Heritage Documentation Programs

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HABS team in 1934 measuring the Kentucky School for the Blind. Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) Team.jpg
HABS team in 1934 measuring the Kentucky School for the Blind.

Heritage Documentation Programs (HDP) is a division of the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) responsible for administering the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), and Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS). These programs were established to document historic places in the United States. Records consist of measured drawings, archival photographs, and written reports, and are archived in the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress.

Contents

Historic American Buildings Survey

First national bank US with HABS border.jpg
First Bank of the United States, 120 South Third Street, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, PA HABS PA,51-PHILA,235- (sheet 1 of 1).png
HABS photograph and drawing
First Bank of the United States [1]

In 1933, NPS established the Historic American Buildings Survey following a proposal by Charles E. Peterson, a young landscape architect in the agency. [2] It was founded as a constructive make-work program for architects, draftsmen and photographers left jobless by the Great Depression. It was supported through the Historic Sites Act of 1935. [3] [4] [5] [6]

Guided by field instructions from Washington, D.C., the first HABS recorders were tasked with documenting a representative sampling of America's architectural heritage. [7] They began to document America's built environment, carrying out multi-format surveys that amassed a "more than 581,000 measured drawings, large-format photographs, written histories, and original field notes for more than 43,000 historic structures and sites dating from Pre-Columbian times to the twentieth century." [3] By creating an archive of historic architecture, HABS provided a database of primary source material and documentation for the then-fledgling historic preservation movement. [8]

Earlier private projects included Eleanor Raymond's Early Domestic Architecture of Pennsylvania (1931), Charles Morse Stotz's Western Pennsylvania Architectural Survey and the White Pine Series of Architectural Monographs. [7] Many of their contributors later joined the HABS program.

Important HABS photographers include Jack Boucher, who worked for the project for over 40 years; [9] [10] [11] Robert W. Tebbs in New Orleans, [12] Louis and Ida Schwartz in Charleston, South Carolina, [13] James Butters in Mississippi, [14] [15] Richard J. Levy in Los Angeles. [16] and Jet Lowe. [17]

Historic American Engineering Record

The Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) program was founded on January 10, 1969, by NPS and the American Society of Civil Engineers. HAER documents historic sites, structures, mechanical, and engineering artifacts. The Maritime Administration works with HAER to "document historic vessels prior to their disposal." [18]

Since the advent of HAER, the combined program is typically called "HABS/HAER". Eric DeLony headed HAER from 1987 to 2003. [19]

Historic American Landscapes Survey

In October 2000, NPS and the American Society of Landscape Architects established a sister program, the Historic American Landscapes Survey, to systematically document historic American landscapes. [20] A predecessor, the Historic American Landscape and Garden Project, recorded historic Massachusetts gardens between 1935 and 1940. That project was funded by the Works Progress Administration, but was administered by HABS, which supervised the collection of records. [21]

In 2001, along with the Library of Congress, the NPS, and the American Society of Landscape Architects signed a Memorandum of Understanding which established a working relationship between the three organizations. Following the signing of this agreement, these organizations together signed the Tripartite Agreement in 2010, making "HALS a permanent federal program". [22]

The NPS deals with the planning and operations of HALS, standardizes the formats and develops the guidelines for recording landscapes. [22]

Library of Congress

The permanent collection of HABS/HAER/HALS are housed at the Library of Congress, which was established in 1790 (and reestablished after the disastrous fire of 1814 in Washington, D.C. by purchasing former third President Thomas Jefferson's personal library at Monticello in 1815) as the replacement reference library of the United States Congress. It has since been expanded to serve as the national library of the United States; U.S. publishers are required to deposit a copy of every copyrighted and published work, book monograph and magazine. As a branch of the United States Government, its created works are in the public domain in the US. Many images, drawings, and documents are available through the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog, including proposed, demolished, and existing structures; locales, projects, and designs. [23]

See also

Related Research Articles

National Park Service United States federal agency

The National Park Service (NPS) is an agency of the United States government that manages all national parks, most national monuments, and other natural, historical, and recreational properties with various title designations. The United States Congress created the agency on August 25, 1916 through the National Park Service Organic Act.

Large format Imaging format for film camera of 4×5 inches or larger

Large format refers to any imaging format of 9×12 cm or larger. Large format is larger than "medium format", the 6×6 cm or 6×9 cm size of Hasselblad, Mamiya, Rollei, Kowa, and Pentax cameras, and much larger than the 24×36 mm (0.94×1.42 inch) frame of 35 mm format.

Jack Boucher American photographer

Jack E. Boucher was an American photographer for the National Park Service for more than 40 years beginning in 1958. He served as the Chief Photographer for the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS). In 1966 he left the Park Service for two years to supervise New Jersey's State Historic Preservation program, including the State's roadside marker program, 18 historic museum houses, several lighthouses, and two historic villages. Offered his old job back by the Park Service/HABS in 1970, he left New Jersey to return to NPS/HABS and the highly specialized job of large format photographic architectural documentation. His work took him to 49 States, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. April 2008 was the fiftieth anniversary of his employment with the National Park Service's "HABS" program. He traveled with 900 pounds of photographic equipment.

Jet Lowe American photographer (born 1946)

John T. "Jet" Lowe is an American photographer. He is one of the photographers employed by the U.S. National Park Service on the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) projects, and was the supervisor of engineering photography for HAER until his retirement in July 2013. His book, Industrial Eye: Photographs by Jet Lowe from the Historic American Engineering Record was published in 1986 by the Preservation Press.

Charles Emil Peterson (1906–2004) is widely considered to be a seminal figure in professionalizing the practice of historic preservation in the United States. He is referred to as the "founding father" of the professional advocation of historic preservation, the "godfather of preservation," and an "extraordinary preservationist" who made important contributions to the knowledge of early American building practices, helped create the profession of the preservation architect, and passionately advocated for the retention and restoration of the American built heritage. According to Jacques Dalibard, a professor at McGill University School of Architecture, "with James Marston Fitch, I cannot think of two people who had more influence on historic preservation in North America."

Walton Danforth Stowell American architect

Walton "Kip" Danforth Stowell was an American architect and historic preservationist, best known for his work for the U.S. National Park Service in designing visitors centers and interpretive exhibits in U.S. National Parks throughout the country. For most of his career, he worked at the Harpers Ferry Design Center which is responsible for architectural design and interpretive planning in National Parks.

James B. Norman

James Burton Norman Jr. is an American photographer, author, and cultural historian.

References

  1. HABS No. PA-1417, "First Bank of the United States", 7 photos, 3 color transparencies, 18 measured drawings, 3 photo caption pages
  2. "Historic American Buildings Survey: New Deal Web Guide (Virtual Programs & Services, Library of Congress)". www.loc.gov. Retrieved 2022-03-31.
  3. 1 2 "The Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) Born during the Great Depression, HABS is an essential research tool". Old House Journal. Jun 16, 2021. Retrieved 9 July 2021.
  4. King, Thomas F. (2004). Cultural Resource: Law and Practice (2nd ed.). New York: Altamira Press. p. 20.
  5. American Place: The Historic American Buildings Survey at Seventy-Five Years (PDF). National Park Service. 2008. ISBN   9781484109205 . Retrieved 9 July 2021.
  6. Lindley, John (1982). The Georgia catalog, Historic American Buildings Survey : a guide to the architecture of the state . University of Georgia Press. ISBN   0-8203-0613-4.
  7. 1 2 Lavoie, Catherine C. (2006). "Architectural Plans and Visions: The Early HABS Program and Its Documentation of Vernacular Architecture". Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture. 13 (2 Special 25th Anniversary Issue (2006/2007)): 15–35. JSTOR   20355381 . Retrieved 9 July 2021.
  8. Kolson Hurley, Amanda (December 9, 2008). "HABS at 75". Architect. Retrieved 9 July 2021.
  9. "Jack E. Boucher, longtime National Park Service, dies at 80". The Washington Post. September 13, 2012. Retrieved 9 May 2021.
  10. Malvaney, E.L. (September 12, 2012). "HABS Photographer Jack Boucher (1931-2012)". Preservation in Mississippi. Retrieved 9 May 2021.
  11. MANSHEIM, GERALD (January 1991). "A Record in Detail: Architectural Photographs of Jack E. Boucher". The Annals of Iowa. 50 (7): 829–831. doi: 10.17077/0003-4827.9527 .
  12. "The Historic American Buildings Survey in New Orleans Active Epoch(s): Initial Organized Efforts (1920 - 1937)". Tulane University. Retrieved 9 July 2021.
  13. "Ida Schwartz". The Post and Courier. Retrieved 9 July 2021.
  14. Kapp, Paul Hardin (2020). "The Curious Case of the Parish House in Natchez, Mississippi: Preservation and False History". Arris: The Journal of the Southeast Chapter of Architectural Historians. 31.
  15. Price, Virginia (2011). "Drawing Details: Taking Measure of the HABS Collection". Preservation Education and Research. 4: 53–68.
  16. "Architectural Photographer Richard J. Levy, AIA, APA Exhibits "Historic American Buildings Survey – Library of Congress"". The Los Angeles Chapter of The American Institute of Architects. May 7, 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2021.
  17. "Interview with Jet Lowe". The Bridgehunter's Chronicles. 16 February 2015. Retrieved 9 July 2021.
  18. "Historic American Engineering Record Surveys | MARAD". www.maritime.dot.gov. Retrieved 2022-03-31.
  19. Witcher, T. R. (2019). "History Lesson. Fifty Years of Preservation: Historic American Engineering Record" (PDF). Civil Engineering. January: 40–43. Retrieved 9 July 2021.
  20. "Professional Practice Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS)". The American Society of Landscape Architects. Retrieved 9 July 2021.
  21. Stevens, Christopher (June 11, 2019). "Paul Dolinsky – Four Decades of Preservation Through Documentation". The Field. Retrieved 9 July 2021.
  22. 1 2 "Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) | asla.org". www.asla.org. Retrieved 2021-05-24.
  23. "Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey". Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. Retrieved 2012-03-07.