Avery Drawings & Archives Collections

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill photographs, 1945-1969, bulk 1945-1969

Summary Information

At a Glance

Bib ID 6702954 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Skidmore, Owings & Merrill ; Belluschi, Pietro, 1899-1994 ; Boltin, Lee ; Checkman, Louis ; Fisher, Vories ; Hornbeck, James S ; Janu, Rudolph ; Lincoln, F. S ; Stoller, Ezra ; Dementi Studio ; Hedrich-Blessing (Firm) ; Wurts Brothers (Photographers : New York, N.Y.)
Title Skidmore, Owings & Merrill photographs, 1945-1969, bulk 1945-1969
Physical Description 691 photographs; 0.25 linear feet papers
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.



The collection begins with photographs, arranged geographically by state, then by city; then follow unidentified project photographs, an group portrait; and a small amount of published materials.


Scope and Content

This collection primarily includes black and white and color photographic prints of approximately 100 buildings designed by the American architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in locations throughout the United States, circa 1945-1969.

Buildings depicted include the American Republic Insurance Company, Des Moines, Iowa; Chase Manhattan Bank, New York City; Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, Bloomfield, Conn.; Ford Motor Company, Dearborn, Mich.; H.J. Heinz Company, Ltd., Hayes Park, Middlesex, England; Istanbul Hilton Hotel, Istanbul, Turkey; Lever House, New York City; Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company, New York City; New York Hospital, New York City; Royall National Bank, Palestine, Tex.; Union Carbide Corporation, New York City; and Wausau Hospital, Wausau, Wis. A few projects from Belgium, China, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and Venezuela are also represented.

View types include models, architectural drawings, buildings under contruction, interior and exterior views of completed structures, and aerial views. Most images are mounted individually on boards; a small group of images is bound for presentation. Lastly, several images of the SOM partners at a meeting in Japan and a few published materials with photographic illustrations are also included.

Many of the images were taken by significant photographers, including Lee Boltin, Vories Fisher, Hedrich-Blessing, James S. Hornbeck, and Ezra Stoller.

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

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill photographs. Located in the Dept. of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library

Processing Information

Photographs Processed Terry McMillan 02/01/08.

Revision Description

2008-12-06 File created.

2009-07-23 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:"
American Republic Insurance Company building (Des Moines, Iowa) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- United States -- Pictorial works Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Bank buildings -- New York (State) -- New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Bunshaft, Gordon, 1909-1990 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Chase Manhattan Bank and Plaza (New York, N.Y.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Commercial buildings -- New York (State) -- New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Connecticut General Life Insurance Company building (Bloomfield, Conn.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Conrad, Theodore, 1910-1994 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
De Blois, Natalie, 1921-2013 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Ford Motor Company building (Dearborn, Mich.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
H.J. Heinz Company Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Hospitals -- New York (State) -- New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Istanbul Hilton Hotel (Istanbul, Turkey) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Lever House (New York, N.Y.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Maffitt, Theodore S., Jr Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Merrill, John O., 1896-1975 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
New York Hospital Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Owings, Nathaniel Alexander, 1903-1984 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Royall National Bank (Palestine, Tex.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Severinghaus, J. Walter Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Union Carbide Corporation building (New York, N.Y.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Wausau Hospital (Wausau, Wis.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note


Founded in 1936, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) is one of the world's largest and most influential architecture, urban design, engineering, and interior firms. SOM came to national prominence by the early 1940's led in part by commissions from the United States government to build a number of military complexes, including the U.S. Naval Postgraduate College in Monterey, California, the Great Lakes Naval Station near Chicago, and the Atomic Energy Commission facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. After World War II, the firm has designed in a range of styles, including the International Style, brutalism, and postmodernism. While especially well known for its many iterations of the "glass box" skyscraper, SOM is also credited as the design pioneer of the suburban "corporate campus." Originally based in Chicago with sister offices in New York and San Francisco, this international firm has built in over 50 countries, often designing for U.S.-based corporations expanding operations in developing countries.

SOM's noted buildings include: Chicago's Sears Tower (Graham & Khan) and John Hancock Center (Khan), Lever House in New York City (Bunshaft), the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO (Netsch), the Bank of America World Headquarters in San Francisco, as well as Burj Dubai in Dubai and the Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai. Although SOM prefers to emphasize the firm rather than any one individual practitioner, some of its more prominent architects have included Charles Bassett, Natalie de Blois, Gordon Bunshaft, Myron Goldsmith, Bruce Graham, Bill Hartmann, Fazlur Khan and Walter Netsch.