William Martin Aiken papers
Sketchbooks, photographs, clippings and other professional papers of Charleston born architect William Martin Aiken. Materials relate to Aikens student and professional work as an architect and as the Supervising Architect of the Treasury Department. Aiken's work as an architect is represented by a small number of drawings, numerous photographs and clippings. Aiken's architectural education and travels are recorded in a series of ten sketchbooks, containing sketches of architecture and architectural details of buildings in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Aikens professional work in Cincinnati is best represented. There are measured plans and photographs for the Charles Anderson Jr. residence, built in 1886, as well as photographs of houses designed for Henry Preserved Smith and Captain H .S. Chamberlin. Also included are photographs of federal buildings, primarily post offices, designed by Aiken throughout the United States for the Treasury Department during his two year tenure. Also included are clippings from architectural journals and plates from portfolios relating to federal buildings and homes designed by Aiken as well as buildings designed by the New York City architectural firm McKim, Mead, and White, and churches. Clippings are primarily of buildings designed in the Beaux Arts and Romanesque styles, styles which Aiken generally used for his own designs. Also included are clippings of doorway and wrought iron metal work designs.
- Aiken, William Martin, 1855-1908 (Person)
Language of Material
Materials in English
This collection is open for research.
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William Martin Aiken was born July 1, 1855 in Charleston, South Carolina. In 1872, Aiken attended the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, leaving in 1874 to teach at the Charleston High School and, later, returning to Tennessee to teach on the faculty at the University of the South. Moving to Boston in 1877, Aiken continued his studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, graduating two years later. After graduating, Aiken worked in several Boston architects offices, including the office of Henry Hobson Richardson, a prominent 19th century architect. Leaving Boston in 1886 for Cincinnati, Ohio, Aiken started his own practice, partnering with E. H. Ketcham until 1895. During this time Aiken also began teaching at the Cincinnati Art Academy. In 1895, Aiken became the Supervising Architect of the Treasury Department, a position he would hold for two years. As the Supervising Architect, Aiken would design many post offices, court houses, and customs houses across the U.S. Aiken also supervised the planning and construction of the U.S. Mints in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Denver, Colorado, as well as the government buildings erected at the Atlanta Exposition of 1895 and the Nashville Exposition of 1897. After leaving his position as Supervising Architect, Aiken began practicing in New York City with Bruce Price, and from 1901 to 1902, worked in the office of the President of the Borough of Manhattan as a consulting architect. As consulting architect, Aiken remodeled the interior of the City Hall and the New York County Court House. Aiken passed away on December 7, 1908, in New York City.
5.70 linear feet (3 document boxes, 4 flat boxes)
Sketchbooks, photographs, clippings and other professional papers of Charleston born architect William Martin Aiken. Materials relate to Aiken's student and professional work as an architect in Boston, Massachusetts, and Cincinnati, Ohio, and as the Supervising Architect of the Treasury Department. Materials also relate to homes designed by Aiken as well as buildings designed by the New York City architectural firm McKim, Mead, and White.
- Sketchbooks, sketches, and working drawings, 1877-1907, undated
- Photographs, 1880-1898, undated
- Clippings, 1877-1956, undated
- General, 1879-1909, undated
Materials were donated in 1977 by Albert Simons.
Alternate Form of Materials
Sketchbooks (1878-1907) available online in the Lowcountry Digital Library.
Originally processed by Special Collections staff. Reprocessed by Joshua Minor, August 2011.
- Aiken, William Martin, 1855-1908
- Architects -- South Carolina -- Charleston
- Architects in government -- United States -- History -- 19th century
- Architecture -- Massachusetts -- Boston -- History -- 19th century
- Architecture -- Ohio -- Cincinnati -- History -- 19th century
- Architecture -- United States -- History -- 19th century
- Boston (Mass.)
- Cincinnati (Ohio)
- McKim, Mead & White
- black-and-white photographs
- clippings (information artifacts)
- Inventory of the William Martin Aiken Papers, 1878-1956
- Processed by: Joshua Minor; machine-readable finding aid created by: Joshua Minor
- Description rules
- Language of description
- Script of description