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The Edward Larrabee Barnes Collection.

Special Collections, Frances Loeb Library, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University


Special Collections, Frances Loeb Library, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: DES.1993.0001.004165878
Repository: Special Collections, Frances Loeb Library, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University
Creator: Barnes, Edward Larrabee
Title: The Edward Larrabee Barnes Collection
Date(s): 1934-1996
Quantity: 50 linear feet
Quantity: Extent is approximate
Language of materials: English
Abstract: The collection includes architectural drawings, photographs, clippings, lectures, and publications related to Barnes' architectural practice that spans five decades of work during the 20th century.

Acquisition Information:

Gift of Edward Larrabee Barnes 1993, and Barnes Family 2005.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Inés Zalduendo

Conditions on Use and Access:

Contact Special Collection Department, Frances Loeb Library, Harvard Design School.


Born in Chicago, Edward Larrabee Barnes (1915-2004) attended Milton Academy before studying English and Architectural History at Harvard University. He graduated cum laude in 1938, and after a year of teaching English and Fine Arts at Milton, he returned to Harvard to study architecture at the Graduate School of Design under Walter Gropius (1883-1969) and Marcel Breuer (1902-1981). Upon graduation in 1942 he was awarded the Sheldon Traveling Fellowship. Travel was limited because of the war in Europe, and Barnes spent his fellowship year in Washington as an intern at the Division of Defense Housing. After Pearl Harbor he joined the US Navy in 1942 and served as a naval architect. Following the war and a brief period working for the architect William Wurster in San Francisco, Barnes took a job with the industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss to design a mass-producible single-family house that, although never produced, was manufactured and tested in a number of prototypes. In 1947 Barnes returned east with his wife, Mary Cooke, and settled in New York where he established his own architectural practice, which Mary joined after serving as a curator for MoMA from 1947 to 1949. Edward Larrabee Barnes was selected posthumously to receive the American Institute of Architects' 2007 Gold Medal.


The collection is arranged into nine series according to the following structure: Series A (Architectural Drawings); Series B (Project Files); Series C (Photographs and Negatives); Series D (Slides); Series E (Lectures, Articles, and Speeches); Series F (Clippings and Journals); Series G (Publications); Series H (Miscellaneous, including Personal Photographs, Medals, Video, and Professional Portfolios); Series J (Models).

Scope and Contents

The collection spans over five decades of work by Edward Larrabee Barnes. His early works consisted of small commissions: private houses, camps and university projects. Later works were larger in scale and range from museums and galleries such as the Walker Art Center (1966-1971, 1984) and the Dallas Museum of Art (1983-1984, 1993), botanical gardens in New York (1973) and Chicago (1976), to corporate office towers - the majority of which are in New York City, such as the IBM Headquarters at Madison Avenue (1983) - and large scale university planning for the State University of New York at Purchase (1966-1977) and Yale University (1968-1978) among others, as well as commercial planning for Crown Center in Kansas City (1967-1972), religious structures such as Sweeney Chapel in Indianapolis (1984-1987), and government buildings such as the Federal Judiciary Building in Washington D.C. (1988-1992). Diverse in scale, they have all been consistently characterized by simplicity, geometrical purity, and sensitivity to site. The work of Barnes has been published in numerous architectural periodicals, and in Edward Larrabee Barnes, Architect, with an introduction by Peter Blake.

Container List

Personal Names Index, A-L

Personal Names Index, M-Z

Corporate Names Index, A-H