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Finding aid for the John Fitchen papers, 1927-1989
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical/Historical note
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: John Fitchen papers
    Date (inclusive): 1927-1989
    Number: 910018
    Creator/Collector: Fitchen, John
    Physical Description: 4.0 linear feet (10 boxes)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: American architect and architectural historian. Most of the research materials relate to three of Fitchen's books: Construction of Gothic Cathedrals, The New World Dutch Barn, and Building Construction Before Mechanization. Other papers include designs, drawings, and sketchbooks, as well as correspondence with numerous architectural historians, primarily on the subject of medieval architecture.
    Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record  for this collection. Click here for the access policy .
    Language: Collection material is in English

    Biographical/Historical note

    John Fitchen, American architectural historian and architect, is the author of several works, among them, Construction of Gothic cathedrals (1961, 1981), New World Dutch barn (1968), and Building construction before mechanization (1986). He attended Harvard University's Graduate School of Design, where he studied with Kenneth John Conant and developed an abiding interest in medieval construction techniques.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    John Fitchen papers, 1927-1989, Research Library, The Getty Research Institute, Accession number 910018.

    Processing History

    Teresa Morales processed the collection in 1996.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Fitchen papers comprise research materials, manuscripts, correspondence, photographs and reviews for his publications, especially for his 3 books: Construction of Gothic cathedrals, New World Dutch barn, and Building construction before mechanization. Manuscripts and printed materials document numerous articles and lectures by Fitchen. Other files contain material for unpublished projects, including his manuscript "Plot, plan and perspective." Sketches and drawings document Fitchen's designs for bookplates and buildings, including some done as a student. A sketchbook contains drawings of American Dutch barns. Correspondence with more than a dozen architectural historians centers largely on the subject of medieval architecture and construction.

    Arrangement note

    The papers are arranged in 3 series: Series I. Research for major publications, ca. 1927-1986; Series II. Student work, manuscripts, lectures, drawings, ca. 1927-1989; Series III. Correspondence, ca. 1954-1984

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Names

    Fitchen, John

    Subjects - Corporate Bodies

    Ayasofya Müzesi
    Harvard University. Graduate School of Design
    Washington Cathedral

    Subjects - Topics

    Architecture, Gothic
    Architecture, Gothic--History
    Architecture, Medieval
    Architecture, Medieval--History
    Barns--United States
    Building materials--Europe--History
    Church architecture
    Church architecture--Designs and plans
    Church architecture--Europe--History
    Church architecture--Themes, motives
    Civil Engineering
    Vaults (Architecture)
    Vaults (Architecture), Gothic

    Subjects - Titles

    Building construction before mechanization Construction of Gothic cathedrals New World Dutch barn

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Architectural drawings--United States--20th century
    Photographic prints
    Photographs, Original


    Bucher, François
    Conant, Kenneth John, 1894-
    Harvey, John, 1911-1997
    Heyman, Jacques
    Horn, Walter William, 1908-1995
    Hubka, Thomas C., 1946-
    Macaulay, David
    McKee, Harley J.
    Placzek, Adolf K.
    Szarmach, Paul E.
    Van Nise, Robert L.
    Wachs, William Carl