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Jandl-Stevenson collection

 Collection 0184-MDHC

H. Ward Jandl and Katherine C. Stevenson were both architectural historians who collaborated to compile research data involving the Sears, Roebuck and Company mail-order house designs prevalent in the first half of the twentieth century. The collections include correspondence, research notes, photographs, and negatives relating to the research and production of their book Houses by Mail (Preservation Press, 1986), which serves as a guide to the homes manufactured and sold by Sears, Roebuck and Company from 1908 to 1940. The designs and materials for approximately 450 houses were featured in the company's mail-order catalogs, which the authors bring to light in their informative book.


  • 1907-1986

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


12.25 Linear Feet

Administrative History

The Jandl-Stevenson Collection consists of research data involving the Sears, Roebuck and Company mail-order house designs prevalent in the first half of the twentieth century. Authors H. Ward Jandl and Katherine H. Stevenson, both architectural historians, used this material to compile the book, Houses by Mail (Preservation Press, 1986).

H. Ward Jandl

H. Ward Jandl was born March 17, 1946 in Princeton, New Jersey. He attended the Hotchkiss School, a preparatory school, and graduated in 1964. He received a degree in art history from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1968. After college, Jandl served two years in the U.S. Peace Corps teaching English in Ankara, Turkey. In 1970 he moved to New York City to attend Columbia University where he received a graduate certificate in historic preservation in 1971. While living in New York, he worked for the New York Public Library. Jandl moved to Washington, D.C. in 1974 and began working for the National Park Service as an architectural historian with the National Register of Historic Places, where he reviewed and evaluated nominations. He advanced to the position of Chief, Technical Preservation Services Branch in the Preservation Assistance Division (PAD), then Deputy Chief, PAD, and Chief Appeals Officer. He was responsible for overseeing the Historic Preservation Certification Program by which property owners receive tax incentives for rehabilitating historic buildings. In 1984 President Ronald Reagan awarded him the Presidential Design Award for the Rehabilitation Tax Incentive Program. Jandl also received several awards from the Department of the Interior, including the Meritorious Service Award. As chief appeals officer, Jandl ruled on appeals of denials for certification under the Tax Incentives Program. Having worked for many years developing policy and advising national and state historic preservation programs, he was a nationally known figure in historic preservation. In addition to Houses by Mail: A Guide to Houses from Sears, Roebuck and Company, published in 1986, Jandl co-authored Yesterday's Houses of tomorrow: Innovative Homes: 1850-1950 in 1991 along with numerous official publications and reports. H. Ward Jandl died March 18, 1995 of heart disease in Washington, DC at the age of forty-nine.

Katherine Stevenson

Katherine H. Stevenson was born January 20, 1948. She attended Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York, graduating in 1969. She continued her education at the University of Delaware, completing a Master's degree in Art History in 1971. After college, Stevenson worked as a researcher for the National Portrait Gallery before beginning work at the National Park Service as the assistant to the Chief of Archaeology and Historic Preservation. She remained in Washington, D.C. until 1980, when she became the Assistant Regional Director of the Heritage Conservation and Recreation Services division of the National Park Service in Denver, Colorado. In 1983 Stevenson was promoted to the Chief of Division of Cultural Resources. She moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1987 to become the Mid-Atlantic Region's Associate Director for Planning and Resource Preservation in the National Park Service. In 1995 Stevenson returned to Washington, D.C. to take the position of the Associate Director for Cultural Resources, National Park Service. In addition to Houses by Mail: A Guide to Houses from Sears, Roebuck and Company, published in 1986, Stevenson has written numerous official publications and reports for the National Park Service. The Department of the Interior awarded her the Meritorious Service Award in 1995.


The collection is organized as five series.

Series 1
Organization of Houses by Mail
Series 2
Sears Data Collection Sheets
Series 3
Series 4
Photocopies of House Plan Catalogs and Research Notes
Series 5
Photographs and Negatives

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

On December 1, 1995, Katherine H. Stevenson and Margaret Jandl, sister of H. Ward Jandl, donated the papers and related materials to the National Trust for Historic Preservation Library Collection of the University of Maryland Libraries. The donors as per the deed of gift have retained all copyrights. The University of Maryland Libraries received additional materials on April 9, 1997. The collection was transferred to the Archives and Manuscripts Department of the University of Maryland Libraries in May 2002.

Related Material

There are numerous books about mail order and pattern book buildings in the National Trust for Historic Preservation Library Collection. Below is a partial listing.

Aladdin; North American Construction

  1. Aladdin Homes. Bay City, Mich: The Aladdin Co., 1917, 1920, 1925, 1931. No. 29, 32,37,44 [NA8480.N61]
  2. Aladdin Houses Bay City, Mich: North American Construction Co., 1910, 1915. No. 18, 26. [NA8480.N6]
  3. Aladdin Homes: "Built in a Day": catalog no. 32. Bay City, Mich: The Aladdin Co., 1920. Includes price guide. [NA7127.A42]
  4. Aladdin Readi-Cut Houses. [Bay City, Mich?]: The Aladdin Co., [1928?]. Imperfect copy. {NA8480.N7 1928]

Architects' Small House Service Bureau of the United States

  1. Architects' Small House Service Bureau of the United States. Brick Homes. Minneapolis, Minn.: The Bureau, 1931 [Folio NA7150.A485 1931]
  2. Architects' Small House Service Bureau of the United States. English Homes. Minneapolis, Minn.: The Bureau, 1930. [Folio NA7208.A723 1930]
  3. Architects' Small House Service Bureau of the United States. How to Plan, Finance and Build Your Home. Denver: Hartmann-Bruderlin Press, 1922.
  4. Architects' Small House Service Bureau of the United States. Modern American Homes Minneapolis, Minn.: The Bureau, 1930 [Folio NA7561.A73 1930]
  5. Architects' Small House Service Bureau of the United States. Spanish Homes. Minneapolis, Minn: The Bureau, 1930 [Folio NA7208.A725 1930]

C.H. Robinson. Robinson's Money-Saving-Mill-Made Cut-to-Fit Houses. Providence, R.I.: C.H. Robinson, [1914?]. [TH48919.P7C22 1914]

Co-Operative Building Plan Association. Shoppell, R.W. Modern Houses, Beautiful Homes. Rockville Center, NY: Antiquity Reprints, 1978 [Folio NA7207.S54 1978]. The designs and articles in this book are selections from the many issues of the magazine Shppell's Modern Houses, originally published in 1887 by the Co-operative Building Plan Association, New York.

E.F. Hodgson. Hodgson Houses and Outdoor Equipment for Your Country Home. Boston, Mass.: E.F. Hodgson Co., 1933. [NA7561.E2 1933]

Gordon Van-Tine. 117 House Designs of the Twenties. New York: Dover, 1992. Reprint edition of the Gordon-Van Tine Co's 1923 catalog. [Folio NA7208.A12 1992]

Harris Brothers. A Plan Book of Harris Homes. Chicago: The Company, 1918. "Book number 74." [TH4819.P7H27 1918]

Hollow Tile Building Association. Hollow Tile for the Home. Chicago: Hollow Tile Building Association, 1920. Publication no.2, serial no.3. [Folio NA7155.H65 1920]

Montgomery Ward. Wardway Homes. Chicago: Montgomery Ward, 1924. [TH4819.P7M66 1924]

Portland Cement Association. Plans for Concrete Houses. Chicago: Portland Cement Association, 1925 [Folio NA7160.P73 1925]

Ready Built House. Ready Built Buildings. Portland, Ore.: Ready Built House, 1989 (1915). Photocopy. [TH2819.P7R42 1915a]

Sears, Roebuck.

  1. Hercules Heating Systems are Simple to Install and Easy to Operate. Chicago: Sears, Roebuck, [1924?]. [TH469.S43H47 1924]
  2. King, Marina. Sears Mail-Order House Survey in Prince George's County, Maryland. Upper Marlboro, Md.: M-NCPPC, 1998. [Folio TH4819.P7K56 1988]
  3. Log-Cabins. Sears, Roebuck, 1936. [Folio TH4819.P7S42 1936]
  4. One House-Or a Hundred. [Chicago?]: Sears, Roebuck, [192-]. [Folio TH4819.P7S435 1920]
  5. Sears, Roebuck Catalog of Houses, 1926: An Unabridged Reprint. New York: Dover, 1991. Reprint. [Folio NA7205.S37 1991]
  6. Sears Roebuck Home Builder's Catalog: The Complete Illustrated 1910 Edition. New York: Dover, 1990. Reprint; originally published as Our Special Catalog for Home Builders, 1910. [NA7205.o87 1990]
  7. Stevenson, Katherine Cole, and H. Ward Jandl. Houses by Mail: A Guide to Houses from Sears, Roebuck and Company. Washington, DC: Preservation Press, 1986. [TH4819.P7S74 1986]


  1. Burrows, John S. Your New Home. New York: Archway Press, 1950 [NA7127.B946 1950]
  2. Small Homes for Year Book: The Standard Guide for Home Builders, 5th ed. New York: National Home Builders Bureau, 1940. [Folio NA7208.S62 1940].

Processing Information

The original order of the Jandl-Stevenson Collection was preserved. The only exception to this is in Series V. Photographs from Series II were photocopied and placed in Series V in catalog order rather than in their original order in Series II. Photographs from Series II were also placed in Series V. All paper clips and staples were removed from the collection. All duplicate material was discarded. The records were placed in acid-free folders in acid-free boxes.

Guide to the Jandl-Stevenson Collection
Processed by Donna Marie Smith
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742