The Henry Austin Papers are composed of architectural drawings, design sketches, specifications, and photographs for buildings by Henry Austin and others. These materials represent only a fraction of the work Austin created during his long and productive architectural career.
The Yale University Library acquired the bulk of the Austin Papers through gifts and purchases between 1902 and 1942. George Dudley Seymour was one of the principal contributors of materials. The papers were stored in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library from 1963 until 1979, when they were transferred to the Manuscripts and Archives Department. In 1990 Peter Hale and John Kirby donated an additional eight items to the papers.
At the beginning of the papers, there are four boxes which contain watercolor design plates from two formerly bound volumes titled "Dwelling Houses, Stores, Banks, Churches and Monuments" and "Churches, Mansions and Villas." While the designs in the volume "Dwelling Houses" are generic, some of the designs in "Churches" actually specify the buildings for which the design was used. These include railroad stations in New Haven, Plainville, and Collinsville, Connecticut; residences in New Haven, Wallingford, New Britain, and Waterbury, Connecticut; and churches in Kent, Plainville, Portland, and Northford, Connecticut. The first pages in this volume include an index to all drawings in the volume.
The papers also include several additional drawings and specifications for residences in New Haven and Wallingford by Austin, as well as a few drawings which cannot be identified as Austin's. Photographs of the house designed by Austin for Ruggles S. Morse (Victoria Mansion) in Portland, Maine and Austin's licenses from the Internal Revenue Service are also in the papers.
The papers include a set of black and white photographic negatives of the drawings in the two design books, as well as of the drawings for the house on Chapel and Howe Streets in New Haven. The papers also include color slides of the drawings in the two design books (Box 9). These sets may be used to obtain copies of the originals, since no photocopies may be made from the original drawings. A duplicate set of the color slides is available for viewing in the Slide Collection in the Art and Architecture Library.
In order to protect the master set of color slides from excessive handling, Box 9 has been restricted and will not be made available for general research. Readers wishing to order a copy of a drawing should cite the title of the volume in which the drawing appears, using the abbreviation "CMV" for "Churches, Mansions, and Villas" and the abbreviation "DHS" for "Dwelling Houses, Stores, Banks, Churches and Monuments." To insure a proper identification of the matching slide, the reader should also include the design number, plate number, and page number as they appear on the drawing. For example, the first drawing in "Churches, Mansions, and Villas" would be indicated as CMV:I, I, 1, for design I, plate I, page 1.
New copy negatives made from the slides of the drawings are housed in box 10. As additional copy negatives are made they are added to this box. The reader services staff maintains a listing of the existing copy negatives.