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Guide to the Hartley Burr Alexander Projects Collection
D1943.2  
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Collection Details
 
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  • Administrative Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography of Hartley Burr Alexander
  • Chronology
  • Scope and Contents of the Collection
  • Index Terms

  • Administrative Summary

    Title: Hartley Burr Alexander Projects
    Creator: Alexander, Hartley Burr
    Dates: 1929-1933
    Date (bulk): (bulk 1930-1933)
    Quantity: 2.5 cubic feet
    Repository: Claremont Colleges. Library.
    1090 Columbia Avenue
    Claremont, California 91711
    Abstract: The Hartley Burr Alexander Projects Collection contains correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, architectural drawings, architectural blueprints, and materials documenting his work as an inscription designer. His construction projects include the Los Angeles Public Library, the Department of Justice building in Washington, D.C., and Rockefeller center in New York City. The collection covers the years 1929 to 1934 with the bulk of the material ranging from 1930 to 1933.
    Collection Number: D1943.2
    Physical Location: Ella Strong Denison Library
    Language: English

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

    This collection is open for research with permission from Ella Strong Denison Library staff.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with Scripps College. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permissions to reproduce or to publish, please contact Ella Strong Denison Library staff.

    Related Materials at Ella Strong Denison Library

    Title: Hartley Burr Alexander Papers next hit ,
    Date: 1897-2000

    Separated Materials

    Oversize material is located in oversize box numbers 1 and 2.

    Preferred Citation

    Hartley Burr Alexander Projects Collection. Ella Strong Denison Library, Scripps College, Claremont, California.

    Processing Information

    Preliminary arrangement by library staff. Processed by History Associates Incorporated, 2005

    Accruals

    No addition to the collection is anticipated.

    Other Finding Aids

    Title: previous hit Hartley Burr Alexander Papers ,
    Date: 1897-2000

    Biography of Hartley Burr Alexander

    Hartley Burr Alexander (1873-1939), educator, author, poet, philosopher, was born on April 9, 1873 in Lincoln, Nebraska and raised in Syracuse, Nebraska by his father, George Sherman Alexander, a self-educated Methodist Minister from Massachusetts, and his artist-stepmother, Susan Godding Alexander. His mother, Abbey Gifford Smith Alexander died when he was three. After graduating from Syracuse High School, Alexander attended the University of Nebraska, graduating in 1897 with an A.B. degree. Alexander began his teaching career in the English Department before accepting the Harrison Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania (1898-1900). He then transferred to Columbia University where he received his Doctor of Philosophy in 1901. In 1908 he accepted a position teaching philosophy at the University of Nebraska (1908-1927), after which he became Professor of Philosophy at Scripps College in Claremont, California.
    Hartley Burr Alexander’s interests in philosophy, anthropology, and the arts synthesized with his interest in architecture. Many of Alexander’s thoughts have been cut into stone in the form of inscriptions and symbolic programs in several monuments of American architecture throughout the United States. The most notable are those he created for the Nebraska State Capitol in 1925, Memorial Stadium at the University of Nebraska, Rockefeller Center in New York City, Bertram Goodhue’s Los Angeles Public Library, and several buildings at the 1933 Century of Progress Exhibition in Chicago.
    Alexander’s interest in designing architectural inscriptions began in the 1920’s. In 1919 it had been decided that a new capitol should be built in Lincoln, Nebraska. Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue was selected, and construction began in 1922. Goodhue’s design – Roman chariots prancing on a roof – so offended Alexander’s sense of what was appropriate for Nebraska that he wrote Goodhue with suggestions of more appropriate art. Goodhue was so impressed that he hired Alexander on the spot to direct the artwork and write the inscriptions for the building. It was during his work on the capitol that Alexander first worked with the tile designer Hildreth Meiere, and the sculptor Lee Lawrie. Alexander later worked with both Meiere and Lawrie on other Goodhue buildings, such as the Los Angeles Public Library; the Fidelity Mutual Insurance Building in Philadelphia; Pennsylvania State Finance Building, Chicago Century of Progress Exhibition; the City Hall and Courthouse in St. Paul, the Department of Justice Building in Washington, D.C.; the Joslyn Memorial Building in Omaha, Rockefeller Center; and others.
    Several works were written by Alexander concerning his work on the Nebraska State Capitol building, such as “Nebraska’s Monumental Capitol” in Western Architect, 1923; “Lee Lawrie’s Sculptures” in Nebraska State Journal, 1923; “The Nebraska Capitol” in Goodhue Memorial Volume published by the American Institute of Architects, 1925; and Nebraska State Capitol: Synopsis of Decorations and Inscriptions, State Capitol Commission, 1926.
    Alexander also worked on the inscriptions for the Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; the Joslyn Memorial Building, Omaha, Nebraska; and the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Home Office Building, Ottawa, Canada.
    Alexander died at his home in Claremont in 1939 at the age of 66. The memorial service was held in Balch Hall Auditorium at Scripps College on July 29. Scripps College honored him posthumously with the establishment of the Hartley Burr Alexander Professorship in the Humanities.

    Chronology

    1873 Born on April 9 in Lincoln, Nebraska
    1897 Graduated from the University of Nebraska with an A.B. degree.
    1898-1900 Taught English at the University of Nebraska
    1901 Received his Doctor of Philosophy from Columbia University
    1908-1927 Taught philosophy at the University of Nebraska
    1922 Began designing architectural descriptions for Nebraska State Capitol building
    1924-1931 Designed architectural inscriptions for the Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, California
    1926-1932 Designed architectural inscriptions for the Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Company Building, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    1927-1933 Designed architectural inscriptions for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Home Office Building in Ottawa, Canada
    1929-1932 Designed architectural inscriptions for the Joslyn Memorial Building in Omaha, Nebraska
    1930-1933 Designed architectural inscriptions for the Century of Progress Exhibition in Chicago Illinois
    1931-1933 Designed architectural inscriptions for the Rockefeller Center in New York, New York
    1932-1934 Designed architectural inscriptions for the Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    1932-1935 Designed architectural inscriptions for the Department of Justice in Washington D.C.
    1939 Died at his home in Claremont, CA. at the age of 66

    Scope and Contents of the Collection

    The Hartley Burr Alexander Projects Collection contains correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, architectural drawings, architectural blueprints, and materials documenting Hartley Burr Alexander’s work as an inscription designer. His inscription projects included the Los Angeles Public Library, the Department of Justice building in Washington, D.C., and Rockefeller Center in New York City. The collection covers the years 1929 to 1934 with the bulk of the material ranging from 1930 to 1933.
    The largest series in this collection are Series 1, Los Angeles Public Library, and Series 2, Century of Progress Exhibition.
    The collection is organized into eight series:
    • Series 1. Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, California, 1924-1931
    • Series 2. Century of Progress Exhibition, Chicago. Illinois, 1930-1933
    • Series 3. Department of Justice Building, Washington, D.C., 1932-1934
    • Series 4. Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1932-1935
    • Series 5. Joslyn Memorial Building, Omaha, Nebraska Series, 1929-1932
    • Series 6. Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Company Building, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1926-1932
    • Series 7. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Home Office Building, Ottawa, Canada, 1931-1935
    • Series 8. Rockefeller Center, New York, New York, 1927-1933

    Index Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

    Subjects:

    Alexander, Hartley Burr, 1873-1939
    Scripps College (Claremont, Calif.)--Archival resources.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Genres and Forms of Materials

    Blueprints
    Correspondence.
    Photographs.
    Sketches