Abraham W. Geller architectural records and papers, 1915-1999

Abraham W. Geller architectural records and papers, 1915-1999 (bulk 1940-1990s)
approx. 50 linear feet of papers
approx. 4850 photographs
approx. 11,250 drawings
(44 archives boxes, 18 manuscript boxes, 10 portfolio boxes, 6 card file boxes, 116 tube boxes, 8 flatfile drawers, rolls)
This material is arranged in five series: Project Records, General; Major Projects; Professional Papers; Office Records, and Personal Papers. The arrangement of materials within each series is described at the beginning of each series inventory.
Finding Aid
Finding aid available online. See online link.
This large collection documents in great detail the architectural projects of Abraham Geller and his colleagues throughout the United States and abroad, spanning the 1940s through the 1990s. Types of projects represented include retirement homes, recreational facilities, medical centers, private residences and prototype dwellings for large residential developments, urban renewal projects, and offices. Among the projects with substantial documentation are the Cinema I & II theaters (Manhattan); the Aaron Davis Hall at City College (Manhattan); many commissions for the Health Insurance Plan of New York throughout the five boroughs; the E. Dent Lackey Plaza in Niagara Falls; and the Henry Ittleson Center for Child Research (Bronx). Working overseas, major projects also include extensive buildings for the Investors Overseas Service (France, Germany and Switzerland); and for the Intercoastal Resources Commission in the Carribean. Geller's activities in professional associations and organizations, his numerous awards and recognitions, and his relationships with many artists are also well documented in other series. This collection is especially rich in drawings and images of his projects as well as detailed daily records of the business side of architectural commissions. Additionally, there are numerous research and reference materials related to project types. Lastly, Geller took a great interest in the promotion of his projects and practice, which is reflected in a significant amount of public relations material in his collection.
Biographical / Historical Note
Abraham William Geller (1912-1995) was born in Romania and emigrated to New York City in 1920. After graduating from Brooklyn Technical High School, he studied architecture first at Cornell University from 1932-1936 and then at New York University, from which he graduated in 1938. Geller served in the United States Army from 1942 to 1945. Geller's early training included positions at the firms of William Lescaze, Shreve Lamb & Harmon and Gropius & Breuer. In 1946 he partnered with George Nemeny and Basil Yurchenko to form Nemeny and Geller Associates. In 1950 he opened his own practice, Abraham W. Geller & Associates, Architects and Planners, the firm for which he would remain the principal architect throughout his career. He was also joined by his wife, Marion Geller, an interior designer, in his office. Geller and his firms won numerous awards and professional honors. Geller was named a fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1972, and in 1985 he was awarded the Medal of Honor from the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects' highest professional honor. Introducing a retrospective exhibit of his own work in 1995 Geller observed "It is obvious from the work exhibited here that I am not a specialist. Further, I do not believe that the practice of architecture requires specialization. I believe that each project has its own unique logic, requires careful research, and has a possible solution that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing." Geller died in 1995 in New York City, at the age of 83.
This collection is available for use by appointment in the Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University. The majority of this collection is stored in the Columbia University Libraries' Offsite Storage Facility and will be recalled upon patron request. For further information and to make an appointment, please call (212) 854-4110 or email
Columbia University is providing access to the materials in the Library's collections solely for noncommercial educational and research purposes. The unauthorized use, including, but not limited to, publication of the materials without the prior written permission of Columbia University is strictly prohibited. All inquiries regarding permission to publish should be submitted in writing to the Director, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University. In addition to permission from Columbia University, permission of the copyright owner (if not Columbia University) and/or any holder of other rights (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) may also be required for reproduction, publication, distributions, and other uses. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of any item and securing any necessary permissions rests with the persons desiring to publish the item. Columbia University makes no warranties as to the accuracy of the materials or their fitness for a particular purpose.
Cite As
Abraham W. Geller architectural records and papers. Located in the Dept. of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.
Language Note
In English.
Manuscript/Archive Manuscript/Archive
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