This collection consists of three 16" boxes and three 5" boxes of papers, two oversize
bound volumes, and one mapcase drawer of oversize plans and drawings. There was no
discernible original order to the collection, so its present arrangement is entirely
The five boxes of papers are arranged under three subject headings. The first is
Projects, Appointments and Consultations. It runs from Box 1 Folder 1 to Box 1 Folder
53, and contains papers relating to the major projects undertaken by Peets as outlined
in the biographical sketch. A significant amount of material on the L'Enfant plan of
Washington, D.C. is included; Peets was a major proponent and guardian of this original
plan throughout his life.
Projects in the first subject area are arranged in chronological order, but with some
overlap; within each project papers are arranged by item type (correspondence, writings,
clippings, photos, plans and drawings) and chronologically within each type. Not all
projects or appointments contain all record types.
The second subject heading is Peets' Writings, and is subdivided into published and
unpublished sections. Material relating to newspaper and magazine articles and books are
included in the published section, which goes from Box 1 Folder 54 to Box 2 Folder 89. A
large number of negatives and prints from the book Civic Art (1922),
which Peets co-authored with Werner Hegemann, is contained in this section. Also
included are papers relating to the publication of On the Art of Designing
Cities (1968), Paul D. Spreiregen, editor, a collection of selected essays of
Elbert Peets. The rest of the writings in the section, both published and unpublished,
deal with site and city planning, landscape architecture, and civic art. Unpublished
writings run from Box 2 Folder 90 to Box 3 Folder 14.
The third subject category is General Papers, Box 3 Folder 15 to Box 5 Folder 13. This
category contains personal materials, papers relating to minor projects and items not
directly related to the two previous categories. It is divided into sections by record
type and is arranged chronologically within each section. The ten sections are
correspondence, notes, manuscripts, pamphlets, clippings, brochures, photos, graphics,
family and biographical material, and miscellaneous papers. The quantity of personal
correspondence is fairly small but helps give an impression of Peets' character and
interests. Box 3 Folder 63 contains a number of photographs of Peets. The section of
graphics is divided into several subsections: estates, perspectives, plans and
elevations, sketches, sketchbooks and lineoleum prints. There are a variety of types
(original pencil or pen and ink drawings, blueprints, photostats, etc.), but they have
in common that they are not immediately recognizable as belonging with one of the major
projects in the first subject category. The last subsection of the Graphics section
contains miscellaneous non-Peets graphic items. The biographical material under the
third subject heading largely repeats the information in the biographical sketch, but a
few more details may be found here. The folder of family material (Box 5, Folder 12)
contains a xerox copy of the last will and testament of Hiram Houghton, Elbert Peets'
maternal grandfather. Also included is a xerox copy of a notebook of Edward O. Peets,
Elbert's father, in which he kept notes on his readings.
The two oversize bound volumes in the collection are a copy of the book Civic
Art and a scrapbook containing a number of original pencil and pen and ink
drawings by Elbert Peets.
The oversize plans, prints, and original drawings in the mapcase drawer were either done
by Peets or relate to his projects. There are 342 pieces in 19 folders divided as
School projects--Folder 1
Town and city plans--Folders 2-7
Private residence and estates--Folders 8-11
Memorials, parks, and recreation areas--Folders 12-14
Other projects--Folders 15-19
See the guide for specific date ranges and piece counts in each category. The drawings
are arranged in chronological order within each subject and project.