Avery Drawings & Archives Collections

Talbot Faulkner Hamlin papers and architectural records, 1880-1959, bulk 1916-1955

Summary Information

At a Glance

Bib ID 3460613 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Hamlin, Talbot, 1889-1956 ; Woolet, William Lee ; Summerson, John, 1904-1992 ; Purcell, William Gray, 1880-1965 ; Morrison, Hugh, 1905-1978 ; Pevsner, Nikolaus, 1902-1983 ; Whitehill, Walter Muir, 1905-1978 ; Peterson, Charles E (Charles Emil), 1906-2004 ; Giedion, S (Sigfried), 1888-1968 ; Horn, Milton ; McGill & Hamlin ; Murphy & Dana ; Murphy, McGill & Hamlin
Title Talbot Faulkner Hamlin papers and architectural records, 1880-1959, bulk 1916-1955
Physical Description 9.1 linear feet of papers; 510 drawings; 160 postcards; ;
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.



This material is arranged in six series: Professional Papers; Greek Revival Architecture in America; Benjamin H. Latrobe; Project Records; Photographs; and Personal Papers. Series are further described by subseries; the arrangement of materials within each subseries is described at the beginning of each subseries inventory.


Scope and Content

This collection contains professional and personal writings, published papers, correspondence, photographs, architectural records, student work, and research materials related to the academic and architectural practice of Talbot Faulkner Hamlin.

The largest portion of the collection, Series 1, relates to his academic life as an architectural historian and educator from 1916, when he accepted his first position at Columbia University, until the publication of his last book, Benjamin Henry Latrobe, in 1955. This part of the collection contains correspondence, notes, records of public activities, reference files, scrapbooks, writings and lectures. Series 2 and 3 contain materials relating to the publication of Greek Revival Architecture in America and Benjamin Henry Latrobe, respectively, including manuscripts, drafts, notes, published papers, lectures, and illustrations used and not used.

Hamlin's career as a practicing architect was relatively brief and few architectural records from his professional practice survive. Series 4 contains drawings, files and specifications, and photographs of approximately eighty projects in United States and Asian.

Additionally, Hamlin traveled extensively and photographs that he took en route also form a significant portion of this collection. Series 5 contains photographic prints and negatives taken in many regions the United States and in more than sixteen foreign countries. Most of the photographs record his visits to architectural sites, with a small group of images documenting his fondness for sailing during these trips.

Lastly, a small body of personal papers and student work, Series 6, completes the collection. It includes Hamlin's art and sketch books, private correspondence, fiction and poetry, personal and family photographs, student papers and drawings.

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.

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.

Preferred Citation

Talbot Faulkner Hamlin papers and architectural records. Located in the Dept. of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.

Related Material

Architectural drawings and records by Talbot Faulkner Hamlin's partner Henry Killam Murphy (1877-1954) and his related firms can be found in the Henry Killam Murphy papers, 1904-1936, held by Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library. A description of this collection can be found in Yale's online library catalog, Orbis.

In addition, research materials relating to Talbot Faulkner Hamlin's father Alfred Dwight Foster Hamlin (1855-1926) can be found in the Alfred Dwight Foster Hamlin Architectural Records and Drawings collection, held by Avery Library's Dept. of Drawings & Archives. Full descriptive records for this collection can be found in Columbia's online library catalog CLIO.

Records of the Office of the Avery Librarian are also held in the Dept. of Drawings & Archives. For further information, please contact the department's staff.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Min-Ying Wang, Mellon Fellow, in 2007-2008, under the direction of Annemarie van Roessel, Archivist, Dept. of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library.

Revision Description

2008-05-16 File created.

2009-12008 File revised.

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
Architectural drawings Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Drawings (visual works) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Photographic prints Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Sketchbooks Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Architectural firms -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architectural writing Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- California Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- China Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- History Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- Japan Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- Korea Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- Philippines Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- Study and teaching Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Beijing da xue Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
College librarians Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
College teachers Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University. School of Architecture Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Dwellings -- California Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Exhibitions -- California -- San Francisco Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Exhibitions -- France -- Paris Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Exposition internationale (1937 : Paris, France) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Ginling College (Nanjing, Jiangsu Sheng, China) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Golden Gate International Exposition (Location of meeting: San Francisco, Calif.). Date of meeting or treaty signing: (1939-1940 :.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Hamlin, Talbot, 1889-1956 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Lafever, Minard Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Schools -- China -- Hangzhou Shi Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Sculpture Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Universities and colleges -- China -- Beijing Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Universities and colleges -- China -- Nanjing Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Universities and colleges -- Korea Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Wayland Academy (Hangzhou, China) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Wright, Frank Lloyd, 1867-1959 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

Talbot Faulkner Hamlin was born on June 16, 1889 in New York City. He was the second of the four children of Alfred Dwight Foster Hamlin (1855-1926), professor of architecture at Columbia University, and Minnie Florence Marston Hamlin (1859-?). Hamlin's formal education began in the Trinity School in New York in 1898. His parents transferred him to the Horace Mann School in New York in 1900, from which he graduated in 1906. Hamlin went on to Amherst College and received his Bachelor of Arts in classics and English in 1910. In the fall of 1910, Hamlin enrolled in the School of Architecture at Columbia University and began his forty-six year association with the university. He received his Bachelor of Architecture in 1914.

Upon graduation, Hamlin was hired as a draftsman in the New York architectural firm of Murphy and Dana. He became a partner of the firm in 1920 and the firm's name was changed to Murphy, McGill and Hamlin, following Richard Henry Dana, Jr.'s (1879-1933) departure in 1921. The firm lasted until 1924, when Henry Killam Murphy (1877-1954) withdrew and the firm became known as McGill and Hamlin. This partnership with Henry J. McGill (d. 1953) ended in 1930 when Hamlin began his own firm, which lasted until the Depression, when commissions became scarce. During his years as a professional architect, Hamlin participated in various projects, mainly located in the United States and Asia, including China, Japan, Korea, the Philippines. The bulk of his projects in the United States were residential and institutional (schools and churches), while projects in Asia were institutional (schools and monuments) and commercial. Although more than once Hamlin expressed his interests in modern architecture through his writing, his design showed a disparity: the United States works were mainly in the eclectic historical style that was still dominant at that time, while the Asian works incorporated indigenous detailing within conventional Beaux-Arts compositional arrangements.

Hamlin's academic career began in 1916 when he was appointed a part-time instructor of architectural history and theory in the School of Architecture at Columbia University. In 1934, he relinquished his professional practice and accepted the full-time position of Avery Librarian for the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University. Among his major contributions to Avery Library, Hamlin established the Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals. Hamlin remained librarian until 1945, when he resigned in order to devote more time to his professorship. Hamlin served the University for thirty-eight years, until his retirement in 1954.

In addition to teaching, Hamlin's academic achievement also rests on his publication and public service. He had been an avid writer since his youth. In his lifetime, he published eight book-length works and miscellaneous essays, encyclopedia and dictionary articles, critical and book reviews, as well as poetry, plays, and fiction. He was also the editor of the four-volume Form and Functions of Twentieth Century Architecture (1952). Among his publications, the most notable are Greek Revival Architecture in America (1944) and Benjamin Henry Latrobe (1955). The latter won him the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 1956. Hamlin had appreciation for modern architecture and brought attention to Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, and Russian avant-garde architecture in his writing.

Nevertheless, most of his major works are on historical architecture, particularly pre-modernist American architecture. Hamlin was also an active member of the Society of Architectural Historians and active in historical preservation in New York. Hamlin became ill during a trip to Florida and died on October 7, 1956, in Beaufort, South Carolina.