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MS Typ 1096

Richardson, H. H. (Henry Hobson), 1838-1886. Henry Hobson Richardson drawings: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Richardson Alcove
Call No.: MS Typ 1096
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Title: Henry Hobson Richardson drawings,
Date(s): 1886-1940.
Quantity: 1 collection (757 linear feet (5300 drawings)
Abstract: Architectural drawings from American architect H. H. (Henry Hobson) Richardson's Brookline office, and later drawings made by the successor firm.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

The bulk of the collection is gift of Henry Richardson Shepley; received: 1942.
*83M-39 (drawings FWA A-6, FWA B-2, FWA B-3, FWA B-4, FWA E-1). Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William Andrews, 1983.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Ardys Kozbial.
The HOLLIS database includes not only a collection-level record for this collection, but also series-level records. All records can be located by searching for call number: MS Typ 1096.

Conditions Governing Access:

The original drawings can be consulted only by prior arrangement and with the permission of the Curator of Printing and Graphic Arts. Readers must first make use of the microfilm, which may be consulted in the Houghton Library Reading Room, or purchased directly from Widener Imaging Services (imaging@fas.harvard.edu). Widener Film Master number c1999 must be supplied with the microfilm order.

Conditions Governing Use:

Images linked to this finding aid are intended for public access and educational use. This material is owned and/or held by the Houghton Library, and is provided solely for the purpose of teaching or individual research. Any other use, including commercial reuse, mounting on other systems, or other forms of redistribution requires the permission of the curator.

Existence and Location of Copies:

Microfilms of the entire set of architectural drawings from Richardson's office are available for consultation in the Houghton Reading Room. The number of microfilmed images is sometimes greater than the number of drawings because oversized drawings required two or more frames, or because versos were filmed. In all cases, the microfilm image represents the best possible resolution given the size and condition of the drawings.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Henry Hobson Richardson Drawings (MS Typ 1096). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Related Collections

For the most complete list of Richardson collections of drawings and manuscripts in this country, see Jeffrey Karl Ochsner, H.H. Richardson, complete architectural works. [Cambridge, MA: MIT Press], c1982, pages 339-443.

Biographical / Historical

The architect Henry Hobson Richardson (1838-1886) was born and raised in Louisiana. He attended Harvard College and was the second American to enroll in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Upon his return in 1866, he opened a small office in New York City in partnership with Charles Gambrill. In 1872 he received the design commission for Trinity Church in Boston and in 1874 he moved his home and office to Brookline to handle his growing practice in New England. The following years were to be the busiest and most successful years of his career until ill health caused his premature death in 1886 at the age of forty-seven. Richardson is known for his re-interpretation of French Romanesque architecture, called Richardson Romanesque.


Organized into the following series: The finding aid is organized by architectural projects and is arranged according to their geographical location. Each project is identified by an alphabetic code. If this code is followed by -SRC, the project is a continuation (addition or alteration) of a building designed by Richardson and executed by the successor firm Shepley Rutan and Coolidge (1886-1915). If SRC, CS [Coolidge and Shattuck, 1915-1924] or CSBA [Coolide Shepley Bulfinch and Abbott, 1924-1952] precede the code, the project is the work of a successor firm. Individual drawings have a two-part code: the code of the project; then the letters A-F (which indicate the type of view: A = plans, B = elevations, C = sections, D = exterior details, E = interior details, F = site views and perspectives), and the drawing number within each lettered sequence. Each project starts with information about the address of the project; its name and date or dates; names of the client, the architect when not Richardson, and the collaborators; the number of drawings; references to the standard bibliographies (see 'Abbreviations Used for Bibliographic References' below); and location of the project on the microfilm. In the finding aid and on the microfilm, the drawings are arranged from exterior to interior of each project, much as Richardson designed them originally. The description of each drawing includes the following information: view, genre, media and support, scale if known, measurements of height and width in centimeters, location, drawing number, condition, and any relevant notes. The "genre" field describes the phase of the drawings within the design process: contract drawings, design drawings, presentation drawings, preliminary drawings, schematic drawings, site plans, working drawings. In general, the descriptive terms used in the Finding Aid follow those of the Art and Architecture Thesaurus. An exception is the term "blue stationery," which is peculiar to this collection and describes a type of notebook used by Richardson.

Scope and Contents

With over 5,000 drawings, this collection is the most complete collection in existence of architectural drawings from Richardson's office. The finding aid provides a listing of those architectural drawings that were catalogued and microfilmed as part of an NEH grant project conducted during 1994-1996.

Project Codes

The list of codes is:

Abbreviations Used For Bibliographic References:

Container List