Avery Drawings & Archives Collections

Wilson Eyre architectural drawings and papers, 1877-1945

Summary Information


Wilson Eyre, Jr. (1858-1944) was an American architect, teacher and writer who practiced in Philadelphia. He is known for his country houses and for being an innovator in the Shingle Style.

At a Glance

Bib ID 3460583 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Eyre, Wilson, 1858-1944; Eyre, Louisa
Title Wilson Eyre architectural drawings and papers, 1877-1945
Physical Description 159 drawings; 1 manuscript box; 3 print boxes
Language(s) English .

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.



Scope and Content

Series I: Drawings

This series consists of architectural as well as non-architectural original drawings and are cataloged in CLIO. The architectural drawings are organized by client. When the identification of the client was not available, the drawings were arranged in chronological order according to the date indicated on the drawing. The geographical location of the project was the third classification adopted and arranged alphabetically by state, cities, and streets. When none of these information could be found, the drawings were grouped together as "Miscellaneous". Non-architectural drawings include sketches of landscapes, people, birds, and chairs, as well as poster designs.

Series II: Scrapbooks

The scrapbooks contain mostly original drawings and sketches of architectural projects, published drawings or illustrations and photographs of Eyre's architectural practice. Clients' names and locations are generally provided, but most are undated. A list of client names was noted in the scope note of the finding aid. The 9th volume contains exclusively projects of gardens designed by Eyre. The 10th volume does not document Eyre's work but contains photographs primarily of Italian garden designs. Some illustrations of French gardens are included such as Parc Monceau in Paris and the gardens of Versailles. The original order of the scrapbooks was not clear so a new numerical sequence was applied.

Series III: Papers

This series consists of biographical material on Wilson Eyre as well as articles and lectures by and about Eyre. The series also contains lists, photographs, certificates and awards, and notes on Wilson Eyre by Louisa Eyre, Wilson's sister. The miscellaneous illustrations were published in American Architect, Town & County, The Brickbuilder, among others. In addition to printed material, most folders also include 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 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

Wilson Eyre architectural drawings and papers, circa 1877-1945, Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.

Related Material

Wilson Eyre drawings collection held in the Architectural Archives at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Source of acquisition--Gift. Accession number--1955.002.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library

Processing Information

Paper finding aid created by Marie-Josée Lacroix in April 1984. This finding aid was compiled and modified by Nicole Lindberg Richard in June 2015.

Revision Description

2009-06-25 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.


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Architects Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Drawings (visual works) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Photographic prints Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Posters Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
architectural drawings (visual works) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Architectural League of New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- Exhibitions Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Commercial art Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Exhibitions -- New York (State) -- New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Exhibitions -- Pennsylvania Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Gardens -- Design Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Landscape architecture Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Scrapbooks Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
University of Pennsylvania Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note


Wilson Eyre, Jr. was born in 1858 in Florence, where his father was stationed for service. He was schooled in Europe, Canada, and Newport, Rhode Island. He attended only one year of the architecture program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and acquired most of his training in architecture when he joined the office of James Peacock Sims in Philadelphia in 1877. In 1882, when Sims died, Eyre was given control of the office.

From 1901 to 1915, Eyre had a small branch office in New York City but continued his main practice in Philadelphia. He signed the work alone until 1912, the date of the beginning of a partnership with John Gilbert McIlvaine, which lasted until McIlvaine's death in 1939.

The greatest productivity of Eyre's career came between the late 19th century and World War I, during which he designed most of his major commissions. The principal contribution of Eyre lay in domestic design which constituted the bulk of his architectural work. In his design Eyre developed his concern for creating an American architecture by adapting English forms to the needs and usage of his contemporaries. His interests are reflected in the extraordinary renderings in the collection here at Avery.

In addition, his important contributions to the profession of architecture should be noted. He was the founder of the Philadelphia T-Square Club and president from 1887 to 1888. He was the president of the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and was made a Fellow of the AIA in 1883. Finally, he was one of the founder and editors of House & Garden magazine. He was also active as a teacher of architecture and his work was widely published in the architecture journals of his day. He died in 1944 in Philadelphia.