Scope and Contents
Title: San Francisco Architectural Club Records,
Date (inclusive): 1900-1987
Date (bulk): 1913-1961
Collection Identifier: SFH 8
San Francisco Architectural Club.
5 cartons, 1 box, 2 flat boxes
(7.5 cubic ft.)
San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA, 94102
Minutes, correspondence, membership and financial records, curricular materials, ephemera, publications, and scrapbooks of
the San Francisco Architectural Club; together with notebooks, photographic and diazo prints, drawings, and watercolors of
architect and SFAC member Edward L. Frick.
The collection is stored onsite.
Language of Materials: Materials primarily in English, with some materials in Subgroup II in French.
The collection is open for research, with photographs available during Photo Desk hours. Please call the San Francisco History
Center for hours and information at 415-557-4567.
All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the City Archivist. Permission
for publication is given on behalf of the San Francisco Public Library as the owner of the physical items.
[Identification of item], San Francisco Architectural Club Records (SFH 8), San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public
This collection was received in 1997 from archivist Waverly Lowell, a member of the club and Director of the California Cooperative
for the Preservation of Architectural Records.
Photographs have been transferred to the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection.
San Francisco Architectural Club yearbooks for 1909, 1913 and 1915 are also cataloged and available separately in the San
Francisco History Center's book collection.
The collection is organized in two subgroups: I. San Francisco Architectural Club Records and II. Edward L. Frick Collection.
Subgroup I is arranged in eight series: Series 1: Minutes; Series 2: Correspondence; Series 3: Membership; Series 4: Financial
Records; Series 5: Classes; Series 6: Events; Series 7: Publications; Series 8: Scrapbooks, Clippings, and Miscellany. Subgroup
II is arranged in four series: Series 1: Notebooks; Series 2: Drawings, Diazo Print, and Watercolors; Series 3: Photographic
prints and reproductions; and Series 4: Notes and Ephemera on Golf.
The San Francisco Architectural Club (SFAC) was founded in 1901 by a group of nineteen draftsmen "for the purpose of maintaining
an educational program to develop the talents of its members and provide opportunities for study and advancement in all phases
of architectural practice, and as a social club for architects, architectural draftsmen, and men of kindred interests in closely
associated occupations, a place where ideas can be exchanged" (SFAC membership brochure, n.d. [1960s]).
Inclusion and education of non-degreed architectural professionals were basic tenets from the club's inception, which came
on the heels of legislation requiring state certification for architects, a development that tended to exclude draftsmen and
other architectural workers who may not have had access to university architectural education. The SFAC's Atelier program--one
of the earliest accredited programs of architectural study in the San Francisco Bay Area--offered, under the supervision of
the Beaux-Arts Institute of America, practical workshops in building and site-planning problems, plus lectures and courses
in drawing, architectural detailing, specification writing, interior design, rendering, building and estimating, as well as
competitions in some of these areas. An annual seminar for those about to take the California state architectural certification
examination was a popular and well-attended educational feature for many years.
Another of the club's notable activities was the annual public loan exhibition, a presentation that was meant not only to
showcase the year's most interesting architectural work for those in the field, but also to educate the public about traditions
and new developments in architecture. Eventually placed under the direction of the Architectural League of the Pacific Coast,
these exhibitions were documented by SFAC publications-- first as catalogues and later by yearbooks. Decidedly less formal
publications of the SFAC included newsletters (titled
Esquisse, Meditations, and Architectural notes), brochures soliciting new members, and announcements of lectures and classes.
The "social club" aspect of the SFAC received just as much of its members' attention. Throughout the years, the club offered
its members outings, parties, picnics, hikes, field trips, banquets, and Bohemian Club-style "Jinx."
Some early club members whose names will be familiar to those interested in the history of architecture in San Francisco include
George Applegarth, John Bakewell Jr., William B. Faville, Edward L. Frick, Timothy Pflueger, Willis K. Polk, and Ernest Weihe.
The club's importance as an educational institution declined following World War II, when university architectural education
became more widely accessible. Membership decreased considerably, and by the 1970s, only seven members continued to meet monthly.
The SFAC saw a resurgence of activity in the 1980s, when renewed interest in classical architecture and the concern of younger
architects, historians, and archivists helped bring about an increase in the club's ranks. The SFAC's bylaws were revised,
and studio classes, lectures, workshops, colloquia, and other events sponsored by the club drew the interest and participation
of a wide range of persons.
Scope and Contents
The records in Subgroup I were created by the San Francisco Architectural Club in the course of its activities. These are
arranged chronologically within each series.
The minutes in Series 1 reflect both regular and directors' board meetings. From 1913 through 1949, the two meeting types
are interfiled by year; from 1950 through 1959-1962, there are separate folders for each.
The correspondence in Series 2 includes both incoming and outgoing correspondence. Additionally, there are interfiled chronologically
two folders of general files (mostly correspondence) from two SFAC presidents: Morris Barnett and Frank Capone.
The membership files in Series 3 include lists, ledgers of dues paid and renewal reminders, all created and kept by an officer
of the club responsible for that area of activity.
The financial records in Series 4 are comprised of bank statements and records of expenses and disbursements, some for specific
areas of activity. There are also some miscellaneous files created by the club treasurer, which are interfiled chronologically.
Series 5 is comprised of materials on classes offered by the SFAC. Most of these are announcements and descriptions of classes,
but there is also an interesting group of drawings, evidently done for an atelier class in 1961.
Series 6 contains a small group of records relative to social events put out by the club. There are also a few records from
the club Jinx events.
Series 7 contains materials published by the SFAC, including annual exhibit catalogs and yearboks, newsletters, brochures,
and announcements. A published version of the club's bylaws, possibly dating from the late 1950s, is also included. The final
folder contains unarranged materials--announcements, memoranda, reports-- from the club's most recent period of activity (ca.
Series 8 contains several scrapbooks and other material about the SFAC, compiled by the SFAC. Their value and interest lie
in what they reveal about the collecting decisions made and the club's image of itself. These are the clippings, photographs,
ephemera, and other material that were deemed essential to the club's collective memory.
The two boxes in the Edward Frick subgroup contain notebooks, photographic and diazo prints, tinted drawings, and watercolors,
mostly from the periods that Frick spent in Paris as one of the first of 700 U.S. competitors for entrance to further study
at L'ecole des Beaux Arts. During the 1920s and 1930s, he led an atelier for the SFAC. Frick's insistence that these materials
be maintained with the rest of the SFAC collection may be the purest expression of a certain anti-academic stance inherent
in the club's beginnings (see also the provenance note in this guide).
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Frick, Edward L. -- Archives
San Francisco Architectural Club. -- Archives
Architects--Societies and clubs
Architectural technicians--California--San Francisco
Architectural technicians--Societies and clubs