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Henry Chandlee Forman papers

 Collection 0207-MDHC

Henry Chandlee Forman was an architect, educator and practitioner in the field of Historic Preservation. Over the course of his career he worked as an archaeologist for the National Park Service and as an art professor at both Wesleyan College and Agnes Scott College in Georgia. After his retirement he spent the remainder of his life researching and writing about historic structures in the Tidewater region of Maryland and Virginia. His papers, which cover the period 1919 to 1989, consist of correspondence, manuscripts, and architectural drawing as well as field notes, photographs, and negatives documenting historic sites in Maryland and Virginia.


  • 1919-1989
  • Majority of material found within 1935-1979

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.


5.50 Linear Feet

85 Items

Scope and Content of Collection

The Henry Chandlee Forman papers date from 1919 to 1989, with the bulk of the material dating between 1935 and 1979. The collection includes correspondence, both personal and professional, typescript copies of several graduate school papers, manuscripts for two of Forman's books, and numerous photographs, drawings, and other illustrations created or collected by Forman. Most, but not all, of these images relate to homes and other historic structures in Maryland. Also documented are Forman's extensive architectural research projects in Maryland and elsewhere, including specifications for the restoration of several historic homes. There is also a detailed journal of his experiences as a young architect working on the first scholarly archeological reconstruction of Jamestown, Virginia.


Henry Chandlee Forman had a long and varied career as an educator and practitioner in the field of Historic Preservation. He graduated from Princeton University in 1926 and received a Master's degree in Architecture and a Ph.D. in Fine Arts from the University of Pennsylvania. In the 1930s he served in the National Park Service, working on the first scholarly excavations at the Jamestown site in Virginia. At the same time, Forman began early archeological excavations at St. Mary's City, Maryland. He also served as the first editor of the records for the Historical American Buildings Survey at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

In the 1940s and early 1950s, Forman was a Professor of Art at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia, and subsequently chairman of the Art Department at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia. For the remainder of his life he lived, researched, and wrote in Easton, Maryland, ultimately publishing fourteen books. Most of his work concerned historic structures in Maryland, particularly homes in the Tidewater region. He documented these buildings extensively, both with photographs and drawings. He also served as the architect for several projects to restore historic buildings, including the Slicer Shiplap House in Annapolis. He was a founder of the Talbot County (Maryland) Historical Society and served the organization in many capacities throughout his later life. He oversaw the restoration of a seventeenth century Quaker homestead outside of Easton and turned it over to the Historical Society as their museum.

A long time member of the American Institute of Architects, Forman served on various committees and in several offices, and was awarded a Presidential Citation by that organization in 1989. He received five historic preservation awards from Maryland, Virginia and the United Kingdom, and an honorary degree from St. Mary's College of Maryland in 1989. Henry Chandlee Forman died in 1991 at the age of 86.


The Henry Chandlee Forman papers are organized as seven series:

Series 1
Series 2
Series 3
Series 4
Series 5
Drawings, Blueprints, and Maps
Series 6
Series 7
Historic Sites

Custodial History

Henry Chandlee Forman donated his papers to the University of Maryland in 1989. Most of the material was given to the School of Architecture, although his books were donated to the University Libraries. In 2002, all of the material, except slides, was transferred to the Libraries. The slides remain in the Elizabeth D. Alley Visual Resources Collection of the School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation.

Related Material

Henry Chandlee Forman's book collection was donated to the National Trust for Historic Preservation Library Collection. Items can be located by searching the library catalog for the note "from the library of H. Chandlee Forman."

The records of the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) are located at the Library of Congress. Originals of Forman's HABS drawings can be found in this collection. The University of Maryland Libraries also hold the papers of Orin Bullock, an architect involved with similar projects in Virginia and Maryland. In addition, the Celia Holland Papers contain slides depicting many of the same properties documented by Forman. Local historical societies, the Maryland State Archives, and the Maryland Historical Trust contain information about many historic sites and properties in the state of Maryland.

Separated Material

The slides Forman donated to the University of Maryland can be found in the Elizabeth D. Alley Visual Resources Collection at the School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. See the appendix for the slide inventory.

Processing Information

The arrangement of the papers of Henry Chandlee Forman follows Forman's original structure to the extent possible. Materials were found loosely grouped in the identified series. The processing archivist assigned appropriate folder headings and arranged material in chronological and/or alphabetical order.

Photographs were separated from Series 1 through 4 and placed in Series 6. Oversize materials were housed in oversize boxes or mapcases. A separation sheet marks the original location of each oversize item and separated photograph. Newsprint clippings have been photocopied onto acid-free paper and the original newsprint discarded. Rubber bands and metal fasteners have been removed and replaced with plastic clips.

Guide to the Henry Chandlee Forman papers
Processed by Peter Curtis and Joanne Archer, December 2007.
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