Donald Barthelme, Sr., F.A.I.A., Architectural Papers, 1924 - 1997 | University of Houston Libraries
The Donald Barthelme, Sr. FAIA Architectural Papers cover the period 1924 to 1997 and are comprised of his architectural drawings; business and personal files; memorabilia; photographic prints, negatives, and slides; as well as lecture notes and other materials from his teaching career. The collection occupies 35 linear feet and 15 drawers of flat files, and is stored in 43 boxes and 92 oversize folders.
Barthelme's architectural drawings document his professional practice, from his earliest commissions in Galveston in 1933, to his last, in Houston, in 1964. Of the 1,883 sheets of original drawings, the majority are (a) studies and preliminary drawings and (b) working drawings. Few presentation drawings survive, but many have been preserved in photographs. Of particular interest are the materials for his two largest projects, the Adams Petroleum Center and West Columbia Senior High School, because of the large number of colored-pencil renderings, which he did to study different design ideas. Missing are projects that he may have done in other offices, such as his Philadelphia, Dallas, Staub, and defense work. With the exception of materials for a few early projects, for the Adams Petroleum Center, and for the Kellaway house, most of Barthelme's business correspondence and project files are believed to have been destroyed when he closed his office in 1963.
Barthelme is remembered as a teacher and a philosopher. He left extensive lecture notes for his courses at the University of Houston and memoranda that outlined his new curriculum for the Architecture Department at Rice University. His lecture notes illustrate his ideas, but the best organized statement of his philosophy of architecture is found in his writings. Of special interest are his manuscript for a book, a handwritten critique of the manuscript by an unknown reviewer (probably his son, Frederick), and an attempt to articulate his ideas on architecture in a lengthy 1975 letter to John McGinty, then head of the Houston Chapter of the A.I.A.
Other writings show the breadth of Barthelme's interest in education. In October 1959 he appeared at a conference at the University of Michigan in which prominent architects discussed Dr. Lloyd Trump's study for educational reform, funded by the Ford Foundation. Barthelme presented his own proposals for a new secondary school curriculum and a schematic design for a high school. The conference proceedings were published the next year. Barthelme also prepared 359 slides in connection with this presentation, which are part of his photographic materials.
As an enthusiastic amateur photographer, Barthelme took thousands of pictures and often did his own processing in a home darkroom. This large photographic collection documents his architectural practice and his travels in Mexico. It is comprised of 1,309 black-and-white prints¬¬ (most 8 x 10 and larger); 999 4 x 5 black-and-white negatives; 67 35mm black-and-white negatives; 840 2 ¼ x 3 ¼ black-and-white negatives; 49 2 ¼ x 3 ¼ color glass-mount transparencies; and 2,856 35mm color slides. In many cases a print has a corresponding negative, but these materials are not cross-referenced. Many pictures of Barthelme's buildings are known to be the work of Dallas photographer Ulric Meisel, but unless noted otherwise, Barthelme is presumed to be the photographer on the items in this series.
Among the photographic materials is a bound scrapbook of photographic prints and clippings of Barthelme's architectural projects. It also includes important awards, certificates, and licenses, although some that had become loose were removed to a separate folder. The scrapbook comprises 120 prints (mounted and unmounted) and 72 leaves, or 116 total items.
When the Department of Special Collections processed Barthelme's papers, his heirs allowed the department to create digital files of a portion of their large collection of family photographs, which were retained by the heirs. This collection, covering the period 1930 to 1986, includes pictures of Barthelme, his wife, and his children, mostly in and around the family home in Houston. Approximately 150 sheets of photographic negatives are preserved in 2,887 digital images on CD-ROM, with record prints in a binder. This is intended only as a study collection for scholars. The images are owned by the Barthelme estate and may not be copied or reproduced without its written permission.
Barthelme's professional career is further recorded in his extensive file of newspaper and magazine clippings. Personal materials include biographical information, student work, interviews, and correspondence, as well as artifacts and memorabilia.
Donald Barthelme Sr., Architectural Drawings and Photographs digital collection (http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/2001_003)
Documents and Files:
Barthelme Residence (after alterations), Bedroom area
Barthelme Residence (after alterations), Dining area
Barthelme Residence (after alterations), Sitting area, Image 1
Barthelme Residence (after alterations), Sitting area, Image 2
Barthelme Residence (after alterations), viewed from southeast
Barthelme Residence (before alterations), viewed from northeast
Barthelme Residence (before alterations), viewed from northwest
Barthelme Residence Alterations Drawings
St. Rose of Lima Church and School Drawings
St. Rose of Lima Church and School, viewed from north
St. Rose of Lima Church and School, viewed from northeast
St. Rose of Lima Church and School, viewed from west
St. Rose of Lima Church Chapel, viewed from northwest
St. Rose of Lima Church, Interior of chapel
West Columbia Elementary School Drawings
West Columbia Elementary School, A teacher and her students sitting in a classroom
West Columbia Elementary School, Main entrance viewed from northwest
West Columbia Elementary School, Main entrance viewed from southwest
West Columbia Elementary School, North Courtyard
West Columbia Elementary School, Scale model
West Columbia Elementary School, South court
West Columbia Elementary School, viewed from southwest
West Columbia Elementary School, viewed from west
Series 1: Personal Papers
Series 2: Writings and Speeches
Series 3: Newspaper Clippings
Series 4: Reprints
Series 5: Brochures, Catalogs and Programs
Series 6: Reference Articles
Series 7: Memorabilia
Series 8: Magazine and Journals
Series 9: Teaching: University of Houston
Series 10: Teaching: Rice University
Series 11: Architectural Projects: Drawings
Series 12: Architectural Projects: Notes and Specifications
Series 13: Architectural Projects: Project Files
Series 14: Photographic Materials
Series 15: Digital Images (Family)
Series 16: Exhibition: Bosquet-Wightman House
Series 17: Barthelme Personal Library