Charles Sumner Greene Collection, 1862-1956

Processed by the Environmental Design Archives staff
Environmental Design Archives
College of Environmental Design
230 Wurster Hall #1820
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California, 94720-1820
Phone: (510) 642-5124
Fax: (510) 642-2824
© 1999
The Regents of California. All rights reserved.


Arts and Humanities--Architecture History--California History Geographical (By Place)--California

Charles Sumner Greene Collection, 1862-1956

Collection Number: 1959-1

Environmental Design Archives

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California

Contact Information:

  • Environmental Design Archives
  • College of Environmental Design
  • 230 Wurster Hall #1820
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Berkeley, California, 94720-1820
  • Phone: (510) 642-5124
  • Fax: (510) 642-2824
  • Email:
  • URL:
Processed by:
Environmental Design Archives staff
Date Completed:
November 1998
Encoded by:
Campbell J. Crabtree
Arrangement and description of this collection was funded by a grant from the Getty Foundation.
© 1999 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Collection Title: Charles Sumner Greene Collection,
Date (inclusive): 1862-1956
Collection Number: 1959-1
Creator: Greene, Charles Sumner, 1868-1957
Extent: 21 boxes, 1 card file box, 1 flat box, 3 flat file drawers
Repository: Environmental Design Archives.
University of California, Berkeley.
Berkeley, California.
Language: English.

Administrative Information


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

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

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Charles Sumner Greene Collection, (1959-1), Environmental Design Archives. College of Environmental Design. University of California, Berkeley. Berkeley, California

Access Points

Arts and crafts movement--California.
Architect-designed furniture.
Architecture, Domestic.
Greene & Greene.
Greene, Henry Mather, 1870-1954.
Flamm, Roy.


Charles Sumner Greene was born October 12, 1868 to Lelia Ariana and Thomas Sumner Greene in Brighton, Ohio. A year and a half later on January 23, 1870, Henry Mather Greene was born. The family later moved to St. Louis where Charles and Henry attended Calvin Woodward's Manual Training School, a revolutionary school with a curriculum based largely on the ideas of John Ruskin and William Morris. This early training is considered to be the source of the brothers's focus on tools, materials and craftsmanship. After finishing high school in 1888, the brothers enrolled in the architectural curriculum at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but in 1890, dissatisfied with the classical emphasis and rigid structure of the program, both brothers left with Certificates of Partial Course. Instead, the Greenes found apprenticeships with the successor firms of Henry Hobson Richardson: Charles with H. Langford Warren and Henry with Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge.
In 1893 the Greene brothers traveled west to visit their parents in Pasadena, probably stopping at the World's Colombian Exposition (and its Japanese pavilion) in Chicago on their way. Fascinated by the landscape of Southern California and lack of established architectural tradition and motivated by a small commission, the brothers decided to practice on the West Coast. During these early years, the Greenes had not yet developed the style which would later make them famous. They designed in styles of the day in keeping with the training they had received while apprenticed.
In February of 1901, Charles married Alice Gordon White, and the couple embarked on a four month honeymoon to England (Alice White's homeland), Scotland and Continental Europe. This was an important time in Charles Greene's professional life as well as personal; the tour of Great Britain is believed to have intensified Charles's interest in the English Arts and Crafts Movement and hastened his adoption of many of the movement's ideas, motifs and materials.
The years between 1902 and 1909 were extremely busy for the firm, and the commissions (mostly residences) during these years are considered the finest examples of the Arts and Crafts style, the architectural movement the brothers are credited with fathering in the United States. Their work during these years is known for its fine craftsmanship, Asian, English and Swiss influences, and connection to nature through material such as clinker brick, arroyo stone, split shingle and wooden beams. Although natural in appearance, the Greene's buildings were anything but unrefined. The brothers chose rare, beautiful and expensive materials and worked intensively with skilled craftsmen to create intricate wood joinery. The two believed everyday objects could and should be art, or as Charles Greene later explained their goal was to "make necessary and useful things pleasurable." (Tabby, 21).
By 1904, the brothers had begun to design furniture for their houses thereby uniting the exterior, interior and furnishings into a complete and integrated design. The Greenes's work received much acclaim and was highlighted in popular magazines such as The Craftsman, House Beautiful, The International Studio, Country Life in America, House and Garden, Good Housekeeping, and American Home and Garden. These were also their most prolific years as architects--most of the approximately 150 designs by Greene and Greene were commissioned and designed during these years.
After 1912 the Greenes's practice began to decline. The brothers, spoiled by wealthy clients and generous budgets, gradually gained a reputation for going over-budget and over-schedule. These faults, which had been overlooked in the previous years, were weighty considerations in the difficult economic times of post World War I. In addition, Charles and Henry's interests seemed to diverge and in 1916, Charles Greene and his family moved to Carmel. In 1918 Charles began work on the D. L. James house, a project which would continue for decades. Henry Greene continued to work in Pasadena before and after the firm's official dissolution in 1922. Charles obtained commissions sporadically, mostly for additions and renovations for past clients. He secured his last project in 1929. The Greene and Greene firm's reputation met a similar decline and was almost forgotten; the firm was no longer mentioned in architectural history texts.
During these later years Charles studied Eastern philosophies and pursued his interest in fictional writing. He and Alice were particularly intrigued by the teachings of George Gurdjieff whose writings and lectures combined features of Eastern religions. Finally in the 1950s the work of Greene and Greene was rediscovered by the architectural press and critics and was celebrated as a uniquely American style in opposition to the international style of Europe. In 1952, the brothers were honored by the American Institute of Architects, and their work was included in a centennial exhibition of the American Institute of Architects at the National Gallery of Art. Charles S. Greene lived to see his work receive renewed acclaim, but after years of failing health died on June 11, 1957 at the age of 89.

Bosley, Edward R. "The British Connection." The Tabby. July-August 1997, 6.
"Historical Remembrance." The Tabby. July-August 1997, 2.
Makinson, Randell L. "The Adelaide Tichenor House." The Tabby. July-August 1997, 23.
"Greene and Greene: The Architecture and Related Designs of Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene: 1894-1934." Los Angeles: Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, 1977.
Lee, Sharon. "Greene and Greene, 1976" TMs [photocopy]. Environmental Design Archives, U.C. Berkeley.

Scope and Content

The Charles Sumner Greene Collection contains a wide variety of materials documenting Greene's life, both personal and professional. The records, which cover nearly a century, represent almost every period of his life and work but are not complete. The collection is organized into four series: I. Personal Papers, II. Office Records, III. Project Records (including furniture), and IV. Additional Donations.
Although the collection was created by Charles Greene, his brother and partner, Henry Mather Greene is also represented in correspondence between the two brothers and project records from the Greene and Greene firm.
Series I, C.S. Greene's Personal Papers, includes correspondence with family members, family photographs, educational material (mostly from M.I.T.), and records of C.S. Greene's travels. Subseries J, Honor Awards and Professional Memberships, contains telegrams from notable architects such as Bernard Maybeck and William Wurster congratulating the Greenes on the A.I.A. exhibition of their work in 1948. This series also comprises a significant amount of material documenting Greene's other creative interests including painting and fictional writing. His closely related interests in Eastern art and philosophies are also well documented.
The second and third series, Office Records and Project Records, document Greene's professional life. Series II contains files such as professional correspondence (including Frank Lloyd Wright), and standard office material such as time sheets and receipts. Subseries B which includes catalogs, samples and correspondence with vendors and craftsmen are valuable as records of Charles and Henry Greene's close relationship with craftsmen and the building process, and their emphasis on fine materials.
Series III is comprised of project records and is the largest part of the collection. The series contains drawings (both of buildings and furniture), specifications, sketches, photographs and correspondence between the Greenes, clients, vendors and craftspeople. Comprehensiveness varies greatly by project. The collection represents architectural designs, mostly residences, from almost every phase of C.S. Greene's professional career: from the Lucretia Garfield residence in 1903 to the D.L. James residence, a work Greene designed, built and continued to modify from 1919-1945.
The bulk of the material in the Charles S. Greene Collection was donated by the Greene family in 1959. The material had been housed in Charles Greene's studio in Carmel and consisted of books, which were given to the Architecture Library, and architectural drawings, sketches, office material, paintings, personal material and photographs, which were given to the College of Architecture. At this time the college commissioned Roy Flamm to photograph Charles's studio in Carmel. In 1952, the Sigma Phi Fraternity (the residents of the Thorsen House) donated drawings of the residence to the Library of the School of Architecture. The Thorsen House records, Flamm photographs and a later donation titled "Personal and Professional Material" are located in Series IV: Additional Donations.

Project Index

The following is a list of architectural projects from the C.S. Greene 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 . For instructions on interpreting the Project Index, see The Guide to the Project Index at .
The Project Index list is arranged alphabetically by Project/Client Name and contains information, where available, about the location, date, project type, collaborators, and formats for each project in the collection.

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

  • * Abbott, Park ( Oakland , CA ; 1937 ; residential ) [Dr]
  • * Allen, Mrs. Dudley P. Furniture [see also Prentiss, Mrs. Francis F. and Culbertson, Cordelia A.] ( Pasadena , CA ; 1917 ; residential ) [Ms, Dr]
  • * Armenian Pilgrims Church ( Fresno , CA ; 1908 ; religious ) [Dr]
  • * Anthony, Earle C. Automobile Showroom ( Los Angeles , CA ; 1911 ; commercial ) [Ms, Dr, Ph]
  • * Anthony, Earle C. ( Los Angeles , CA ; 1909-1910 ; residential ) [Ms, Dr]
  • * Barker, George H. ["Light Hall"] ( Pasadena , CA ; 1902 ; residential ) [Ph]
  • * Bandini, Arturo ( Pasadena , CA ; 1903 ; residential ) [Ph]
  • * Bentz, John C. [Louise] ( Pasadena , CA ; 1905-1906 ; residential ) [Dr, Ph]
  • * Blacker, Robert R. ( Pasadena , CA ; 1907-1909 ; residential ) [Ms, Dr, Ph]
  • * Bolton, W.T. [house #3] ( Pasadena , CA ; 1906 ; residential ) [Ms, Dr, Ph]
  • * Bowen, William A. ( Altadena , CA ; 1905 ; residential ) [Ph]
  • * Bradely, H.K. [Henry K.] ( Pasadena , CA ; 1910 ; residential ) [Dr]
  • * Bush, Mrs. Belle Barlow, furniture [see also Bolton, W.T.] ( Pasadena , CA ; ca. 1908 ; residential ) [Dr, Ph]
  • * Camp, Edgar W. ( Sierra Madre , CA ; 1904 ; residential ) [Ph]
  • * Campbell, Violet, additon ( Carmel , CA ; 1926 ; residential ) [Ms]
  • * Carmel City Hall ( Carmel , CA ; 1921 ; governmental ) [Dr]
  • * Chamberlain, Edith, garden design ( Woodside , CA ; 1926 ; residential ) [Ms]
  • * Claypole, Edith J. ( Pasadena , CA ; 1903 ; residential ) [Ph]
  • * Cole Mary E. [John] ( Pasadena , CA ; 1906-1907 ; residential ) [Ms, Dr, Ph]
  • * Culbertson, Cordelia A. ( Pasadena , CA ; 1911-1913 ; residential ) [Ms, Dr, Ph]
  • * Culbertson, James A. ( Pasadena , CA ; 1902-1910 ; residential ) [Dr, Ph]
  • * Darling, Mary R. ( Claremont , CA ; 1903 ; residential ) [Ph]
  • * Flavin, Martin ["Spindrift"] ( Carmel Highlands , CA ; 1929-1930 ; residential ) [Ms, Dr, Ph]
  • * Fleishhacker, Sr., Mortimer, alterations and addition ( San Francisco , CA ; 1929-1932 ; residential ) [Ms, Dr, Ph]
  • * Fleishhacker, Sr., Mortimer [Green Gables] ( Woodside , CA ; 1911-1935 ; residential ) [Ms, Dr, Ph]
  • * Fleishhacker, Sr., Mortimer ( residential ) [Ms]
  • * Fleishhacker, Sr., Mortimer, "Gothic Room" (unbuilt) ( San Francisco , CA ; 1929-1932 ; residential ) [Dr]
  • * Ford, Freeman A. ( Pasadena , CA ; 1906-1908 ; residential ) [Ms, Dr, Ph]
  • * Gamble, David B. ( Pasadena , CA ; 1907-1909 ; residential ) [Ms, Dr, Ph]
  • * Garfield, Lucretia ( South Pasadena , CA ; 1903-1904 ; residential ) [Ms, Ph]
  • * Greene, Charles Sumner ["Oakholm"] ( Pasadena , CA ; 1902-1915 ; residential ) [Dr, Ph]
  • * Greene, Charles Sumner, studio and house ( Carmel , CA ; 1923-24 ; residential ) [Dr]
  • * Greene, Thomas Sumner, head stone ( Monterey , CA ; ca. 1931 ; funerary ) [Dr]
  • * Guyer, George G. ( Altadena , CA ; ca. 1903 ; residential ) [Dr]
  • * Halsted, S. Hazard [Mrs. Louise T.] ( Pasadena , CA ; 1905 ; residential ) [Ph]
  • * Hawks, F.W. [Frank] ( Pasadena , CA ; 1906 ; residential ) [Ms]
  • * Hollister, Charles W. ( Pasadena , CA ; 1898 ; residential ) [Ph]
  • * Howard, John Langley ( Monterey , CA ; 1929 ; residential ) [Dr]
  • * Irwin, Jr., Theodore ( Pasadena , CA ; 1906-1907 ; residential ) [Dr, Ph]
  • * James, D.L. ["Seaward"] ( Carmel Highlands , CA ; 1918-1922, 1938-1944 ; residential ) [Ms, Dr, Ph]
  • * Kelley, Mrs. Frank J, addition and alteration. [Louise A.F.] ( San Jose , CA ; 1929 ; residential ) [Ms, Dr]
  • * Kew, Michael [Mary Marston Kew] ( San Diego , CA ; 1912-1913 ; residential ) [Ph]
  • * Lambert, John (unbuilt) ( Pasadena , CA ; 1910 ; residential ) [Dr]
  • * Lee, Ralph C., pergola ( Hillsborough , CA ; 1929 ; residential ) [Dr]
  • * Libby, Arthur A. ( Pasadena , CA ; 1905 ; residential ) [Ph]
  • * Montezuma Mountain School ( Los Gatos , CA ; 1923 ; educational ) [Ms]
  • * Moore, Mary J., furniture ( [San Jose] , [CA] ; 1930, 1931 ; residential ) [Ms]
  • * Neil, James W. [alterations to Van Rossem House #1] ( Pasadena , CA ; 1906 ; residential ) [Ph]
  • * Oaklawn bridge and waiting station ( Pasadena , CA ; 1906 ; transportation ) [Ph]
  • * Payne, Jessie H. ( Carmel , CA ; 1925 ; residential ) [Ms, Dr]
  • * Phillips, John B. ( Pasadena , CA ; 1906 ; residential ) [Ph]
  • * Pitcairn, Robert, Jr. ( Pasadena , CA ; 1906 ; residential ) [Ms, Dr, Ph]
  • * Poole, John H. ( Pasadena , CA ; 1919 ; residential ) [Ms, Dr]
  • * Porter, Mrs. L.G. and Miss Marion A. ( Los Angeles , CA ; 1905 ; residential ) [Dr]
  • * Pratt, Charles M. ["Casa Barranca"] ( Ojai , CA ; 1908-1911 ; residential ) [Ms, Dr, Ph]
  • * Prentiss, Francis F. Furniture [See also Allen, Mrs. Dudley P. and Culbertson, Cordelia A.] ( Pasadena , CA ; 1927-1928 ; residential ) [Ms, Ph]
  • * Ranney, Mary L. ( Pasadena , CA ; 1907 ; residential ) [Ph]
  • * Reeve, Jennie A. ( Long Beach , CA ; 1903-1904 ; residential ) [Ms, Dr, Ph]
  • * Reinhart ( Oakland , CA ; ca. 1934 ; residential ) [Ms]
  • * Robinson, L.A. [Henry and Laurabelle] ( Pasadena , CA ; 1905-1906 ; residential ) [Ms, Dr, Ph]
  • * Rowland, Francis F. ( Pasadena , CA ; 1903 ; residential ) [Ph]
  • * Schevill, Rudolph. Addition ( Berkeley , CA ; 1922-1923 ; residential ) [Dr]
  • * Silverberg, J.S., alterations ( San Mateo , CA ; 1912 ; residential ) Collaborator: Meyer, F.H. (architect) [Ms, Dr]
  • * Southern Pine Association, Exhibition Building ( New Orleans , LA ; 1916 ; exposition ) [Dr]
  • * Serrurier, Iwan ( Pasadena , CA ; 1905 ; residential ) [Ph]
  • * Smith, Mary M. [John] ( Pasadena , CA ; 1900 ; residential ) [Ph]
  • * Thorsen, William R. ( Berkeley , CA ; 1908-1910 ; residential ) [Ms, Dr, Ph]
  • * Thorsen, William R. ( Berkeley , CA ; 1908-1910 ; residential ) [Ms]
  • * Tichenor, Adelaide M. ( Long Beach , CA ; 1904-1905 ; residential ) [Ms, Dr, Ph]
  • * Tolmie, Robert, studio ( Piedmont , CA ; 1923 ; residential ) [Ms, Dr]
  • * Unidentified Projects: designs [Ms, Dr]
  • * Unidentified Projects: desk [Ms]
  • * Unidentified Projects: photographs [Ph]
  • * Unidentified Projects: piano designs
  • * Unidentified Projects: residence ( Pasadena , CA ; n.d. ; residential ) [Dr]
  • * Unidentified Projects: specifications [Ms]
  • * Van Rossem, Josephine [house #3] ( Pasadena , CA ; n.d., 1905-1906 ; residential ) [Ms, Dr, Ph]
  • * Walker, Mrs. Willis J., stable design ( Pebble Beach , CA ; 1926 ; residential ) [Dr, Ph]
  • * War Memorial ( Carmel-by-the- Sea , CA ; 1921-1922 ; cultural ) [Dr]
  • * White, Misses Martha, Violet, & Jane ( Pasadena , CA ; 1903 ; residential ) [Dr, Ph]
  • * Whitman, Mrs. Jennie Crocker (unbuilt) ( Pebble Beach , CA ; 1925-1926 ; residential ) [Ms, Dr]
  • * Willett, Charles J. ( Pasadena , CA ; 1904 ; residential ) [Ph]
  • * Williams, Nathan H. ( Altadena , CA ; 1915-1916 ; residential ) [Ph]
  • * Witbeck, Charles S. ( Santa Monica , CA ; 1916-1917 ; residential ) [Ms]

Related Collections

Title: Greene & Greene Archives,
Contributing Institution: University of SOuthern California, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California
Title: Greene & Greene,
Contributing Institution: Avery Architecture and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University in the City of New York

Series Description


I. Personal Papers, 1862-1956

Physical Description: Boxes 1-12, 19-20, 22-23, Flat Files

A. Family Correspondence


B. Personal Correspondence


C. Education

Scope and Content Note

Contains childhood books and material from C.S. Greene's studies at M.I.T. consisting principally of rendering exercises. Does not include material from his years at Woodward's Manual Training School.

D. Travel

Scope and Content Note

Consists of two folders of material on C.S. Greene's travels: one on his 1909 European trip and one on various trips between 1890 and 1909.

E. Photographs

Scope and Content Note

Includes a variety of personal photographs of C.S. Greene, his family, Greene family residences and several of the Panama Pacific Exposition. Also includes one folder of photographs of trees, possibly used as studies for carving designs or paintings.

F. Creative Works: Art and Fiction

Scope and Content Note

Contains both literary and artistic works most likely created during C.S. Greene's years at Carmel after his architectural practice declined. Written materials are in various stages of completion, from notes to typed drafts. Although the Subseries includes autobiographical works and writings on art and architecture, the majority of the material is fictional and a large portion incorporate his interest in Eastern philosophies.

G. Notebooks and Calendars

Scope and Content Note

This subseries is comprised primarily of address books and notebooks which cover a large time period, although there are gaps.

H. Philosophy

Scope and Content Note

Contains a substantial amount of material (2 boxes) collected by C.S. Greene in the 1930s and 40s on Eastern philosophies, as represented in the lectures and writings of G. Gurdjieff and the Orage lecture group. Some of the notes appear to be Greene's own notes while others are copies borrowed from other members. This Subseries also includes material on Buddhism and clippings on philosophical and "pseudo-scientific" subjects.

I. Financial Records

Scope and Content Note

Contains a motley collection of financial materials including cancelled checks, correspondence, investments, and traffic tickets.

J. Professional Papers

Scope and Content Note

Contains one folder consisting primarily of correspondence with the A.I.A. Includes telegrams from journal editors and architects such as Bernard Maybeck and William Wurster congratulating the Greenes on the A.I.A. exhibition of their work in March of 1948. Also includes one folder of material on the city of Carmel, probably collected during C.S. Greene's residency in Carmel from 1916-1957.

K. Ephemera

Scope and Content Note

Comprised of mementos, tickets, programs and menus.

L. Collected Works on Art and Architecture


M. Asian Influences: Art and Artifacts

Scope and Content Note

Contains Japanese prints and photographs and Japanese and Chinese books on wood carving.

II. Office Records, 1901-1946

Physical Description: Box 13


Arranged hierarchically, then alphabetically.

A. Professional Correspondence, Business Records

Scope and Content Note

Contains financial records, correspondence (including letter from Frank Lloyd Wright) and office forms.

B. Vendors

Scope and Content Note

Contains correspondence between vendors of architectural material and services and builders such as Park Abbott. In addition there are two folders of catalogs and/or samples of materials such as fabric, paint color, wood and wrought iron.

III. Project Records (including furniture), 1903-1946

Physical Description: Boxes 14-18, 20-22, Flat Files


Arranged alphabetically by project.

A. Files

Scope and Content Note

Project files vary greatly in the completeness of the records. Most contain some, but not all of the following: correspondence between architect and client, correspondence between architect and vendor, specifications and small sketches of architectural or furniture designs. The D.L. James residence is by far the most well-documented. Unidentified material is located at the end of the Subseries.

B. Presentation Drawings

Scope and Content Note

Contains a set of pencil drawings of furniture probably created for presentation.

C. Photographs

Scope and Content Note

Contains photographs of architectural furniture and projects. Several photographs of the office staff are located at the end of the Subseries.

D. Drawings


IV. Additional Donations, n.d., 1905-1907

Physical Description: Boxes 21-22, Flat Files

A. Thorsen House Drawings

Scope and Content Note

Contains large drawings of the Thorsen House.

B. Roy Flamm Photographs of C. S. Greene Studio

Scope and Content Note

Contains photographs of the C.S. Greene studio taken by Roy Flamm. The photographs were commissioned by the U.C. Berkeley Department of Architecture in 1959.

C. Reproductions of Greene and Greene House Plans at the Avery Library

Scope and Content Note

Comprised of photographic reproductions of drawings housed at the Avery Library.