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Sullivaniana Collection

A work made of printed papers, correspondence, manuscripts, black and white photographic prints, and realia..

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  • A work made of printed papers, correspondence, manuscripts, black and white photographic prints, and realia..


1780-2018 (bulk 1870-1930)


Louis H. Sullivan (1856-1924)

About this artwork

The Sullivaniana collection is largely the gift of George Elmslie, one of Sullivan’s last colleagues and the executor of his estate. This grouping forms the largest extant collection of Sullivan documents (excluding architectural and design drawings). Among Sullivan’s contributions to the development of modern American architecture was the new aesthetic for the visual organization of tall buildings: a strong base at grade level, top floors capped with an eye-arresting cornice, and the general office floors in the central shaft repeatable ad infinitum. Sullivan was one of the most prolific architect/critics of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and numerous draft manuscripts and typescripts of his writings are held in this collection. Also included are sketches, personal and business correspondence, personal and project photographs, and memorabilia.

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See also: Louis Sullivan Collection
See also: Louis Sullivan Buildings Extant in Chicago

Collection access:
Collections may be accessed in the Franke Reading Room of the Research Center at The Art Institute of Chicago, by appointment only. For further information, consult the FAQ.

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Contact the Ryerson and Burnham Art and Architecture Archives:
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Louis H. Sullivan (Architect)


Sullivaniana Collection

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1780–2018


Printed papers, correspondence, manuscripts, black and white photographic prints, and realia.


5 portfolios, 6 oversize portfolios and flatfile materials: H.: 457.2 cm (180 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of George Elmslie,Adolph O. Budina, George G. Elmslie, Miss Edith Elmslie, Thomas Heinz, Richard Nickel, Miss Frances Rice, Andrienne F. Sullivan, and others, beginning 1931. Additional materials were donated by Charles H. Whitaker, 1931; the Estate of F.W. Gookin, 1936; Auditorium Building (?), 1939; Chicago Auditorium Association, c.1942; William Gray Purcell, c.1945; John Szarkowski, 1955; Bruce Goff, 1956; Hinman Kealy, 1956; City of Chicago, 1972; Homer Grant Sailor, 1972; Brian Spencer, 1972; A. Irma Cohon, 1974; Mrs. W.R.L. Smith, III, 1976; Robert K [?] through the University of Wisconsin at Parkside, 1980; Stanley Benn, 1986; Wilbert Hasbrouck, 1993; Mrs. Ruth Guyer, 1997; Elayne Orr, 2002; Frank Tassone, 2006; Ward Miller, 2008; Robert Furhoff, 2009; Jane Heron, 2009; Ward Miller andthe Richard Nickel Committee in honor of Martha Ward Miller, 2011; John Vinci, 2011; Ward Miller in honor of Pastor Robert Vaughn, 2012; the Nickel Family, 2012; Nathaniel Parks, 2017; Margaret Bush; Chicago Sun Times; Gordon D. Orr; Earl H. Reed; Leon D. Schooler; Miss Andrienne Sullivan; Department of Architecture, University of Utah; and Mrs. Julius Weil.

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