The Library of Congress > American Memory
banner image
return to home page table of contents about the guide abbreviations search banner image

Prints and Photographs Division



Graphic Journalism and Illustration
Photojournalism Collections
Documentary Surveys
Advertising and Propaganda
Pictures: Business and Art
Design Collections
arrow graphicArchitecture, Design, and Engineering Drawings
The Work of Charles and Ray Eames
Organizations' Records
Personal Papers



Architecture, Design, and Engineering Drawings
see caption below

Architectural drawing for the Washington Monument, Washington, D.C. Perspective Rendering. Vinnie Ream. 1876-1878. Prints and Photographs Division.
bibliographic record

Outside of the Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record measured drawings of already built structures (see section on HABS/HAER), the division's greatest strength in terms of architectural drawings is in the original designs contained in its Architecture, Design, and Engineering Drawings (38,500 drawings, 1600-1989, bulk 1880-1940). Most of these drawings relate to Washington, D.C., sites and architects. They include plans for shopping centers and apartment houses as well as for more monumental structures.

Women's names rarely appear as architects and designers in this collection, perhaps because the work of women designers went uncredited by the firms for which they worked. The collection does include:

  • several interior designs by Maria Ramona Drayer (b. 1920)
  • some structures designed by Mary Craig (1889-1964)
  • designs for several sculptural works by Vinnie Ream (1847-1914)

see caption below

Vietnam Veterans Memorial competition drawing. Maya Ying Lin. 1980 or 1981. Prints and Photographs Division.

full caption
| bibliographic record

Browsing the index for “creators” in the catalog records for Architecture, Design, and Engineering Drawings yields additional names of women architects, each of whom was responsible for one or more drawings for commercial or residential structures. For example:

  • Katherine Gibbs
  • Elsa Gidoni (1901-1978)
  • Julia Finch Gilbert
  • Verna Cook Salomonsky (later Verna Cook Shipway, 1888?-1978)

The work of more contemporary women designers is reflected in competition drawings for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, including the winning submission by Maya Ying Lin (b. 1959).

Women's participation in the design process is also documented insofar as women's names appear as clients for design projects. Among the more familiar clients the collection includes are the following:

  • Mary Lord Harrison (Mrs. Benjamin Harrison), who commissioned drawings for alterations to the White House (ADE—UNIT 2838)
  • Lady Bird Johnson, who had drawings done for several renovation projects during her husband's career in Washington, D.C.
  • sculptor Vinnie Ream, who had Thomas M. Plowman draw up plans for a duplex in downtown Washington, D.C. (ADE—UNIT 2900)

Searching the Collection

Catalog records for most Architecture, Design and Engineering Drawings can be found in the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog where the collection has its own listing. Digitized images accompany some records. Many of the records are for “units”—groups of drawings for which an unpublished finding aid, available in the reading room, provides itemized listings.

Because of the size and fragility of the drawings, advance arrangements must be made to view some materials. For further information on service of architectural drawings, see

Go to the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC)

red line
Home Table of Contents About the Guide Abbreviations Search
The Library of Congress> > American Memory