Skip to Main Content

American Women: Resources from the Prints & Photographs Collections

Design Collections

Zuleima Bruff Jackson, designer. Tray and vase decorated with floral patterns. Nasturtium tray design 1890. Architecture, Design, and Engineering. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

Visual images play an instrumental role in the design process, and the division's holdings include a rich array of drawings and plans that reflect this process. Buildings are the focus of the largest proportion of the design collections, but they also document the development of landscapes, objects and vehicles.

Architectural and engineering drawings may offer insights into the environments women inhabited—the spaces designed specifically for their use, as well as the spaces that were not designed to accommodate women. Women designers are represented in the collection, and the role of women as clients and consumers remains to be explored.

The following "Design Collections" are highlighted in these sections of the guide:

  • Architecture, Design, and Engineering Drawings 
    The Library's greatest strength in terms of architectural drawings is in the original designs contained in this collection (38,500 drawings, 1600-1989, bulk 1880-1940).
  • The Work of Charles and Ray Eames
    This collection (308,000 color 35mm slides, 220,700 negatives and contact prints, 9,000 architectural drawings, and 100 posters; ca. 1940-78) is currently being organized and cataloged (for a discussion of the manuscript materials, see Artists, Architects, and Designers in the Manuscript Division section).