• IdentificationPUBLIC "-//The Art Institute of Chicago::Ryerson and Burnham Archives//TEXT(US::ICA::1990.1::BRUCE A. GOFF (1904-1982) ARCHIVE, 1893-2003 (bulk 1920s-1980s))//EN" "ica199001.xml"
  • TitleGoff, Bruce A., (1904-1982) Archive, 1893-2003 (bulk 1920s-1980s)
  • PublisherRyerson and Burnham Archives, Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, The Art Institute of Chicago,
  • Language
    • English
    • English.
  • Date
    • 1893-2003
    • (bulk 1920s-1980s)
  • Physical Description
    • 200 linear feet (263 boxes), 12 portfolios, 7 oversize portfolios, flatfile materials, and 12 tubes.
    • Typescript papers, holograph papers, manuscripts, printed papers, architectural reprographic prints, analog audiocasettes, reel to reel audio tapes, beta and VHS videocassettes, black and white and color photographic prints black and white and color negatives, black and white and color transparencies, photomechanical prints, lithographs, relief prints, ink and graphite drawings, Color ink jet prints, ephemera and realia.
  • RepositoryRyerson and Burnham Archives, Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, The Art Institute of Chicago 111 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60603-6110 (312) 443-7292 rbarchives@artic.edu http://www.artic.edu/aic/libraries/rbarchives/rbarchives.html
  • AbstractAmerican architect and artist Bruce Goff's professional career and private life is documented through images, papers, audio and video tapes, realia and ephemera. Materials relating to Goff's family, friends, colleagues, students, and clients are also represented.
  • OriginationGoff, Bruce Alonzo, 1904-
  • LocationThe majority of this collection is housed in the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries' on-site stacks. The remainder of the collection is housed offsite, and is designated so by the abbreviation (OS) in the left-hand location column. Retrieval of offsite materials requires advance notification; please consult the Archivist for the current retrieval schedule.

Bruce Alonzo Goff (1904-1982) was a prolific architect, artist, composer, and educator. Though born in Alton, Kansas, Goff's family spent most of his childhood traveling the Midwest. His family finally settled in Tulsa, Oklahoma when Goff was eleven. Young Goff expressed an interest in drawing, and his father, taking note of his son's talent, apprenticed him at the age of twelve to the architectural firm Rush, Endacott & Rush. Upon graduation from high school, Goff began to work for the firm full time and was ultimately made partner in 1929. By age twenty-two, Goff had completed almost thirty projects, one of the most impressive being the massive Boston Avenue Methodist-Episcopal Church in Tulsa.

Goff was introduced to the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, whom he much admired, during his employment with Rush, Endacott & Rush. He also familiarized himself with the works of Louis Sullivan. Goff corresponded with and sought advice from both men and their influence is present in his early designs. He was also influenced by artists such as Maxfield Parrish, Erté, and Gustav Klimt. Though Goff believed that nothing in art is strictly and completely original with its creator, his style did evolve into his own unique vision, a complex intersection of architecture, art, music, and nature.

In 1934, Goff moved to Chicago, Illinois, and was initially employed by Alfonso Iannelli. Unfortunately, he found his new position less than stimulating. While doing freelance work, Goff accepted a part-time teaching position at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. Goff's interest in music peaked in Chicago and his piano music of a radically different order found an audience. Chicago also provided Goff employment with Libbey-Owens-Ford in the Vitrolite division and commissions to design several residences.

Goff left Chicago in 1942 to enlist in the U.S. Navy, where he had several opportunities to refine his architectural style, designing both military structures and residences for his colleagues. After his release from service, Goff reestablished his architectural practice in Berkeley, California, where he remained until December 1946.

Goff left California to accept a teaching position with the School of Architecture at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. He was a popular and influential professor, becoming chairman of the school in only one year. During his nine-year tenure at OU, Goff's architectural projects attracted a great deal of attention and he found his services very much in demand. It was this during this period of time he produced some of his more famous homes, such as the Ruth Ford residence in Illinois, and the Eugene Bavinger residence near Norman, Oklahoma. In 1955, Bruce Goff left Oklahoma University and relocated his practice to Bartlesville, Oklahoma, now free to concentrate specifically on architectural projects.

During the 1960s, Goff's work became known internationally. His homes were featured in publications such as Progressive Architecture, Art in America, and Architectural Forum. The late 1960s and 1970s provided Goff hundreds of lecture opportunities allowing him to visit Southeast Asia, Germany, Belgium, France, Spain, and colleges and universities throughout the United States.

In 1970, Bruce Goff settled in Tyler, Texas, where he lived until his death. His last project, the Pavilion for Japanese Art for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art—the museum to house Joe Price's Shin'enKan collection—was taken over by his student, Bart Prince, after Goff passed away on August 4, 1982. Goff's ashes are interred at Graceland Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois.

Bruce Goff's architectural genius was grounded in his notion of free architecture, his rejection of convention, and his desire to push the envelopes of both design and traditional building materials.

The collection, consisting of more than two hundred boxes, represents Goff in his many roles: architect, composer, painter, collector, professor, and friend. Architectural projects can be traced from concept to completion through correspondence, slides, photographs, and plans. His musical scores, compositions, and piano roles illustrate the great extent to which Goff was involved in music as a listener, performer, and composer. His activities as an influential educator, both as Chairman of the School of Architecture at the University of Oklahoma, and as a well-traveled lecturer are documented by both his own academic papers and those he saved from students. Examples of the eclectic building materials Goff employed in his projects are maintained in a group of ephemera, which also includes objects such as clothing, shells and crystals, and a butterfly collection.

SERIES I: CORRESPONDENCE. This large series of letters to and from Bruce Goff has been divided into six sub-series. A. GENERAL This series, arranged alphabetically by correspondent name, contains both business and personal letters. The bulk of the correspondence comes from friends and admirers. Correspondence between Goff and future or former clients not relating to architectural projects is also included. B. MUSIC DEALERS Goff had an extensive collection of classical music recordings and ordered from dealers across the country. This series contains correspondence and receipts involving the purchase of recorded and sheet music, arranged chronologically. C. ART DEALERS Bruce Goff had accumulated an impressive collection of Asian art and owned two Gustav Klimt paintings. This series contains correspondence involving the purchase, sale, and loan of works of art, in chronological order. D. BOOK DEALERS This series, arranged chronologically, contains correspondence between Goff and booksellers, as well as his receipts of purchase. E. PUBLICATIONS This series, arranged alphabetically by correspondent, contains correspondence between Goff and publishers relating to proposed magazine and newspaper articles. Included are letters to and from Goff regarding future articles and requests for Goff to contribute to proposed publications. F. MISCELLANEOUS This series, arranged alphabetically, contains letters from Bruce Goff, letters neither to nor from Bruce Goff, and correspondence that could not be associated with an individual due to an incomplete or illegible signature.

SERIES II: PROJECT FILES. Arranged by David DeLong project numbers, this series contains all materials relating to completed or proposed projects with the exception of printed materials which may be found in Series VII. If no DeLong number has been assigned, documents are placed at the earliest known date. Included in the project files are correspondence, specifications, plans, elevations, sketches, and contracts. Project proposals that Goff was unable or declined to undertake are arranged chronologically at the rear of the series.

SERIES III: PHOTOGRAPHS. This series has been subdivided into project photographs, arranged by DeLong number (or year if no DeLong number exists), and personal photographs, arranged chronologically. A. PROJECT PHOTOGRAPHS This section contains photographs of architectural projects. If no DeLong number has been assigned to a project, the photographs are placed at the beginning of the projects for that given year. B. PERSONAL PHOTOGRAPHS This section contains photographs of Bruce Goff, his family, and his friends and colleagues. Personal photographs are arranged chronologically and by subject matter.

SERIES IV: SLIDES AND TRANSPARENCIES. Project slides and transparencies (including exhibitions) are arranged by DeLong number (or year if no DeLong number exists), personal slides by chronology and subject matter. Personal slides include friends and family, art, and travel destinations.

SERIES V: WRITINGS BY GOFF. This series, arranged chronologically, consists of the architectural writings, prose, and poetry of Bruce Goff.

SERIES VI: WRITINGS BY OTHERS. Arranged alphabetically by author, this series includes manuscripts given to Goff by friends and authors, in addition to Goff's transcriptions of literary works he admired.

SERIES VII: PRINTED MATTER, ABOUT GOFF. This series consists of both project specific publications and general publications on the architecture of Bruce Goff. A. PROJECT PUBLICATIONS Arranged by DeLong number, this sub-series includes all magazine and newspaper articles relating to a specific architectural project, arranged chronologically by publication date, with undated material located at the end of each sub-series. B. GENERAL PUBLICATIONS This sub-series, arranged chronologically by publication date, is subdivided into newspaper articles and periodicals or journals; undated material is located at the end of each sub-series. Several projects may be mentioned in one publication.

SERIES VIII: PRINTED MATTER, OTHER. Contains printed materials about the arts, architecture, and a variety of other subjects that Goff was interested in.

SERIES IX: MUSIC. This series contains writings on music, Bruce Goff's own manuscript compositions, hand cut piano roll compositions, and audio recordings.

SERIES X: AUDIO-VISUAL MATERIALS. This series is partially restricted. Includes Goff lectures. Arranged by accessibility and media type.

SERIES XI: ACADEMIC PAPERS. Arranged chronologically, this series includes correspondence, syllabi, and catalogues related to Goff's teaching activities.

SERIES XII: BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL PAPERS. Listed alphabetically by subject matter, this series contains documents related to Goff's architectural practice including licenses and registration, lectures and exhibitions by Goff, events and lectures on Goff, certificates, business cards, brochures, and stationary.

SERIES XIII: NON-ARCHITECTURAL PROJECTS. This series contains projects by Goff that were neither architectural nor literary. It contains graphic design work and painting commissions, arranged chronologically within each section.

SERIES XIV: COLLEAGUES, STUDENTS, OTHER ARCHITECTS. This series contains correspondence with and works of Goff's pupils and contemporary colleagues.

SERIES XV: PERSONAL PAPERS. This series consists of financial documents, calendars, receipts, travel itineraries, and notes. Financial papers are arranged chronologically, while notes and itineraries are arranged alphabetically by subject matter. The series also contains family documents, records, and correspondence.

SERIES XVI: REALIA. This collection consists of three-dimensional objects related to project design, personal belongings, artifacts Goff used for inspiration, and his collection of prints and posters. This series is restricted.

SERIES XVII: NEGATIVES. This series is restricted. Surrogate copy prints are available for use in Series III. Please consult the Archivist for additional information.

SERIES XVIII: PHILIP WELCH COLLECTION. This collection, gift of the Estate of Philip Welch, contains correspondence, publications, negatives, photographs, and audio. The materials in this series were not integrated into the larger archive and may duplicate materials from other series. The Welch collection also contains items, such as project slides and photographs, unique to this series. Items are arranged by the following subjects: Letters to Philip Welch, Projects by Goff, Writings by Goff, Lectures and Exhibitions on or by Goff, Goff and the University of Oklahoma, Colleagues and Students, Frank Lloyd Wright, Projects by Others, Lectures and Exhibitions on or by Others, and Posthumous Reminiscences of Goff.

SERIES XIX: ALFONSO IANNELLI SCRAPBOOK. This collection was created with the contents of a scrapbook given to Alfonso Iannelli by Bruce Goff in 1929. It contains photographs, dry copy prints, publications, and plans for projects prior to 1929. The scrapbook was purchased from a Chicago gallery in 1999.

  • Names
    • Goff, Bruce, 1904-
    • Iannelli, Alfonso, 1888-1965
    • Prince, Bart, 1947-
  • Subject
    • Goff, Bruce, 1904---Archives
    • Goff, Bruce, 1904---Correspondence
    • University of Oklahoma. College of Architecture--History--Sources
    • University of Oklahoma. College of Architecture--Faculty--Archives
    • Schools of architecture--Oklahoma--Norman--History
    • Schools of architecture--Oklahoma--Norman--History--Sources
    • Architecture--Study and teaching--United States--History--Sources
    • Composers--United States--Archives
    • Architecture--United States--20th century--Sources
    • Architects--United States--Archives
    • Hrdy, Olinka
    • Brooks, Ernest
    • San Jule, Richard











Prairie School Review Records, 1992.6. This collection contains correspondence from Goff and an exhibition brochure.

Additional information is available at the Bruce A. Goff webpage http://www.artic.edu/aic/libraries/goff/rbgoff.html

Portions of the collection are restricted from patron access; wherever possible, surrogate copies have been made available. Boxes marked as 'Partially processed' (PP) may or may not be restricted from patron access. The remainder of this collection may be used by qualified readers in the Reading Room of the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries at The Art Institute of Chicago. Collections maintained on-site are available for patron use without prior arrangement or appointment. Collections maintained on-site are available for patron use without prior arrangement or appointment. Collections maintained in off-site storage will be retrieved with advance notification; please consult the Archivist for the current retrieval schedule. For further information, consult http://www.artic.edu/aic/libraries/rbarchives/rbarchaccess.html

The Art Institute of Chicago is providing access to the materials in the Libraries' collections solely for noncommercial educational and research purposes. The unauthorized use, including, but not limited to, publication of the materials without the prior written permission of the Art Institute is strictly prohibited. All inquiries regarding permission to publish should be submitted in writing to the Archivist, Ryerson and Burnham Archives, The Art Institute of Chicago. In addition to permission from the Art Institute, permission of the copyright owner (if not the Art Institute) and/or any holder of other rights (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) may also be required for reproduction, publication, distribution, and other uses. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of any item and securing any necessary permissions rests with the persons desiring to publish the item. The Art Institute makes no warranties as to the accuracy of the materials or their fitness for a particular purpose.

Bruce A. Goff Archive, Ryerson and Burnham Archives, The Art Institute of Chicago.

The Bruce A. Goff Archive at The Art Institute of Chicago was founded in 1990 with the donation of Goff's estate through the Shin'enKan Foundation and Joe Price, Goff's executor and longtime friend. Additional materials have since been donated by Robert Bowlby, Nelson Brackin, Jan Coleman, Harvey Ferrero, Jim Gresham, the Larry Wayne Grantham Archive, Thomas A. Heinz, Jane Heron, Donald Hoffman, Kinji Imada, Pauline Innis, Joyce Muns, Jan Novie, the estate of Claude Oakland, Remo Patri, Tito Patri, Eugene Tsui, the estate of Phillip Welch, Thomas Rogers, Joseph Henry Wythe, Al Drap, and the estate of William H. Wilson.

The collection was processed by staff of the Ryerson and Burnham Archives in the 1980s. This finding aid was extensively revised and expanded by Annemarie van Roessel, with assistance from Christa Aube, between 2000 and 2003. The finding aid was further revised and expanded by Annemarie van Roessel in 2004, Nathaniel Parks in 2006, 2007 and 2008, Heather Tennison in 2013, and Julie Murray in 2013.

New materials may be added to this collection on an irregular basis.

Selected items have copy negatives or digital files, as noted by the notation "AIC neg." or "AIC digital file." Copies of these items may be ordered through the Ryerson and Burnham Archives.