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Charles Hosmer papers

 Collection 0041-MDHC
Charles Bridgham Hosmer, Jr. (1932-1993) is widely regarded as the foremost historian of the historic preservation movement. His two major works, Presence of the Past: The History of the Preservation Movement in the United States Before Williamsburg and Preservation Comes of Age: From Williamsburg to the National Trust, 1926-1949 , have become standard teaching and reference texts in the historic preservation field. Hosmer's papers primarily consist of materials relating to these two books, including biographical and research notes, correspondence, manuscript drafts, articles from newspapers and periodicals, and book chapters. Also included in the collection are drafts of other articles and books Hosmer wrote, oral history interview tapes and transcripts, photographs, and microfilm.

Dates

  • 1855-1991
  • Majority of material found within 1959-1991

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the Special Collections reading room. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

This collection contains restricted material, please check the series and folder listings for additional information.

Duplication and Copyright Information

Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials policy for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.

Extent

32.50 Linear Feet (32.50 linear feet and 10 items)

10 Items

32.50 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The bulk of the Charles Bridgham Hosmer, Jr., papers relates directly to Presence of the Past and Preservation Comes of Age. Hosmer collected the material, which dates from the mid-nineteenth century to 1991, over a thirty-two-year period (1959 to 1991). The papers contain biographical notes, correspondence, interview tapes and transcripts, research notes and notebooks, manuscript drafts, articles from newspapers and periodicals, and book chapters on various preservation topics.

The materials cover a broad range of preservation topics, including the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg; the historic preservation activities of the National Park Service; Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps projects; the establishment of the National Trust for Historic Preservation; and various preservation projects within the United States.

Biography

Charles Bridgham Hosmer, Jr., (1932-1993) is widely regarded as the foremost historian of the historic preservation movement. Two of his books, Presence of the Past: the History of the Preservation Movement in the United States before Williamsburg (Putnam, 1965) and Preservation Comes of Age: from Williamsburg to the National Trust, 1926-1949 (University Press of Virginia, 1981), have become standard teaching and reference texts in the field of preservation. In Presence of the Past , Hosmer asserted that "the pioneers of the preservation movement prepared the American people to accept the idea of spending money for the seemingly profitless activity of saving a few of the spots that contributed to the study of history or the enjoyment of beauty."

Born in Naples, Italy, on February 23, 1932, Hosmer attended public schools in Washington, D. C. He received a B. A. in history from Principia College, Elsah, Illinois (1953). After a two-year stint in the U. S. Army Signal Corps, Hosmer married Jeralyn Prugh in 1955. The Hosmers had two children, Kathryn and Jonathan. Hosmer served as a public school teacher in South Huntington, New York, from 1956 to 1959, after receiving a M. A. from Teacher's College of Columbia University in 1956. He completed his Ph.D. in history at Columbia in 1961.

Hosmer's lifelong dedication to the preservation movement grew from an interest in early American houses that began in his youth. He became actively involved in the movement after his 1961 return to his undergraduate alma mater where he served on the faculty for more than thirty years, eventually occupying the Jay P. Walker Chair in History. Early in his career at Principia College, Hosmer began to contribute regularly to the college alumni magazine. Those contributions explored the history of the physical development of the campus. Through Hosmer's efforts, the college gained both inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places and recognition as a National Historic Landmark in April 1993.

Hosmer was active in many professional societies, including the American Historical Association, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Eastern National Park and Monument Association, and the American Association for State and Local History. In the 1970s, he served on the Illinois Historic Sites Advisory Council. Hosmer was also honored by the Eastern National Park and Monument Association as a Distinguished Associate (1981) and by the American Association for State and Local History for Elsah: A Historic Guidebook (1967), written with Paul O. Williams.

Charles Hosmer died in August 1993, a few months after his retirement from teaching at Principia College. At the time of his death, he was at work on a comprehensive biography of Charles E. Peterson, founder of the Historic American Buildings Survey.

Arrangement

The collection is organized as six series
Series 1
Correspondence
Series 2
Research Notes
Series 3
Manuscript Drafts and Page Proofs
Series 4
Historic Preservation Oral History Transcripts and Tapes
Series 5
Research Materials
Series 6
Photographs and Microfilm

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The University of Maryland Libraries received the materials that now constitute the Papers of Charles Bridgham Hosmer, Jr., as two separate donations. In 1989, the Eastern National Park and Monument Association donated eighty-four oral history audio tapes and transcripts (which comprise the bulk of Series IV) to the National Trust for Historic Preservation Library Collection. Hosmer bequeathed the research materials he had accumulated in preparing Presence of the Past and Preservation Comes of Age to the UMCP Libraries to complement the previously received collection of oral histories; the additional materials arrived in fall 1993. The National Trust for Historic Preservation Library Collection retained approximately fifteen linear feet of Hosmer's preservation books and periodicals and transferred the remaining files and the original donation of the oral histories to the Archives and Manuscripts Department, which consolidated all Hosmer materials into a single collection.

Related Material

The Archives of American Art of the Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, D. C., holds tapes and transcripts of eighty-three interviews that Hosmer conducted with professionals and laypersons who were involved in historic preservation projects and societies in the United States between approximately 1926 and 1950. An index to this collection is available at the Archives and Manuscripts Department in Hornbake Library at the University of Maryland.

The historic preservation researcher may also find related materials at the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley, whose oral history collections Hosmer used, and at the Cornell University Department of Archives and History, which contains a collection of oral history interview transcripts compiled by James Glass during the course of his dissertation research on aspects of the historic preservation movement. Principia College, Elsah, Illinois, holds a collection of Hosmer's correspondence relating to interviews conducted for use in Preservation Comes of Age.

There are copies of Hosmer's two published works: Presence of the Past (call number E159.H77) and Preservation Comes of Age (call number NA106.H67) among the holdings of the National Trust for Historic Preservation Library Collection at the University of Maryland Libraries. The Trust Library also holds an extensive collection of books, articles, and other printed material concerning all aspects of the field of historic preservation.

A detailed index to the Hosmer Oral Interviews is available on the website of the National Trust for Historic Library Collection at http://digital.lib.umd.edu/archivesum/findingaids/HosmerIndex.pdf.

Processing Information

Throughout processing, staff maintained original order where possible. The processor transferred documents to acid-free folders and boxes and, wherever possible, replaced paper clips, staples, and mechanical binding materials with chemically inert clips. The staff separated all photographs, microfilm, audio tapes, and oversize items from the documents in the collection and placed them into appropriate storage units.
Title
Guide to the Charles Hosmer papers
Status
Completed
Author
Processed by Lori Voskiul.
Date
1994-01
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
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

Contact:
University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742
301-405-9212