Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library Acquires Jane C. Loeffler Embassy Archives


As a single collection, this unique assemblage -- documenting the embassy work of Eero Saarinen, Walter Gropius, Edward Durell Stone, and many others -- provides a detailed history of this previously unexplored chapter in U.S. history. 

“It is gratifying to save valuable history from oblivion and even better to find it a proper home where others can build upon it,” said Loeffler. 

Acquiring the new collection represents a significant achievement in the Avery Library’s on-going effort to document America’s mid-century modernist architecture.  Faculty and students at Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP), historians, political scientists and scholars across the disciplines recognize the acquisition as a huge asset to academic programs and as a trove of primary materials likely to generate new research interest.

“We are thrilled to receive this important body of materials especially at this moment when international affairs and the American diplomatic presence are of such critical importance,” said Carole Ann Fabian, Director, Avery Library. “We look forward to intensive study of this archive by the research community.”

Dr. Loeffler is author of The Architecture of Diplomacy: Building America’s Embassies, which addresses the complex interplay of architecture, politics, and power in the history of America's embassy-building program. As her work shows, the United States vastly expanded construction of embassies during the Cold War years to demonstrate commitment to its allies and to assert its superpower status. 

Dr. Loeffler will visit Columbia to deliver a keynote address at the Architecture and Diplomacy: Transatlantic Approaches symposium on Tuesday, September 9th, 2014. Other speakers and panelists will include Jean-Louis Cohen, Professor of the History of Architecture, NYU-IFA; Amale Andraos, Dean, GSAPP; and professors Kadambari Baxi, Barnard College; Craig Konyk, GSAPP; Jorge Otero-Pailo, GSAPP; Victoria Phillips, Columbia University; as well as Jennifer Duncan, Director, Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies; and Nancy Wilkie, Acting Director, Office of Design and Engineering, Department of State Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations.

About the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library
The Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library is one of the most comprehensive collections relating to architecture and the fine arts in the world. Avery collects a full range of primary and secondary sources for the advanced study of architecture, historic preservation, art history, decorative arts, city planning, real estate, and archaeology. The Library contains more than 600,000 volumes, including 40,000 rare books, and approximately 2,300 serials. Avery’s Drawings and Archives collection includes more than two million architectural drawings and records. For more information, please visit the Avery Library website

Columbia University Libraries is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 13 million volumes, over 160,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. The Libraries employs more than 400 professional and support staff and hosts over 4.7 million visitors each year.  The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: library.columbia.edu.