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Julius Adolphe Schweinfurth papers

 Collection
Identifier: M028

Scope and Content Note

The Julius A. Schweinfurth papers consist of approximately 10.5 cubic feet, dating from 1882 through 1927. The bulk of the collection consists of artwork such as sketches, architectural plans, and watercolors of projects he designed and architecture he observed while traveling. A great deal of the collection is fragile. There are newspaper clippings related to architecture and a collection of Schweinfurth's published images and writings in The American Architect. The collection also includes hundreds of drawings, watercolors, and photographs that document his work.

The collection is divided into two series, I. Projects and II. Personal. The projects that Schweinfurth worked on were 1) Churches 2) Monuments and Memorials 3) Public Buildings 4) Residences and 5) Schools and Colleges. The residences and elementary schools are mostly in Brookline and Roxbury. There is extensive documentation of Schweinfurth's work at Wellesley College, including the quadrangle, gymnasium, teahouse, and various residence halls. Many of the drawings in the collection never evolved beyond the planning stage. Several plans were submitted as entries in design contests such as the Minnesota State Capital Building and the U.S. Grant Memorial. Included with the Projects series are negatives and photographs of Schweinfurth designs that were completed.

The personal material consists mainly of travel drawings. These are separated by the country of origin. There are also six scrapbooks filled with sketches and ideas for furniture (Box 8), buildings and facades (Box 9), designs for inlay and relief work (Box 10), columns and capitals, monuments and memorials (Box 11), light fixtures, statues, and animal figures (Box 12). The final scrapbook (Box 12) is a photo album of architectural design elements from around the world.

There is also a collection of rare books owned by Schweinfurth that are housed in the rare book collection of the Northeastern University Archives. Of note is "Sketches Abroad", a compilation of architectural renderings that Schweinfurth created while on an 1886 European tour.

Dates

  • 1882-1927

Creator

Conditions Governing Access:

The collection is unrestricted.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use:

Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the University Archivist.

Historical Note

Julius A. Schweinfurth was born in Auburn, NY on September 20, 1858, the second of four sons of Charles J. Schweinfurth and Katherine Ammon.  His father, elder brother Charles, and two younger brothers Albert and Henry were also architects.  Schweinfurth came to Boston in 1879 and was employed by the architectural firm of Peabody and Stearns as a draughtsman.  As early as 1881, he was accepting work independently.  In 1883 Schweinfurth and his elder brother Charles joined forces in a short-lived partnership in Cleveland.

In 1886 he traveled to Europe with Frank E. Wallis, who had also worked at Peabody and Stearns.  This nine-month trip through England, France, Spain and Italy was in the tradition of the Beaux Arts system of education in which architects studied the great art and architecture of the past.  Upon his return to Boston, Schweinfurth rejoined Peabody and Stearns.  He published a collection of his travel drawings, "Sketches Abroad", in 1888.

In 1889 he married Fannie Bellows, submitted designs for the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial to be built in Manhattan, the Gettysburg Monument for the State of New York (Soldiers Monument), and designed and built the Bradley Memorial Chapel and Gate Lodge in his home town of Auburn, New York.  Schweinfurth continued to work as chief designer for Peabody and Stearns while accepting commissions and submitting designs to competitions as an independent architect until 1895.  In 1895 he left Peabody and Stearns to open his own practice.

Between 1895 and 1928 Schweinfurth designed more than 70 buildings and saw many of them built.  While most of his completed works are located in and around Boston, his projects were not confined to the Boston area.  Schweinfurth enjoyed a national reputation and participated in many of the high profile architectural competitions of his time, such as those for the Chicago Tribune Tower, the Grant Memorial, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.  He also submitted designs to competitions for the Minnesota State Capital Building, the Boston Athenaeum, the U.S. Post Office, Court House and Customs House in Providence, RI, and the Wellesley College Quadrangle.  Schweinfurth won the Wellesley College competition.  The design was built between 1904 and 1909, and an addition connecting the two front dormitories, Cazenove Hall and Pomeroy Hall, was built in 1919.  He designed several other buildings for Wellesley College, at least two of which were built: Wilder Hall in 1899 and the Gymnasium in 1909.

Schweinfurth designed several school buildings.  St. Francis Xavier and Wellesley were the only colleges for which he worked.  Most of his school designs were built in the Boston area and include the Sarah J. Baker School in Boston, the Quincy E. Dickerman School in Roxbury, the Pierce Grammar School in Brookline, and the High School of Practical Arts in Boston.

Most of the residences he designed were built in and around Boston.  Between 1894 and 1910, Schweinfurth saw at least sixteen of his designs for private homes built.  Several of these residences are townhouses in the Back Bay, on Beacon Street and on Commonwealth Avenue.  Many others were built in Brookline and Roxbury.  The only residences built outside of Massachusetts were the Everett Residence in Cleveland, designed while in partnership with his brother; the apartment houses on West 142nd Street in Manhattan in 1899; and Willow Point, the house for T. M. Osborne, built in Auburn, NY in 1905.

Schweinfurth designed other buildings including the Municipal Building, Ward 12, Boston (1923), the Brookline Police Station (1901), Brookline Baptist Church (1907), the Garden Office Building (1911), in which he maintained his own offices, and the Hugh Nawn Contracting Company Building in Roxbury (1922).  Several of his designs were featured in the publication "The American Architect".  The Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center in Auburn, New York also houses a collection of his architectural drawings and renderings.

Extent

10.5 cubic feet (12 containers)

Language

English

Overview

Julius A. Schweinfurth was born in Auburn, NY on September 20, 1858. Schweinfurth came to Boston in 1879 and was employed by the architectural firm of Peabody and Stearns. He published a collection of his travel drawings, "Sketches Abroad," in 1888. He continued to work as chief designer for Peabody and Stearns while accepting commissions and submitting designs to competitions as an independent architect until 1895. In 1895, Schweinfurth left Peabody and Stearns to open his own practice. Between 1895 and 1928, he designed more than 70 buildings and saw many of them built. Schweinfurth enjoyed a national reputation and participated in many of the high profile architectural competitions of his time. He designed several school buildings, residences, and public buildings, most located in and around Boston. Several of his designs were featured in the publication "The American Architect."

Overview

The bulk of the Julius A. Schweinfurth papers consist of artwork, including sketches, architectural plans, and watercolors of projects he designed, as well as architecture he observed while traveling. His project files include designs for churches, monuments and memorials, public buildings, residences, and schools and colleges. There is extensive documentation of his work at Wellesley College, including the quadrangle, gymnasium, teahouse, and various residence halls. There are also six scrapbooks filled with sketches and various ideas.

System of Arrangement:

Organized into 2 series: 1. Projects and 2. Personal.

Physical Location

71/2-3, FF1/D8, FF2/D6,8-9, FF3/D7-9, FF4/D3

Related Archival Materials:

Materials regarding the architectural work of Julius Schweinfurth can also be found at the Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center. For further information, visit the Center online or call (315) 255-1553.

Bibliography

  • Neitz, Stephen J., "Julius A. Schweinfurth: Master Designer 1858-1931," Boston: Northeastern University, 1975. (Available in the Northeastern Archives' Faculty and Related Publications Collections and in the General Collection): Call Number- NA 737.S359N45 1975b.
Title
Finding aid for the Julius Adolphe Schweinfurth Papers
Author
Finding aid prepared by Ken Risley
Date
August 1998
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Description is in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections Repository

Contact:
92 Snell Library
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston MA 02115 US