Avery Drawings & Archives Collections
 

Guastavino Fireproof Construction Company architectural records, 1866-1985, bulk 1890-1942

Summary Information

Abstract

This collection is made up of architectural drawings, correspondence, specifications, contracts, invoices, minutes, financial statements, patents, advertisements, photographs, photograph album, test results and reports, memoranda, tile samples, factory order cards, and other materials pertaining to The Guastavino Fireproof Construction Company's projects. The dates of the materials span 1866-1985, with bulk dates 1890-1942. The architectural records include structural, decorative, and acoustical sample products and fragments. Also included are materials added to the files by George Collins (1917-1993), Professor of Art History at Columbia University. Prof. Collins secured the donation of this archive in 1963, and remained its custodian until it was transferred to the Drawings and Archives Collection at the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library in 1988. The records document Prof. Collins' research efforts, as well as the Company's projects in forty states (including District of Columbia), four Canadian provinces, and eleven other foreign countries.

At a Glance

Call No.: 12/31/99 T
Bib ID 3463538 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Guastavino, Rafael, 1842-1908 ; Guastavino, Rafael, 1872-1950 ; Blodgett, William E ; Blodgett, Malcolm S ; Summerville, Foster M ; Bartlett, A. M ; Williams, Kenneth ; Collins, George R (George Roseborough), 1917-1993 ; Guastavino Fireproof Construction Company/George Collins ; R. Guastavino Company
Title Guastavino Fireproof Construction Company architectural records, 1866-1985, bulk 1890-1942
Physical Description 40.1 linear feet; 3651 drawings; 46 items
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

Arrangement

Organized into six series: I. Architectural Drawings; II. Administrative and Technical Records; III. Project Files; IV: Factory Orders; V. Slides; VI. Sample Products and Fragments.

Description

Scope and Content

The original filing system applied by Prof. George Collins was maintained.

  • Series I: Architectural Drawings

    The drawings in the collection consist of pencil and ink drawings, blueprints, blueline prints, sketches, and watercolors drawn and reproduced by the Company, architects and other contractors. Included are plans, elevations, sections, and details in full-scale of 698 projects and technical records. Represented are projects in 35 states (including District of Columbia), four Canadian provinces, and four other foreign countries. The dates of the drawings span 1886-1964, and the bulk dates are 1899-1936. 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 accessioned with numbers ranging from 1963.002.00001 through .02652. Drawings are arranged beginning with non-U.S. projects followed by U.S. projects listed alphabetically by state and city. Materials without locations are listed at the end of the inventory.

  • Series II: Administrative and Technical Records

    This series lists R. Guastavino Co.'s business records and Prof. Collins' research papers. The Company's business records include correspondence, meeting minutes, financial statements, patents, drawings, advertisements, photographs, photograph album, and test results and reports. There are also some papers and photos of the Guastavino family. The research papers include work notes and papers, maps, correspondence, newsletters, and magazine and newspaper clippings.

    The arrangement and the titles for subject divisions and folders were supplied by Prof. George Collins. His filing system was maintained and titles were transcribed directly as provided. For folders without titles, a title was given by the cataloger and enclosed within brackets ([]). Each folder is followed by content descriptions also supplied by the cataloger. Folders 15:12 through 18:8 and subject divisions "R.G. CO. GENERAL SALES" and "RG I EARLY MISC. SPANISH ACTIVITIES" were originally stored with project files, and have since been removed and refiled accordingly within this series. Thirty-six drawings, including the Guastavino family tree and technical drawings, are listed at the end of Series I: Architectural Drawings.

  • Series III: Project Files

    The project series contains correspondence, specifications, contracts, invoices, financial statements, advertisements, photographs, memoranda, and other materials pertaining to the Company's projects in forty states (including District of Columbia), four Canadian provinces, and eleven other foreign countries. The dates of the materials span 1866-1985. Also included are materials added to the collection by Prof. Collins during his research (e.g., citations, work notes, photographs, magazine and newspaper clippings, and correspondence). The amount of materials in the project folders vary from one item to multiple folders.

    The folders in this series were also arranged by Prof. Collins. They begin with the Company's projects in foreign countries, followed by projects in the United States. For projects in the U.S., the folders are in alphabetical order by state, and thereunder by city. However, cities with greater number of projects, e.g., New York City, are filed before other cities. Given the large number of projects in New York City, these files were subdivided by borough and building type.

  • Series IV: Factory Order Cards

    This series contains index cards that list the numerous projects for which the Company supplied and/or installed its tiles. The cards are not comprehensive; however, they provide the most complete list of projects. In addition to the job number and title, the cards provide information on the number and type of tiles, shipping instructions, and cost. The dates of the cards span 1900-1961. The material in this series is arranged by job number (1-877).

    This series also includes a box of index cards unrelated to the Company or its projects. The unidentified cards list the names of authors, scholars, and publishers pertaining to the publishing of the journal, Romanic Review.

  • Series V: Slides

    This series provides images of Guastavino domes and vaults and comparative types of domes and vaults found in Europe, Mexico, and Cuba. Among the 463 slides, 321 are lantern slides. The material in this series is arranged by: 1. non-Guastavino projects; 2. Guastavino projects in Europe and Cuba and Mexico; and 3. Guastavino projects in the United States. The U.S. projects are arranged in alphabetical order by city. For an inventory list of lantern slides, see box 1, folder 14 of the second series.

  • Series VI: Sample Products and Fragments

    This series includes 46 items that represent structural, decorative, and acoustical sample tiles and fragments. One of the items is a multi-tiered display case of tiles. The material in this series is not arranged.

General Note

This is the collection-level record for which 700 associated project-level records were created to describe projects with architectural drawings. See summary note (field 520) for record ID numbers and other related information

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

The Guastavino Fireproof Construction Company/George Collins architectural records and drawings, Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library

Processing Information

As part of The Guastavino/Collins Archive Cataloging and Preservation Project, funded by the NEH grant PS-20848-94, preliminary inventory of project files was completed by Peter Austin, and description and cataloging of records and drawings were completed by Sueyoung Park. Shelley Hayreh, Avery Archivist, edited and published the finding aid for the collection in 2014.

Revision Description

2009-06-25 File created.

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.

Genre/Form

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Accounts Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Certificates Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Clippings (Information Artifacts) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Contracts Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Correspondence Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Estimates Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Financial statements Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Invoices Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Lantern slides Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Maps Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Memorandums Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Newsletters Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Notes Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Order forms Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Orthographic drawings Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Pamphlets Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Patents Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Photograph albums Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Photographs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Postcards Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Samples Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Sketches Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Slides (photographs) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Specifications Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Test reports Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Tile Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
minutes (administrative records) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Apartment houses Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- Canada -- Designs and plans Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- Cuba -- Havana -- Designs and plans Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- England -- London Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- India -- Designs and plans Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- Mexico -- Designs and plans Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- Netherlands -- Eindhoven Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- Panama -- Designs and plans Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- Peru -- Lima Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- Spain Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- Trinidad and Tobago Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- United States -- Designs and plans Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- Venezuela -- Caracas Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture, Modern -- 19th century Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture, Modern -- 20th century Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Armories Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Army War College (U.S.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
B'nai Israel Synagogue (Pittsburgh, Pa.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Bank buildings Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Bathhouses Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Biltmore Estate (Asheville, N.C.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Boston Public Library Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Bridges (built works) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Carnegie Institute of Technology Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Carrère & Hastings Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Cathedral of St. John the Divine (New York, N.Y.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Churches Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
College buildings Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Commercial buildings Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Cram and Ferguson Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Customhouses Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Delano & Aldrich Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Gilbert, Cass, 1859-1934 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Goodhue, Bertram Grosvenor, 1869-1924 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Grand Central Terminal (New York, N.Y.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Guastavino vaults Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Gymnasiums Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Haight, Charles Coolidge, 1841-1917 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Heins & LaFarge Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Hospitals Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Hotels (public accommodations) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Houses Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Industrial buildings Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Mausoleums Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
McKim, Mead & White Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Memorials Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Morris, Benjamin W (Benjamin Wistar), 1870-1944 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Museums Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (Washington, D.C.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Nebraska State Capitol (Lincoln, Neb.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Pope, John Russell, 1874-1937 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Public buildings Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Railroad stations Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Recreation buildings Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Subway stations Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Synagogues Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Union Station (Baltimore, Md.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
York & Sawyer Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

Rafael Guastavino (1842-1908) was an architect and a builder. Born in Valencia, he studied architecture in Barcelona and built his first house in 1866. For the next 14 years, he established his reputation for fireproof construction and built factories, warehouses, and apartment houses in the Barcelona area. In 1881, he emigrated to the U.S. with his son, Rafael Jr. (1872-1950). They settled in New York City, and gained success as contractor and builder with their patented tile vaulting system. (The Guastavinos held 24 patents on their vaulting processes.) In July of 1889, they established The Guastavino Fireproof Construction Company, and in 1897, the R. Guastavino Company. In 1908, at the time of his father's death, Rafael Jr. assumed control of the Company. At the height of its expansion, the firm maintained offices in New York, Boston, Providence, Chicago, and Milwaukee, including a manufacturing plant in Woburn, Mass. In 1943, Rafael Jr. sold the Company to Malcolm S. Blodgett, who was the treasurer and business partner of the Guastavinos, succeeding his father, William E. Blodgett. The Company's last project was in 1962. During its existence, their unique vaulting system was used in more than 1,000 buildings, many of them landmarks, in the U.S. and as far away as India. Other key members of the Company include: Foster M. Summerville; A.M. Bartlett; and Kenneth Williams.