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Wallace K. Harrison architectural drawings and papers, 1913-1986 (bulk 1930-1980)

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Preferred Citation

Wallace K. Harrison architectural drawings and papers, 1913-1986, (bulk 1930-1980), Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.

COinS Metadata available (e.g., for Zotero).

Summary Information


The Wallace K. Harrison architectural drawings and papers consists of architectural drawings, photographs, correspondence, notes, speeches, manuscripts, press releases, clippings, memoranda, printed material, job lists, curriculam vitae, contracts, articles, and other material related to Harrison's architectural projects. The collection also contains a significant amount of material regarding Harrison's position as director of the Office of Inter-American Affairs, director of planning of the United Nations Headquarters and biographical material. Approximately a third of the collection is made up of photographs. Photographers include Wendy Barrows, Shirley Burden, George Cserna, Y[uzo] Nagata, and Ezra Stoller, among many others. There is also a collection of 148 art books that belonged to Harrison referred to as his "doodle books." A list of these books with brief descriptions of where Harrison drew in them is contained in the finding aid. Projects documented include Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Opera House, Rockefeller Center, Albany Mall (Empire State Plaza), United Nations, X City, ALCOA building, Corning Glass building, First Presbyterian Church, La Guardia Airport, Socony-Mobil building, Battery Park City, Radio City Music Hall, New York World's Fair (1939 and 1964), Institute for Advanced Study, National Academy of Science, Pahlavi National Library Competition, Oberlin College's Hall Auditorium, Pershing Memorial, Rockefeller University, Hopkins Center, The Anchorage, Avila Hotel, and numerous other buildings and residences.

At a Glance

CLIO record: View CLIO record
Creator(s):Harrison, Wallace K. (Wallace Kirkman), 1895-1981
Title:Wallace K. Harrison architectural drawings and papers, 1913-1986 (bulk 1930-1980)
Physical description:Papers: approx. 13 linear ft;; Drawings: 2,415
Language(s):In 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 call (212) 854-4110 or email  More information »



This collection is made up of three series:

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Scope and Content

The Wallace K. Harrison architectural drawings and papers were transferred to Avery Drawings & Archives in two accessions: Accession 1981.001 (now known as Collection I) and accession 1989.002 (now Collection II). The first part of Harrison's papers, Series I: Collection I (1981.001), consists of material given to Avery Library by Ellen Harrison (WKH’s wife) in 1981. The second part of his papers, Series II: Collection II (1989.002), consists of materials borrowed by Victoria Newhouse for her book titled Wallace K. Harrison, Architect. This borrowed material was removed from Harrison's papers before they were given to Avery Library. In 1989, when Newhouse's book was published, the material was given to Avery Library to be rejoined with the material from which it was removed. The material borrowed by Newhouse has not been interfiled with the first part of the collection because of the numerous printed references already made to the collection. While both parts of the collection were described as separate collections, much of the material overlaps and it is therefore important for the researcher to view Collection I and Collection II as parallel to each other.

Collection I is arranged by format of material and thereunder by project or subject. Folder titles have been transferred from the original file folder label given by WKH. A folder title in square brackets indicates it has been supplied by the cataloger and not from WKH’s original file. While Collection I is not organized into series, there was a corresponding subject index created to faciliate access. This subject index is a downloadable Excel spreadsheet located at the beginning of the container list for Collection I.

Collection II is arranged as follows—Subseries 1: Professional papers (arranged alphabetically by subject title), Subseries 2: Project Files (arranged alphabetically by project title), and Subseries 3: Photographs (arranged with larger projects listed first, followed by smaller projects, then photographs of people, with oversized photographs of people or projects, and various project slides listed at the end.)

The drawings for both parts of the Harrison collection have been cataloged separately in the online catalog. Series III: Architectural Drawings provides a link to each project’s associated record. Sheet level description can be found in these project-level records. Each sheet is individually accessioned and indicates which acquisition it originates from. 2,050 drawings arrived in the first accession (and are catalogued under the call number NYDA.1981.001) and 365 drawings arrived in the second accession (catalogued as NYDA.1989.002).

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Using the Collection

Access Restrictions

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 call (212) 854-4110 or email

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

Wallace K. Harrison architectural drawings and papers, 1913-1986, (bulk 1930-1980), Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.

Related Material

Max Abramovitz architectural records and papers, 1925-1990 Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.

Hugh Ferriss architectural drawings and papers, circa 1906-1980 (bulk circa 1918-1960) Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.

For Further Information

For more information about using the collections and conducting research in the Department of Drawings & Archives, please see our FAQ.

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About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries. Avery Architecture and Fine Arts Library. Department of Drawings and Archives; machine readable finding aid created by Columbia University Libraries Digital Library Program Division

Processing Information

The finding aid description was produced by Mary L. Ferranti as part of the "Early Modern Masters Project," funded by an HEA Title II-C grant in 1994-1995. Shelley Hayreh, Avery Archivist, edited and published the finding aid for the collection in 2014.

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion July 7, 2009 Finding aid written in English.
    2009-07-07 File created.

CLIO ID: 3460617 View CLIO record

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Index Terms

The names and terms listed below are represented 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 consortial/union catalog offered by OCLC that allows users to search the holdings of multiple archives and libraries.

All links open new windows.

Subjects (Corporate Name)

HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Albert Milton residence (Washington, Conn.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Aluminaire house (Huntington, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Aluminum Company of America building (Pittsburgh, Pa.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
American Battle Monuments Commission.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Anchorage (Seal Harbor, Me.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Astoria Houses (Astoria, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Avila Hotel (Caracas, Venezuela)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Clinton Hill Apartments (Brooklyn, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Corning Glass building (Corning, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Corning Glass building (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Hopkins Center.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
David Milton residence (Bermuda)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
First Presbyterian Church (Stamford, Conn.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Fort Greene Houses (Brooklyn, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Harrison and Abramovitz.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Harrison residence (Hungtington, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Hawes Guest House (Pocantico, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
IBM World Trade Corporation (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton, N.J.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
International Basic Economy Corporation.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
International Committee of Architects.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Johnson (J. Seward) residence (Princeton, N.J.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Julian Street, Jr. residence (Scarborough, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
La Guardia Airport.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.--Metropolitan Opera House.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Lodge (Pocantico, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Master Apartments building (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Morningside Gardens (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.).--Proposed North Plaza of Rockefeller Center.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
New York Aquarium (Coney Island, New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Oberlin College.--Hall Auditorium.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Pardee residence (Bermuda Islands)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Pennsylvania Power & Light Co., (Allentown, Pa.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Radio City Music Hall (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Republic National Bank (Dallas, Tex.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Rockefeller Apartments (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Rockefeller Center.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Rockefeller Institute.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Rockefeller University.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Rockefeller University.--Caspary Auditorium.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Socony-Mobil Building (New York, N.Y.).--entrance.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
United Nations--Buildings.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
United States.--Central Intelligence Agency.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
United States.--Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
William A.M. Burden residence (Florida)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
William A.M. Burden residence (Northeast Harbor, Me.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
X City (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
New York World's Fair (1939-1940).--Consolidated Edison.--Electric Utilities Exhibit.--Electrified Farm.--Trylon and Perisphere.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
New York World's Fair (1964-1965).--Hall of Science.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

Subjects (Personal Name)

HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Abramovitz, Max, 1908-2004.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Aalto, Alvar, 1898-1976.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Barrows, Wendy.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Burden, Shirley.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Corbett, Harvey Wiley.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Cserna, George.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Damora, Robert M.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Duryea, Drix.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Fassbender, Adolf.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Ferriss, Hugh, 1889-1962.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Fouilhoux, Jacques André, 1879-1945.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Goodhue, Bertram Grosvenor, 1869-1924.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Harrison, Ellen.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Kilham, Walter Harrington, 1904-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Koehler, George E.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Léger, Fernand, 1881-1955.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Moses, Robert, 1888-1981.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Nagata, Yuzo.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Oppenheimer, Robert, 1942-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Rockefeller, John D., 1906-1978.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Rockefeller, Nelson A. (Nelson Aldrich), 1908-1979.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Sert, José María, 1874-1945.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Stoller, Ezra.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

Subjects (Geopgraphical)

HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Battery Park City (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Empire State Plaza (Albany, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Pershing Memorial (Washington, D.C.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Washington Square (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

Subjects (Topics)

HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Architectural photography.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture--New York (State)--Albany.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture--New York (State)--New York.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture--Washington (D.C.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture--New York (State)--New York--History--20th century.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture--United States--History--20th century.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Buildings--New York (State)--New York.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Kitábkhánahí Pahlaví Library Competition.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Memorials--Washington (D.C.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Monuments--Washington (D.C.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Theaters--New York (State)--New York.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

Types of Material

HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Architect-consultant contracts.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architectural drawings--American.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Job lists.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Press releases.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Slides (photographs).PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

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History / Biographical Note


Wallace K. Harrison, (1895-1981), was an American modernist architect. He was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, where as a teenager he worked for the contractor O.W. Norcross and the architectural firm Frost & Chamberlain. Beginning in 1916, the architectural firms for which Harrison worked were McKim, Mead & White; Cram, Goodhue and Ferguson; Frank J. Helmle & Harvey Wiley Corbett; Corbett, Harrison & MacMurray; Harrison & Fouilhoux; Harrison, Fouilhoux & Abramovitz; and others. He also did free-lance work for Raymond Hood. Harrison served in World War I as a Navy ensign aboard a subchaser. After the war, Harrison attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts where he spent a year in the atelier of Gustave Umbdenstock. He was also a winner of a Rotch Travelling Scholarship in 1922. Harrison had a long-standing personal and professional relationship with Nelson A. Rockefeller which began while he was workig on Rockefeller Center. Rockefeller established the U.S. Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, where Harrison served as assistant coordinator in 1941 and director in 1945. Harrison won numerous awards, including the New York Architectural League's Gold Medal in 1936 and the American Institute of Architect's Gold Medal in 1967.

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