Patrons interested in researching architecture and the papers of individual architects will find many collections and related resources in the Manuscript Reading Room. The collections include the papers of many prominent residential, commercial, industrial, and landscape architects, as well as urban planners, community designers, and others spanning the 18th century to today. Researchers will also find relevant correspondence in the papers of contemporaries, and of those with and for whom they worked including many prominent American reformers, architects, writers and critics, publishers, municipal authorities, public artists and designers, as well as patrons of architecture and the arts.
These collections give researchers insight into the lives and careers of the individuals, as well as their thought processes while working on projects that many around the world have become familiar, and that have created and helped define the American architectural landscape. Some of the treasures that can be found within include Frederick Law Olmsted's files on zoo arrangements for the Central Park Zoo, I.M. Pei's project files from his Le Grand Louvre work, and papers regarding William Thornton's dispute with Benjamin Henry Latrobe over designs for the U.S. Capitol.
Many of the visual materials from the collections, including architectural drawings and large printed matter, have been transferred to the Prints and Photographs Division. Patrons are advised to contact both the Manuscript Division and the Prints and Photographs Division for guidance on accessing these materials.