Restrictions on Access
Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
Scope and Content Note
Title: William F. Cody Papers 2,
Date (inclusive): 1916-1978,
Date (bulk): 1950-1975
Collection number: MS0163
Cody, William Francis, 1916-1978
79 boxes (80 linear feet)
21 flat file drawers
Special Collections, Robert E. Kennedy Library
California Polytechnic State University
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
Abstract: The William F. Cody Papers 2 collection
contains records created and collected by Cody including personal papers, student
work, awards, architectural drawings and plans, office records, marketing and public
relations materials, presentation drawings, photographs, correspondence, and project
Portions of the collection were purchased. Additional postions were received as a
gift to the archives.
Restrictions on Access
Collection is open to researchers by appointment. For more information on visiting,
access policies, and reproduction requests, please visit our Reference Services page
Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
Digital copies are provided to researchers for the purpose of study, research, and
personal use only, unless otherwise specified in writing. Materials that are the
property of Cal Poly Special Collections and Archives require written permission
prior to publication. No complete collection may be reproduced. For print and online
publication, please visit our Reproduction Services page online at
http://lib.calpoly.edu/support/sca-policies/reproduction/. Special Collections and
Archives reserves the right to review all reproduction requests and to withhold
permission if scanning would endanger the material, would violate copyright law, or
would violate institutional restrictions.
William F. Cody Papers 2, Special Collections and Archives, California Polytechnic
State University, San Luis Obispo.
n.d.: no date
n.p.: no publisher
l.f.: linear feet
c.f.: cubic feet
FF: flat file
USC: University of Southern
AIA: American Institute of
FAIA: Fellow, American
Institute of Architects
HVAC: Heating, ventilation, air
William Francis Cody, Fellow, American Institute of Architects (1916-1978) was an
influential Desert Modern architect who practiced in Palm Springs at the peak of the
Modernist movement. Between 1946 and 1973, Cody maintained a diverse practice in
California's Coachella Valley, designing country clubs, residences, hotels, library,
and church projects in the local communities of Palm Springs, Indian Wells, Rancho
Mirage, Palm Desert, and in southern California, Arizona, Mexico, and Cuba.
Cody was born on 19 June 1916 in Dayton, Ohio, to William F. Cody, Sr., who owned a
haberdashery and Anna Elizabeth Shadle, an interior designer. Cody and his brother
John were both influenced by their mother's passion for art and architecture.
By 1923, the Codys had relocated to Los Angeles. While attending Beverly Hills High
School, Cody designed and built stage sets for school plays with the son of Warner
Bros. founder Jack L. Warner. Cody graduated from high school in April 1934 and
began work the following year for architects Heath Warton and Asa Hudson while
attending Santa Monica Junior College, graduating in 1940.
In 1940, Cody enrolled in the College of Architecture and Fine Arts at the University
of Southern California, earning a Bachelor's degree in Architecture in 1942. At
University of Southern California Cody was exposed to the Bauhaus style of art,
architecture, and interior design, which emphasized a minimalist Modernism that
would come to define Cody's own work. Another influence during this time was Cody's
work for Cliff May, a leading southern California licensed contractor and developer.
According to a résumé found in the collection and his Fellow, American
Institute of Architects nomination, Cody worked in 1944 on May's influential
Pace-Setter House, a modernized, low-cost California ranch house design.
Cody married Winifred Smith on July 31, 1943, with whom he had three daughters: Diane
Louise (b. 1944), Winifred Lynne (b. 1948), and Catherine Louise (b. 1954).
In 1943, he worked for an Oakland engineering firm on a Kaiser steel plant in
Fontana, California. That same year, he also worked for the San Francisco firm of
Blanchard, Maher and Ward on Navy installations on Treasure Island. The following
year, he worked for Marsh, Smith and Powell in Los Angeles, primarily on National
Design Award-winning elementary and high school buildings in California and
In May of 1946, Cody was licensed to practice architecture in California and secured
his Arizona license in December 1946. In 1948, he applied for membership in the
American Institute of Architects, listing his office location on Santa Monica Blvd.
in Los Angeles.
In 1945, Cody was retained to alter the Desert Inn, his first commission in Palm
Springs. In 1947 he completed the Del Marcos Hotel, his first independent commercial
project in Palm Springs, which was recognized by the American Institute of
Architects Southern California Chapter with an honorable mention.
Post-World War II Palm Springs was becoming a fashionable weekend and winter retreat
for the rich and famous, and Cody's career flourished along with the city. He moved
his practice and his family to Palm Springs. In 1950, he was retained to lead the
successful conversion of the Thunderbird Dude Ranch into the Thunderbird Country
Club, which led to commissions to design or alter clubhouses, recreational
facilities, and residential developments at Eldorado Country Club (with Ernest J.
Kump), Tamarisk Country Club, the Racquet Club, and the Tennis Club. In 1960, he
began almost a decade of work altering and expanding the Palm Springs Spa Hotel.
Cody's specialization in country club clubhouses with related residential
developments led to additional commissions in California, Arizona, Texas, Cuba, and
Mexico. His residential projects emphasized key elements of Modernism: simplicity of
form, natural light, and large windows offering a seamless connection between
residential interiors and the outdoors.
A member of American Institute of Architects since 1948, Cody was elevated to
Fellowship in the American Institute of Architects in 1965, with the following
projects cited on his nomination as Achievements in Architectural Design:
William Francis Cody Residence Palm Springs, CA 1946
Del Marcos Hotel Palm Springs, CA 1947
Levin Residence Palm Springs, CA 1948
Haines Office Building Beverly Hills, CA 1949
Mission Valley Country Club San Diego, CA 1953
Jorgensen Residence Palm Springs, CA 1954
Springs Restaurant Palm Springs, CA 1956
El Dorado Country Club Palm Desert, CA 1958
Spa Bathhouse Palm Springs, CA 1958
Clare Residence Palm Springs, CA 1959
Nicoletti Residence Palm Springs, CA 1960
Palo Alto Hills Golf and Country Club Palo Alto, CA 1961
Roundhill Country Club Alamo, CA 1961
Sloane Residence La Quinta, CA 1961
Western Savings & Loan Tempe, AZ 1961
Cannon Residence Palm Desert, CA 1962
Driggs Residence Phoenix, AZ 1962
Spa Bathhouse - Hotel Palm Springs, CA 1962
Abernathy Residence Palm Springs, CA 1963
Shamel Residence Palm Desert, CA 1963
Western Savings & Loan Phoenix, AZ 1964
Cody also worked extensively with Robert P. McCulloch, an industrialist who parlayed
his racing-engine manufacturing fortune into diverse business interests, including
oil and gas exploration, electronics, and land and real estate development. When
McCulloch founded Lake Havasu City, Arizona, Cody designed, altered and added to
McCulloch Corporation chain saw plants there. For McCulloch Properties, Inc., Cody
designed Arizona residential developments in Lake Havasu City and Fountain Hills in
Scottsdale, and an Eldorado tract in Indian Wells, California. He also designed a
McCulloch corporate complex near LAX and alterations and an addition to a house for
McCulloch and his wife at Thunderbird Country Club in 1972.
Cody's last notable commissions were located in Palm Springs: St. Theresa Catholic
Church and Convent (1966-68) and buildings for the Palm Springs Planning
Collaborative, including the Palm Springs Public Library (1973) in the Brutalist
style. A stroke then limited his career until his death on 29 August 1978 in Palm
The American Institute of Architects Archives, Record Group 803, Membership Files.
"Application for Membership," 1948, "Application for Corporate Membership," 1948,
and "Nomination for Fellowship — Case Record," 1964.
The Architecture of William F. Cody: A Desert
. Palm Springs: Palm Springs Preservation Foundation,
Palm Springs Modern: Houses in the
. New York: Rizzoli International Publications,
"Experience Record of William F. Cody," Box 2 Folder 2, William F. Cody Papers,
Special Collections, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, circa
Hess, Alan and Andrew Danish. Palm Springs Weekend: The Architecture and Design of a
Midcentury Oasis. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2001.
Forgotten Modern: California Houses
. Santa Barbara: Gibbs Smith, 2007.
Scope and Content Note
The William F. Cody Papers 2 includes sketches, biographical information,
pre-collegiate and University of Southern California student work, family
photographs, and financial records related to family, personal life, and Cody
Rearchers are strongly advised to consult the guide to the related collection MS0007
William F. Cody Papers.
The collection is divided into five series:
1. Personal Papers, 1918-1980, including childhood sketches, biographical
information, extensive pre-collegiate and University of Southern California student
work, and financial records;
2. Professional Papers, 1946-1979, including certifications; awards, plaques and
certificates; and scrapbooks/tearsheets;
3. Office Records, 1944-1976, including appointment books, correspondence with
clients and colleagues, extensive project portfolios, presentation photographs, and
4. Project Records, 1943-1976, including files, photographs, plans and drawings on
residential, recreational, and commercial commissions
5. McCulloch Project Records, 1967-1972, including extensive project plans for
industrialist Robert P. McCulloch and his related companies.
The collection is housed in 20 flat file drawers and 79 boxes and 11 tubes. The most
significant portions of the collection — project records for wide variety of
Cody commissions in the Coachella Valley, Arizona, and Havana — are located
in Series 4. The collection is also rich in Cody's student work.
Most of the plans in the collection are Ozalids, a monochromatic copying process
producing diazo prints, common to the mid-twentieth century. Many of the Ozalids and
oversized plans are in poor condition. Some drawings, primarily preliminary sketches
or mechanical drawings produced in consultation, have been left in project files,
when relocation would have deterred research. Job numbers from Cody's practice are
given, when known, but some errors in duplicate numbering have been found. With the
exception of the presentation photographs in Series 3.D. and the project portfolios,
there are few images in the collection.
Some project names changed before completion; drawings are located under the
project's as-built name, when known. Town and city names and boundaries may also
have changed; drawings are located under the current name of the town or city.
Original organization has been preserved where possible. Materials may have been
reorganized or rehoused for preservation and access purposes.
The National Endowment for the Humanities has generously funded the arrangement and
description of this collection, along with matching funds from California
Polytechnic State University.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the
library's online public access catalog.
Architecture and recreation--United
Palm Springs (Calif.) Buildings,
Palm Springs, Calif. Kaufmann Desert
Modern movement (Architecture)--Palm
Palo Alto Hills Golf and Country Club
(Palo Alto, Calif.)
Club de Golf (Mexico)
Shulman, Julius, 1910-2009
Cody, William F., 1916-1978
Architectural drawings and
Genre and Forms of Material:
Architectural drawings and
Materials Cataloged Separately:
California Register. 1954.
Hitchcock, Henry Russell, and Arthur Drexler, ed.
USA: Post-War Architecture
. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1952.
"Hotel at Palm Springs, Calif. — William F. Cody Architect."
Britannica Book of the Year. 1950. [p.61]
Los Angeles Blue Book. 1965.
Personages: Palm Springs-Coachella Valley, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1977.
Pinkston, Mary Anne. "Structure Is the Design."
October 2004: 72-77.
Shess, Thomas. "Palm Springs Pied-À-Terre: San Diego Developers Land a
Masterpiece in the Desert."
San Diego December 2001:
Wakamatsu, Daisy. "Wanderlust Travel Top 25." Special Issue of
Wallpaper Wanderlust 1998: 91.
Special Collections, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
William F. Cody Papers, 1924-1975 (MS0007)