Finding Aid for the Kirtland Kelsey Cutter papers, circa 1927-1998 0000126

Finding aid prepared by Chris Marino
The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project.
Architecture and Design Collection, Art, Design & Architecture Museum
Arts Building Room 1434
University of California
Santa Barbara, California, 93106-7130

Title: Kirtland Kelsey Cutter papers
Identifier/Call Number: 0000126
Contributing Institution: Architecture and Design Collection, Art, Design & Architecture Museum
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 4.0 Linear feet (1 record storage box and 1 flat file drawer)
Date (inclusive): circa 1927-1998
creator: Cutter, Kirtland Kelsey, 1860-1939


Partially processed collection, open for use by qualified researchers.

Custodial History note

Gift of Mr. & Mrs. Richard L. Poper, 1999.

Preferred Citation note

Kirtland Kelsey Cutter papers, Architecture and Design Collection. Art, Design & Architecture Museum; University of California, Santa Barbara.

Biographical/Historical note

Kirtland Kelsey Cutter was born in East Rockport, Ohio on August 20, 1860. At age 17, Cutter attended Brooks Military Academy. After military school, Cutter enrolled in the Art Students’ League of New York, intent on being an illustrator. Following art school, Kirtland Cutter traveled to Europe and studied art in Dresden and Florence. In 1886, Cutter moved back to the United States to Spokane Washington, where he made the decision to practice architecture rather than pursue a career in art. Cutter recruited John C. Poetz, a young draftsman who had just moved to Spokane from Los Angeles, to be his partner. After fire destroyed most of downtown Spokane in 1889, Kirtland Cutter and his partner John C. Poetz helped to rebuild the city. Notable buildings from this period include: First National Bank, Rookery Building, White House Store, Sherwood Building, and Spokane Club. Work begun to pick up for Cutter after he had finished rebuilding downtown Spokane, and he began receiving residential commissions in Seattle, Tacoma and Santa Barbara. In 1923, Cutter sold his practice to his longtime assistant Henry Bertelsen and moved to California, where he set up a new firm in Long Beach. From 1923 through 1929 Cutter was in a partnership with architect Jess Jones. In California, Cutter designed residences in Long Beach, Palos Verdes, Beverly Hills, and San Marino. Kirtland Kelsey Cutter died September 26, 1939 at the age of 79 in Long Beach.

Scope and Content note

The Kirtland Kelsey Cutter papers span 4 linear feet and date from 1927 to 1998. The collection is composed of black-and-white photographs of Southern Californian residences that Cutter designed, newspaper clippings and ephemera on Cutter that date from the late 1970s to the early 1980s, Cutter’s handbook on architectural practice dated 1928, architectural drawings (primarily presentation drawings) as well as architectural reprographic copies.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Cutter, Kirtland Kelsey, 1860-1939
Architectural drawings
Architecture -- California -- 20th century
Architecture, Spanish Colonial -- California, Southern
Photographic prints
Presentation drawings (proposals)
Reprographic copies