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John Gaw Meem Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MSS-675-BC

Scope and Content

The John Gaw Meem Papers contain correspondence, news clippings, articles, reports, accounting files, appointment books, job books, sketch books, certificates and awards. The collection contains records of Meem's professional life throughout his career and retirement, 1914-1983, as well as later correspondence regarding the collection and articles written about Meem and his associates. Some family correspondence is included as well.

Professional work is represented by records of various Meem firms such as John Gaw Meem, Hugo Zehner and Associates; Meem, Zehner, Holien and Associates; Meem, Holien, Buckley and Associates, and work with his original partner, Cassius McCormick. Records of professional associations include the New Mexico Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, Historic American Buildings Survey, and the Old Santa Fe Association. Materials relating to other Santa Fe historic preservation groups and preservation of New Mexico mission churches is also included.

Almost all documents in the collection are in English, with a few letters written in Spanish.

The John Gaw Meem Papers is divided into 9 series:

Series I: Alphabetical Correspondence and Subject Files, 1916-1992 - Personal and professional correspondence written and received by John Gaw Meem throughout his career and after retirement. This series contains news clippings and articles on various topics, as well as minutes and reports from the numerous organizations with which John Gaw Meem was involved, including: American Institute of Architects, Historic American Buildings Survey, Old Santa Fe Association, and Opera Association of New Mexico. (Boxes 1-12)

Series II: Chronological Correspondence, 1932-1983 - Correspondence filed in chronological order from 1932-1983. (Boxes 13-14)

Series III: Accounting Files, 1926-1975 - Account books containing financial information from 1926-1975. Series includes: tax returns, business and personal account ledgers, Acoma business account, cash journals, payroll journals and job cost records. (Boxes 14-17)

Series IV: Job Books - Three job books (Box 17)

Series V: Sketch Books - Two books with detail sketches and site sketches (Box 17)

Series VI: Appointment Books, 1931-1956 - Appointment Books for years 1931-1942 for John Gaw Meem. Hugo Zehner appointment books for years 1943-1956. (Box 18)

Series VII: Oversize Materials - Awards, Certificates and Diplomas; Posters, Drawings, Plans and Newspapers. (Box 19-22)

Series VIII: Index Cards - Index cards listing HABS buildings, also alphabetical and numerical indexes for design jobs. (Boxes 23-24)

Series IX: Audiotapes - Speech by Meem and interviews with Meem, former employees, and associates. (Box 25)

Dates

  • 1914-1992

Language of Materials

English.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.

®JOHN GAW MEEM

The United States Patent and Trademark office registered JOHN GAW MEEM as a trademark for any commercial use of the name related to John Gaw Meem's "archtiectural plans and drawings of architectural works and architectural details." Trademark number 2,225,118.

Biographicsl Information

John Gaw Meem, 1894-1983, is one of New Mexico's most renowned architects. Perhaps more than any other individual, John Gaw Meem is responsible for the conservation, development and propagation of the Southwestern regional architectural style. He was born in Pelota, Brazil of American parents. He graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1915 with a Bachelor of Science. In 1920 he contracted tuberculosis and moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico in order to recover. While bedridden at Sunmount Sanatorium, he developed an interest in architecture. When he was sufficiently recovered, he went to Denver where he worked in the office of Fisher & Fisher and studied at the Atelier Denver, a Beaux Arts Institute studio. In 1924 he opened an office in Santa Fe and practiced architecture continuously until his retirement in 1960.

Meem was a leading advocate of Spanish-Pueblo style architecture and designed new buildings in a soft adobe style that reflected New Mexico's rich cultural heritage. He was involved in historic preservation throughout his life, collecting a significant number of Historic American Building Survey photographs, now housed in the pictorial collections at the Center for Southwest Research, Zimmerman Library. John Gaw Meem was the leading architect for the University of New Mexico from 1933 to 1959, designing some 40 buildings on the campus that lend to its Southwestern atmosphere.

In 1975 Meem donated his collection of plans, drawings, models, photographs, and office papers to the University of New Mexico library. These formed the basis of the John Gaw Meem Archives of Southwestern Architecture, which houses collections of records from a number of New Mexico architects and their firms.

Meem died in Santa Fe on August 4, 1983.

Extent

25 boxes (26 cu. ft.)

Abstract

This collection contains John Gaw Meem's personal and business records. Business files consist primarily of correspondence from his architectural firm. Also included are materials relating to Meem's professional associations and his work on historic preservation in New Mexico.

Related Archival Material

John Gaw Meem Job Files. Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries. University of New Mexico. John Gaw Meem Drawings and Plans. Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries. University of New Mexico. John Gaw Meem Photograph Collection of Meem Buildings Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries. University of New Mexico. John Gaw Meem Collection: Non-Job Specific Photos. Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries. University of New Mexico. Beatrice Chauvenet Papers Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico. Bainbridge Bunting Collection of Measured Drawings Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico. HABS Measured Drawings of New Mexico Buildings Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico. University of New Mexico. Dept. of Facility Planning Records. Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico David Kammer Professional Papers Center for Southwest Research. University Libraries. University of New Mexico. Van Dorn and Marjorie Mead Hooker Architectural Drawings and Plans, Center for Southwest Research. University Libraries. University of New Mexico.

Separated Material

Photographs have been transferred to CSWR Pictorial Collections: John Gaw Meem Photographs of Meem Buildings, John Gaw Meem Collection: Non-job Specific Photos

Drawings and plans are housed in the John Gaw Meem Archives of Southwestern Architecture.

John Gaw Meem Job Files are housed separately with manuscript collections.

Original reel to reels and audiocassettes are stored in B3.
Title
Finding Aid of the John Gaw Meem Papers, 1914-1992
Status
For Approval
Author
Processed by Joanne Eekhoff
Date
©2002
Description rules
Dacs
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • June 28, 2004: PUBLIC "-//University of New Mexico::Center for Southwest Research//TEXT (US::NmU::MSS 675 BC::John Gaw Meem Papers)//EN" "nmu1mss675bc.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

Contact:
University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131
505-277-6451