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Finding Aid for the Cliff May papers, circa 1931-circa 1989 0000156
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Collection Overview
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The Cliff May papers span 350 linear feet and date from circa 1931 to circa 1989. The collection is comprised of architectural drawings and reprographic copies, clippings, correspondence, photographs, awards, financial records such as budgets and expense reports organized by project, legal files, appointment books, one model, and ephemera.
Born in San Diego, Cliff May (1908-1989) was a sixth-generation Californian. He studied business at San Diego State College from 1929-1931, but left without a diploma. After leaving San Diego State, May began building Monterey style furniture. Furniture building led to building his first house with help from developer Roy Lichty, his father-in-law. Before May moved to Los Angeles, in 1936, he had built 35 houses over a 5 year period in San Diego. Cliff May relocated to Los Angeles to work with financier John A. Smith. Together they embarked on building and marketing May’s urban ranch house designs for Riviera Ranch, a subdivision in West Los Angeles. By 1943, he had established a national reputation as a designer of custom California Ranch Houses. May participated in House Beautiful's Pace Setter Program, a series of exhibition houses, by designing the first Pace Setter House, which was built in Riviera Ranch in 1948. As Cliff May Homes Incorporated, May sold low-cost ranch home plans to developers. May designed and built the corporate headquarters for the Lane Publishing Company ( Sunset magazine) in Menlo Park and the Robert Mondavi winery in Rutherford, California. May maintained an active architectural practice in Los Angeles until his death in 1989.
350.0 Linear feet (184 record storage boxes and 55 flat file drawers)
Partially processed collection, open for use by qualified researchers.