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A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning (University of Michigan) records, 1876-2011

92 linear feet — 2 oversize boxes — 1 flat file drawer — 343 GB (online) — 1 archived website

The A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning (TC; also referred to as Taubman College) was established in 1931 as the College of Architecture. However, courses in architecture have been offered at the University of Michigan since 1876, and a department of architecture, formed in 1913, preceded the creation of the college. Since its formation, TC has offered courses and programs in several areas, including landscape architecture, urban planning, urban design, real estate, and, of course, architecture. The record group includes dean's administrative files and correspondence, other administrator files, meeting minutes, department and program files, materials from the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), lectures and other documentation on the Raoul Wallenberg lecture hosted by the college, and several photographs and negatives of the college and TC-related events.

The A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning (University of Michigan), records document the teaching of architecture and design at the University of Michigan beginning in 1878. The records include administrative files, correspondence committee minutes, reports, photographs and architectural drawings. The records have been received in a number of separate accessions which may include material that continues or complements record series from a previous accession or may overlap chronologically with previous accessions. This finding aid reflects the intellectual structure of the records by bringing like material together across accessions. As a consequence, in the container listing box numbers will not necessarily be in consecutive order.

The records are organized in the following principal series:

  1. Minutes of Meetings
  2. Dean's Administrative Files
  3. National Architectural Accrediting Board
  4. Miscellaneous (correspondence and select files)
  5. Raoul. G. Wallenberg
  6. Dean's Correspondence
  7. Doctoral Program Files
  8. Topical Files
  9. Administrative Files
  10. Architectural Drawings
  11. Photographs and Negatives
  12. Art and Architecture Building Renovations
  13. Department of Urban Planning
  14. Audio-Visual Material
  15. Articles, Reports and Speeches
  16. Artifacts
  17. Archived School of Architecture Website

Dean's Administrative Files, 1957-2008


The Dean's Administrative Files series (consists largely of subject files maintained by the dean's office and include documentation relating to the administration of the college as well as professional and sometimes personal activities of the deans. The series is organized in subseries corresponding to the tenure of individual deans, although a subseries may include material dating from a previous dean's tenure.


Douglas S. Kelbaugh, 1993-2008


The Kelbaugh subseries of the Dean's Administrative Files, 1993-2008 (bulk 1998-2008) (3 linear feet, 1 oversize box, and 200 MB) continues the series from previous accessions. The records in this series primarily originate from Douglas S. Kelbaugh's tenure as dean, but also include files from Dean Robert M. Beckley, and Interim Dean James Snyder's tenures. Included in the series are files on each of the annual charrettes hosted by TCAUP from 1999 to 2008. The charrettes, which are collaborative design planning sessions, were initiated by Dean Kelbaugh as an effort on the part of the University and TCAUP to help revitalize Detroit. Each year the charrettes focused on a different section of Detroit. The charrettes were held at the UM Detroit Center, which is also well-documented in this series. In addition to hosting the charrettes TCAUP is also involved in other programs at the Detroit Center, and, along with the 17 other units on campus, contributes to the funding of the center.

Another interesting topic covered in the files is the re-location of the Lorch Column. Originally located in the courtyard of Lorch Hall (the original home of the College of Architecture), the column was moved to the front of the Art and Architecture Building on North Campus. The column was restored to its original height using a steel insert, and renamed the Lorch Column in honor of Emil Lorch, founder of the College of Architecture. The dedication of the column in October 2007 consummated the College's centennial, celebrated in 2006. It may also be of interest to note that initially the column was to be re-located along with an entry portal that also stood near Lorch Hall on Central Campus. However, the entry portal was left standing in the lawn just southwest of Lorch Hall. The files included proposals to move both the column and the portal, along with enhanced photographs of proposed sites for the two sculptures. (See also oversize materials relating to the relocation of the column in Box 59).

The files also contain information on A. Alfred Taubman's involvement with and interest in the College of Architecture. A file titled "Taubman Building Project" contains documentation on an attempt to expand and renovate the Art and Architecture Building. This project was to be funded with assistance from Taubman, but prohibitive costs prevented the renovation from moving forward (for further documentation on the renovation project refer to another series in this accession: Art and Architecture Building Renovation). However, Taubman remained in contact with the college, and shortly after the building project fell through, discussion began around the possibility of establishing an endowment for the school. The "Taubman Proposal" file includes correspondence and drafts of proposals regarding the $30 million gift from Taubman to establish the endowment. Following the donation, the College of Architecture and Urban Planning was renamed in Taubman's honor.


Douglas S. Kelbaugh, 1999-2008


The Kelblaugh subseries of the Dean's Correspondence series, 1999-2008 (2.5 linear feet and 1.8 GB) is comprised of Dean Douglas S. Kelbaugh's correspondence. The files in this series are organized chronologically. The first folder in the series is dated January 1999; the dates on the files then jump ahead several months and are dated from June 1999 to June 2007. Included are letters and e-mails between the dean's office, and the faculty, staff, students, and alumni of the College of Architecture and Urban Planning. There are also some letters and e-mails with other faculty and administrators at the University of Michigan, as well as correspondence with faculty and administrators from other universities. Although there are some printed e-mails included in the collection, a more complete record of Dean Kelbaugh's e-mail correspondence may be found digitally.


E-Mail Correspondence


Dean Kelbaugh's e-mail correspondence series (1.8 GB; 22,438 files) contains messages from Dean Kelbaugh's sent-mail directory dating from November 18, 2003 to August 2, 2008. The messages were originally arranged in reverse chronological order, and this order was maintained upon transfer to the Bentley. Correspondence in the series includes discussion on North Campus planning issues, the addition to the Art and Architecture building, development of the design charrette program, planning for the establishment of a Detroit Center, and Ann Arbor city planning developments such as Lowertown. There are also a number of messages regarding faculty recruitment and retention. During processing of the series no messages were deleted or weeded, therefore several instances of routine correspondence are also included. The series is an excellent example of the discourse maintained by Kelbaugh with colleagues in the architecture and urban planning field, as well as his attentive communication with administrators, faculty, and staff at the University of Michigan. Given the sensitive nature of some of this material, access is restricted in accordance with University policies. Each message is a separate file.


Development, 1974-2006


The Development subseries includes resources on funds and fellowships, significant alumni, and fund raising projects. Boxes 36-37 and box 54 include materials dated between 1974 and 2001. The subseries is organized in two alphabetical files, reflecting multiple accessions. A 1996 promotional CD-Rom created by Lee Liming highlights the college in an on-line tour of North Campus, presents staff in classroom settings, profiles students, and focuses on research current at the time. The Development subseries also includes a number of folders relating to the A. Alfred Taubman endowment that led to the school adopting its current name. While most of the material documents the event celebrating the receipt of the gift and the renaming, files also include strategic planning documents and the proposal created for Mr. Taubman outlining proposed uses for the endowment.

Box 64 contains materials dated 1987-2006 and includes folders relating to alumni and fundraising events, and individual donors. The files also contain materials on the Capital Campaign, including Capital Campaign Advisory Committee (CAC) meetings.


Photographs (Early Accessions)


The Photographs series (4 linear feet) include a wonderful group of images, many taken by Emil Lorch in 1926, documenting the construction of the Architecture and Design building that was named in his honor. There are also photographs of Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion Dome. Fuller assembled the dome with the help of a design class in 1954. There is a set of very fine black and white photographs of faculty mounted on boards that were part of a 1968 exhibit entitled, "Faculty Exhibit Work." There is also a set of copy negatives produced from an equally fine set of undated faculty portraits. (The portraits were photographed because they could not safely be removed from large, heavy boards.) Also included in the series is a zip disk holding digital versions of images reproduced in Nancy Bartlett's history of the college, More Than a Handsome Box. An oversized box of photographs holds a striking Emil Lorch portrait; class of 1927 reunion snapshots; and several beautiful large photographs of Lorch Hall.


Photographs and Negatives, circa 1970-2004 (majority within 1987-2004)


The Photographs and Negatives series (7 linear feet) continues the series from previous accessions. The majority of the images date from 1987 to 2004, but there are earlier images dating from as far back as the 1920's/1930's to 1986. The series has been divided into six sub-series: Binders; Buildings and Other Structures; Events and Programs; People; Projects; and Publications. There is some overlap between sub-series.

Included in this series are photos of exhibits, commencements, notable visitors to the college, alumni, buildings and structures designed by faculty and alumni, and images used to illustrate TCAUP publications. Of note are images of the Detroit Charettes held in 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002 (located in two sub-series: Binders, and Events and Programs), and from the naming ceremony held to celebrate the endowment from A. Alfred Taubman and the renaming of the college in his honor. Other significant images include a memento to Buckminster Fuller's geodesic dome, the dedication of the Wallenberg memorial in front of the school, and a nice set of faculty photos from 1981 that include brief CV's attached to each portrait. Finally, the series provides a nice sampling of student work from classes, exhibits, and competitions.

Researchers should note that the Binders sub-series is unique from the other sub-series in organization. The materials in this sub-series were originally housed in binders. Most of the binders contained a combination of photos from various events, projects, people, and structures that were housed together according to year, or month and year. There were also a number of binders containing images relating to a specific event, such as the charrettes of 2001 and 2002. The materials in each binder were kept together and re-housed in expandable folders. Therefore, the labels for these folders will be much broader than the folders labels used in the other sub-series, and researchers will find materials from multiple events and activities in these folders.

Researchers should also note that some folders in the series included image identification forms containing descriptive information on the images included in that file. These forms were part of a project to describe the images before they were sent to the Bentley, and the information on some of these forms may not be accurate.