Alletta Nathalie Lorillard Bailey Morris (1883-1935) was born to a socially prominent New York City family and in her adult life was active in civic and charity work. She was also an amateur architectural historian and photographer, particularly dedicated to documenting works of 19th-century American Gothic Revival architecture in the Mid-Atlantic and New England states. Her interest may have been spurred in part by the summer house she and her husband, Lewis Gouverneur Morris, owned in Newport, Rhode Island. A large villa in the Gothic Revival style, "Malbone" was designed in 1848-1850 by noted American architect Alexander Jackson Davis. From the 1910s through the early 1930s, Morris was driven by her husband or chauffeur to many notable sites of Gothic Revival architecture so that she could photograph extant conditions.
The collection includes 1134 images (photographs and postcards, with some duplicates) of approximately 60 buildings, including some earlier photographs, plans, and renderings that Morris copied to add context to her own contemporary photographs.
Of properties with identified architects, the great majority were designed by Alexander Jackson Davis, with a few examples of the work of Richard Upjohn, James Renwick, and several other lesser-known architects. Major sites depicted include Lyndhurst, Tarrytown, N.Y.; Fonthill Castle, Bronx, N.Y.; Lovat, Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.; Hurst-Pierrepont, Garrison, N.Y.; Belvoir, Yonkers, N.Y.; Beechwood, Yonkers, N.Y.; Mount Ida, Troy, N.Y., Llewellyn Park, Orange, N.J.; and Malbone, Newport, R.I. Some 18th-century buildings, and one 17th-century building (the Christopher Billop House, near Tottenville, Staten Island, built circa 1699), are also depicted.
Also included is correspondence to Morris about her research from Emma Clifton Austin; J. J. Champenois; John Mead Howells; Cornelius G. Kolff; Grace M. Mayer (Museum of the City of New York); Renwick, Aspinwall & Guard; Robert B. Sterns; and Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes; as well as several published articles and Morris' own research notes. Lastly, of special interest are nine photographs of the official opening of the George Washington Bridge in 1931.