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Finding Aid for the Irving John Gill papers, 1870-1936 0000105
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Collection Overview
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The Irving J. Gill papers comprise 21 linear feet and date from 1870 to 1936. The collection contains correspondence, daily diaries, photographs, clippings and printed ephemera regarding several of his San Diego projects.
Born near Syracuse, New York, Irving Gill (1870-1936) was descended from Quakers and grew up in a family with ties to the building trades. Gill never attended architecture school but apprenticed with the architect Ellis K. Hall in Syracuse and, based on Hall’s recommendation, moved to Chicago in 1890 to work for Joseph L. Silsbee. By 1891, Gill was working in the office of Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan, at the same time as Frank Lloyd Wright. Gill may have worked on Sullivan’s Transportation Building for the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. This early modern design was one of the few buildings not in the classical style for which the fair became known. The “Chicago School” and Louis Sullivan in particular had a lasting effect on Gill’s architectural thinking. Because of ill health, Gill moved to San Diego in 1893. There he developed partnerships with Joseph Falkenham, then with William Sterling Hebbard, before establishing his own office. By 1907, simple, stripped-down modern forms and surfaces defined his design vocabulary. He published several essays during his lifetime, in which he argued for a simple and authentic architecture, famously writing, “[a]ny deviation from simplicity results in a loss of dignity.” Many of his projects show his social concerns, including his houses for working men and single women, and his designs for the Rancho Barona Indian reservation.
21.0 Linear feet (3 boxes and 6 flat file drawers)
Open for use by qualified researchers.