The Library of Congress announced on Tuesday that it has acquired tens of thousands of architectural drawings and photographs—a rare collection maintained by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the American Architectural Foundation (AAF).
The collection includes 160,000 drawings, 30,000 photographs, and rare books spanning the architectural history of the United States. The materials include technical drawings, sourcebooks, and even original works of art.
Some of the materials will appear in upcoming exhibitions. The National Building Museum—which will serve as the exhibition partner for the AIA/AAF collection—will show two drawings by William Thornton in the museum's upcoming "Unbuilt Washington" exhibition. The drawings, which date from the 1790s, show the "Tortola Scheme" design for the U.S. Capitol. The two Tortola drawings from the AIA/AAF collection join two Tortola drawings already in the collection of the Library of Congress.
Drawings and photographs in the collection will be made available for public use, in time. The Library of Congress will first prepare the archive of architect Richard Morris Hunt, for use by appointment. The Hunt archive includes more than 15,000 student and design drawings.
Other highlights include photographs by the French architectural photographer Charles Marville, drawings by AIA Gold Medal–winners, and Statue of Liberty design drawings by Hunt and Gustave Eiffel.
The Library of Congress prints and photographs division includes more than 14 million photographs and drawings.