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T. Clifford Noonan (1900-1990)

Dates of Interview:

September 21, 1983

Location of Interview:

Evanston, Illinois


Betty J. Blum

Length of Transcript:

33 pages
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Biographical Summary

T. Clifford Noonan was born in 1900 in LaSalle, Illinois. He studied architecture at the University of Illinois, Champaign, in 1920-1921, and then transferred to Notre Dame University, where he received his degree in 1924. After graduation Noonan was hired as a designer for the Chicago architectural firm of Graham, Anderson, Probst & White. During his career at GAPW, Noonan moved from design work to administration, reaching the position of senior vice-president before retiring in 1975. Noonan then moved to Tucson, Arizona, where he died in 1990.

Interview Highlights

Noonan speaks about the office of Graham, Anderson, Probst & White; principals of Graham, Anderson, Probst & White; changes after Ernest Graham died; projects; the Century of Progress International Exposition, 1933-1934; competitions; the influence of technology.

T. Clifford Noonan for Graham, Anderson, Probst & White.
Merchandise Mart; Chicago, 1930.
Photograph by the Chicago Architectural Photographing Co.;
Historic Architecture and Landscape Image Collection, Ryerson and Burnham Archives, The Art Institute of Chicago.

T. Clifford Noonan for Graham, Anderson, Probst & White.
Armour Hall; Century of Progress International Exposition; Chicago, 1933-1934.
Photograph by Kaufmann & Fabry;
Historic Architecture and Landscape Image Collection, Ryerson and Burnham Archives, The Art Institute of Chicago.

Interview Excerpt

"Mr. Graham was the business getter, the developer, who had the contacts that were nationwide, maybe international. The area where Mr. Graham functioned [was] with the designers to develop a scheme, solve the owner's problem. After the designs were determined, after the preliminaries were approved by the owner, after that was finalized--what we would call the design development stage today--it was then transferred over to Mr. Probst. [He] was responsible for production with the engineering, for all necessary construction details and construction documents, and then they were prepared based on the approved sketches. And after they were completed, they were turned over to Mr. White and bids were taken, either negotiated or advertised or competitive bidding was used depending upon the client or what the problems were at the time. And then after the bids were submitted, they were opened in the presence of Mr. White and Mr. Graham, and an award was made based on whatever was to the the owner's advantage. And from then on Mr. White handled the progress of the work until completion of the job." (p. 3)

Additional Resources

T. Clifford Noonan images in the R&B Archives
Related archival materials in the R&B Archives

Funding for this oral history was provided by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.
Publication of this oral history in web-accessible form was made possible by the generous support of The Vernon and Marcia Wagner Access Fund at The Art Institute of Chicago, The James & Catherine Haveman Foundation, The Reva and David Logan Family Fund of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, and Daniel Logan and The Reva and David Logan Foundation