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Wight, Peter Bonnett, Papers, 1863-1915

Peter Bonnett Wight (1838-1925) Papers,

1 of 2
Open Finding Aid

Ryerson and Burnham Archives, Ryerson and Burnham Libraries
The Art Institute of Chicago

Finding Aid Published: 2001

Peter Bonnett Wight (1838-1925) Papers, 1863-1915

Accession Number: 1925.1

Electronic access to this finding aid was made possible through a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
©Ryerson and Burnham Archives, The Art Institute of Chicago. All rights reserved.

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COLLECTION SUMMARY:
TITLE:Peter Bonnett Wight (1838-1925) Papers, 1863-1915
EXTENT:.5 linear foot (2 boxes)
REPOSITORY: Ryerson and Burnham Archives, Ryerson and Burnham Libraries,
The Art Institute of Chicago
111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60603-6110
(312) 443-7292 phone
rbarchives@artic.edu
http://www.artic.edu/aic/libraries/rbarchives/rbarchives.html
ABSTRACT:The papers of noted Chicago architect Peter Bonnett Wight (1838-1925) document his architectural work, his artistic criticism, and his interest in fireproof construction.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Manuscript, typescript papers, black and white photographic prints, and printed papers.
ORIGINATION: Wight, P. B. (Peter Bonnett), 1838-1925
ACQUISITION INFORMATION:With one exception, the paper collection was a gift of Anna Meeker, P.B. Wight's niece, in 1925. The meeting minutes were a gift from Wight to the Ryerson Library.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH:
Raised in New York City, Peter Bonnett Wight graduated from the Free Academy in New York. Through his associations with art critic Russell Sturgis and architectural mentor Thomas R. Jackson, Wight came to admire the work of American architect Richard Upjohn and English art critic and social reformer John Ruskin. In 1862, Wight opened his own architectural office in New York City and among his best-known commissions there was the National Academy of Design, a highly decorative and polychromatic example of the High Victorian Gothic style popularized by Ruskin. Wight's interest in Ruskin's writings led him, with Sturgis and others, to form the Society for the Advancement of Truth in Art in 1863 to promote the ideals of artistic reform in the United States. However, declining commissions, the end of his association with Sturgis, and the aftereffects of the devastating 1871 Chicago fire, prompted Wight to move to Chicago in late 1871, where architects were in high demand to rebuild the city. Working first in partnership with Asher Carter and later with William Drake, Wight was the architect of numerous commercial and residential buildings in Chicago. He also designed furniture and wallpaper in the Eastlake style for several local manufacturers. Additionally, during the 1870s, Wight developed a strong interest in the construction of fireproof buildings, establishing the Wight Fireproofing Company in 1881 and writing and lecturing extensively on the subject. Active in public service throughout his career, Wight promoted professional standards and served as a consultant and board member for many architectural organizations. Retiring to Pasadena, California, in 1918, Wight died there in 1925.

SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE:
Series I, Professional Papers, include minutes for the Society for the Advancement of Truth in Art, texts written by Peter Bonnett Wight on various topics, and an article written by John Wellborn Root and annotated by Wight. Series II, Photographs, includes portraits of Wight and views of the E.W. Blatchford Residence and the William Dickerson Residence.

ORGANIZATION AND ARRANGEMENT:
SERIES I: PROFESSIONAL PAPERS. Materials are arranged chronologically, with undated material following at the end of the series inventory.

SERIES II: PHOTOGRAPHS. Materials are listed alphabetically by subject.

CONTROLLED ACCESS POINTS:
This collection and other related materials may be found under the following headings in online catalogs:
Wight, P. B. (Peter Bonnett), 1838-1925
Wight, P. B. (Peter Bonnett), 1838-1925--Archives
Society for the Advancement of Truth in Art--Archives
Architecture--Illinois--Chicago--20th century--Sources
Architects--Illinois--Chicago--Archives

ABBREVIATIONS:
AbbreviationDefinition
AICArt Institute of Chicago
ALSautograph letter, signed
BOX.FFBox #, Folder #
c.circa
n.d.not dated

RELATED MATERIALS IN THE RYERSON AND BURNHAM ARCHIVES, THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO:
Historic Architecture and Landscape Image Collection, 00.20

RELATED MATERIALS IN CURATORIAL DEPARTMENTS, THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO:
Architectural drawings by P.B. Wight are held in the permanent collection of the Department of Architecture.

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY:
Landau, Sarah Bradford. P.B. Wight: Architect, Contractor, and Critic, 1838-1925. Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago, 1981.

PHYSICAL LOCATION:
The collection is housed in the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries' on-site stacks.

ACCESS RESTRICTIONS:
One item in this collection is restricted from patron use, as noted in the series inventory; a surrogate microfilm copy is available. 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 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

USER RESTRICTIONS:
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.

PREFERRED CITATION:
Peter Bonnett Wight Papers, Ryerson and Burnham Archives, The Art Institute of Chicago.

PROCESSING INFORMATION:
The collection was processed by Natasha Derrickson of the Ryerson and Burnham Archives in 2001. This finding aid was revised and expanded by Annemarie van Roessel in 2002 and 2003.

CUSTODIAL HISTORY:
The collection was transferred from the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries to the Ryerson and Burnham Archives in 2002.

ALTERNATE FORM AVAILABLE:
Patrons are requested to use the microfilm copy 1988 27 in lieu of the restricted Society for the Advancement of Truth in Art meeting minutes in Box 2. In addition, copy negatives exist for the two photographic portraits of Wight, as noted by "AIC neg." in the series inventory; copy prints may be ordered through the Ryerson and Burnham Archives.

ITEM INVENTORY:
LOCATIONCONTENTSDATESITEMS

SERIES I: PROFESSIONAL PAPERS
REST
Minutes recorded by Peter B. Wight at meetings of the Society for the Advancement of Truth in Art.
Gift of Peter B. Wight. Transferred from the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, Summer 2001. THIS ITEM IS RESTRICTED. PATRONS ARE REQUESTED TO USE THE MICROFILM COPY 1988 27.
01/27/1863-02/23/1865 1
Box.FF 1.1
Peter B. Wight. "The Development of New Phases of the Fine Arts in America." Chicago: Inland Architect Press.
Offprint. Article published 11-12/1884.
1884 1
Box.FF 1.2
Root, John Wellborn. "Style."
Paper read before the Chicago Architectural Sketch Club, 1/3/1887, and published in Inland Architect and Building News 8, n. 10. Clipping annotated by Peter B. Wight.
01/1887 1
Box.FF 1.3
Peter B. Wight and Lorado Taft, "Birdseye View of Grant Park."
Lithograph.
11/1915 1
Box.FF 1.3
Wight, Peter B. "The Lake Front of Chicago with Special Reference to the Improvement of Grant Park."
Typescript carbon, with manuscript corrections.
c.1915-1916 1
Box.FF 1.3
Peter B. Wight to G.J. Foster, Superintendent of Engineers of the South Parks.
ALS. Regarding the enclosed proposed plan and illustration.
04/11/1916 1
Box.FF 1.4
Wight, Peter B. "The Architect as an Artist."
Annotated proofs and manuscript appendix. Lecture delivered to the Architectural Club of the University of Illinois, 04/11/1905.
n.d. 2
Box.FF 1.5
Wight, Peter B. "A History of the Development of Fireproofed Construction with Special Reference to the Use of Burnt Clay."
Typescript carbon with manuscript corrections and illustrations.
n.d. 1
Box.FF 1.6
Wight, Peter B. "The Use of Burned Clay Products in the Fireproofing of Buildings in the United States of America."
Typescript carbon with manuscript corrections and notations Lecture read before the Technical Society of Kansas City,12/05/1906; the Chicago Architects' Business Association, 01/1907; and the Engineers Club of Cincinnati, 03/21/1907.
n.d. 1






LOCATIONCONTENTSDATESITEMS

SERIES II: PHOTOGRAPHS
BLATCHFORD, E.W., RESIDENCE, CHICAGO, IL
Original prints are held in the Newberry Library's collection of Blatchford/Fowler papers. The Ryerson and Burnham Archives will not make copy prints for patron use.
Box.FF 1.8
Exterior views.
Black and white copy photographs.
n.d. 4
Box.FF 1.8
Interior views.
Black and white copy photographs.
n.d. 17
Box.FF 1.8
Architectural details.
Black and white copy photographs.
n.d. 4

PORTRAITS
Box.FF 1.7
Peter B. Wight, portrait.
Black and white photograph. Photographer unknown. AIC neg. C45614.
n.d. 1
Box.FF 1.7
Peter B. Wight, portrait.
Black and white copy photograph. Photographer unknown. From Illinois Society of Architects Handbook, XVI (1913). AIC neg. C45618.
n.d. 1







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