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Kahn & Jacobs architectural drawings and records, circa 1893-1965, (bulk circa 1893-1950)

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Preferred Citation

Kahn & Jacobs architectural drawings and records. Dept. of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.

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

Summary Information

Abstract

The projects in this collection represent the history of a firm that lasted nearly a century. The roots of the firm can be traced back to Hermann J. Schwarzmann, a German-born architect who designed the Philadelphia Centennial of 1876. Schwarzmann soon partnered with Albert Buchman and practiced with him until 1887. Unfortunately no drawings survive from the two earliest firms. This collection begins with records from the partnership of Buchman & Deisler (circa 1888-1899), followed by a succession of partnerships until the dissolution of the firm: Buchman & Fox (1899-1917), Buchman & Kahn (1917-1930), Ely Jacques Kahn Architects (1930-1940), and Kahn & Jacobs (1940-1973). The bulk of the collection documents the firms' work from 1893 until 1950. The collection includes approximately 8,250 architectural drawings for projects located primarily in New York City that were designed or altered by Kahn & Jacobs and the various predecessor partnerships. Major projects include the Bergdorf Goodman Department Store (1927); Bloomingdale’s Department Store (1903-1917); the Bonwit Teller Department Store at Fifth Avenue and 38th Street (1911); the Film Center building (1928-1932); the original New York Times Building at 42nd Street and Broadway (1915-1920); and the Squibb Building (1929-1951), all in New York City. Researchers will also find drawings for the Oppenheimer-Collins Company buildings in Brooklyn (1915-1928), New York City (1906-1930), Philadelphia (1923), and Pittsburgh (1919-1928).

At a Glance

CLIO record: View CLIO record
Creator(s):Kahn & Jacobs.
Title:Kahn & Jacobs architectural drawings and records, circa 1893-1965, (bulk circa 1893-1950)
Physical description:approx. 8,250 architectural drawings, 738 property surveys, 3 ledger books, and 0.4 linear feet of specifications.
Language(s):In English
Access: This collection is available for use by qualified readers by appointment in the Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University. For further information and to make an appointment, please call (212) 854-4110 or email avery-drawings@libraries.cul.columbia.edu.  More information »

Arrangement

Arrangement

The collection is arranged in two series:

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Description

Scope and Content

This collection represent the history of one prominent architectural firm in New York, its most well-known member being Ely Jacques Kahn (1884-1972) whose activity spans over fifty years. The archive was given to Avery Library by the successor firm of Hellmuth, Obata, and Kassabaum in 1978. The firm has been known under the following names:

Buchman & Deisler (ca. 1883-1900) ; Buchman & Fox (ca. 1900-1919) ; Buchman & Kahn (ca. 1920-1929) ; Kahn & Morgan (1930) ; Kahn & (Eliel) Saarinen (1930) ; Ely Jacques Kahn, archts. (1930-1940) ; Kahn & Jacobs (1941-1972)

Series I: Architectural Records

The series consists of architectural drawings for 117 projects (located primarily in New York City), designed or altered by Kahn and Jacobs and its predecessor firms. Each project was catalogued separately in the online catalog. In order to preserve this historical unit, each project was catalogued in the online catalog in close to chronological order. This finding aid provides a link to each project's associated record. Sheet level description can be found in these project-level records. Each sheet is individually accessioned with numbers ranging from 1978.001.00001 through .08313. In the container listing for this online finding aid, the projects have been listed alphabetically by the available identifier (either building name or address) rather than in accession/chronological order.

Series II: Property Survey

This series contains 738 survey drawings for over 270 properties located primarily in New York City. The drawings date from the 1860s to the 1940s, with the bulk created during the Buchman & Deisler and Buchman & Fox years. The surveys are arranged in ascending street order, with non-New York properties list at the end.

Series III: Other Records

Included are specifications, dated from 1903 to 1918, for work done for Messrs. Bloomingdale Brothers Department Store; and three ledger books, dated from 1926 to 1941.

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Using the Collection

Access Restrictions

This collection is available for use by qualified readers by appointment in the Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University. For further information and to make an appointment, please call (212) 854-4110 or email avery-drawings@libraries.cul.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

Kahn & Jacobs architectural drawings and records. Dept. of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.

Related Material

Related holdings in Avery Drawings & Archives:

Ely Jacques Kahn papers, 1906-1986, (bulk 1906-1972) : Ely and Liselotte Kahn (1963.001, 1992.003, 1992.011, 1993.016, 1994.013)

Robert Allan Jacobs papers, 18902-1990s, (bulk 1909-1983) : Margot Jacobs Gift (1999.013)

[Conceptual cross-section rendering for a multi-use building] / Kahn & Jacobs : Mark Dessauce Gift (2003.005)

150 Permanent Dwelling Units and Community House [Lexington Park, M.D. ] / Kahn & Jacobs : Mark Dessauce Gift (2003.005)

[2 Park Avenue (New York, N.Y)] : [design for bronze Subway sidewalk sign post] / Buchman & Kahn : Andrew Alpern Gift (2010.005)

[Perspective rendering of] Federation Building [New York, N.Y.] / Buchman & Kahn : Catha Rambusch Gift (1994.017)

[Dwelling, 30 West 72nd Street (New York, N.Y)] / Buchman & Fox : Andrew Alpern Gift (2010.005)

[Alterations to House, 21 East 63rd Street (New York, N.Y)] / Buchman & Fox : Andrew Alpern Gift (2010.005)

Students Building [Barnard Hall?] / Buchman & Fox : Gilbert Seltzer Gift (1986.009)

Related holdings in other institutions:

Robert A. Jacobs Photographs, Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries.

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

Columbia University Libraries. Avery Architecture and Fine Arts Library. Department of Drawings and Archives; machine readable finding aid created by Columbia University Libraries Digital Library Program Division

Processing Information

The description and cataloging of drawings were completed by Janet Parks in 1978. Shelley Hayreh, Avery Archivist, processed addtional records, edited and published the finding aid for the collection in 2015.

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion June 25, 2009 Finding aid written in English.
    2009-06-25 File created.

CLIO ID: 3460624 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.

Additional Creators (Corporate and Firm Names)

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts (France)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Buchman & Deisler.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Buchman & Fox.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Buchman & Kahn.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Kahn & Morgan.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Kahn & Saarinen.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Ely Jacques Kahn, Architects.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Goldwin Starrett & Van Vleck.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

Additional Creator (Personal Names)

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Jacobs, Robert Allan.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Kahn, Ely Jacques, 1884-1972.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Saarinen, Eliel, 1873-1950.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

Subjects (Buildings)

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Bergdorf Goodman (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Oppenheimer-Collins Company--Buildings.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Bonwit Teller, Fifth Ave. and 38th Street (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Film Center (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
New York Times Building, 42nd Street and Broadway (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Bloomingdale's (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Squibb Building (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

Subjects (Topics)

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Architecture--United States--Designs and plans.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architectural firms--New York (State)--New York.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Commercial buildings--New York (State)--New York.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Commercial buildings--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Commercial buildings--Pennsylvania--Pittsburgh.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Department stores--New York (State)--New York.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture--New York (State)--New York.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture--Pennsylvania--Pittsburgh.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

Subjects (Occupation)

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Architects.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

Types of Material

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Drawings.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architectural drawings.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Account books.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Autographs.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

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History / Biographical Note

History

Ely Jacques Kahn was one of the most significant architects in New York City in the 20th century, sustaining an active career over more than six decades. Many of his buildings are now New York City landmarks, bearing witness to the sophistication of Art Deco and Moderne styles and the ambitions of the post-World War II building boom.

Born in Manhattan, Kahn graduated from Columbia College in 1903 and completed further study in architecture at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1907-08. Returning to New York, Kahn struggled to find work in the wake of the 1907 stock market collapse. Competition for architectural jobs was tough given the growing number of trained architects and Kahn also faced a rising wall of anti-Semitism in the patrician world of New York architecture. In 1914, Kahn took a teaching position at Cornell as a replacement for a French architect unable to return due to the outbreak of World War I. In 1917, he joined the partnership of Buchman and Fox, already an established firm. As part of Buchman & Kahn, he began designing and building successful commercial buildings, profiting from the building boom in the 1910s and 1920s.

After Buchman's retirement in 1930, Kahn practiced alone for a decade, and was joined in 1940 by the much younger Robert Allan Jacobs. Kahn finished his career in partnership with Jacobs, retiring from the practice in 1969. Jacobs retired soon after, in 1973, and the remaining junior partners of Kahn & Jacobs joined the St. Louis-based architecture firm Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum (HOK) that same year. The bulk of this collection consists of the Kahn & Jacobs architectural drawings and records, created between circa 1893 and 1965, which were donated to Avery Library by HOK in 1978.

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