William F. Cody Papers, (MS 007)
Scope and Content
The papers of California architect William Francis Cody, FAIA, contain student work, architectural drawings and plans, office records, marketing and public relations materials for his practice, presentation drawings, photographs, correspondence, and project files from the architect's estate. Architectural plans and drawings, which date primarily from 1946 when Cody began working in Palm Springs to the mid-1970s, are predominant in the collection.
At the time that Cody closed his office, family members split the records and drawings of the practice and stored them in various locations. Researchers are strongly advised to consult the guide to a second, separate, and substantial gift of Cody drawings and papers given to Cal Poly in 2009 (William F. Cody Papers 2 MS 163).
The earliest piece in the collection is a 1924 photograph of Cody at his prep school. The collection contains a project file regarding Richard Neutra's iconic Kaufmann Desert House. In 1963, Cody was hired to remodel the residence by the new owners Joseph and Nelda Linsk, and Neutra wrote to express his concern. There is one additional donation to the collection, consisting of plans for the James and Madge Abernathy residence in Palm Springs.
The collection is housed in 50 flat file drawers and 51 Hollinger containers. The collection is divided into five series:
- Personal Papers, 1924, 1940, 1942, including student work completed at USC;
- Professional Papers and Office Records, 1948-1975, including office records, project portfolios, and résumé and brief job list Cody compiled c. 1948;
- Project Records, 1943-1973, including files, photographs, plans and drawings on residential, recreational, and commercial commissions
- McCulloch Project Records, 1960s, including extensive project plans for industrialist Robert P. McCulloch and his related companies;
- Additional Donations, 1962, including one subseries of drawings on the Palm Springs Abernathy house
The most significant portions of the collection — project records for a wide variety of Cody commissions in the Coachella Valley, Arizona, and Havana — are located in Series 3. A. Project Files and 3. C. Project Drawings. Some of the plans in the collection are Ozalids, a monochromatic copying process producing diazo prints, common to the mid-twentieth century. Some drawings, primarily preliminary sketches or mechanical drawings produced in consultation, have been left in project files, when relocation would have deterred research. Job numbers from Cody's practice are given, when known, but some errors in duplicate numbering have been found.
Images in the 3.B. Project Photographs subseries are often the work of noted architectural photograph Julius Shuman. His job numbers have not been included in the guide but are available on request. Dates on photograph and file subseries reflect the contents of the folder; dates on project drawings reflect start date of project, not the start of construction.
Where possible, the provenance, or original organization, of the papers has been preserved. However, in order to simplify access to the collection for researchers, some materials in specific formats and subject areas were reorganized and refoldered to more accurately reflect their contents.