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Guastavino Fireproof Construction Company architectural records, 1866-1985 (bulk, 1890-1942).

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Preferred Citation

The Guastavino Fireproof Construction Company/George Collins architectural records and drawings, Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.

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

Summary Information

Abstract

This collection is made up of architectural drawings, correspondence, specifications, contracts, invoices, minutes, financial statements, patents, advertisements, photographs, photograph album, test results and reports, memoranda, tile samples, factory order cards, and other materials pertaining to The Guastavino Fireproof Construction Company's projects. The dates of the materials span 1866-1985, with bulk dates 1890-1942. The architectural records include structural, decorative, and acoustical sample products and fragments. Also included are materials added to the files by George Collins (1917-1993), Professor of Art History at Columbia University. Prof. Collins secured the donation of this archive in 1963, and remained its custodian until it was transferred to the Drawings and Archives Collection at the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library in 1988. The records document Prof. Collins' research efforts, as well as the Company's projects in forty states (including District of Columbia), four Canadian provinces, and eleven other foreign countries.

At a Glance

CLIO record: View CLIO record
Creator(s):Guastavino Fireproof Construction Company/George Collins.
Title:Guastavino Fireproof Construction Company architectural records, 1866-1985 (bulk, 1890-1942).
Physical description:Papers: 40.1 linear ft.; Architectural drawings: 2,652 sheets.; Material samples: 46 items.
Language(s):In English
Access: This collection is available for use by appointment in the Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University. For further information and to make an appointment, please call (212) 854-4110 or email avery-drawings@libraries.columbia.edu.  More information »

Arrangement

Arrangement

This collection is made up of six series:

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Description

Scope and Content

The original filing system applied by Prof. George Collins was maintained. Series arranged as follows:

Series I: Architectural Drawings

The drawings in the collection consist of pencil and ink drawings, blueprints, blueline prints, sketches, and watercolors drawn and reproduced by the Company, architects and other contractors. Included are plans, elevations, sections, and details in full-scale of 698 projects and technical records. Represented are projects in 35 states (including District of Columbia), four Canadian provinces, and four other foreign countries. The dates of the drawings span 1886-1964, and the bulk dates are 1899-1936. Each project was catalogued separately in the online catalog. 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 1963.002.00001 through .02652. Drawings are arranged beginning with non-U.S. projects followed by U.S. projects listed alphabetically by state and city. Materials without locations are listed at the end of the inventory.

Series II: Administrative and Technical Records

This series lists R. Guastavino Co.'s business records and Prof. Collins' research papers. The Company's business records include correspondence, meeting minutes, financial statements, patents, drawings, advertisements, photographs, photograph album, and test results and reports. There are also some papers and photos of the Guastavino family. The research papers include work notes and papers, maps, correspondence, newsletters, and magazine and newspaper clippings.

The arrangement and the titles for subject divisions and folders were supplied by Prof. George Collins. His filing system was maintained and titles were transcribed directly as provided. For folders without titles, a title was given by the cataloger and enclosed within brackets ([]). Each folder is followed by content descriptions also supplied by the cataloger. Folders 15:12 through 18:8 and subject divisions "R.G. CO. GENERAL SALES" and "RG I EARLY MISC. SPANISH ACTIVITIES" were originally stored with project files, and have since been removed and refiled accordingly within this series. Thirty-six drawings, including the Guastavino family tree and technical drawings, are listed at the end of Series I: Architectural Drawings.

Series III: Project Files

The project series contains correspondence, specifications, contracts, invoices, financial statements, advertisements, photographs, memoranda, and other materials pertaining to the Company's projects in forty states (including District of Columbia), four Canadian provinces, and eleven other foreign countries. The dates of the materials span 1866-1985. Also included are materials added to the collection by Prof. Collins during his research (e.g., citations, work notes, photographs, magazine and newspaper clippings, and correspondence). The amount of materials in the project folders vary from one item to multiple folders.

The folders in this series were also arranged by Prof. Collins. They begin with the Company's projects in foreign countries, followed by projects in the United States. For projects in the U.S., the folders are in alphabetical order by state, and thereunder by city. However, cities with greater number of projects, e.g., New York City, are filed before other cities. Given the large number of projects in New York City, these files were subdivided by borough and building type.

Series IV: Factory Orders

This series contains index cards that list the numerous projects for which the Company supplied and/or installed its tiles. The cards are not comprehensive; however, they provide the most complete list of projects. In addition to the job number and title, the cards provide information on the number and type of tiles, shipping instructions, and cost. The dates of the cards span 1900-1961. The material in this series is arranged by job number (1-877).

This series also includes a box of index cards unrelated to the Company or its projects. The unidentified cards list the names of authors, scholars, and publishers pertaining to the publishing of the journal, Romanic Review.

Series V: Slides

This series provides images of Guastavino domes and vaults and comparative types of domes and vaults found in Europe, Mexico, and Cuba. Among the 463 slides, 321 are lantern slides. The material in this series is arranged by: 1. non-Guastavino projects; 2. Guastavino projects in Europe and Cuba and Mexico; and 3. Guastavino projects in the United States. The U.S. projects are arranged in alphabetical order by city. For an inventory list of lantern slides, see box 1, folder 14 of the second series.

Series VI: Sample Products and Fragments

This series includes 46 items that represent structural, decorative, and acoustical sample tiles and fragments. One of the items is a multi-tiered display case of tiles. The material in this series is not arranged.

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Using the Collection

Access Restrictions

This collection is available for use by appointment in the Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University. For further information and to make an appointment, 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

The Guastavino Fireproof Construction Company/George Collins architectural records and drawings, Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.

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

As part of The Guastavino/Collins Archive Cataloging and Preservation Project, funded by the NEH grant PS-20848-94, preliminary inventory of project files was completed by Peter Austin, and description and cataloging of records and drawings were completed by Sueyoung Park. Shelley Hayreh, Avery Archivist, edited and published the finding aid for the collection in 2014.

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: 3463538 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 (Architectural Firms)

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
McKim, Mead & White.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
York & Sawyer.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Carrè€re & Hastings.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Delano & Aldrich.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Heins & LaFarge.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Cram and Ferguson.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
R. Guastavino Company.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

Subjects (Buildings and Institutional)

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Army War College (U.S.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
National Shrine of Immaculate Conception (Washington, D.C.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Boston Public Library.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Union Station (Baltimore, Md.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Nebraska State Capitol (Lincoln, Neb.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Grand Central Terminal (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Cathedral of St. John the Divine (New York, N.Y.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Biltmore Estate (Biltmore, Asheville, N.C.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
B'nai Israel Synagogue (Pittsburgh, Pa.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Carnegie Institute of Technology.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University--Buildings.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

Subjects (Personal Names)

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Goodhue, Bertram Grosvenor, 1869-1924.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Gilbert, Cass, 1859-1934.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Morris, Benjamin W. (Benjamin Wistar), 1870-1944.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Pope, John Russell, 1874-1937.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Haight, Charles Coolidge, 1841-1917.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Guastavino, Rafael, 1842-1908.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Guastavino, Rafael, 1872-1950.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Blodgett, William E.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Blodgett, Malcolm S.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Summerville, Foster M.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Bartlett, A. M.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Williams, Kenneth.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Collins, George R. (George Roseborough), 1917-1993.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

Topics

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
College buildings.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture--United States--Designs and plans.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture--Cuba--Havana--Designs and plans.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture--India--Designs and plans.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture--Panama--Designs and plans.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture--Mexico--Designs and plans.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture--Canada--Designs and plans.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture--Spain.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture--Venezuela--Caracas.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture--England--London.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture--Peru--Lima.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture--Trinidad and Tobago.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture--Netherlands--Eindhoven.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture, Modern--19th century.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture, Modern--20th century.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Bank buildings.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Guastavino vaults.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Public buildings.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Railroad stations.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Apartment houses.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Synagogues.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Gymnasiums.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Hotels (public accommodations)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Hospitals.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Churches.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Houses.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Museums.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Bridges (built works)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Commercial buildings.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Mausoleums.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Recreation buildings.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Memorials.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Bathhouses.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Customhouses.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Industrial buildings.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Subway stations.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Armories.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

Types of Material

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Correspondence.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Specifications.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Contracts.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Invoices.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Financial statements.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Minutes.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Photographs.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Memorandums.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Test reports.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Photograph albums.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Patents.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Samples.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Notes.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Clippings.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Accounts.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Certificates.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Estimates.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Pamphlets.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Order forms.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Slides (photographs)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Tile.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Postcards.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Newsletters.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Maps.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Lantern slides.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Orthographic drawings.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Sketches.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

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History / Biographical Note

History

Rafael Guastavino (1842-1908) was an architect and a builder. Born in Valencia, he studied architecture in Barcelona and built his first house in 1866. For the next 14 years, he established his reputation for fireproof construction and built factories, warehouses, and apartment houses in the Barcelona area. In 1881, he emigrated to the U.S. with his son, Rafael Jr. (1872-1950). They settled in New York City, and gained success as contractor and builder with their patented tile vaulting system. (The Guastavinos held 24 patents on their vaulting processes.) In July of 1889, they established The Guastavino Fireproof Construction Company, and in 1897, the R. Guastavino Company. In 1908, at the time of his father's death, Rafael Jr. assumed control of the Company. At the height of its expansion, the firm maintained offices in New York, Boston, Providence, Chicago, and Milwaukee, including a manufacturing plant in Woburn, Mass. In 1943, Rafael Jr. sold the Company to Malcolm S. Blodgett, who was the treasurer and business partner of the Guastavinos, succeeding his father, William E. Blodgett. The Company's last project was in 1962. During its existence, their unique vaulting system was used in more than 1,000 buildings, many of them landmarks, in the U.S. and as far away as India. Other key members of the Company include: Foster M. Summerville; A.M. Bartlett; and Kenneth Williams.

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