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James Marston Fitch papers, 1933-2000

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Preferred Citation

James Marston Fitch papers. Located in the Dept. of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.

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

Summary Information

At a Glance

Avery ID:D&A Fitch ReCAP View CLIO record
Creator(s):Fitch, James Marston.
Title:James Marston Fitch papers, 1933-2000
Physical description:7 linear feet; (4 archives boxes)
Language(s): Materials are in English and Italian.
Access: This collection is stored in the Columbia University Libraries’ off-site storage facility and will be recalled upon request 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 »
Types of Materials in the Collection:Holograph papers, typescript papers, printed papers, and black and white photographic prints.

Arrangement

Arrangement

Materials are arranged in nine series: Awards and Honors; Biographical Papers; Committees, Conferences, and Associations; Correspondence and Travel; Correspondence and Writing; General Correspondence; Military Service; Published Works; and Reference Materials. Folders in the General Correspondence series are arranged and titled chronologically. Folders in all other series are arranged alphabetically and retain Fitch's titles and organization.

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Description

Scope and Content

This small collection contains primarily correspondence, itineraries, and papers related to Fitch's publications, travel, and the administration of Columbia University's Historic Preservation program. There are copies and drafts of several articles and reports generated for various organizations authored by Fitch and others (all reports are noted in italics in the spreadsheet). Also included is the unfinished manuscript of Fitch's final book project on American architecture. Of particular note among the reference materials are fifty-two photographs of Richard Neutra's VDL Research House in Los Angeles, some taken by architectural photographer Julius Shulman.

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Using the Collection

Access Restrictions

 This collection is stored in the Columbia University Libraries’ off-site storage facility and will be recalled upon request 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. 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.

For additional guidance on restrictions and permissions see Columbia University Libraries Publication and Digital Reproduction Policy and Procedures

Preferred Citation

James Marston Fitch papers. Located in the Dept. of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and 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

Finding aid written by Allison Lyons, Mellon Graduate Student Intern, Dept. of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Allison Lyons, Mellon Graduate Student Intern, under the guidance of Annemarie van Roessel, Archivist, Dept. of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, in 2009.

EAD instance generated from Excel spreadsheet and MS Word document, November 18, 2009. Finding aid written in English.
    2009-11-18 File created.
    2009-11-18 File revised.

CLIO ID: 7447654 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 (Personal Names)

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Fitch, James Marston.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Gropius, Walter, 1883-1969.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Neutra, Richard Joseph, 1892-1970--Homes and haunts--California--Los Angeles.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

Subjects (Corporate Names)

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Columbia University.--Preservation Alumni.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
VDL Research House I (Los Angeles, Calif.)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

Subjects (Geographic Locations)

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Central Park (New York, N.Y.)--Conservation and restoration.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

Topics

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Architecture--Conservation and restoration.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture--Historic preservation.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture--CzechoslovakiaPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture--EcuadorPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture--Haiti.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture--New York (State)--New York.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture--United States.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture and society.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architectural design--Study and teaching.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architectural journalism.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architectural writing.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
City planning--Conservation and restoration.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University.--Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation.--Historic Preservation Program.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Historic buildings--Conservation and restoration--Congresses.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Historic buildings--Conservation and restoration--Study and teaching--United States.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Historic buildings--Conservation and restoration.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Historic districts--Conservation and restoration.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Landscape architecture.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Tourism and city planning.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Urban ecology (Sociology).PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Urban renewal--Environmental aspects.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Vernacular architecture.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

Types of Materials

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Typescript papers.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Carbon typescript papers.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Holograph papers.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Printed papers.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Photographic prints.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

Additional Creators (Personal Names)

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Bobenhausen, William, 1949-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Chatfield-Taylor, Adele.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Chermayeff, Serge, 1900-1996.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Clark, Carol A.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
De Long, David Gilson, 1939-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Erder, CevetPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Feilden, Bernard.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Foerster, Bernd.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Gayle, Margot.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Harris, Harwell Hamilton, 1903-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Hrůza, Jiří.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Jacobs, Jane, 1916-2006.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Kiley, Dan (Dan Urban)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Polshek, James Stewart.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Prudon, Theodore H. M.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Shulman, Julius.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Silver, Nathan.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Stubbs, John H.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

Additional Creators (Corporate Names)

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
American Academy in Rome.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Association for Preservation Technology.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Beyer, Blinder, Belle, P.C.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
International Council of Monuments and Sites.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Katonah Gallery.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Municipal Art Society of New York.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Society of Architectural Historians.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

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History / Biographical Note

History

James Marston Fitch developed the academic field of historic preservation through his prolific career as a writer, architectural scholar, activist, and educator. Fitch was born in Washington, D.C., in 1909. He grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and attended the University of Alabama and Tulane in New Orleans. During the Depression he worked as a researcher at the Tennessee Planning Commission and as a low-cost housing analyst at the Federal Housing Authority. In 1936 he moved to New York City and began his career as an editor at Architectural Record , where he worked until joining the Air Force as a meteorologist in 1941. Following World War II, Fitch became an early proponent of the importance of the environment in architectural design while continuing his career in publishing at Architectural Forum (1945-1949) and House Beautiful (1949-1953). At House Beautiful he oversaw the Climate Control Research Project, which investigated environmental criteria for residential architecture.

From 1954 to 1977, Fitch served as a professor of architecture at the Graduate School of Architecture and Planning at Columbia University. At Columbia, Fitch founded the graduate program in restoration and preservation, which later became the masters program for historic preservation. He maintained close correspondence with many graduates of the program who went on to direct programs throughout the world to promote the preservation and study of historic architecture.

Upon his retirement from Columbia, Fitch became the director of preservation at the architectural firm of Beyer Blinder Belle in New York City, contributing to the restoration of Ellis Island, Grand Central Station, and South Street Seaport. He was also appointed the preservator of Central Park and established methods for the park to accommodate modern uses. As an activist, he was the colleague and friend of Jane Jacobs and Margot Gayle in their efforts to identify and preserve historic districts throughout New York.

Fitch was a founding member and active participant in several national and international preservation organizations, including the Association for Preservation Technology (APT) and Victorian Society in America. He was a fellow of United State Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and organized many symposia on architecture for various organizations. He established the James Marston Fitch Charitable Foundation to promote historic preservation. Among his published works are a biography of Walter Gropius (1960), American Building: The forces that shape it (1948), Architecture and the Esthetics of Plenty (1961), American Building: The environmental forces that shaped it (1972), and Historic Preservation: Curatorial Management of the Built World (1982). Among his numerous awards are five honorary degrees, including one from the Tulane School of Architecture in 1997. Fitch died in New York City in 2000.

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