Architectural Archives

T. Norman Mansell Collection (008)

The collection comprises 737 architectural drawings, 45 photographic prints, 21 engravings, and 0.5 cubic feet of papers, documenting Mansell's buildings and projects spanning the years 1922-1968. 

Biographical / Historical Sketch

Norman Mansell was born in Philadelphia and graduated from West Philadelphia High School.  He had a distinguished career at the University of Pennsylvania’s school of architecture, winning the Arthur Spayd Brooke Memorial Prize silver medal and the Faculty Medal before graduating with honors in 1926.  While still a student, Mansell began working in the office of Richard Erskine, and was made a partner before he left in 1938 to establish an independent practice.  He joined the national AIA in 1942.  In 1955, Frank McGettigan and Edwin L. Fugate 3rd were made named associates (Mansell, McGettigan & Fugate), and full partners in 1959.  Wolfgang Rapp, who had been with the firm since 1954, was also named a partner in 1959.  Rapp left to practice independently in 1961.  Richard A. Lewis replaced McGettigan as a named partner in 1968 (Mansell, Lewis & Fugate).  Mansell retired in 1978.

Mansell specialized in institutional, and particularly in ecclesiastical projects for the Lutheran church.  Between 1945 and 1955 he produced a series of church designs for the Board of American Missions of the United Lutheran Church in America, and from the 1940s through the 1960s he designed churches for Lutheran congregations throughout the United States.  He served as director and president for the Guild for Religious Architecture and was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Fine Arts at Lutheran-affiliated Wittenberg University, Springfield, Ohio, whose chapel Mansell designed in 1956.  Mansell was among the leaders of the Philadelphia Chapter of the AIA in the 1960s, serving on the board of directors and as president in 1966.  He was also a director of the Pennsylvania Society of Architects between 1968 and 1970.  His interests outside of the profession included gem cutting, jewelry making, painting, and poetry.

Scope & Content Note

This collection is the primary archive of the work of architect T. Norman Mansell, comprising architectural drawings, photographic prints, manuscripts and memorabilia, documenting buildings and projects spanning the years 1922-1969.  Mansell's drawings made while he was a student at the University of Pennsylvania, 1922-1926, illustrate both his own development and the method of teaching architectural design in the School of Architecture during that period.  The bulk of the collection documents Mansell's professional work, primarily for church organizations and congregations, 1945-1965.  Drawings for these 138 projects are usually limited to a selection, made by the architect, of four to six presentation drawings.  Development and construction drawings are found in a handful of projects only.

The following projects, listed in the American Architects Directory (New York, 1956 through 1970) are not represented in the collection:  Elementary School, Primos, Pennsylvania, 1952; Office Building, U.L.C.A. Board of Publications, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1959; Dormitory Buildings, United Church of Christ Seminary, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 1960; St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, Cumberland, Maryland, 1960; Church of the Good Shepherd, Easton, Pennsylvania, n.d.