Howard Major papers, ca. 1925

Howard Major papers, ca. 1925
ca. 1925
647 sheets (in 5 binders and 3 manuscript boxes)
Collection consists of five binders of photographs of different regional residential architectural styles, one unpublished manuscript entitled "The Architecture of Old Cuba" and some notes on Post Colonial architecture. The binders and the manuscript consist primarily of black and white photographs of architectural structures, which have been adhered to sheets of paper by Major. The binders have photographs primarily of residential structures throughout the United States. A note accompanying the collection indicates that the majority of the photographs in the binders were used to illustrate "The Domestic Architecture of the Early American Republic." The two binders titled "North Atlantic Seaboard" (parts I & II) feature towns in Maine, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. The binder "South Atlantic Seaboard" focuses on Virginia, Washington D.C., North Carolina and South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. "Old Northwest" covers Ohio, Illinois and Michigan, and the "Old Southwest" binder covers Georgia, Louisiana, Kentucky, Alabama, and Mississippi. The manuscript "The Architecture of Old Cuba" covers many aspects of Cuban architecture, including the history of its development from the 16th century through the 19th and the functions of major components such as windows, grills, doorways, arcades, and patios. Howard Major does not seem to have taken the majority of the photos; most of the photographs of Cuba can be attributed to the American Photo Studios in Havana, Cuba. Within the binders he identifies the photographer by last name with a note. Within the manuscript, there are some pages of text interspersed within the photograph pages. His perspectives on each image are recorded in the notations at the bottom of each page.
Biographical / Historical Note
Howard Brougham Major was born in 1882 and died in 1974. He studied at the New York Atelier of Beaux-Arts and became the chief draftsman for the architect Charles Alonzo Rich, where he designed buildings for Dartmouth College and Long Island society. He later opened his own firm on Fifth Avenue in New York City. In 1923 he began working with Addison Mizner's Worth Avenue office and moved to Palm Beach with his family in 1925. Though he created many homes in Palm Beach in the popular Mediterranean Revival style, he was not a strong advocate for the style. Throughout his career, he designed numerous residences in the Greek Revival, Georgian, and British Colonial styles. He was a proponent of restraint in architecture, and wrote on the issue and similar subjects. Major traveled extensively to places such as Cuba, Spain, and Portugal. He was strongly influenced by Spanish architecture. In 1926 his work "The Domestic Architecture of the Early American Republic: The Greek Revival" was published. In 1928, he wrote a series of articles for The Palm Beach Post entitled "How to Recognize Spanish Architecture." The influence of Spanish architecture in Cuba is a central theme of his unpublished manuscript, "The Architecture of Old Cuba." After the Great Depression, Major's subtle styles became popular in Palm Beach, and many examples of his work have been preserved in that region. Howard Major married his first wife, Katherine Clark, in 1920. Clark was born in 1899 and died in 1958. He married his second wife, Dorothy Underhill, in 1960.
This collection is available for use by appointment in the Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University. For further information and to make an appointment, please call (212) 854-4110 or email
Manuscript/Archive Manuscript/Archive
Acquired On
February 5, 2013
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