Archival Collections
Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library

Douglas Putnam Haskell papers, 1866-1979 (bulk 1949-1964). 

Creator: 
Haskell, Douglas Putnam, 1899-1979.
Phys. Desc: 
56 linear ft. (118 boxes including 5 oversize).
Location: 
Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library
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Online information

Biographical Note

Douglas Putnam Haskell was born in Monastir, Yugoslavia, in 1899, the son of American missionaries to the Balkans. He eventually moved to the United States, where he graduated from Oberlin College in 1923 with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Art. Known as the “dean” of architectural editors, Haskell wrote architectural criticism and edited numerous periodicals. He worked for The New Student as an editor from 1923-1927, was on the editorial staff of Creative Art from 1927-1929, was an associate editor for Architectural Record from 1929-1930, was architecture critic for The Nation from 1930-1942, associate editor again of Architectural Record from 1943-1949, and, finally, was editor of Architectural Forum from 1949 until his mandatory retirement in 1964 at the age of sixty-five. Haskell began his career as one of the few American proponents of modern architecture during the 1920s and was a friend and colleague of Clarence Stein, Henry Wright, Lewis Mumford, and Frank Lloyd Wright. Active in promoting issues related to urban renewal, civic architecture, and historic preservation, Haskell lectured throughout the United States, was adjunct professor at Pratt Institute and Columbia University, and served on countless architectural committees, advisory panels, and juries. Although Haskell was never an architect, the American Institute of Architects admitted him as a member, and in 1962 he was elected to the College of Fellows. Douglas Haskell died on August 11, 1979.

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, memos, articles, speeches, transcripts, clippings, notes, printed matter, photographs, audio tapes, and memorabilia mainly relating to Douglas Haskell's editorship at Architectural Forum from 1949-1964. A great portion of the collection (more than 46 boxes) consists of Douglas Haskell's correspondence with prominent architects during his tenure at Architectural Forum. The collection also contains material relating to Haskell's editorial duties and professional activities. Memos to various staff members (7 boxes) provide insight into the internal oranization of the editorial staff. Some of the staff members with whom Haskell communicated most frequently include Peter Blake, Thomas Creighton, Paul Grotz, Joseph Hazen, Jane Jacobs, Roy Larson, Lawrence Lessing, Mary Jane Lightbown, Henry R. Luce, Walter McQuade, Ralph D. Paine, Ogden Tanner, Perry I. Prentice, Allan Temko, and Ann Wilson. The inclusive dates for the collection are 1915-1979, which includes material before Haskell's arrival at Architectural Forum.

Subjects