Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Verna Cook Shipway Papers
MSS 0105  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (80.42 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Publication Rights
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Creator: Shipway, Verna Cook, 1890-
    Title: Verna Cook Shipway Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1894 - 1979
    Extent: 13.40 linear feet (7 archives boxes and 71 oversize folders)
    Abstract: Papers of Verna Cook Shipway, American architect and author. Shipway designed homes in New York State and California, and wrote, with her husband Warren Shipway, five books on contemporary Mexican residential architecture and interior design. The papers include correspondence, travel diaries, sketches, plans and photographs of her homes and details of interiors, and measured drawings of furniture details. Also included are manuscript materials, photographs and paste-ups for her books. The collection dates from 1894 to 1979 and is arranged in four series: 1) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS, 2) CORRESPONDENCE, 3) WRITINGS, and 4) ARCHITECTURAL DESIGNS.
    Repository: University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
    La Jolla, California 92093-0175
    Collection number: MSS 0105
    Language of Material: Collection materials in English


    Collection is open for research.

    Acquisition Information

    Not Available

    Preferred Citation

    Verna Cook Shipway Papers, MSS 0105. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD.

    Publication Rights

    Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.


    Verna Cook Shipway was born October 19, 1890, in Spokane, Washington. She attended the Ecole Speciale d'Architecture in Paris and the School of Architecture at Columbia University where she met and married Edgar Salomonsky, also a student of architecture. Together they opened an architectural firm in 1920. When Edgar died in 1929, Verna continued to run the business on her own, specializing in Georgian, colonial and English style homes. She published a study of American furniture entitled MASTERPIECES OF FURNITURE DESIGN (1931).
    Shipway designed homes built in numerous New York suburbs including Berkley and Scarsdale. In 1936, she was selected to design the first "Ideal House" for HOUSE AND GARDEN. In 1939, Shipway designed a model home for the New York World's Fair that was practical and affordable for the American family in the suburbs. Her home designs featured abundant closet space, natural light, circular staircases, bay windows, large hallways, and light-colored walls to make rooms appear larger.
    In the 1940s, Verna Salomonsky married Warren Butler Shipway, an architectural engineer, and moved to California in 1947.
    During a tour to Mexico, the Shipways met a builder who encouraged them to write a book on Mexican architecture. Warren documented the construction of homes and took photographs, while Verna noted the planning and design and drew sketches. Together they published five books on Mexican architecture and design: THE MEXICAN HOUSE, OLD AND NEW (1960), MEXICAN INTERIORS (1962), MEXICAN HOMES OF TODAY (1964), DECORATIVE DESIGN IN MEXICAN HOMES (1966), and HOUSES OF MEXICO: ORIGINS AND TRADITIONS (1970).
    After the death of her husband in 1972, Shipway moved to La Jolla, California, where she died in 1978.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Verna Cook Shipway Papers consist of correspondence, sketches and measured drawings, manuscripts and production materials for many of Shipway's published books, photographs of architectural details and furniture, travel logs, diaries, and newspaper and magazine clippings. The materials cover the years 1904-1979, occupy 3.6 linear feet and are arranged in four series: 1) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS, 2) CORRESPONDENCE, 3) WRITINGS, and 4) ARCHITECTURAL DESIGNS.
    The BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS series, arranged alphabetically, includes address books, documents, reference notebooks on design and culture, sketchbooks, travel diaries, and other memorabilia. An early photograph of Verna Cook is also included.
    The CORRESPONDENCE series consists of personal correspondence, as well as professional correspondence pertaining to Shipway's architect's license. The materials arranged alphabetically.
    The WRITINGS series is arranged alphabetically, and includes photographs, layouts and text for her books books on Mexican architecture and design. The series also includes the specifications for Shipway's home design for the New York World's Fair in 1939 and are accompanied by a proof of a booklet of the housing exhibit, "The Home Building Center."
    The ARCHITECTURAL DESIGNS series is arranged in three subseries: A) Measured Drawings, B) Photographs and Illustrations, and C) Architectural Plans.
    A) The Measured Drawings subseries contains Shipway's analysis of furniture and design details and includes published drawings, as well as sketchbooks containing original pencil drawings.
    B) The Photographs and Illustrations subseries, arranged alphabetically, includes photographs of Shipway-designed homes that show interiors and exteriors. There are also photographs pertaining to Mexico, and illustrations from a book on French architecture.
    C) The Architectural Plans subseries, arranged chronologically, document's Shipway's plans for specific homes. Undated plans are located at the end of the subseries.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Shipway, Verna Cook, 1890- -- Archives
    Solomonsky, Edgar
    Architecture, Domestic -- United States
    Architecture, Domestic -- United States -- Designs and plans
    Architecture, Domestic -- California -- Designs and plans
    Architecture -- United States -- 20th century
    Architecture, Domestic -- Mexico
    Women architects -- United States
    Interior decoration -- Mexico
    Architectural drawings.
    Photographic prints -- 20th century.


    Shipway, Verna Cook. -- Decorative designs in Mexican homes
    Shipway, Verna Cook. -- Houses of Mexico
    Shipway, Verna Cook. -- Mexican homes of today
    Shipway, Verna Cook. -- Mexican house old and new
    Shipway, Verna Cook. -- Mexican interiors