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Finding Aid for the Jim Charlton papers, 1938-1985 0000117
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Collection Details
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  • Access
  • Custodial History note
  • Preferred Citation note
  • Biographical/Historical note
  • Scope and Content note

  • Title: Jim Charlton papers
    Identifier/Call Number: 0000117
    Contributing Institution: Architecture and Design Collection, Art, Design & Architecture Museum
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 3.5 Linear feet (1/2 record storage box, 3 flat file folders, plus 4 ADD boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1938-1985
    Location note: Box 1/ADC - regular 3 Flat File Folders/ADC - flat files misc.
    creator: Charlton, Jim, 1919-1998


    Partially processed collection, open for use by qualified researchers.

    Custodial History note

    Gift of Jim Charlton, 1995. Two boxes of unsorted letters, manuscripts, printed material, photographs and publications added 2017, gift of Roger Friedman.

    Preferred Citation note

    Jim Charlton papers, Architecture and Design Collection. Art, Design & Architecture Museum; University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Biographical/Historical note

    James (Jim) Charlton was born in Reading, Pennsylvania on April 8, 1919. At State Teachers’ College, Charlton discovered the work of Frank Lloyd Wright at the school’s library. Inspired by Wright, Jim packed his bags and hitchhiked to Spring Green, Wisconsin where Frank Lloyd Wright was residing at the time. Charlton managed to arrange a meeting with Wright and later joined the Taliesin Fellowship. Charlton worked under Wright on building Taliesin West in Arizona. When WWII began Charlton joined the Air Corps and was stationed in England as part of a bomber escort. Out of the service in 1945, Charlton moved to Los Angeles and found work with John Lautner. By 1950, he was collaborating with architects Whitney Smith, Archibald Quincy Jones, Wayne Williams, and Edgardo Contini on the Mutual Housing Association, a 500-home cooperative financed by the Federal Housing Administration built in Brentwood, California. In 1956, Jim established his own practice. In 1962 Charlton and his wife moved to Hawaii where he began to design steel-framed houses. Charlton retired in 1990 and died March 28, 1998.

    Scope and Content note

    The Jim Charlton papers span 7.5 linear feet and date from 1938 to 1985. Box 1 of the collection contains newspaper articles organized by architectural project, correspondence, speeches, Charlton’s business cards from Los Angeles and Hawaii, small sketches, photocopied pages from a scrapbook of Charlton’s projects, 3 x 5 in. color photographs of houses he designed in Hawaii, black-and-white 8 x 10 in. photographs of the De Mille house, and color photographs of a kinetic sculpture he designed in Hawaii.
    The flat file folders contain perspective sketches of the Mutual Housing Association done in color pencil and dated 1948, architectural drawings of the De Mille house in Montecito, and color renderings of astronauts on the planet Mars.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Charlton, Jim, 1919-1998
    Architectural drawings
    Architecture -- California
    Architecture, Modern -- 20th century -- California
    Photographic prints