Compiled Guide

The following is a selective guide to basic research resources available at Avery Library, intended to give an overview of materials that may be useful in beginning research. To view other research guides, return to Avery Library Subject and Research Guides. Ask a librarian if you need reference assistance or have any further questions.

New York City

A major component of the Historic Preservation program at Columbia University involves investigation of neighborhoods and buildings here in our city. For this reason, we have created a very thorough guide entitled: New York City Buildings: Research Guide. When beginning your research on an assigned building or neighborhood, we highly recommend that you begin here.

This guide explains the use of all the standard materials for investigating buildings and neighborhoods in New York (e.g.: Sanborn maps/Land books, Landmarks Preservation Committee reports, drawings and archives at Avery Library and the New-York Historical Society, records in the Municipal Archives and the Buildings Department, the historical New York Times, etc.) providing Web links where available, citations to hard copy here at Avery, as well as citations or links to numerous additional resources. Included are links to two other important NYC research guides that detail other sources of information.

Dictionaries, Encyclopedias & Handbooks

Adaptive reuse handbook: opportunities for housing in old buildings. New York: Buckhurst Fish Hutton Katz, 1981.
Avery AA3200 Ad193

Burden, Ernest E. Illustrated dictionary of architectural preservation: restoration, renovation, rehabilitation, reuse. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004.
Avery Reference AA105 B89

Dictionary of building preservation. New York: J. Wiley, 1996.
Avery Reference AA31 D5635

Handbook on historic preservation law. Washington, D.C.: Conservation Foundation; National Center for Preservation Law, 1983.
Avery AA126 H19

How to complete the National Register multiple property documentation form [electronic resource]. Washington, D.C., National Park Service.
(LibraryWeb e-book: LINK from CLIO)

Interiors handbook for historic buildings. Washington, D.C.: Historic Preservation Education Foundation, 1988-
Avery AA107 In5 v.1-2

Irwin, J. Kirk. Historic preservation handbook. London, New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003.
Avery AA105 Ir93

Maddex, Diane. The Brown book: a directory of preservation information. Washington, D.C.: Preservation Press, 1983.
Avery AA105 M262

Pearson, Michael. Looking after heritage places: the basics of heritage planning for managers, landowners and administrators. Carlton, Vic.: Melbourne University Press, 1995.
Avery Reserves AA113 Au78 P31

Preservation yellow pages: the complete information source for homeowners, communities and professionals. New York: Wiley; Washington, D.C.: Preservation Press, 1997.
Avery Reference AA50 L2311

A self-assessment guide for local preservation commissions. Washington, D.C.: National Trust for Historic Preservation, 2005.
Avery AA107 Se48

Other Books & Resources

Other Books

Caple, Chris. Conservation skills: judgement, method, and decision making. London; New York: Routledge, 2000.
Avery Fine Arts N8560 C169

Citizen’s Housing and Planning Council (New York, N.Y.). Landmarks preservation in New York City: an affirmative approach. New York: The Council, 1995.
Avery AA9127 N4 C49374

Creating an historic district: a guide for neighborhoods. New York: Historic Districts Council, 1993.
Avery AA9127 N4Ur1 C86

Federal historic preservation laws. Washington, D.C.: National Center for Cultural Resources, 2002.

Fine, Adrian Scott. Protecting America’s historic neighborhoods: taming the teardown trend. Washington, D.C.: National Trust for Historic Preservation, 2002.
Avery AA107 F49

Historic cities and sacred sites: cultural roots for urban futures. Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2001.
Avery AA105 H624

King, Thomas. Cultural resource laws and practice: an introductory guide. Walnut Creek, Calif.: AltaMira Press, 2004.
Avery AA105 K581

Muñoz Viñas, Salvador. Contemporary theory of conservation. Oxford: Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann, 2005.
Avery Fine Arts N8560 M924

Preservation of what, for whom?: a critical look at historical significance. Ithaca, N.Y.: National Council for Preservation Education, 1998.
Avery AA105 P92373

Protecting historic properties: a citizen’s guide to Section 106 review. Washington, D.C.: Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, 2001.
(Lehman US Government Documents)

Rypkema, Donovan D. The economics of historic preservation: a community leader’s guide. Washington, D.C.: National Trust for Historic Preservation, 2005.
Avery AA107 R981

Stovel, Herb. Risk preparedness: a management manual for world cultural heritage. Rome: ICCROM, 1998.
Avery AA105 St76

Other Resources

Historic American Building Survey (HABS), Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) and Historic American Landscape Survey (HAL)

Digitized images of measured drawings, black-and-white photographs, color transparencies, photo captions, data pages including written histories, and supplemental materials on architecture, engineering, and design

Indexes & Abstracts

AATA Online: Abstracts of International Conservation Literature

Comprehensive database of abstracts of international literature related to the preservation and conservation of material culture heritage.

Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals

Provides citations to articles in approximately 400 current and over 1000 retrospective periodicals covering architectural design and history, historic preservation, landscape architecture, interior design and city planning.

BCIN: Conservation Information Network

Database that provides access to bibliographic citations for conservation literature, including technical reports, journal articles, books, theses and unpublished materials.

NTL Index

Database of articles in several hundred preservation newsletters, magazines and journals in the National Trust Library.
TO USE: NTL Index is provided by the University of Maryland for a consortium of local universities. Therefore you need to register as a "guest," which is free. To do so click on the link here and then on the NTL homepage scroll to the bottom and select "Go to NTL Index." On the next page select "Guest Login." Under "Find Databases" select the "By Database Name" tab. In the box type "National Trust Library Index." Click on the magnifying glass icon and now you are able to search.


Future Anterior: Journal of Historic Presevation Theory and Criticism

Published by the Historic Preservation Program, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, Columbia University. Approaches historic preservation from a position of critical inquiry, rigorous scholarship, and theoretical analysis to engage new ways of understanding and transforming material environments.
Avery AB F988

Journal of Architectural Conservation

Features policy, practice and science papers on historic buildings, monuments and places. Includes recent case studies and construction techniques.
Avery AB J8125

Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians [SAH Journal]

Scholarly articles that are international in scope and focus on every period in the history of the built environment. Broad in its perspective, it features the latest research methodologies in the expanding field of architectural history and allied disciplines, including historic preservation.
Avery AC Am352

Preservation: the Magazine of the National Trust for Historic Preservation

Features historic preservation projects currently underway or recently completed in the United States, as well highlighting historic buildings and properties in need of attention.
Avery AB H6231

World Monuments Icon

Published by the World Monuments Fund, covers the restoration efforts of endangered cultural monuments worldwide.
Avery AB W897

Trade/Manufacturer's Catalogs

Catalogs at Avery Library

Trade catalogs, also known as manufacturer's or commercial catalogs, are an important primary source of information on building materials, supplies, decorative elements and industry trends during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Avery Library has a large collection of these original catalogs, most of them in our rare book collection called "Classics."

To find our trade catalogs, search in CLIO. Do a simple keyword search of the type of building material or element and the word "catalogs." For example, type "cement" and "catalogs" OR "fireplaces" and "catalogs." Most of the records will indicate that the catalog is in "Avery Classics" above the call number.  A few are in the open stacks and will just say "Avery." When you have a particular company or manufacturer whose products you are interested in, do a keyword search with two or three distinctive words from the company name and "catalogs." For example "pittsburgh" and "paints" and "catalogs" OR "atlantic" and "terra" and "cotta" and "catalogs."

A number of our trade catalogs have also been filmed and are available on microfiche. They are located at Avery FX3 3826. There is a printed guide to these fiche which can be very useful for your trade catalog research. It lists catalogs by category, plus alphabetically, geographically and even chronologically. This guide is shelved behind the reference desk.

Other Sources

Crom, Theodore R. Trade catalogues, 1542 to 1842. A history of the commerical catalog in the United States and Great Britain.
Avery Classics AT199 A1 C88 F

Henry Franics du Pont Winterthur Museum. Trade catalogues at Winterthur: a guide to the literature of merchandising, 1750 to 1980.
Avery Reference AT199 A1 H396 and AT199 A1 H3963

Henry Franics du Pont Winterthur Museum. Trade catalogues at Winterthur [microform].

Microfiche of over 2,000 original trade catalogs.
Avery Microfiche FX3 1883

Library of Congress. How to find trade catalogs in the Library of Congress.

Library of Congress's extensive website devoted to doing research with trade catalogs, including bibliographies and Web sources.

Romaine, Lawrence B. A guide to American trade catalogs, 1744-1900. A bibliography of trade catalogs.
Avery Reference AZ800 R66 (copies available in multiple locations)

Columbia Masters Theses

  • The masters theses of previous GSAPP Historic Preservation students are cataloged in CLIO.
  • They are all housed at Columbia's OFFSITE facility. Requests to see a thesis are handled through Avery Classics.
  • To view the list of theses, search these keywords in CLIO : columbia thesis preservation. Please note, you must use the singular "thesis", not the plural theses.
  • What appears is a full list of theses, in alphabetical order by title.
  • Most students are interested in recent work.  In the box above the citations titled "Re-sort result by:" select  "Date (newest first)" from the drop-down box. You will have last year's theses in alphabetical order, followed year by descending year, in alphabetical order .
  • If you know of a specific author, you can do an author search.
  • The records for masters theses are not complete. They have no subject headings. This is generally not a problem since the titles of theses are self-explanatory. If there is a particular topic you are interested in, add that topic to the keywords above. For example churches brooklyn OR marble conservation.