Vol. VIII, No. 2

August, 1995

The Committee for the Preservation of Architectural Records

by Carol Herselle Krinsky, New York University

The late Richard Pommer and I began, and Catha Grace Rambusch directed, COPAR. That was the Committee for the Preservation of Architectural Records, a group that was worried about American architects' tendency to throw out their office records, and worried about architects' heirs discarding everything left to them. The group included historians, curators, archivists, librarians, architects, and others. The curators and historians needed to know where existing material was kept, as this information was nowhere available.

In the 1970s, thanks to initial support from the Architectural League of New York and an NEH grant, a small office was set up to locate surviving materials in American repositories and to promote the publication of guides to where things were. Several such guides have appeared - to Boston, Chicago, New York, and elsewhere. COPAR also encouraged architects to keep important material, disseminated information about cataloguing and physical preservation, guided people to institutions that would receive their material, and performed other related activities.

At present, Mrs. Sally Sims Stokes of the National Trust Library at the University of Maryland in College Park is the keeper of the information about what architectural records are where in this country, and she would be glad to have additions to her files, even about records that may seem unimportant to those who have this information. Most of the records and repositories are American, but she wants to know what American repositories hold foreign drawings, letters, specification lists, etc., and what foreign repositories hold American ones. Mrs. Stokes may be reached at the National Trust Library, University of Maryland, McKeldin Library, College Park, MD 20742; tel.: (301) 405-6320; email ss42@umd.edu. Faxes may be sent to (301) 314-9416 but must be marked to Mrs. Stokes' attention.

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