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Finding aid for the Nikolaus Pevsner miscellaneous papers, 1957-1979
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Related Archival Materials
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Nikolaus Pevsner miscellaneous papers
    Date (inclusive): 1957-1979
    Number: 2003.M.34
    Creator/Collector: Pevsner, Nikolaus, 1902-1983
    Physical Description: 14.5 linear feet (26 boxes)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: This collection of papers relates primarily to the work of German-born art and architecture historian Nikolaus Pevsner during the 1960s and 1970s, including publications and speaking engagements, pedagogical research, and his membership on boards and committees, such as the Council of Bauhaus.
    Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record  for this collection. Click here for the access policy .
    Language: Collection material is in English and German.

    Biographical/Historical Note

    Art and architectural historian Sir Nikolaus Pevsner was born in Germany in 1902. He worked with the Dresden Gallery (1924-1928) and taught at Göttingen University (1929-1933) before emigrating to England in 1933. In England Pevsner taught at Birkbeck College (University of London) and the Courtauld Institute, and lectured as the Slade Professor of Art at Cambridge (1949-1955) and Oxford (1969) Universities.
    Pevsner was a scholar of Italian baroque painting, German sculpture and 19th- and 20th-century architecture of England and Europe. It is as an architectural historian that he is best remembered, partly because he was quite prolific, and also because of his strong point of view. His polemical view is evident in his 1936 book Pioneers of the Modern Movement (later re-titled Pioneers of Modern Design), in which he first tried to persuade England to accept the Modern movement. He remained a persistent advocate for modern design and for historical preservation.
    Among Pevsner's many publications are the following books: An Outline of European Architecture, A History of Building Types, and the monumental Buildings of England in 46 volumes, of which 35 were researched and written by Pevsner. He was an editor of the influential journal Architectural Review and edited the Pelican History of Art series, which comprised 48 volumes. He received the Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1967 and a knighthood in 1969. Pevsner died in 1983.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Nikolaus Pevsner miscellaneous papers, circa 1957-1979, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 2003.M.34

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired in 2003.

    Processing History

    Preliminary processing was done by the Registrar's Office in 2003. In September 2010 Holly Larson partially processed and inventoried Series I. Linda Kleiger completed the processing and finished writing the finding aid in 2011 under the supervision of Andra Darlington.

    Related Archival Materials

    Nikolaus Pevsner Papers, 1919-1982, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 840209. The larger collection of Nikolaus Pevsner papers dates primarily from the years following Pevsner's emigration to England in 1933, and include written and visual materials used for lectures or as research for his many books and articles. Files related to Pevsner's radio lectures and affiliations document his career as a public figure, and correspondence tracks his relationships with many key figures in 20th-century art and architecture. An online finding aid to the Nikolaus Pevsner Papers  is available.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    This collection of papers relates primarily to Nikolaus Pevsner's work during the 1960s and 1970s, including publications and speaking engagements, pedagogical research on art and architecture education, and his membership on boards and committees, such as the Council of Bauhaus. Material includes correspondence, typescripts, manuscripts, ephemera, photocopies, clippings, study photographs, negatives, and slides.
    Extensive correspondence in Series I includes letters to and from many well-known scholars from the worlds of art and architectural history, such as Anthony Blunt, John Coolidge and John Pope-Hennessy. Series II contains correspondence, typescripts and other documents related to Pevsner's writing in the 1960s and 1970s, including the following books: A Dictionary of Architecture (1966), Studies in Art, Architecture and Design (1968) and A History of Building Types (1976). Also included are manuscripts for articles and lectures, and related correspondence. In Series III are research files pertaining to specific buildings and other architectural topics, study photographs, and pedagogical research. Pevsner's professional files in Series IV document his involvement with the Council of Bauhaus from 1960 to 1972, and also contain assorted general correspondence, invitations to give lectures and write reviews, and honorary degrees. Assorted administrative and personal files in Series V document basic office management, such as hiring typists and ordering supplies, as well as personal business such as ordering Christmas cards and arranging a dinner party.


    The collection is arranged into five series: Series I. Correspondence, 1962-1977; Series II. Writings and lectures, 1958-1978; Series III. Research, 1958-1977; Series IV. Professional activities, 1957-1977; Series V. Administrative and personal, 1960-1979.

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Names

    Pevsner, Nikolaus, 1902-1983

    Subjects - Topics

    Architectural historians--Correspondence
    Architecture--Great Britain
    Art historians--Correspondence

    Subjects - Titles

    A history of building types Buildings of England Penguin dictionary of architecture Studies in art, architecture and design

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Correspondence--20th century
    Manuscripts for publication
    Photographic prints
    Photographs, Original