Douglas Putnam Haskell (1899-1979)

The Douglas Putnam Haskell Papers, 1866-1979 (bulk 1949-1964) were a gift to Avery Library from Helen Lacey Haskell in 1986. The collection was processed as part of the 1993-1994 "Modern Masters Project," funded by an HEA Title II-C grant.


Douglas 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.

This collection contains correspondence, memos, articles, speeches, lectures, transcripts, clippings, notes, printed matter, photographs, audiotapes, and memorabilia mainly relating to Haskell's editorship at Architectural Forum and his professional activities. The collection includes items dating from 1866 to 1979, with the majority of materials dating from the period of 1949 to 1964.


A great portion of the material consists of Haskell's correspondence with prominent architects during the 1950s. Correspondents from the pending correspondence series include Alvar Aalto; The Architects Collaborative (Walter Gropius); Harris Armstrong; Alfred Aydelott; Edmond Bacon; Donald Barthelme; Welton Becket & Associates; Belgiojoso, Peressutti & Rogers; Pietro Belluschi; Marcel Breuer; Walker Cain; Caudill, Rowlett & Scott; Charles Colbert; Curtis & Davis; Charles Goodman; Victor Gruen; Frederick Gutheim; Harwell Hamilton Harris; Harrison & Abramovitz; Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum; Henry Hill; Holabird; Root & Burgee; Philip Johnson; Robert Woods Kennedy; Ketchum, Gina & Sharp; Vincent Kling; Carl Koch; George Koyle; Ernest J. Kump; Le Corbusier; Mackie & Kamrath; Mayer & Whittlesey; Ludwig Mies van der Rohe; Sibyl Moholy-Nagy; Robert Moses; Neutra & Alexander; Pereira & Luckman; Perkins & Will; Ned Purves; John Lyon Reid; Paul Rudolph; Eero Saarinen; R. Paul Schweikher; José Luis Sert; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; Edward Durell Stone; Oskar Stonorov; Hugh Stubbins; Robert Van Nice; Voorhees, Walker, Smith & Smith; John Warnecke; Webb & Knapp; Harry Weese; Kenneth C. Welch; Wurster, Bernardi & Evans; Minoru Yamasaki; and Bruno Zevi.

Correspondents from the personal correspondence series include Stanton Avery; Edmund Bacon; Reyner Banham; Max Barth; Ernest and Esther Born; Jim and Betty Cadbury-Brown; William Caudill; Henry Churchill; Robert L. Davison; Doxiadis Associates; Harmann Field; Howard Fisher; O'Neil Ford; R. Buckminster Fuller; Margot Gayle; Nathan R. Ginsberg; Marjorie Grimm; Paul Grotz; Talbot Hamlin; Harwell Hamilton Harris; August Heckscher; Henry Russell Hitchcock; Arthur C. Holden; K. Lonberg-Holm; Raymond Hood; Ada Louise Huxtable; Bob and Jane Jacobs; Philip Johnson; Percy Johnson-Marshall; George E. Kidder-Smith; Lawrence Kocher; Le Corbusier; Theodore Lessing; Adolph Loos; Henry R. Luce; Erich Mendelsohn; Ludwig Mies van der Rohe; Morris Milgram; Sibyl Moholy-Nagy; Willard D. Morgan; Robert Moses; Lewis Mumford; Richard Neutra; Matthew Nowicki; Nathaniel Owings; Sir Anthony Part; Eero Saarinen; Donald F. Schram; Clarence S. Stein; Hugh Stubbins; Roger Sturtevant; Allan Temko; Benjamin Thompson; Betty Thompson; Robert Van Nice; Robert Van Pelt; Theodore Waddell; Ralph Walker; Robert C. Weaver; Oliver Weerasinghe; Robert C. Weinberg; Kenneth C. Welch; Troy West; Corwin Willson; Ann Wilson; Henry Wright; and William and Catherine Bauer Wurster.

A significant portion of the material also consists of Haskell's memos to various staff members at Architectural Forum. The staff members include Brooke Alexander, Charles Bear, Peter Blake, Russ Bourne, John Fistere, Frank Fogarty, Jack Frey, Mireille Gerould, Paul Grotz, Joseph E. Hazen, Jane Jacobs, Roy E. Larson, Lawrence Lessing, Mary Jane Lightbown, Henry R. Luce, Walter McQuade, Ralph D. Paine, Jr., Perry I. Prentice, Ogden Tanner, Allan Temko, and Ann Wilson.