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COLLECTION Identifier: DES-1990?-0005-014378629

Chester Nagel Collection

Scope and Contents

The Chester Nagel Collection contains material spanning almost five decades. Primarily related to his relationship with Walter Gropius, the collection consists of personal as well as professional items such as letters, postcards, photographs, bow ties along with magazine excerpts, drawings and monographs.


  • 1939 - 1988

Language of Materials


Physical Description

Collection extent (1 linear feet) is approximate.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.


1 linear feet (1 box + 6 Gropius bow ties )


Born on April 5, 1911 in Fredericksburg, Texas, Chester Nagel was no stranger to the field of architecture. His father had studied architecture in Texas in 1899. After having been educated in Fredericksburg Public Schools, Nagel studied architecture at the University of Texas in Austin and received his Bachelor in Architecture in 1934. Subsequently, he went on to pursue a Master in Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) and graduated in 1940. While at the GSD, Nagel studied under Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer – both recipients of the American Institute of Architects’ Gold Medal. It was then that his life-long association with Gropius began.

After graduating, Nagel worked closely with Walter Gropius as an associate at The Architects Collaborative for almost 12 years. He taught a Master Class with Gropius at the GSD and was the co-designer with Gropius on several projects, such as The United States Embassy in Athens, Harvard University Graduate Center Commons and Dormitories in Cambridge, Civic Center Project in Tallahassee, Hansa Apartment Building in Berlin and the High-Speed Photography Exhibition for the Smithsonian Institution.

Chester Nagel was deeply involved in academia and taught as an Assistant Professor at the GSD during the 1940s and 1950s. He was also a visiting critic at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Williams College, Boston Architectural Center (now College) and UC Boulder. Most notably, he was a visiting professor, lecturer and adjunct professor at the University of Colorado at Denver from 1976 to 1987.

Produced by the support of the Auraria Library’s Media and Telecommunications Service Division, Chester Nagel wrote and narrated four architectural video documentaries and monographs on the works of Walter Gropius, I. M. Pei, architectural criticism and creativity in architecture. He received the Honor Award for Distinguished Service by the UCD School of Architecture and Planning in 1982 and 1984. Nagel was also named Fellow Emeritus by the American Institute of Architects.


The Chester Nagel Collection is categorized into five main series: Series A – Monographs and Publications, Series B: Projects, Series C: Correspondence, Series D: Photographs and Series E: Bow Ties. Series A, B and C are further divided into subseries.


Gift of Chester E. Nagel, 1990?

Processing Information

Processed by Vaissnavi Shukl
Link to catalog
Chester Nagel Collection
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:

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