San Francisco Architectural Club Records, 1900-1987 (bulk 1913-1961)

SF Architectural Club group outing. 1922 photo from scrapbook.

One thing a librarian/archivist in the San Francisco History Center quickly learns about buildings and architectural research is that it's about people just as much as it's about residential, commercial, and civic structures. The San Francisco Architectural Club Records are about people. Nineteen young draftsmen got together in 1901 to found an educational and social club that supported and encouraged aspiring architects. The club hosted ateliers, exhibits, lectures, field trips, banquets, parties, and other functions.  Night classes gave those with day jobs in architectural offices the opportunity to take classes and network with one another and with established architects. It enabled working class men to excel in a field that was rapidly becoming a licensed profession favoring the privileged.

Cover from Second Annual Loan Exhibit catalog, 1903
The San Francisco Architectural Club Records contain minutes, correspondence, membership and financial records, curricular materials, ephemera, publications, and scrapbooks spanning the life of the organization from its beginnings until its disbandment in 1987. It also includes notebooks, drawings, watercolors, and other materials of Edward L. Frick, a member of the club who became a prominent local architect. Other early club members that architecture history buffs might recognize include George Applegarth, John Bakewell, Jr., William B. Faville, Timothy Pflueger, Willis K. Polk, and Ernest Weihe.

The finding aid to the San Francisco Architectural Club Records is available at the Online Archive of California.

Frick's notebook on French usage, 1913-
For a more in-depth look at the history of the club, see Therese Poletti's article, "Comrades in the Atelier: The Early Years of the San Francisco Architectural Club," published in The Argonaut of Spring 2009.
Expense sheet for beer, whiskey, bread, popcorn and other fare for the 40th annual Jinx, undated

École des Beaux Arts watercolor 3: "Un cercle pour les élèves de l'école des beaux-arts. Edward L. Frick. At. Gromart."Nov. 15, 1913

Image credits: All images from San Francisco Architectural Club Records (SFH 8), San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.



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