Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday archives

Leslie Ayres (1906-1952) was an accomplished architect and illustrator responsible for many of the beautiful presentation drawings in our collections. If you've appreciated the color renderings in the Pierre and Wright Architectural Records Collection, you've likely seen his work. As an innovative architect, he's also responsible for the fascinating, Art-Moderne T. G. Wilkinson house here in Muncie.

Born in Indianapolis and educated at Arsenal Technical High School, Ayres began working at Pierre and Wright as a delineator while he was still in high school. Winning the 1926 Princeton Prize in Architecture allowed him to study architecture at Princeton University, and he credited his year of study for developing his understanding of modern design.

The holiday cards above represent our earliest cards from Ayres. More will follow. But these represent a significant period in his life--you will notice the first one, from 1936, is signed with his name but there's an addition of Mr. and Mrs. in 1938. Unfortunately, we don't have the card from 1937, the year he and Edna Carolyn Silcox married.

Leslie Ayres seemed to enjoy sketching scenes of Indianapolis that place impressive churches, such as Christ Church Cathedral seen above in the cards from 1936 and 1940, within the larger context of the cityscape for his Christmas card designs. As an ardent Modernist, perhaps he is showing how the traditional and the contemporary can coexist? Tomorrow we'll post Ayres' cards from the years 1941-1947

Images: Leslie F. Ayres Christmas Cards (34-6) Fran E. Schroeder Architectural Records Collection, Drawings + Documents Archive, Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries.

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