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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Ger 208.2

Walter Gropius papers in the Bauhaus-Archiv


Photographs of the early papers of Walter Gropius at the Bauhaus-Archiv in Berlin, Germany.


  • 1919-1937

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in German.


10 linear feet (24 boxes)

Preface by Scott D. Denham, July 1989

Gropius was a German-born architect and educator. He founded the Bauhaus in Weimar (1919), taught at Harvard University (1937-1952), and formed the Architects Collaborative in Cambridge, Mass. (1946).

This finding aid of the Gropius materials represents only part of the personal archive of Walter Gropius, the early papers. The papers of Walter Gropius survive in two forms and in two places. After the death of Prof. Gropius, his widow, Ise Gropius, directed that all of his papers be photographed; funds for this were provided by the Thyssen Foundation.The early papers, consisting of all of his correspondence, writings, and press clippings up until 1937, when he came to Harvard, exist as originals at the Bauhaus-Archiv, Museum für Gestaltung in Berlin (formerly in Darmstadt), while the photographs of these early papers are at Harvard's Houghton Library. Those photographs are the subject of this finding aid. Likewise, the originals of the late papers, all of the correspondence, writings, and press clippings from 1937 on, are in the Houghton Library, while the photographs of the late papers are in the Bauhaus-Archiv in Berlin. Those originals are the subject of the first volume of the Gropius Papers finding aid (bMS Ger 208; accession no. *81M-84).

Represented in neither the finding aid of the late papers, nor in this finding aid, is Gropius's vast collection of press clippings (again in two parts: photographs of pre-1937 materials, originals thereafter). These press clipings are also housed in the Houghton Library. There are two cartons of photographs of early press clippings (1917-1930) with 41 boxes of photographs, containing some 3000 pages in all, and 4 cartons of original clippings (1938-1957) in 13 large scrapbooks, also containing several thousand pages. The Lamont Library at Harvard also houses microfilm of the complete clippings scrapbooks of Walter Gropius (1917-1959). The press clippings from the years 1930-1937, and from 1957-1959 are not in the Houghton Library, but are only on microfilm in the Lamont Library at Harvard (Call number: Film A24).

The final series (which is available only in the printed version) is a list of all the items in their original order, just as they were numbered by the Bauhaus-Archiv. This list serves two purposes; first, that of allowing the reader to see which items were originally side by side in the files of Walter Gropius, and second, that of allowing this finding aid to be used at the Bauhaus-Archiv in Berlin. Accordingly, the Bauhaus-Archiv number follows each item's entry. With such cross-references it is thus a simple matter to locate any item in both the Houghton Library collection or the Bauhaus-Archiv. The Bauhaus-Archiv numbers are also used to cross-reference correspondents listed in Series III to certain large collections of papers which have been left together as a collection in Series I and II. The papers which make up the project Das flache Dach, or the materials in the entry Gropius and the Nazis, for example, are much more meaningful as separate collections, and have been left as such. Yet individual correspondents within such collections can be found in Series III, and then located by the Bauhaus-Archiv number in the specific collection of papers in either Series I or II. There are 6 such collections of papers: item numbers (6), (42), (92), (103), (122), and (129). A few dozen numbers in the Bauhaus-Archiv collection appear to be missing in the Houghton collection and these are noted in series IV. Several of these apparently missing pages are, however, in the original collection in Berlin. An appendix to series IV lists the omissions and, if an original is in Berlin, briefly describes the item.


Arranged into the following series:

  1. I. Compositions by Walter Gropius (including miscellaneous lists, notes, etc.)
  2. II. Compositions by others
  3. III. Correspondence
  4. IV. Concordance of Bauhaus-Archiv numbers (with Appendix to Series IV) NOTE: Series IV. only available in the printed version of the finding aid

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

86M-32. Gift of Mrs. Walter Gropius, Baker Bridge Road, Lincoln, Mass 01773; received: 1973-1981.

Related Materials

Another collection of Gropius materials, consisting of several thousand blueprints, sketches, and photographs of buildings designed by Gropius throughout his career, is located in the Busch-Reisinger Museum at Harvard.

There are also additional Walter Gropius collections held at the Houghton Library. Readers should consult the HOLLIS database for further information.

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by: Scott D. Denham, 1989 July

Gropius, Walter, 1883-1969. Walter Gropius papers in the Bauhaus-Archiv, circa 1919-1937: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, archives, and more. Houghton Library's collections represent the scope of human experience from ancient Egypt to twenty-first century Cambridge. With strengths primarily in North American and European history, literature, and culture, collections range in media from printed books and handwritten manuscripts to maps, drawings and paintings, prints, posters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and digital media, as well as costumes, theater props, and a wide range of other objects. Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse number of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Houghton Library’s Reading Room is free and open to all who wish to use the library’s collections.

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