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Betty Stewart Drawings and Plans Collection

Identifier: SWA-Stewart-Drawings

Scope and Content

The Stewart collection contains 113 sheets and 33 pages of documents in six folders. The drawings and plans are for new construction, additions, and renovations of existing structures. They include sketches, preliminary drawings, construction documents, plans, sections, elevations, and birdseye views. There are also plats, site surveys, and construction specifications. Several sets of drawings show approval dates from utility companies and local government entities including at least one historic preservation approval. There are some original drawings in pencil and ink.

Most of the drawings in the collection are for single-family detached homes. Some of these include plans for a guesthouse, garage, or combined garage-guesthouse. In some cases the dates on plans for an addition to the main house or a separate structure are years later than the dates on the main house plans. Other drawings only show additions to an existing home. The collection includes plans and drawings of condominium projects and at least one adaptive reuse of an existing building, a schoolhouse.

There are complete sets of drawings as well as many single sheets or small groups of drawings. Some have little or no labeling to indicate the proposed building’s location or the client’s or contractor’s name. The drawings range from unlabeled pencil sketches on tracing paper to complete sets of working drawings. Most of the plans are for buildings constructed of double-adobe walls covered with plaster. They have pitched metal roofs or flat roofs.

The drawings show features such as full-length niches, lintels, bancos, herringbone brick floors on sand, double-adobe walls, portales, mullioned windows, antique doors, vaulted ceilings with exposed vigas, pitched metal roofs, and flat roofs. The architecture includes characteristics from Spanish Pueblo revival, Northern New Mexico vernacular, Territorial revival, and Santa Fe style.

Although Stewart was a construction contractor, not a licensed architect, her ideas guided much of the work shown in the drawings and the Stewart name is reflected in notes or the corporate name. Some of the company names on the drawings suggest Betty Stewart or another family member was at least a part owner, such as Betty Stewart Construction, Stewart and Atwill, and Boyce-Stewart Corporation. Sun Mountain Design, Parker-Johnson Development, Blaine Young Architect Planner, Paragon Builders, and Ferguson Design are listed on some of the plans and the Los Angeles firm, T. Scott MacGillivray, AIA, Architects, worked with Stewart on a house for Betty Windom, an interior designer. B.D. Gibbons and “Thaddeus aids Gibbons” sign a number of drawings. Other personal names and initials on drawings include Douglas Atwill, Carl C. Ewing, P.W.E., and James Blaine Young. Nancy Noyes, a student at Santa Fe Vocational-Technical High School, drew plans for some elements in a home for Stewart’s mother, Anne Lu Young.

Some significant projects represented in the collection include:

Mead Residence, New Residence for Larry and Bett Brezner, Proposed Addition to an Existing Residence at 464 Acequia Madre (drawings, sepia rendering, and details of written information) and the Windom Residence.


  • circa 1972-1993

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

Betty Boyce Stewart was born in Dalhart, Texas on August 31, 1925 to cattle ranchers Anne Lu Young and Victor Stewart. Stewart grew up on ranches in Texas and New Mexico and attended the Brownmoor School for Girls north of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Prior to starting her construction business, Stewart had a successful enterprise selling her hand-carved birdhouses. As President and owner of the Stewart Construction Company, she catered to a clientele that sought well-appointed homes with a traditional New Mexican flavor.

Influenced by the home she lived in as teenager, Betty Stewart built houses reflective of the northern New Mexico vernacular. Stewart’s houses were known for pitched metal roofs, double adobe walls, brick floors on sand, mullioned windows, hand-toweled plaster exteriors and a type of high-gloss interior gauging plaster that she claimed was based on European fresco technique. Stewart also built flat-roofed Spanish Pueblo Revival Style adobe houses and at least one log cabin style home. Her homes often included antique doors, vigas and moldings, salvaged from old adobe buildings that had either collapsed or been torn down.

Stewart insisted on traditional methods for working with adobe and plaster, eschewing precision tools such as plumb bobs in order to maintain a handcrafted look and feel. She was known in Santa Fe for her houses, her signature cowboy boots, and her love of animals. When she died on May 7, 1994 she left a generous bequest to a local animal shelter.


1 drawer (.20 linear ft)


The Betty Stewart Collection includes architectural drawings and plans of residential buildings designed by architects and drafting professionals working in consultation with Betty Stewart and her companies between approximately 1972-1993. The plans in the collection document residences in Santa Fe, Galisteo, Tesuque, Taos, and Santa Fe County, New Mexico. The collection also includes preliminary sketches, blueprints, working drawings, surveys, site plans, and specifications for private homes, guesthouses, condominiums, and garages.

Related Archival Material

Betty Stewart Papers Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico
Finding Aid of the Betty Stewart Drawings and Plans Collection, circa 1972-1993
Mary Jamieson
© 2012
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

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