Thursday, December 20, 2012

Architectural Holidays

This undated tri-fold holiday card from Indianapolis architect Edward Pierre and family displays the warmth and creativity we have come to expect from his cards. Printed on blueprint paper with hand-drawn colored pencil, the card might have been a prototype since it appears to have a few penciled-in additions to the text (the addition of wish after Christmas, and welcome under the stairs) and two disparate house facades. The third panel shows a very traditional house with columns flanking the door while the house in the first panel is considerably more modern.

The female figures wearing striped skirts in the first panel are most likely portraits of his wife, Louise, and their daughter, Mary Dien. Both women appear on additional Pierre family holiday cards, as well as in other papers in the collection. Two of Edward Pierre's most ardent supporters, they sent this telegram, pictured below, signed "Your Sweethearts" to him while he was at the 1951 American Institute of Architects convention in Chicago to accept his election to the prestigious Fellowship program. 

Images: Pierre family Christmas card, not dated. (3-117); Sweethearts Telegram, 1951. Pierre & Wright Architectural Records, Drawings + Documents Archive, Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Monument Circle at Christmas

This week the Drawings + Documents Archive received two separate, significant collections of work by the Indianapolis architects Edward Pierre and M. Carlton Smith. These two architects didn't work together but they were contemporaries and likely knew each other. Both collections, once they've been cataloged, will become valuable resources for researchers of Indianapolis architectural history.

It is particularly exciting to see the large amount of manuscript material--such as photographs, writings, speeches, letters, pamphlets--that came in with the Pierre donation. While we already have an extensive collection of Pierre's architectural drawings, prior to this donation we had few of his papers. We've only begun sorting the materials, but I couldn't resist posting this photo, below, of the multiple files regarding the Indianapolis Christmas Committee since Pierre was the driving force behind decorating Monument Circle at the holidays. The two camel drawings, which were used in the design for the Monument Circle Nativity scene, came from the folders and give you a little glimpse of the treasures within.

Images: Camel drawings for Monument Circle Nativity scene, ca. 1943. Pierre & Wright Architectural Records, Drawings + Documents Archive, Archives & Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries.
Photo of  Indianapolis Christmas Committee folders by Carol Street.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Mid-Century Architectural Holidays

Charles Sappenfield, known to just about everyone at the College of Architecture and Planning as Charlie, was an established architect in North Carolina when he was selected to come to Muncie, Indiana, to become the founding dean of the new school of architecture at Ball State University. That was 1965. He brought with him his distinctly Modernist design aesthetic honed through extensive international travel and his own successful practice, and infused the new architecture school with broad ideas about good design. He remained dean until 1981, when he directed DESIGN INDIANA, a statewide office to improve the quality of design in the state.

This Noel card likely dates from the late 1950s to early 1960s due to the Asheville, North Carolina, return address on the verso and since the signature doesn't include his wife, whom he married in 1963. The bi-fold printed card was designed to be folded down the center, sealed with a round sticker along the long edge, and addressed on the verso to allow it to be sent without requiring an envelope. It's a clever format he repeated for other holiday cards.

Image: Noel Holiday Card, ca. 1958. (45-23) Charles M. Sappenfield Architectural Records, Drawings + Documents Archive, Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Architectural Holidays

The holiday season gives us a chance to post some of our favorite holiday cards made by architects that make up our collections in the archives. These cards provided an opportunity for architects to display their drawing and design skills to clients, fellow architects, friends, and family. Given that some are printed on blueprint paper, it may have also been an economical choice, as well, since they already had the supplies in their offices. We feel furtunate to have so many of these cards in our collections because they give us an additional glimpse into the lives of the architects who built Indiana.

We're starting our holiday with one of my favorite cards from Leslie F. Ayres, the Indianapolis architect for the Wilkinson House in Muncie, and the subject of a recent publication from Commercial Artisan, titled Commercial Article 05: Leslie F. Ayres and written by architectural historian, Connie Zeigler. We were thrilled to participate during the research for the publication as well as to contribute many of the images that you see in it.

The Art Deco typography you see on the card, above, is pure Ayres and the design appears to be stamped in silver and black inks on hand-cut brown paper. The verso is plain, uncoated paper with pencil lines indicating where to cut the design. This card has never been folded but it's possible to imagine it being folded like a tent to perhaps display on the tree.

This interesting card belongs to the Fran E. Schroeder Collection. Ayres and Schroeder worked together at the Pierre & Wright Architects firm and, considering the numerous cards from Ayres that Schroeder saved, they were likely good friends in addition to colleagues.

Images: Greeting from Leslie F. Ayres card, 1930s. Fran E. Schroeder Architectural Records, Drawings + Documents Archive, Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries.

Cover of Commercial Article 05: Leslie F. Ayres. Indianapolis: Commercial Artisan, 2012.