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COLLECTION Identifier: DES-2010-0002-011320691

The Breuer Lectures Collection

The collection is comprised of 17 lectures and writings by Marcel Breuer, both in manuscript and/or typescript form.

Dates

  • 1941-1959

Physical Description

Extent is approximate

Conditions on Use and Access

Contact Special Collections Department, Frances Loeb Library, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University.

Extent

0.5 linear feet

The Breuer Lectures Collection is comprised of 17 lectures and writings by Marcel Breuer, both in manuscript and/or typescript form.

Biography

Marcel Lajos Breuer was born in Pécs, Hungary, on May 21, 1902. Starting in 1920 he attended the Bauhaus at Weimar, headed by Walter Gropius, and whose program would transform design education worldwide. Breuer graduated in 1924, and soon after Gropius appointed him as Bauhaus master and head of the carpentry workshop, where he stayed until 1928 (teaching both at Weimar and at Dessau). In 1931-1932 he travels throughout Italy, Spain, Greece and Morocco, and in 1933 he settles in Berlin to open his own architectural practice. He has to leave Germany, and from 1934 to 1937 he works in England, in partnership with F.R.S. Yorke. He emigrates to the United States in 1937 where he joins the faculty of Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, where he will teach from 1938 to 1946. At Harvard he was an admired teacher, where he succeeded in interpreting the new design to a new generation of architects. Together with Gropius they set up an architectural practice, a partnership that would last from 1938 to 1941, when a controversy over the role of architecture distances them (while Gropius had a program for social reform, Breuer’s interests were mainly formal and technical). When he leaves Harvard, he moves to New York, where he continued his successful practice. Marcel Breuer died on July 1, 1981, in New York City.

Marcel Breuer is known worldwide both as a designer of furniture and as an architect. He did not belong to the generation of the founders of modernism, including Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier, but to the generation that immediately followed them. He was among the pioneers of the invention of the tubular steel chair, and by 1923 his furniture design was known for its modern language of pure geometrical form and simplicity of design, with an emphasis on structure. Among his chairs is the Wassily Chair (1925), and the cane-backed Cesca Chair (1928). Although he is best known for his furniture design and early architectural projects of single-family houses of the 1930s and 1940s, he practiced through the mid-1970s and was commissioned several larger buildings with a diversity of architectural programs. His early European works include Haselhorst Housing (Spandau, Germany, 1928), Elberfeld Hospital (Elberfeld, Germany, 1928), Kharkov Theater (Kharkov, Ukraine, 1931), Harnischmacher House (Wiesbaden, Germany, 1932), Dolderthal Apartments (Zurich, Switzerland, 1934), and House at Angmering-on-Sea (Sussex, England, 1936; with F.R.S. Yorke).

In the United States he initially devoted himself to the design of single family houses. His work in association with Gropius reveals interests in standardization, mass production, construction techniques, typology, simple plans, free circulation, and interior walls reduced to light-weight partitions. The early houses include: Breuer House, (Lincoln, Massachusetts, 1939), Fischer House, (Newton, Pennsylvania, 1938), Haggerty House (Cohasset, Massachusetts, 1938), Ford House (Lincoln, Massachusetts, 1939). Among Breuer’s houses made of prefabricated elements, are the Yankee Portables and Plas-2-Point, that were capable of being disassembled. His later houses include Geller House, (Lawrence, Long Island, New York, 1945), Robinson House (Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1947), Tompkins House, (Hewlett Harbor Village, Long Island, New York 1946), Breuer House (New Canaan, Connecticut, 1947), Caesar House (Lakeville, Connecticut, 1951), Neumann House (Croton-on-Hudson, New York, 1953), and Hanson House (Lloyd Harbor, Huntington, Long Island, New York, 1950), among others. His later works include the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, New York, 1963-1964) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (Washington D.C., 1963-1968).

Arrangement

The arrangement of the collection follows the original order of files received. Lectures have been included in a single series, and are numbered A001 through A017.

Acquisition Information:

Gift from GSD alumnus, 1997.

Processing Information

Processing Information: Processed by: Inés Zalduendo
Link to catalog

Personal Names Index

Albers, Josef -- Manuscripts
des00023c00005
A004
Breuer, Marcel, 1902-1981 -- Lectures
<ptr xlink:title="(Collection), " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00001" xlink:title="A000" xlink:type="simple"></ptr>
Breuer, Marcel, 1902-1981 -- Manuscripts
<ptr target="des00023c00002" xlink:title="A001, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00004" xlink:title="A003, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00005" xlink:title="A004, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00012" xlink:title="A011, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00015" xlink:title="A014, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00016" xlink:title="A015, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00017" xlink:title="A016, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00018" xlink:title="A017" xlink:type="simple"></ptr>
Breuer, Marcel, 1902-1981 -- Typescripts
<ptr target="des00023c00003" xlink:title="A002, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00006" xlink:title="A005, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00007" xlink:title="A006, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00008" xlink:title="A007, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00009" xlink:title="A008, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00010" xlink:title="A009, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00011" xlink:title="A010, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00013" xlink:title="A012, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00014" xlink:title="A013" xlink:type="simple"></ptr>
Doesburg, Theo van, 1883-1931 -- Manuscripts
des00023c00017
A016
Gropius, Walter, 1883-1969 -- Manuscripts
des00023c00017
A016
Gropius, Walter, 1883-1969 -- Typescripts
des00023c00009
A008
Itten, Johannes, 1888-1967 -- Manuscripts
des00023c00005
A004
Miró, Joan, 1893-1983 -- Typescripts
des00023c00014
A013
Moholy-Nagy, László, 1895-1946 -- Manuscripts
des00023c00005
A004
Mondrian, Piet, 1872-1944 -- Manuscripts
des00023c00017
A016
Nervi, Pier Luigi -- Manuscripts
des00023c00018
A017
Oud, J. J. P. (Jacobus Johannes Pieter), 1890-1963 -- Manuscripts
des00023c00017
A016
Rietveld, Gerrit Thomas, 1888-1964 -- Manuscripts
des00023c00017
A016
Sullivan, Louis H., 1856-1924 -- Typescripts
des00023c00011
A010
Wright, Frank Lloyd, 1867-1959 -- Manuscripts
des00023c00017
A016


Corporate Names Index
Architectural League -- Typescripts
des00023c00014
A013
Art Association of Indianapolis -- Typescripts
des00023c00013
A012
Bauhaus -- Manuscripts
<ptr target="des00023c00005" xlink:title="A004, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00017" xlink:title="A016" xlink:type="simple"></ptr>
Bauhaus Chair -- Manuscripts
des00023c00016
A015
Black Mountain College -- Manuscripts
des00023c00005
A004
Boulder Dam, see Hoover Dam -- Typescripts
des00023c00010
A009
Chicago Designers -- Typescripts
des00023c00010
A009
Eiffel Tower -- Typescripts
des00023c00010
A009
Federal Housing Authority -- Typescripts
des00023c00008
A007
Finnish Pavilion -- Typescripts
des00023c00009
A008
Ford River Rouge Plant -- Typescripts
des00023c00010
A009
George Washington Bridge -- Manuscripts
des00023c00005
A004
George Washington Bridge -- Typescripts
des00023c00010
A009
Harvard University. Graduate School of Design -- Manuscripts
des00023c00002
A001
Harvard University. Graduate School of Design -- Typescripts
des00023c00003
A002
Hoover Dam -- Typescripts
des00023c00010
A009
Japanese Pavilion -- Typescripts
des00023c00009
A008
Museum of Modern Art (New York) -- Manuscripts
des00023c00004
A003
Museum of Modern Art (New York) -- Typescripts
<ptr target="des00023c00008" xlink:title="A007, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00014" xlink:title="A013" xlink:type="simple"></ptr>
Pont Transporteur Marseilles -- Typescripts
des00023c00010
A009
Tour Eiffel -- Manuscripts
des00023c00005
A004
Yale University -- Manuscripts
des00023c00005
A004


Conference Names Index
Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne (1937) -- Typescripts
des00023c00009
A008
World Exposition, Paris (1937), see Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne (1937) -- Typescripts
des00023c00009
A008


Titles Index
[Art Education] -- Manuscripts
des00023c00005
A004
[Basic Components of Architecture] -- Typescripts
des00023c00013
A012
[Furnishing and the Contemporary House] -- Manuscripts
des00023c00016
A015
[History of Modern Architecture] -- Typescripts
des00023c00007
A006
[Modern Architecture] -- Typescripts
des00023c00008
A007
[On Selection] -- Typescripts
des00023c00009
A008
[Physical Planning] -- Manuscripts
des00023c00015
A014
[The Direct Approach] -- Typescripts
des00023c00010
A009
[The New Architecture] -- Typescripts
des00023c00006
A005
[The New Architecture Through a Few Examples] -- Manuscripts
des00023c00017
A016
[What Makes Architecture Modern] -- Manuscripts
des00023c00012
A011
[Writings] -- Manuscripts
des00023c00018
A017
Analysis of Planning -- Manuscripts
des00023c00002
A001
Analysis of Planning -- Typescripts
des00023c00003
A002
Better and Smaller Lighting -- Manuscripts
des00023c00004
A003
L'Esprit Nouveau -- Manuscripts
des00023c00017
A016
Must Architecture Be Sterile? -- Typescripts
des00023c00014
A013
Notes on Architecture -- Typescripts
des00023c00011
A010
Speech on the Occasion of the Exhibit of Pier Luigi Nervi's Work at the Architectural League -- Manuscripts
des00023c00018
A017
Stijl -- Manuscripts
des00023c00017
A016


LC Topical Headings Index
Architects -- Lectures -- Lectures
(Collection)
Architects -- United States -- Lectures
(Collection)
Architects -- Writings -- Lectures
(Collection)
Architecture, Modern -- 20th century -- Archival resources -- Lectures
(Collection)
Architecture, Modern -- 20th century -- United States -- Lectures
(Collection)


Geographic Names Index
Argentina: Buenos Aires -- Manuscripts
des00023c00005
A004
Argentina: Buenos Aires -- Typescripts
des00023c00009
A008
England: Bath -- Manuscripts
des00023c00015
A014
France: Paris -- Manuscripts
<ptr target="des00023c00005" xlink:title="A004, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00015" xlink:title="A014, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00017" xlink:title="A016" xlink:type="simple"></ptr>
France: Paris -- Typescripts
des00023c00009
A008
Germany: Weimar -- Manuscripts
des00023c00017
A016
Greece: Crete: Knossos -- Manuscripts
des00023c00005
A004
Holland: Amsterdam -- Manuscripts
des00023c00017
A016
Spain: Madrid -- Manuscripts
des00023c00015
A014
United States -- Typescripts
des00023c00009
A008


Genre / Form Index
Diagrams /
<ptr target="des00023c00002" xlink:title="A001, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00003" xlink:title="A002" xlink:type="simple"></ptr>
Lectures /
<ptr xlink:title="(Collection), " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00001" xlink:title="A000, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00002" xlink:title="A001, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00003" xlink:title="A002, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00004" xlink:title="A003, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00005" xlink:title="A004, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00006" xlink:title="A005, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00007" xlink:title="A006, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00008" xlink:title="A007, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00009" xlink:title="A008, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00010" xlink:title="A009, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00011" xlink:title="A010, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00012" xlink:title="A011, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00013" xlink:title="A012, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00014" xlink:title="A013, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00015" xlink:title="A014, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00016" xlink:title="A015, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00017" xlink:title="A016, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00018" xlink:title="A017" xlink:type="simple"></ptr>
Manuscripts /
<ptr target="des00023c00002" xlink:title="A001, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00004" xlink:title="A003, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00005" xlink:title="A004, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00012" xlink:title="A011, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00015" xlink:title="A014, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00016" xlink:title="A015, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00017" xlink:title="A016, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00018" xlink:title="A017" xlink:type="simple"></ptr>
Sketches /
des00023c00002
A001
Speeches /
<ptr target="des00023c00009" xlink:title="A008, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00012" xlink:title="A011, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00015" xlink:title="A014, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00016" xlink:title="A015, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00018" xlink:title="A017" xlink:type="simple"></ptr>
Typescripts /
<ptr target="des00023c00003" xlink:title="A002, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00006" xlink:title="A005, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00007" xlink:title="A006, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00008" xlink:title="A007, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00009" xlink:title="A008, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00010" xlink:title="A009, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00011" xlink:title="A010, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00013" xlink:title="A012, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00014" xlink:title="A013, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00018" xlink:title="A017" xlink:type="simple"></ptr>
Writings (document genre) /
des00023c00001
A000


AAT Terms Index
Aesthetics -- Manuscripts
des00023c00012
A011
Aesthetics -- Typescripts
des00023c00006
A005
Architects -- Typescripts
des00023c00007
A006
Architectural education -- Typescripts
des00023c00007
A006
Architecture (discipline) -- Manuscripts
<ptr target="des00023c00002" xlink:title="A001, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00012" xlink:title="A011, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00018" xlink:title="A017" xlink:type="simple"></ptr>
Architecture (discipline) -- Typescripts
<ptr target="des00023c00006" xlink:title="A005, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00007" xlink:title="A006, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00011" xlink:title="A010, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00014" xlink:title="A013" xlink:type="simple"></ptr>
Architecture (discipline)012344782 -- Typescripts
des00023c00003
A002
Art (fine art) -- Manuscripts
des00023c00005
A004
Art education -- Manuscripts
des00023c00005
A004
Building materials -- Manuscripts
des00023c00002
A001
Building materials -- Typescripts
<ptr target="des00023c00003" xlink:title="A002, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00009" xlink:title="A008, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00010" xlink:title="A009" xlink:type="simple"></ptr>
Building programs -- Manuscripts
des00023c00002
A001
Building programs -- Typescripts
des00023c00003
A002
Buildings (structures) -- Typescripts
<ptr target="des00023c00009" xlink:title="A008, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00013" xlink:title="A012" xlink:type="simple"></ptr>
Chairs -- Manuscripts
des00023c00016
A015
Children -- Typescripts
des00023c00008
A007
Clients -- Manuscripts
des00023c00002
A001
Clients -- Typescripts
des00023c00003
A002
Composition (artistic arrangement) -- Manuscripts
des00023c00017
A016
Construction (assembling) -- Manuscripts
<ptr target="des00023c00002" xlink:title="A001, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00012" xlink:title="A011" xlink:type="simple"></ptr>
Construction (assembling) -- Typescripts
<ptr target="des00023c00003" xlink:title="A002, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00006" xlink:title="A005, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00010" xlink:title="A009" xlink:type="simple"></ptr>
Coordinating -- Typescripts
<ptr target="des00023c00007" xlink:title="A006, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00009" xlink:title="A008" xlink:type="simple"></ptr>
Cottages -- Manuscripts
des00023c00016
A015
Designs (concepts) -- Manuscripts
des00023c00002
A001
Designs (concepts) -- Typescripts
des00023c00003
A002
Diagrams -- Manuscripts
des00023c00002
A001
Diagrams -- Typescripts
des00023c00003
A002
Exhibitions -- Manuscripts
des00023c00004
A003
Experimentation -- Typescripts
des00023c00014
A013
Families -- Typescripts
des00023c00008
A007
Flexibility -- Manuscripts
des00023c00002
A001
Functionalism -- Manuscripts
des00023c00012
A011
Furniture -- Manuscripts
des00023c00016
A015
Houses -- Manuscripts
<ptr target="des00023c00012" xlink:title="A011, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00016" xlink:title="A015" xlink:type="simple"></ptr>
Houses -- Typescripts
<ptr target="des00023c00008" xlink:title="A007, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00009" xlink:title="A008" xlink:type="simple"></ptr>
Housing -- Manuscripts
des00023c00012
A011
Housing (concept) -- Manuscripts
<ptr target="des00023c00015" xlink:title="A014, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00018" xlink:title="A017" xlink:type="simple"></ptr>
Imagination -- Typescripts
des00023c00014
A013
International Style (modern European architecture style) -- Manuscripts
des00023c00012
A011
Lamps (lighting devices) -- Manuscripts
des00023c00004
A003
Lighting -- Manuscripts
des00023c00004
A003
Lighting fixtures -- Manuscripts
des00023c00004
A003
Media (artists' materials) -- Manuscripts
des00023c00005
A004
Modern Movement -- Typescripts
des00023c00010
A009
Organic architecture -- Manuscripts
des00023c00012
A011
Secession Movement -- Manuscripts
des00023c00017
A016
Selection (analytical function) -- Typescripts
des00023c00009
A008
Simplicity -- Typescripts
<ptr target="des00023c00008" xlink:title="A007, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00009" xlink:title="A008, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00010" xlink:title="A009" xlink:type="simple"></ptr>
space (composition concept) -- Typescripts
des00023c00006
A005
Space (composition concept) -- Manuscripts
des00023c00002
A001
Space (composition concept) -- Typescripts
<ptr target="des00023c00003" xlink:title="A002, " xlink:type="simple"></ptr> <ptr target="des00023c00008" xlink:title="A007" xlink:type="simple"></ptr>
Standardization -- Manuscripts
des00023c00016
A015
Structure (attributes) -- Manuscripts
des00023c00018
A017
Studio apartments -- Manuscripts
des00023c00016
A015
Synthesis -- Manuscripts
des00023c00012
A011
Texture -- Typescripts
des00023c00009
A008
Traffic -- Manuscripts
des00023c00015
A014
Typology -- Manuscripts
des00023c00016
A015
Urban planners -- Typescripts
des00023c00007
A006
Urban planning -- Manuscripts
des00023c00015
A014
Urban planning -- Typescripts
des00023c00007
A006
Use -- Manuscripts
des00023c00002
A001
Use -- Typescripts
des00023c00003
A002
World's fairs -- Typescripts
des00023c00009
A008
World wars -- Typescripts
des00023c00007
A006
Title
The Breuer Lectures Collection: An Inventory.
Subtitle
An Inventory
Author
Special Collections, Frances Loeb Library. Harvard University, Graduate School of Design
EAD ID
des00023

Repository Details

Part of the Frances Loeb Library Repository

The archival collections at GSD consist of primary source materials that further academic research in the design fields both within the GSD and beyond Harvard University. These materials, individually and collectively, offer engaging documentation of design history, theory, and practice. For further information, please visit: https://guides.library.harvard.edu/gsd/archives

Contact:
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