Architectural Archives

Thaddeus Longstreth Collection (009)

The bulk of the collection comprises records of Longstreth's architectural practice in the Bucks County, Pennsylvania and Princeton, New Jersey region, inlclugin records for 111 projects spanning the years 1943 to 1984. There are substantial records related to Longstreth's collaborations with renouned modernist Richard Neutra.

Biographical / Historical Sketch

Long-time associate of Richard Neutra, Thaddeus Longstreth was born in Cincinnati, OH, the son of George Brown Longstreth and Anna Margaret Pullen.  His father died when Longstreth was young, and he was educated in New England boarding schools, first at the Fessenden School in Waltham, Massachusetts and then the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut.  After earning a bachelor's degree at Yale in 1933, Longstreth worked for three years in the aircraft industry, first for aeronautical engineer and author Paul H. Wilkerson, and then with the Luscombe Airplane Development Corporation as a sales engineer.  He contributed a chapter on superchargers to the 1936 edition of Wilkerson's guide Diesel Aircraft Engines (Brooklyn, NY: Guide Printing Company, 1936).  Longstreth entered Princeton's Graduate School of Architecture in 1938 and completed his M.F.A. in 1941.  He won the AIA's school medal in his final year, among other awards.  He worked in the office of architect Edwin A. Weed of Flemington, NJ while at Princeton.

Longstreth entered the U.S. Navy as an ensign immediately after graduation from Princeton, having been commissioned in the Naval Reserve when he left Yale.  He commanded a ship repair unit in the Southwest Pacific during World War II.  After the war, he worked briefly for Leland Evison in Pasadena, CA, and then entered the office of Richard Neutra as a draftsman in 1946.  He worked on several important projects while in Neutra's office, including the well-known Edgar Kaufmann "Desert House" in Palm Springs, CA.  He moved to Philadelphia in 1947, joining Oscar Stonorov's office that same year to work on the Greater Philadelphia City Planning exhibit.  In 1948, he began working with Vincent G. Kling as a draftsman and designer, and remained there through 1949, participating in the Lankenau Hospital project, among others, and the planning of Earlham College's campus in Richmond, Indiana.  Longstreth then worked for Gabriel Roth on a number of Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority projects, including the site development for the "Golden Triangle" area of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. 

Longstreth began to work independently in 1947 and opened his own office in Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania in 1950.  He joined the Philadelphia Chapter of the AIA in 1952.  Beginning in 1953, he collaborated with Neutra on a number of houses in the region, and was the East Coast resident supervising architect for Neutra & Alexander on several projects, including the Lincoln Memorial Cyclorama and Visitors' Center for the National Park Service at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  Longstreth also completed several early residential designs in association with David J. Anderson.  While his associations were significant, the vast majority of his projects were independent commissions, among them designs for the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey and numerous private houses.  He retired from practice in 1980.

Scope and Content Note

This collection is the primary archive of the architectural work of Thaddeus Longstreth.  The bulk of the collection comprises records of Longstreth's architectural practice (111 projects spanning the years 1943 to 1984).  The collection also contains a smaller amount of personal material. 

Longstreth preserved a substantial amount of material related to his collaborations with Richard Neutra, beginning with his work in Neutra's office in California, and concluding with his supervision of Neutra's institutional and domestic commissions in the eastern United States in the 1950s and 1960s.  Particularly notable for scholars of Neutra's work are Longstreth's many color slides taken during the construction of the Edgar Kaufmann house (also called Kaufmann Desert House) in Palm Springs, California.  Notable for scholars of Philadelphia architecture are materials related to several houses designed by Neutra in the Philadelphia region.  Materials on Neutra's California projects include numerous photographs by Julius Schulman, who also photographed one house near Philadelphia (Pitcairn).

Provenance

Acquisition:  Gift of Richard Longstreth, 1996, 2003.

Related Collections

See:

Thaddeus Longstreth Collection (270)