Finding Aid for the Julius Ralph Davidson papers, 1904-1977 0000127

Finding aid prepared by Alex Hauschild, Melinda Gandara, Jennifer Whitlock, Caitlyn Ehisen, and Chris Marino.
The finding aid for this collection was made possible by a Getty Foundation Archival Arrangement & Description Grant.
Architecture and Design Collection, Art, Design & Architecture Museum
Arts Building Room 1434
University of California
Santa Barbara, California, 93106-7130

Title: Julius Ralph Davidson papers
Identifier/Call Number: 0000127
Contributing Institution: Architecture and Design Collection, Art, Design & Architecture Museum
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 23.0 Linear feet (6 record storage boxes and 6 flat file drawers)
Date (bulk): Bulk, 1924-1977
Date (inclusive): 1904-1977, bulk 1924-1977
creator: Davidson, Julius Ralph, 1889-1977 -- Archives


Partially processed collection, open for use by qualified researchers.

Custodial History note

Gift of J. R. Davidson, 1972 and 1975. Addition materials gifted by Barnaby Davidson, 2004.

Preferred Citation note

Julius Ralph Davidson papers, Architecture and Design Collection. Art, Design & Architecture Museum; University of California, Santa Barbara.

Biographical/Historical note

Julius Ralph Davidson was born in 1889 in Berlin. Beginning at the age of 18, J.R. Davidson worked in architectural offices in Berlin, London at the office of Frank Stuart Murray, and Paris. During the years 1919 to 1923, Davidson had his own practice in Berlin before relocating to Los Angeles in 1923, at the age of 34. In Los Angeles, Davidson went to work for the office of David Farquhar, then worked as a set designer under contract with Cecil B. De Mille, and then begun remodeling houses for a firm of builders. In 1927, Davidson opened up his own office in Los Angeles, though he never became a licensed architect. His commercial buildings of the 1920s, for which he often designed the interiors, fixtures and furniture, were widely published, including those for the popular Coconut Grove restaurant/nightclub and the High Hat restaurants. Davidson’s house designs date primarily from the late 1930s through the 1940s. Invited by John Entenza, editor of Arts and Architecture magazine, Davidson designed Case Study House 1, which was finally realized in 1948. He also designed Case Study House 11, the first of the Case Study houses to be built, and Case Study House 15. Although many of Davidson's designs were published during his lifetime, Esther McCoy helped bring international attention to his work when she included him in her book, The Second Generation. Davidson died at his home in Ojai, California on May 2, 1977.

Scope and Content Note

The Julius Ralph Davidson papers span 23 linear feet and date from 1904 to 1977. The collection is comprised of correspondence, clippings, scrapbooks, ephemera, black-and-white photographs, architectural drawings and reprographic copies, sketches of furniture designs, awards, administrative records such as client lists and specification reports, two flat file drawers filled with presentation boards, and Davidson’s student work from the early 1900s. The majority of Davidson’s architectural drawings and reprographic copies are of both residential and commercial remodeling designs.

Related Archival Materials note

David Gebhard papers, Architecture and Design Collection. Art, Design & Architecture Museum; University of California, Santa Barbara.
Esther McCoy research papers, Architecture and Design Collection. Art, Design & Architecture Museum; University of California, Santa Barbara.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Davidson, Julius Ralph, 1889-1977
Architect-designed furniture -- United States -- 20th century
Architects -- California
Architectural drawings
Architectural photographs
Architecture -- California
Architecture -- California -- 20th century
Architecture -- California -- Los Angeles -- 20th Century
Architecture -- United States -- 20th century -- Sources
Architecture, Modern -- 20th century -- California -- Los Angeles
Case Study House No. 1 (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Case Study House No. 11 (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Case Study House No. 15 (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Los Angeles (Calif.) Buildings, structures, etc.
Modern movement (Architecture) -- California
Photographic prints


Personal Papers I. 1904-1967

Physical Description: 0.063 Linear feet

Biographical Information A. 1967

Physical Description: 0.021 Linear feet
Box 1, Folder 1

"The International Style in L.A. 1930-1942" by Doris Fienga 1967


Student Work B. 1904

Physical Description: 0.021 Linear feet
FlatFile 100

Student Sketches 1904


Photographs C. N.D.

Physical Description: 0.021 Linear feet
Box 1, Folder 2

Davidson, J.R. Portraits N.D.

Box-folder Box 6/1

Photographic portrait of J.R. by Valeska 1950

Physical Description: 1.0 Items
Box 6

Drawings and sketches 1902- circa 1929

Physical Description: 1.0 Linear feet
Box-folder Box 4/175

Drawing of town scene 1908

Box-folder Box 4/176-177

Paris 1913

Physical Description: 2.0 Items
Box-folder 4/178

Bretagne 1913

Physical Description: 1.0 Items
Box-folder Box Add1/24-27

Drawings 1907-1918, undated

Physical Description: 4.0 Items
Box-folder 6/4-23

Sketchbooks 1902-1929, undated

Physical Description: 20.0 Items (20 sketchbooks)

Professional Papers II. 1934-1977

Physical Description: 0.126 Linear feet

Correspondence A. 1938-1951

Physical Description: 0.042
Box 1, Folder 3

Amberg-Hirt 1940

Box 1, Folder 4

Archipenko, Alexander 1938

Box 1, Folder 5

Brooklyn Museum of Art 1945-1946

Box 1, Folder 6

Buff, Mary and Conrad (re: Hi Hat) N.D.

Box 1, Folder 7

East Los Angeles Junior College, Los Angeles, CA 1950

Box 1, Folder 8

Liebes, Dorothy W. 1938-1948

Box 1, Folder 9

Long Beach State College, Long Beach, CA 1951

Box 1, Folder 10

Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce 1944

Box 1, Folder 11

McCoy, Esther N.D.

Box 1, Folder 12

Royal Institute of British Architects 1937

Box 1, Folder 13

Scripps College 1949

Box 1, Folder 14

Stone, Jean 1952

Box 1, Folder 15

Woodbury College 1945


Associations and Committees B. 1934-1977

Physical Description: 0.042 Linear feet
Box 1, Folder 17

American Institute of Architects Cleveland Chapter: Renovize Exposition 1934

Box 1, Folder 18

American Institute of Architects: Pan American Congress of Architects 1949

Box 1, Folder 19

California Council, The American Institute of Architects (CC AIA) 1977

Box 1, Folder 16

American Institute of Architects: Invitation to Exhibition of Contemporary Architecture N.D.


Awards C. 1977

Physical Description: 0.021 Linear feet
FlatFile 4

American Institute of Architects, California Council Award 1977


Reference Files D. N.D.

Physical Description: 0.021 Linear feet
Box 1, Folder 20

The Couinard School of Motion Picture Arts N.D.


Office Records III. 1925-1977

Physical Description: 0.664 Linear feet

Scope and Contents note

Office Records reflect the general operation of Davidson’s business and are not connected to a particular project. The series is divided into six sub-series: Adminsitration, Correspondence, Public relations, Photographs, Presentation Materials, and Clippings/Scrapbooks.

Administrative A. 1929-1966

Physical Description: 0.063 Linear feet

Scope and Contents note

Office Administration Records include materials related to the general operation of Davidson’s business and are not connected to a particular project. The files include general specifications and architectural details that are not specific to a project, lists of clients, and other administrative documents.
Box 1, Folder 21

Client List 1929-1966

Box 1, Folder 22

General specifications and architectural details N.D.

FlatFile 115

Office Signage N.D.


Correspondence B. 1937-1951

Physical Description: 0.063 Linear feet
Box 1, Folder 23

Berham (?), Maude 1951

Box 1, Folder 24

Harris, Rachford 1951

Box 1, Folder 25

J. Walter Thompson Company 1938

Box 1, Folder 26

Kensington Inc. (Cigarette Server Patent) 1937

Box 1, Folder 27

Roland Platt Klein N.D.

Box 1, Folder 28

Rabinowitz, D. N.D.

Box 1, Folder 29

Stothart, Herbert N.D.

Box 1, Folder 30

Trinidad Trading Co. Ltd. 1951


Public Relations C. 1930-1955

Physical Description: 0.083 Linear feet

Scope and Contents note

The Office Records Public relations sub-series may contain correspondence with publishers and brochures related to Davidson's projects.
Box 1, Folder 31

The Architectural Forum 1950

Box 1, Folder 32

Architectural Record 1935-1948

Box 1, Folder 33

The Art Center School 1941

Box 1, Folder 34

Better Homes and Gardens 1937

Box 1, Folder 35

Casa Editrice Libraria (Aloi, Roberto) 1946-1951

Box 3, Folder 157

"Die Neve Raumkunst" by Herbert Hoffman 1930

Box 1, Folder 36

Editorial Contempora, Buenos Aires 1948-1955

Box 1, Folder 37

Ford, Katherine Morrow 1950-52

Box 1, Folder 38

Fortune Magazine (George Nelson) 1945

Box 1, Folder 39

The Greystone Press, N.Y. 1945

Box 1, Folder 40

Hite-Bilicke Limited, Drivincurb Market 1931

Box 1, Folder 41

House and Garden, Awards in Architecture 1948

Box 1, Folder 42

Interior Magazine 1945-1952

Box 3, Folder 156

"Living Spaces" Interiors Library No. 1 1952

Box 1, Folder 43

McCall Corporation, N.Y. 1947

Box 1, Folder 44

Medical Economics Journal 1944

Box 1, Folder 45

Museum of Modern Art 1943

Box 1, Folder 46

Nuestra Arquitectura, Buenos Aires, Argentina 1955

Box 1, Folder 47

Progressive Architecture 1947


Photographs D. 1929-1951

Physical Description: 0.125 Linear feet

Scope and Contents note

The Office Records Photographs sub-series inlcudes photographs of finished projects and albums of project related images. Also see Project Records Photographs.
Box 2, Folder 104

Archipenko, Alexander Artwork 1951

Box 4, Folder 168

Davidson, J.R. Residence 1946-1947

Box 4, Folder 169

Kingsley, Joseph Residence 1946-1947

Box 4, Folder 170

Maitland, Dr. L.M. Residence 1937-1940

Box 3, Folder 158-159

Photograph Album, Chronological Projects 1929-1940

Box 4, Folder 171

Photograph Album N.D.

Box 4, Folder 172

Stothart, Herbert Residence 1937-1938

Box 4, Folder 173

Unidentified N.D.

Box 4, Folder 174

Vigeveno, James N.D.


Presentation Materials E. 1925-1959

Scope and Contents note

The Offfice Records Presentation Materials sub-series includes presentation drawings of Davidson's projects which may be color watercolors on boards.
FlatFile 113

Arts and Architecture Magazine Case Study House Number 11 1945-1946

FlatFile 110

Arts and Crafts Shopping Center N.D.

FlatFile 111

Branch, Houston Residence and Residence Remodeling 1939

FlatFile 112

Brandeis Institute 1959

Box 3, Folder 165

California Spot 1925

FlatFile 114

Dann, G.H. Residence 1950-1951

FlatFile 124-125

Davidson, J.R. Residence 1946-1947

FlatFile 115

Davidson, J.R. Office Signage N.D.

FlatFile 117

Feingold, Dr. B.F. and Dr. J.M. Harris Medical Building 1941-1942

FlatFile 116

Gretna Green Apartment Building 1940

FlatFile 118

Hite-Bilicke Limited Drivincurb Market 1951

FlatFile 119

House Beautiful Magazine 1925

FlatFile 120

Kingsley, Mrs. Paul Residence 1946

FlatFile 126

Maitland, Dr. L.M. Residence Remodeling 1937, 1940

FlatFile 71

Morgan Camera Shop 1938, 1945

Box 3, Folder 167

Nikabob Restaurant N.D.

FlatFile 121

Osherenko, Joseph R. Residence and Residence Remodeling 1948-1949, 1954

FlatFile 122, 127

Stothart, Herbert Residence and Furniture 1937-1938

FlatFile 123

Unidentified Cocktail Lounge Interior N.D.


Clippings and Scrapbooks F. 1929-1977

Physical Description: 0.33 Linear feet

Scope and Contents note

The Office Records Clippings adn Scrapbooks sub-series includes published materials related to the Davinson or his specific projects.
Box 1, Folder 48

Publication Record 1929-1962

Box 1, Folder 49

Berkson, Maurice Residence 1940; 1944

Box 1, Folder 50

Bilicke, Archie Commercial Building 1933; 1935

Box 1, Folder 51

Case Study House #11 1946; 1949-1950

Box 1, Folder 52

Case Study House #15: Better Homes and Gardens 1947

Box 1, Folder 53

California Fashion Publications Building 1952

Box 1, Folder 54

Dann, Gustav H. Residence 1953-1954

Box 1, Folder 55

Davidson, J.R. Residence N.D.

Box 1, Folder 56-57

Davidson, J.R. Residence: Architectural Forum 1950

Box 1, Folder 58

Davidson, J.R. Residence: House and Garden 1950

Box 1, Folder 59

Davidson, J.R. Residence: Interiors 1944

Box 1, Folder 60

Davidson, J.R. Residence: Nuestra Arquitectura 1953

Box 1, Folder 61

Decorative Arts Official Catalog, Golden Gate International Exposition 1939

Box 1, Folder 62

Feingold and Harris Medical Building N.D.

Box 1, Folder 63-64

Gretna Green Apartments 1941; 1945

Box 1, Folder 65

Harris, Rachford Residence: Progressive Architecture 1954

Box 1, Folder 66

Hite-Bilicke Interiors, Pressman and Company Building: Architectural Record 1929

Box 1, Folder 67

Hotel Knickerbocker, Chicago, IL 1933

Box 1, Folder 68

Hotel Shoreland Bar, Chicago, IL 1937

Box 1, Folder 69

"J.R. Davidson" by Esther McCoy, L.A. Architect 1977

Box 1, Folder 70

Jokl, Dr. R.H. Residence 1962

Box 1, Folder 71

Kingsley, J. N.D.

Box 1, Folder 72

Kingsley, Joseph and Mrs. Paul Residence: Nuestra Arquitectura 1948

Box 1, Folder 73

Kingsley, Mrs. Paul Residence 1948-49; 1952, 1954, 1958

Box 1, Folder 74

Lora Lee Dress Shop 1932

Box 1, Folder 75

Maitland, Dr. L.M. Residence, Bel Air, CA 1940

Box 1, Folder 76

Mann, Thomas Residence 1941

Box 1, Folder 77

Osherenko, Joseph R. Residence 1948-1949

Box 1, Folder 78

Pittsburgh Glass Institute Competition, Architectural Forum 1939

Box 1, Folder 79

Rabinowitz, D. Residence N.D.

Box 1, Folder 80

Sabsay, Rubin Residence 1946

Box 1, Folder 81

Sardi's Restaurant 1937, 1939

Box 1, Folder 82

Saterlee, Helen Nace Residence: Arts and Architecture 1949

Box 1, Folder 83

"Snapshots: J.R. Davidson," Interiors 1944

Box 1, Folder 84

"A Statement of Architectural Principles" L.A. Times Home Magazine 1954

Box 1, Folder 85-86

Stothart, Herbert Residence 1940

Box 1, Folder 87

Taylor, Sam Residence 1947


Project Records IV. 1924-1975

Scope and Contents note

The Project Records document all aspects of the design and execution of all Davidson projects. The series is divided into three sub-series: Files, Photographs, and Drawings.

Files A. 1931-1975

Physical Description: 0.25 Linear feet


see Project Index

Scope and Contents note

The Project files may include receipts, specifications, measurements, sketches, notes, and other documents that relate to the design and execution of Davidson’s projects. Some files may include correspondence with the client, the vendors, and other people key to the project.

Photographs B. 1926-1975

Physical Description: 1.0 Linear feet


see Project Index

Scope and Contents note

The Project Photograph Records include prints and negatives of Davidson’s projects. Images include buildings, furniture, and loghting fixtures. Photographers include Julius Shulman, Robert C. Cleveland, Will Connell, and The Mott Studios. Some images show the projects in construction and some show the completed project. This sub-series also includes photographic reproductions of original drawings.

Drawings C. 1924-1975


see Project Index

Scope and Contents note

Project Drawings may include original drawings of floor plans, elevations, sections, details and furniture designs in ink, graphite, colored pencil, or watercolor. In some cases, blueprints or brown line prints of drawings are also included if the original does not exist or if the prints are annotated.