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Mead Papers, 1840-2001 (Bulk: 1846-1950)
2 archives boxes, 2 flat archives boxes, 1 records storage box, 1 wrapped volume (3.1 linear ft.)

Abstract:
Architect. Includes personal, professional, and family correspondence, financial records, articles and printed matter, photographs, music scores and general memorabilia. Includes information about the Meads' relationship with Amherst College, including their bequest for the construction of the Mead Art Museum.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

There is no restriction on access to the Papers for research use. Particularly fragile items are restricted for preservation purposes.

Restrictions on use:

Requests for permission to publish material from the Papers should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Amherst College Archives and Special Collections

Biographical Note

William Rutherford Mead was born in Brattleboro, Vermont in 1846. Mead graduated from Amherst College in 1867, after which he studied architecture in Boston and in Europe under Russell Sturgis, Jr.

Mead started an architectural partnership with Charles F. McKim in New York City in 1872. In 1879, they were joined by Charles F. McKim to form McKim, Mead, and White, of which he was principal until his death in 1928. The firm designed many of the most notable structures in the country, including the Agricultural and New York State buildings at the World's Columbian Exposition at Chicago in 1893, the Boston Public Library, Rhode Island State Capitol, the old Madison Square Garden (since demolished), and the Columbia University library.

In 1883, Mead wed Olga Kilyeni in Budapest, Hungary. In 1902, King Victor Emmanuel conferred upon Mead the decoration of Knight Commander of the Crown of Italy in recognition of his pioneer work in introducing the Roman and Italian Renaissance architectural style in America. Also in 1902, Amherst College conferred upon Mead the honorary degree of LL.D. In 1909, he recieved a degree of M.S. from Norwich University in Vermont.

Mr. and Mrs. Mead lived abroad in Rome, where Mr. Mead was the President of the American Academy in Rome until his death in 1928. When Mrs. Mead died in 1936 in New York City, her entire estate was bequeathed to Amherst College. Much of that bequest was used to fund construction of the Mead Art Building, designed by James Kellum Smith of McKim, Mead and White and completed in 1949.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Personal, professional, and family correspondence, financial records, articles and printed matter, photographs, music scores and general memorabilia documenting the personal and professional lives of William Rutherford Mead as an architect with McKim, Mead and White, and of his wife Olga Kilyeni Mead. The collection includes papers related to Mead's architectural designs for "Redtop," the house in Belmont, Massachusetts, which Mead designed for his sister Elinor Mead Howells and her husband William Dean Howells, 1876-1878; papers relating to the Meads' relationship with Amherst College, including information about their bequest for the construction of the Mead Art Museum. Photographs include portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Mead, family photographs, photographs of William and Elinor Mead Howells, and various travel images and unidentified family photographs. Also included in the collection are several dozen music scores, chiefly 19th century, by Hungarian, German and French composers.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

There is no restriction on access to the Papers for research use. Particularly fragile items are restricted for preservation purposes.

Restrictions on use:

Requests for permission to publish material from the Papers should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

[Identification of item], in William Rutherford Mead (AC 1867) and Olga Kilyeni Mead Papers [Box #, Folder #], Amherst College Archives and Special Collections, Amherst College Library

History of the Collection
Custodial history:

The papers consist of materials that appear to have been received in 1981 (see Series A, box 1, folder 1a, "General Files: Accessions Records"), plus items from the Alumni Biographical file for Mead, integrated in 2001. A few items remain in the biographical file (e.g. obituary notices which provide factual information) together with a copy of these notes and inventory.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Amherst College Archives and Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
PO Box 5000
Amherst, MA 01002-5000

Phone: (413) 542-2299
Fax: (413) 542-2692

Email Reference Form: http://www.amherst.edu/library/archives/askus
URL: http://www.amherst.edu/library/archives

Language
English.