The Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University is the world’s largest architectural library, a collection that continues to grow though important acquisitions each year.
Founded in 1890, the Avery Library typifies the elite patronage that defined New York City institutions of the Progressive Era. Named for Henry Ogden Avery, son of a prominent international art dealer, the library was founded to receive the papers and books his family donated to the university upon his early death from tuberculosis. Avery was part of the first generation of United States architects whose education and practice resembled those of architects today. These were the men who established courses of architectural study at the country’s major universities that were modeled on that of the Paris Ecole des Beaux-Arts. They also moved to differentiate the architect from engineers and journeyman builders by creating professional organizations like the American Institute of Architecture and the Architecture League of New York.
Elevating Standards of American Architecture One of the principal means of marking professional distinctions was an insistence on architecture as an artistic rather than a purely technical or commercial endeavor. Knowledge…
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