A Guide to the Natalie de Blois Architectural Collection, 1941-2013 de Blois, Natalie Architectural Collection Ms2007-017

A Guide to the Natalie de Blois Architectural Collection, 1941-2013

A Collection in
Special Collections
Collection Number Ms2007-017


Special Collections, Virginia Tech

©2011 By Virginia Tech. All rights reserved.

Processed by: Sherrie A. Bowser and Dayne E. Mauney, Special Collections

Special Collections, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.
Collection Number
Natalie de Blois Architectural Collection, 1941-2013
Physical Characateristics
2.7 Cubic Feet 2 boxes; 7 oversize folders
de Blois, Natalie, 1921-2013
The Natalie de Blois Architectural Collection includes correspondence; original notes; magazine/journal clippings; finished project photographs, published materials; sketches; water colors; and project records related to a sampling of de Blois' architectural projects.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from Natalie de Blois Architectural Collection must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: Natalie de Blois Architectural Collection, Ms2007-017, Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.

Acquisition Information

The Natalie de Blois Architectural Collection was donated to Special Collections in November 2007.

Processing Information

A preliminary inventory of the Natalie de Blois Architectural Collection was completed in November 2007. The collection was fully processed and encoded in January 2012.

Biographical Note

Natalie de Blois was born in Paterson, New Jersey on April 2, 1921.

In 1944 de Blois graduated from Columbia University's architecture program and took her first professional job with the firm Ketchum, Gina & Sharp. In September of the same year de Blois was hired by the well known architecture firm, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). Here she spent the majority of her professional career working closely with architect Gordon Bunshaft, earning notoriety within the architectural community as one of the top female architects in America.

Natalie de Blois is recognized for her work on a number of projects including, Lever House (NYC); Pepsi-Cola building (NYC); Union Carbide Corporation (NYC); Connecticut General Life Insurance (Hartford, CT); Lincoln Center (NYC); and the Hilton Hotel (Istanbul, Turkey).

After 30 years with SOM, she left to join the Houston firm of Neuhaus & Taylor as Senior Project Designer. As a working mother during the 1950's and 1960's de Blois was personally aware of the hardships and limitations faced by women in architecture, and in the 1970's she became active advocate for women in architecture joining the American Institute of Architects Task Force on Women, visiting architecture schools and talking to female students.

During the last thirteen years of her architecture career, de Blois taught at the University of Texas at Austin, retiring in 1993. Natalie de Blois practiced architecture for fifty years. de Blois died July 22, 2013.

References: SOM Journal 4. Interview with Natalie de Blois by Detlef Mertins, June 17, 2004.

Natalie de Blois Working Drawings and students' studio work, Alexander Architectural Archive, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin

Scope and Content

The Natalie de Blois Architectural Collection spans the years 1941 to 2013. Materials in the collection include correspondence; original notes; clippings; brochures; finished project photographs; published materials; sketches; watercolors; elevations; architectural renderings; contracts; specifications; and reports for 24 projects.

The collection is divided into two series: Series I Professional papers and Series II Project Records.


The Project Records arrangement follows the organization of the 'Timeline of Projects' created by Nicholas Adams in consultation with Natalie de Blois in March of 2005.


SOM Journal 4. Interview with Natalie de Blois by Detlef Mertins, June 17, 2004.

Index Terms


  • de Blois, Natalie, 1921-2013
  • Occupations:

  • Architects
  • Subjects:

  • Architectural drawing -- 20th century
  • International Archive of Women in Architecture (IAWA)
  • Women -- History
  • Genre and Form Terms:

  • Architectural drawings

Other Finding Aids

Natalie de Blois Working Drawings and students' studio work, Alexander Architectural Archive, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin

Contents List

Series I: Professional Papers
  • Box-Folder 1 folder: A
    Biographical Information, 2004, 2013
  • Articles featuring de Blois, 1950, 1959, 1977
    • Box-Folder 1 folder: 1
      Glamour, February 1950
    • Box-Folder 1 folder: 2
      Newsweek, May 4, 1959
    • Box-Folder 1 folder: 2
      New York Times, "A retrospective of women master builders at work", February 25, 1977
  • Clippings
    • Box-Folder 1 folder: 3
      Architectural Forum, Profiles of SOM and Morris Ketchum, Jr., 1942
    • Box-Folder 1 folder: 4
      Architectural Forum, "SOM's details of distinction", June 1960
    • Box-Folder 2 folder: 2
      Fortune, "The architects from Skid's Row", January 1958
    • Box-Folder 1 folder: 5
      Frederick Kiesler, 1988, 1992, 2005
    • Box-Folder 1 folder: 6
      Hospitals designed by SOM including VA Hospital, Brooklyn, NY, 1952, 1954
    • Box-Folder 1 folder: 7
      Stuart Davis mural, 1975
  • Box-Folder 2 folder: 1
    New York City Housing Authority, 10th Annual Report [de Blois' first project with SOM was drafting for the Abraham Lincoln housing project], 1944
  • Box-Folder 1 folder: 8
    State of Women Architects, 1941
  • Box-Folder 1 folder: 9
    Letter of recommendation from Morris Kethum, Jr., 1944
  • Box-Folder 1 folder: 10
    Museum of Modern Art, Exhibits, SOM, Paul Klee, 1950
Series II: Project Records
  • Partners Louis Skidmore and William S. Brown, 1943-1947
    • New York State Building in Flushing Meadows for the first United Nations, General Assembly (New York, NY); Renovation (responsible for design drawings), 1943-1947
      • Box-Folder 1 folder: 11
        Clippings, 1946, 1950, 2001
      • Box-Folder 1 folder: 12
        Watercolors of General Assembly Chamber, 1946
    • Thomas Emery's Sons, Inc.; Terrace Plaza Hotel (Cincinnati, Ohio); overall design responsibilities
      • Box-Folder 1 folder: 13
        Clippings,, 1948-1949, 1989, 2008
      • Box-Folder 1 folder: 14
  • Design Partner Gordon Bunshaft, 1948-1951
    • Box-Folder 1 folder: 15
      New York University Medical Center, Bellevue Medical Center, master plan with detailed studies for Institute for Rehabilitation, Residence Hall, and Alumni Center; (New York, NY), senior designer -- Clippings, 1949, 1954
    • Box-Folder 1 folder: 16
      Ford Motor Company, Ford Properties, master plan with two office buildings, low-rise garage, service complex; (Dearborn, MI); responsible for low-rise facilities, senior designer -- Clippings, Model Photograph, Site Plan
    • Box-Folder 1 folder: 17
      Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corporation, office and display room; (New York, NY) -- Clippings, 1948
    • Box-Folder 1 folder: 18
      Hilton Hotel, 300-room hotel; (Istanbul, Turkey), senior designer -- Clippings, 1953,1955, 1987
    • Box-Folder 1 folder: 19
      Lever Brothers Company, headquarters office building, worked directly with Bunshaft on design of plaza, lobby, cafeteria, and first three floors; (New York, NY) -- Clippings, Photograph (water damaged), 1950, 1952, 2002
  • Design Partner Gordon Bunshaft (after the Fulbright Fellowship Prize in 1952; made participating associate in 1954), 1952-1961
    • Box-Folder 1 folder: 20
      Connecticut General Life Insurance, office building; (Bloomfield, CT), senior designer -- Clippings, Photograph, 1955-1958
    • Box-Folder 1 folder: 21
      Great Southern Life Insurance Company, office building; (Houston, TX), senior designer -- Photographs
    • Box-Folder 1 folder: 22
      World's Fair, master plan proposal; terminated before completion; (New York, NY), senior designer -- Clippings, 1960, 1964
    • Box-Folder 1 folder: 23
      Pepsico Inc., headquarters office building including interiors; (New York, NY), senior designer -- Clippings, Project Records, 1956, 1959, and undated
    • Box-Folder 1 folder: 24
      Union Carbide Corporation, headquarters office building including interiors; (New York, NY), senior designer -- Clippings, Promotional Material, 1960, 1962, 1989
    • Box-Folder 1 folder: 25-26
      Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Library and Museum for the Performing Arts (building design and coordination with adjacent Vivian Beaumont Theater); (New York, NY), senior designer -- Clippings, Photographs, 1959-2005
    • Box-Folder 1 folder: 27
      Emhart Corporation, administration and research building; (Bloomfield, CT), senior designer -- Clippings, Photographs, 1961, 1963
  • Design Partner Bruce Graham (Made associate partner in 1964), 1962-1968
    • Box-Folder 1 folder: 28oversize folder: 4oversize folder: 5
      Equitable Life Assurance, office building (Chicago,IL), senior designer -- Project Records, Clippings, Photographs, Drawings, 1962-1965, 1972
    • Box-Folder 1 folder: 29oversize folder: 3
      Horizon House Apartment Buildings, 520 units in two towers, Tishman Realty; (Fort Lee, NJ); senior designer -- Project Records, Clipping, Photograph, Drawings, 1964-1965, 1969
    • Box-Folder 1 folder: 30-31oversize folder: 7
      Boots Pure Drug Company, headquarters office building and interiors; (Nottingham, England), senior designer -- Project Records, Photographs, 1965
    • Box-Folder 1 folder: 32
      Hartford Fire Insurance Company, office building; (Hartford, CT), senior designer -- Project Records, 1960, 1965-1966
    • Box-Folder 1 folder: 33-34oversize folder: 2
      International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, World Bank, headquarters office building; (Washington, D.C.), senior designer -- Project Records, Photographs, Drawings, 1966-1969, 1990
    • Box-Folder 1 folder: 35
      Dow Chemical Company, Site Development Design Guidelines including landscape, lighting, parking lots, architectural elements and graphics for 1,800-acre site report; (Freeland, MI), senior design -- Project Records, 1967-1968
  • Design partner Myron Goldsmith, 1969-1974
    • Box-Folder 1 folder: 36
      Arthur Anderson & Company, Training Center for Professional Development, classrooms, dormitory and auditorium; (Elgin, IL), senior designer -- Project Records, 1972-1974
    • Box-Folder 1 folder: 37
      St. Joseph Valley Bank, headquarters bank and office building and interiors; (Elkhart, IN), senior designer -- Project Records, 1971-1974
    • Box-Folder 1 folder: 38oversize folder: 1
      Oliver-Tyrone Corporation, Diamond Shamrock, office building with commercial and parking facilities; (Cleveland, OH) -- Project Records, Drawings, 1970-1973
    • Box-Folder 1 folder: 39oversize folder: 6
      Oliver-Tyrone Corporation, Equibank, office building, bank, and garage; (Pittsburgh, PA), senior designer -- Project Records, Clippings, and Photograph, 1973-1974, 1978
  • Box-Folder 1 folder: 40
    BMA Tower Extension (Chicago, IL) -- Feasibility Study, 1969
  • Box-Folder 1 folder: 41
    Europoint-Rotterdam -- Memo, 1970
  • Box-Folder 1 folder: 42
    Signode Warehouse Addition -- Project Records, 1970
  • Box-Folder 1 folder: 43
    Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge Estate, transition to an executive office park (Morris County, NJ) -- Clippings, Photographs, 1978