Guide to the Merle Easton Architectural Collection, 1966-2013 Ms.2021.028

Guide to the Merle Easton Architectural Collection, 1966-2013 Ms.2021.028


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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
Business Number: 540-231-6308
specref@vt.edu
URL: http://spec.lib.vt.edu

Processed by Jade Snelling, with the help of two students

Repository
Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech
Identification
Ms.2021.028
Title
A Guide to the Merle Easton Architectural Collection, 1966 - 2013 1966-2013
Quantity
2.2 Cubic Feet, 4 document boxes, 1 oversized flat file box
Language
English .
Abstract
The Merle Easton Architectural Collection contains a mixture of papers and records reflecting Easton's engagement with the architectural profession and her work on urban planning and design projects for various firms and agencies.

Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from the Merle Easton Architectural Collection must be obtained from Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: [Item], Merle Easton Architectural Collection, Ms2021-028, Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Merle Easton collection materials were donated to Special Collections and University Archives in 2019.

Processing Information

Materials in the Merle Easton Architectural Collection were processed, arranged, and described in September 2021.


Biographical / Historical

Merle Lynn Easton was born on December 7th,1940, and graduated from Sitka High School in Sitka, Alaska, in 1958.

Before Easton earned her Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1966, she attended the College of Art and Architecture at the University of Oregon, Eugene from 1958 to 1962, and Portland State College from 1961 to 1962. For her thesis project at the University of Washington, she developed a design for a Community Center based on the needs of the, at the time, impoverished Central Seattle area community. She participated in study abroad programs in Mexico and Europe where she studied historic and modern architecture and patterns of urban development. As part of her continuing education, she also took courses in real estate law and construction at Temple University in Philadelphia.

As an independent architect, Easton developed the "street school" concept that was used for the Mantua-Powelton Mini-School in West Philadelphia. This was an urban renewal project focused on refurbishing an abandoned factory building to house a small, integrated, and community-controlled school. The project was written about in two issues of Progressive Architecture , Design and Planning: The New Schools by James Morisseau, and in Women in American Architecture: A Historic and Contemporary Perspective , edited by Susana Torre. After her work on the mini-school she went on to work as a draftsperson, job captain, and staff architect at several firms and on a variety of projects, including hospitals, churches, and schools. As job captain at Victor H. Wilburn & Associates, she produced a report, included in this collection, analyzing the programs of the Wilmington Housing Authority and proposing measures and policy adjustments to make their programs more effective.

From 1973 to 1979 she worked as the Director of Technical Services at the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She was responsible for setting up a complete program for the Technical Services Division of the Agency to oversee review of all drawings and specifications, review of utility analyses, review of construction cost estimates, inspection of construction, and approval of construction drawings. Additionally, she was responsible for making hiring decisions and managing a staff of sixteen employees. During her tenure the PHFA completed more than fifty projects aimed at families and the elderly, some rehabilitations, as well as high-rise, mid-rise, garden, and townhouse constructions, some with commercial facilities included.

After moving to California in the spring of 1979, Easton worked as a project manager and architect for several firms before being hired on as a managing architect at the Alameda County Public Works Agency in Hayward, California. There she was responsible for managing the complete process of design, contract administration, and construction of County buildings and renovation projects. Projects Easton worked on included the East County Animal Shelter, the Turner Court Operations building, the Highland General Hospital clinic building and medical records projects, renovations to parts of the Alameda County Administration Building, and the East County Hall of Justice.

She was an active member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), serving over several years as secretary, treasurer, vice president, and president of the Central Pennsylvania chapter, and on various organizational committees. From 1973 to 1979 she served on the Harrisburg Community Development Forum, and as committee chair from 1977 to 1978. She was a steering committee member of the Organization of Women Architects (OWA), based in the San Francisco Bay Area, and she volunteered with the Victorian Alliance of San Francisco, organizing historic house tours and serving as president from 2005 to 2006.

Content Description

This collection contains a mixture of professional papers, as well as office and project records. Easton's professional papers include several portfolios showcasing her work, and literature and programming from organizations she was involved with over the years. Project records include portfolios and published materials relating to her work on the Mantua-Powelton Mini-School in West Philadelphia and development of the "street school" concept on which the project was modeled, extensive documentation of the East County Hall of Justice in Dublin, California, including correspondence, meeting agendas and notes, reports, and architectural schematics, and other documentation of projects from various firms. Office records include firm or agency information, guidelines, annual reports, some photographs of ground-breaking ceremonies, and some personnel files related to Easton's own hiring process and performance evaluations.

Arrangement

This collection is arranged into the following series:

I. Biographical Information
II. Professional Papers
III. Office Records
IV. Project Records

The project records series contain two sub-series for documentation of Easton's work on the Mantua-Powelton Mini-School and for the Alameda County Public Works Agency. Within each series files are arranged chronologically.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

  • City planning
  • International Archive of Women in Architecture (IAWA)
  • Women architects -- California

Container List

Biographical Information
1972, 2005, undated
  • box-folder 1 folder: 1
    Photographs of Merle Easton, 1972
  • box-folder 1 folder: 2
    Resumes, 2005, undated
Professional Papers
1966 - 2013
  • box-folder 1 folder: 3
    Early career portfolio, 1966 - 1969
  • box-folder 1 folder: 4
    Early career portfolio, 1966 - 1973
  • oversize box-folder 5 folder: 1
    Certificates and Awards, February 1972 - November 2002
  • box-folder 1 folder: 5
    "How Architecture Speaks" program package, slides and script, American Insitute of Architects, c. 1976
  • box-folder 1 folder: 6
    "Environment for People" program package, slides and script, American Insitute of Architects, February 1976
  • box-folder 1 folder: 7
    "Saving Energy in the Built Environment" program package, slides and script, American Insitute of Architects, January 1976
  • box-folder 1 folder: 8
    Conference program, Second International Conference on Courthouse Design, American Insitute of Architects, October 1995
  • box-folder 1 folder: 9
    House tour programs and guides, The Victorian Alliance of San Francisco, October 2004 - May 2013
    Scope and Contents

    Easton provided site information and organized tours of historic houses.

  • box-folder 1 folder: 10
    Monthly bulletins, The Victorian Alliance of San Francisco, August 2005 - October 2006
Office Records
1973 - 2001
  • box-folder 2 folder: 1
    Easton personnel files, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, July 1973, September 1978
  • box-folder 2 folder: 2
    Annual reports, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, 1973 - 1981
  • box-folder 2 folder: 3
    Photographs and firm information, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, September 1975 - April 1979
    Scope and Contents

    Contains 8 photographs, including several of Easton.

  • box-folder 2 folder: 4
    Submission Guide for Architects, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, February 1978
  • box-folder 2 folder: 5
    Easton personnel files, Alameda County Public Works Agency and General Services Agency, December 1981 - November 1997
    Scope and Contents

    Includes letters of commendation

  • box-folder 2 folder: 6
    Newsletters and other information about firm projects, Alameda County Public Works Agency, October 1980 - August 2001
Project Records
1966 - 2005
  • oversize box-folder 5 item: 3
    Chipboard model, Classroom and auditorium for Suzzallo Plaza, Seattle, WA, 1966
  • box-folder 2 folder: 7
    Progress report to Wilmington Housing Authority, Victor H. Wilburn and Associates, February 1972
  • box-folder 2 folder: 8
    Reproductions of architectural drawings for various projects, Day and Zimmerman Associates, September - November 1972, undated
  • Mantua-Powelton Mini-School
    c. 1969 - 1973
    • box-folder 2 folder: 9
      Project portfolio I, Mantua-Powelton Mini-School, Philadelphia, PA, c. 1969 - 1973
    • box-folder 2 folder: 10
      Project portfolio II, Mantua-Powelton Mini-School, Philadelphia, PA, c. 1970
    • box-folder 2 folder: 11
      Published material related to Mantua-Powelton Mini-School, 1969, 1972
    • box-folder 2 folder: 12
      Published material related to Mantua-Powelton Mini-School, January 1969 - February 1971
    • box-folder 2 folder: 13
      Design and planning: The New Schools , James Morisseau, August 1972
      Scope and Contents

      The Mini-School is referenced on pg. 77.

  • Alameda County Public Works Agency
    1987 - 2005
    • box-folder 3 folder: 1
      Design development estimates and project manuals, Highland General Hospital projects, Oakland, CA, January 1987 - August 1989
    • box-folder 3 folder: 2
      Specifications and other bidding and contract documents, Cashier's Workstation, Oakland, CA, August 1996 - January 1997
    • box-folder 3 folder: 3
      Plans and sections, Cashier's Workstation, Oakland, CA, January 1997
    • box-folder 3 folder: 4
      Telecommunications services and infrastructure files, East County Hall of Justice, Dublin, CA, April 2000 - June 2004
    • box-folder 3 folder: 5
      Community Outreach Committee files, East County Hall of Justice, Dublin, CA, January - November 2002
    • box-folder 3 folder: 6
      Verified Architectural Program for Design-Build Bridging Documents, East County Hall of Justice, Dublin, CA, March 2002 (1 of 3)
    • box-folder 3 folder: 7
      Verified Architectural Program for Design-Build Bridging Documents, East County Hall of Justice, Dublin, CA, March 2002 (2 of 3)
    • box-folder 4 folder: 1
      Verified Architectural Program for Design-Build Bridging Documents, East County Hall of Justice, Dublin, CA, March 2002 (3 of 3)
    • oversize box-folder 5 folder: 2
      Concept design and wayfinding presentation, East County Hall of Justice Documents, December 2002 - May 2003
    • box-folder 4 folder: 2
      Savings By Design energy analysis study, East County Hall of Justice, Dublin, CA, January 2003
    • box-folder 4 folder: 3
      Project memoranda and presentation, Tunnel to Santa Rita Jail, East County Hall of Justice, Dublin, CA, January - April 2003
    • box-folder 4 folder: 4
      Courtroom Workshop, East County Hall of Justice, Dublin, CA, February 2003
    • box-folder 4 folder: 5
      Audiovisual systems files, East County Hall of Justice, Dublin, CA, July 2003
    • box-folder 4 folder: 6
      Construction Management Progress Reports, East County Hall of Justice, Dublin, CA, November 2003 - December 2004
    • box-folder 4 folder: 7
      Scheduling and cost estimates, East County Hall of Justice, Dublin, CA, June 2004 - January 2005