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Laurance Johnson Carmalt papers

Call Number: MS 847
Scope and Contents
The papers of Laurance Johnson Carmalt consist of correspondence, notes, and printed material from 1914-1938. The papers total fifteen inches in quantity and document Carmalt's professional activity as a civil engineer and city planning enthusiast. The bulk of this material focuses on the New Haven and Connecticut areas, but there are also files relating to New England and New York.

Carmalt was a member of the American City Planning Institute and files for this organization contain correspondence relating to annual meetings and the content of programs at these gatherings. A variety of reports and recommendations submitted to members for consideration is also found here. Housing files for the Institute (folders 5-8) contain correspondence, printed material, and notes for the development and organization of housing projects within city planning programs.

Carmalt was also a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers-Connecticut Section, and he served as its president for a time in the 1920s. Correspondence regarding Carmalt's activities in this arena includes routine letters announcing meetings, proposing new members, and informing members of the decisions of various committees and councils. The Connecticut section also took an active role in supporting the creation of topographical maps and geological surveys for the state. Material relating to a geodetic survey in 1935-1936 is arranged here.

From 1933-1935 Carmalt was a supervising engineer and planning advisor to the Civil Works Administration and Federal Emergency Reliefadministration. In this capacity he compiled population and employment figures for Connecticut communities. Carmalt also advocated municipal works projects, housing programs, and zoning ordinances to help municipalities combat the problems of the Depression. He often publicized his views on these matters in letters to local newspapers. One such letter to the New Haven Journal-Courier contained a passage in which he summarized the state of municipal planning as in "... a stage of evolution in which past practices and standards, and past land values have been violently upset by sudden advances in the art of communication, through which economic and social considerations can disregard political bounds."

Carmalt was an active figure in New Haven city planning efforts in the 1920s-1930s. Material on this topic includes general files on property development and zoning matters. Transportation files contain material on specific traffic projects, street-widening programs, and proposed studies. Files for the Fairfield County Planning Association, the New England Regional Planning Commission, New Haven County Planning, and the Regional Plan Association, Inc., (New York), reflect his commitment to the city planning movement on a regional and national scale.

Additional files contain correspondence and research materials Carmalt compiled as a member of the New Haven Committee on the City Hall Site. In his capacity as an engineer and city planning consultant Carmalt was most interested in the building plans for New Haven. Files for the New Haven Taxpayers, Inc., contain correspondence and printed material which document the financial costs of city planning programs.

The Laurance J. Carmalt papers are one of three collections of New Haven city planners housed here. The George Dudley Seymour papers (ms. gr. no. 442) document city planning developments ca. 1907-1925, and the Edward J. Logue papers (ms. gr. no. 959) document similar efforts from 1954-1960. Another political collection describing city planning efforts in New Haven is the Major Richard C. Lee papers. The papers of John V. Lindsay (ms. gr. no. 592) detail his municipal career, including planning developments, as mayor of New York City.
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
1.5 Linear Feet
Related Names
Carmalt, Laurance Johnson, 1866-
Language of Materials