Avery Drawings & Archives Collections
 

Hugh Ferriss architectural drawings and papers, 1906-1980, bulk 1918-1960

Summary Information

Abstract

Hugh Ferriss (1889-1962) was an architectural renderer known for his vision of the modern city and his ability to translate vast projects into dramatic but clear-cut images. Ferriss published two books: The Metropolis of Tomorrow (1929) and Power of Buildings (1953). The collection was donated to Avery Library by Ferriss' family after his death, and has been supplemented by several later additions from other sources. 363 original drawings in the collection have been photographed and digitized and can be viewed via links in the finding aid's container listing.

At a Glance

Bib ID 3460585 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Ferriss, Hugh, 1889-1962
Title Hugh Ferriss architectural drawings and papers, 1906-1980, bulk 1918-1960
Physical Description 440 drawings; 7 manuscript boxes; 6 print boxes; 1 item (4-flap); 2 boxes (small)
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

Summary

This collection includes Ferriss' architectural renderings of buildings by various architects, circa 1918-1960, including variant designs for the United Nations buildings; the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C.; Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts; Rockefeller Center in New York; La Guardia Airport in New York; National Airport in Washington, D.C.; the New York Times Building in New York; the 1939-1940 and 1964-1965 World's Fairs in New York; the Chicago Tribune Tower; Hoover Dam; and three Frank Lloyd Wright projects including Fallingwater in Bear Run, Pa., Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona, and the Johnson Wax Administration Building in Racine, Wisconsin.

Also included are Ferriss' renderings of imaginary buildings, circa 1920s-1930s, some of which were published in THE METROPOLIS OF TOMORROW (published 1929) and POWER IN BUILDINGS (published 1953). Also included are Ferriss' drawings, 1941, of important buildings in the United States, done as a result of a nation-wide tour sponsored by a Brunner grant from the Architectural League of New York; and related correspondence.

The collection also contains a small collection of archival material include some correspondence with architects and others; talks, including radio talks, and speeches on architecture; photographs of drawings; clippings; a job book, 1922-1961, listing jobs Ferriss undertook; a scrapbook, 1910s-1930s, containing clippings of articles about Ferriss and his work, including reviews of his books; and programs, reviews, catalogs, and correspondence, circa 1920s-1980, relating to exhibits of his work. Also, some personal material including high school yearbook, 1906; undated student work done at Washington University in Saint Louis, Mo., which he attended 1906-1911; and correspondence, diplomas, and photographs.

  • Series I: Architectural Drawings

    This series contains over 400 original architectural renderings of buildings by various architects, dating from 1918 to 1960. Drawings are arranged alphabetically using project name. The name of the associated architect for the project can be found in the notes field under the project name.

    The drawing collection was acquired in three accessions. The first accession from Ferriss's family acquired by Avery after his death is the largest (1000.001); followed by accessions in 1978 (1978.002), 1985 (1985.001), and 1987 (1987.005).

    Each project was catalogued separately in the online catalog. This finding aid provides a link to each project's associated record. Sheet level description can be found in these project-level records.

    363 original drawings in the collection have been photographed and digitized and can be viewed online. Access to digital images is provided in this finding aid. The full digital collection can also be viewed directly here.

  • Series II: Archival Materials

    This series consists of a small collection of correspondence with architects and others; talks, including radio talks, and speeches on architecture; photographs of drawings; clippings; job book and listings; records related to the exhibition of Ferriss' work; and some personal material. The collection is divided into sub-series based on each box of this archival collection. History of this inventory is unknown, but likely dates from the 1980s, if not earlier.

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.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library

Processing Information

The drawings were catalogued by Project AVIADOR staff with grant funding from the Getty Foundation in the 1980s. The archival material was likely inventoried by archives staff in the 1980s. Shelley Hayreh, Avery Archivist, edited and published the ArchivesSpace finding aid in 2021.

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.

Genre/Form

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

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Airport buildings -- New York (State) -- New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Airport buildings -- Washington (D.C.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architectural League of New York. Brunner Grant Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architectural rendering Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- Exhibitions Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- New York (State) -- New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- Study and teaching Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- United States -- Designs and plans Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Buildings -- New York (State) -- New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Buildings -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Centers for the performing arts -- New York (State) -- New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
City planning Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Dams -- Arizona Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Dams -- Nevada Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Fallingwater (Pa.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Ferriss, Hugh, 1889-1962 (Title of work: Power in buildings.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial (Washington, D.C.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Hoover Dam (Ariz. and Nev.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Johnson Wax. Administration Building Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
La Guardia Airport Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Monuments -- Washington (D.C.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
New York Times Building (New York, N.Y. : 43rd Street) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
New York World's Fair (1939-1940 : New York, N.Y.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
New York World's Fair (1964-1965 : New York, N.Y.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Office buildings -- Illinois -- Chicago Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Office buildings -- New York (State) -- New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Office buildings -- Wisconsin -- Racine Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Rockefeller Center Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Roosevelt, Franklin D (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945 -- : Monuments Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Scrapbooks Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Taliesin West (Scottsdale, Ariz.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Tribune Tower (Chicago, Ill.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
United Nations Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Washington National Airport Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Washington University (Saint Louis, Mo.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Wright, Frank Lloyd, 1867-1959 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

Hugh Ferriss was born in St. Louis and trained in architecture at Washington University. He moved to New York in 1912 and lived and worked in the city for the remainder of his life. Ferriss worked briefly as an architect for Cass Gilbert before venturing into an independent practice as an architectural renderer in 1915.

Ferriss specialized in drawings visualizing future buildings and cities. He was one of the most sought-after architectural renderers in the first half of the 20th century. Outside his work as an architectural rendering, Ferriss was on the United Nations headquarters planning staff from 1947 to 1950 and served as a member of the New York City Art Commission from 1950 to 1953.

Ferriss died of cancer on January 28, 1962 at New York City's Presbyterian Hospital.