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Edward D. Pierre collection

 Collection
Identifier: L611

Scope and Contents

This collection includes correspondence, pamphlets, clippings and other ephemera; architectural drawings and blueprints; photographs and photograph albums; scrapbooks and illustration boards from Edward D. Pierre and his architectural firms, Pierre & Wright and Edward D. Pierre and Associates, in Indianapolis, Indiana ranging from 1925 to 1962. The materials cover a surfeit of topics such as Pierre's architectural projects and contests, including the Indiana State Library and Historical Building (ISL) and Milo H. Stuart Memorial Hall at Arsenal Technical High School; local, state, and national contemporary news and affairs; World War II; professional organizations and their activities; city planning; and civic projects in Indiana, from youth engagement to disaster relief to Christmas and peacebuilding.

The scrapbooks are arranged according to Edward Pierre's original organizational system, wherein the volumes were numbered first according to their subject, and then based on the item number within that topic. For example, the three scrapbooks concerning the construction industry (the second subject series) were numbered 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3. Of the 30 scrapbooks, five volumes have been deconstructed and their contents foldered and boxed to preserve the papers originally found within the scrapbooks, such as correspondence, oversize drawings, and fragile materials. This preservation strategy was only implemented when it was determined that the organization and presentation of the items was not vital to maintaining the integrity of the contents and scrapbook as a whole, as in the case of sequential design sketches. When items were removed from scrapbooks, care was taken to maintain the original order of materials within the folders. In some cases, completely loose or oversized items were removed from certain scrapbooks to preserve materials from continuing to sustain significant damage in their current state. When this occurred, special care was taken to note where each item came from within the original scrapbook.

Dates

  • circa 1925-1962

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Administrative History

Pierre & Wright architectural firm is known for its design of superior, enduring construction and diverse architectural styles from Art Deco to historical revival. The firm formed in 1925 with the partnership of architects Edward D. Pierre and George Caleb Wright in Indianapolis, Indiana. Pierre's responsibilities entailed dealing with clients and architectural design, leaving Wright to oversee engineering concerns and business operations.

The partners' first major project entailed the design of five large houses in different historical revival styles for the Indianapolis News “Ideal Homes” project at Williams Creek Estates. Pierre & Wright won architectural design competitions for multiple notable civic and commercial structures, including the Indiana State Library and Historical Building (1933) and the Milo H. Stuart Memorial building at Arsenal Technical High School (1938). The firm also designed several fire stations, public schools, grocery stores, gas stations, children's clinics, and jewelry stores in Indianapolis and Indiana during the 1930s and early 1940s.

Other prominent Indianapolis buildings designed by the firm include Perry Baseball Stadium (renamed Victory Field in 1942, and Bush Stadium in 1967), Old Trails Insurance Building (located at 301–309 West Washington Street), the Sears Roebuck building (320 North New Jersey Street), and apartment buildings, particularly Linwood Court (East Washington Street and Linwood Avenue) and Oxford Gables (East 38th Street and North Washington Boulevard). The firm also formulated plans for St. Christopher Catholic Church (5301 West 16th Street in Speedway, Indiana).

The firm of Pierre & Wright was deeply involved in civic concerns, the partners sharing an interest in low-cost, quality housing, contributing to the Indianapolis Home Show and the Indianapolis Construction League to provide examples of affordable model homes. The duo also helped rally Indiana architects for the war effort during World War II. Although the partnership ended in 1944, both Edward Pierre and George Wright continued their architectural careers and civic engagement in Indianapolis. Pierre went on to establish Edward D. Pierre and Associates, an independent firm, while Wright joined the architectural enterprise of Kurt Vonnegut, Sr., which is perhaps best known as Vonnegut, Wright & Yeager today.

Sources:

Items in the collection.

Huntington, Jeffrey. "The Indianapolis Architectural Firm of Pierre and Wright: A History of the Firm, Discussion of Major Works, and Index of Known Commissions." M.S. thesis, Ball State University, 1994.

"Indiana State Library and Historical Building." American Architect 146, no. 2634 (June 1935): 14-24.

Williams, Scott. "A State's Memorial to History." American Architect 146, no. 2634 (June 1935): 11-13.

Biographical Note

Celebrated Indianapolis architect Edward Dienhart Pierre was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana on May 22, 1890. He began his architectural career working as a draftsman for the firm of J.M.E. Riedel of Fort Wayne, before attending Valparaiso University in 1911. Pierre transferred a year later to Armour Institute (now Illinois Institute of Technology) in Chicago, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture in 1915. After working a couple of years for Albert Kahn's firm in Detroit, Michigan, he served in the United States Army Engineer Corps (1917-1919) during World War I.

Between 1925 and 1944, Pierre teamed up with fellow architect, George Caleb Wright, to form one of the most renowned Indianapolis architectural firms of its time, Pierre & Wright. In 1944, Pierre went on to practice independently under his own company, Edward D. Pierre and Associates, until 1961. His firm mostly designed residential buildings, in accordance with his longstanding interest in affordable housing, and small commercial structures.

Pierre actively contributed to the development of his profession, holding a membership to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) for 41 years and serving as a past president for the Indiana AIA chapter, known as the Indiana Society of Architects. He also held the presidential positions for the the Construction League of Indianapolis, a confederation of local businesses and professionals in the construction field, and the Architect's Association. Receiving numerous awards for his designs, Pierre, with his partner George Caleb Wright, won the competitions for the Indiana State Library and Historical Building and the Milo H. Stuart Memorial Building at Arsenal Tech High School in Indianapolis. The Indiana Society of Architects granted Pierre its annual award from 1925 to 1930, as well as the society's gold medal in 1928 and 1937. In 1951, he was made a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects for his achievement in design.

Possessing a deep sense of civic responsibility, Pierre engaged in a number of local projects and urban planning in Indianapolis and the state of Indiana. A proponent of Alexander Ralston's original plan for the city of Indianapolis, he authored a master improvement plan as well as the "Cross Roads Plan," a comprehensive downtown parking endeavor for the Indianapolis Off-Street Parking Commission. Pierre, along with architect Edward D. James and pharmaceutical entrepreneur Eli Lilly, participated in the restoration of the Lockerbie Square neighborhood, resulting in the founding of the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana (Indiana Landmarks today) in 1960.

In 1945, Pierre helped found an Indianapolis tradition still practiced today: to decorate the Soldiers and Sailors Monument with Christmas lights and decorations, with the purpose of transmuting it into a symbol of peace and brotherhood. He helped establish the American Legion Peace Symbol Foundation, of which Pierre was president, in 1940, to help realize the project. For the first 17 years, the monument's base was encircled with Christmas trees, giant candles, banners, and tableaux including a life-size Nativity scene designed by J. Scott Williams. It was not until 1962 that the first "Circle of Lights" took place when Monument Circle was illuminated with strings of lights from top to base transforming the monument into an enormous Christmas tree.

Pierre and his wife Louise had a daughter named Mary in 1928. Pierre died at age 80 on March of 1971, three years after the death of his wife.

Sources:

Items in the collection.

Ancestry.com. "Edward Dienhart Pierre." U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 Accessed August 31, 2015. http://search.ancestrylibrary.com.

Ancestry.com. "Edward D. Pierre, Fort Wayne, Indiana, 1909." U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989. Accessed August 31, 2015. http://search.ancestrylibrary.com.

"E.D. Pierre Dies; Noted Architect." Indianapolis Star, March 28, 1971, sec. 1, p. 1, c. 4; p. 14, c. 1-3.

Ehret, Lisa. "Lockerbie Square." In The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, edited by David J. Bodenhamer, Robert G. Barrows, and David Gordon Vanderstel, 928. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994.

Huntington, Jeffrey. "The Indianapolis Architectural Firm of Pierre and Wright: A History of the Firm, Discussion of Major Works, and Index of Known Commissions." M.S. thesis, Ball State University, 1994.

Huntington, Jeffrey L. "Pierre and Wright." In The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, edited by David J. Bodenhamer, Robert G. Barrows, and David Gordon Vanderstel, 1115-1116. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994.

Ancestry.com. "Louise Pierre." U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Accessed August 31, 2015. http://search.ancestrylibrary.com.

Vanderstel, David G. "Christmas." In The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, edited by David J. Bodenhamer, Robert G. Barrows, and David Gordon Vanderstel, 418-420. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994.

Extent

26 Cubic Feet (8 manuscript boxes; 25 clamshell boxes; 4 volumes; 1 small oversize box; 4 medium oversize boxes; 4 very large oversize boxes; 1 map-case drawer)

Arrangement

Arranged in the following series and subseries:

Series 1: Papers and scrapbooks, circa 1925-1962

Subseries 1.1: Indiana State Library and Historic Building materials, 1932-1962 Subseries 1.2: Key themes and current events materials, 1930s-1948 Subseries 1.3: Construction industry materials, 1927-1951 Subseries 1.4: Architecture materials, circa 1925-1961 Subseries 1.5: Small homes materials, 1938-1950s Subseries 1.6: City planning materials, 1936-1958 Subseries 1.7: Civic projects materials, 1939-1956 Subseries 1.8: Public relations materials, 1937-1956

Series 2: Photographs, circa 1925-1958

Series 3: Architectural drawings and graphic materials, circa 1925-1960

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from Mr. and Mrs. Edward D. Pierre on 1962/07/27.

Accruals

No further additions are expected.

Related Archival Material

Materials relating to this collection may be found in the following collections in Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN and other institutions:

L570: Indiana State Library collection S1425: J. Scott Williams collection

Pierre and Wright Architectural Records, Drawings and Documents Archive, Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2015/12/21 by Brittany Kropf. EAD finding aid created 2015/12/21 by Brittany Kropf. EAD finding aid revised 2016/05/04 by Brittany Kropf.
Title
Edward D. Pierre collection
Status
Completed
Description rules
dacs

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

Contact:
140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.
317-232-3671