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Finding Aid for the George Washington Smith papers, circa 1912-circa 1930 0000176
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Collection Details
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  • Access
  • Custodial History note
  • Preferred Citation note
  • Biographical/Historical note
  • Scope and Content note
  • Related Archival Materials note

  • Title: George Washington Smith papers
    Identifier/Call Number: 0000176
    Contributing Institution: Architecture and Design Collection, Art, Design & Architecture Museum
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 162.0 Linear feet (30 record storage boxes, 1 tube, and 43 flat file drawers)
    Date (inclusive): circa 1912-circa 1930
    Location note: Box 1-21/ADC - regular Box 22-29/ADC - oversize* Box 30/ADC - regular Tube 240B/ADC - oversize** 4 rolls/ADC - oversize*** 43 Flat File Drawers/ADC - flat files
    creator: Smith, George Washington, 1876-1930, American Architect -- Archives


    Partially processed collection, open for use by qualified researchers.

    Custodial History note

    Gift of Lutah Maria Riggs, 1973. Additional materials gifted by M. A. Seamster in 1975, Marc Appleton in 2002, and Professor Paul V. Turner in 2005.

    Preferred Citation note

    George Washington Smith papers, Architecture and Design Collection. Art, Design & Architecture Museum; University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Biographical/Historical note

    Born in Pennsylvania on February 22, 1876, George Washington Smith began his education with the study of art and painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of fine arts, and later attended Harvard University (1895-1987) where he studied architecture, but never graduated. After leaving Harvard, Smith took a position supervising construction with Newman, Woodman and Harris, but, unhappy with the work, left to join the Francis R. Welsh bond company, where he made enough money to retire to a life of painting by 1912. After marrying, he travelled through Europe, eventually settling in Paris where he studied painting at the Académie Julian of the Ecole des Beaux Arts. Smith and his wife left Europe in 1914 at the outbreak of World War I, and settled in New York, where he continued to paint and exhibit his work. In 1915, Smith and his wife traveled to California to see one of his paintings exhibited at the Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. While in California, the two decided to take a trip to Santa Barbara. After seeing Santa Barbara, Smith and his wife made the decision to settle temporarily there to wait out the war, until they could return to Europe. They rented a house in Montecito while Smith built a house for them, later known as the Heberton house, designed to resemble the Spanish farmhouses he had seen in Europe. This house brought George Washington Smith national attention when it appeared in the 1920 issue of Architectural Forum. As his neighbors asked him to build similar houses for them, Smith developed an architectural practice, with the help of Lutah Maria Riggs who joined his office in 1921. Smith became very well known nationally for his Spanish Colonial Revival style. He continued to practice architecture in Santa Barbara until his death in 1930.

    Scope and Content note

    The George Washington Smith papers span 162 linear feet and date from circa 1912 to circa 1930. The collection contains architectural drawings and reprographic copies, presentation boards, travel sketches and photographs, correspondence, specifications, project progress reports, newspaper and magazine clippings, and financial records in the form of invoices, receipts, estimates, and requisitions.

    Related Archival Materials note

    Lutah Maria Riggs papers, Architecture and Design Collection. Art, Design & Architecture Museum; University of California, Santa Barbara.
    Door frame from the Edward Heller house (Atherton, Calif.), Architecture and Design Collection. Art, Design & Architecture Museum; University of California, Santa Barbara.
    Decorative architectural pieces and photographs from the Jackling house (Woodside, Calif.) designed by George Washington Smith, Architecture and Design Collection. Art, Design & Architecture Museum; University of California, Santa Barbara
    Branson Decou Archive, Special Collections, University of California, Santa Cruz

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Riggs, Lutah Maria, 1896-1984
    Smith, George Washington, 1876-1930, American Architect
    Smith, George Washington, 1876-1930, American Architect
    Architects -- California
    Architectural drawings
    Architectural photographs
    Architecture -- California -- 20th century
    Architecture, Spanish Colonial -- California, Southern
    Photographic prints