Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Finding Aid for the William Levy Alexander papers, circa 1934-circa 1990 0000199
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (141.21 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Custodial History note
  • Preferred Citation note
  • Biographical/Historical note
  • Scope and Content Note
  • Arrangement note

  • Title: William Levy Alexander papers
    Identifier/Call Number: 0000199
    Contributing Institution: Architecture and Design Collection, Art, Design & Architecture Museum
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 18.42 Linear feet (3 half record storage boxes, 2 oversize flat boxes and 3 flat file drawers)
    Date (inclusive): circa 1934-circa 1990
    Location note: Box 1-3/ADC - regular Boxes 4-5/ADC - oversize* 3 Flat File Drawers/ADC - flat files
    creator: Alexander, William Levy, 1909-1997


    Partially processed collection, open for use by qualified researchers.

    Custodial History note

    Gift of the William Levy Alexander Trust, 1998.

    Preferred Citation note

    William Levy Alexander papers, Architecture and Design Collection. Art, Design & Architecture Museum; University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Biographical/Historical note

    William Levy Alexander (birth name Alexander Levy) was born in Brooklyn in 1909, the youngest of 15 children. In 1929 he enrolled in architecture school at New York University (NYU) where the curriculum was a balance of traditional Beaux-Arts and European modernism. During one summer, Alexander spent six weeks at Taliesin West but could not afford the tuition, so he decided return to schooling at NYU. Alexander graduated from NYU with a degree in architecture in 1934. After school, he worked briefly for Raymond Hood, Ely Jacques Kahn, and for the Works Progress Administration supervising a slum clearance project in Brooklyn. In 1936, Alexander was commissioned to build a house for Richard Halliburton in Laguna Beach, California. After the Halliburton project was completed, Alexander practiced independently in Los Angeles and New York, always working alone. In 1939, he was commissioned to remodel Arnold Schoenberg’s Brentwood music studio. In 1940, Alexander completed several military commissions. After the war, Alexander completed the Greggory house in Encino, built himself a house in the Hollywood Hills, and worked on several commissions in Mexico (one of which was Hotel Las Cruces Palmilla). In the late 1950s, Alexander abandoned architecture, became for a short time a character actor, and later a benefactor. William Levy Alexander died in 1997.

    Scope and Content Note

    The William Levy Alexander papers span 18.42 linear feet and date from circa 1934 to circa 1990. The collection consists of architectural drawings, photographic prints, and manuscript material organized by project documenting the design, construction and finished building for many architectural projects including the Las Cruces resort in Baja Califonia, the Richard Halliburton house in Laguna Beach, the David Greggory house in Encino, Calif. and Alexander's own "House in Space" in Los Angeles, Calif. The collection also includes some personal and professional correspondence, photographic prints, and articles, as well as drawings and photographs relating to Alexander's furniture designs.

    Arrangement note

    The following arrangement scheme for this collection was imposed during processing in the absence of a usable original order. The collection is arranged in 4 series: Correspondence, Articles, Photographs and negatives, and Architecture and design projects. The Architecture and design projects series is organized by client or building name, and subsequently arranged by format (for example: architectural drawings, photographs, and project files).

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Alexander, William Levy, 1909-1997
    Adobe houses
    Architect-designed decorative arts -- United States -- 20th century
    Architect-designed furniture -- United States -- 20th century
    Architectural drawings
    Architectural photographs
    Architecture -- California -- 20th century
    Clippings (Books, newspapers, etc.)
    Furniture design
    Interior design
    Photographic prints
    Presentation drawings (proposals)
    Reprographic copies