Collection inventory

Special Collections home page
printer friendly version

Syracuse University School of Architecture Records

A description of its records at the Syracuse University Archives


Creator: Syracuse University. -- School of Architecture.
Title: Syracuse University School of Architecture Records
Dates: 1873-2016
Size: 48 boxes and 2 wrapped packages (51 linear feet)
Abstract: The School of Architecture Records contain administrative files, architectural drawings, correspondence, printed material, student work, and other material relating to the School.
Language: English
Repository: University Archives,
Special Collections Research Center
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Ave., Suite 600
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Historical Note

Photograph of Slocum Hall, 1918

The roots of the School of Architecture started in 1873 when architecture courses were added into the College of Fine Arts. When the dean of the College, George Fisk Comfort, started the architecture program, its main instructors were professors from other departments and local architects who taught without pay, the latter being a tradition that continued into the 1900s. At this time, there were no qualified professors in architecture, being only one of three programs offered in the country and the first to offer architecture as a four-year program. In the first year, the program enrolled only one student. By 1890, the architecture program was housed in the Department of Architecture and Painting, and it wasn't until 1893 that it officially became the Architecture Department. Though the Architecture Department had a slow start with few students and full faculty, it would not always be slow moving.

Over the beginning years, courses in architecture and later the Architecture Department were housed in many different locations on the campus of Syracuse University. These included the Hall of Languages, Crouse College, and Steele Hall. After construction was completed in 1919, the Architecture Department moved to its current location, Slocum Hall, named after Joseph Slocum, by his daughter and donor Mrs. Russell Sage. Slocum Hall was designed by architects Frederick Revels, the chair of the Architecture Department, and Earl Hallenbeck and has undergone a few renovations since its opening.

Photograph of Architecture Students

By 1930, a fifth year was added to the program, which has carried into today’s degree program. In 1945, the Architecture Department finally became the School of Architecture. However, it wasn’t until 1958 under D. Kenneth Sargent’s leadership that the school became independent from the College of Fine Arts and became a division of Syracuse University.

Prior to Sargent’s administration during the years of 1958 until 1969, the School of Architecture did not have its own dean. Under his leadership, students were able to complete a master's degree along with a bachelor's degree in six years. After he resigned, the School of Architecture had two interim deans and Dean John Sergio Fisher, who only served for three years. It wasn't until 1976, when Werner Seligmann fulfilled the position, that the School of Architecture had a more permanent dean. During Seligmann's term, he increased the amount of required design classes fivefold, making the School of Architecture recognized even internationally. Also under his direction was the creation of the Florence program, in which students are able to travel abroad to take classes and gain first-hand experience with European architecture. Bruce Abbey took over as dean in 1990 and continued to move the School of Architecture toward a center of excellence as well as celebrate the School's 125-year anniversary.

In 2002, Abbey resigned and Arthur McDonald served as interim dean until Mark Robbins assumed the position two years later. In 2007, the School of Architecture began its London Program, housed at the University’s Farraday Center. Two years later, a similar program was started in Manhattan and by 2014, Syracuse University Fisher Center started to hold classes for the School of Architecture, School of Visual and Performing Arts and S.I. Newhouse School of Communications in New York City. Before the Fisher Center opened, Robbins resigned and Randall Korman served as interim dean for a year until Michael Speaks became dean in 2013.

Return to top

Scope and Content Note

The Syracuse University School of Architecture Records contains administrative files, architectural drawings, correspondence, publications, printed material, student work, and other material relating to the School of Architecture. Also included in this collection are records relating to exhibitions, including the Lescaze Exhibit.

Return to top


Access Restrictions

The collection is currently unprocessed and not available for research.

School, college and department records are restricted to the office of origin for 30 years.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from the Syracuse University Archives and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Return to top

Related Material

Also available from the Archives are related materials in the Clipping Files, the Photograph Collection, the School of Architecture Office of the Dean Records, and the papers of some of the school's faculty.

The Syracuse University Special Collections Research Center holds the Werner Seligmann Papers.

Return to top

Selected Search Terms


Syracuse University -- History.
Syracuse University.
Syracuse University. -- School of Architecture.


College teachers.
Higher education.

Types of material

Architectural drawings (visual works)

Return to top

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Syracuse University School of Architecture Records,
University Archives,
Special Collections Research Center
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

The School of Architecture Records were donated to the Archives by the School of Architecture and its Dean's Office in 1965 and records continue to be accepted today.

Processing Information

This collection is unprocessed.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: Anna Smallwood
Date: 2015
Revision history: 2016 - Reference materials added to collection and finding aid updated (AES); 2022 - Restriction added (HVA)

Return to top


An inventory has not yet been created for this collection. Please contact the Repository listed above for more information.

Return to top