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Finding aid to the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) records, MS 3980
MS 3980  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Existence and Location of Originals
  • Separated Materials
  • Acquisition Information
  • Accruals
  • System of Arrangement
  • Processing Information
  • Organizational History
  • Scope and Contents

  • Title: Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) records
    Date (inclusive): circa 1790-2012
    Date (bulk): 1933-1965
    Collection Identifier: MS 3980
    Creator: Historic American Buildings Survey
    Extent: 63 boxes and 1 oversize box (30 linear feet)
    Contributing Institution: California Historical Society
    678 Mission Street
    San Francisco, CA, 94105-4014
    (415) 357-1848
    reference@calhist.org
    URL: http://www.californiahistoricalsociety.org/
    Physical Location: Collection is stored onsite.
    Language of Materials: Collection materials are in English.
    Abstract: Collection comprises duplicate and original records of the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), dated between circa 1790 and 2011, with most records dating between 1933 and 1965. The bulk of the collection consists of duplicate HABS documentation for historic buildings and places in California and the National Park Service's Western Region, although the collection also includes fragmentary records for non-Western states, Panama, and Mexico. Buildings of historical merit, both “antique” (pre-1860) and newer, are recorded. Copies of official HABS documentation include photographic prints, negatives, photographic pages, inventory work sheets, photograph-data book reports, measured drawings, and other materials, prepared and submitted by the program’s surveyors. These materials are supplemented by administrative files, correspondence, survey notes, sketches, field notebooks, essays, ephemera, newspaper clippings, and other published materials. Many photographs in the collection were taken by HABS photographers Roger Sturtevant and Jack E. Boucher.

    Access

    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Director of Library and Archives, North Baker Research Library, California Historical Society, 678 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. Consent is given on behalf of the California Historical Society as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner. Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) records, MS 3980, California Historical Society.

    Existence and Location of Originals

    Original Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) records reside at the Library of Congress. Digital reproductions can be searched and viewed on the Library of Congress' website: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/hh/ .

    Separated Materials

    Some photographs were separated and integrated into the California Historical Society's Photography Collection.

    Acquisition Information

    In 1973, the California Historical Society became the designated state repository for copies of California HABS documentation, acquiring 35 cartons of records on a permanent loan basis from the San Francisco offices of the National Park Service, Western Region. Additional deposits continue to supplement this original gift.

    Accruals

    Additions are ongoing.

    System of Arrangement

    The collection is arranged in four series: 1) General files; 2) California; 3) Other states and countries; and 4) Audiovisual materials.
    HABS documentation for individual buildings is arranged in geographic and numeric order: first by state, then by county, and, finally, by HABS survey number.

    Processing Information

    The collection was reorganized and additions were processed by Marie Silva in 2011.

    Organizational History

    At the height of the Great Depression, architect Charles E. Peterson of the National Park Service proposed an innovative New Deal program that would relieve unemployment among architects, draftsmen, and photographers, while documenting the nation’s threatened architectural heritage: the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS). Inaugurated in 1933, the program would be administered by the National Park Service, with professional support from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and funding from various public works programs, including the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Since 1934, the Library of Congress has preserved HABS’ documentary legacy in hundreds of thousands of photographs, drawings, and other materials.
    Soon after the program was inaugurated, California was divided into two administrative districts—Northern California and Southern California, including Arizona—and HABS surveyors set to work, documenting a wide range of structures, with a focus on missions, colonial buildings, and Gold Rush towns. A year later, California was reorganized into four districts, Northern California, including Nevada; Santa Barbara County, including San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties; Southern California, including Arizona; and San Diego County. The national program received a boost in 1935, when HABS was permanently established by the landmark Historic Sites, Buildings, and Antiquities Act.
    In the early 1940s, with the beginning of American intervention in World War II, HABS lost its WPA funding. For the next sixteen years, the program was sustained by donations of records from the National Park Service. During this period, HABS began to employ summer teams of architecture students to record historic buildings, a practice that would endure until the present day. In 1957, HABS regained its financial footing, revived and funded by the National Park Service as part of its Mission 66 historic restoration program. Building surveys in California and other Western states were administered by the National Park Service’s Western Office in San Francisco, under the supervision of architect Charles S. Pope. This period (1957-1960s) witnessed the careful documentation of many important places in California, including Yosemite and Old Sacramento.
    In the early 1970s, the National Park Service closed its Western Office, headquartered in San Francisco. (It was later reopened as the Pacific West Regional Office, again in San Francisco.) At this time, the California Historical Society was named the official state repository for HABS documentation, and records maintained at the Western Office were transferred to CHS on a permanent loan basis. The National Park Service continues to administer the program, supervising the preparation of HABS documentation by summer teams, individuals, and organizations. The Library of Congress preserves and provides access to original HABS records, while supporting institutions like the California Historical Society maintain auxiliary collections of duplicate documentation.

    Scope and Contents

    The collection comprises duplicate and original records of the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), dated between circa 1790 and 2011, with most records dating between 1933 and 1965. The bulk of the collection consists of duplicate HABS documentation for historic buildings and places in California and the National Park Service's Western Region, although the collection also includes fragmentary records for non-Western states, Panama, and Mexico. Types of structures documented include: commercial and industrial buildings; landmark sites; homes; bridges; missions and adobes; government, civil, military, educational, and public buildings; and historic main streets. Buildings of historical merit, both “antique” (pre-1860) and newer, are recorded.
    Copies of official HABS documentation—representing the bulk of the collection—include photographic prints, negatives, photographic pages, inventory work sheets, photograph-data book reports, measured drawings, and other materials, prepared and submitted by the program’s surveyors. These materials are supplemented by administrative files, correspondence, survey notes, sketches, field notebooks, essays, ephemera, movies, newspaper clippings, and other published materials, that offer insight into the day-to-day administration of the program. Many of the pictures in the collection were taken by HABS photographers Roger Sturtevant and Jack E. Boucher.
    Official HABS documentation and supporting materials contain a wealth of information about specific structures in historical and architectural context. Inventory work sheets, photograph-data book reports, publications, and other materials document the custodial history, architectural features, physical condition, and historical significance of recorded buildings. Pictures taken by HABS photographers capture structures in the contemporary moment, often from multiple angles and views, while historical photographs—collected by surveyors—show the physical evolution or deterioration of buildings over time. Drawings and blueprints, inconsistently scattered throughout the collection, provide detailed architectural data.
    Although the collection is large and ongoing, it does not represent a complete duplicate set of records held at the Library of Congress: copies of records for some buildings were never received by the California Historical Society, and many building files lack pieces of official documentation. Records for California are more extensive than those for other states. In addition to duplicate HABS records, some original documentation is included in the collection, mostly consisting of administrative files, research materials, drafts, preparatory notes and sketches, and other working documents. Records for buildings that were never assigned official HABS survey numbers are also represented.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Historic American Buildings Survey.
    Boucher, Jack E.
    Sturtevant, Roger, 1903-1982.
    Architectural drawings.
    Architectural photographs.
    California--Buildings, structures, etc.
    Historic buildings--California.
    Historic buildings--United States.
    Historic sites--California.
    Historic sites--United States.
    Negatives.
    Photographic prints.
    United States--Buildings, structures, etc.