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Emery Roth & Sons architectural records and papers, 1906-1996 (bulk 1951-1994)

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Preferred Citation

Emery Roth & Sons architectural records and papers. Dept. of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.

COinS Metadata available (e.g., for Zotero).

Summary Information

At a Glance

CLIO record: View CLIO record
Creator(s):Emery Roth & Sons.
Title:Emery Roth & Sons architectural records and papers, 1906-1996 (bulk 1951-1994)
Physical description:34,175 drawings, 1,906 photographs and 245 linear feet papers
Language(s): In English.
Access: This collection is available for use by qualified readers by appointment in the Dept. of Drawings & Archives’ Reading Room, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University. The majority of this collection is maintained in off-site storage and must be retrieved with advance notification. For further information and to make an appointment to use this collection, please call (212) 854-4110 or email avery-drawings@libraries.columbia.edu.  More information »
Types of Materials in the Collection:Correspondence, typescript papers, carbon typescript papers, holograph papers, printed papers, photographic prints, film negatives, photographic transparencies, architectural reprographic prints, product samples and mixed media drawings .

Arrangement

Arrangement

This material is organized in two series: Project Records and Office Records. Within the Project Records series, materials are organized in the following subseries: Drawings, Files, Photographs, and Specifications. Within the Office Records series, files are organized into the following subseries: Administrative, Correspondence, Financial Records, and General. The further arrangement of material within each level is described at the beginning of each series and subseries.

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Description

Scope and Content

This collection primarily contains architectural drawings, correspondence, business records, and a small number of photographs related to the projects of Emery Roth & Sons and its subsidiary entities. A large portion of the entities are represented only in the Office Records series and are identified as such. Some projects on which Emery Roth & Sons acted as architect of record are not represented in this collection, most notably the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.

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Using the Collection

Access Restrictions

 This collection is available for use by qualified readers by appointment in the Dept. of Drawings & Archives’ Reading Room, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University. The majority of this collection is maintained in off-site storage and must be retrieved with advance notification. For further information and to make an appointment to use this collection, please call (212) 854-4110 or email avery-drawings@libraries.columbia.edu.

Restrictions on Use

Columbia University is providing access to the materials in the Library's collections solely for noncommercial educational and research purposes. The unauthorized use, including, but not limited to, publication of the materials without the prior written permission of Columbia University is strictly prohibited. All inquiries regarding permission to publish should be submitted in writing to the Director, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University. For additional guidance, see Columbia University Libraries' publication policy.

In addition to permission from Columbia University, permission of the copyright owner (if not Columbia University) and/or any holder of other rights (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) may also be required for reproduction, publication, distributions, and other uses. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of any item and securing any necessary permissions rests with the persons desiring to publish the item. Columbia University makes no warranties as to the accuracy of the materials or their fitness for a particular purpose.

Preferred Citation

Emery Roth & Sons architectural records and papers. Dept. of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.

Related Material

Emery Roth & Sons was the architect of choice for the real estate developers Uris Brothers. Materials pertaining to their Emery Roth & Sons projects can be found in the Percy and Harold D. Uris Papers, also held by Avery Library’s Department of Drawings & Archives.

Additionally, the Department of Drawings & Archives also holds the Emery Roth Architectural Drawings and Biography collection.

Lastly, the Christopher Gray Research Materials on Emery Roth and Emery Roth & Sons are also held in the Department.

Selected Bibliography

Clausen, Meredith L. The Pan Am Building and the Shattering of the Modernist Dream. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2005.

Ruttenbaum, Steven. Mansions in the Clouds: The Skyscraper Palazzi of Emery Roth. New York: Balsam Press, 1986.

Shachtman, Tom. Skyscraper Dreams: The Great Real Estate Dynasties of New York. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1991.

For Further Information

For more information about using the collections and conducting research in the Department of Drawings & Archives, please see our FAQ.

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About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Finding aid written by Vanessa Cameron, Roth Project Archivist, for the Dept. of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Vanessa Cameron, Emery Roth & Sons Project Archivist, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Department of Drawings & Archives, 2007-2008 with the assistance of Hollyamber Kennedy, Bibliographic Assistant. Additional support was provided by Mellon Graduate School Interns Lindsay McCook and Teresa Harris. Processing was funded by a generous grant from the E.H.A. Foundation.

EAD instance generated by Annemarie van Roessel, Archivist, and Vanessa Cameron from MS Excel spreadsheets and MS Word files Nov 5 2008 Finding aid written in English.
    2008-11-10 File created.
    2009-07-23 File revised.

CLIO ID: 3460569 View CLIO record

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Index Terms

The names and terms listed below are represented in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a consortial/union catalog offered by OCLC that allows users to search the holdings of multiple archives and libraries.

All links open new windows.

Subjects (Building Names)

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
10 East 53rd Street (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
111 Wall Street (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
1290 Avenue of the Americas (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
2 Broadway (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
2 World Trade Center (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
300 Park Avenue (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
320 Park Avenue (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
350 Park Avenue (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
375 Hudson Street (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
380 Madison Avenue (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
55 Water Street (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
575 Madison Avenue (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
7 Hanover Square (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
7 World Trade Center (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
A&S Plaza (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Baruch Houses (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Bronx High School of Science (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
CBS Building (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Chelsea Piers (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Citicorp Center (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Government Center (Boston, M.A.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Consolidated Edison Company of New York, inc.--BuildingsPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
General Motors Building (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Emery Roth & Sons.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Hungary. Consulate (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Lycée Français (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
MetLife Building (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Morgan Stanley Building (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Pan American Building (New York, N.Y.).PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Portland Building (Portland, Or.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Ritz-Carlton Hotel (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
St. Moritz Hotel (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Tudor City (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
United States Postal Service--Buildings.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Villard Houses (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

Topics

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Architecture--New York (State)--New York.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture--United States--Designs and plans.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
High-rise apartment buildings--New York (State)--New York.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Buildings--New York (State)--New York.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Commercial buildings--New York (State)--New York.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Family corporations--New York (State)--New York.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Hotels--New York (State)--New York.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Real estate development--New York (State)--New York.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Skyscrapers--New York (State)--New York.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

Types of Materials

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Architectural drawings.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Correspondence.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Typescript papers.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Holograph papers.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Printed papers.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Photographic prints.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Film negatives.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architectural reprographic prints.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Mixed media drawings.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

Additional Creators (Personal Names)

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
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Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Belluschi, Pietro, 1899-1994.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Durst, Joseph.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Graves, Michael, 1934-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Gropius, Walter, 1883-1969.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Helmsley, Harry.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Jaffe, Norman, 1932-1993.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Manerias, J.C.S.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Matsui, Yasuo.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Merrick, Frederick I.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Pomeroy, Lee Harris.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Roth, Emery 1871-1948.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Roth, Julian.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Roth, Richard, 1904-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Roth, Richard, 1933-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Ruderman, James.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Rudin, Samuel, 1896-1975.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Silverstein, Larry A., 1933-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Stone, Edward Durell.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Viñoly, Rafael, 1944-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Yamasaki, Minoru, 1912-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Zukov, Nikita.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

Additional Creators (Corporate Names)

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Cesar Pelli and Associates.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Cosentini Associates.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Cross & Cross.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Diesel Construction Company.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Dormitory Authority of the State of New York.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Durst Organization.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Edward Durell Stone & Associates.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Fox & Fowle Architects.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Helmsley Hotels, Inc.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Helmsley-Spear, Inc.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Hugh Stubbins and Associates.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Hurley & Farinella.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Lee Harris Pomeroy Associates.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Magnusson Architecture and Planning.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
New York (N.Y.). Board of Education.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
New York City Housing Authority.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Otis Elevator Company.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Pei Partnership.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Pelli/Viñoly Architects.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Peterson and Brickbauer.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
RTKL Associates.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Shah Alam Properties.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Syska & Hennessy.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Tishman Realty & Construction Co.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Tishman Speyer.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Trammell Crow Co.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
United States.--Army.--Corps of Engineers.--New York District.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
United States. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
United States. National Park Service.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Uris Buildings Corporation.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

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History / Biographical Note

Historical & Biographical Note

Emery Roth & Sons (1938-1996) was a family-run architecture firm that had a major influence on the post-war development of Manhattan. In 1938 the architect Emery Roth (1871-1948), renowned for upscale Manhattan apartment buildings like the Beresford and the San Remo, renamed his practice Emery Roth & Sons to reflect the inclusion of his sons Julian and Richard as partners. Julian (1901-1992) specialized in construction costs and building materials and technology, while Richard (1904-1987) was named the firm's principal architect. In the early 1960s, Richard Roth's son, Richard Roth, Jr. (b. 1933) became the third generation to join the firm, eventually rising to chief architect and shareholder. As the firm expanded and diversified over six decades, it remained a family business through the 1990s. Richard Roth's children, Robyn Roth-Moise and Richard Lee Roth, both worked for the firm and its subsidiaries.

Emery Roth & Sons continued to design high-rise apartment buildings in Manhattan, as Emery Roth had, but shortly after World War II the firm began to shift its focus to high-rise office buildings. As they became increasingly specialized in commercial space, they worked closely with real estate developers such as the Uris Corporation, Tishman Construction, Diesel Construction, the Durst Organization, and Helmsley-Spear, Inc.

Significant examples of their work in New York include 55 Water Street, 300 Park Avenue, the Palace Hotel, 546 Fifth Avenue, and 600 Lexington Avenue. Emery Roth & Sons frequently collaborated with other architects on large projects for which they were the architects of record. These projects included the World Trade Center (Minoru Yamasaki), General Motors Office Building (Edward Durell Stone), 1585 Broadway (Gwathmey Siegel & Associates), 7 Hanover Square (Norman Jaffe), the Portland Municipal Building (Michael Graves), 375 Hudson Street (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill), and the Pan Am Building (Walter Gropius).

Over the years the firm consistently provided marketable designs that maximized the net rentable area, a feature highly prized by real estate developers. Writing of the firm’s work in a 1957 article, Richard Roth remarked “The entire endeavor in our office is to create the best that can be produced within the restrictions that are placed upon us; and these restrictions are seldom those of our client, but rather of lending institutions; economics; and municipal authorities’ laws” ( Progressive Architecture , June 1957).

The promotion of the Texas-based architect Robert Sobel (b. 1931) to principal in the late 1970s marks a shift in their focus from Manhattan office buildings to mixed-use properties in Texas and overseas. Beginning in the 1970s, possibly in reaction to New York City’s fiscal crisis, and continuing through the 1990s, the firm expanded and diversified its operations into several related entities. In the 1980s they took advantage of the Texas oil boom, establishing the office of Sobel / Roth that was based in Houston. Notable examples of their work outside of Manhattan include Houston’s Alliance Tower, Beijing’s China World Trade Center, and the Taman Tuk Abdul Razak Center in Malaysia.

In 1993, Richard Roth Junior sold all of his issued and outstanding shares of Emery Roth & Sons and all of its affiliated and related entities to Robert Sobel. In 1996, the firm ceased to operate, apparently because of financial distress.

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