Finding Aid for the William Levy Alexander papers, circa 1934-circa 1990 0000199

Finding aid prepared by Chris Marino
Architecture and Design Collection, Art, Design & Architecture Museum
Arts Building Room 1434
University of California
Santa Barbara, California, 93106-7130

Title: William Levy Alexander papers
Identifier/Call Number: 0000199
Contributing Institution: Architecture and Design Collection, Art, Design & Architecture Museum
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 12.0 Linear feet (3 record storage boxes and 3 flat file drawers)
Date (inclusive): circa 1934-circa 1990
creator: Alexander, William Levy, 1909-1997


Partially processed collection, open for use by qualified researchers.

Custodial History note

Gift of the William Levy Alexander Trust, 1998.

Preferred Citation note

William Levy Alexander papers, Architecture and Design Collection. Art, Design & Architecture Museum; University of California, Santa Barbara.

Biographical/Historical note

William Levy Alexander (birth name Alexander Levy) was born in Brooklyn in 1909, the youngest of 15 children. In 1929 he enrolled in architecture school at New York University (NYU) where the curriculum was a balance of traditional Beaux-Arts and European modernism. During one summer, Alexander spent six weeks at Taliesin West but could not afford the tuition, so he decided return to schooling at NYU. Alexander graduated from NYU with a degree in architecture in 1934. After school, he worked briefly for Raymond Hood, Ely Jacques Kahn, and for the Works Progress Administration supervising a slum clearance project in Brooklyn. In 1936, Alexander was commissioned to build a house for Richard Halliburton in Laguna Beach, California. After the Halliburton project was completed, Alexander practiced independently in Los Angeles and New York, always working alone. In 1939, he was commissioned to remodel Arnold Schoenberg’s Brentwood music studio. In 1940, Alexander completed several military commissions. After the war, Alexander completed the Greggory house in Encino, built himself a house in the Hollywood Hills, and worked on several commissions in Mexico (one of which was Hotel Las Cruces Palmilla). In the late 1950s, Alexander abandoned architecture, became for a short time a character actor, and later a benefactor. William Levy Alexander died in 1997.

Scope and Content Note

The William Levy Alexander papers span 12 linear feet and date from circa 1934 to circa 1990. The collection consists of photographic prints and negatives organized by project documenting the construction and finished product for the following architectural projects: Poole Boone residence, the Desert House project, the Charles Davidson apartment remodeling, Hofberg house, Las Cruces resort in Mexico, the John McTernan residence, the Dr. Mindlin residence, the Monaster residence, unidentified furniture designs, and the Greggory residence. The collection also includes newspaper clippings relating to the William Alexander residence, articles written by Alexander concerning architecture, letters from clients, correspondence with the University of California, Santa Barbara, construction notes organized by project, presentation boards, architectural drawings, and reprographic copies.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Alexander, William Levy, 1909-1997
Architectural drawings
Photographic prints
Presentation drawings (proposals)
Reprographic copies