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Series 2: Reference Files
At a Glance
This material is arranged in five series: Project Records; Reference Files; Office Records; Professional Papers; and Personal Papers. The arrangement of materials within each series is described at the beginning of each series inventory.
Scope and Content
This collection contains architectural photographs, drawings and records related to the architectural projects and designs of Warren and Wetmore, principally in the United States, but also representing commissions in Canada, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, the bulk of architectural drawings produced by the firm are no longer extant. Additionally, it holds a variety of photographs and other records used as reference materials in the course of Warren and Wetmore's professional work. Lastly, a small group of student and personal papers and photographs from Whitney Warren completes the collection.
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 email@example.com.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
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.
Warren and Wetmore architectural drawings and photographs, 1889-1938. Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library. Drawings and Archives Collection. Columbia University.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Source of acquisition--This collection was a gift from heirs of Whitney Warren to the Avery Library in 1952. Several portraits of Whitney Warren were a gift of Mary Mathews Happy in 1986. Accession number--1952.001 and 1991.006.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library
This collection was processed by Annemarie van Roessel, Mellon Project Archivist, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Drawings and Archives Collection, in 2006.
2006-04-06 File created.
2009-07-23 File revised.
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Architects Whitney Warren (1864-1943) and Charles D. Wetmore (1866-1941) are perhaps best known today for their monumental Beaux-Arts Grand Central Terminal in New York City (1904-1912). Their practice, however, included a diverse catalog of building types and architectural styles across the United States and internationally. Partners for more than three decades, their success was built on the far-reaching commercial and social networks that grew from the rapid growth of American cities during the Gilded Age, with long-standing commissions from many of America's most prominent businessmen and families. Educated in architecture at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris between 1887 and 1894, Whitney Warren maintained a life-long devotion to European classicism, especially in its French variants, and principles of Beaux-Arts planning. Shortly after returning from Paris, Warren's competition entry to design the Newport (Rhode Island) Country Club received first place, and his long career as an architect to New York's society began in earnest. With the subsequent commission for the New York Yacht Club's new headquarters in 1898, Warren invited Harvard-educated Charles Wetmore--lawyer, businessman, and real estate developer--to establish a joint partnership to complete the club and to undertake other architectural projects. From 1898 until retiring in 1931, Warren and Wetmore received multiple commissions from members of their prominent familal and social circles, as well as from leading hoteliers, transportation magnates, and developers, often sharing in the investment as stockholders.
In addition to Grand Central Terminal (in partnership with architects Reed & Stem) and the New York Yacht Club, among the firm's most significant commissions were expansions to the William K. Vanderbilt Estate"Idle Hour" on Long Island; the Ritz, Vanderbilt, Ambassador and Biltmore hotels in Manhattan and across the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean; opulent Manhattan townhouses for relatives of the Vanderbilts and Astors; elite apartment buildings on Park Avenue and Fifth Avenue; country clubs and tennis and squash courts in Tuxedo Park, Long Island, South Carolina, and Massachusetts; and expansive estates in suburban New Jersey, the Hudson River Valley, and on Long Island. Other major commercial and institutional commissions included the Seamen's Church Institute, Steinway Hall, the Heckscher building, the New Aeolian Hall, and the Chelsea Piers complex, all in Manhattan. In the 1910s and 1920s, Warren & Wetmore were also deeply involved in designing railroad stations and terminals along the New York Central Line and for various Canadian railroad lines, an outgrowth of their association with Reed & Stem. After World War I, Whitney Warren also received considerable acclaim for his carefully conceived reconstruction of the war-damaged library for the University of Louvain in Belgium.