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Burton Litton, 1948-2005 (bulk of 1965-1998)
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • Project Index

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Burton Litton, 1948-2005 (bulk of 1965-1998)
    Dates: 1948-2005
    Collection number: 2007-9
    Creator: Litton, Burton 1918-2007
    Collector: Environmental Design Archives
    Collection Size: 6 cartons, 8 boxes, medium flat box, 1 card file boxes, 7 tubes; 7 flat files
    Repository: Environmental Design Archives. College of Environmental Design.
    University of California, Berkeley.
    Berkeley, California
    Abstract: Collection of Burton Litton, architect, 1948-2005 (bulk of 1965-1998). The Litton collection is comprised of four series: Personal Papers, Professional Papers, Faculty Papers, and Project Records.
    Physical location: Environmental Design Archives

    University of California

    Berkeley, California, 94720-1820
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


    Collection open for research.

    Publication Rights

    All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from materials in the collection should be discussed with the Curator.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of Item], Burton Litton Collection, 2007-9, Environmental Design Archives. College of Environmental Design. University of California, Berkeley. Berkeley, California.

    Biographical Note

    Born on a ranch in Santa Rosa in 1918, Burt Litton grew up to appreciate the open landscape. He attended Santa Rosa Junior College then transferred to UC Berkeley to complete his undergraduate studies in Landscape Architecture. He graduated from Berkeley in 1941, earning cum laude honors. Burt was accepted to Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and attended for one year before he enlisted in the U.S. Navy to fight in World War II. In the Navy, Burt worked as a photo-interpreter and trained others to convert 3D aerial photographs into 2D drawings of the landscape that would then be used for planning, and analysis operations.
    Following the War, Burt returned to his education. He graduated from Iowa State University with a Masters in Landscape Architecture in 1948 and accepted a teaching position at UC Berkeley. Burt began his teaching career with a basic plant materials course in the Landscape Architecture Department. Over his 40 years as a Berkeley professor his teaching credentials included almost every course offered by the department; his most notable being his graduate course, examining the Landscape Provinces of California. Burt also served for 4 years as the Landscape Department Chair and was the motivating force behind creating the campus landscape committee to preserve the campus’ landscape design through its growth phases.
    In 1968, Professor Litton joined the U.S. Forest Service as part of their research division. His work with the Forest Service focused on researching the aesthetic qualities present in many of the nation’s scenic highways and national parks. Burt’s efforts included research and consulting on forest management practices in many of the forests of the Wyoming, the Tennessee Valley, and in the Lake Tahoe region. He analyzed the aesthetic values of these landscapes and the impacts development could have on them. His work influenced the management policies of both the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. His commitment to the Forest Service lasted 20 years, which he did while continuing to teach at UC Berkeley. Much of Burt’s work during this time resulted in published manuscripts and technical research papers.
    Burt Litton also wrote several articles of less technical merit, related to features of the landscapes he came across. Notably he wrote an article for Landscape archiEmtecture magazine about the variety of designs found in Western Fences and on the changing land uses of vacant-undeveloped land. The majority of records found in the archive’s collection relate to his multitude of research topics while at the Forest Service. The material includes his written drafts, notes, and hand drawn reference maps related to each project. Burt also extensively photographed many of these landscapes, which stemmed from his Navy training.
    Burt Litton carried his landscape analysis into his personal travels and teaching. His graduate course often took extended weekend field trips to many of his favorite California landscapes. Students would be required to assess the forms and characteristics of the site and interpret their observations through sketches and watercolor prints. Burt Litton encouraged his students to improve their watercolor techniques and continue to visit the ordinary landscapes around them. Litton passed away in 2007.
    Burt Litton’s UC Berkeley Landscape Architecture Biography, October 1979
    Beatty, Joe McBride & Russ. "academic-senate.berkeley.edu/memoriam." academic-senate.berkeley.edu. 2007. http://academic-senate.berkeley.edu/memoriam/documents/Litton_approved.pdf (accessed June 1, 2009).

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The bulk of the Burt Litton collection encompasses Burt’s research and analysis while working with the US Forest Service. Much of the material is written work; articles, reference notes, research notes, photographs and drafted manuscripts. Much of this work was done during 1970-1990.
    There is extensive material relating to Litton’s investigation of the water level of American River, the Clark’s Fork Region in Wyoming. The collection also includes course materials, syllabi and lectures notes from the dozen courses that Burt taught at UC Berkeley from 1965-1998.
    The collection is separated into four series: his work as a faculty member and his research work with the Forest Service. Within the faculty series, his teaching materials are organized into three subseries: courses, administrative memoranda, and lectures. The forestry series is organized chronologically and by research topic and may include folders of research notes, reference files, photographs, and written drafts or final published works.

    Indexing Terms

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


    Architectural firms--California.
    Architecture--California--San Francisco Bay Area--20th century.
    Architecture--Domestic--California--San Francisco Bay Area.

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Architectural records.
    Architectural drawings.
    Architectural photographs.

    Project Index

    The following is a list of landscape architectural projects from the Eckbo collection. For more complete information about collection contents for each project, as well as shelf location and microfilming status, download the complete Project Index in an Excel spreadsheet format by going to http://www.ced.berkeley.edu/cedarchives/pindex/litton.xls . For instructions on interpreting the Project Index, see The Guide to the Project Index at http://www.ced.berkeley.edu/cedarchives/pindex/guide.htm .
    The Project Index list is arranged alphabetically by Project/Client Name and contains information, where available, about the location, date, project type, collaborators, photographers, and formats for each project in the collection.

    Project/Client Name (location, date, project type) Collaborator (role), Photographer [Format - Ms=Manuscripts, Dr=Drawings, Ph=Photographs]

    • All Souls Episcopal Church-Choir Addition ( Berkeley , CA ; 1957-1961 ; Commercial ) [Dr]
    • ASLA Exhibit California Spring Garden Show ( unknown , CA ; 1954 ; Exposition ) [Dr]
    • Birge, R.-Greenwood Terrace garden ( Berkeley , CA ; 1955 ; Residential ) [Dr]
    • Josi, Byron-garden ( Berkeley , CA ; 1959 ; Residential ) [Dr]
    • Josi, Byron-garden ( Carmel , CA ; 1968 ; Residential ) [Dr]
    • Chiodo, E.-garden ( Piedmont , CA ; 1954 ; Residential ) [Dr]
    • Dietz, B.-garden ( El Cerrito , CA ; 1955 ; Residential ) [Dr]
    • Glorietta School "Area E"/ Orinda Union School District ( Orinda , CA ; 1949 ; Educational ) Collaborator: Whitney, Mason C. [Dr]
    • Healdsburg Plaza ( Healdsburg , CA ; 1960 ; Municipal ) [Dr]
    • Jewish Home for the Aged ( Oakland , CA ; 1951 ; Residential ) Collaborator: Whitney, Mason C. [Dr]
    • Kaiser Foundation Hospital ( Walnut Creek , CA ; 1953 ; Medical ) [Dr]
    • Kimball Elementary/Hayward Elementary School District ( Hayward , CA ; 1950 ; Educational ) Collaborator: Whitney, Mason C. [Dr]
    • Rhodes, Bernard-garden ( Rutherford , CA ; 1979-1981 ; Residential ) [Dr, Ph]
    • Rutledge, C.-garden ( El Cerrito , CA ; 1954 ; Residential ) [Dr]
    • Hagen, Wm.-garden ( Orinda , CA ; n.d. ; Residential ) Collaborator: Whitney, Mason C. [Dr]
    • Jones, Gordon- garden ( Healdsburg , CA ; 1957 ; Residential ) [Dr]
    • Swartz, Martha- garden & fence ( Berkeley , CA ; 1990-1991 ; Residential ) [Dr]
    • Pergola Plans ( Berkeley , CA ; 1993 ; unknown ) [Dr, Ph]
    • Weber, H.P ( Berkeley , CA ; 1956 ; Residential ) [Dr]