Finding Aid to the Platt Library

Collection Summary


Century Association Archives Foundation
7 West 43d Street
New York, NY 10036
Phone: 212-391-8054 | Fax: 212-840-3609 |

Creator: Charles A. Platt
Title: Charles A. Platt book collection
Inclusive Dates: 1715–1930
Quantity: approximately 460 volumes
Abstract: The Charles A. Platt book collection at the Century Association contains more than 400 monographs, book series, and journals ranging in date from 1715 to the 1930s. Overall, this collection appears to be Platt’s research or “working” library that he no doubt regularly consulted for inspiration as he developed his own designs. Almost every volume is illustrated—several folios contain little or no text. Though there are select rare editions, a majority of the collection consists of mass-printed 19th century series (some series being incomplete) and a number of reprints of early works. The major subject focus is historic surveys of European gardens, ornament, interiors, and architecture. Additionally, there are books on architectural details, wrought iron, furniture, urban history, and antiquities.
Identification: CAAF Charles A. Platt book collection
Location: All materials are located in the Platt Library at the Century Association. A detailed shelf list provides specific locations.
Languages: Materials in English, French, Italian.

Scope and Contents

The strength of the collection is its documentation of historic styles, notably Renaissance, Classical, Gothic, Neo-Classical, Georgian and Baroque/Rococo, as employed in interiors, gardens, and building in Italy, Germany, France and England as well as general pattern books. Included are several standard illustrated sets published in the 19th century including: The Architecture of Robert and James Adam, Vacquier’s Style Empire, Vieux Hotels de Paris, Tipping’s English Homes, Scutz’s Renaissance in Italien, Houvet’s Cathedrale de Chartres, d’Espouy’s Fragments d’architecture antique, and Letarouille’s Edifices de Rome Moderne.

Another key focus is illustrated surveys and histories of gardens in primarily in France and Italy. These include Forbes’s Architectural Gardens of Italy, Trigg’s Garden Craft in Europe, Gromort’s Jardin d’Italie, and Latham’s Gardens of Italy.

In addition to The White Pine series on American architecture, the collection contains a few books on American colonial furniture, interiors, gardens, and buildings. Among the few Mayan Pre-Columbian design books is Alt’s colorful multi-volume set Iglesias de Mexico (1924–1927). Included also are major surveys of American architects—Platt’s contemporaries—notably John Russell Pope, Cram & Ferguson, Bertram Goodhue, and McKim, Mead & White.


Conditions of Access

The collection is open to researchers by appointment only.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

The collection is subject to all applicable copyright restrictions.

Related Material

See also: Charles A. Platt architectural drawings and records, 1900–1933. At Columbia University, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library. Avery Drawings & Archives. Call number: NYDA88-A21. Brief Finding Aid available here.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Bibliographic identification of item. The Charles A. Platt book collection; The Century Association Archives Foundation.

Acquisition Information

In 1942, the working library of American architect Charles Adams Platt was bequeathed to the Century Association. Since 2006 the collection has been administered by the Century Association Archives Foundation.

Processing Information

Processing of the collection is still in progress.

Finding aid written in compliance with DACS by Carolyn Vega in January 2008; encoded in EAD by Carolyn Vega in March 2008.

Other Finding Aids

Shelf list available in a Microsoft Access database.


Keith N. Morgan. Charles A. Platt, the Artist as Architect. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1985.
Keith N. Morgan. Shaping an American Landscape: The Art and Architecture of Charles A. Platt. Hanover, N.H.: The Trustees of Dartmouth College, 1995.
Charles A. Platt. Italian Gardens. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1894.


This collection is arranged in its original order.

Access Points

Corporate Names:

  • Century Association (New York, N.Y.)
  • Century Association Archives Foundation (New York, N.Y.)
  • Platt Byard Dovell White

Personal Names:

  • Platt, Charles A. (Charles Adams), 1861–1933

Geographic Places:

  • Italy
  • New York (N.Y.)


  • Landscape architects—19th century
  • Landscape architects—20th century
  • Private libraries—19th century
  • Private libraries—20th century

Form/Genre Terms:

  • Albumen prints
  • Books
  • Photographs
  • Prints (visual works)