The Irving J. Gill papers comprise 21 linear feet and date from 1870 to 1936, though photographs taken at later dates were
subsequently added to the collection by Louis Gill before he donated the archive, and by the repository. The collection contains
a small number of letters, most written to Gill; a few diaries for selected years; photographs that he collected and photographs
of his architectural work; clippings and printed ephemera; and architectural drawings of Gill's projects in Rhode Island,
Maine, San Diego, Torrance, and Los Angeles. The collection includes very few personal items, other than letters written to
his wife Marian Brashears.
Born near Syracuse, New York, Irving Gill (1870-1936) was descended from Quakers and grew up in a family with ties to the
building trades; his father was a carpenter and a farmer. Gill trained in architecture through an apprenticeship with architect
Ellis K. Hall in Syracuse and, based on Hall’s recommendation, moved to Chicago in 1890 to work for architect Joseph L. Silsbee.
By 1891, however, Gill was in the office of Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan. Frank Lloyd Wright (who had earlier worked for
Silsbee) was working for Sullivan at this time and later claimed that Gill worked under his guidance. The Adler and Sullivan
office was engaged with the Transportation Building for the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. This early modern design
was one of the few buildings not in the classical style for which the fair became known and highly influential, and it is
likely that Gill may have worked on this project during his brief tenure in the office.
21.0 Linear feet
(4 boxes and 6 flat file drawers)
Open for use by qualified researchers.