Adolf K. Placzek (1913-2000)

Established in 1983 as the Avery Library Committee, PA has helped the Rare Books Collection at Columbia University’s Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library acquire primary source materials related to the history of building technology in the United States. Today, gifts are made in honor of Adolf K. Placzek (1913-2000), who spent 32 years at Avery Library, including 20 years as director, and was a member of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. During his tenure at Avery Library, Mr. Placzek worked to acquire thousands of historical trade publications, catalogs, and other documents relating to the design and construction of the built environment, building on the library’s reputation as the world’s leading architecture library. More recently PA, has broadened the scope of this initiative to include the conservation and digitization of documents within the Rare Book Collection. Preservation Alumni is proud to continue this legacy of support for historic preservation research and education.

If you would like to make a contribution to this fund, please contact us at

List of Acquisitions


George & Edward Blum, Architects : Five Hundred and Five, Fifth Avenue, New York City. New York City : L. Lawrence Stern, [not before 1915].

Sixth Avenue Association, author.
The Sixth Avenue “L” : Monday, Dec. 5, 1938. [New York, N.Y.] : Sixth Avenue Association, 1938.

Route no. 107, section no. 12 : a part of a rapid transit railroad : Manhattan Avenue, Newtown Creek, Vernon Avenue and Jackson Avenue : Freeman Stree, Brooklyn, to Arch Street, Queens : contract drawings / the City of New York acting by the Board of Transportation. [New York, N.Y.] : City of New York acting by the Board of Transportation, 1927.

Vermilya-Brown Company, Inc., author.
Vermilya-Brown Company, Inc. : builders : 100 East Forty-second Street, New York, N.Y. New York, N.Y. : Vermilya-Brown Co., [1954?]

W.H.S. Lloyd Co., Inc., author.
Anaglypta : 1929-31 / W.H.S. Lloyd Co. Inc. New York, N.Y. : W.H.S. Lloyd Co. Inc., [1929?].


Canton Metal Ceiling Co. (Canton, Ohio)
Art kraft embossed metal shingles
Canton, Ohio, between 1910 and 1919

Merchant & Co., Incorporated
Castles in Spain look no more attractive than roofs covered with the picturesque Merchant’s metal “Spanish” tiles : made of copper, steel, tin ; attractive, ornamental, thoroughly storm proof
Philadelphia, 1896.

J.H. Eller & Company, author.
Catalogue of sheet metal work for interior and exterior decoration : continuous and paneled metal ceilings and side walls, wainscoting, center pieces, etc. : stamped ornaments : galvanized and copper cornice, crestings, finials, vanes, ventilators, etc. : imitation pressed and rock faced brick siding, imitation rock raced stone siding
Canton, Ohio, between 1890 and 1899.

Catalogue of sheet metal work for interior and exterior decoration : continuous and paneled metal ceilings and side walls, wainscoting, center pieces, etc. : stamped ornaments : galvanized and copper cornice, crestings, finials, vanes, ventilators, etc. : imitation pressed and rock faced brick siding, imitation rock raced stone siding
Canton, Ohio, between 1890 and 1899.

Penn Metal Ceiling and Roofing Company Limited (Philadelphia, PA), Author
Metal sectional ceilings and side wall decorations : suitable for churches, amusement halls, hospitals, asylums 
Philadelphia, 1908.

Johns-Manville Corporation (1926-1981), author
The catalog of Johns-Manville building materials
New York, 1935.

Celotex Corporation, author
Celotex insulating lumber.
Chicago, 1923.


John Normile, editor.
Better Homes & Gardens Book of Bildcost home plans for distinctive homes. (also called The Book of Bildcost Gardened-Home Plans)
Des Moines, Indiana, 1938

Hiawatha T. Estes & Associates,
Prize home.
Northridge, California: Estes & Associates, 1972.

East Harlem Real Great Society Urban Planning Studio
The East River urban renewal area.

New York, New York : East Harlem Real Great Society Urban Planning Studio, [not before 1968]. 


Delaware and Hudson Canal Company, 
[Description of] The Coal and Iron Exchange building.
New York : Baker & Godwin, 1876.

King Paint M’f’g Co.
New and Standard Shades, New York Electric Paints for House and Cottage.

Ensign, Bridgman & Fanning,
A New Township Map of the State of New York, [186-?]


PA reimbursed Avery for purchases in the Trade Catalog Collection.


PA purchased folders to rehouse the Trade Catalog Collection.


Conservation of Whitney Warren, 
Etat de la cathédrale de Reims après le bombardement par les Allemands. 
Paris: Firmin-Didot, 1914.


J.B. Beers & Co. map―Map showing improved pavements in the City of Brooklyn in 1891 (New York, 1891).
Purchase and Conservation


Marshall Furnace Co.
Marshall Furnace Co Marshall, Mich. manufacturers of the new combination folding bath tub.
Marshall, MI: Marshall Furnace Co., [ca. 1890]

W.S. Blunt
Report on “Jennings closets” [to Col. Geo. E. Waring, Jr. Newport R.I.] [manuscript]
New York, January 20th, 1876.


Very rare ca. 1850 real estate brochure for a never-built Upper West Side apartment house.


John Gash
A catechism of architecture,
San Francisco, CA: W. Doxey, 1893.

Sagendorph Iron Roofing & Paint Co. (Cincinnati, OH)
The Sagendorph Iron Roofing & Paint Co. : office, salesroom & factory, 14, 16 & 18 E. Second St.
Cincinnati, OH: The Company, 1886.

Rhode Island Electrical League
The first electrical house.
Providence, RI: 1922

Louis Hermann
Dresden : Herrmann Drahtweberei Dresden Frabik, [ca. 1902-1917].


J. L. Mott Iron Works
Built-in baths: Solid porcelain and enameled iron.
[New York, NY: J. L. Mott Iron Works, 1912]

[James Everard]
Turkish, Roman and electric baths. Never closed. 28 & 30 W 28th St Near Broadway
[New York : 1892]

The church of the future – The story behind the architecture of Community Christian Church, 4601 Main Strees: Kansas City, Missouri 64112
[Kansas City, MO: after 1967]

James L. Meagher
The great cathedrals and most celebrated churches of the world: Giving their founders, patrons, builders, and architects, with a complete history of each up to our times: Also, a description of their different styles of architecture, and the sculptures, paintings, ornaments, and ceremonies of these wonderful temples of Christendom.
New York : Russell Brothers [1884], c1883.


Manhattan Athletic Club Chronicle
The Manhattan athletic club chronicle souvenir of the opening of the new club house
New York, NY: C.C. Hughes, 1890.

Park Association of New York City
More public parks!: How New York compares with other cities: Lungs for the metropolis: The financial and sanitary aspects of the question.
New York, NY: The Association, 1882.


J.C. Zoebel
White Street and West Broadway [Nos. 4 and 6 White Street and 239 West Broadway, Manhattan, N. Y.]
[New York : J. C. Zobel?, before 1903]

Manhattan Storage and Warehouse Company
Indestructible: The Manhattan Storage and Warehouse Company. Lexington Ave. 41st & 42nd Streets
New York City : [Manhattan Storage and Warehouse Company, 1885]

The Russell, 45 Park Avenue at 37th Street
[New York : The Russell, 1929?]

A.V. McDermott
For rent : 54,000 square feet, 365 Park Avenue…Brooklyn.
New York : A. V. Mc Dermott, [1929]

Reading Hardware Company
Some buildings wherein are locks and hardware by the Reading Hardware Co.
Reading, PA: Reading Hardware Company, [1890’s?]


Young Womens Christian Association of the City of New York
The Margaret Louisa Home of the Young Womens Christian Association of the City of New York, 14 & 16 East 16th Street
New York, NY: The Young Womens Christian Association of the City of New York, 1897.

Eagle Warehouse and Storage Company
The Eagle Warehouse and Storage Company. 28 to 38 Fulton Street, Brooklyn; N. Y.
Brooklyn, NY: Eagle Printing Department, 1894

Frank Lloyd Wright
Hillside home school

K. Roderick O’Neal
A portfolio of modern homes
Chicago, IL : Architectural Drafting Bureau, 1949.

A portfolio of modern homes
Chicago, IL : Architectural Drafting Bureau, 1949.


D.C. & W. Pell & Co.
Catalogue of 100 blocks Irish Marble per barque Kate: to be sold at auction on Tuesday, February 9th, 1847, at 1-4 past 3 o’clock, corner of Avenue B & Third Avenue.
[New York, NY]: D. C. & W. Pell & Co., 1847 (N.Y.: H. Spear, Printer, 78 Wall Street, corner of Pearl)

Smith & Anthony Stove Company
Our Homes, How to Heat and Ventilate them: The Anthony Wrought Iron Furnace for warming dwellings, churches and public buildings: also suggestions for ventilation and sanitary heating.
Boston, MA: Smith & Anthony Stove Co., [ca. 1883]

Greenways, Wayland, Massachusetts
Scrapbook of photographs, 1910-1914

Michel & Pfeffer Iron Works
Michel & Pfeffer Iron Works Harrison and Tenth Streets San Francisco Calif. manufacturers of California standard steel service stations.
San Francisco, CA: Michel & Pfeffer Iron Works, [1924]

Eastern Store Fixtures Corp.
Eight photographs of soda fountains
Newark, NJ: Eastern Store Fixtures Corp., early 1950s


William J. Beardsley
Photographs of Dutchess County Jail, erected 1931

Daprato Statuary Company – Altar Department
Ornamental Models, Misc. Ornaments, Capitols, Columns, Monograms, Pinnacles, e.t.z.
Chicago, after 1915

Pennsylvania Railroad
Pennsylvania Station in New York City
New York, 1910


Low Art Tile Company
Low’s Art Tile Soda Fountains
Chelsea, MA, ca. 1895


Andrew Jackson Downing
Views of the Public Building in the City of New-York
New York, ca. 1830


William H. Hand Archive
Collection of manuscript letters and documents, 1860s-1890s to and from William H. Hand, New York Builder


Gregory & Brown Co.
Stock Jap. Leathers. Anaglypta Wallpaper Sample Book
Boston, ca. 1900


J.L. Mott Iron Works
Illustrated Catalogue of Statuary, Fountains, Vases, Settees, etc. for Parks, Gardens, and Conservatories
New York, 1875


R. Rothschild’s Sons
The Most Extensive Manufacturers in the World: […] Sporting Goods, Barber Fixtures, Beer Coolers, Saloon, Office and Store Fixtures, Hotel Furniture, Pool and Billiard Tables
Cincinnati, OH, 1880


Chicago Signs Sales Corporation Catalogue
Manufacturers of Diamond Neon Signs and All Other Types of Electric Signs
Charlotte, NC, 1933

Sayre & Fisher Company
Manufacturers of Fine Pressed Front Brick, Superior enameled Brick, Hard Building Brick and Fire Brick
Sayreville, NJ, 1895


Taylor’s International Hotel and Saloon: Cor. of Broadway & Franklin Sts., New York
New York, 1855

Miller & Coates
Minton’s Tiles: for Floors of Churches, Banks, and Other Public Buildings…
New York, ca. 1870

J.L. Mott Iron Works
Description of Stoves, Furnaces, Bath Tubs, Garden Vases and Ventilators…
New York, 1843


James L. Jackson & Brothers
Illustrated Catalogue of New and Improved Stable Features
New York, 1871

Gould Bros. & Dibblee
Illustrated Catalogue of Iron and Zinc Fountains, Aquariums, &c.
Chicago, 1874

Subscribe to the Preservation Alumni Newsletter