Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections


Barbara Lane Correspondence with German Architects (1955-1982)

Part I: Description

Special Collections Department, Bryn Mawr College Library
Collection Number: 52

Copyright 2006 by Special Collections Department, Bryn Mawr College Library




Total Boxes: 1
Linear Feet: 1.25

Administrative Information


Gift of Barbara Lane.

Ownership & Literary Rights

The Barbara Lane Correspondence with German Architects is the physical property of the Special Collections Department, Bryn Mawr College Library. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns.

Cite as:

Barbara Lane Correspondence with German Architects, Special Collections Department, Bryn Mawr College Library.

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research.



Andrew W. Mellon Professor Emeritus of Humanities and Professor Emeritus of History, Bryn Mawr College

Barbara Miller Lane, a graduate of the University of Chicago and Barnard College, and a PhD in history from Harvard University, came to Bryn Mawr in the fall of 1962 to teach history. The recipient of more than a dozen major grants and fellowships throughout her career, Lane has been a visiting professor at the Columbia University School of Architecture, a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts in Washington DC, a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, Berlin, and a member of the "City Forum", an advisory group on planning Berlin after German unification. In 1971, she helped to found the Growth and Structure of Cities Program, and served as its director from 1971-1989, and again in 1996-97. Within the Cities Program, she introduced courses in the history of urban form and the history of modern architecture.

Her books include Architecture and Politics in Germany, 1918-1945 (Harvard University Press, 1968, revised edition 1985, Italian edition 1973, German edition 1986), which is considered the classic work on German architecture and planning in the early twentieth century; a compilation on Nazi Ideology Before 1933 (ed., with Leila Rupp, University of Texas Press, 1978), and National Romanticism and Modern Architecture in Germany and the Scandinavian Countries (Cambridge University Press, 2000). Shorter publications deal with subjects such as political symbolism in 19th- and 20th-century public buildings, the late 19th-century streetscape, Expressionism and modern architecture, architecture and planning in 20th-century Berlin, and the career and significance of Albert Speer. Other research interests include the evolution of American and European domestic architecture, the development of Swedish design theory from the 1890s through the 1930s, the history of city planning in the later 20th century, and methods of research in architectural history.

Since her retirement from full-time teaching in 1999, she has returned to Bryn Mawr College to teach advanced undergraduate and graduate seminars on such subjects as "Medievalism and Modern Architecture," "The Bauhaus and Weimar Culture," and "Housing and Dwelling: Perspectives on Modern Domestic Architecture."


The collection consists of letters between Barbara Lane and various German architects written while she was researching her study on politics and architecture in Germany between the World Wars. The study, Architecture and Politics in Germany 1918-1945, was published by the Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., in 1968.

This correspondence includes letters written by Barbara Lane to architects who worked in Germany between the wars requesting information on her area of interest, as well as many of their replies. In some cases the correspondence between Lane and an architect includes as many as six letters. Many of the architects discuss their difficulties constructing modern building after the Nazis came to power and the ways in which architecture was monitored by the government. The architects with whom Lane corresponded include Fritz Breuhaus de Groot, Richard Döcker, Johannes Göderitz, Erwin Redslob, and Paul Schmitthenner.

There are also a number of letters to Lane from Walter Gropius, whose archives she used several times while researching her book. As well as allowing Lane the use of his archives, Gropius read a draft of her completed manuscript and sent her his notes and opinions. His "Notes on Mrs. Lane's Manuscript" are enclosed in his letter of 19 July, 1966.

A second group of letters deals with Lane's donation of her research correspondence to the Bryn Mawr Library. There is also a letter from Albert Speer, thanking Lane for a copy of her book and offering her a relevant portion of his own memoirs.

Organization of the Collection

The collection consists of two groups of correspondence. The greatest part is made up of Lane's requests for information and the responses to her letters. These are organized alphabetically by correspondent. The second group is a small number of letters concerning Lane's donation of these letters to the library.

Part II: Box and Folder List

Processing and description by Melody Brandston and Leo Dolenski .



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Last Update: November 18, 2013