Pond Family Papers, 1841-1939
Using These Materials
- The collection is open for research.
- Pond Family.
- Ann Arbor, Michigan and Chicago, Illinois family. Correspondence of Elihu B. Pond, editor of Michigan Argus, his sons, Chicago architects, Irving Kane and Allen Bartlit Pond, founders of firm of Pond & Pond, and other family members; include materials concerning family affairs, architectural projects, Jane Addams and the work of Hull House, European travels, politics especially as relates to period of the Civil War and the election of 1896; also photographs, architectural drawings and other visual materials.
9.6 linear feet (in 13 boxes)
2 oversize drawers
- Call Number:
- 852090 Aa 2
- Finding aid prepared by: Michigan Historical Collections staff; Jennie Zukowski (reprocessing)
- Scope and Content:
The Pond Family papers consist primarily of correspondence and other materials of architects, Irving Kane (1857-1939) and Allen Bartlit Pond (1858-1929) documenting family matters, European travels, their involvement in the civic and social life of Chicago, and professional activities. The collection has been divided into four subgroups: Allen B. Pond papers; Irving Kane Pond papers; papers of other family members and miscellaneous; and visual materials.
Correspondence comprises the bulk of both the Allen and Irving Pond subgroups. This correspondence consists almost exclusively of exchanges between the brothers when they were separated because of travel, and with their parents and sister. There is little correspondence with clients, professional associates, or others outside of the family. The letters, however, are often detailed and revealing of the thoughts and activities of the Pond brothers. In addition to the usual descriptions of landscapes and social events when traveling abroad, their letters contain many comparisons of European and American trends in architecture, housing, the development of cities. To their family and with each other, the brothers also wrote of their non-professional interests: Chicago politics, social settlements in the city, humanitarian causes, and their involvement with various literary groups. Of note in the Allen Pond papers are letters containing references to Jane Addams and her work at Hull House. There are also accounts they received from family about Jane Addams and her talks when visiting Ann Arbor. Letters concerning Jane Addams are dated Sept. 1896; Jan. 1898; Sept. 18, 1898; Jan. 22,1900; Mar. 1901; May 28,1901; June 15,1901; undated 1901; Apr. 21,1902; July 7,1902; Aug. 18,1902; Feb. 16, 1903; Jan. 12,1904; Jan. 23,1905; Feb. 1905; May 29,1907; Mar. 1908; and Apr. 1908.
Their sister, Mary Louise and their mother, Mary Barlow (Allen) Pond wrote weekly of family affairs and the social and cultural events of Ann Arbor. Both comment extensively on the ideas and activities of many of the leading intellectual and literary figures of the day - William James, John Dewey, Kipling, Wharton and Shaw - as well as on their daily interactions with Angells, Cooleys and other prominent Ann Arbor families. Unfortunately, there are few surviving letters from Allen and Irving to the family in Ann Arbor. Much of the information in the collection about their work is therefore by indirect reference only.
- Biographical / Historical:
Irving Kane (1857-1939) and Allen Bartlit Pond (1858-1929) were born and educated in Ann Arbor. They were the sons of Elihu Bartlit and Mary Barlow Pond. Elihu Pond was editor and publisher of an Ann Arbor newspaper and later the warden in the state prison at Jackson. Early in their careers, the brothers moved to Chicago. Irving Pond moved there in 1879 after receiving his degree in civil engineering from the University of Michigan. He worked as a draftsman in various architectural firms. Then in 1886, he joined his brother Allen (who had recently moved to Chicago) in the practice of architecture under the firm name of Pond & Pond. Together they shared credit for many buildings including Hull House, the Chicago Commons, the City Club in Chicago. And in Ann Arbor, their buildings included the Michigan Union and the Michigan League.
By Allen's own characterization, Irving was the more creative of the two and Allen the more scholarly. Consequently, in the Chicago firm of Pond & Pond, Irving was the more productive architect, while Allen assumed most of the responsibility for the business affairs of the firm. The firm accepted jobs throughout the country and Irving often traveled to supervise construction.
Like his father Elihu, Allen Pond worked diligently for reform in public and special education. He sat on the Board of the Public Education Association and became very interested in the cause of education for the blind and the handicapped. Allen had taught Latin for three years in Ann Arbor before moving to Chicago, and it was while teaching at Chicago's Armour Mission School that he was first introduced to the young Jane Addams. Excited by her idea of establishing a settlement house in Chicago on the model of London's Toynbee Hall, he helped Addams to locate the original Hull House building and to organize the settlement. One of the first trustees of Hull House, he remained on the board for life and became a close personal friend of Miss Addams. In her speech at his funeral, which is included in the printed text of the Memorial Service for Pond, she recounted their many years' work together. Miss Addams was acquainted with the Pond family in Ann Arbor and the family letters include many references to her visits and speeches there.
Except for the original building which was the old Hull family home, all of the structures in the Hull House complex were designed by Irving and Allen Pond. Both firmly believed that the social effectiveness of the project was dependent upon the physical environment. Allen repeatedly expressed the opinion that architecture, unlike the more ephemeral arts of music, literature and theater, and the less conspicuous arts of painting and sculpture, could greatly influence the human spirit. In an essay, he suggests that architecture "offers the opportunity to aid signally in making an environment that shall contribute to the health, comfort, charm and distinction of human life". The brothers' dedication to architecture was founded upon the belief that man needs beauty if he is to prosper spiritually. Art to them was a necessary counter-influence to the growth of industry and mechanization in the city.
These architects' involvement in settlement houses was not restricted to Hull House. They also designed and were active in the management of the Chicago Commons, the Northwestern University Settlement, the Gads Hill Center and the Henry Booth House.
Through his activities with Hull House and in an attempt to further the cause of Chicago's many reform movements, Allen initiated in 1896 an attack on corruption in the city government. The Municipal Voters' League, which he founded that same year, and the Union League Club were two organizations which were useful to him in effecting social change. As an expert on labor relations, he often served as an arbitrator in Chicago's strikes and boycotts.
The distinction between the professional and non-professional aspects of the Pond brothers' careers was never very clear. With the same talents by which they earned their livings, they were able to serve the city and bring about their ambitions of social change and reform. The belief in cooperation and the power of complementary forces - artistic, social and spiritual - is a theme which runs through the writings of both and is perhaps best exemplified by their own lives together.
- Acquisition Information:
- The bulk of the collection was donated in 1940 by the estate of Irving K. Pond (donor no. 1085 ). Some materials were donated in the same year by the American Academy of Arts and Letters (donor no. 1168 ).
Summary Contents List
- Allen Bartlit Pond papers [Boxes 1-3]
- Irving Kane Pond papers [Boxes 3-6]
- Other family members and miscellaneous
- Elihu B. Pond papers [Box 6]
- Louise Pond papers [Box 6]
- Miscellaneous Pond materials [Box 6]
- Visual materials
- Photographs [Box 7]
- Sketches and watercolors [Box 7]
- Cased photographs [Box 8]
- Albums [Box 9]
- Etching plates [Box 9]
- Outsize architectural drawings [Box 10 and Drawers 1 and 2]
- Outsize photographs [Box 10]
- Outsize sketches and watercolors [Boxes 11-13 and Drawer 2]
Click on terms below to find any related finding aids on this site.
Architects -- Illinois -- Chicago.
Architecture -- Illinois -- Chicago.
Presidents -- United States -- Election -- 1896.
Voyages and travels.
Hotels and taverns.
Interiors -- Hotels and taverns.
Interiors -- Theaters.
Theaters -- United States.
University of Micigan -- Buildings.
University of Michigan -- Football.
Detroit Opera House (Detroit, Mich.)
Hill Auditorium (University of Michigan)
Michigan State University -- Buildings.
Northwood Hotel (Cadillac, Mich.)
Student Publications Building (University of Michigan)
University of Michigan -- Buildings.
Whitcomb Hotel (Saint Joseph, Mich.)
World's Columbian Exposition (1893: Chicago, Ill.)
Pond, Allen Bartlit, 1858-1929.
Pond, Elihu Bartlit, 1826-1898.
Pond, Irving K. (Irving Kane), 1857-1939.
Addams, Jane, 1860-1935.
Pond, Ashley, 1827-1910.
Pond, Mary Barlow Allen, 1826-1915.
Taft, Lorado, 1860-1936.
Ann Arbor (Mich.)
Europe -- Description and travel.
Illinois -- Politics and government -- 1865-1950.
Michigan -- Politics and government -- 1837-1950.
Michigan -- Politics and government -- 1861-1865.
Michigan -- Politics and government -- 1877-1898.
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865.
Cadillac (Mich.) -- Buildings, structures, etc.
Chicago (Ill.) -- Buildings, structures, etc.
Detroit (Mich.) -- Buildings, structures, etc.
East Lansing (Mich.) -- Buildings, structures, etc.
Harbor Point (Mich.) -- Buildings, structures, etc.
Lansing (Mich.) -- Buildings, structures, etc.
Mason (Mich.) -- Buildings, structures, etc.
Saint Joseph (Mich.) -- Buildings, structures, etc.
Using These Materials
The collection is open for research.
- USE & PERMISSIONS:
The copyright status of the collection is unknown. The microfilm autobiography of Irving K. Pond may not be quoted, reproduced, or published without permission of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.
- PREFERRED CITATION:
item, folder title, box no., Pond Family Papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan