Title: BRAGDON FAMILY PAPERS, CLAUDE FAYETTE BRAGDON--ARCHITECTURAL DRAWINGS
Size: 185 folders, 9 boxes
Claude Fayette Bragdon, architect, stage designer, author and theosophist, was born in Oberlin, Ohio, August 1, 1866, the son of George Chandler and Katherine Elmina (Shipherd) Bragdon. George Chandler Bragdon was editor of a succession of newspapers, and the family lived in a variety of Upstate New York towns before settling permanently in Rochester in 1884.
Claude Bragdon began his architectural training in the office of Louis P. Rogers in 1886. After a year he went to work for Putnam and Block (Josiah H. Putnam and Otto Block), leaving that office shortly to work for Charles Ellis, the brother of Harvey Ellis. During this period he helped to organize the Rochester Architectural Club, and entered a number of draughting competitions sponsored by professional groups in New York and Chicago. Bragdon next worked for Bruce Price in New York and Green and Wicks in Buffalo.
In 1891 he returned to Rochester to go into partnership with Edwin S. Gordon and William H. Orchard. This partnership was dissolved in 1895, when Bragdon went to Europe for several months, visiting England, France and Italy. He returned to Rochester and opened a practice with J. Con Hillman, which was prosperous by 1900. The most important commissions in those early years were the addition to the Livingston County Courthouse in Geneseo, five police precinct stations for the city of Rochester, the Rochester Athletic Club, and a number of private residences in Rochester and Oswego. The partnership with Hillman was dissolved about 1904.
Bragdon continued to practice in Rochester until 1923. His major commissions during this second period were the New York Central Railroad station, the Canandaigua Historical Building, the Maplewood Branch YMCA, the Bevier Building, Rochester Mechanic's Institute (now Rochester Institute of Technology), the First Universalist Church, Rochester, and the Italian Presbyterian Church, Rochester. Bragdon's practice was diminished after his quarrel with George Eastman over the decoration of the ceiling of the Rochester Chamber of Commerce Building in 1917. After that year, his principal commission was the design for the Hunter Street Bridge, Peterborough, Ontario. In 1923 he moved to New York and turned his attention to stage design for Walter Hampden. He resided there until his death in 1946.
Besides his practical contributions to the field, Bragdon wrote three books on architectural theory, The Beautiful Necessity, 1910, Architecture and Democracy, 1918, and The Frozen Fountain, 1932. He also wrote the forward to Louis Sullivan's Autobiography of an Idea, and edited Sullivan's Kindergarten Chats.
One longtime associate of Bragdon's was James Burns Arnold (1881-1957). He left the Bragdon office to begin the firm of Arnold and Stern (1915-1932) with Herbert Morland Stern. They were responsible for a number of buildings in Rochester and the area.
The collection is organized by commission, roughly in chronological order. The number assigned to each job or group of jobs is taken from the rolls in which the drawings were stored. The material consists of preliminary sketches and studies, perspective sketches and renderings, working drawings on linen, blueprint copies, full scale details, photographs and specifications. The drawings are stored flat in map folders. The accompanying specifications are shelved with the manuscript collections. The following register is alphabetized by client name to aid searchers. An index by job number is located in the Department of Rare Books & Special Collections.
Alphabetical Index: A-D, E-K, L-R, S-U, and V-Z
Gift of Harwood Dryer, October and December 1974, March 1975
Gift of Mrs. W. Allen Wallis, 1974 (Roll 55)
Deposited by Henry Bragdon, 1977 (Roll 90)
Biographical information--Bragdon, Claude Fayette. More Lives Than One, New York, 1938.
See also: A.B81 Bragdon Family Papers, 1819-1966.
BRAGDON ARCHITECTURAL DRAWINGS A-D
BRAGDON ARCHITECTURAL DRAWINGS E-K
BRAGDON ARCHITECTURAL DRAWINGS L-R
BRAGDON ARCHITECTURAL DRAWINGS S-U
BRAGDON ARCHITECTURAL DRAWINGS V-Z