1983), Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.
Kahn & Jacobs architectural drawings and records, circa 1893-1965, (bulk ca. 1893-1950): Hellmuth, Obata, and Kassabum Gift (1978.001)
Harry Allan Jacobs photographs, ca. 1910-1930: Gift (1000.064)
Ely Jacques Kahn papers, 1906-1986, (bulk 1906-1972) : Ely and Liselotte Kahn (1963.001, 1992.003, 1992.011, 1993.016, 1994.013)
[Conceptual cross-section rendering for a multi-use building] / Kahn & Jacobs : Mark Dessauce Gift (2003.005)
150 Permanent Dwelling Units and Community House [Lexington Park, M.D. ] / Kahn & Jacobs: Mark Dessauce Gift (2003.005)
Robert A. Jacobs Photographs, Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Source of acquisition--Margot Jacobs. Method of acquisition--Donated;; Date of acquisition--1999. Accession number--1999.013.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library
This collection was processed by Travis Brock Kennedy (Robert Allan Jacobs Intern) in 2016-2017.
2017-04-20 File created.
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
The son of the prominent Beaux-Arts architect Harry Allan Jacobs (1872-1932), Robert Allan Jacobs (1905-1993) was a prominent American architect active in New York City from the 1930's until the early 1980's. Jacobs was educated at Amherst College and the Columbia University School of Architecture, where he was awarded the Hamlin Prize for Design.
Jacobs worked with Le Corbusier in Paris from the fall of 1934 to the winter of 1935 and accompanied him on his American lecture tour in the spring of 1935, serving as translator, guide, photographer, and assistant. Following his work with Le Corbusier, Jacobs took a position as a designer and draftsman in the New York offices of Harrison & Fouilhoux where he worked from 1935-1939.
In 1939, Jacobs took a position working with Ely Jacques Kahn on designs for Kahn's own apartment at 970 Park Avenue and was offered a 15% partnership in Kahn's firm the same year. By 1941, Jacobs was made a 50% partner in Kahn & Jacobs Architects, commencing three decades of collaboration between the architects. Together, Kahn & Jacobs designed numerous projects, primarily in New York City and its surrounding suburbs, but including major projects further afield in the United States and abroad.
Jacobs was a president of the Architectural League of New York and a fellow of the American Institute of Architects. Following the death of Ely Jacques Kahn in 1972, Robert Allan Jacobs merged his firm with Hellmuth, Obata, and Kassabaum of St. Louis, forming the firm of Kahn & Jacobs + HOK. Slowing work for the firm throughout the later part of the 1970s mirrored the broader slowing of development in New York City, and by the time of Jacobs' retirement in 1982 the business of Kahn & Jacobs was fully absorbed into HO+K.
Robert Allan Jacobs retired to his home in Pawling, New York, where he remained active within the local community and where he died, at home, in 1993.