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Haus Cramer architectural records and papers, 1911-2004, (bulk 1911-1955)

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Preferred Citation

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

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

Summary Information

At a Glance

CLIO record: View CLIO record
Creator(s):Cramer, Hans.
Title:Haus Cramer architectural records and papers, 1911-2004, (bulk 1911-1955)
Physical description:2.5 linear feet of papers; 226 drawings; 42 photographic prints; 1 scrapbook; 3 bound volumes; (6 manuscript boxes, 2 print boxes, 3 flat file drawers)
Language(s): The majority of the materials are in German; a few are 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 material is arranged in four series:

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Scope and Content

This collection primarily contains original and reprographic architectural records, photographs, correspondence and personal and professional records related to the design, construction, and ownership of the Haus Cramer in Dahlem, Berlin, Germany, designed by German architect Hermann Muthesius in 1911-1913 for Hans and Gertrud Cramer, with later additions by Muthesius and other architects. A significant portion of the collection also documents the Cramer family's efforts to obtain restitution after World War II for the seizure of the house in the 1930s. Also included are records documenting the restoration and reuse, an effort led by noted architectural historian Julius Poesner.

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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

Haus Cramer architectural records and papers. Located in the Dept. 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

This collection was processed by Teresa Harris, Mellon Fellow, in 2008. Shelley Hayreh, the Avery Archivist, edited and published the finding aid for the collection in 2013.

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion June 25, 2009 Finding aid written in English.
    2009-06-25 File created.

CLIO ID: 6909165 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.

Additional Creators

HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Paulus & Lilloe.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Körner & Brodersen.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
P. Prochnow & E. Pommer.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Taut u Hoffmann.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Berlich, Otto.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Bürgel, Ernst.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Fehr, Heinrich.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Göhre, Wilhelm.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Hackbarth, Walter.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Hauschild, Arthur.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Köhler, Richard W.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Kühnemund, L.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Laternser, Otto.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Landsberg, Max.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Lindhorst, Felix.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Müller, Oscar O.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Muthesius, Hermann, 1861-1927.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Nansen, Paul.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Nathansohn, Paul.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Pfennig, Curt.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Posener, Julius.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Rein, Max.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Späth, L.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Straumer, Heinrich.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Taut, Bruno.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Vallette, Henri.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID


HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Haus Cramer (Berlin, Germany)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Berlin (Germany)--Buildings, structures, etc.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture, Domestic--Germany--20th century.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture--Germany--Berlin--Designs and plans.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Furniture--Germany--20th century.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Interior decoration--Germany--History--20th century.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Landscape architecture--Germany--Berlin.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

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History / Biographical Note


Hermann Muthesius was born on April 20th, 1861, in Gross-Neuhausen in Thuringia. His father was a master mason who built numerous country churches. A local pastor recommended Muthesius to the Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar as a promising candidate for higher education. From 1881-1883, he studied philosophy at Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität (now Humboldt University), before transferring to the Technische Hochschule Berlin where he studied architecture. As a complement to his formal education, Muthesius also learned the trade of masonry from his father during the two and a half years that elapsed between finishing his studies at the local school and heading to Berlin for his secondary education. Muthesius gained practical experience in a number of architectural offices, including that of Paul Wallot, the architect of the Reichstag building. From 1887-1891 he worked for the firm of Ende & Böckmann in Tokyo and from 1893-1894 he worked in the architectural offices of the Prussian government before becoming the editor of the Zentralblatt der Bauverwaltung.

He married Anna Trippenbach, a prominent singer, in 1896. Anna Muthesius shared her husband's interest and in 1903, she published a book on reform clothing, entitled Das Eigenkleid der Frau. Muthesius traveled widely, visiting Japan, China, Thailand, India, Egypt and Italy. However, his sojourn in England proved to have the most lasting effect on his intellectual development and reputation. In 1896, he was appointed technical attaché to the German Ambassador in London. He lived in England from the time of his appointment until 1903, writing reports on railways, gasworks and other industrial installations for the Prussian Board of Trade. He also befriended many leading members of British artistic circles, including Charles Rennie Mackintosh and William Morris. Muthesius was fascinated by recent innovations in English domestic architecture and eventually wrote a three volume study on the topic, entitled Das englische Haus. Using the works of Charles Voysey, William Lethaby and Richard Norman Shaw, among others, Herman Muthesius illustrated the ground-breaking functional planning of the English house. This emphasis on a functional approach to design formed a fundamental underpinning of the Modern movement in Europe.

Upon his return to Germany in 1903, Muthesius put his new ideas into practice, building numerous villas in the suburbs of Berlin, including Haus Cramer, the focus of this collection. Muthesius also helped to found the Deutscher Werkbund, a trade organization heavily influenced by the English Arts & Crafts movement in its desire to bring a higher standard of artistic production to handcrafts and industrial products. Unlike the English movement, however, the Werkbund embraced the machine, and Muthesius would even go so far as to propose the idea of "types" or standardized forms for building, furniture and other industrial products. His ideas caused a rift when he presented them at a July 1914 meeting of the Werkbund, with some members aligning themselves with Muthesius, and other aligning themselves with the more individualistic ideas of Henry van de Velde who opposed standardization. Muthesius's remained influential in German architectural circles until his untimely death in a tram accident in 1927. His other publications include Stilarchitektur und Baukunst [1902] and Kleinhaus und Kleinsiedlung [1918].

Haus Cramer, commissioned by Hans and and Gertrude Cramer, is located at Pacelliallee 18/20 (formerly Cecilienallee 18/20) in Berlin-Dahlem. The collection contains a comprehensive set of drawings dating to the construction of the house in 1911-1914, including drawings of the exteriors, interiors and gardens. During the 1930s, the Cramer family ran into financial trouble due to the oppressive anti-Jewish policies of the Nazi government, which placed numerous restrictions on Jewish businesses. Prior to this, Hans Cramer had run a profitable import/export business dealing mostly in grains. His family was of Jewish descent, although they had converted to Lutheranism at some point during the mid-nineteenth century.

Hans Cramer's daughter, Charlotte, married an American and moved to New York in the early 1930s. At this point, Hans Cramer began shipping some of the family's furniture and art to his daughter. In this same year, due to his inability to pay taxes on the house and property, the city of Berlin seized his house and eventually auctioned off much of the contents. Hans Cramer, his wife Gertrud and son Frederick, followed Charlotte, emigrating to the United States in 1933. After World War II, Hans Cramer waged a long battle to gain restitution from the government of Germany for his lost property. Correspondence between Hans Cramer and his lawyer, Helmut Ruge, forms a large part of the records of the collection. According to the family, the house survived the war only to be destroyed in a gas explosion sometime during the 1950s. Julius Posener, the noted architectural historian, intervened in the 1970s and petitioned the city of Berlin to reconstruct the house for use by Stanford University, which eventually purchased Haus Cramer in 2000 to house their Bing Overseas Studies in Berlin.

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