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George Pearl Papers

Identifier: MSS-782-BC

Scope and Content

The George Clayton Pearl Papers contain correspondence, newspaper clippings, articles, reports, accounting files, appointment books, job books, sketch books, certificates, awards, philanthropic files, and personal belongings. The collection contains records of George Pearl’s professional and personal life from his childhood through retirement, 1923-2003. The collection also contains information from various professional projects represented by records, notes and sketches while George Pearl work for SMPC Architects in Albuquerque, NM.

Some significant projects represented in the collection include: Albuquerque Public Library, Albuquerque, New Mexico (circa 1975), Zimmerman Library, University of New Mexico Campus, Albuquerque, New Mexico (circa 1969), Ortega Hall, University of New Mexico Campus, Albuquerque, New Mexico, College of Business, Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, New Mexico (circa 1977), and the renovation of the old Montezuma Hotel in Las Vegas, New Mexico to create the United World College (circa 1980).

Series I: Personal Files: These files contain personal writings, drawings, correspondence, degrees and honors along with university coursework, volunteer work projects and newspaper clippings, personal belonging and audio interviews of George Pearl.

Series II: Professional Files: These files contain presentations, classes taught, professional organization papers, professional honor and awards, miscellaneous business correspondence and clippings relating to Pearl’s professional projects.

Series III: Projects and Job Files: These tiles contain alphabetically arranged projects files relating to SMPC and to personal projects that Pearl worked on throughout his career.

Series IV: Sketchbooks and Drawings: These files contain various sketchbooks with drawings and notes along with loose drawings Pearl made throughout his life.

Series V: Photos and Slides: These files contain personal and family photos, project related photos and slides along with artistic photos taken by Pearl. Included are photographs of photographer, Lee Marmon.

Series VI: Addition 2019. Contains several notebooks of George Pearl from his UNM courses in Anthropology and Philosophy in the 1950s. His copy of a 1970 booklet from a meeting about improving health services and job training in Albuquerque, co sposored by the UNM Department of Architecture. These items were found among Pearl's books that were placed in the George Pearl Reading Room (group study room) in FADL. They were transferred to the CSWR in 2010.

Addition to Collection, 2023: Primarily contains correspondence and photographs focusing on the years of Pearl's military service, 1943-1946.


  • 1890-2003
  • Majority of material found within , 1950-2003


Language of Materials


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.

Biographical Information

George Clayton Pearl was born in central Texas in 1923. He lived on his parent’s farm until moving to Austin, Texas in 1940 to study architecture at the University of Texas. His schooling was interrupted by WWII, where he served until he was released after an injury. He then returned to the University of Texas to finish his bachelors in Architecture. Upon graduation, Pearl joined the architecture firm of Ferguson, Stevens and Associates (later known as SMPC Architects) in Albuquerque where he worked until his retirement in 1989. After retirement, Pearl continued to work on numerous preservation and new building projects. Pearl was also a prolific painter, sketcher and photographer, using his skill with camera and pen to record many of New Mexico’s historic buildings.

George Clayton Pearl was one of Albuquerque’s most prolific architects. Pearl was responsible for new building design in New Mexico and beyond, pulling from regional influences and motifs throughout his career. While working for SMPC Architects, Pearl became the chief designer, known for his artistic skill. During this time, Pearl worked on several major projects in Albuquerque, including the Public Library, Presbyterian Hospital and multiple buildings on the University of New Mexico campus, including the renovation of John Gaw Meem’s Zimmerman Library. George Pearl was also a proponent of preservation and revitalization, working tirelessly to place historic buildings on the National and New Mexico State registers

George Pearl’s career as an architect spanned more than 50 years. During his career and after, he received countless honors and awards. He also worked closely with the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of New Mexico, giving his guidance and knowledge to the staff and students. In honor of Pearl and the many gifts he left the state of New Mexico, the School of Architecture and Planning named the new architecture building after him. George Pearl Hall, designed by Antoine Predock, will be completed in 2007. George Pearl died in Albuquerque in August of 2003.


16 Boxes (16 cu. ft.)


This collection contains George Clayton Pearl’s personal and business records. The business files contain project information from his professional projects with SMPC Architects along with projects he undertook on his own. These projects deal mainly with historic preservation issues in New Mexico along with new projects he took on after retirement from SMPC Architects. Also included are personal correspondence materials, personal items, sketch books and photographs.


6 series:

Personal Files

Professional Files

Projects and Job Files

Sketchbooks and Drawings

Photos and Slides


Related Archival Materials

George Pearl Oversized Drawings Artwork and Files, Center for Southwest Research. University Libraries. University of New Mexico.

SMPC (Stevens, Mallory, Pearl & Campbell) Architects Drawings and Plans, Center for Southwest Research. University Libraries. University of New Mexico.

SMPC (Stevens, Mallory, Pearl & Campbell) Job Files (unprocessed collection), Center for Southwest Research. University Libraries. University of New Mexico.

Oral History Interviews of the Architectural Heritage of New Mexico Oral History Project, Center for Southwest Research. University Libraries. University of New Mexico.

Value-engineered construction documents : The University of New Mexico, School of Architecture and Planning, Fine Arts & Design Library / design architect, Antoine Predock ; executive architect, Jon Anderson. LD3781 N538 G46 2005

Separated Material

Drawings and oversized materials form the George Pearl Oversized Drawings, Artwork and Files. Center for Southwest Research. University Libraries. University of New Mexico.

Processing Information

Oral history interview of George Pearl, conducted by Cecilia Portal was removed from the collection in June 2012 at the request of Ms. Portal. It is now (2015)) part of a larger project conducted by Ms. Portal, Architectural Heritage of New Mexico Oral History Project.
Finding Aid of the George Pearl Papers, 1890-2003
Edited Full Draft
Julie McGilvray
© 2007
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English
Funding for processing provided by Center for Regional Studies, University of New Mexico, Dr. Tobiáas Durán, Director

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

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

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131