Avery Drawings & Archives Collections
 

Peter Marcuse papers, 1947-2017

Summary Information

Abstract

Peter Marcuse (b. 1928), son of critical theorist Herbert Marcuse, is an attorney, planner, and professor of planning. He has produced extensive scholarship on planning matters, covering different issues such as professional ethics, housing, city planning, comparative policy, the 'right to the city' movement?, urban history, and globalization. This collection consists mainly of teaching and course materials related to Marcuse's tenure as Professor of Urban Planning at Columbia University (since 1975) as well as research, writings, and reference materials for professional work inside and outside academia, including projects commissioned by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal.

At a Glance

Bib ID 13536767 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Marcuse, Herbert, 1898-1979
Title Peter Marcuse papers, 1947-2017
Physical Description 20 document boxes; 3 boxes (Card Storage-File Boxes); 1 manuscript box
Language(s) English
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 avery-drawings@library.columbia.edu.

Arrangement

Description

Scope and Content

This collection is primarily textual. It contains course materials—mainly composed of syllabi, schedules, notes, readers, bibliographies, and student work—and professional papers covering his activities inside and outside academia, including published writings, drafts, notes, correspondence, conference files, and reference materials such as collected papers, reports, book excerpts, memos, and clippings. The collection also comprises other archival formats such as photographs, VHS and cassette tapes, overheads, diaries, pins, and floppy disks.

The series arrangement for this collection was based on Marcuse's own organization scheme. The alphabetical arrangement of the folders in every series followed his system. For the majority of the collection, Marcuse's original folder titles have been retained.

[Note: If the title of a writing piece is provided in the description, it signifies that the work is authored by Peter Marcuse unless other names are mentioned. The use of "collected" before the type of documents (i.e. "collected reports") indicates that the files are not authored by Peter Marcuse.]

Series I: Faculty Papers (1959-2012)

This series reflects Peter Marcuse's tenure as Professor of Urban Planning at Columbia University (since 1975) and at the University of California, Los Angeles (1972-75). The series comprises two parts. The first part, "Course," incorporates documents regarding his teaching practices, such as syllabi, teaching notes, schedules, bibliographies, examination prompts, student work, and course readers. The content and title of each folder mostly correspond to a specific course taught by Marcuse. This section also includes Marcuse's reference cards on various themes in urban planning. The second part of this series, "Inchoate Papers," consists mainly of materials regarding his academic writings, especially during his early years at Columbia University. It comprises drafts, writing notes, correspondence, and reference materials.

Series II: Professional Papers (1916-2017)

This series, the largest in the collection, is divided into two subseries: Publications (1965-2010) and Topical (1916-2017). Publications collects Marcuse's writings published in different print platforms, including edited volumes, journals, magazines, and newspapers, throughout five decades of his productive time as a scholar and public intellectual. It also includes works by other authors who interviewed or quoted Marcuse in their pieces, including copies of Progressive Planning No. 182, Winter 2010, which was dedicated to honor his contributions to the field. This subseries, however, excludes Marcuse's published books.

The second subseries, Topical, is a wide-ranging one, covering intellectual records from an amalgam of events, including conference presentations, invited lectures, commissioned projects, visiting professorships, community activism, and personal research interests. Most of the folder titles refer to either the related topics, the place of the events, or the documents' formats. Drafts, whether they are as scripts for talks or for written pieces, and reference materials are prominent. This subseries also holds VHS and cassette tapes (Box 23), which document Marcuse's talks at different occasions.

Series III: Housing Authority (1931-2015)

This series documents a book project Peter Marcuse was commissioned to write by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) in 1984 on the history of public housing in New York City, a project that was in conjunction with the archival processing of NYCHA's records by the Fiorello H. LaGuardia Archives. The series contains various parts of the manuscripts at different stages: reference materials, including archival letters, clippings, collected papers, reports, excerpts, maps, memorandums, notes, plans, photographs, and statistics; and administrative documents, such as contracts and correspondence. The book was not published and the collection does not include a complete manuscript. Preserving the original arrangement, the folders in the series are titled by either topic or type. They are mainly ordered alphabetically, except for a few folders about the history of housing at the beginning of the series that are ordered chronologically.

Series IV: Rent Control Study (1963-1991)

This series contains materials regarding a research project commissioned to Peter Marcuse by the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal in 1986. The work studied the impact of rent regulation on tenants and owners for a recommendation to the state governor on how to make the rent regulation system more workable. The documents include collected papers and reports, notes, drafts, clippings, correspondence, bibliographies, contracts, legal acts and codes, letters, memos, and statistics. The majority of the series is grouped by format and ordered alphabetically.

Series V: Personal Papers (1948-2013)

This series collects personal materials such as biographical information, correspondence, and diaries. It also contains Marcuse's thesis for his bachelor's degree in History and Literature of the 19th Century from Harvard College (1948), and his dissertation for his doctoral degree in Planning from the University of California, Berkeley (1972). Another significant group of material in this series relates to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)'s surveillance of Peter Marcuse during the 1950s and the 1960s.

Series VI: Special Format (undated)

This series contains floppy disks in which Marcuse stored digital files regarding his professional work, such as course materials, manuscripts, drafts, notes, and references, as well as other files such as contacts and software.

Using the Collection

Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library

Conditions Governing 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 avery-drawings@library.columbia.edu.

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. For additional guidance, see Columbia University Libraries' publication policy.

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.

Preferred Citation

Peter Marcuse papers, 1947-2017, Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Robin Hartanto Honggare, Graduate Intern, under the supervision of Shelley Hayreh, Avery Archivist, in 2018.

Revision Description

2018-09-25 File created.

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Brenner, Neil Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
City planning -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University. Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. Historic Preservation Program Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Harvey, David, 1935- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Housing -- United States -- History Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Housing policy -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Leavitt, Jacqueline, 1939-2015. Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Moses, Robert, 1880-1981 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
New York City Housing Authority Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Planners Network (Association) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Public housing -- New York (State) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Rent -- New York (State) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Rental control Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Rental housing -- New York (State) -- New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Urban renewal -- New York (State) -- New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
World Trade Center (New York, N.Y.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

History

Peter Marcuse, an attorney, planner, and professor of planning, was born on November 13, 1928 in Berlin, Germany. He immigrated to the United States with his parents, critical theorist Herbert Marcuse and mathematician Sophie Marcuse, in 1933, at the beginning of the Third Reich. Marcuse studied at Harvard College, where he received his B.A. with a major in History and Literature of the 19th Century in 1948. He received his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1952 and began practicing law in New Haven and Waterbury, Connecticut.

Marcuse developed an active interest in planning, which eventually shifted him onto a different professional trajectory. He obtained an M.A. from Columbia University in 1963 with a thesis on housing, a Master of Urban Studies from the Yale School of Architecture in 1968, and a doctoral degree in planning from the University of California, Berkeley, Department of City and Regional Planning, in 1972. He was Professor of Urban Planning at UCLA from 1972-1975 and thereafter at Columbia University from 1975, where he served as the chair of the planning program for many years. His fields of research include professional ethics, housing, city planning, comparative policy, 'right to the city', urban history, and globalization. He has taught in Germany, Australia, South Africa, Canada, Austria, Spain, Canada, and Brazil, and written extensively in both professional journals and the popular press.

Marcuse has been commissioned by numerous public and non-profit agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), and NYC Department of Housing, Preservation, and Development. He served on an outstanding number of boards and committees, including: Majority Leader of the Waterbury Board of Aldermen, member of Waterbury City Planning Commission, President of the Los Angeles City Planning Commission, and co-chair of the Housing Committee of Manhattan Community Board #9.

Sources:

Clara Irazábal and Susan Fainstein, "Peter Marcuse at 80: His Extraordinary Contributions to Progressive Planning," Progressive Planning, No. 182 (Winter 2010): 6-8.

Jacqueline Leavitt, "What We Can Learn from Peter Marcuse: 'Think Critically, Act Critically!'" Progressive Planning, No. 182 (Winter 2010): 9-12.

Box 22, Folder 1, Peter Marcuse papers, Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.