The Paul Philippe Cret Library is a collection of architectural books of considerable historic value to the University of Texas at Austin and to the scholarly community-at-large. Its namesake and originator, French-American architect and educator Paul Philippe Cret (1876-1945) devised the University’s 1933 Campus Master Plan and designed 20 campus buildings including the Beaux-Arts Main Building and UT Tower. His contribution to American architecture as both a practitioner and educator bridges the Beaux-Arts tradition of design and emergent concepts of modernism. This transition is reflected in his library in which foundational Renaissance treatises on architecture and design can be located alongside the polemical writings of Le Corbusier and other modernists.
Over the next few weeks, Battle Hall Highlights will feature a number of items from Cret’s library, which includes over 450 volumes published between 1560 and the 1930s. Offprints, exhibition catalogs, prospectuses, annual reports, monographs, trade and industrial publications, and journals, including many volumes in French comprise the library’s corpus and complement the Cret drawing collection held in the Alexander Architectural Archive. Among these titles, one can locate numerous rare and richly illustrated imprints, many of which are folios preserved in their original leather or cloth binding. These items will be showcased in this blog series.