|Avery Drawings & Archives Collections|
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At a Glance
This material is arranged in six series: Founding Documents; Minutes; Report of the Headquarters Commission; Correspondence; General Papers; and Reference Files. Within each series, materials are arranged in chronological order.
Scope and Content
This collection contains documents, statements, minutes, correspondence, notes, and reference materials related to the activities of the Joint Advisory Committee on Planning and Development of the United Nations Headquarters. Although materials relating to Wallace Harrison appear in this collection, there is otherwise no direct connection between this group of papers and the team of international architects who designed the Headquarters.
In addition, Series I contains founding papers regarding committee formation and mandate and examples of historic competitions. Series II contains minutes of ten meetings that occurred between March 2, 1946 and October 29, 1946. Series III contains documents related to the "Statement on the Report of the Headquarters Commission," released by the Joint Advisory Committee on October 24, 1946. The largest portion of the collection, Series IV, contains correspondence between participating members dating from the assembling of the Joint Advisory Committee in January 1946 to its disbanding in January 1948. Series V contains general papers, including vouchers, personnel, memos, notes, correspondence, etc. Lastly, Series VI contains reference files, primarily clippings from the New York Times and the New York Herald Tribune dating from February 1946 to September 1947.
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.
Joint Advisory Committee on Planning and Development of the United Nations Headquarters Records. Located in the Dept. of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.
Avery Library's Dept. of Drawings & Archives holds many architectural drawings and records relating to the United Nations Headquarters. Principle collections include the Wallace K. Harrison Architectural Records and Drawings; the Max Abramovitz Architectural Records and Drawings; the Hugh Ferriss Architectural Drawings and Papers; and the Joseph Molitor Photographs. The department also holds the personal and professional papers of two committee members, Eric Gugler and Electus Litchfield.
This collection was a gift given by the Office of Eric Gugler to Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library in 1969. Its accession number is 1969.009.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library
Records Processed MYW 04/29/08.
2008-04-30 File created.
2009-07-16 File revised.
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
In early 1946, the Preparatory Commission of United Nations determined that the international headquarters of the new organization, established a year before, should be located in the United States. Initiated by the American Institute of Architects and joined by the American Institute of Planners, the American Society of Landscape Architects, and the American Society of Civil Engineers, representatives from the four technical societies established a joint advisory committee to offer professional advice to the United Nations Headquarters Commission. New York-based architect Eric Gugler was appointed chairman of the Joint Advisory Committee and the first meeting was held at the Harvard Club in New York City on March 2, 1946.
From March 1946 through early 1947, the Joint Advisory Committee participated actively in various phases of the Union Nations Headquarters project, from selection of the site, to preparation of a planning requirement, to call for an international competition, to early stage of design. On December 12, 1946, the United Nations Headquarters Commission voted to accept a tract of Manhattan real estate overlooking the East River, donated by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., for the final headquarters site. On January 6, 1947, New York architect Wallace K. Harrison was appointed Director of Planning for the United Nations' Permanent Headquarters, assisted by an international team of architects and engineers. However, without any formal authority, the influence of the Joint Advisory Committee was minor and, having fulfilled its mission, the committee was officially discharged in January 1948. On September 14, 1948, a groundbreaking ceremony took place for the new headquarters complex.
During its existence, the Joint Advisory Committee was known by several names. The various titles and personnel are listed as below.
Special Committee of Architects on United Nations Center, A.I.A. [earliest title]
Committee (of Architects) on United Nations Center [title used from mid-1946 through 1947]
Joint Advisory Committee on Planning and Development of the United Nations Headquarters [last and official title, used from 1946 through 1948]