Wilson, Zelma Architectural Collection Zelma Wilson Architectural Collection, 1940-1995 Ms.1991.046

Zelma Wilson Architectural Collection, 1940-1995 Ms.1991.046


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Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061
specref@vt.edu
URL: http://spec.lib.vt.edu

Sherrie Bowser, Kathryn Shackelford

Repository
Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech
Identification
Ms.1991.046
Title
Zelma Wilson Architectural Collection1940-19951969-1991
URL:
http://ead.lib.virginia.edu/vivaxtf/view?docId=vt/viblbv00912.xml
Quantity
115.5 Cubic Feet, 24 record cartons; 177 rolled drawings; 5 map-case drawers
Creator
Wilson, Zelma, 1918-1996
Language
The materials in the collection are in English.
Abstract
Wilson (1918-1996) an architect in Ojai, CA was born in New York City but later relocated to Southern California. She studied at the University of California, Berkeley, 1937-1940; later the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, 1941; and graduated with a B. Arch from University of Southern California in 1947. Wilson's collection encompasses three decades of work that range from her academic through professional career—including her experience of operating her own firm. Her collection contains biographical material, professional committee and association work, school work, client correspondence, office promotional materials, time logs, drawings, photographs and manuscript material relating to projects. Materials range in date from 1940-1995 (bulk 1969-1991).

Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

The copyright status of this collection is unknown. Copyright restrictions may apply. Contact Special Collections and University Archives for assistance in determining the use of these materials. Reproduction or digitization of materials for personal or research use can be requested using our reproduction/digitization form: http://bit.ly/scuareproduction. Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: http://bit.ly/scuapublication. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives (specref@vt.edu or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: [identification of item], [box], [folder], Zelma Wilson Architectural Collection, Ms1991-046, Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.

Source of Acquisition

The Zelma Wilson Architectural Collection was donated to Special Collections in 1991 with the bulk of the collection arriving in 1996.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the Zelma Wilson Architectural Collection was completed in August 2011. Preliminary processing was undertaken January 2006.


Biographical Note

Wilson (1918-1996) was born in New York City but later relocated to Southern California. She studied at the University of California, Berkeley, 1937-1940; later the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, 1941; and graduated with a B. Arch from University of Southern California in 1947. Wilson was the only woman in her graduating class at USC that year. Her husband, a screenwriter, was blacklisted in 1952 after co-producing a film about New Mexico zinc miners. As a result the couple moved to Europe. While in Paris, Zelma pursued her post graduate studies at L'Ecole de Beaux Arts and her husband wrote "The Bridge on the River Kwai" and co-wrote "Lawrence of Arabia."

After working for the Los Angeles Planning Department, she obtained valuable experience in the offices of Richard Neutra, Victor Gruen Associates, R. M. Schindler, and Raphael Soriano. By 1957 Wilson was licensed and in 1967 she became principle of her own firm, Zelma Wilson and Associates, AIA, which she maintained continuously for over 20 years. She became a Fellow of the AIA in 1983 and guest lectured at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for 10 years. As her practice grew Wilson acquired two partners and changed the firm name to Wilson and Conrad, Architects, AIA (1979-1984). The name shifted again as staffing and partnerships changed to The Ojai Group (1985-1986[?]) and finally Zelma Wilson, FAIA (1987[?]-1995).

Her projects started with houses and grew to institutional work, churches, and private schools. Wilson served on the California State Governors Emergency Task Force on Earthquake Preparedness from 1979 until 1985. Her projects include Vandenberg AFB Child Development Center, Ojai City Hall and the Simi Valley Community Center. Asked once by a prospective male employer if she cried on the job, Wilson answered, "I don't, but I've made a few contractors cry."

Scope and Contents

Wilson's collection encompasses three decades of work that range from her academic through professional career—including her experience of operating her own firm initially Zelma Wilson and Associates and its many iterations (Wilson and Conrad Architects, The Ojai Group, and Zelma Wilson, FAIA). In the collection you will find biographical material, professional committee and association work, school work, client correspondence, office promotional materials, time logs, drawings, photographs and manuscript material relating to projects. Materials range in date from 1940-1995 (bulk 1969-1991) and are divided into three categories: Professional Papers, Office Records, and Project Records. Review the contents list below for details on individual categories.

Subjects and Indexing Terms


Rights Statement for Archival Description

The guide to the Zelma Wilson Architectural Collection by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (https://creativecommons.org/share-your-work/public-domain/cc0/).

Significant Persons Associated With the Collection

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Container List

SERIES I: Professional Papers, 1940-1993.
Scope and Content

The Professional Papers series consists of material relating to Wilson's participation in professional life including licenses, correspondence, and involvement in professional and civic organizations. Wilson was involved with the California State Governors Emergency Task Force on Earthquake Preparedness (1979-1985), and the Ojai Beautiful Conference (1965-1975).

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SERIES II: Office Records, 1967-1993.
Scope and Content

The Office Records series consists of materials relating to the day-to-day operations of a private architectural practice including correspondence, office promotion materials, community involvements (Ojai Downtown Redevelopment, Ojai Valley Preforming Arts Theater), and proposals and promotions (1973-1993). It is divided into two series: General and Proposals.

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SERIES III: Project Records, 1956-1994, 1969-1990. 1-21, box 25-218, box folder: 1-19, oversize folder: 20-44, oversize folder: 45-48, oversize
Scope and Content

The Project Records series contains drawings, photographs, correspondence, and other printed material relating to over 250 architectural projects carried out by Wilson and her firm.

Arrangement

The Project Records series has been arranged into a Project Index. which is a way to organize the various formats of architectural records from the same project. The index is arranged alphabetically by client name and contains information, where available, about the location, date, project type, architect, collaborators, and formats for each project in the collection.

A Summary of the Project Index. is listed below. Consult the Project Index. for box numbers.

Client Name/Project Title (location, date, architect/collaborator) [Format - Ms=Manuscripts, Dr=Drawings ]

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