A Scotsman who emigrated to Canada and then New York, Lamb became one of
the leading theater designers in the early 20th century. He designed or
renovated theaters for several chains, including Loew's, Fox, and Poli, at sites
in New York and around the world. For Manhattan, the archive contains a large
number of projects or renovations in Manhattan alone, including the old Madison
Square Garden at Eighth Avenue and Fiftieth St., and the Eltinge, among others.
There are theaters for Calcutta, London, Cairo, Toronto, and Johannesburg. This
drawing is part of a set of proposals for the renovation of the Audubon
Ballroom, a theater Lamb had designed in 1912 and later became famous as the
site of the assassination of Malcolm X. The building was redeveloped in 1995 as
the Audubon Business and Technology Center by Columbia. Due to the instability
of the abandoned structure, only the façade was salvaged and reinstalled.
The collection, containing over 20,000 drawings, was donated by John
McNamara in 1982. McNamara, also a theater architect, had been Lamb's associate
and then successor. At the time of the donation, McNamara was at work preparing
the Winter Garden Theater for a new production called "Cats."