Avery Drawings & Archives Collections
 

Alexander McMillan Welch architectural drawings and papers, 1886-1937

Summary Information

Abstract

Alexander McMillan Welch (1869-1943) was a New York City based architect who practiced independently and as a member of Welch, Smith & Provot. His firm was best known for designing New York City townhouses in the Beaux-Arts style. The collection includes 1,641 architectural drawings, 196 student drawings, 14 student notebooks, 99 loose photographs and 3 photo albums of project photography, project specifications and files, and some professional ephemera.

At a Glance

Bib ID 3460597 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Welch, Alexander McMillan, 1869-1943 ; Welch, Smith & Provot ; Wurts Brothers (Photographers : New York, N.Y.)
Title Alexander McMillan Welch architectural drawings and papers, 1886-1937
Physical Description 1,838 architectural drawings; 3 manuscript boxes; 4 print boxes; 3 photo albums
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 included primarily original and reprographic architectural drawings by Alexander McMillian Welch and the firm Welch, Smith & Provost, largely of townhouses located in Manhattan and designed during the 1900s and 1910s (many for the speculative builders of William W. and Thomas M. Hall). The collection also includes some project photography and specifications. In addition to documenting Welch's architectural practice, the collection also documents Welch's architectural training at Columbia's School of Mines from 1888 to 1890, as well as at the École des Beaux-Arts in 1891 and 1892.

  • Series I: Architectural Drawings

    This series includes 1,641 architectural drawings including renderings, plans, elevations, sections and details for 101 projects (both independent commissions and work completed by the firm Welch, Smith & Provot). The majority of the projects in this collection are for townhouses in New York City (often described in the finding aid as town house, city house, or more generally as house), however some office buildings, churches, country estates, and funeral monuments are also included. The dates of the drawings span from 1897 to 1921, and the bulk dates are 1901-1911. 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. Each sheet is individually cataloged with numbers ranging from 1000.016.00197 through .01838. The drawings are arranged in this finding aid in the order they were cataloged. Drawings were cataloged by project in job number order, followed by miscellaneous projects in alphabetical order, and with unidentified drawings listed last.

  • Series II: Project Photographs

    This series includes 99 loose photographs and 3 photographic albums of project photography. The majority of the photographs document Welch's townhouse commissions. The loose photographs are primarily exterior views and are listed by project. Whereas the 3 photographic albums primarily document interior views and span various projects. Projects in New York City are listed first in alphabetical order followed by projects outside the Bronx and Manhattan; unidentified projects are listed last.

  • Series III: Project Files & Specifications

    This series consists primarily of project specifications, unless otherwise noted. The series includes papers for the restoration (1910-1917) of the Dyckman House, an 18th century farmhouse in upper Manhattan. New York City based projects are listed first (in alphabetical order) followed by projects outside Manhattan.

  • Series IV: Student Work

    This series is divided into two subseries. Subseries 1: Student drawings consist of 196 drawings made by Alexander M. Welch roughly between 1886 and 1903. Some drawings were made for class assignments when Welch was a student at Columbia. They include drawing exercises, engineering exercises, plans, elevations, renderings and the like. The collection also includes sketches from Welch's travels in Europe and his drawings from when he studied at L'École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Subseries 2: Student Notebooks includes 14 course notebooks, 1 sketchbook, and 1 journal. The course notebooks include some drawings but are mostly detail notes from lectures given by Columbia School of Mines professors including figures such as William R. Ware, Russell Sturgis, James Greenleaf, John Newberry, and David W. King.

  • Series V: Other papers

    This series consists a mix of professional papers and reference materials; including Welch's Columbia degree and architectural; correspondence relating to Welch's appointment as a U.S. delegate to the fourteenth International Congress of Architects in 1937; membership papers to New York Historical Society; and promotional brochures for two non-Welch buildings.

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.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Source of acquisition--Gift. Accession number--1000.016.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library

Processing Information

Drawings for the collection were cataloged in 1978 during Project AVIADOR (Avery Videodisc Index of Architectural Drawings on RYAN). The collection was re-inventoried by Paul Guidos (Student Assistant) in 2022. Shelley Hayreh (Archivist & Collection Manager) edited and published the finding aid for the collection in 2022.

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
Sketchbooks Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
architectural drawings (visual works) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Apartment houses -- New York (State) -- New York 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
Architecture, Domestic -- New York (State) -- New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Buildings -- New York (State) -- New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University. School of Architecture Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Dwellings -- New York (State) -- New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Dyckman Farmhouse Museum (New York, N.Y.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
International Union of Architects. Congress (14th ) (Location of meeting: Paris, France). Date of meeting or treaty signing: 1937 :.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Real estate development -- New York (State) -- New York -- History -- 20th century Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Schools of architecture -- New York (State) -- New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Sturgis, Russell, 1836-1909 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Ware, William R (William Robert), 1832-1915 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts (France) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

Alexander McMillan Welch (1869-1943) was an American architect based in New York City. Welch graduated from the School of Mines at Columbia College in 1890, and later studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Welch practiced independently and as a member of Welch, Smith & Provot. The firm was best known for designing New York City townhouses in the Beaux-Arts style. Welch designed townhouses and other properties for speculative developers William W. Hall and Thomas M. Hall. Welch also served as a consulting architect for restoration projects for historic sites, including the Dutch Colonial Dyckman House in Manhattan's Inwood neighborhood.