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David Reichard Williams Papers

Collection 27

Williams, David Reichard (1890-1962). Papers, 1847 (1915-1984)-1986

25 feet

David Williams was an architect, a government official, a city planner, a bon vivant, and a Texan. Born in 1890 near Childress on the Texas panhandle, Williams never separated himself from the values instilled by a childhood on the frontier or by growing up in the great expansiveness of his native state. Williams remained in Childress until 1913 when he left for Austin and an education at the University of Texas. Interests in architecture and engineering honed through work in a railroad foundry and correspondence study were developed at the University. He also served as staff member and editor of the yearbook, Cactus. Just before graduation he answered a bulletin board advertisement which led him to Tampico, Mexico and a short career in the oilfields. His engineering and architectural work in Mexico was set amidst the revolution which occasionally complicated life in Tampico. Nevertheless, Williams was able to amass a small fortune which allowed him to tour Europe in the early 1920s. Here he furthered his education in architecture and acquired a notable rare book collection which specialized in Renaissance architecture.

Williams returned from Europe and established an architectural practice in Dallas, Texas in 1924. During the next nine years he evolved a style which borrowed heavily from pioneer Texas buildings. Williams called this the "indigenous architecture." It became very influential in the southwest as practiced by Williams' disciples O'Neil Ford and Arch Swank. As Williams became a national figure he took his indigenous theories with him and introduced them to a larger audience. While in Dallas Williams became the center of a coterie of artists who heavily influenced the cultural life of the city then and of the entire state for many years thereafter. With the worsening of the Depression Williams became involved with community planning and the building of rural communities for the dispossessed first for the state and later at the national level. He was directly involved with the development of rural communities in Texas, Florida, Georgia, and Alaska. In 1936 Williams began working for the National Youth Administration where he eventually became Deputy Administrator. Again he was heavily involved with planning and architecture activities, including the La Villita project in San Antonio.

During World War II Williams served in two different capacities. First he worked with war housing where he made pioneering efforts in the field of prefabrication. Second he worked in Central and South America on road building and site planning operations. It was while he was in Central America that he survived an airplane crash but sustained a broken neck. Although he was not disabled by the accident, he never fully recovered and had health difficulties for the remainder of his life.

From 1945 until his retirement in 1951 Williams worked for a number of governmental agencies planning hospitals, designing tropic and arctic housing, and developing special housing projects in Venezuela. The employing agencies included USPHS, UNRRA, and the Housing and Home Finance Agency.

In retirement Williams resided in Lafayette, Louisiana where he served as a consultant and was active in the American Institute of Architects, the Texas Society of Architects, and the American Planning and Civic Association. He played a key role in obtaining the Louis Sullivan papers stored in Ocean Springs, Mississippi for the AIA. As a capstone to his career Williams was elected to a Fellowship of the American Institute of Architects in 1960.

One of Williams greatest contributions to architecture was his influence on promising young practitioners, especially during the Depression years. Williams tried to provide as many jobs as he could find for as many architects as possible. In this and other ways he influenced the life and career of men such as O'Neil Ford, Arch B. Swank, John Pritchard, Richard J. Neutra, Marshall Shaffer, and J. Palmer Boggs.

On December 31, 1934 Williams married Louise Lyle Givens of Lafayette, Louisiana. This collection is also a reflection of the life and work of Lyle, especially following Dave's death in 1962. Lyle was active in such groups as AAUW and the League of Women Voters. Before 1951 she worked for the American Red Cross while after the move to Lafayette she taught English at USL. The Williams' were both active in cultural organizations including little theatre groups in Dallas, Alexandria, Virginia, and Lafayette; the Lafayette Museum; and art groups.

Davida Williams was born in 1939. Many aspects of her life in the family are also chronicled in the collection, especially her interest in and talent for art. Williams was an avid amateur photographer so the collection contains an extensive subsection of photographs.

Among the many subjects and people represented in the collection are:

Subject:

  • Alexandria (Virginia)--Description and Travel
  • American Association of University Women. Lafayette (Louisiana)
  • Chapter
  • American Association of University Women. Louisiana Branch
  • American Institute of Architects
  • American Institute of Architects. Dallas (Texas) Chapter
  • Architecture--Texas
  • Architecture--Texas--History
  • Architecture--Texas--Pictorial Views
  • Architecture--United States
  • Architecture, Domestic--United States
  • Architecture, Modern--United States
  • Avion Village (Texas)
  • Central America--Description and Travel
  • Cherry Lake (Florida)
  • Community Development--United States
  • Democratic Party
  • Downtown Lafayette Unlimited
  • Emergency Housing--United States
  • Episcopal Church of the Ascension, Lafayette (Louisiana)
  • Europe--Pictorial Views
  • Federal Aid to Community Development
  • Federal Emergency Relief Agency
  • Federal Works Agency, Mutual Ownership Defense Housing
  • Floods--Louisiana
  • Friends of Dupré Library
  • Historic Buildings--Conservation and Restoration--United States
  • Historic Buildings--Texas--Pictorial Views
  • Housing--United States
  • Housing--Venezuela
  • Institute of Inter-American Affairs
  • Lafayette (Louisiana)--History
  • Lafayette (Louisiana) Little Theatre
  • Lafayette (Louisiana) Museum
  • Little Theatre of Dallas (Texas)
  • Matanuska Valley, Alaska
  • Mexico--Pictorial Views
  • Mexico City (Mexico)--Pictorial Views
  • National Youth Administration
  • Pine Mountain Valley, Georgia
  • Prefabricated Houses--United States
  • Race Relations
  • Raworth Family
  • Shadows-on-the-Teche
  • Tampico, Mexico--Pictorial Views
  • Texas--Centennial Celebrations, 1936
  • Texas--Description and Travel
  • Texas--Folklore
  • Texas Book Club
  • Texas Society of Architects
  • Torian Family
  • United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Agency
  • United States--History--20th Century
  • University of Texas
  • La Villita (San Antonio, Texas)
  • Williams Family

Persons:

  • Asch, Nathan (1902-1964
  • Baker, Jacob ([1895]-1967)
  • Barnes, Ferguson
  • Bell, Howard
  • Black, Hulon W.
  • Boggs, J. Palmer
  • Borglum, Gutzon (1871-1941)
  • Bowman, Mary R.
  • Bromberg, Alfred L.
  • Brown, Richard Rolland (1902- )
  • Bryan, Ralph
  • Bywater, Jerry (1906- )
  • Campbell, Stew C. (1896- )
  • Caputo, Mario V.
  • Colvin, M. Milton
  • Conley, Lucille
  • Crowell, Evelyn Miller Pierce
  • Davies, Ferguson
  • DeWitt, Roscoe (1894- )
  • Dugger, Jeannie
  • Dugger, Ronnie (1930- )
  • Durham, C. J. S. "Jack" [b. 1903]
  • Drane, Hugh A. (1885-1967)
  • Earle, Rona
  • Evans, Ernestine (1889-1967)
  • Ford, O'Neil (1905-1982)
  • Gard, Wayne (1899- )
  • Garner, Ruth
  • George, Eugene
  • Givens, Evelyn M.
  • Givens, John S., III
  • Givens, Richard C.
  • Goldberg, Bernard
  • Hader, John and Mathilda
  • Hall, Weeks ( -1958)
  • Harris, August Watkins
  • Harrison, Carter
  • Hibben, Tom ([1894]-1952)
  • Hogg, Ima (1882-1975)
  • Hubbell, Julia B. (1889- )
  • Hunt, Hallie Caldwell
  • Jacobs, Leo B. (1902-1945)
  • Jensen, Karl
  • Johnson, Lyndon (1908-1973)
  • Jones, Laura Stevens
  • Karsten, Karl G. ([1892]-1968)
  • Kellam, Jess G.
  • King-Farlow, Denys and Margaret
  • Kittrell, William H., Jr. ([1895]-1966)
  • Knight, Theresa Campbell
  • Kramer, Arthur L. ( -1950)
  • Landrum, Lynn V.
  • Lomax, Alan (1915- )
  • McCarthy, Muriel Q. (1933- )
  • Mamalakis, Marie G.
  • Marcus, H. Stanley (1905- )
  • Maverick, Maruy (1895-1954)
  • Maxson, Harry I.
  • Merrick, Bub
  • Merrick, Ophelia R. (1883-1965)
  • Nettleton, Denys
  • Neutra, Dione (1906- )
  • Neutra, Richard (1892-1970)
  • Pettengill, George E.
  • Price, Ed
  • Pritchard, John H.
  • Rayburn, Sam (1882-1961)
  • Rennie, Leonard C.
  • Rogers, William
  • Saarinen, Eero (1910-1961)
  • Sarre, A. J.
  • Shafer, Harry L.
  • Shaffer, Marshall
  • Sloan, Blanding
  • Sharp, Walter C.
  • Stanley, Tom
  • Stokowski, Leopold (1887-1977)
  • Swank, Arch B., Jr.
  • Stroube, W. C.
  • Tibbetts, Marie
  • Tolbert, Frank (1911-1984)
  • Valient, Margaret
  • Wade, Michael (1946- )
  • Walser, Adrian A.
  • Watkins, Evangeline
  • Westbrook, Lawrence (1889-1964)
  • Williams, Arthur (1880-1962)
  • Williams, Aubrey (1890-1965)
  • Williams, Dan R. (1890-1969)
  • Williams, David Raworth
  • Williams, Davida (1939- )
  • Williams, Lyle Givens (1907- )
  • Williams, Raworth
  • Williams, Sumner (1901- )
  • Willson, Corwin
  • Winn, James Buchanan, Jr.
  • Wright, Frank Lloyd (1869-1959)
  • Wright, Richardson (1887-1961)
  • Zisman, Sam B.

Series:

I. Personal Papers
A. General Correspondence
1. 1915-1962 1-01 thru 6-11
2. 1962- 6-12 thru 7-12
B. Family Correspondence, 1902- 7-13 thru 13-09
C. Other
1. To 1916
a. Biographical 13-10 thru 13-14
b. Other 13-15
2. Tampico (1916-1922) 13-16 thru 13-20; 59-12
3. Europe (1922-1924) 13-21 thru 13-22; 57-03
4. Dallas (1924-1932)
a. Biographical 14-01 thru 14-10; 57-03; Map Case 18-03
b. Other 14-11 thru 14-14
5. FERA (1933-1936)
a. Biographical 14-15 thru 14-18; 57-01
b. Other 14-19 thru 14-24
6. NYA (1936-1941)
a. Biographical 15-01 thru 15-09; 57-01
b. Other 15-10 thru 16-07; 59-15; Map Case 18-04, 20-04
7. Defense Housing (1941-1943)
a. Biographical 16-08 thru 16-16; 57-07
b. Other 16-17 thru 16-19
8. Latin America (1943-1945; 1947-1948; etc.)
a. Biographical 16-20 thru 16-29
b. Other 17-01 thru 17-14; 58-7; 59-12; Map Case 23-04
9. UNRRA (1945-1947) 18-01 thru 18-07
10. Public Health Service (Hospitals) and Housing and Home Finance Agency (1949-1951)
a. Biographical 18-08 thru 18-15; 57-10
b. Other 18-16 thru 19-05
11. Governmental Service 19-06
12. Retirement
a. Biographical 19-07 thru 20-10; 57-01, 57-02, 57-10; 59-08;Map Case 18-02, 18-03
1. Architecture 20-11 thru 22-11; 57-02
2. Family and Friends 22-12 thru 22-14
b. Other
1. Lafayette and Louisiana 22-15 thru 23-07; 59-11;Map Case 18-05
2. Texas 23-08 thru 23-14; 59-09, 59-10; Map Case 18-04
3. South 23-15
4. Politics 24-01 thru 24-04
5. Miscellaneous 24-05 thru 24-08
13. Lyle, 1962-
a. Biographical 24-09 thru 26-01
b. Other 26-02 thru 26-09; Map Case 18-04, 18-06
14. General
a. Families 26-10 thru 26-16; 57-01
b. Books 26-17 thru 27-04
II. Professional Papers
A. Private Architectural Practice (1923-1932) 27-05 thru 27-13; 57-05, 57-06; Map Case 18-01, 18-02
B. Rehabilitation and Resettlement (1933-1937) 27-14 thru 30-08; 58-01 thru 58-11; Map Case 19-01, 19-02
C. NYA (1936-1941) 30-09 thru 33-7; 58-01 thru 58-12; Map Case 20-01 thru 20-04
D. Defense Housing (1941-1942) 33-08 thru 34-15; 59-01 thru 59-06; Map Case 21-01 thru 22-02
E. Latin America 35-01 thru 35-07; Map Case 23-01 thru 23-03
1943-1944: Office of the Co-ordinator of Inter-American Affairs
1947-1948: Instituto Techico de Immigracion y Colonizacion
F. UNRRA (1945-1947), Public Health Service (1949-1950) and Housing and Home Finance Agency (1950-1951) 35-08 thru 36-12; Map Case 23-05, 23-06
III. Miscellaneous
A. Michael Wade Material 36-13 thru 36-16
B. Art Work 36-17; 59-13; Map Case 18-03
C. Others 37-01
IV. Photographs
A. DRW and Family 37-02 thru 39-05; 57-04; Map Case 20-04
B. Friends 39-06 thru 39-19; 57-04
C. Subject
1. Texas 39-20 thru 42-13
[includes DRW architecture and indigenous]
2. Latin America 42-14 thru 44-02
[includes Tampico and Mexico; Nicaragua; Honduras; Colombia; and Venezuela]
3. Europe 44-03 thru 45-05
4. FERA 45-06 thru 48-04
5. National Youth Administration-NYA (and WPA) 48-05 thru 48-11
6. Defense Housing and UNRRA 48-12 thru 49-05
7. Places 49-06 thru 49-15
8. Miscellaneous 49-16 and 49-17
D. 35 mm Contact Prints and Negatives Box 50
V. Magnetic Tapes Box 51, 52, 53
VI. Artifacts 53-01
VII. Books Box 54, 55, 56
VIII. Oversize Box 57, 58, 59; Map Case Drawers 18-23

Inventory:

Williams, David Reichard (1890-1962). Papers, 1847 (1915-1984)-1986