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COLLECTION — Box: 1 Identifier: DES-1971-0001-000603299

Papers of Martin Wagner

Scope and Contents

The Papers of Martin Wagner collection includes notebooks containing typed and handwritten drafts of articles and books by Wagner, correspondence, and clippings.

Included are items related to metropolitan planning of Greater Berlin, planning of Istanbul, Cologne, and Boston; lectures given at the GSD on Site and Shelter, and Housing; some writings co-authored with Walter Gropius; materials on Wagner's prefabricated house project; a few items by Wagner’s son Bernard.


  • Creation: 1924-1965 (inclusive)
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1937-1957

Language of Materials

Materials are in German or English. Some in Turkish, and Japanese.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.


1 linear feet (1 box that contains 132 file folders: 130 letter size file folders and 2 legal size file folders.)

Biographical / Historical

Martin Wagner, a German and American architect, city planner and theorist, was born in Königsberg, Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Russia) in 1885. He studied architecture and urbanism in Berlin (Technische Hochschule Charlottenburg) and Dresden. He defended his doctorate in 1915 with a dissertation on the ‘green space’ theory (Das Sanitäre Grün der Städte) at the Royal Technical College (today Technische Universität Berlin). From 1914 he worked for the Greater Berlin Association (Zweckveband Gross-Berlin), served as the Building Commissioner for the district of Schöneberg from 1918, and as the City Building Commissioner for Berlin from 1926. With the National Socialist regime in power in 1933 he was dismissed from all official duties. From 1935 until 1938 he was a professor of city planning in Istanbul and Ankara in Turkey. He immigrated to the United States in 1938 and started teaching at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He took American citizenship in 1944, and taught at the GSD until his retirement in 1950. Wagner died in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1957. He was survived by his wife Gerturde, and his son Bernard, also an architect (see file 58).


Collection consists of 60 subject files (marked 1 through 60), some comprised of sub-files (e.g. 2/3). Files are physically organized in 132 folders. A single folder contains either a single file (e.g. 2), several files (e.g. 30, 31), parts of a single file (e.g. 39a), or several sub-files (e.g. 7/8-7/18).


Gifts of Gertrude Wagner, 1971; Isaac Elias "Ike" Saporta, 1996.

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Igor Ekštajn in 2018, based on an inventory by Patrice Moskow from ca. 1979.

Papers of Martin Wagner
A Descriptive Inventory of the Holdings at the Frances Loeb Library
Special Collections, Frances Loeb Library, Harvard University Graduate School of Design
Description rules
Language of description

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:

Gund Hall, Room L12
48 Quincy St.
Cambridge MA 02138 USA
(617) 495-9164