Architectural Drawings Collection named for Professor Blake Alexander

The General Libraries Architectural Drawings Collection at The University of Texas at Austin has been renamed The Alexander Architectural Archive in honor of Prof. D. Blakeley Alexander, long-time UT School of Architecture professor and noted architectural historian and preservationist whose original collection of architectural drawings provided the foundation for the collection in 1979.

“It was Professor Alexander’s early collecting of these materials for the Architecture Library, his persuasion of donors to place their archives in the collection, the use of his own personal funds from time to time and obtaining the support of others, and the many years of unflagging effort on his part that have made this collection a reality,” says Harold Billings, director of General Libraries.

Lawrence W. Speck, Dean of the School of Architecture, observes, “It will be a great asset to the archive to bear Blake Alexander’s name. He has an extraordinary reputation as an advocate for the preservation of our architectural heritage in Texas.”

It was upon the joint recommendation of Harold Billings and Dean Speck that President ad interim Peter Flawn approved the renaming of the Architectural Drawings Collection.

Now a professor emeritus, Alexander received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from The University in 1950. After obtaining a Master of Arts degree in fine arts and archeology from Columbia University, he returned to UT Austin to teach in the School of Architecture for nearly 40 years. Alexander is the author of numerous publications relating to Texas architecture, including Texas Homes of the Nineteenth Century (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1966).

The Alexander Architectural Archive contains over 200,000 drawings as well as specifications, correspondence, contract documents, photographic materials and objects documenting the architecture of Texas and the Southwest. It includes resources for projects by such prominent Texas architects as Nicholas Clayton, James Riely Gordon, Ralph Cameron, Atlee & Robert Ayres, and O’Neil Ford. The Archive also contains documentation for the work of national and international architects such as Marshall & Fox of Chicago; Smith & Brewer and Sir Aston Webb, both of London, England; Harwell Hamilton Harris of Los Angeles; Paul Cret of Philadelphia; and Charles Moore. The Archive is also the repository for historic drawings of University of Texas buildings. The material available in the Archive encompasses all aspects of the design process as well as landscape architecture, interior design, historic preservation, and community and regional planning.

The Alexander Architectural Archive is housed in historic Battle Hall on the UT Austin campus along with the Architecture and Planning Library. The Archive is open for academic and professional research. In order to insure the preservation of the materials as well as the quality of service, the Archive is accessed by appointment only. Appointments are taken Monday through Thursday, 9:00am-4:00pm. Hours of operation are subject to change according to holiday and intersession schedules.